Spiritual Stations (Maqamat)

Spiritual Stations of the path (suluk) according to Al-Risala al-qushayriyya fi’ilm al-tasawwuf (Epistle on Sufism):

  1. Repentance (tawba)
  2. Spiritual struggle (mujahida)
  3. Spiritual retreat, withdrawal (khalwa,‘uzla)
  4. God-fearing piety (taqwa)
  5. Abstinence (wara‘)
  6. Asceticism (zuhd)
  7. Silence (samt)
  8. Fear (khawf)
  9. Hope (raja)
  10. Grief (huzn)

“The station is the good manners which the servant of God realizes after he has entered it. He can arrive at it by means of his own actions, by fulfilling its requirements through [concerted] effort and self-imposed strictures in worshiping [God]. A person’s station is where he stands in terms of all of this as well as in terms of [acts of] self-discipline he is practicing to obtain it.

A precondition of the station is that you cannot advance from one station to the next unless you have fulfilled the requirements of the former. [For instance,] if you have not mastered [the station of] contentment (qana’a), you cannot achieve [the station of] true trust in God (tawakkul); if you have not mastered trust in God, then you cannot earn [the station of] true submission [to the divine will]. Likewise, he who has not mastered [the station of] repentance (tawba) cannot obtain [the station of] turning [to God] in repentance (inaba); one who has not mastered [the station of] scrupulous discernment [between the licit and the illicit] (wara‘) is not ready for the station of renunciation [of this world].

As for [the word] muqam,* it means [the act of] “being placed”, [being placed by God into a certain station] in the same way as the word mudkhal (“entry”) may mean the act of being entered or the word mukhraj (“exit”) may mean the act of being driven out. For one cannot enter a station unless one witnesses God – Most High – placing him into that station. Then and only then can one build one’s affair on a sound foundation.”

* A variant reading of the term “station” (maqam/muaqm). The latter carries slightly different connotations, especially those of passivity, which the author tries to highlight.


Spiritual Stations according to Qoot ul Quloob:

  1. Repentance (tawba)
  2. Patience (sabr)
  3. Gratitude (shukr)
  4. Hope (raja)
  5. Fear (khawf)
  6. Asceticism (zuhd)
  7. Trust (tawakkul)
  8. Satisfaction (rida)
  9. Love (mahabbat)

The [mystical] state (hal):
According to the Sufis, the mystical state is something that descends upon the hearts [of the mystics] regardless of their intentions, their [attempts to] attract it, or their [desire to] earn it. This can be [the states of] joy, grief, expansion, contraction, passionate longing, vexation, awe or need.

States are [divine] gifts, whereas stations are earnings. States come without asking, whereas stations are acquired by the sweat of one’s brow. The possessor of a station is firmly established in it, whereas the possessor of a state can be taken up out of his state [at any moment].

Difference between thought (khatir), state (hal) and station (maqam) as per Qoot-ul-Quloob vol 2. pg. 292: