Issue 98 / March - April 2014
Jadhba and Injidhab (Attraction and the Feeling of Being Attracted toward God)
M. Fethullah Gulen
In the language of Sufism, jadhba (attraction) means that a servant is attracted toward God by God Himself, purified thereby of human imperfection in spiritual elevation, and equipped with Divine qualities or exalted morals as specified in the Qur'an. It also means feeling and observing clearly the manifestations of Divine Majesty and Unity. A purified soul capable of receiving such manifestations abandons itself to the tides originating from the realms beyond and, like a competent swimmer, swims in ecstasy, in deep submission to God and without fear and anxiety.
If attraction means that one is drawn by a sacred power linked with his or her essence toward the purpose of his or her creation and to the point indicated by his or her true, primordial nature, injidhab means the willing acceptance of this invitation to the spirit.
Attraction is so great a Divine favor that it cannot be obtained through ordinary means or causes. It is God Himself Who grants to His pure-hearted servants both the attraction and the ability to receive it: That is the grace of God: He bestows it on whom He wills (57:21). This bestowal includes, in a single, passing moment, many portions of time filled with events, and it equips a single step toward Him with the potential to reach the gardens of Paradise, and a single glance with the capacity to turn a piece of coal into a diamond. Great distances that seem impossible to cover with one's own will and power are covered in a moment by God's attraction, and high summits are reached by His uplifting, as stated in: A single instance of the All-Merciful's attraction equals to the nearness to God acquired through the good actions of both humanity and jinn.
Those whose spirits feel the mysteries of faith, who practice Islam and perfect goodness and devotion through God's attraction are called "those who follow the way of Uways," for they are guided directly by God or the Prophet and they feel continuously attracted toward God by God Himself, living in incessant ecstasy and amazement at what they observe of the Divine truths and manifestations.
At times, there is a virtuous circle between attraction and regular worship and austerity. A traveler on the way to God is favored with attraction in proportion to the degree of his or her worship and austerity, and is devoted to worship and austerity to the extent of the attraction felt toward God. So long as such people act in accordance with the Shari'a, this virtuous circle continues. If they break away from the light of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, displays of free and easy behavior in their relationship with God begin to appear, and religious obligations might begin to be neglected.
Attraction is, first of all, a capability and a Divine gift given in advance. Without this gift, a traveler on the way cannot feel attracted through austerity, worship, and self-purification; nor can he or she discern the waves of attraction and being attracted on the face of the universe produced by the light coming from the Divine Name the All-Loving. Such an undiscerning person has no knowledge of true spirituality:
Why should my guide be concerned with me
unless I have the attraction of love?
Why should he be concerned with me
Unless I receive inspiration from God?
It sometimes happens that a believer attracted in this way is overwhelmed by the gifts coming from God, so that whatever is other than His manifestations disappears, and all cares with the world or the Hereafter are forgotten. In a mood expressed by the following couplet by Muallim Naci:
I am, by nature, so attracted to the roaring rise of the sea
that I feel as if engulfed in the bounteous gifts of God,
one's self and all other parts of creation are seen as being intoxicated with the attraction of the All-Holy, Attractive Being:
Everything is intoxicated with the wine of love of God and the attraction of this love. Celestial objects and angels are intoxicated; the heavens and the earth are intoxicated; elements and plants are intoxicated; and animals, human beings, and all other beings (are intoxicated).
There are two kinds of attraction. One is felt inwardly and is not manifested outwardly by its possessor. Such a person loves God, feels great contentment with and pleasure in fulfilling His commandments, and feels incessantly attracted to the source of a deeper delight. The second kind of attraction is that which is manifested. One who feels such attraction cannot help but manifest it as ecstasy. Feeling attracted by God with a continuously increasing force, he or she lives as an ecstatic, in excessive joy and with great happiness.
Those who are unaware of such degrees of spiritual elevation think such a person is crazy. The following couplet of 'Abdu'l-'Aziz Majdi Efendi expresses this degree of ecstasy quite meaningfully:
There is a kind of madness called attraction, which is a secure triumph.
By means of it mysteries of madness reach higher and higher.
Attraction may look like madness in some respects; in reality, it is quite different. For example, an ecstatic who revolves in waves of attraction may lose some perception and show signs of madness by behaving in ways incompatible with sound reasoning and the Shari'a. In most cases, an ecstatic exceeds normal human standards in all senses or powers of perception to the extent that, in the light of Sunna, he or she travels in realms that cannot be reached by the reason, other intellectual faculties and senses of ordinary people. Therefore, those who see such a person think that he or she is crazy.
However, traveling (in spiritual realms) beyond the reach and power of normal standards of intellect or reason, by using that power and other senses along with the help of God, is completely different from the type of madness resulting from mental illness, which is characterized by less-than-normal standards of intellect or reason.
O God! We ask You for the means which will attract Your mercy and forgiveness, protection from all sins, acquisition of all virtues and godliness, the reward of Paradise, and salvation from the Fire. And bestow blessing and peace on our master Muhammad, the master of the godly and virtuous.