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.