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:

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