Beloved Circle Guides and Dervishes,
Here is part of the Introduction by Shaykh Ansari, ra, to his majestic work, Sad Maydan, the Hundred Fields. He tells us that the thousand Makams mentioned by Khidr, aleyhi salam, and other mystic shaykhs are all included in the hundred Fields he lists.
So this is a mercy Alhamdulillah! We don’t have to study a thousand Fields.
Regarding the progression from one Makam to the next, which seems a little rigid to us and not always clear, Ibn Arabi, ra, takes the view that the Makams are fluid and do not have a linear progression. This frees us from the step-by-step format of spiritual progression, which we know from our own experience is not the way things seem to work. However we will continue presenting the Makams in the order that Ansari presented them.
A comment….I made a mistake when I said that Shaykh Ansari, ra, was an older man when he wrote or dictated this treatise. He might have been in his middle years.
He wrote another treatise on the Makams 30 years later and in that one the order is different, or at least the beginning and the last Makam are different.
Excerpts from the Introduction:
The beginning of this treatise was on the first day of Muharram, in the year 448/1057.
It has been mentioned that Khidr, peace be upon him, said: There are one thousand stations (makam) between a servant and his Lord (mawla). And a similar statement has been mentioned from Dhul Nun al Misri. Abu Yazid al Bastami, al Junayd, and Abu Bakr al Kattani – may Allah be pleased with them all….
The condition of reaching each field and station of these thousand stations is to wash and purify your face with tawba (sincere turning to Allah) and step out, and step to the next station completely repentant, as the Lord of Glory says, “O you faithful ones, turn all together toward Allah (that you may attain bliss).” 24:31 He has created all His servants in need of turning to Him, and He has caused the shadow of error to appear in all of them. He has tested all of them with regard to their capacity for heedlessness and inability to carry out what is His Haqq. For He is without any need, and He loves to forgive you. But with regard to those who have become stranded in their excuses (instead of simply turning to Him), He says, “And those who do not turn back to Allah are indeed the ones who do wrong.” (49:11)
Mustafa, may Allah’s blessings and peace shower upon him, considered turning to God in repentance the polishing stone for neediness and longing, and the only effective excuse for our shortcomings. When he said: “I turn to You and repent from all my wrongdoings as there is no strength and power except through God, the Most High, the Almighty.”
…So there are one thousand stations leading from familiarity to loving friendship, and a thousand way-stations from awareness to true spiritual bravery, and all those are included in these one hundred Maydan. And Allah is the One from whom you must seek support.