What are the positive and negative feelings that a Saalik experiences?
By Shaykh Mufti Ebrahim Desai Saheb
In Sulook (walking the path of Sufism), a Saalik (person walking the path of Sufism) experiences two feelings: a) Bast, b) Qabz
Bast is an Arabic word literally meaning ‘expansion’. In the terminology of Sufism, it refers to the positive feeling in the heart to perform abundant Ibaadat, Tilaawaat, Dhikr, etc.
Qabz is also an Arabic word literally meaning ‘contraction’. In the terminology of Sufism, it refers to the negative feeling in the heart to perform any or abundant Ibaadat, Tilaawat, Dhikr, etc.
Bast is desired as it assists in attaining the purpose of Ibaadat. However, it is not purposeful itself as the positive feeling is not the object of worship. Regarding the desired feeling as purposeful can be detrimental especially when one loses or decreases the condition of Bast. Regarding the Bast as only a means of abundant worship, upon the feeling being decreased or even suppressed, one will place the purpose ahead of his/herself and continue with the Ibaadat, Tilaawat, etc. albeit without positive feelings.
Qabz is not desired as one feels negative and empty within the heart. However, it is not Mazmoom (bad) either. Since we do not worship feelings, we should concentrate on accomplishing what is purposeful, Ibaadat, Tilaawaat, etc. According to the Mutasawwifeen (Sufis), since the condition of Qabz requires one to make more sacrifice in accomplishing his/her responsibility, the rewards are greater. Furthermore, in Bast there is a possibility of Iejaab (ostentatiousness) which is condemned. In Qabz, due to the humility and humbleness one attains close proximity to Allah which is the ultimate aim and objective.
The above is a very brief explanation of an extremely extensive subject which can be understood easily by undertaking the journey of Sulook.
Qabdh [Spiritual Constriction] – by Hadhrat Maulana Adam Lunat Saahib
Some days are such that one feels much joy in reciting the Qur’aan Paak. Tears flow from the eyes and there is a deep connection. Some days there is no joy felt and no matter how much one tries to cry, one cannot cry.
This is test from Allah Ta’ala and part of His wisdom. This Qabdh [spiritual constriction] is a test from Allah Almighty. It is a test to see whether one prays more when one finds joy in it and avoids praying when joy is not felt, or whether one remains constant throughout. Successful is he who prays when he feels pleasure in praying and also when he feels less pleasure in praying.
The people without knowledge say, ‘What is the use of praying when we feel no satisfaction in doing so?’ Rather we should keep on praying regardless. One cure for this feeling is doing sajdah [prostrating] to Allah Ta’ala and reciting the following Qur’aanic Dua in the Sajdah:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
Laa-i-laaha illaa anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minadh dhaalimeen