No matter which station you are in today, through hard work and sincere striving you can ascend from living in alignment with the dense, material world to the subtle world of God’s truth, reality and knowledge. Love yourself where you are, love your Lord and worship Him as He asks us to, and I’m sure you will reach what your deepest heart is longing for.
The 7 stations are described in 3 of Sidi’s books: Music of the Soul, The Path to Allah, Most High and He Who Knows Himself Knows His Lord. Below are the stations as written in Music of the Soul.
If, as you read the stations, you feel drawn to working with them here is what you can do:
1. Read the station out loud, making sure you understand every word.
2. Then, hand copy the station into a notebook designated for this purpose.
3. Re-read what you have written and then do remembrance for at least 30 minutes. If you have questions about what Sidi means at a certain point, do the remembrance as you contemplate that section and see if God gives you some insight.
Writing the stations frequently is enormously helpful as you walk toward your Lord. Your heart is the house of God, it is a temple and writing these stations builds the inner architecture of that temple so that you heart becomes a place of worship.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this practice. Peace.
The Seven Stations of the Nafs
In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
1. Al-Amarra (listening to the orders from the darkness)
There are many things in the nafs. This word contains all the things that come from your self – your perception, your hearing, your feeling, the voices in your mind, and the desires of your heart, that say this and that or ask why or what. When you begin to walk in the way, you find two opponents inside yourself. The nafs sit inside you and the evil whisperer (ash-shayṭān) is also inside you but from the outside.
An example of this station is when the shayṭān came to Adam, may peace and blessings be upon him, in the garden. The shayṭān began to speak to the nafs inside Adam telling him to disobey the order of Allāh. The nafs of Adam listening and giving in to the voice of the shayṭān is the station of al-amarra. The nafs speaks inside you and the shayṭān speaks outside you to the nafs, but they both speak with the same voice. Do not listen to the shayṭān. You must remember the name of God. He says to you, “First, listen to Me.”
What do you do in this station to discharge the voice of ash-shayṭān? Remember the name, pray as-ṣalāh, and walk. Continue and do not stand still. Give mercy. Strive hard, and after that you walk to the next station.
2. Al-Lawamma (the station of still questioning)
Here the shayṭān sits near the self and begins to speak with a strong voice, “Why do you pray? This is a lot of trouble for you!” And the nafs also say, “This is not good for you! It will cause you a lot of trouble.” Do not listen to this voice.
You, who seek knowledge of the truth, must look to the name of God and discharge everything outside. See only the name of God. In the beginning, the shayṭān asks, “Why do you pray? Why do you walk in this way? Why leave everything? Why change yourself? Why waste this time?” Also, there are many people whom you meet who say, “Do not walk like that; do not leave everything; this is not the right way. This is a mistake.” All this is from the shayṭān. When he sees that you do not turn away from God, he goes to your friends, and if he cannot get them to stop you, then he goes to your relatives and says, “He walks another way.” Then your family comes to you and they tell you to live their way. This is also from the face of the shayṭān, yet this should make the student more determined to leave everything because when you know that this is the right way, you cannot listen to anything else.
Continue, and remember the name of God, and pray and pray and pray. This is a difficult station for the student, more difficult than the first station. It is the war with the self and the shayṭān. It is the light fighting the darkness. Listen only to the voice of God. He says to you, “Come, come to Me, My son and My daughter. I am in your heart. Do not listen to any other voice, only to My voice.”
By saying this, God helps you to remember the name. Listen only to the voice of God. Leave your father and mother from the body if they try to keep you from walking in the way. Leave everyone who tells you that this is not the right way. Pray and sing. This singing is different from any song with music. This is the song of your heart. Listen only to the voice of God. The guide says not to use music now. First it is necessary to know Who speaks when you play music. When you are singing, listen to the voice of God. Do not go outside because everything is inside you. You are the love and you are the face of God. This is a very difficult station. Do not waste any time in this station.
Say, “Help me, my God. I cannot do anything without You.” He will come to you. Open your heart, and listen to His voice all your time. Do not waste a minute in this station. Then He will take you between His hands, and there you will find peace and love. Between His hands, you will find the garden. You will feel everything in His hands. Then He will help you in the third station.
3. Al-Amina (the station of faith and trust)
In this station, the shayṭān sits next to you. He lives in the world outside you, while the nafs lives inside you, yet they are of the same nature. Here he sits close to you, but he cannot do anything as long as you do not listen to his voice, and you hear only the voice of God. Your hearing can only hear the voice of Allāh.
If the shayṭān sees that you do not listen to God, or remember the name, or pray, then he begins to speak to you saying, “Enough! Do not remember so much, but remember only a little!” He tries to speak with the language of God, but his words have an outside meaning. He says, “It is right to pray, but you make trouble for yourself. I love you and I know what is best. Remember only a little. I am afraid that when you pray a lot, you will hurt yourself.” The shayṭān speaks with your own face when he speaks to you here, and he tries to make the self refuse to pray. But say to him, “No! I will pray and remember the name of God all the time.” Then when you continue, you sit with your mind and your heart opened.
The shayṭān is not too much trouble anymore because he begins to die. It causes his death when you go where the shayṭān does not want you to go. If you wake up, and you want to walk and to continue with an open mind and heart, then you begin to feel peace in your heart, and the shayṭān has to flee. Now you can strive and continue in the way.
4. Al-Mutmaʾinna (the station of security)
This is a quiet station. Here the nafs and the shayṭān have become silent because the student begins to walk more quickly. You have become a believer and you begin to live within. You feel rested and you no longer listen to any voice, only the voice of God. Neither the voice of the nafs nor the voice of the shayṭān can stop you from continuing in the way. You begin to leave everything outside and to clean yourself inside. You know now that the nafs and the shayṭān carry the same face. You no longer refuse anything God wants. You begin to know all the qualities and to see that everything comes from God. If you leave everything outside and open your heart, then you begin to touch completion. Your mind and the eye of your heart begin to open, and you begin to see with the eye of your heart. This eye is very clean, and it is just beginning to open. You need to pray and to remember the name more, and to learn to give mercy.
5. Ar-Raḍiyya (not obeying anything from the nafs)
In this station you begin to see the face of God in everything. You hear the voice of God in every song and you say, “Who sings? Who talks? Who walks? This is my God!” This is a high station. It is a station of mercy and peace because you begin to give everything to God, and you do not refuse anything. When God takes you, He gives to you and He helps you.
Now you begin to speak with your God and to ask Him about everything, and you begin to weep, but a holy weeping. What is the reason for your weeping? You weep because you see that you lost so much time when you lived in the world outside. You weep and say, “Why did I live like a blind person in the world?” You weep because you begin to see through clean eyes when you walk in this station.
6. Al-Mardiyya (accepting without asking)
You listen to the voice of God and you begin to see the picture of the truth. You see the world through the eye of your heart and you begin to speak in the language of the soul. You know that there is no difference between anything, and you say, “I am Your servant. I am the picture of God and there is no difference between the body and the soul.” You start to know that there is no beginning and no ending. You become thirsty for truth, and you stop speaking with yourself. Now you listen to the voice of God. Everything inside you changes, and you see that everything is from God, and that it is God Who is helping you to change. You speak in the tongue of God, but it is not yet complete and you must walk more.
There is no more ash-shayṭān here. Where can he be? He is nowhere because he has disappeared. Love conquers everything. It conquers the nafs and the shayṭān. After this, you begin to know the secret.
7. Al-Kamila (the perfection of the nafs)
Al-kamala is the station of the perfection of the nafs. When you reach completion in the stations of the nafs, all of the nafs become purified. Here, you begin to live completely in the station of the heart. You must walk through every station, not only in words, but in your whole being. I want everyone to know how to walk in this high station.
I know every student before he is born because God gives the guide the knowledge to know all of his students. When you know yourself well, then you are like the guide. Do not only repeat, but live every word that the guide says to you.
This is only a very short explanation and my language is very simple. To explain fully would take a book for each station. But if you open your heart and walk, you will find everything inside.