Actualisation leading to true contentedness
Stage Three: The Perfect Self (al-Nafs al-Kamilah)
The contented self discerns the truth of certainty experientially; however, a spiritual guide who has reached the rank of perfection may be able to explain it to the traveller.
Some of the characteristics of the contented self are detachment from everything other than Allah Most Exalted. Sincerity, scrupulousness, contentedness and acceptance of everything that occurs in the universe without the heart objecting. This contented self is absorbed in the contemplation of absolute beauty. The traveller’s spiritual intelligence grows as he guides and counsels people who benefit immensely from his wisdom.
The contented self is immersed in an ocean of courtesy of the Exalted. its prayers are never rejected yet it never asks for favours, it is honoured, favoured and trusted by people, as though Allah’s creatures are obliged to show respect to it.
The spiritual routine for this fifth rank of spiritual intelligence is al-Hayy, the Ever-Living. The One who possesses all life and is free from death. The contented self repeats the wird abundantly so that extinction departs and is replaced by subsistence by the Ever-Living.
At this rank, other beautiful names of Allah that are uttered and whose meaning is truly understood are al-Wahhab, the One who gives without being asked; al-Fattah, the Opener, the One who opens the treasures of His mercy for all His servants; and al-Wahid, the One in whose essence there is no multiplicity.
Intense focus on the Lord Most Exalted, moral character, gentleness to others, guiding them to the straight path, forgiving their mistakes, loving them and wanting to nurture and develop them too. The traveller at this rank keeps his promise and spends generously and appropriately.
While others may think him being profligate or spendthrifty, the traveller always keeps to the middle course in all affairs, which is something that only the self found pleasing or perfected can do. He is now truly a representative of Allah (khalifatul Allah). This is the investiture of ‘I am his hearing with which he hears, his eyes with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his feet with which he walks’. For it is by the Real that he hears, by Him that he sees, by Him that he strikes, and by Him that he walks.
All evil and wickedness are reprehensible to the self found pleasing, and it is spurred to goodness of all kinds and is active in voluntary prayers and self-discipline. The wird of this rank is al-Qayyum, the Sustainer, the One who constantly sustains creation and runs its affairs.
Perfect spiritual intelligence
The traveller has now perfected his spiritual intelligence and has no desire other than the pleasure of his Lord. His movements are acts of goodness, every breath is an act of worship, and when people see him they are reminded of Allah. How could can it be when he is Allah’s perfected friend and His true representative. He constantly worships his Lord with his whole body, tongue and heart, humbly seeking forgiveness, yet is full of joy and delight when others turn towards their Lord.
He feels sorrow and anger when they turn away from Him. Moreover, He loves the seeker of truth more than his own child. There is no hatred, rancour, anger or greed in him. However, he still shows aversion when it is deserved and fears no one when speaking for Allah. All he wants is al-Haqq, the Real. His prayers, pleas and desires are answered by his Lord immediately. The wird of this rank is the name al-Qahhar, the Compeller. The One who imposes His wish on the creation and no one can resist it.
Key points to remember
- The three stages of the self are; the inciting self, the critical self and the perfect self.
- Climbing through the ranks of spiritual intelligence is a dynamic process.
- One can only begin with repentance and constant spiritual effort. But there is always the danger of slipping back, especially at the lowest first stage.
- The guidance of a true spiritual director is critical to having success. But if none is available then following the Quran and Sunnah meticulously is a must.