Friday, October 17, 2008

Searching for Bliss

Before creation Allah was alone and He is alone after He has created. All creation is the manifestation of the Light of Allah (swt) translated in our own perceptual world into concepts of energy and movement which originated and diverged from the initial source to form hierarchies of various complexity and density along the path of creation. Despite the hierarchy, all creation remains connected with the source.
In the case of the creation of man, 3 concepts define his relationship with his Lord. We learn from the Qur’an that after creating Adam, Allah (swt) breathed from His spirit into him, that He taught him the Knowledge of all the Names and that He took from Adam and his progeny a covenant of Rububiat (Lordship)- a mutually binding relationship of submission on the part of man and of care and guidance on the part of Allah (swt). As long as Adam dwelt in the eternal Garden, he remained united with the source of his creation in a purely spiritual state of gatheredness referred to as Bliss; his Knowledge of the Names remained a potentiality to be actualized…..until such time as he and his progeny descended into the lower world (Dunyah) where the possibilities of actualization of the Knowledge have been set. In the Dunyah, a physical form was added to the spiritual creation of man, so that he became a dually-formed being –his spirit (the soul) being his essence and his physical form the vehicle of his experience of this life.
Our physical form including body and intellect (mind) develops through the interaction between our nature and our environment to shape our unique individual experience of this world; all the while our souls which we refer to as our inner being are all identical. Similarly, everything in creation, tangible or intangible, accessible to our various faculties, perceptive or intellectual, all is endowed with an outer and an inner shape, meaning, and outcome. In turn, this physical-spiritual matrix is subjected to continuous forces, which spring from the display of the Divine Names and which, along with our own choices, propel us on our path towards the Knowledge of the Divine. But we constantly yearn for our original state of gatheredness… Through the veils of dispersion which cover this original state, we innately are programmed to seek the Light which has created us, loved us and created love within us. Remembering and perceiving/ acquiring knowledge and reflecting upon our experiences are the processes which bring us back to our ancestral origin and which fulfill our task in this Dunyah.
Bliss results from our momentary contact with the Ultimate reality, the Truth, our Ancient Timeless Origin; it is momentary because we are subjected to constant change, and although we have the possibility of closeness to the Divine source in this world we can never attain IT completely. And again because of this innate disposition, we are driven to seek the traces of the Divine qualities which are displayed in full force in the Universe. Most often, we are attracted by what suggests those Attributes without understanding the meaning of the attraction and more often than not we get attached to the worldly manifestation, the outer form of an Attribute and fail to see that what we are seeking is the inner essence. Ideally, we will eventually be able to detach ourselves from our false goal, look deeper into the experience, understand our drive and see the One Hand that moves all…
Thus our search typically moves from the realm of exteriority to the interior, from the world of shape to that of meaning and from the repetitive experience of pleasures to the persistent single-minded search for the essence which we recognize when we reach a state of Bliss. But the outer is necessary as a door to the inner, form is the window on meaning.I
In our frantic search for our origins, no experience is more telling than that of romantic love….we become attracted by what mimics, is a shadow of, a simile of the Divine and we are thrust into a psycho-spiritual-physical and emotional state which includes powerful emotions, oceanic feelings of loss of boundaries, a sense of discovery of the innate benign meaning of the Universe, of the interconnectedness of all creation, increased creativity, energy and hope etc….This state resolves with time as we realize that the transient object of our love, because of certain qualities it possesses, had evoked our primordial Love but is not our true Love and so we move on looking further…The process is identical as we embark in search of beauty, power, wealth, intellectual achievement, creativity etc…
Despite our inborn potentiality, we are able to perceive the Divine qualities only in a circumscribed manner; this creates for us a semblance of contradiction in the state of the Universe which if we do not resolve by seeing the One behind the many, may leave us in a state of confusion and compartmentalization. Another characteristic of our perceptual ability is that we can only recognize things by comparing them with their opposites, absolute knowledge of something is not in our ability. In addition, the original dispersion of Light having created energy and movement, our situation is never static in this world: we move between attraction to what we love and repulsion from what we do not love, between the inner and the outer, form and meaning, always seeking an equilibrium whose source is our innermost identity, a state of inner contentment whose essential quality is that it is absolute, real and never changing as opposed to everything else that we experience in this world.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Surat aal-Imran 3:195

فَٱلَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَأُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَـٰرِهِمْ وَأُوذُواْ فِي سَبِيلِي
"As for those who migrated and were evicted from their dwelling places and suffered hurt on My Path......."
From Baqli's Commentary
There is an allusion in this verse to the purification of the Souls from the passing thoughts [originating in the Nafs], and to the sanctification of the bodies from desires, in those who migrated from what is other than Allah to Allah (swt).
It is He who has encouraged the enemies to evict his truthful lovers from their dwelling places for the love of His All-Mightiness (Izzat), in order that they may not settle, through habit or through love, with companions or in homelands.
[those who have suffered hurt on My Path] Those who are seeking the face of Allah [al-Qawm], were they not to taste the bitterness caused by the hurt of those who deny [Allah], will not reach to the Truth of seeking refuge in Allah, and that of fleeing to Allah (Surat al Dhariat (51: 50)
"So flee to Allah . I am from Him to you an evident Warner "
Thus it is, that through the hurtful acts of opponents, Allah (swt) unsettles and moves his Friends to the rank of Contraction (Qabd) and Tightness of the Chest, testing them as they control their anger in the face of the deniers in order that, later on, the Doors of Dialogue [with Him] become opened and they taste the Purity (Safa') of Expansion (Bast) and the Joy (Suroor) of being the recipient of Divine Gifts (Minnat)'.
Al-Junaid stated: "May Allah reward our companions[for their ill treatment of us], they returned us with their true [nature] to Allah" and that is the Law of Allah which applies to all those who are on the Path to Divine Knowledge and Unveilings.
It was said that migration is necessary from all companions except for those who keep the company of Spiritual Poverty (Fuqara') as this Poverty is the road to al-Haqq ( The Truth, Allah). Have you not seen the Mustapha (the Chosen one, the Prophet) (saws) as he came and sat with them and said:
المحيا محياكم والممات مماتكم
"My life is [with] your life and my death is [with] your death" (reference is made to the Hadith from Imam Muslim's collection, Chapter : "Striving and Walking"- "al-Jihad wal Sayr")
My Comment: Examine carefully your most difficult circumstances, and evaluate your losses in this life, it may well be that Allah (swt) is drawing you near him by ridding you of excess bagage.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Surat al-Imran (3) : 190- Part 2

"In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the succession/alternation of the night and the day are signs for those endowed with perceptive Hearts"
Several exegetes relate the following Hadith from the Lady Aisha (ra):
" When this verse was descended, the Prophet (saaws) got up in the night to pray....eventually Bilal approached him asking leave to call for the dawn prayers. He found the Prophet crying, so he asked :" Do you still cry and Allah has wiped away your wrongdoings, those in the past and those in the future". The Prophet answered:" Should I then not be a thankful slave! and Allah has (also) descended on me this verse ( In the creation of the heavens and earth....) Woe is him, who reads it without reflecting on it"
From the commentary of Imam al-Qurtubi
It has come down to us, documented in the authentic collections of Bukhari and Muslim and agreed upon by scholars, that upon awakening one should wipe his face and start his day with the 10 last verses of Surat aal- Imran (3):190-200.

From the commentary of Imam al-Razi
Allah (swt) had already mentioned this verse in Surat al-Baqara (2): 164
{ إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ وَٱخْتِلاَفِ ٱللَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ وَٱلْفُلْكِ ٱلَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي ٱلْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ ٱلنَّاسَ وَمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مِن مَّآءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ ٱلأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَآبَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ ٱلرِّيَاحِ وَٱلسَّحَابِ ٱلْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلأَرْضِ لآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ }
"In the creation of the Heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day and the vessels that speed through the sea with what is useful to man: and in the waters which Allah sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless, and causing all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon: and in the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: [in all this] there are Signs for people who use their Intellect ( who think)."

Some differences between the two verses: 1) eight different proofs are enumerated in the verse in Surat al Baqara instead of the three in this verse 2) the verse in Surat al Baqara is directed to people who think instead of people with perceiving Hearts.

Imam Razi continues: The Traveller to Allah (al-Salik) requires in the beginning many proofs; but as his Heart receives the Light of Divine Knowledge, his preoccupation with this evidence becomes as a veil which prevents his Heart from "seeking to drown, immersing itself" (Istighraq) in the Divine Knowledge. In the beginning of his affair, the traveller on the Path asks for the multiplicity of proofs; with the "falling of the Light ( noor)" in his Heart, he asks for fewer, until the time when the darkness bred in his Heart from the preoccupation with other than Allah is wiped out, at which time the Lights of Divine Knowledge are revealed in His Heart and the allusion to this matter is in verses like :
"In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the succession of the night and the day are signs for those endowed with perceptive Hearts"
and in Verse 12 from Surat TA-HA (20)
{ إِنِّيۤ أَنَاْ رَبُّكَ فَٱخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ بِٱلْوَادِ ٱلْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى }
" It is I your Lord; so take off your (two) shoes, you are in the Sacred Valley"
The two shoes are the introductions by which the Intellect arrives to Divine Knowledge ( Maarifa); once he arrives to it, he is commanded to take them off. Mussa is told: " If you want to place your foot in the Sacred Valley of Essential Unicity ( Wahdaniat), give up the preoccupation with proofs"
" Now that you know this rule concerning the Divine Knower who once he becomes a Knower must gradually decrease his attention to proofs in order to perfect his Istighraq so that he is able Know "What is being pointed to" you also see that in the verse from Surat aal-Imran (3) the terrestrial proofs are the ones that have been dispensed with and the heavenly ones are maintained because they are greater in leading to subjugation (Aqhar), to admiration tinged with Awe ( Abhar); they contain greater wonders, and the movement of the Heart from them to the Majesty and Nobility of Allah is more powerful....
The verse in Surat al Baqara ends with the reference to "people who think" while this verse ends with the reference to " people with perceptive Hearts"; for the Intellect is the outer, while the Perceptive Heart (Lubb) is inner. In the beginning of the matter, the Salik is an intellect and in the perfection of this matter he becomes a Lubb.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

From Surat aal-Imran (3) :190 Part 1-

"In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation/ succession of the night and the day are signs for those endowed with perceptive Hearts"

From the commentary of Ruzbehan Baqli
There is, in this verse, a subtle allusion which consists of Allah (swt) being described by grasping the Lights of His attribute of Azal ( past eternity) and the essence of Qidam (ancientness) in the emergence of His Divine Ability of instantiation (Qidrat) as evident in His Acts; this is proof (about Him) from Him to Him not coming from the creation and unrelated to it; since creation is nothing but a mere accident/ an occurrence that veils the vision of ancientness.

This is the rank (Maqam) of Ibrahim who in the most correct manner expressed his desire to see the Act of creation in the hope of grasping the purest Lordship.
Surat al Baqara 2:260
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِـي ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ
"My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead..."
Which is a far greater request than that of Mussa who never asked to see Allah without a medium.
Surat al-A'raf (7) : 143
وَلَمَّا جَآءَ مُوسَىٰ لِمِيقَاتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِيۤ أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ
" He ( Mussa) said: My Lord, show me, let me look at you..."
What Ibrahim asked for is more comprehensive; it is the secret of the Taqdir *** (The exclusive Act of Allah assigning a measure of immutable destiny to each created "thing") and the secret of
Qidrah (Divine Ability, Power of instantiation (of bringing into form what existed in the Universe of Possibilities)).
Other aspects of this verse include the mention of:
1. The Heavens whence Signs ( Ayat) emerge; since the heavens are adorned with the Lights of His Majesty, and enveloped with the brightness of His Beauty. They are mirrors where the Truthful receive the Unveilings (kushuf), and they are the pathways of the Journeys of the Messengers (isra').....
Surat al Ana'am (6): 75
َكَذَلِكَ نُرِيۤ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مَلَكُوتَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ
"Thus do we show Ibrahim the dominion of the Heavens and Earth" It is also through the Sun, Moon and Star, that He unveiled His Majesty to Ibrahim: [Surat al Ana'am (6):75-79]

2.The Earth location (Mawqe' where a thing falls) of the footsteps of the Truthful(s), the Prophets and the Messengers; it is where His Light radiates on those who are Observing (Muraqibun) and those who are witnessing ( al-Mushahidun). The Earth which is in the grasp of Force, the Grasp of His Al-Mightiness ('Izzat) in his saying :
Surat al Zumar 36: 67
وَٱلأَرْضُ جَمِيعـاً قَبْضَـتُهُ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ وَٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ
"And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand"

3. The Night The place ( Mahal where a thing lands and dwells) of the secret discourse ( Munajat) of the Knowers ( al'Arefeen), and of the unveiling of His Grandeur (Azamt) for He is the past-infinite ( al-Azel) presenting in the praiseworthy quality of Awe (Na'at al Hayba) to those who do not see anything except His Unicity ( al-Muwahidun).

4. The Day is the cause of gladness of the lovers, the place ( Mawdi', where something is placed) of expansion (Bast) for the ones who are longing ( al-Mushataqun), and the vision of His Majesty for the ones who are endowed of Insight ( al-Mubsirun), who see Allah in the mirror of the Universe through the Light of Power, the exaltedness ( Sana') of Divine Knowledge ( Ma'rifa). Those who saw the Witness (Shahed) before they saw the spectacles (Mashahed) as one of them stated:" Never have I looked at a thing without seeing Allah in it": 1) He showed those endowed with Hearts, which perceive the Truth ( Alibaa' al-Haqiqa), the Lights of His ACT (Fi'l) in the Heavens, the Earth, the night and the day 2) then he showed them the Lights of His Special Ability ( Qidra) in His Attributes 3) and He showed His Exalted Essence (Dhat) in the lights of its attribute.

In all the above, He (swt) states the chain of causation in an anonymous style [Inna], and thus makes the secrets of the meanings of the statement unable to be understood by others ( non-spiritual beings?) by [simply] using the word Ayat ( signs).


Junaid stated : " Whoever affirms Him through a chain of causation, he has affirmed other than He; for causation is linked to that which is the result of a cause- the greatness of Al-Haqq is far beyond that"

Al-Wasiti stated:" This verse is the difference between the knowledge of the regular people and that of the special people".

Al- Nasr Abadi stated: " Those who are not endowed with perceptive Hearts ( 'Uli-al-Albab) are not able to value what they see of the Heavens and Earth; for 'Ulu al-Albab are those who look at Creation with the eye of the Haqq-


- The exegesis of this most precious verse is to be continued from other commentaries-Inshallah.

May Allah (swt) accept and forgive me and my parents what has preceded of our wrongdoings- Ameen.

Laylatul Qadr 1429-

**** review :

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From Surat al-A'raf (7) verse 160

"When his people asked him to drink, we inspired to Mussa : "Strike the rock with your staff !" from it gushed twelve springs; each community knew their drinking place"
Imam Jaafar al Sadeq (ra):
"From Divine knowledge ( Maarifa) 12 springs gushed forth, so that the people of each rank, in each station, would drink from one of the springs. The first spring being that of Unicity, the second that of pleasurable slavehood, the third the spring of Sincerity, the fourth the spring of Truthfulness, the fifth the spring of humility, the sixth the spring of Acceptance and Reliance, the seventh that of Serenity and dignity, the eight that of generosity and trust in Allah, the ninth the spring of Certainty, the tenth the spring of the Intellect, the eleventh the spring of Love, the twelfth the spring of Seclusion and Intimacy which is the mother spring of Divine Knowledge from which all other have sprang.
Each drinks from a spring, tastes its sweetness and desires to drink from the spring that is higher; so that in this way, he drinks from one spring to another until he reaches the mother spring, the source where he is verified by Al-Haqq."
My comment: Here Mussa (as) is shown to be the spiritual leader, the Prophet. There is no reference to the tribes as in exoteric commentaries which have introduced to the Qur'an material from non-Islamic sources. In addition, this makes complete sense of the verses and returns the Qur'an to its true rank of a spiritual scripture and not a history text.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

3 excerpts on the Qur'an from Ibn 'Arabi

From Al-Futuhat al Makkia

" Recite the Qur'an and reflect on it. When you recite, look at the qualities, attributes and at the praises by which Allah (swt) has described those He loves among His servants and avoid the qualities and attributes which Allah disapproves of in the Qur'an... Allah has mentioned them to you, put them in His Book and acquainted you with them so that you would act by them.


No one will have a greater punishment on the Day of Resurrection than someone who memorizes a verse then forgets it. It is also the case of someone who memorizes a verse and fails to act by it. This is confirmed in what the Prophet ( saaws) stated:" The metaphor of a believer who recites the Qur'an is that of a citron- its scent is fragrant and its taste is good" referring to recitation and reading. They are breaths that emerge and they resemble the fragrances which the breath exhales; because the Qur'an is sweet and not other than the breaths of the reader and reciter when it is being recited in the state of recitation.{{ note: Sweetness refers to faith as in the Hadith: " The one who is pleased with Allah as a Sustainer (Rabb), Submission (Islam) as religion and Muhammad as a Prophet, has tasted the food of faith". So "taste" is ascribed to faith}} And he said (saaws) :"The metaphor of a believer who does not recite the Qur'an is that of a date. Its taste is sweet but it has no fragrance since he does not recite when he is in the state (Hal) of reciting EVEN if he has the Qur'an memorized". The metaphor of a hypocrite who recites the Qur'an is that of basil- its scent is fragrant , but its taste is bitter because hypocrisy is inward denial of the Truth. The metaphor of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur'an is that of acolocynth ( bitter apple)- its taste is bitter and it has no scent because he is not a reciter in the state.".........The station (Maqam) of the Qur'an cannot be hidden. No other words are equal to the Words of Allah in drawing the slave near to Allah."-

"When someone recites the Qur'an and does not adhere to any of it, he is one of the worst people by the testimony of the Prophet (saaws). A man may be reading the Qur'an and the Qur'an is cursing him, so he curses himself as when he reads: " in Surat Hud 11:18 " Yes indeed !Allah curses the wrongdoers". Since he is doing wrong He is cursing himself. He reads in Surat al- Dukhan 44:7 " Allah' curse is on the liars" and he is a liar; so the Qur'an curses him and he curses himself when he recites. He may read a verse which denounces a quality by which he himself is described and does not abstain from it; or he may read a verse which praises an attribute which he does not act by and which does not apply to him; in this way the Qur'an is an argument against him, not for him( on Judgment day).The Prophet ( saaws) said in a sound Hadith: " The Qur'an is evidence for you or against you. Everybody goes out and trades with his own Self, either setting it free or leading it to perdition."

" So when one performs Remembrance (Dikhr Allah), he should remember in his Dhikr that this Dhikr is mentioned in the Qur'an. So that, when he performs Dhikr'allah, he is also reciting the Qur'an. And if he is reciting , then he is uttering the Remembrance by which Allah mentioned Himself. When he is in this state, then He is putting Himself in the position of His Sustainer (rabb) and it is His words (that he is uttering) Surat al- Tawba (9:6): "Grant him protection until he has heard the words of Allah (from you)", and His words " Allah says on the tongue of his servant", "Allah hears whosoever praises Him". On the Day of Resurrection, the Reciter will be told:" Recite and ascend". While in this world, in the days of responsibility for his deeds (takleef), it is with his recitation that he ascends from his own recitation to His recitation. Allah becomes the one who recites on the tongue of His servant. He is his hearing by which he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand by which he strikes and his feet by which he runs.Therefore, a man only praises Allah, glorifies Him, testifies to His oneness by keeping in mind what has come in the Qur'an. Thus he elevates himself by himself to the Recitation of his Sustainer.....On the day of Resurrection, he will ascend to the last verse he reached and will stop at the rank which is appropriate to that verse which Allah recites on the tongue of this slave, when the slave is reciting in the Presence (Hudur).
The best words are the Words of Allah both the particular (al-Khawas) and those known to the regular people (al'awam)."

Notes for me:
Reciting is Remembering-Reciting so that one is in the Presence-Reciting and ascending -Reciting so that it is the Rabb Who is Reciting the Qur'an. The Rank achieved through Recitation and Remembering = (through the Qur'an in this world), will be the rank attained in the next world.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

From Surat al-Tawba (9) verse 40 he [the Apostle] said to his companion, "Grieve not: verily, Allah is with us." And thereupon Allah bestowed upon him His (gift of] inner peace/ Serenity and supported him with armies [of angels] you did not see...

The verse deals with the flight of the Prophet (saaws) from Makkah to Yathrab which is to become Madinat-al Nabi ( City of the Prophet)- Madinah as we know it now.
The Prophet is accompanied by Abu Bakr (ra) and the two men are being pursued by men from Qureish who do not want to let the Prophet escape their years of bad treatment towards people who may support his cause. The two men are hiding in a cave when Abu Bakr starts crying, tears are running down his face, he turns to the Prophet and says: " Were you to die now, the Deen of Allah will leave us !" The Prophet responds: " What do you think of [the company] two whose third is Allah?" Abu Bakr wipes his tears with his hands as the Prophet invokes:" My Lord blind their eyesight to us". A pigeon comes by and lays two eggs in front of the cave and a spider weaves a net at its entrance; seeing this the pursuers ignore the cave and the two men are saved"

From the exegeses of Imams Razi, Nasafi and others...It is related that whenever Imam Hassan al Basri would speak of this episode he would cry as Abu Bakr did, and then wipe his face as Abu Bakr did.

Before the start of Ramadan this year, I sustained a major loss in my personal life. For several weeks before the fast, I feared that I would not be able to have the feast of spirituality that I had had in the previous Ramadan, I feared that alone I would be an easy prey to the Shaytan. My fear was so palpable to me that I considered taking drastic steps in order to protect myself from such an eventuality...this was something that lived with me day and night, until one day as I was making my rounds in the hospital, I heard clearly a voice inspiring me to turn openly to Allah and to ask him to help me..
Never before had I invoked with such fervor, never before did I have the immediate assurance that my wish for safety through this spiritual journey was going to be granted. And it was, beyond all my expectations. Alone with my child, I have had the most spiritually meaningful Ramadan of my life. Thus it is that Allah (swt) takes us to extreme situations in our live to test our reliance (Tawwakul) and when we turn to him with our poverty, He sends us treasures of Sakinah ( Divinely bestowed Serenity) and supports us in ways we did not think imaginable.

As I came to lie down this morning after late night Qur'an reading, Suhoor and Fajr prayer with my daughter, I heard the words being said to me : " La Tahzan inna Allaha MAAana" [ Grieve not: Allah is with us] and I had to get up to reread the verse in the Qur'an, to cry like Abu Bakr for my previous fear and doubt, and to say the words of the most beloved of humans who so generously gave us of himself in the way of Allah :" What do you think of the company of two whose third is Allah?". Alhamdulillah.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

From Surat al-Zummar (39) verse 64

قُلْ أَفَغَيْرَ ٱللَّهِ تَأْمُرُونِّيۤ أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا ٱلْجَاهِلُونَ

Say: "Is it, then, other than Allah that you bid me to worship, O you who are unaware [of right and wrong]?"

With this night we entered the last 10 holy nights of Ramadan where it is strongly advisable to increase devotions, reading and reflection on the Qur'an. Some people started already their isolation in the Masjid to do so....

One of the insights that are repeatedly being offered here also is how much we humans present of distractions to one another from Allah (swt) ; how much we test and reveal each other's unsculpted Nafs (self). Daily in my work, I witness people who are being destroyed by relationships they are driven to invest into more than they have ever invested in anything else, certainly not in their relationship with their Lord. I see the ravages brought on by relying solely on fellow mortals and by being disconnected from the true spirit even as people are paying lip service to their religious affiliation.

When we are taught that Allah is Jealous and does not tolerate partners with Himself- we are informed of another cosmic law, as fool-proof as any of the laws that have been placed into the physical world. It is not about punishment and reward, it is about a fundamental principle which if we do not build our lives on, they are likely to fail on every level...the results are around us to see.

Paraphrasing Imam Baqli in his exegesis of this verse: " Loyalty (Ikhlas) to the nature of our relationship with Allah distances us from unawareness of right and wrong (Jahl), from doubt (Rayb), and from mistakes due to misidentification of what we are dealing with in reality (Shubha). "

Friday, September 19, 2008

From Surat al-Furqan 25 verse 72

وَإِذَا مَرُّواْ بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِراماً

...."and whenever they pass by [people engaged in] frivolity, they pass on with dignity..."

Imam Jaafar al-Sadeq (ra) states:
"Dignity is leaving what does not concern you. Allah (swt) has slaves whose feet are on the ground, whose eyes are on the Heaven and whose spirits (Rooh) are with Allah, those are the Muridun *** : their bodies in this lower world, their Hearts in the next and their spirits with the Master (Mawla, Allah (swt)).

from Arada (wanted): the ones who are wanting the Face of Allah, generally the travellers on the Path or more specifically the followers of a Tariqa.

Monday, September 15, 2008

From Surat al-'Alaq (96) verse19: Prostration

وَٱسْجُدْ وَٱقْتَرِب

96: 19 "... and prostrate thyself and draw close !"

Ibn 'Arabi states:...It is His Divine name al-Qarib " He Who is Close" which has called you to proximity. You are the lover and not the beloved, that is why He says : "Prostrate yourself and come closer". If you had been the Beloved He would have said : "Prostrate yourself, you are close."........Know then that in your prostration you are preserved (ma'sum)from Satan ( shaytan). Your prostration subjugates him and leaves him no power over you. When he observes you in this state, he reflects on himself ( on his refusal to prostrate before Adam as Allah (swt) had commanded him); (forever) consumed by the fire of the citadel of punishment, watching you being obedient, and contemplating the fate that awaits him the day the hour of Judgment comes....May Allah grant that we, you and I are on that day among those who have prostrated themselves and who have found ( mimman sajada wawajada). Ameen

Excerpt from Ibn 'Arabi's al-Futuhat al Makkia-

From Surat Ta-Ha (20) verse 50

{ قَالَ رَبُّنَا ٱلَّذِيۤ أَعْطَىٰ كُلَّ شَيءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَىٰ }
He said: "Our Lord is He Who gave every thing its creation ( form, nature, etc..) and then guided (it)"

" Gave" in the distant past refers to al-Azal ( the Ancient past).

Al-Alusi : The verse (1) refers to genus/species and not only to individuals (2) all species or their templates have been created in the distant past, there is and will be no new species to be "created" de novo.

related verse: Surat al-Sajda 32: 6-7
الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ لَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ

Baqli: "Not an atom, from the throne to the ground was left without being brought out from the darkness of non-existence through the Light of the Ancient Past (Qidam). Its existence was realized within the confines of Mercy where al-Haqq ( Allah (swt) covered it with the Lights of His Power AND THEN ( Thumma indicates a temporal distance) He bestowed upon it a secret Intellect by which it knows its Maker, wherein He has made it know Him. How could what exists not know who made it? The whole is completely drowned in the oceans of Divinity"
related verse: Surat al-Isra' 17: 44
وَإِن مِّن شيْءٍ إِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدَهِ

Friday, September 12, 2008

From Surat Maryam (19): Vows of Silence

Twice in this Surat, Allah (swt) manifests Himself to the Prophet ( Zacchariah) and to the Truthful (Maryam), who had placed themselves in an area of receptivity to the Divine commands; He honors them with miracles, and commands them to keep a vow of silence.
Zacchariah was in the prayer niche ( Mihrab) and Maryam in an eastern place ( eastern is interpreted as : blessed by most exegetes) when they received the commands. Both Zacchariah and Maryam become silent but making Isharat ( pointing , signaling)
In the case of Zacchariah :
19: 10 قَالَ رَبِّ اجْعَل لِّي آيَةً قَالَ آيَتُكَ أَلاَّ تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلاَثَ لَيَالٍ سَوِيًّا
(Zakariya) said: "O my Lord! give me a Sign." "Thy Sign," was the answer, "Shall be that thou shalt speak to no man for three nights.

19:11 فَخَرَجَ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ مِنَ الْمِحْرَابِ فَأَوْحَى إِلَيْهِمْ أَن سَبِّحُوا بُكْرَةً وَعَشِيًّا So he emerged on (to) his nation, from the center of the assembly/the prayers' niche , so he inspired/transmitted/signaled to them that praise/glorify (at) daybreaks/early mornings and evenings/first darkness/dinnertime.

And in the case of Maryam:
19 : 16 وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا
And remember/mention in The Book Maryam when she distantly isolated herself from her family/relation (to) an easterly/eastern place/position.

19: 26 فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا
So when you see anyone from the humans, so say: "I made a duty/vow (on myself) to the Merciful, a fast , so I will not converse/speak today (to) a human .'

In " Risalat al Anwar " on the subject of Khalwat ( seclusion) translated by Rabbia Terri Harris as "Journey to the Lord of Power", Ibn 'Arabi states:

" When you withdraw from the world, beware of people coming to see you and approaching you, for he who withdraws from people does not open his door to their visits. Indeed the object of seclusion is the departure from people and their society, and the object of departure from people is not leaving their physical proximity?, but rather that neither your heart nor your ear should be a receptacle for the superfluous words they bring. Your heart will not become clear of the mad ravings of the world except by distance from them".

And in "Hulyatu al Abdal" ( The adornment of the Abdal), on the subject of Silence ( Samt), he states:
"The state ( hal) that silence ensures for the " ones progressing on the Path" (al-salikun) is the preservation from irregularities; in the case of those who are the " close" ( al- Muqarabbun), it favors the intimate conversation/communion ( Munajat) in the intimacy of Lordship (Rububiat). Whoever observes silence in all his states and under all circumstances, his only conversation takes place with his Lord; for it is clear that absolute silence of the Soul is impossible for man; but when one detaches oneself from the conversation with others and turns to the conversation with one's Rabb, he becomes a "close" confidante who is well supported when he himself speaks: when he should speak after that, he does so with justice, for he speaks " according to Allah" ('anillah) as stated in the case of the Prophet (saws): "Nor does he say anything of his own desire (Surat al-Najm: 53:3)".
" The just word (Kalima) is the fruit of silence.....

Further on the subject from Ibn 'Arabi: