Intuitional (Mystic) Faculty

Chapter No.: 

Having noted the limitations of intellect in knowing the Reality, one has to explore other faculties. Intuition is the next higher faculty after intellect, before discussing this faculty further, the author feels tempted to present the view point of some of the famous scholars, in this regard.


“Heart is a kind of inner intuition or insight, feeds on the rays of the Sun and brings us in contact with the aspects of Reality other than those open to sensual perception.”

Dr ‘Iqbal:

“The revealed and mystic literature of mankind bears ample testimony to the fact that religious experience has been too enduring and dominant in the history of mankind to be rejected as mere illusion. There seems to be no reason, thus, to accept the moral level of human experience as fact and reject its other levels as mystical and emotional. The facts of religious experience are facts among other facts of human experience and in the capacity of yielding knowledge by interpretation; one fact is as good as another.”

The mystic state brings us in contact with the total passage of Reality in which -all the diverse stimuli merge into another and form single unity in which the ordinary distinction of subject and object does not exist.

Imam AI-Gazzali:

He himself narrates his spiritual story as follows:

“The thirst of knowledge was innate in me from an early age. It was like a second nature implemented in me by Allah. No sooner had I emerged from my boyhood than I had already broken the fetters of tradition and authority and freed myself from hereditary beliefs. The diversity in beliefs and the varsity of doctrines in the sects that divide the men are like a vast ocean strewn with shipwrecks. Each sect believes itself to be exclusively in possession of truth and of salvation. From the periods of adolescence I again and again plunged myself into this vast ocean. Struck with the contradictions that I encountered in endeavouring to disentangle the truth and falsity of these opinions, I was led to make the following reflection:

The search after the truth being the aim that I propose myself, I ought to, in the first place, ascertain as to what are the foundations of certitude. In the next place, I ought to recognise that certitude is the clear and complete knowledge of things such as leaves no room for doubt, no possibility of error. (Cf. AI Munqidh minal Dhalal)

AI-Gazzali examined the sum total of knowledge that he had acquired hitherto and found that none of it could stand the test as proposed by him.

He further says,

“We cannot hope to find the truth except in the matters which carry their evidence in themselves, i.e., in sense perception and infallible and necessary principles of thought. We must, therefore, first of all establish these two on a firm basis”.

But he doubted the infallibility of sense perception; he could plainly see that they do often deceive us. “No eye can see the movement of shadow, but still the shadow moves; a gold piece can cover any star, but a star is a world larger than the earth.”

The information given by sense experience can be contradicted and convicted of falsity in an indisputable manner by the verdict of reason. AI-Gazzali’s confidence in sense information having been shaken, he turned towards the scrutiny of what he called the necessary principles, but he doubted even those. According to AI-Gazzali, in spite of his great respect for Mathematics and Logic, it is not possible to guarantee absolutely the truth of mathematical axioms and laws of logic. Are ten more than three? Can a thing be and not be at the same time? Perhaps he could not tell. His senses have sometimes deceived him, why should not his reason?

His doubt with regard to sense perception made him very hesitant to accept the infallibility of reason.

“Well”, says, AI-Gazzali, “perhaps there is above reason another judge, who if approached would convict reason of falsity and if such a third arbiter is not yet apparent, it does not follow that he does not exist.’’

AI-Gazzali could not find a way out of this doubt and his experience of dream phenomena deepened it more. “While asleep you assume your dreams to be indisputably true, once awake you recognise them for what they are i.e., baseless chimeras. Who can assure you then of the reliability of the notions, which when awake, you derive from the senses and from reason? In relation to your present state they may appear real but is it not possible that should they enter upon another state that will bear the same relation to your present state as the latter does to your condition when asleep? With awakening into that new state you might recognise that the conclusions of reasons are themselves no more than mere chimeras of their own brand.”

AI-Gazzali later suggested that, that state might be death. He says that when we would be awakened in life after death, it would be a true, though different existence. (Cf. Kimiya-Sa-adat).

While narrating his spiritual struggle he further says,

“After my confidence in sense perception and reason got shaken, I was overtaken by sophistication for quite some time. Then Allah cured me of this disease and my condition improved. I developed confidence in axiomatic truths, but this was not due to any logistic or empiricist but was something intuitional. After getting cured of this disease, there were four groups in front of me that appeared to me searchers of truth viz, first was scholastic group (Mutakaillimeen) who claimed to be the people of reason. Second was Carmathian sect (Baatiniya) who claimed that they possess special teachings and secrets and they have acquired knowledge directly from Imam Ma’soom; third was the group of philosophers who claimed to be the people of logic and argument: fourth was the group of mystics who called themselves the people of intuition and manifestation (Kashaf & Shahood). I studied the books and arguments of all the groups but was not satisfied by any of these.


I read the books of scholastics and wrote myself many books about ‘Ilme-kalam’. Though it fulfils its own needs but it was not enough for me. It was based on such prefaces which have been put forward by the opposite group and these scholastics have believed them blindly or it has been based on the Qur’an, Hadith and Ijma (science dealing with consensus of Muslim opinion) which are not effective for a person who does not believe anything except axiomatic truths.”

Greek Philosophy:

Before framing my opinion about the philosophers, I thought it important to study it first thoroughly. Though I was busy writing books and teachings, about three hundred students used to attend my lesson in Baghdad, still I spared sometime for it and studied Greek Philosophy in the course of two years. Then I continued to think over it for another year. I found that Philosophy consists of six kinds of knowledge viz., Mathematics, Logistics, Physics, Politics, Ethics, and Metaphysics. First five have nothing to do with religion neither in negation nor affirmation, nor negation of these important for affirmation of religion. In Physics some of their views confront religion but they are few; in this one should believe that physical laws are in the hands of Allah and that these laws are not independent. But those people, who see the intelligence and subtlety of these philosophers in the field of Physics, feel brow beaten and think that they will be similarly intelligent in other fields also, although this is not necessary that one who is expert in one field will be expert in another field as well.

Afterwards when they see their irreligious beliefs and non- belief, they also refute religion while following their footsteps.

On the other hand less knowledgeable ignorant friends of Islam take it as their obligatory religious duty to refute every theory and claim of philosophers blindly. They think doing so is a great service to Islam, so much so that they even reject their research in Physics. The harmful effect of this is that those people who understand the truth of these theories and research in Physics find their belief in Islam shaken and become doubtful about Islam. In short, the branch of philosophy that confronts religion is Metaphysics (Ilahiyat). These philosophers have always stumbled over it. In fact, the preconditions, which they had formulated in Logistics, they could not themselves stick to them in Metaphysics. That is why Metaphysics is surrounded by controversy. I found the views of these philosophers to be like darkness over darkness, if anybody would say such things about his dream, he will be labelled as having perverted taste. I wonder that even a mad person will not get satisfied over such ideas and how about of those who claim to be intellectuals with hair splitting subtlety.

Finally, I reached to the conclusion that philosophers cannot satisfy me and that intellect alone cannot encompass all the purposes and neither can solve all the problems.

Carmathian sect:

Then remains the Carmathian sect, I got a chance to study this sect in detail when I was writing my book ‘Al-Mustazhari. I saw that their beliefs depend upon the teaching of Imam Ma’soom, but the very existence and truth of Imam Ma’soom itself needs a proof. Both of these things are extremely doubtful.


Now remained mystics only and I devoted myself fully towards it. I believe that Mysticism is both theoretical and practical. The theoretical part was easy for me, I went through Quwat ul-Quloob of Abu Talib Makki and the tracts of Harith al-Muhisibi, Junaid, Shibi, Ba Yazid al-Bustimi and other mystics, and whatever could be acquired through knowledge I acquired, but I learned that one cannot reach to truths through reading only but one can reach there through intuition after changing one’s practical state. The branches of knowledge, which were my wealth, whether of Shari’ah or intellectual, have given me certitude about the existence of Allah, Prophet-hood and resurrection, and this was not due to any proof but was as a result of reason and experience, the details of which are difficult to convey. This thing had become quite clear to me that salvation in Hereafter lies in adopting righteousness (Taqwa) and stopping the self (‘nafs’) from its passions and lusts. For this the relation of the heart with the world should break with the complete devotion towards Allah, attractions towards Hereafter and disinterest towards mundane world. But this was not possible without staying away from wealth and worldly honour and without running away from obstacles and mundane relations. When I thought over my condition, I learned that I am sunk in mundane relation from top to toe, my best deed was teaching (of religion), but on deep introspection I found that I was concentrating on those branches of knowledge, which are neither important nor full in Hereafter. I looked into my intention of teaching, I found that it was not completely for the pleasure of Allah, but it was also to achieve fame. When I had established the conviction that I was standing on the edge of the cave of destruction, I knew that if I did not try to reform myself then I would be in deep trouble.

For quite sometime I had intended to leave Baghdad, but was unable to decide, six months passed like that, sometimes mundane lusts attracted me and sometimes Iman (unflinching faith in the basic tenets of Islam) was reminding me that a few years of life are left behind, your departure from the world is near, a long journey is ahead and all these teachings are based on hypocrisy and imaginations. Sometimes baser self (‘nafs’) would say that if you leave all this, it will be difficult to get it again. In this way another six months passed till things got out of control, I could not say the things that I wanted to when people came to see me; I became so sad that even my digestion was effected. I could not swallow even a sip of water and consequently became very weak. Doctors gave up hope and said that something had affected my heart.

When I saw myself helpless in this situation, I turned towards Allah and invoked Him in that restless state. Its result was that it became easy for me to leave all the status and honour. I decided to go to Makkah and thought that I will go to Syria. I gave up my excuses to leave Baghdad. When Iraqi people came to know about it, they started criticising me, but I bade goodbye to Baghdad and went to Syria, there I stayed for two years. There I had no engagement except solitude and Mujahada (training of the self and purging it of the worldly desires, which corrupt the spirit). I started purifying my heart as I had learned from the books of mystics. I stayed in seclusion for a long time in Jama Masjid, of Damascus. From there I went to Masjid-e-Aqsa (Bayt-ul-Muqaddus). After seeing Hadhrat Ibrahim (in a dream), I developed the desire to go for Haj, then I went to perform Haj. From there I went to my hometown.

Imam Gazzali’s Conclusions:

In seclusion the spiritual epiphany or revelation which I experienced is difficult to convey but I can tell you that I learnt with certitude that only mystics are truly on the path of Allah. Their morality and their way is the straightest path.

Such bliss is, undoubtedly, beyond the reach of the intellectuals and scholars, who rely too much on intellect as the main tool of realising the truth. The mystics all-external and internal movements are directly derived from the lamp of prophet-hood and there is no light on the earth better than the light of prophet-hood, from which light can be obtained.

I learnt that Man is composed of body and QALB and that QALB is a spiritual entity, which is the instrument for understanding Allah. QALB does not mean fleshy heart that is present even in animals. As there is health and disease for the body, so is there soundness and disease for the QALB. Salvation is for those who will meet Allah with the sound QALB (Qalb-e-Saleem).”

The experiences and the consequent conclusions arrived at by Imam AI-Gazzali have been quoted at length because, this is an ideal example to understand the real course which the seeker of Truth should follow. He has superbly analysed all the sects and all the faculties of understanding the Truth and has been quite lucky that Allah has taken him out of fallacies and shown him the right path. He found that the Greek philosophers and scientists have stolen some facts from the teachings of the Prophets and then claimed to be the originators of these facts, that is why they miserably failed in collaborating their claims and in knowing the Truth.

Hadhrat Ali (RA):

He possessed extra-ordinary knowledge than most of the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Once he was asked by some people if he was told anything special by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which others did not know? He said, “No, Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) didn’t tell him anything special but that he has been blessed by extraordinary ‘Fahm’ (intuition), which Allah bestows upon His exceptional bondsmen.”

Haffiz lbne Qayyim:

‘Fahm’ (intuition) is a great gift of Allah to a man and that is a Nur (synonymous to light) which Allah puts in the QALB (heart) of man, which helps a man to understand those things which others do not understand even if the other person is equal to him in memory and intellectual power. The ‘Fahm’ is the title of ‘Siddiqiyat’ and a specific sign of ‘Wilayat-u-Nubuwwa’. In this there are different grades of Ulema so much so that sometimes thousand Ulema are counted equal to one Aalim. Look at the ‘Fahm’ of Hadhrat Ibne Abbas (RA) when Hadhrat Umar (RA) asked the Tafseer (interpretation) of Surah An-Nasr from him and other Suhaba, Hadhrat Ibne Abbas (RA) said that he understands that in this Surah there is message of departure of Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) from the world which has been revealed in this Surah, that the time of his (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) departure from the world is near and Hadhrat Umar (RA) agreed with this interpretation. This meaning remained concealed from other Suhaba though Ibne Abbas (RA) was younger in age than others. As such there was no such indication in this Surah, if one considers the literal meaning only. If that intuition from Allah would not have come to him, he could have not understood this real meaning.” (Madaarij-u-Salikeen).

Proof of Intution from Hadith:

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“One who puts in action the knowledge which he obtains; Allahu Ta’ala teaches him that knowledge which he did not know”

It is this knowledge and understanding which one gets without one’s endeavour and effort that is called intuition. Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) further said:

“One who worships Allah with sincerity for forty days, Allah Ta’ala opens up springs of knowledge and understanding in his QALB which then come to his tongue.”

Talbees-e-Iblees in Mystic Experience

Deceptive and misleading potential of pseudo-mystic experience:

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا () فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا ()

“By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it. And its inspiration, as to its wrong and its right.” (91:7-8)

Allah Ta’ala created man as a wonderful creature, a treasure house of wonderful capabilities. One of these wonderful things which was created in man was ‘NAFS’ (baser self). Allah Ta’ala says that He then made ‘NAFS’ proportionate and inspired in it instincts of both evil and good. Both these instincts are inherent properties of ‘NAFS’. That means ‘NAFS’ is inherently capable of both things viz., righteousness as well as evil. Here in this verse Fajoor (wrong) was mentioned first and then Taqwa (righteousness), from this sequence it has been inferred that if ‘NAFS’ is left like that, without reforming it, then its evil properties will predominate, same is admitted by Hadhrat Yusuf (AS) when he said, as mentioned in the Qur’an:

وَمَا أُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِي إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

“Yet I don’t absolve myself (of blame): the (human) soul certainly incites evil, unless my Lord do bestow His mercy but surely my Lord is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (12:53)

In this verse, Hadhrat Yusuf (AS) admits that the basic property of ‘nafs’ is to incite evil. The point to be stressed here is that these are the words of a Prophet and he also says that it is only by the Mercy of Allah that the evils of ‘NAFS’ (self) can be avoided. Allah has protected Prophets from evil; they could not commit a sin as Allah had bestowed upon them the intense mercy so that their ‘nafs’ could not incite evil. But the fact remains that Hadhrat Yusuf (AS) admits that the basic property of ‘nafs’ is to incite evil. In the Aayat quoted first, it is stated that evil has been ingrained first in ‘nafs’.

Allah Ta’ala further says:

وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ

“And shown him two highways” (90:10)

Here also Allah Ta’ala says that both potentials have been inspired in man.

How Does ‘Lateefa Nafs’ Mislead:

Allah Ta’ala has given a special function to everything in this world, for example, Cyanide has the property of killing a person, if anybody takes it, he will die, in the same way oxygen helps in burning and carbon dioxide extinguishes fire. A mango tree always gives us mangoes and never an apple and an apple tree always gives apple and not mangoes. Though; Allah Ta’ala has the power and capability of growing mangoes from apple tree and apple from mango tree but it is the Sunnah (tradition) of Allah Ta’ala that He does not change these properties of things. Believing in Allah is not a pre-condition for such things, even if a nonbeliever of Allah sows the seeds of a mango tree, he will also get the mango tree and even if a Muslim takes cyanide, he will most likely die. The function Allah has assigned for a certain thing, that thing will normally execute that function only.

Having understood that, one can similarly understand that ‘nafs’ also has certain functions and it will execute them. We have seen that if ‘nafs’ is left alone, the evil will predominate, as this is the basic property of ‘nafs’.

Now when somebody goes to some self-made mystic, or some Yogi or a Christian priest or a Jew Rabi, these people advise him some kind of exercises that help in lightening of the ‘nafs’. They advise them to observe a fast for a long time or to remain in solitude and do some sort of Yoga practice or concentrate on a particular point for a considerable time. All these things help in making ‘nafs’ light. After sometime, because of these exercises, ‘nafs’ manifests some of its properties that were hidden in it. For this to happen faith in Allah and His messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is not a precondition. Anybody, irrespective of any religion can do it and reach this state of ‘nafs’. When these people experience some unusual manifestations of ‘nafs’, they get deceived and feel that they have found the Reality. With the result they remain attached to their Guru (a mentor) for rest of their lives, thinking themselves as extra-ordinary people. In this way they never come out of their compound ignorance (Jahal-e-Murakkab).

It is human nature that a person cannot believe something without any reason, there has to be some basis for his beliefs.

So, how do these people remain attached to these ignorant mystics (Jahil Sufis) or yogis, Christian priests or Rabbis? The reason is the same that before going to them they were not seeing anything and after they went to them, did some exercises, started seeing unusual manifestations of ‘nafs’, they become convinced that they have seen God and some people even believe that they have become God (Na-uooz billah) (we seek refuge in Allah).

How Astrologers Got Deceived:

Astrologers get deceived in the same way. Actually what happens when Allah Ta’ala wishes something, He announces it to the Angels. This commandment descends through the angels from Arsh (the Empyrean) to the 7th heaven, then to the 6th and so on till it reaches the first heaven. From here the angels descend with this commandment and produce the desired changes in the celestial bodies and the stars. Then these angels descend to the earth and get that command executed. As already mentioned Allah Ta’ala has fixed up the functions of things, and He does not change them. The astrologers, who study the stars, see with their experience, that a particular event always takes place on the earth following a particular movement or change of the stars. Since they cannot see beyond the stars, they believe that stars are effective in themselves and the stars only have caused this event and they believe that the stars are the gods (Inna- Lillahi-Wa-Inna-lllahi-Rajioon). The reality is that these stars are under the control of Allah Ta’ala and it is He who produces the changes in them as He wishes. Since these changes of the stars are most of the times linked with a particular event on the earth, so they get misled, thinking that stars are doing all this.

In the same way one can imagine how these pseudo mystics get deceived. As the astrologer’s view stops at the stars and he thinks that he has touched the top, so does the pseudo mystic’s view stops at the ‘nafs’ and he thinks that he has realized the Truth. As the astrologer does not appreciate that there are so many higher and higher, finer and finer states above the stars because they are invisible to him, so does the pseudo mystic not appreciate that there are much higher and finer faculties than ‘nafs’ in man, which remain hidden from him.

Role of Satan (Iblees) in Mystic Experience:

Iblees is the perpetual enemy of man. Ever since man has been created, Iblees follows him. Allah Ta’ala has also given special characteristics to Iblees. It is stated in the Hadith (tradition) that Iblees runs in the blood of man and also sits on his heart. Iblees is capable of doing many extraordinary things which ignorant people think divine, hence get deceived. In any mystic experience, there remains always the probability that Iblees might have put a deceptive and misleading interpretation in the heart of that person who is going through this experience, except the prophets. It is this thing that is called ‘Talbees-e-Iblees’. Only Prophets have been protected from it and no other person other than prophets is safe from such Talbees of Iblees.

There is a famous incident known about the Hadhrat Shaikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA). He was a great Wali (saint) of Muslim Ummah. His mystic experiences were of par excellence. It is said that once, while he was walking he saw a light (Nur) between the heavens and the earth. From this Nur, a voice was heard, which said,” O! Abdul Qadir, your Salah (prayer) has been waived off for you’. Since Hadhrat Shaikh (RA) was a great scholar and he knew that Iblees could do such things, he relied upon the Prophetic knowledge, which is safe from the effects of Iblees and NAFS. Prophetic knowledge states that Salah is compulsory for every adult, sane and conscious person. It cannot be considered waived off in any circumstances. So Hadhrat Shaikh (RA) rejected the exhortation of lblees without any hesitation.

Spiritual Faculties of Acquiring Mystic Experience

We have seen earlier the limitations of sensual and intellectual faculties in acquiring knowledge. The sensual faculty and intellect or reasoning faculty have their own limitations. Then we have seen the immense potential of mystic experience in understanding the Reality. Mystic experience uses spiritual faculties for acquiring knowledge viz., QALB, ROOH etc.

QALB as the Spiritual Faculty of Acquiring Mystic Experience:

This topic is discussed in detail in the author’s another book “Instrument for Understanding the Qur’an”. Here a brief synopsis is given.

What is QALB?

QALB is not synonymous with human heart, which consists of muscular, and connective tissues filled with some venous and arterial blood that we see in the left side of the chest, but as for the definition given in Jalalain (an authentic commentary of the Holy Qur’an), QALB is an instrument, which has been given the capability of perceiving the Divine Attributes.

القلب وهو مشرق اللطيفة الإنسانية و يطلق على نفس اللطيفة النورانية الربانية العالمة التي هي مهبطة الأنوار إلهية الصمدانية وبها يكون الإنسان إنساناً و بها يستعد الكتاب الأوامر و اجتناب الزواجر و هي خلاصة تولدت من الروح الروحاني و يعبر عنها الحكيم بالنفس الناطقة و لكونها هدف سهام القهر و الطف و المظهر الجمال و منشأ البسط و القبض و مبدأ المحو و الصحو و منبع الأخلاق المرضية و الأحوال الردية و كثير من الناس ذهب إلا أن تلك مضغة هي محل علم و قيل أنه في الدماغ و قيل أنه مشترك بينهما و بني ذالك على إثبات الهواس الباطنية و الكلام فيها مشهور و من راجع وجدانه إدراك أن بين الدماغ و القلب رابطة معنوية و مراجعة سرية لا ينكرها من كان له قلب أو ألقى السمع و هو شهيد

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لِمَنْ كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ

“Verily in this is a message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and is a witness”

And He further says:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

“And know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart” (8:24)

فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ

“Those whom Allah willeth to guide - He openeth their breast to Islam” (6:125)

This opening up of breast, which is seat of QALB, has been linked with understanding of guidance from Allah.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said:

“My eyes sleep, my heart does not”

He further said:

إن في الجسد لمضغة إذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله و إذا فسدت الجسد كله ألا وهى القلب

“Indeed there is a piece of flesh in human body if it stays alright, the body stays alright and if it goes astray, the body goes astray listen! That is QALB.”

And further

إنه ليغا على قلبي و إني لأستغفر الله في كل يوم مائة مرة

“Indeed, a ghain (a sort of a veil) is put in my heart and indeed I seek Istigafar (forgiveness) from Allah hundred times every day”.

It is because of this Istigfar (forgiveness) that veil was being lifted and the QALB-e-Mubarak of Rasulullah (Salailahu Alaihi Wasallam) continued to receive higher and higher states of the Divine knowledge.

Abu-Al-Hasan Bin Muhammad Asfahani (RA) used to say:

من وقت ادم إلى قيام الساعة الناس يقولون القلب القلب و أنا أحب أن أرى رجلا يصف إلى الشق القلب أو كيف القلب فلا أرى

From the time of Adam (AS) upto the Day of Judgement (Qiyamah), people would continue to say-QALB, QALB. I would like to find a person who could tell me what QALB is but, I cannot find such a person. People call QALB a piece of flesh but that is present in children as well as in insane people. Then what is QALB? If I call “intellect” as QALB that is not right. If I call “ROOH” as QALB that is also not right. If I call “knowledge” as QALB that is also not QALB. All the constituents of Reality are related to QALB but QALB is something other than these.

Shah Wali-ullah Muhaddis Dehlvi (RA) says,

“QALB is that thing by which one loves and hates.”

for Shah Sahib QALB is the seat of love and hatred.

Hadhrat Haji lmdad-Ullah Muhajir Makki (RA), a great spiritual saint of the recent past as well as Shaikh of great scholars like Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA), Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (RA) and Maulana Qasim Nanotvi (RA) (Founder of Darul Uloom Deoband) used to say that he has been bestowed upon by Allah some special blessings and these include knowledge about QALB as well, that means Allah had given him such knowledge by which he could understand the Reality of QALB and its attributes.

ROOH as the Second Spiritual Faculty for Acquiring Knowledge About Reality:

Human soul (ROOH) is another faculty with tremendous potential of knowing the Reality.

Allah Ta’ala says:

قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي

“Say, the spirit is of the command of my Lord.”

This ROOH is very fine in nature. This fine nature helps it to penetrate deeply into the depths of reality that is not possible for things such as the eyes or other senses.

Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

الأرواح جنود مجندة فما تعارف منها ائتلف وما تناكر منها أختلف

“(Human) souls (ROOH) are a (groups of) collected souls, those who came to know one another, loved one another (in the world) and those who did not know one another, differed (in the world).”

From this Hadith the capability of the souls of recognising each other is clearly evident.

Allahu Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ ألَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا غَافِلِينَ () أَوْ تَقُولُوا إِنَّمَا أَشْرَكَ آبَاؤُنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا ذُرِّيَّةً مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ أَفَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ () وَكَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ()

“When thy Lord drew forth from the children of Adam from their loins, their descendants and made them testify concerning themselves (saying) Am I not your Lord (Who cherishes and sustains you)? They said: Yea! we do testify! (This,) lest ye should say on the Day of Judgement: of this we were never mindful” (7:172-174)

This covenant was made before man appeared on this earth. Souls of whole mankind acknowledged the supreme authority of Allah and recognised Him as their only Cherisher and Sustainer. This acknowledgement is inherent in ROOH-e-Insaani (Soul of man). This faculty remains latent in man, when he is born. At birth he has no knowledge. As he grows, the first faculty of acquiring knowledge that develops in man is sensual, but the intellectual faculty is still in infancy. After that his intellectual faculty goes on developing, the progress of which depends upon so many other co-factors.

The spiritual faculties of QALB, ROOH and others do not develop until they find the congenial atmosphere for growth. The majority of the people in the world do not try to provide the congenial atmosphere to QALB and ROOH where they could grow and bear the fruit, hence these people fail to understand and recognise the Reality. There are some people who deny these faculties, but one should remember that if someone does not know a thing that does not mean, that thing does not exist. It is same as a blind man denying the presence of the moon.

There are other higher spiritual faculties in man, other than QALB and ROOH as well but they are so comprehensive that their description is beyond the scope of this booklet.