Knowledge of Innerself (Irfan e nafs) | Self realization

Reality of Man (Haqeeqat-e-Insan)

Recognition of one’s own self is called irfan e nafs or self realization. It is true faith and a key to reach Allah.

Ever since the human being stepped on the earth, the questions which have arisen in his mind are: What is my reality? Who am I? What is my origin and end? What is my recognition? If a Creator does exist who has created me then who is He and how would I recognize Him? What is the purpose of my life?

Whenever humans strived to search for the answers to these questions, Allah sent His Prophets and Messengers on every territory of the earth for their guidance who had been satisfying them regarding such questions. Anyhow, the world progressed and reached the stage that communication started among people living in every part of the land. Meanwhile, Allah sent His beloved last Prophet Mohammad, the reason of creation of the universe. Allah, through this system of Prophethood, sent His ultimate message and provided an absolute guidance to mankind in the form of Holy Quran, the complete code of life. Prophet Mohammad is the guide for all human beings till the doomsday.

The reason of creation of the universe

The purpose of the life and creation of man is described in the following Qudsi Hadith:

کُنْتُ کَنْزًا مَخْفِیًا فَاَ حْبَبْتُ اَنْ اُعْرَفَ فَخَلَقْتُ الْخَلْق

Meaning: I was a hidden Treasure; I desired to be recognized, so I created the creation.

It is obvious from the aforementioned Hadith that the purpose of creation of man is to gain the recognition and gnosis of Allah which is only possible after gaining irfan e nafs.

How to recognize Allah?

Now the question arises how can a man recognize Allah? Thus the method is in the Hadith below:

مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَہُ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّہُ

Meaning: Whoever recognized his own self undoubtedly, recognized his Lord.

The explanation of the above Hadith is that Allah created the sacred soul of Mohammad from His own Divine light and the souls of all the rest of creation from the soul of Mohammad in the realm of Divinity (alam al-LaHoot). At this stage, the human soul is the Divine soul (ar-ruh al-qudsi) and this is the state of soul about which is a Qudsi Hadith:

اَلْاِنْسَانُ سِرِّیْ وَ اَنَا سِرُّہٗ

Meaning: Man is My secret and I am his.

The souls were engrossed in Divine vision at this stage because there was no veil between the souls and Allah, hence they were absorbed in seeing the Divine beauty. Neither was there earth nor heavens, so there was no distraction of the material world or paradise.

Divine covenant

However, the aforementioned is the level at which Allah took the covenant from human souls as it is in sura Al-A’raf that Allah says Alasto be Rabikum

اَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّکُمْ

Meaning: Am I not your Lord?

قَالُوْا بَلٰی

Meaning: Replied all the souls, “Yes you are!”

Allama Iqbal uttered:

الست از خلوت نازے کہ برخاست

بلیٰ از پردۂ سازے کہ برخاست

Explanation: From whose proud solitude arose the voice, “Am I not your Lord” and from whose musical instrument arose the tune of the song of “Yes you are.”

Different realms of Sufi cosmology have different dresses (souls)

Realm of Divinity is the hidden and prohibited world for all the creatures except the human soul. At its border Gabriel said to Prophet Mohammad on the night of Miraj, “If I step ahead, I will get burnt.” From the realm of Divinity Allah sent the soul in the realm of power (alam al-jabarut) in that realm’s dress. As in whichever realm the soul is descended it would be cladded in the respective dress of the world. It is important to realize that it needs the required cover of that realm to survive in it. Hence here it is the kingly soul.

Then it descended to the angelic realm (alam al-malakut) in the respective dress and it got the title of ‘the soul of celestial light’. Afterwards, it permeated in the mortal body and was dressed with the body of flesh and bones, where it got the title of ‘the soul directly related to the body’. That is why the soul here is the ‘Divine command’ and it is that which every child is born on the nature of, it means its soul is pure, illuminated and is not inclined to the impurities and worldly pleasures.

The aim is to gain irfan e nafs and reach the realm of Divinity

The actual human elevation occurs when he spiritually progresses and returns to the realm of Divinity and attains his original soul, the Divine soul. At this point he gains irfan e nafs i.e. true self realization, which is surely not the material body but the soul created from the Mohammadan light. The realm of Divinity is the original homeland and actual destination where he finds Divine closeness required for His vision and recognition. Here, he can gain the recognition of his innerself (irfan e nafs) and that of his Creator. Thus, it is famous,

Whoever gained irfan e nafs undoubtedly, recognized his Lord.”

To achieve this exaltation is the purpose of human life.

Different names of the Divine soul

Some of the Mystics and Sufis called the spiritual being of man as the esoteric self, inner man, soul, inward, spiritual self or esoteric being.

In some Hadiths and statements of Saints, it gets the names such as inward, inner and heart. Here, the heart does not mean the piece of flesh which is on the left side of chest. Such a heart is also present in animals and the deceased and one can see it with the physical eye. How can it have the knowledge of the spiritual world? As it is of the physical world and has to decay like the other organs of body after death. In fact the soul is symbolically entitled as heart.

A layman calls the soul ‘conscience’. When a person commits a sin or does anything wrong, it is his soul that makes him regretful because sin is not inherent in its nature but man exclaims, “My conscience is pricking me!” The recognition of the Divine soul is actually the recognition of the reality of man or irfan e nafs and this is the very faith. In fact true faith means ‘the recognition of essence (soul) of human being and its accomplishment’, and the attainment to this level is the true and complete faith. In other words, the actual religion is self-knowledge, self realization and self-perfection.

Iqbal’s concept of irfan e nafs

Iqbal entitled the soul or the inner being of man as khudi and called its intrinsic knowledge as ‘the recognition of the inner being’ or irfan e nafs. Most of Iqbal’s interpreters have wrongly interpreted khudi as ego instead of soul. Probably they could not understand that ego (pride or vanity) takes man away from Allah while the soul brings close to Him. However, Iqbal has used the terms; inner, heart, inward and soul as well.

What is Self realization (irfan e nafs)?

Self realization or irfan e nafs is that a man must know that Allah created him with two things; the outer existence which is body and can be seen and touched with eyes and hands respectively. Whereas the other is his esoteric or spiritual self which is also termed as inner being, and core by the Mystics and can only be seen with the spiritual eye, as it does not belong to the physical world rather it is related to the invisible world. It is everlasting and stays even after the death of the physical body because it is accountable to Allah for everything its possessor, human being, had been doing in his life.

What is the marvel of the Divine soul?

Divine gnosis and vision of the Divine beauty are the peculiar attributes of the soul. Only the soul is ordained to worship. Reward and punishment are only for it and only it is destined to be submissive and humble. It means all the attributes of man relates to the soul not to his body. Physical being is merely a source to express the qualities of the esoteric self. The awareness of its reality is the key to the gnosis and proximity of Allah.

If man gains self realization (irfan e nafs) he will observe universe within himself

In this era, the major predicament is, people overlooking the Quranic verses consisting of explicit instructions and enlightened guidance to the spiritual context, they consider them ambiguities or similes. Thus the main reason of our depravity is having forgotten our real esoteric self and diverting attention only towards our superficial being. Alas! The contemporary man is lost in the external world, if he gains irfan e nafs, i.e. recognition of his actual inner being, he will observe Divinity and the universe within himself.

Quranic verses making man attentive towards irfan e nafs

The Holy Quran repeatedly diverts the attention of man towards his spiritual self. Some of the references from different suras are:

وَفِىۡۤ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ​ؕ اَفَلَا تُبۡصِرُوۡنَ‏

Meaning: And (I am) in your selves. So do you not notice? (Adh-Dhariyat 21)

وَنَحۡنُ اَقۡرَبُ اِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ الۡوَرِيۡدِ‏

Meaning: And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Qaf 16)

كَتَبَ فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِهِمُ الۡاِيۡمَانَ

Meaning: It is they in whose inwards Allah has inscribed faith. (Al-Mujadilah 22)

اَفَرَءَيۡتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰهَهٗ هَوَاہٗ

Meaning: (O beloved) Have you seen him who has made his desires his god. (Al-Jathiyah 23)

اَوَلَمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُوۡا فِىۡۤ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ

Meaning: Have they not meditated within themselves. (Ar-Rum 8)

Qudsi Hadith

Allah has drawn our attention towards the spiritual self and gaining irfan e nafs in following Qudsi Hadith:

لَا یَسْعُنِیْ اَرْضِیْ وَ لَا سَمَآئِیْ وَلٰکِنْ یَسْعُنِیْ قَلْبُ عَبْدِالْمُؤْمِن

Meaning: Neither can earth possess Me nor the skies but only the inward of the true believer can.

Hadiths drawing attention towards irfan e nafs

It is also in several Hadiths:

“Verily! Allah neither observes your physical appearance nor the deeds rather He scrutinizes your inward and intentions.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

اِنَّمَا الْعَمَالُ بِالنِّیَّاتِ۔

Meaning: The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions.

قَلْبُ الْمُؤْمِنْ عَرْشَ ا ﷲ تَعَالیٰ۔

Meaning: Inward of a believer is the Throne of Allah.

Various such verses and Hadiths are available which avert the attention of man towards his esoteric self and inward that are the centre of thoughts and imagination. It is the place where the true faith is and the cursed Satan also produces apprehensions in this very inward.

الَّذِىۡ يُوَسۡوِسُ فِىۡ صُدُوۡرِ النَّاسِۙ‏

Meaning: Who whispers into the inwards of mankind. (An-Naas 5)

Reality of life

Wherever in the world a recognizer of Reality, a knower of the hidden secret or a thinker is born, he definitely discloses this reality that one achieves the true awareness only by irfan e nafs or self realization and he also essentially unveiled this Quranic reality that not only Allah but all His created realms are present in human inward in a subtle form. This is not merely a philosophical principle fabricated for intellectual delight or for the mental satisfaction. Rather it is the reality of life which establishes on the basis of the teachings and experiences of the Prophets and the Saints along with the teachings of Quran and Hadith.

Rumi and irfan e nafs

Rumi said to man while unfolding the reality:

بس بصورت عالمِ صغریٰ توئی

پس بمعنی عالمِ کبریٰ توئی

Explanation: You are a micro world by appearance but in reality you are the macro world.

He further said:

آدمی راہست حِسِ تن سِقیم

لیک دو بَاطن یکے خلق عظیم

Explanation: The human being is a trivial and worthless thing regarding his physical being but inwardly he possesses a ‘large realm’.

Boo Ali Shah Qalander quote on the importance of irfan e nafs

Boo Ali Shah Qalander expressed about irfan e nafs:

یار در تو پس چرائی بے خبر

Explanation: Your Beloved (Allah) is within you, why are you so oblivious.

What Al-Ghazali said about irfan e nafs

For the interpretation of Hadith, “Whoever gained irfan e nafs undoubtedly, recognized his Lord.” ( مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَہُ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّہُ ) Al-Ghazali described:

O man! Nearest to you is your very own entity, so if you do not know yourself, how can you recognize others? Only to know that these are my hands, these are my feet, these are my bones, and this is my body, is not the recognition of yourself (irfan e nafs). This much recognition is possessed by animals too. Or to know this much that in hunger eat something while in anger go for fighting and on being dominated by sexual desire, just involve in sex. All these things are equally in animals too. How are you then better and nobler than them?

The requirement of gnosis and irfan e nafs is to know your real inner being and your true identity regarding who you are, where have you come from and where you have to return? If you have come in this world, what is the purpose of your being here? Why have you been given birth? What are your virtues and good fortunes and in which things do they exist? What is your misfortune and what is its source?

Al-Ghazali continued with questions about irfan e nafs in his book Kimiya-e-Sa’adat

The attributes which are in you, some of them are bestial and wild, some are devilish and evil but some are angelic and celestial too. Just consider which ones are your virtuous possessions. Who are you among these? Which one is nearer to your reality? Which qualities have transitory, temporary and poor status in your inward? Unless you recognize these facts you will remain deprived of your identity. You will never find your good fortunes because each one has different instinct and the source of nourishment to grow in yourself.

The animals’ instinct and source of nourishment are to eat, sleep and indulge in sex. If you are the same then struggle day and night to continue feeding your stomach and satisfying your appetite. The nourishment and instinct of beasts are in fighting, killing and ferociousness. The nourishment and instinct of devils lie in evil, maliciousness and wickedness. If you are one of them, then adopt their nature and habits to achieve your required pleasures and goals. The instinct and nourishment of angels lie in glorification and circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba in heavens.

Al-Ghazali talks about nourishment and virtue of human being

Whereas, the virtue and nourishment of human being lie in the observation of the Divine lights of beauty of Allah in His nearness. If you are a human, try then to recognize the Divine Essence and witness His Divine light and beauty. Strive also to liberate yourself from the clutches of your bestial anger and appetite and only seek the Divine Essence, the One, so that you can find out that who is the Creator of these bestial and ferocious attributes? The reality also disclosed upon you is that if the Creator has created these qualities within you, it does not mean that they should overpower and enslave you and become victorious over you. Rather they are for you to imprison and enslave them and become the conqueror. By overpowering them you can convert some of these slaves into the horse of your journey (towards Allah).

So that a few days you have to stay in this mortal world, you may use these to get the seed of your good fortune. When you get it, just trample over your slaves to enter the eternal calm and tranquil place which is Divine presence by the virtuous persons. You must know these facts. The one who does not know them remains far away from the true faith. Certainly, the reality of true faith is in veil for him. (Kimiya-e-Sa’adat)

Ibn Arabi and irfan e nafs

Ibn Arabi stated:

O seeker! Gain irfan e nafs, i.e. recognize your essence; who are you and what are you? What is your reality? What is your relation to Allah and on what basis are you called Truth and on what basis are you called realm. (Sharah Fusoos al-Hikam Wal Aiqan)

So that a few days you have to stay in this mortal world, you may use these to get the seed of your good fortune. When you get it, just trample over your slaves to enter the eternal calm and tranquil place which is Divine presence by the virtuous persons. You must know these facts. The one who does not know them remains far away from the true faith. Certainly, the reality of true faith is in veil for him. (Kimiya-e-Sa’adat)

Teachings of Sultan Bahoo on irfan e nafs

Like all Mystics and Saints, Sultan Bahoo also exhorted man to peep through his esoteric self and persuades him to ponder over his self for gaining irfan e nafs. As he is at the greatest status of Sultan-ul-Faqr among the Sufis, therefore his evaluation is also unique and different.

All his teachings whether prose or poetry are a beautiful interpretation of the Quran and Hadith. He quotes the Quranic verse “Allah is nearer than the jugular vein” and describes that prior to search the Divine Existence it is essential to have access to the innerself (nafs). Sultan Bahoo emphasizing on the presence of Allah esoterically and said that to him word ‘nearness’ is also incongruous because it too represents the aloofness and duality but the Divine Existence is the reality of our beings. He said as under:

قربِ حق نزدیک من حبل الورید

تو جمالش رانہ بینی بے نظیر

Meaning: The Divine Essence is closer than the jugular vein but you are spiritually blind and the Divine union is not destined for you. (Deewan-e-Bahoo)

Sultan Bahoo explained the Hadith, “Whoever gains irfan e nafs undoubtedly, recognizes his Lord.”

Sultan Bahoo stated:

Know that the energy and food of the inciting innerself (an-nafs al-ammarah) is in sin and evil, rather it is the profession of this self to commit sins and evil doings. If a man is always busy in the obedience and slavehood of Allah like offering salat day and night and ever observing fasts even then the inciting innerself (nafs) does not avoid committing sins because depravity is inherent to it.

Whether the man is ever engaged in studying the issues of Islamic jurisprudence or Quranic injunctions and Hadiths or in devotional practices and reciting the Holy Quran day and night, the inciting innerself (nafs) never ceases to do wrongs. It continues its job being a friend of devils whether an individual keeps circumambulating the Holy Kaaba or performing Hajj or killing the enemy in the battlefield or achieves the levels of Ghawth and Qutb while doing invocation, meditation and self-accountability, gets the power of revelation and unveiling of inwards and graves, the inciting innerself (nafs) is always prone to mischief and deadly evils.

However when the spark of theophanies of Divine nearness and union flare up in his inward by dint of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat he attains irfan e nafs and reaches the highest station of Mystic annihilated in Allah being immersed in the ocean of Divine light of Unity and the Divine presence.

Sultan Bahoo continues….

At this point the inciting innerself sanctifies (tazkiyah al-nafs) and stops doing evil and sin. Moreover, the Divine Nature orders to the inciting innerself (nafs) through voiceless inspirations to be modest and respectful. Thus, it gets repentant and rectified and becoming Muslim recites the Islamic creed لَآ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ﷲُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ ﷲ through inward verification and veritable affirmation.

On being repentant of its sins and gaining irfan e nafs the inciting innerself (nafs) elevates to the innerself at peace and in the quest of righteousness accepting Mohammadan faith the seeker becomes a Saint. At this highest stage of Divine gnosis when he gains self realization (irfan e nafs) according to the under discussion Hadith he also recognizes Allah through the signs that his innerself starts getting the Divine intuitions because at the station of gnosis it does not possess sensual and devilish element anymore. After that he does not opt for anything whether all the houries, blessings of paradise and the worldly adornments together are around him. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Another interpretation of the Hadith

The Hadith, “Whoever gained irfan e nafs, recognized his Lord” is addressed to Mohammadan umma because by it the person becomes familiar to his spiritual states and his innerself sanctifies (tazkiya nafs) and gets disgusted of the sensual desires and his inward is fed up of sins. Hence man is for slavehood to Allah, so without slavehood his entire life is a sheer embarrassment. Therefore when Prophet Adam was dying he advised his son useful lessons, which are:

Never love other than Allah, I loved paradise and lost it. (2) Never follow women as I acted upon Eve’s opinion that turned unfavourable for me. (3) If your inward demands anything never provide it, as my inward wished to eat the heavenly fruit, I followed it and Allah punished for that. (4) Do consult somebody before any undertaking, had I consulted angels I would not have faced such consequences. (5) If somebody swears without reason, do not believe him because cursed Satan swore to convince me, and I believed him, so I had to bear a great loss.

According to the author, only to seek Allah is enough for a Fakir and the rest is a lust. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Divine gnosis leads to universe within

Human inner is a vast and great essence of Divine light and a mirror to the Truth which is enlightened by the personal light of Allah. The whole universe is in it equal to a mustard seed. Sultan Bahoo’s point of view is that such a state creates in the soul by Divine gnosis with which the total states of both the worlds (spiritual and physical) assimilate and the seeker with spiritual insight watches it clearly through his soul’s eyes whereas a Divine lover always remains attentive towards his inner. He further described that:

The human inner is a very vast and great kingdom. Both the worlds along with their creatures can be contained in it. (Fazal-ul-Laqa)

ہر کتابے نقطہ از دِل کتاب

دِل کتابے دفتر حق بے حساب

Meaning: Every book is a dot in the world of inward as it has encompassed countless books of Truth. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Reality of soul

Sultan Bahoo explained as below:

What is the reality of soul? Know that the enormousness of earth is a mere drop in comparison to the vastness of the sky. Total elevation and hugeness of the sky is a drop in comparison to the Guarded Tablet. The Guarded Tablet is a drop in comparison to the Pen. The great Empyrean has several turrets. On every turret is written Islamic creed and a lamp is hanging on each one. Every lamp has fourteen piles layered repeatedly by the Divine Nature. In every layer the creatures of eighteen thousand realms inhabit. Every creature is reciting the Islamic creed (لَآ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ﷲُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ ﷲ) in its respective language.

The great Empyrean and all the layers are a drop equal to the grain of rue in comparison to soul. Listen the sensible one! When a man hurts a faithful Mystic it causes an upheaval among the entire creatures of the eighteen thousand realms rather of the Empyrean and the Chair too and Allah asks their respective dwellers “Why are you disturbed?” They reply that somebody has annoyed a faithful and they overwhelm by anger so they are restless. Allah then starts showing His wrath upon the tormentor. I seek refuge in Allah from this. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Soul is a better seclusion

Know that invocation, concentration, meditation, self-accountability, unveiling and secluded closet like practices are the job of imperfect and pseudo people because the soul is a better seclusion than the earthen one and the latter is inferior to the former.

Whoever got the Divine secret it is only after gaining irfan e nafs and through the inner and the one who has attained it by means of the inner being, he released himself from the secluded closet of soil. Consider that to seclude in the earthen closet for forty days is merely a sheer ignorance rather infidelity because such ones claim that whatever they achieved is only due to their forty days seclusion in the closet and do not accredit Allah for the achievement. Therefore all such practices are a mere illusion. Nothing is better than to keep the physical being in the congregational salat of sharia according to the Sunna and engross the innerself (nafs) in spirituality that is Reality and gnosis. One should keep the physical self with the creature and the innerself with the Creator. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

The inward which vivifies perpetually remains passionately attentive towards Allah and occupied in beholding Him. It is beholding Allah. (Qurb-e-Deedar)

When one gains self realization Divine Essence is manifested in the inward

The way to find Reality is in the human soul and this is the particular place in the human existence where the Divine manifestations of the Essence are. If the inciting innerself (nafs-e-ammara) is sanctified and rust and veils from the human inner are removed then it gains irfan e nafs (self realization) and becomes inspiring innerself (nafs mutmainnah). Hence the human nature approaches the spiritual ecstasy of Reality through the soul, as though it is the centre of spiritual states of man. If it purifies then the deeds becomes accurate but if this centre becomes dark and deviates from the spiritual values then it ruins. It is the inward in human body where the Divine Essence manifests and that Essence had concealed in the human being. As is in a Qudsi Hadith:

اَلْاِنْسَانُ سِرِّیْ وَ اَنَا سِرُّہُ

Meaning: Man is My secret and I am his.

Only the knowers and the true seekers know this reality.

Inner five senses

Know that, when from the treasure of secrets of Secret (Allah), from the observation of the Divine light, from the invocation of the name and the gnosis of Allah the soul enlivens and its inner five senses also start working, the sensual five senses of the physical body stop. (Majalisa-tul-Nabi)

O soul! Why don’t you gain self realization?

Sultan Bahoo said in his couplet:

چرادر زندگی اے دِل نہ کوشی

چرا زیں شربت شیریں نہ نوشی

چو دِل زندہ شود ہر گز نہ میرد

دلے بیدار شد خوابش نہ گیرد

Explanation: O soul! Why do you not try to enliven and drink the sweet syrup of spiritual life? Once it revitalizes, it never dies again and when awakes never sleeps again. (Majalisa-tul-Nabi)

Gain irfan e nafs so your inner eye can open

چشمِ بند عینک بہ پیش چشمِ دِل

خوش بین دیدار را در جسمِ گل

Explanation: Close your physical eye while the inner eye is watching and witnesses the Divine vision in the earthen body. (Taigh-e-Barhana)

Meaning of letters of word ‘Qalb’ (inward), in words of Sultan Bahoo

The Arabic word for inward is ( ق۔ل۔ب۔ ) transliterated as Qalb. It has three alphabets: ق (Q), ل (L) and ب (B). The alphabet ق (Q) refers to Qurb i.e. closeness of Allah, the alphabet ل (L) refers to Laqa i.e. vision of Allah and ب (B) refers to Baqa i.e. immortality with Allah and having the Divine observations, which all are in the inward. Whoever possesses these attributes is the man of inward otherwise a dog in the guise of a human. (Qurb-e-Deedar)

Inner parts of believers and infidels

The author says that the infidel’s inward, intellect and inner core are pagans too. He studies the knowledge of infidelity and eats forbidden things earned through illegal means. The hypocrite’s inward, innerself (nafs) and intellect too are hypocrites. He studies hypocritical knowledge and has the nourishment of hypocrisy. It means he gets education only for the worldly purpose and uses this knowledge for the satisfaction of bad attributes like avarice, vanity, pride and jealousy. The believer’s inward, innerself (nafs) and intellect are also in accordance. His knowledge leads him to irfan e nafs and to Islam, the refuge of Allah and the gnosis of ‘none but Allah’ ( اِلَّا اللّٰہُ ). The sustenance he takes, makes him thankful to Allah and he does justice to his innerself. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

Vacate the inward from idols

دِل کعبہ اعظم است بہ کن خالی از بتاں

بیت المقدس است مکن جائے بت گراں

Explanation: Inward is the greatest Kaaba, clear it from the idols (of worldly love and wishes). It is the sacred home of Allah, do not make it an idol shop. (Ain-ul-Faqr-7th chapter)

Kinds of inward

Sultan Bahoo quoted the Hadith while explaining about the kinds of inward:

اَلْقَلْبُ ثَلٰثٌ قَلْبٌ سَلِیْمٌ وَ قَلْبٌ مُنِیْبٌ وَ قَلْبٌ شَھِیْدٌ اَمَّا قَلْبٌ سَلِیْمٌ فَھُوَ الَّذِیْ لَیْسَ فِیْہِ بِغَیْرِ مَعْرِفَۃِ اللّٰہِ تَعَالٰی اَمَّا قَلْبٌ مُنِیْبٌ فَھُوَ الَّذِی اَلْمَآبُ مِنْ کُلِّ شَیئِِ اِلَی اللّٰہِ تَعَالٰی اَمَّا قَلْبُ شَھِیْدٌ فَھُوَ الَّذِیْ کَانَ فِیْ مُشَاہِدَۃِ اللّٰہِ وَ قُدْرَتِہٖ فِیْ کُلِّ شَیئِِ

Meaning: Inward is of three kinds; the purified inward (qalb-e-saleem), the inward returned to Allah (qalb-e-muneeb) and the inward engrossed in observation of Allah (qalb-e-shaheed). The purified inward which has gained irfan e nafs has nothing but the gnosis of Allah. The inward returned to Allah is attentive only towards Him turning away from everyone. The inward engrossed in observation of Allah witnesses only Him and His Nature in everything. (Ain-ul-Faqr-7th chapter)

Sultan Bahoo’s Punjabi couplets

He uttered in his couplets:

Why strive for self realization?

ایہہ تن رَب سچے دا حجرا، وِچ پا فقیرا جھاتی ھو

ناں کر مِنت خواج خضر دی، تیرے اندر آب حیاتی ھو

شوق دا دِیوا بال ہنیرے، متاں لبھی وَست کھڑاتی ھو

مرن تھیں اگے مر رہے باھوؒ ، جنہاں حق دی رمز پچھاتی ھو

Explanation: Your body is the place of Divine manifestations. Just peep through your body. Moreover do not depend upon Khidr. As he has drunk the vital water and granted an immortal life but within yourself is the vital water of Divine love. Enlighten the lamp of love within yourself. Perhaps you find the lost Trust of Reality (Divine Essence) hidden in your inner being since eternity. The people who found this secret died before death and attained immortality.

How to gain iran-e-nafs?

According to Sultan Bahoo, the inward gains self realization or irfan e nafs and becomes sanctified when one adopts the slavehood of a perfect spiritual guide and invokes and contemplates Ism-e-Allah Zaat granted by him:

دل دریا سمندروں ڈونگھا، غوطہ مار غواصی ھو

جیں دریا ونج نوش نہ کیتا، رہسی جان پیاسی ھو

ہر دم نال اللہ دے رکھن، ذکر فکر دے آسی ھو

اس مرشد تھیں زن بہتر باھوؒ ، جو پھند فریب لباسی ھو

Explanation: The river of human inner is deeper than the ocean. Strive to reach that depth (gain irfan e nafs). As there is the river of Unity. If you fail to drink from this river of Oneness your innerself (nafs) would always remain deprived of the Divine vision which is the biggest loss in the universe. To achieve this objective, always invoke and contemplate Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Moreover be passionate for the vision of the Beloved.

However you must search for a perfect and accomplished spiritual guide first and adopt his slavehood. As only he can take you to the destination of Divine vision. Beware of the pseudo and imperfect spiritual guides. They would indulge you in their lame and pseudo words. Moreover they do not possess anything to impart or give except their false promises. Rather they are themselves hollow from within. Better than them is the woman who satisfies her lover’s desires in spite of wickedness and deceptions.

Inner is the abode of manifestations of the Divine Essence

ایہہ تن رَب سچے دا حجرا، دِل کھڑیا باغ بہاراں ھو

وِچّے کوزے وِچے مصلے، وِچ سجدے دِیاں تھاراں ھو

وِچے کعبہ وِچے قبلہ، وِچے اِلَّا اللّٰہُ پکاراں ھو

کامل مرشد ملیا باھوؒ ، اُوہ آپے لیسی ساراں ھو

Explanation: Ever since the reality of spiritual self had disclosed upon me that my inner is the abode of manifestations of the real Beloved I got overjoyed and delighted. The goblets are present within me. With which I had the ablution of purification of the esoteric self. Moreover I stood on the prayer mat of purged self. I prostrated before the real Beloved. As my inward is one with Allah so Kaaba is within it. The reality of affirmation of ‘none but Allah ( اِلَّا ﷲُ )’ disclosed upon me that nothing exists except Allah in the universe. All this I received from my perfect spiritual guide. As he is my guardian and benefactor.

Wisdom and reflection

دل دریا خواجہ دیاں لہراں، گھمن گھیر ہزاراں ھو

رہن دلیلاں وِچ فکر دے، بے حد بے شماراں ھو

ہِک پردیسی دوجا نیوں لگ گیا، تِریا بے سمجھی دیاں ماراں ھو

ہسن کھیڈن سبھ بھلیا باھوؒ ، جد عشق چنگھایاں دھاراں ھو

Explanation: The human inner is vaster than the sea and the waves of Divine gnosis always fluctuate in it. Moreover there are also the whirlpools of satanic apprehensions and evil whispers in it. Though the true seekers rescue themselves from these whirlpools by their wisdom and reflection. Firstly I am a stranger to this mortal world. Secondly involved in the Divine love and thirdly unfamiliar to the customs and ways of Divine love. Ever since His love captured my heart I have forgotten all worldly pleasures and enjoyments.

Cherish Divine love

دِلے وچ دِل جو آکھیں، سو دل دور دلیلوں ھو

دل دا دور اگوہاں کرئیے، کثرت کنوں قلیلوں ھو

قلب کمال جمالوں جسموں، جوہر جاہ جلیلوں ھو

قبلہ قلب منور ہویا باھوؒ ، خلوت خاص خلیلوں ھو

Explanation: You claim that your inward has gained irfan e nafs and is awakened. Yet remember, still this station is far away and for this one should cherish Allah’s love. One can cherish it by removing all worldly loves from the inward. Take yourself to the realm of Oneness from that of multiplicity. The soul is the essence of beauty and perfection of bodies. Moreover the Divine abode and the place of revelation of Divine light and theophanies. Divine love and the Holy Prophet along with the Divine light and blessings made my inner being a secluded place due to which it enlightens and acquaints to Reality.

Real Fakirs are those who gain irfan e nafs

نہیں فقیری جھلیاں مارن، ستیاں لوک جگاون ھو

نہیں فقیری وہندیاں ندیاں، سکیاں پار لنگھاون ھو

نہیں فقیری وِچ ہوا دے، مصلےٰ پا ٹھیراون ھو

نام فقیر تنہاں دا باھُو، جیہڑےدل وچ دوست ٹکاون ھو

Explanation: Sainthood or mysticism is not to dance in the streets and markets for showing yourself as a Sufi. Neither sainthood is to get somebody dry across the running stream nor to offer prayer on the mat hanging in the air. Real Fakirs are those who gain irfan e nafs and reach the Divine Essence within them and love Him ardently.

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