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Revelation of the Mystery

Kashful Mahjub (Revelation of the Mystery) by Ali Hajveri Data Gunj Bakhsh (d.1077) is one of the earliest and most comprehensive texts on Sufism. It consists of twenty-five chapters, many of which are subdivided into sections. The first fourteen chapters deal with general concepts of Sufism, such as the affirmation of knowledge, poverty, the etymology of Sufism, and so on.

The last eleven chapters (Chapter 15-25) relate to a revelation each, and from them the book derives its title. These revelations are listed below alongwith a key quotation from each chapter.

The eleven revelations

1. The Gnosis of God [marifat Allah]

God causes the human being to know Him through Himself with a knowledge that is not linked to any faculty, a knowledge in which the existence of the human being is merely metaphorical.

2. Unification [tawhid]

Real unification consists in asserting the unity of a thing and in having a perfect knowledge of its unity.

3. Faith

In reality, without any controversy among Muslims, faith is gnosis and acknowledgment and acceptance of works.

4. Purification from foulness

Prayer requires purification of the body, and gnosis requires purification of the heart. As, in the former case, the water must be clean, so in the latter case unification must be pure and belief undefiled (one who would get closer to God must purify oneself inwardly with repentance).

5. Prayer

Prayer is a divine command and is not a means of obtaining either “presence” or “absence”, because a Divine command is not a means to anything (the corollaries of prayer belong to the stations of love).

6. Alms

Alms is really a thanksgiving for a benefit received, the thanks being similar in kind to the benefit (corollaries of alms are liberality and generosity).

7. Fasting

Fasting is really abstinence and this includes the whole method of Sufism… Hunger sharpens the intelligence and improves the mind and health.

8. Pilgrimage

Unless the whole universe is a man’s trysting place where he gets closer to God and a retired chamber where he enjoys intimacy with God, he is still a stranger to Divine love; but when he has vision the whole universe is sanctuary (corollary of pilgrimage is contemplation).

9. Companionship, rules and principles

Among people good manners consist in the observance of virtue (murawwat); as regards religion they consist in the observance of the Prophet’s actions (sunna); and as regards love they consist in the observance of respect (hurmat). These three categories are connected with each other…

10. Definitions

Those employed in every craft and business, while discussing its mysteries with one another, make use of certain words and expressions of which the meaning is known only to themselves. Such expressions are invented for a double purpose: firstly, in order to facilitate the understanding of difficulties and bring them nearer to the comprehension of the novice; and secondly, in order to conceal the mysteries of that science from the uninitiated.

11. Audition [Sama]

You must know that the principles of audition vary with the variety of temperament, just as there are different desires in various hearts, and it is tyranny to lay down one law for all.

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Source: Modified from translation by R. A. Nicholson published by Sohail Academy, Lahore

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