Manifestation of the Degrees of the Hearts’ Secrets

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First Section on Manifestation of the Degrees of the Heart’s Secrets

Ḥaḍrat al-Ṣādiq (‘a) said: The secrets of the hearts of the people of gnosis are based on three foundations: fear [khawf], hope [rajā] and love [muabbah].

Fear is an effect and branch of knowledge.

Hope is a branch and result of the attainment of certainty [yaqīn].

Love is attained as a result of gnosis [ma‘rifah].

The sign of fear is to escape and avoid.

The sign of hope is to seek and petition.

The sign of love is to choose and prefer the object of love [mabūb] over other things.

In clearer terms, once knowledge occupies a place in the heart of a person and he becomes aware of His Greatness and Station, he will naturally become afraid of Him, and since there is fear in his heart, he will avoid violating His commands and incurring His wrath, and since he avoids and keeps aloof from committing sins and misdeeds, he will be safe from danger and loss.

Once the light of certainty glows in the heart of a person, he will witness the excellence and attributes of munificence, magnificence and kindness of God. Since he becomes aware of the excellences and outstanding attributes of God, expectedly he will become hopeful of His grace and favor, and since he possesses the truth and delight of hopefulness, he will naturally reach the state of seeking and searching. And anyone who is searching and succeeds in this stage will attain his objective or goal.

دست‌ از طلب‌ ندارم‌ تا كام‌ من‌ برآيد

يا جان‌ رسد به‌ جانان‌ يا خود ز تن‌ برآيد

Till you grant my wish, I won’t give up my demand.

I will reach the Soul of souls, or be buried in this land.

Once the radiance of gnosis manifests in the depth of the heart, the breeze of love will move and blow. Since the breeze of love blows and settles or resides under the aegis of love and the loved one, he will choose and prefer his Beloved over other things, obey His commands and prohibitions and prefer them over other commands and prohibitions. If he persists in his love and intimacy and tries his best to obey the commands and prohibitions of his Beloved, he will attain the truth or essence of intimacy with one’s Beloved and become beloved among the nearest ones [muqarrabīn] to Him.


Each of knowledge [‘ilm], certainty [yaqīn] and gnosis [ma‘rifah] is used here in its specific or special sense.

Technical meaning of knowledge: Knowledge means to find by means of seeing effects and signs.

Technical meaning of certainty: Certainty means to find by means of seeing and witnessing the other Party.

Technical meaning of gnosis: Gnosis means to recognize the other Party and His attributes and distinctive features.

So, these are the three stages or degrees of recognizing God, the Exalted, and each of these stages has its own effects and requisites.

One who is vigilant, careful and watchful in all his deeds and actions, and avoids doing misdeeds and incurring the wrath of God, the Exalted, is in the first stage of knowledge.

By having the attribute of fear and vigilance, one who is always hopeful of the grace, beneficence and favors of God, the Exalted, is in the second stage of knowledge (i.e., certainty [yaqīn]).

By having hope and observing precaution, one whose heart is filled with the love, affection and attraction to God, the Exalted, is in the third stage of knowledge (i.e., gnosis [ma‘rifah]).

If a person observes none of these signs and effects in himself, he is certainly devoid of the gnosis of God, the Exalted.

بنماي‌ رخ‌ كه‌ خلقي‌ حيران‌ شوند و واله‌

بگشاي‌ لب‌ كه‌ فرياد از مرد و زن‌ برآيد

Show Your face to the people, awe-struck and radiant.
Man and woman will cry out, at Your smallest command.

The other point is that the place of knowledge is the bosom [adr], that of certainty the heart [qalb], and that of gnosis the fu’ād which is the inner heart.


و مثال‌ هذه‌ الاصول‌ الثلثة‌ كالحرم‌ و المسجد و الكعبة‌، فمن‌ دخل‌ الحرم‌ أمِنَ من‌ الخلق، و مَن‌ دخل‌ المسجدَ أمِنت‌ جوارحُه‌ أن‌ يستعملها في‌ المعصية، و من‌ دخل‌ الكعبة‌ أمِن‌ قلبه‌ من‌ أن‌ يشغلَه‌ بغير ذكر اللّه‌ تعالي. فانظُر أيّها المؤمن‌ فان‌ كانت‌ حالتُك‌ حالةً تَرْضيها لحلول‌ الموت: فاشكر اللّه‌ تعالي‌ علي‌ توفيقه‌ و عصمته‌، و ان‌ كانت‌ اخري‌: فانتقِل‌ عنها بصحيح‌ العَزيمة‌، و اندم‌ علي‌ ما قد سلفَ من‌ عمرك‌ في‌ الغفلة‌، و استعِن‌ باللّه‌ تعالي‌ علي‌ تطهير الظاهر من‌ الذنوب‌ و تنظيف‌ الباطن‌ من‌ العيوب، و اقطع‌ رباط‌ الغفلة‌ عن‌ قلبك، و اطفأ نار الشهوة‌ من‌ نفسك.


These three principles (fear, hope and love) are like the holy precinct of Mecca [arām], the Sacred Mosque [masjid al-arām] and the Ka‘bah, respectively. One who enters the holy precinct of the city of Mecca is safe from the harm of people. As he enters the Sacred Mosque with sincerity and truthfulness, his bodily members and limbs are protected from committing sins and offences. As he enters the Ka‘bah, he must keep his heart from other than God and remembering or paying attention to His creation. So, bear in mind that if your state is such that it is pleased and allows death to approach you and put an end to your life in this world, you must be grateful to God for giving you such a state and guiding you from the paths of deviation and error to the straight path.

But if your conditions and actions do not indicate that you submit to death and are willing to embrace it, you must definitely relinquish this state, take a serious decision and firm determination for your attainment of felicity, and regret and be remorseful for the slips, negligence and everything that wasted your time! And ask the help of God, the Exalted, to make you succeed along the path of purifying your outer being from sins and purging [your] heart and inner being of defects! Tear apart the inclination toward negligence from your heart and put off the fire of carnal desire from your self!  


The principles of fear, hope and love are likened to the holy precinct of Mecca [arām], the Sacred Mosque [masjid al-arām] and the Ka‘bah, respectively because as a result of desertion and evasion of sin, a fearing person is like one who enters a sanctuary and is thus safe from any trouble or annoyance. As he enters the stage of hope and keeps himself away from sin and disobedience and is hopeful of the divine favor, he becomes like a person who enters the precinct of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and as demanded by the environment and in observance of the rites and respect for the mosque, he exercises the utmost vigilance in God-wariness [taqwā], piety and observance of the rites and acts of devotion in the mosque. As he steps into the arena of love and is in union with the Lord, he will be like one who comes inside the Ka‘bah. As demanded by the Special House of God, he is detached from all places, and attention is focused solely on the House’s Owner.

These principles are consistent with contentment with death in the sense that the virtuous, scrupulous and fearful person who definitely keeps away from sins and misdeeds is not fearful, dreadful and anxious of death and meeting God.   

﴿ إِنْ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ لِلَّهِ مِنْ دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴾

“If you really claim that you are Allah’s favorites, to the exclusion of other people, then long for death, if you are truthful.”[1] ?

[1] Sūrah al-Jum‘ah 62:6. In this volume, the translation of Qur’anic passages is based on the author’s explanatory Persian translation as required by the publisher. [Trans.]

(An excerpt from ‘Allamah Hasan Mustafawi, Miṣbāḥ al-Sharī‘ah: A Commentary on “The Lantern of the Path” Attributed to Imām Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq (‘a), trans. Mansoor Limba (, pp. 9-13.

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