The State of Bast and Qabz

Spiritual Advices | Tazkiyah | Purification of the Soul |The State of Bast and Qabz

What are the positive and negative feelings that a Saalik experiences?

In Sulook (walking the path of Sufism), a Saalik (person walking the path of Sufism) experiences two feelings: Bast and 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.

Spiritual Advices of Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Mahmood |