Part 1
On the Characteristics of the Number Forty in the Development of Human Potentialities


Risaleh‑ye Sayr wa Suluk



In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All praise and eulogies belong to the Mainspring of Being. And may benedictions be upon him who stands in the stations of epiphany [1] and upon his Progeny, the Trustees [2] of the Worshipped One.


O fellow travellers of the realm of felicity and purity! O comrades on the oath of sincerity and fidelity!



Wait! I perceive a fire on the mountain side. Perchance I will bring you a brand or a faggot from it, that haply you may warm yourselves. [3]


It has been narrated with several chains of authorities from the Master of the Apostles and the Guides of the Godward oaths (that he said):



Whoever dedicates himself to God for forty days, will find springs of wisdom sprout out of his heart and flow on his tongue. [4]


The wordings of the narrations differ but their meaning is the same.


We have seen clearly [through direct experience] and known through the statements [of the sages] that this noble instance from among the instances pertaining to numbers has a particular significance and a special effectiveness in the development of inner potentialities and the perfection of enduring qualities and in covering the stages and traversing the phases [of wayfaring]. [5]


Though the stages on the way are manifold, but every stage has a goal. And though the phases should be innumerable, with every phase that you enter you pass across a world.


The fashioning of the clay (tinat)of Adam, the father of mankind, was completed in forty mornings:



And I fashioned Adam's clay with My Hands in forty days. [6]


In this number [of days] he crossed a world from among the worlds of potentiality, and, according to a tradition, his body lay for forty years between Makkah and Madinah and the rains of divine mercy poured upon him so that in this number [of days] he became capable of receiving the Holy Spirit. [7]


The duration of the promised meeting (miqat)of Moses, may Peace be upon him, was completed in forty nights, and his people were delivered from their wanderings after forty years.


The Seal of the Prophets (s) rose for service after forty years and was dressed in the robes of prophethood.


The period of the journey through the realm of this world, from the first manifestation of potentiality to the end of its completion in this world is forty years, as it has been narrated that the human being's intellect attains maturity in forty years, everyone according to his capacity. [8] He grows from the outset of his entry into this world until the age of thirty years, and thereafter for ten years his body is remains in a halted condition. And at forty years [9] he completes his journey through the world of nature (tabi`at)[10] and commences the journey towards the world of the Hereafter. Thereat every day and every year he is engaged in packing up to make the departure from this world. His strength diminishes year after year, and his eyesight and hearing are on decrease. The corporal faculties are on decline and the body in a process of wasting away, for the period of his journey and sojourn in this world is over in forty years.


And it is for this reason that it has been said:



One who reaches forty years and does not take up a staff has surely disobeyed.


That is because the staff is a sign of a traveller and it is desirable for the traveller to carry a staff. And when forty years are over, it is the time for journey, and the taking up of the staff signifies preparation for the journey of the Hereafter and collecting oneself for departure (and whoever does not carry a staff is neglectful of the impending journey). Similarly, the body attains maturity at this age and so also do the ranks of felicity or wretchedness. And for this reason it is mentioned in hadith that Satan strokes a face that does not achieve salvation by the age of forty years, and says:



May my father and mother be ransomed for the face that shall never prosper. [11]


And adds, "Your name has been enlisted in the register of my troops." And that which is stated in a tradition, that one who assists a blind man for forty steps becomes worthy of entering paradise, it literally means someone who lacks eyesight, and its interpretation (ta'wil) is someone who is blind due to the lack of inner sight, because the blind man lacking eyesight does not reach actuality from potentiality after completing forty steps, though he may come near it, and if left to himself he would return to his earlier state And the completion of spiritual excellence (ihsan)and the attainment of guidance is realized on completion of forty [steps] and in this respect results in worthiness for paradise.


Similarly, it has been mentioned in a hadith that everyone's neighbourhood extends until forty houses in the four directions, [12] and beyond that number it is as if they belong to separate worlds. Its interpretation, in respect of neighbourhood and affinity, pertains to the faculties [13] (quwa) which are those of Imagination (wahmiyyah), Appetite (shahwiyyah), and Anger (ghadabiyyah), [14]and whoever does not draw away forty stages from the stages of these faculties has not left their worlds and is still in their neighbourhood.



Hence if the neighbourhood and vicinity relate to the faculty of the corporeal (mulki) intellect, they describe for one another their circumstance:



O neighbour, we are strangers here, And every stranger has a kindred in another.


And if the neighbourhood should be one of the satanic, predatory and bestial faculty of Appetite, they address one another with this song:




Calamities come down,

Yet I shall stand ground as long as

mountains (reading Asib for `ashib)stand. [15]


In fine, the property of the number forty in manifesting actuality and developing capacity and potentiality and in the attainment of enduring habit (malikah) is something which has been clearly stated in the verses of the scripture and the traditions and tested by the experience of the people of esoteric knowledge and secrets. That is the reason why the noble tradition informs us about the attainment of the marks of sincerity (khulus)at this stage, as it is the source of the spring of gnosis and wisdom. And there is no doubt that every fortunate person who resolves to traverse these forty stages will find the mainspring of gnosis gush forth from the ground of his heart after he has developed the capacity of khulus to the point of actuality.


These forty stages belong to the world of khulus and ikhlas and the destination and end of these stages is a world above the world of the mukhlasin, [a world described by the Prophet in the words]:


I spend the night with my Lord, and He feeds me and gives me to drink. [16]


As the Divine the food and drink [mentioned here] are the higher teachings (ma`arij)and the infinite true sciences.


And that is why the feast given to the Seal of the Prophets (s) on the night of the Ascent (mi`raj)has been described as "milk and rice," [17] for milk in this world stands for the true sciences in the realm of immateriality, and that is why milk seen in dreams is interpreted as knowledge.


The wayfarer of these stages reaches his destination when his journey takes place in the world of khulus, not that he obtains khulus in these stages. For that which has been said is:



Whoever dedicates himself to God for forty days . . . .


Hence, in these forty stages, the stage of khulus must have been reached already. Therefore the world of khulus is the beginning of these stages, not that the door of gnosis is opened to everyone who practices austerities for forty days or that he may obtain khulus in forty days. Hence the traveller in the world of this hadith cannot do without certain things: [18]


First: A non‑detailed, overall knowledge of the destination, which is the world of manifestation of the springs of wisdom. For so long as one does not have any notion of the destination, one cannot make any effort to seek it.


Second: Entry into the world of khulus and its gnosis.


Third: Journey through the forty stages of this world.


Four: Traversing the several worlds that precede the world of khulus, so that he may enter the world of khulus after having traversed them.






Indeed he saw him another time, by the Lote‑Tree of the Boundary.(53:13)



then he approached and drew closer, two‑bows'‑length away or nearer.(53:8)



And We bring thee as a witness over these. (4:41)


[2]. See al‑Ziyarat al jami'ah:



By the right of Him who made you trustees of His secret and appointed you guardians over His creation.


[3]. This sentence does not occur with such a wording in the Glorious Qur'an. However, in three places in the Glorious Qur’an there are passages with a similar wording:



Hast thou received the story of Moses? When he saw afire, and said to his household, 'Tarry you here; I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you a brand front it, or I shall find at the fire guidance.'(20:10)



When Moses said to his household, I observe afire, and will bring you news from it, or I will bring you a flaming brand, that haply you may warm yourselves.'(27:7)



So when Moses had completed the term and departed with his household, he observed on the side of the Mount a fire. He said to his household, 'Tarry you here; I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you new from it, or fagot from the fire, that haply you may warm yourselves.'(28:29)


As can be seen, this passage does not occur in any of the three Qur’anic verses mentioned above, although it bears a correct sense. Perhaps the author, may God elevate his station, did not intend to give a 'citation from the Qur'an but wanted to compose a sentence in his own fine style by drawing on all the three verses with some additions.


[4]. Narrations concerning the emergence of wisdom from the heart and upon the tongue are recorded in three Shi`i sources of hadith, firstly in 'Uyun akhbar al‑Rida ('a), p. 258, secondly, in 'Uddat al‑da'i, p. 170, thirdly, in Usul al‑Kafi, vol. 2, p. 16. It has been reproduced in the Biharal‑anwar from 'Uddat al‑da’i (vol. 15, juz' 2, p. 85) and again from the 'Uddah (ibid., p. 87) and al‑Kafi (p. 85). The 'Uyun narrates the tradition with its isnad from Darim ibn. Qabisah ibn Nahshal ibn Majma'al‑Nahshali al‑San`ani at Surra Man Ra'a: (Samarra'):



He said: "Narrated to us Ali ibn Musa al‑Rida, from his father, from his grandfather, from Muhammad ibn Ali, from his father, from Jabir ibn Abd Allah, from ‘Ali, that he said: `The Messenger of Allah (s)said: "A servant does not dedicate himself to God for forty days without springs of wisdom flowing from his heart on his tongue." "'


However, the wording mentioned in the Bihar, and also Safinat al‑Bihar, is:



As to the narration of Uddat al‑da'i, it is cited as a mursal tradition (i.e. a tradition without a connected chain of authorities) from the Messenger of Allah (s) that he said:



Whoever dedicates [himself] to God for forty days, God makes springs of wisdom flow from his heart on his tongue.


As for the narration of al‑Kafi, it is given with an isnad from Ibn `Uyaynah, from al‑Sindi from Abu ja`far (`a) that he said:



A servant does not foster pure faith in God for forty days... (or he said) A servant does not refine his remembrance of God for forty days without God making him detached toward the world and granting him the vision to see its ills and their remedies and establishing wisdom in his heart and making his tongue speak with it...


As can be seen, though the wording is different the meaning is the same. As to the books of the Sunnis (Ammah), it is mentioned in the Jhya'al‑ ‘ulm, vol. 4, p. 322:



The Messenger of Allah said: `No servant performs his works purely for God's sake for forty days without the springs of wisdom emerging from his heart on his tongue.


On page 191 the following is mentioned in the gloss:



Should one who renounce the world for forty days and perform worship therein with complete dedication, God will make springs of wisdom flow from his heart on his tongue.


In the Awarif al‑ma`arif printed on the margins of Ihya' al‑'ulum, vol. 2, p. 256, it is mentioned:



A statement of the Messenger of Allah: `Whoever dedicates [himself] to God for forty days, God makes springs of wisdom flow from his heart on his tongue.'


[5]. Manazil is plural of manzil (lit. stopping place), which is a place where the travellers halt to relax, and as the halt for resting is made mostly after four parasangs, the distance of four parasangs (which is the same as the barid)is called a manzil.


Marahil is plural of marhalah which is a day's journey, and that consists of two manzils or two bands. The author, may God's merry be upon him, has likened the worlds to marahil so that the covering of one marhalah and entry into another consists of passage through one world and entry into another, and he has likened the stages within the worlds to manazil so that covering a manzil and reaching another manzil is like arriving at a stage.


[6]. Ihya'al‑'ulam, vol. 4, p. 238 cites the following tradition of the Messenger of God (s)



Verily, God leavened Adam's clay with His two Hands for forty days.


The Mirsad al‑ibad, p. 38, and Risaleh ye 'ishq, p. 83, cite the following tradition:



I leavened the day of Adam for forty days with My Hands.


In the Awarif al‑ma'arif, printed on the margins of Ihya'al‑'ulum, vol. 2, p. 260, it is stated:



. . . so He fashioned him from clay and leavened his clay for forty days, so as to remove with a forty‑day leavening forty veils that conceal the Divine Presence. Every veil is a property impressed in him wherewith he is afforded to foster his worldly interests, but which separates him from the Divine Presence and the abodes of Divine Proximity.


[7]. This is referred to in the following verses:



And when we appointed with Moses forty nights.(2:51)



….. so the appointed time of his Lord was forty nights.(7:142)



Said He: 'Then it shall be forbidden them for forty years, they shall wander in the earth.(5:26)


[8]. As stated by God, the Exalted, in 46:15:



Until, when he is fully grown, and reaches forty years, he says, "O my Lord, dispose me that I may be thankful for Thy blessing wherewith .Thou hast blessed me . . . .


Accordingly, the maximum power of the intellect is at the age of forty years, and the common notion that the human being's intellect grows at forty is erroneous. This misconception arises because after this age man acquires greater experience and his judgement is more often correct due to this accumulated experience; however, its accuracy is due to greater experience and not due to the actual power of the intellect, so if supposedly one had this experience at forty years one would make that accurate rational judgement at that time, that is, at the age of forty.


[9]. In the second part of Usul al‑Kafi, p. 455, the following marfu` tradition, without a continuous chain of authorities, is cited from Hadrat Abu Jafar ('a):



When a man enters his fortieth year, it is said to him, "Now be careful, because (henceforth) you will not have any excuse.


[10]. The following traditions are reported in Saduq's al‑Khisal, p. 545, from Imam Sadiq (‘a):



Verily, a man has an amplitude [of freedom] until forty years; but when he reaches forty, God, the Almighty and Glorious, reveals to His angels, "Verily, I have made My servant come of age, so now be strict and severe with him and record and write down his every action, whether it is a minor one or a major one, and whether his works are abundant or sparse."



When a servant reaches thirty‑three he comes of age, and when he reaches forty years, he attains to his ultimate maturity. Hence as he enters forty‑one his powers are on decline, and it is befitting for one at fifty to consider himself like someone in his death throes.


In Jami' al‑akhbar, fas 76, p. 140, it is reported from the Prophet (s) that he said:



Persons of fifty years are like a field ready for harvest.


And Safinat al‑Bihar, p. 504, cites the following narration:



When a man reaches forty years without penitence, Iblis strokes his face and says, "May my father and mother by your ransom, a face that will not prosper!"


There are many traditions which mention the number forty, such as the one recorded in the Bihar, vol. 14, p. 512:



Verily, if one recites the Surat al‑Hamd forty times on water and pours it on someone suffering from fever, God shall cure him.


And in al‑Kafi, vol. 6, p. 401, there is a tradition from Hadrat Baqir ('a)that he said:



The prayers of someone who drinks wine are not reckoned as such for forty days.


The Jami' al‑akhbar, fasl 109, p. 171, narrates the following tradition from the Messenger of God (s)



For forty days and nights, God, the Exalted, does not accept the prayers and fasts of someone who backbites a Muslim man or woman unless that person pardons him.


In the Bihar, vol. 13, p. 245, the following sentence occurs in a noble message (tawqi) [of the Imam of the Age]:



For forty days the earth complains to God on account of the urine of the uncircumcised man (that falls on the ground.)


In al‑Khisal, p. 538, al‑Saduq narrates with his continuous chain of authorities:



When a believer dies and forty men from among the believers attend his funeral and say, "O God, we know nothing about him except goodness, and You know him better than we do." God, the Exalted and the Blessed, says, "Your testimony suffices Me, and I forgive him what I know of things that you do not know.


And in 'Uddat al‑da'i, p. 128, "bab du`a li al‑ikhwan wa iltimasihi minhum," the following tradition is reported on the authority of Ibn Abi `Umayr from Hisham ibn Salim from Abu Abd Allah ('a):



If someone brings forward forty believers and makes a prayer, his supplication is answered.


In Bihar al‑anwar, vol. 18, p. 204, "kitab al‑jana'iz," there is a section (bab) entitled "bab shahadat arba'ina li al‑mayyit," where the following tradition is cited from 'Uddat al‑da'i from Hadrat Sadiq ('a):



There was a devout person amongst the Children of Israel about whom God had informed David ('a) that he was hypocritical in his piety When he died, David ('a) did not attend his funeral. Then forty persons from the Israelites stood up and said, "O God, we know nothing about him except goodness and You know him better than we do, so forgive him." When his body had been washed, another forty came forward and said, "O God, we know nothing about him except goodness and You know him better than we do, so forgive him." When he was laid in his grave another forty stood up and said, "O God, we know nothing about him except goodness and You know him better than we do, so forgive him." Then God, the Exalted, revealed to David ('a), "What kept you from making prayer over him?" David ('a) said, "That which You had told me." Thereat God revealed to him, "Verily, a group of people bore witness (in his favour). I accepted their witness as sufficient and I forgave him what I knew and that which they did not know"


And in 'Uddat al‑da'i p. 201, the following remedy is suggested for the removal of illness and disease:



Thirdly (one should recite), "Bismillah al‑rahman al‑rahim. Al‑hamdu lillahi rabb al‑'alamin. Hasbunallah wa ni'm al‑wakil, tabarak Allahu ahsan al‑khaliqin. La hawla wa la quwwata ilia billah al‑'ali al‑'azim." He should recite this forty times in a supplication following the dawn prayer and then stroke the sick person. Whatever be his affliction, especially if it were an open wound it will be cured with the permission of God. This (formula) has been tried and cure has been obtained through it.


Again in `Uddat al‑da'i, p. 94, it is stated:



. . . and one who prays for forty of his brothers, mentioning their names and the names of their fathers. And one who has a ring in his hand studded with turquoise or carnelian . . . .


In Bihar al‑anwar, vol. 14, p. 551, it is stated on the authority of the Shahid:



The remedy of fever by pouring water (on the sick person) has been narrated; but if that is difficult let him put his hand in cold water. For one who has severe pain al‑Hamd should be recited forty times over a pail of water which is put on the sick person who is made to sit up, assisted by the helper with his hand, and told to pray, whereat he will be cured.


And in the Iqbal al‑a'mal, p. 589, it is stated [by Ibn Tawus]: "I have narrated a tradition with my isnad from Abu Ja`far al‑Tusi, my grandfather, which he has narrated with his isnad from our master, al‑Hasan ibn A1i al‑Askari, may God's blessings be upon him, that he said:



The signs of a believer are five: performing fifty‑one rak'ahs of prayer, making the ziyarah of arba'in, wearing a ring in the right hand, placing the forehead on dust [during prostration], and saying "Bismillah al‑rahman al‑rahim" aloud.


In al‑Khisal, p. 541, it is narrated from Hadrat Amir al‑Mu'minin ('a)that he said:



The Messenger of Allah said: "One who preserves for the sake of my ummah forty traditions relating to their religious needs, God shall raise him as a learned scholar on the Day of Resurrection.


In Bihar al‑anwar, vol. 5, p. 43, a tradition is cited from An ibn Ibrahim's Tafsir, from Hadrat Sadiq ('a)that he said:



. . . so for forty days Adam remained in prostration, weeping for the loss of paradise.


And in Ikmal al‑Din, p. 13, it is narrated from Hadrat Abu ja'far (`a) that he said:



Adam wept for Abel for forty nights.


On page 86 it cites a tradition of Hadrat Sadiq ('a)from Ali ibn Ibrahim's Tafsir that he said [concerning Noah's flood]:



So for forty days water continued to pour from the heaven and to stream out from the earth.


Baydawi in his commentary on the verse  “Until, he is fully grown. . . " (46:15)says:



His mature age is that after which there is no further growth, and that is from thirty to forty years; for it is then that the intellect becomes perfect. And it has been narrated that there has been no prophet whose ministry did not start at forty, which is the time when body and mind attain maturity.


In al‑Khisal, p. 539it is narrated from Hadrat Baqir ( `a) that he said:



Between the two words God, Almighty and Glorious, gave a forty year respite to Pharaoh . . . . Then God seized him for the punishment of the world and the Hereafter . . . . And there passed forty years from the time when God, Almighty and Glorious, said to Moses and Aaron, "Indeed, I have answered your prayer" until the time when God drowned him. . . Gabriel said, "I pleaded with my Lord strongly in the matter of Pharaoh and I said, `O Lord, do You leave him while he says, "I am your supreme lord"? He said, "He is only saying it. He is also a creature like you."


Then in an explanation of this tradition Majlisi, may God's mercy ‑be upon him, says:


Perhaps that which is meant here by `the two words' is the statement of God, the Exalted, "I have answered your prayer," and His drowning Pharaoh (in the sea) or the utterance of Pharaoh "I do not know that you have any god except I" and his saying, ”I am your supreme lord.”


In Bihar al‑anwar, vol. 5, p. 433, there is a report that a group of Jews came to Abu Talib and said:



"O Abu Talib, your nephew claims to receive communications from the heavens and we will him certain questions. Should he answer them we would know that he is truthful and if he does not we would know that he is a liar." Abu Talib said, `Ask him whatever you wish." So they asked him concerning three matters. The Messenger of Allah (s) said to them,"I will inform you tomorrow," and he did not say "God willing." Therefore, revelation (wahy) was withheld from him for forty days, as a result of which the Prophet (s) was distressed and his Companions who had believed in him fell into doubt.


Bihar al‑anwar, vol. 6, p. 117, cites a tradition from the book 'Udad by Shaykh Radi al‑Din Ali ibn Yusuf ibn Mutahhar al‑Hilli, brother of Allamah Hilli, concerning the birth of Hadrat Fatimah where it is said:



When Gabriel descended m his mightiest form, he opened his wings until they extended from the east to the west. Then he called, "O Muhammad, the Highest and the Supreme gives you salam and He commands you to refrain from Khadijah for forty days .... That was hard upon the Prophet (s) for he loved her tenderly Then for forty days the Prophet (s) would fast during the days and spent the nights in worship.


With this end our citations from narrations mentioning the word arba'in (forty).


[11]. This tradition is cited in Safinat al‑bihar, vol. 1, p. 504; in Ihya'al‑'ulum, vol. 3, p. 25 it is cited as follows:



When a man reaches forty years without ever repenting, Satan strokes his face with his hand and says, "May my father be your ransom, it is the face of one who will not prosper!"


[12]. There are four narrations related to this tradition cited in Wasa'il al‑Shi'ah, "kitab al‑hajj." "ahkam al‑`ishrah," bab 90. The first of them is from Kulayni who reports with his isnad from Hadrat Baqir ('a)that he said:


The limits of neighbourhood extend to forty houses in every direction, to the front, to the rear, to the right, and to the left.


The second one is also one narrated by al‑Kulayni with his isnad from Hadrat Sadiq:



The Messenger of Allah (s) said, "All the forty houses to the front and the rear, to the left and to the right are neighbours."


The third one is from Shaykh Saduq in Ma'ani al‑akhbar, narrated with isnad from Hadrat Sadiq ('a):



Mu'awiyah ibn Ammar asked the Hadrat, "May I be made your ransom, what are the limits of neighbourhood?" He replied, " Forty house in every direction."


The fourth one is from 'Uqbah ibn Khalid from Hadrat Sadiq ('a)from his ancestors:



The Commander of the Faithful ('a) said, "The holy precincts (harim) of a mosque extend up to forty houses, and neighbourhood extends up to forty houses in the four directions."


[13]. What is meant by the author is that man is captive to the fourfold powers (quwa)of the intellect ('aql), imagination (wahm), anger (ghadab)and appetite (shahwah), and until he distances himself from them to the extent of forty stages he would not attain to the station of annihilation (fana)in God. Withdrawal from one stage of appetite, for instance, does not liberate man from that stage completely, because the reality of that stage of appetite is still latent in him, and so long as he does not recede forty stages from the first stage its effects do not disappear completely. Accordingly, if we suppose the domain of appetite, for instance, to consist of several stages, man is liberated from one of its stages only when he has emancipated himself from all its forty stages, otherwise mere departure from one stage does not liberate him from it, and it is possible that some accident may bring him back to the first stage. The same applies to the domains of the intellect, anger, and imagination. Accordingly, one is truly liberated from the first stage of anger only when he has departed from its fortieth stage, and one is liberated from the fifth stage of the intellect only when he has departed from its fortieth stage, and so on and so forth. Hence for liberation from any of the stages one must leave all the forty stages in order to achieve complete emancipation from that stage.


However, there is a difference between the malakuti power of the intellect and the other three powers, as the intellect is a guide and in conflict with the other three powers. The other three powers are in perpetual conflict with the intellect. Hence, from among the forty stages of the intellect, every two stages the distance between which is less than forty are sympathetic neighbours, as they are strangers in the world of nature and victims of the powers of Appetite, Anger and Imagination, and every stranger is sympathetic towards another stranger. But each of neighbourly stages belonging to the other three powers, as they find themselves to be under the attack of the forces of the‑intellect, collaborate to put up resistance and conspire together not to yield in the face of difficulties and to bear consecutive hardships with fortitude.


[14]. It is probable that the power of the intellect has been omitted here due to a slip of the pen.


[15]. According to Jami' al‑shawahid, these verses are by Imr' al‑Qays al‑Kindi in which he addresses a dead woman:


That was when he was at Naqrah (?), where he saw a grave and inquired about it. He was told that it was the grave of a stranger, a woman. Thereupon he said:



O neighbour of ours, calamities descend,

And yet I stand firm like the mount of Asib.

O neighbour of ours, we are strangers here,

And every stranger has a kindred in a stranger.

So should you join us, there is a kinship between us,

And should you desert us, then a stranger is after all a stranger.


Then the Jami' al‑shawahid remarks that khutub is plural of khatb (calamity or mishap) and tanub is in the sense of descending. Muqim means `steadfast' in bearing hardships and al‑Asib is the name of a mountain. Accordingly, the correct word is Asib as mentioned in some manuscripts, and 'ashib is apparently incorrect, for it means a ground covered with grass.


[16]. In Man la yahduruh al faqih, vol 2, p. 111, "bab al‑siyam," it is narrated from Mu'awiyah ibn Ammar that he said:



I asked (the Imam) concerning fasting during the days of Tashriq. He replied, "The Apostle of Allah (s) only forbade fasting on these days at Mina, but there is no impediment to fasting at other places. The Apostle of Allah (s) forbade unbroken fasting, while he himself would fast continually. When asked about it he said, `I am not like any of you. I am continually near my Lord who feeds me and gives me to drink."'


The same tradition has been cited in Mahajjat al‑bayda' from Man la yahduruh al faqih. In marhum Sayyid Ali Khan's Sharh al‑Sahifah al‑Sajjadiyyah, as cited in Talkhis al‑Riyad, vol. 1, p. 37, the word is abitu (instead of azillu)and the Prophet is cited as having said:




This was from the viewpoint of Shi`i traditions. However, in the narrations of the Ahl al‑Sunnah the expression 'inda rabbi does not occur, but in some of them the wording has abitu and in some others azillu.


As to the first type, there is a tradition narrated in al‑Bukhari's Sahih, "kitab al‑tamanna," vol. 4, p. 251, with isnad from Abu Hurayrah that he said:



The Apostle of Allah (s) forbade connecting one fast with another, so they said to him, "Indeed you connect your fasts." He replied, "Which one of you is like me. Indeed at nights my Lord feeds me and He gives me to drink."


In Muslim's ,Sahih, "kitab al‑siyam," vol. 3, p. 133, there are two traditions narrated with isnad from Abu Salamah ibn Abd al‑Rahman, from Abu Hurayrah, and another from Abu Zur`ah from Abu Hurayrah, from the Messenger of God with a wording exactly as cited from Bukhari. Malik in Muwatta', "kitab al‑siyam," p. 280, narrates with his isnad from Araj, from Abu Hurayrah that:



The Apostle of Allah (s) said, "Refrain from connecting your fasts! Refrain from connecting your fasts!" They said to him, "O Apostle of Allah, indeed you fast on without breaking your fast." He said, "I am not like you. At nights my Lord feeds me and He gives me to drink."


As to the second version, the following tradition is narrated in Bukhari's Sahih, "kitab al-tamanna”, vol 4 p 251 with isnad from Anas:



The Prophet fasted on without breaking his fast at the end of the month and some of the people also did that. When the Prophet (s) heard about it he said, "Had the month been made longer for me I would have fasted on without breaking the fast so that those who plunge in these matters would leave oft' their plunging. Indeed I am not like you. I am continuously fed by my Lord and given to drink.


There is another tradition narrated in "kitab al‑sawm," vol. 1, p. 329 with isnad from Abd Allah ibn `Umar:



In Muslim's,Sahih, "kitab al‑siyam," p. 134, the tradition is cited with the wording:


On the same page of this book, as well as in Muwatta', "kitab al‑sawm," p. 280, it is narrated that the Messenger of God said:


[17]. That which is mentioned in the traditions is `milk' and I have not seen the expression `milk and rice' in any narration. When I asked my teacher Allamah Tabatabai about it, he said that he too had not come across any such tradition although he had made a search to find it.


[18]. That is, journey through the worlds preceding khulus, the world of khulus, then the fourfold stages of the world of khulus, and the world of manifestation of the springs of wisdom.