An-Nafs Al-Mardiyya: The Well-Pleasing Nafs
The Sixth Station
The nafs al-mardiyya: its walking is to Allah, its world is the visible world, its place is the secrets or the hidden, its state is acceptable perplexity, the source of its warid (arriving, finding, source of light, pl. al-wurud) is the transcendence (tanzih), its attributes are good character, leaving everything other than Allah, gentleness with creation, making peace with creation, and the forgiving of sins, mistakes, and wrong action. This nafs also unites the love of creation with the love of the Creator. This is something amazing which is possible only in this station. This is why, in this station, the traveler does not appear outwardly different from the common person. As for his inward, he is the mine of secrets or the repository of secrets. He is the leader of the best. He does not witness otherness at all, insofar as they are other. He is the circumference of all divine knowledge, but not of outward or formal knowledge.
This nafs is called al-mardiyya because the Haqq is pleased with it. Its walking in from Allah, meaning that it takes whatever it hears of knowledge from the presence of al-Haqq, Al-Qayyum. It has returned from the unseen world to the seen world with the permission of Allah, to benefit mankind with what Allah has bestowed upon it.
Its state is acceptable perplexity. This is referred to in the hadith, “O Allah, increase me in my perplexity in You.” This is not to be confused with the confusion or doubt that one has at the beginning of the path. In this maqam the salik fulfills his promises. He places everything in its right place, so he may spend a lot if he finds that it is appropriate. The ignorant one may think that he is being a spendthrift. The salik may spend very little if he sees that it is inappropriate to give. The ignorant one may think that he was just being miserly. So whoever extols the virtues of the one who is in this maqam, in greed of receiving more from him, he is only wasting his time. If the salik is abused by someone, this does not stop him from giving to that one if he is deserving. This is the hal of those who are complete.
With regard to appetites, he holds the middle way. This quality sounds easy, but in fact it is one of the hardest to hold on to, and not everyone who desires it can attain it.
Know that at the beginning of this station the traveler shows the first signs of the greater viceregency (al-kubra) and at its end he is invested with it, expressed by. “I am the Hearing by which he hears and the Seeing by which he sees, and the Hand by which he grasps, and by Me he walks.” (Hadith narrated by Imam al-Bukhari) This state comes from nearness to Allah, which is arrived at through worship and supererogatory practices (nawfl) [nawfl refers to everything from the orders of Allah]. Be careful not to misunderstand and to think that you are al-Haqq.(1)
So this maqam is arrived at after finishing with the previous maqam, in which all of the human attributes, which are the cause for all reaction and suffering, have been obliterated. Through the nawfl acts, he draws nearer to Allah because the nawfl involves the struggle (jihad) with the nafs. Allah gives the attribute of certainty as a grace, so beware of following the wrong way and beware of believing in incarnation because our Lord, the Exalted, does not enter into anything nor does anything enter into Him. The truth is that these matters cannot be understood by the mind(2); whenever the mind tries, it leads to disbelief and to losing the way because these matters can be understood only with divine support(3). The fana' is not something on the outside, so it cannot be measured or compared to anything else. The same is true for the baqa' in Allah, and for the nearness of the obligatory acts or the nearness from the nawfl. All speech in this maqam is for the people in this maqam who have an understanding through tasting, Allah willing.
Know that the destination of these stations is for the traveler to arrive at this Adamic form, which was the Qibla for the angels. This reality is the Muhammadan reality, which is Allah's greatest secret, and the Muhammadan subtlety. This is the ultimate in nearness to the presence of the Lord.
If he reaches this, he realizes pure slavehood and incapacity, and he knows himself by this description, and he knows his Lord through the attributes of the Lord. If he knows himself in submission to Allah and in annihilation to Allah, he knows his Lord by might and baqa'. This is because of the polarity of the ranks of slavehood and the engraving of that in the Adamic world. This is the meaning of, “Neither My Heavens nor My earth contain Me, but I am contained in the heart of My believing slave.”
All the attributes and names of Allah are in the Adamic form. Whenever the slave knows his Lord through divine knowledge, he knows the secrets that are placed in the reality of everything, and this is expressed His saying, “And He taught Adam all the names.” Here we come to a place where expression cannot carry the secrets. When this is revealed to you and you realize that this is the greatest any traveler can seek and the highest of stations, and the most precious in existence for the Perfect Ones, you will rush to seek it through being straight on the path, and by holding onto the shari'a, and by remembering the name al-Qayyum. You continue holding onto the courtesies (adab) of the shari'a, the tariqa, and the haqiqa, not to be preoccupied by one over the other, until you move into the maqam of realizing the Adamic form and the Muhammadan reality.
The Sustainer, the One who is constantly
sustaining creation and running its affairs
1. Because al-Haqq neither penetrates into anything nor is penetrated by anything
2. They lie beyond the reach of reason unless by Divine Grace
3. There is nothing that resembles extinction that could serve to demonstrate what it is. The same thing applies to the baqa' and to the nearness brought about by spiritual practices