Zikr-e-Ilaahi Mawlana Maseehullah Khan Sahib (RA)

Although it is quite natural to be worried during the condition of qabdh, but to remain intellectually perturbed even after being consoled and comforted by a Shaikh Kaamil (a qualified spiritual mentor) is regrettable. This consolation of the Shaikh Kaamil is based on the benefits, which are given effect by the condition of qabdh. The state of qabdh is not to be interpreted as the negation of kamal (perfection).
Leave aside ordinary mortals, even Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the first occasion of Wahi, was overwhelmed by the heaviness of Wahi or by the grandeur and splendour of Allah Taala, so much so that he was gripped by uncontrollable shivering. In fear Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) returned home from the Cave of Hira, wrapped himself in a blanket and went to sleep. After having rested, Hadhrat Khadeejah (radiallahu anha) went with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to Warqah Bin Naufal who was a great Alim of the Taurah and Injeel. After listening to the episode of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the incident of Wahi -Warqah gave Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the glad tidings of Nubuwwat. He then observed: Alas! One day your community will expel you from Makkah. If I remain alive, I will aid you wholeheartedly.
After this first incidence of Wahi, the Revelation ceased for a period of three years. These three years the period of Wahi-cessation -were of unbearable grief to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The grief and sadness increased to such an extent that at times Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) climbed the mountain and decided to throw himself from it ending his misery. What was this state of extreme grief and sorrow? It was nothing but the state of qabdh. This condition of qabdh is not a state in contradiction to the Shariah. If it were, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would not have experienced it. It was the love for Wahi that brought about this condition of grief in Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In this state of extreme restlessness, Jibra-eel (alayhis salam) would appear and comfort and console Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He would say: O Muhammad! You are the Nabi of this Ummat. Allah Taala has raised you as the Nabi. Do not fear nor grieve.
If this then was the state of even Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then who else can there be who will not be overtaken by grief during the condition of qabdh? By being conscious of the beneficial effects of qabdh, the heart experiences pleasure to a certain degree. At times one has an awareness of these beneficial effects although only in brief. In this regard Maulana Rumi (rahmatullah alayhi) says:
O Salik! When qabdh alights upon you then do not be overwhelmed by grief, for it is the medium of your reformation.
Thus it is clear that qabdh too has its benefits and that it is not an evil condition. The salek should, therefore, not consider himself to be accursed when this condition overtakes him. Says Maulana Rumi:
When qabdh alights then contemplate the condition of bast (which is the opposite of qabdh. Remain cheerful and happy and display no sign of grief.
Maulana Rumi shows here that there is a strong likelihood of bast following the condition of qabdh. Like it is said: After every difficulty is ease. -Quraan (so too, after every qabdh is bast.) Sometimes one acquires detailed knowledge of the beneficial results of qabdh. In that case the salek becomes fully consoled and comforted by this awareness. Sometimes the purpose of qabdh is to eliminate the destructive force of riya (ostentation) and kibr (pride that had developed in the salik during the state of bast. Sometimes during the state of qabdh a new condition of spiritual elevation is awarded to the salek. This results in some
pride which leads the salek to consider himself a great man of piety. If at that critical juncture Allahs protection is not forthcoming, then the salek will be utterly destroyed in pride and vanity. Allah Taala protects the salek in a variety of ways from these maladies and destructive forces. Sometimes Allah Taala produces the state of qabdh and eliminates the pleasure and delight of the bast which had produced the harmful effects. The salik then, instead of regarding himself as superior and with vanity, considers himself to be the most despicable and contemptible in the whole world. Truly, in that condition of qabdh, the salik sees no one on earth as contemptible as himself. And, the true purpose of Tasawwuf is precisely this, that one considers oneself as the meanest and most despicable.

These states of spiritualism described will only be understood if experienced. Until such experiences have been attained, the words of the Ahle Dil (the People of the Heart, i.e. the Auliya) cannot be understood. It has been aptly observed:
Someone enquired from me the nature of love I said: When you become like me you will understand the nature of love.
Hadhrat Mujaddid Alfe Thani (rahmatullah alayhi) said: One cannot be an arif until one considers oneself more contemptuous than a kaafir.
If this condition has not passed over one, one will not be able to understand it. Nevertheless, it may be understood by reflecting on the end of ones life. What will be my end? Perhaps the end of a kaffir may be better. (One may possess imam today, but at death kufr manifests itself or a kaffir may just before death be blessed with the wealth of Iman). Every person should always think along the line of the final result, and school ones nafs with the lesson: When I am not aware of my own end, what right do I possess to consider myself superior or nobler to others? What right have I to regard others as inferior?
Although there is no certainty that one is the most despicable of all, nevertheless the possibility exists. In the face of this possibility it is not intelligent to consider one superior to others. The safest course, therefore, is to consider oneself to be the most contemptible. However, care should be exercised that this feeling does not degenerate to the level of yes (losing all hope in the mercy of Allah), because this condition of yes is kufr. Someone said excellently: Despair not of the mercy of Allah Taala. At times those drowned in immorality suddenly reach the destination by a single call.

Thus when during the state of bast there results the manifestation of spiritually elevated experiences, a condition similar to pride sets in. At that stage Allah Taala produces the condition of qabdh so that the salik beholds in him the impressions of servitude and insignificance. He then regards himself as the most contemptible. This in reality is a condition of great Rahmat for the salik, for it has become a medium of a wonderful blessing. If the state of qabdh did not settle over the salik, he would have been destroyed in the condition of bast. Besides this benefit, another advantage of qabdh is the removal of the hijab (veil), which sometimes is created for the salik by anwaar and tajalliyaat (spiritual illumination and effulgence). Such spiritual illumination is the result of Zikrullah (Remembrance of Allah). The salik becomes lost in ecstacy in the resultant tajalliyaat. His attention is thus diverted from Allah Taala Who is the true Purpose and Motive for the striving of the spiritual traveller (salik). Hadhrat Hajee Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (rahmatullah alayhi) said: there are two types of hijab (spiritual veils or impediments), viz. Zulmani (of spiritual darkness) and Nurani /of spiritual illumination). Hijab Zulmani comprises evil whisperings (waswasah) and suspicions (khatrat). Such factors enter the heart at the time of Zikrullah and they pertain to mundane affairs. Directing ones attention awards these factors of spiritual darkness is detrimental. Hijab Nurani is the revelation of the tajalliyaat and anwaar of Alame Malakut or the realm of the angels. Since Alame Malakut is also an existence apart from Allah Taala, the attention should not be focussed on it. Attention on anything besides Allah is diversion from Allah Taala. Such diversion has to be shunned.
Hijab Nurani is a graver condition than Hijab Zulmani because it retains the attention more by virtue of its spiritual effulgence. Another diversionary aspect of Nurani Hijab is the revelation of new and amazing phenomena. Observing these super-natural phenomena the salik considers himself spiritually perfect whereas the truth is that he is as yet involved with ghair-Haqq (that which is besides Allah). Thus such spiritual illumination constitutes an obstacle for the salik in his spiritual sojourn towards Allah Taala. Furthermore, the salik experiences a state of ecstacy during the flow of such spiritual illumination and effulgence, hence, he is overcome with immense grief if such illumination ceases. At this juncture Allah Taala overtakes the salik with the state of qabdh and eliminates the tajalliyaat which were previously experienced. In this manner the salik is awakened from his ecstacy; his attention is diverted from ghair-Haqq and riveted to Allah Taala Who is the true and original Purpose of the salik.
There are other wisdoms and advantages of the state of qabdh. If it was not for this condition, the saliks attention will be diverted from his true purpose. Therefore, if any zakir and shaghil (one engaged in the Zikr of Allah and in spiritual exercises) at any time experiences this condition of qabdh he should not fear, but should consider it the Rahmat of Allah Taala, In it is betterment. The salik, himself, on most occasions will discover the wisdoms underlying the state of qabdh. By being conscious of these benefits and advantages of qabdh, the heart derives peace and consolation, which results in pleasure. The qabdh in itself is not something of comfort or consolation. On the contrary it is an aspect of worry and concern. The consolation is derived by being conscious of the advantages ensuing in its wake.

It is obvious that in worldly set-backs, loss and hardship, the result is grief and sorrow. Although the loss in itself is something painful and of concern, the heart could be solaced by thinking about the sawab in the Akhirat resulting from the loss or by instituting measures of safety to prevent a recurrence of the loss which was due perhaps to negligence. Inspite of the consoling factors in such cases, one does not become pleased with the actual loss or hardship. The similitude of qabdh is the same. It is a spiritual loss which in the analogy is comparable with material loss occasioning natural grief. Like the mundane loss is not something of consolation, so too, the qabdh in itself is not a phenomenon of comfort and consolation. It is a different matter that meditation on the advantages of qabdh produces consolation. Like in mundane affairs, a new and increased income daily is a cause of comfort, so too, is the condition of bast which is the actual state of happiness and comfort. The continuous inspiring of the heart with spiritual illumination is the actual state of delight, and pleasure. The esoteric-self (batin) steadily and continuously progresses in such states of Tajalliyaate Haqq.

This discussion was initiated upon the assertion that among those who sin less, the khas (special devotees) are smitten with extreme grief and restlessness by even the loss of a spiritual state or experience, leave alone the commission of sin. The grief suffered by the salik by the slightest loss of a spiritual rank is far greater than the loss which a king suffers by losing his kingdom. It should now be clear that one who sins less is smitten by greater concern and grief than one who sins much. His example is like one who has never borrowed from anyone. He always possessed and gave to others. If at anytime his funds are depleted leave alone borrowing -he is overtaken with extreme worry. The thought of incurring debt is repulsive to one who has never borrowed.