Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim. I begin with the name of Allah, whose mercy is such as to grant an ignorant person such as myself the possibility of a small insight into the workings of His mysteries, that such insight might be revealed and prove useful to seekers on the pathway to Him, the Almighty, the Wise, and the Glorious.
Having written already a small portion on the mechanics of Barakah, specific blessing, or Divine Favor, I am inspired to write down some little understanding I have of the mechanics of Divine Permission (`Idhn). I will limit my use of this word to a little known aspect regarding the levels of permission owned by sufi masters and the empowered among their followers.
There are two kinds of `Idhn, limited, and unlimited. Certain masters throughout the ages have had unlimited permission. Not all, but always at least one. It was, for the most part, nearly impossible to manifest this unlimitedness; one of the main reasons being that the society in which they lived was not ready for or in need of it.
Any `idhn is a blessing from The Divine. There is no true sufi master without `idhn. It is the sole property of sufi masters and is dispensed through them and by them only. There is no unlimited `idhn except by the knowledge of the sole owner thereof. By that I mean that it has been a extremely rare moment in history that two owners of unlimited `idhn have existed side by side without one of then having received it by the grace of the other. I can think of no such example . Of necessity, all `idhn other than unlimited is limited. This is not to imply a diminution of quality or sufficiency for the occasion. No, quite the contrary, `idhn is, by its very nature, more than sufficient for its owner and the people who drink from him (his community). It is possible for there to be more than one owner of unlimited `idhn in any age, but there will always be one source, recognized by the others as having a degree of superiority. From this view, unlimited idhn is available to us all, but the reality is that we are only given what is needed, due to the limitations of our potential to carry more than that.
Within the category of limited permission there are also permanent (owned) permissions and temporary (loaned) permissions. An example of a temporary permission would be the permission to travel, or the permission to speak. These permissions are truly Divine, and vastly different from the self-assumed permissions that we give ourselves in everyday life.
An example of an owned permission is the permission of title (i. e. Khulafat, Shaykh of Tariqat, Muqaddim), and rank, (i. e. Qutb, `Abdal, Wali, Ghauth, etc.) The lowest level of permanent Idhn is the permission to teach. It is considered a permanent `idhn in that there is no expectation of termination, even though there is still the possibility of revocation by the masters.
There is no doubt that the plethora of sufi masters today are holders of very high spiritual stations which exist only bi-idhni'llah, by an `idhn from Allah. Many of these teachers are firmly established (baqa`) in the unseen and offer the vehicle of Islam as a way 'out' of the dangers of contemporary life, as a means of inward travel, and as a method of transforming the quality of life itself. This is the least of the owned permissions, and is more than sufficient for the seekers of spiritual realities and for the salvation of their adherents. Others hold a variety of high degrees of accomplishment in the unseen world of spiritual realities. Miracles, unveilings and healings are accomplished only by Divine permission.
It is also common that its use has trickled down from the lofty heights of high spiritual accomplishment into the mundane world to be used the people of no true understanding. The best that these people have to hope for is the forgiveness of Allah upon them in that the carry on a semblance of spiritual practice and do believe in and remember His Name. The hallmark of these people is that they accept Divine favor upon themselves, but avoid the practices designed to lift them to the higher stations. They love and are grateful for their own society, their music and their circles of remembrance, but are averse to accepting the way of the prophet and thereby entering into the reality at whose door they are contented to sit. Their `idhn is from their mouths only, and has no relevance in realm of the true men of Allah.
On the Healing Power of `Idhn
All events (healings) occur by Divine Permission (bi-idhni'llah). `Idhn (permission) must be granted before an event can occur. `Idhn can be obtained by seeking it.
It is said in a well-known tradition that prayer will avert the decree. Understand that surrender to the lower human nature is surrender to the decree, or "the way things are" and "the way things work". This makes one completely susceptible to all of the apparent laws of "cause and effect that are part of the illusion, including the physics of health and disease. (Please read the section called "`Asrar ul Quddus" for an understanding of the causes of illusion.) Fundamentally, the events in your life are governed by your beliefs. Effort is prayer, so choose the direction of your efforts with wisdom. Moving in the direction of a healer is effort and prayer. Moving in the direction of the Sufis is asking to learn about right and effective living. Realization, learning, study, practice and remembrance are efforts rewarded with Barakah, and Barakah heals.
There is no way you can truly learn the healing of Sufism except by keeping the company of its people. The increase of the power of `Idhn (barakah) is granted to individuals according to their proximity to Reality (Truth). This is because Allah is One and loves Unity, and blesses unified effort.
A manifestation of this is the obvious benefit brought to humanity from communities and community effort. Hadith has it that "the Hand of Allah is on the community". Individual effort to reach truth is rewarding to the community of that individual; one example being that a whole community need not study medicine if there is among them one devoted and successful student/practitioner.
Therefore, the more studious the hakim (healer, wise one, doctor) is of the essential realities of life, and the closer s/he draws to Allah (the Essential Oneness pervading all reality), the more power (`idhn, permission) that Oneness grants to the hakim to pass on to the student or patient. Call it EFFECTIVE education. The effect is that the student benefits from association with the practitioner by a manifest increase in health and understanding.
The nature of healing is that first the permission is granted, then the openings for the spirit of life are made by the elimination (by removal or penetration) of the impedances. When the spirit comes into contact with the soul, the soul becomes inspired to new life, which inspiration moves the body (i.e. brings the spirit of life to the body).
Even the most inexperienced student of sufism can be instrumental in the most wonderful healing miracles by inviting the friends to share in the benefits of the sufi circle and meet with the sufi teacher.
Some sufis do know the nature of ultimate health, and can manifest/transmit the benefits of that knowledge, by means of which the astute student may also come to know the nature of its Origin. True Sufi masters have always been blessed with the key to healing. It is called 'tawajjuh", meaning and implying - to face with intent or intention, to pay attention to or send energy (or love) towards. It is noted in many treatises that this power was exclusive to sufi masters and their empowered representatives and there was no mystery that it was a dispensation from the Divine.
"Barakah, Barakah fil hadhrat". Blessing, blessings upon the present. So be Present, if you want the blessings of Presence.
On the value of proper Guidance
ALL healing is done directly by Allah who needs no permission to do anything He chooses nor does He need any facilitator. However, in most cases, right guidance is required in order to receive gratitude and reform habits. It is oftentimes difficult to heal if there is no proper arena for regeneration and gratitude. Such an arena also serves as a means of preventing arrogance and falling again into the habits that caused the illness in the first place. Never forget that it is by the decree of Allah that we become ill in the first place. The power to heal is strengthened when there is an avenue of guidance and reparation for the client.
That's why healing is such a famous part of the Sufi heritage. Permission to heal is given concomitant to the acceptance of a proper life style. The power of permission to heal (`Idhn) often equates equal to the level of guidance held by the guide, and the level of guidance held by the guide equates to his station in the unseen.
Contemplate the value of proper guidance. Health is maintained. Gratitude is expressed because it can be received and channeled properly. Lessons are truly learned and put into proper context. All sorts of benefits are derived. The client becomes a healer in the least case by witnessing to the 'power' of the healer and sharing the experience with others, all of which goes to the increase of the glorification of Allah, which is the Divine purpose. In other words healing serves the divine purpose of spreading the knowledge of God exactly the same as disease is the result of ignorance of this divine knowledge.