Stages of Journey in Islamic Mysticis

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Professor Mohammad Fanaei Eshkevari

Abstract

Mystical journey (al-sulook al-‘irfani) deals with stages and stations of human soul’s perfection in ascending toward God the Almighty. In practical mysticism (al-‘irfan al-‘amali), different classifications are offered to explain the stages and elements of this journey. Some of these classifications show the order that mystics must followed in their practice. Others deal with parts and elements of the journey, which may not have order in time, though they may have a logical order. This paper introduces knowledge (al-ma’rifa), love (al-mahabba) and obedience (al-ita’a) as essential elements of Islamic practical mysticism as logically one follows the other. Knowledge leads to love and love leads to obedience. These trifold elements are in accordance to the three aspects of human being, that is, reason, heart and body and their functions, i.e., cognition, emotion and action. At the end, I compare the suggested classification with some other classifications that are offered in Islamic mysticism in this regard.

Keyword:

“stages of journey”, “knowledge”, “love”, “obedience”, “religious law”, “path”, “truth