We are discussing the subject of certainty within the context of a spiritual path. It is an extremely important subject for it describes our relation to the Truth.
As dervishes on the path of truth we must investigate what we assume to be true and upon what our assumption of truth is based. Ultimately we need to discover the truth in our self, otherwise it is only secondary truth or reflected truth.
Muzaffer Effendi, rahmetullah aleyhi, explained the three levels of Certainty –which Shaykh Ansari is presenting – through a simple and immediately perceptible image.
The image involves a city to which one is traveling.
The first level of certainty is akin to hearing about the city from another trustworthy person or reading about it.
The second level of certainty is actually seeing the city with one’s own eyes from a distance.
The third level is having reached the city and being inside it.
When we enter a spiritual path the journey takes us from a world of assumptions to the shoreless ocean of Truth. As the journey opens we begin to examine our assumptions about our self and others and the world we thought we knew. We realize that what we thought was true is not necessarily true. Our world view begins to unravel as our mental and emotional conditioning is loosened and dissolved by the power of love. We might realize that we do not really know anything. This feeling of bewilderment is a mystical state because it is the opening for Truth to appear. This happens through our heart becoming part of the lineage of truthful hearts. Truth begins to dawn. As the light of Truth increases certainty increases.
From the field of cautiousness the field of certainty is born.
Certainty is assurance free from delusion.
Certainty is of three kinds:
knowledge of certainty, (ilm al yaqin),
the eye (or the seeing) of certainty (‘ayn al yaqin)
and the reality of certainty (haqq al yaqin)
Knowledge of certainty is knowledge based on reasoning.
The eye of certainty is a knowledge based on perception.
The reality of certainty is real and true.
Knowledge of certainty is achieved through studying.
The eye of certainty is achieved through visionary disclosure.
The reality of certainty is achieved through witnessing the Reality.
Knowledge of certainty is the result of audition.
The eye of certainty is attained as the result of inspiration.
The reality of certainty is the result of truly seeing what is evident (ayan).
Knowledge of certainty consists in the recognition of causes and causation.
The eye of certainty consists in gaining liberation from causes and causation.
The reality of certainty is emancipation from all false expectations and discriminations.
Our path leads to the Truth. The Truth is God, and God is the Truth. So when we experience the level of Haqq al Yaqin it is no longer certainty about something. We are directly experiencing God with our whole being and within our whole being, so there is nothing separate. We have reached the Truth and have become Truth. We are the Haqq al Yaqin. Alhamdulillah!
We can have glimpses and tastes of Haqq al Yaqin in the zikr or suddenly in our heart but we are not yet completely absorbed in it.
The two preceding levels are the stages on the way to this absolute certainty which is free from any fallacy because it conforms completely to our own innate truth.
Shaykh Ansari’s observations follow closely Effendi’s image. Knowledge of certainty comes from reasoning (reading and studying and thinking) about something, or it comes from hearing (audition) about something from someone we trust, ie the guide or another trustworthy person. This is the level of Shariat.
Originally it was the Prophet himself who transmitted orally the revelations he received from Archangel Gabriel. Some people began to listen and have faith in him because of his noble and truthful character. In the beginning these were mainly women, the poor and slaves! Exceptions were his wife Hazreti Khadija, ra, and Hazreti Ali, ra, who was a child. Others among the Quraysh vehemently doubted his word and refused to follow the guidance he brought. Very few among those had a change of heart. Hazreti Omar, ra, was one of the exceptions. At first he was an enemy of the Prophet and the new community and then, upon directly hearing the Koran recited by his sister he received the illumination that this was the Truth. But he needed the direct experience, which was for him the Haqq al Yaqin.
Most of us begin at the first level of faith, the Ilm al Yaqin, before moving to the second level, the Ayn al Yaqin. On this level we see the Truth through perception, visionary disclosure and inspiration. This is much more personal and a stronger kind of faith than the first level. We are approaching the Truth through our intuition and through our dreams and visions. We are now experiencing what we had originally heard or read about. This is the level of the Tariqat. Many of us had read Rumi or other mystics before becoming a dervish and we felt the truth of their words (Ilm al Yaqin). We were attracted, but it was only when we entered the Tariqat that we could experience this truth for our self (Ayn al Yaqin). At this level we are liberated from causes and causation which is a huge relief for our soul as we no longer have to use our mind to explain things. Our heart is directly apprehending the light of Truth.
For this level it is very important to keep our dervish practices and also the practice of contemplation… as we are doing with the Fields of Ansari. What we desire to attain we should take the time to contemplate, using the creative imagination of our heart to open the seeds of possibilities. What we focus on we attain and become.
If we persist on the path with our tasbih, our adab, our service, our prayers and our contemplation we will attain, according to the promise of the Pirs, the Haqq al Yaqin.
May boundless peace and blessings shower upon the Prophet Muhammad, saws, who opened and illuminated the Way for us.
Ya Haqq Ya Hu