Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shaykh Ahmad al Rifai : Himma (Spiritual Aspiration)

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem.

"You are bound to die"


The secret of the Absolute Reality ( Haqiqa) is apparent, the banner of Divine Knowledge
(Ma'arifat) is raised and the door to the Divine Nexus(Wasl) is open. It is only that, you have become veiled from the vision (Ru'yat) of these noble values through your love of this world
(al-dunya) and your forgetfulness of death.

How amazing it is that, one who knows that he will die (one day) should forget death! How amazing it is that, one who knows that he will be leaving al-dunya should throw himself on it and spend his days loving it! How amazing it is that, one who knows that he will return to Allah should deviate from Him and turn towards anOther.!

By Allah ! this heedlessness of yours is a grave matter! There is no transformation or strength except through Allah the High, the Almighty !
( La Hawla wa la quwata illa bi-llahi al'alii al-azeem) .

Lies attract you, in the gardens of ignorance you meander and in matters of earnings you invent artful machinations, all the while you feel safe from (future) penalties as if you never read :
"Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?" ( Surat al- Mu'minoon 23 :115)
and you never heard :
"I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. No provisions do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me." ( Surat al-Dharyat 51:56-57).

He has guaranteed your provision yet you busy (yourselves) with its devices; while He has NOT guaranteed anyone of you Al-Jannah (Paradise), yet you act as if you were given the glad tidings thereof.

You have lost precious moments with fun and forgetfulness and passed the days with heedlessness and disobedience. Your jokes are the jokes of those who are assured they will have no (future) regrets and your fun is the fun of those who have not heard of the Day of Resurrection. It is as if you never looked at the graves and never got an instructive example from their
Where are your fathers and your ancestors who passed before you?
Where are those who have accumulated more possessions than you have ? And those who carried more ignorance than you do ?
Do you disbelieve in Allah? Or is it arrogance that you display towards Allah ?


Whosoever knows that his Self will be annihilated and knows that Allah alone is Everlasting, turns his Self away from al-Dunya. Allah Almighty has stated: " But unto him who stood in fear of his Sustainer's Presence, and held back his inner Self from base desires, Paradise will truly be the abode!"
( Surat al-Nazi'aat 79: 40-41).
He spoke to His Prophet ...and said: "Yet, verily, You are bound to die, [O Muhammad,] and, verily, they, too, are bound to die" ( Surat al-Zummar 39: 30).

Gather then your spiritual aspiration (Himma) in order to reach the lofty ranks of those who have preceded you, so that you do not fall under His statement :"Yet they were succeeded by generations [of people] who lost all [thought of prayer and followed [but] their own lusts; and these will, in time, meet with utter disillusion " ( Surat Maryam 19:59).

Knock on the Noble door with the hand of poverty and necessity, and approach Him from the door of humbleness and subservience; for there is no escape from my and your move towards the dwelling of the Afterlife and there is no way out of my descent and yours in the revolving graves.

" Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it" ( Surat al-Zalzalat 99:7-8).

And the one who shall be saved will be the one who dealt with Allah with his God-consciousness (Taqwa) and feared Him while still in this life.


From "al-Burhan Al-Mu'ayyid" (The Supportive Evidence)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Death by the Qur'an

Abu Ishaq al Ta'alabi, never known as a Mystic, rather a Shafe'i Qur'an commentator, a traditionalist and the author of a well-known edifying History of the Prophets, wrote a small book about 19 people, almost all from the early Islamic centuries ( 2nd-3rd centuries of Hijra) which were already significantly under the influence of asceticism, who were so affected by Qur'anic recitation that they died on the spot. Their behavior and their utterances make them recognizable as Sufis or at least as forerunner of the Sufis.

The places of these occurrences are most often Basra, Kufa or Nishapur which were centers of the ascetic movement of early Islam, and in the case of the first two cities, renowned for their masterly Qur'an recitators.

Of the 19 stories, most relate death as resulting from terror due to listening to Qur'anic verses describing the Day of Judgment or the torments of Hell. The 14th story is different:

"It is related that a relative of the Ummayad Governor Muhallab ibn abi Sufyan ( d.702) was on his way home to Basra after a business trip accompanied by 2 servants, a male and a female. While traveling by boat on the Tigris River, he saw a man dressed in ascetic clothes on the shore of the river. He felt compassion for him and invited him to travel on his boat. During the trip, the host offered the Ascetic food which the latter accepted only after long insistence.The host wanted to give further pleasure to his guest and asked his female servant to sing accompanied by the 'Oud. (a string instrument)

Following that, the host asked the ascetic: "Can you do anything so beautiful"? The ascetic answered:" Yes, I can. I can do something far more beautiful" and started reciting with a "beautiful voice"

from Surat al-Nisa' 4: 77-78
"Have you not turned your vision to those who were told to hold back their hands (from fight) but establish regular prayers and spend in regular charity? When (at length) the order for fighting was issued to them, behold! a section of them feared men as - or even more than - they should have feared Allah: They said: "Our Lord! Why have You ordered us to fight? Would You not Grant us respite to our (natural) term, near (enough)?"Say: "Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right: Never will you be dealt with unjustly in the very least! Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, though you should be in raised-up towers. And if a good thing visits them, they say, 'This is from God'; but if an evil thing visits them, they say, 'This is from you.' Say:'Everything is from God.' How is it with this people? They scarcely understand any tiding. "

At this, the host threw the goblet he held in his hand in the river and said: "I confess that, this is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. Is there anything else like it?"

The young man recited from Surat al-Kahf, 18: 29
 "Say, "The truth is from your Lord": Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass that will scald their faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!"

Those words left a deep impression in the heart of the host, he threw the pot in the water and broke the Oud, then asked: "Young man, do you have anything that could also make one feel happy?"

The ascetic recited from Surat al-Zummar 39: 53:
"Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful".

The host let out a loud cry and fell unconscious, by the time they reached him, Death had overtaken him. "

Translated from : Navid Kermani " Gott ist schön, Das ästhetische Erleben des Korans"-and–
al-Ta'alabi, Abu Ishaq Ahmad ibn Muhammad:" Kitab Mubarak yudhkar fihi qatla al Qur'an al-'Azim alladhina sami'u al-Qur'an wa matu bi sama'hi"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Umm al Kitab "The mother of the Book" : Surat al Raad: 13: 39

" Allah effaces and confirms what He wishes. With/By Him is the mother of the book"

The designation "Umm al Kitab" occurs three times in the Qur’an in Surat aal Imran 3:7, Surat al Raad13:39, Surat al Zukhruf 43:4

Imam Haqqi :
The Arabs call Umm (mother) anything that is a source from which other (things) flow continuously. For example, the brain is referred to as the mother of the head; Makka is referred to as mother of the cities (Umm al Qura)...This also means that it is its unchangeable origin.

Umm al Kitab is what Allah (swt) has written in the eternality before time/sempiternity (Azal); it is a knowledge originating from sempiternity (Azal) for eternity (Abad). Its existence is in Divine Perpetuity (Sarmadi), it is established in its own-essence/self (not contingent on any other knowledge), it encompasses everything with no addition or lack, everything in it is decreed in a specific measure.

Imam al-Razi adds to the above: There are 2 further sayings on this matter:

1.      Umm al Katab is the Preseved Tablet (al Lawh al Mahfouz) wherein all the events of the higher and lower Universes are fixed as stated by the Prophet (saaws): “ Allah was and nothing was with Him, then He created the Tablet and fixed in it the various states of everything in the creation until the occurrence of the Hour.”

2.      Umm al Kitab is the knowledge of Allah the most High, for He is all-Knowledgeable of all the knowledges of what is existent (Mawjood) and what is non-existent (Maa’doom). Even if the existent and the non-existent were to incur changes, the Knowledge of Allah of both does not change. That is what is referred to as Umm al-Kitab.

*  There is an implicit and at times explicit understanding that Umm al Kitab is the origin of all the scriptures.

** Furthermore the commentators speak of two Kitab (Book/record) in the Knowledge of Allah:
1.      The Book of the Knowledge of Allah
2.      The Book that is kept of the deeds of the slaves.

Imam Bukhari reported in the “Book of Qur’an Commentary” ( Kitab al-Tafsir) and so did others that Umm al Kitab is the designation of Surat al Fatiha, as it is the Opening of the Qur’an. Imam Suyuti adds to this that al Fatiha contains all the subsequent knowledge that will be explicated in the rest of the Qur’anic Chapters ( Surah).

And Allah knows best.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Obedience of Maryam : Surat aal-Imran 3:43

{ يٰمَرْيَمُ ٱقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ  }

"Ya maryamu oqnutee lirabbiki"

"O Maryam! "Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord""

The companion Ibn Abbas explicates Qunut as obedience.

While the companion Mujahed goes on further to the inner meaning of the word to state Qunut is "stillness (rukud) with humility (kushu')"

Al Shaykh al Hakeem al-Tirmidhi states:
In the case of Maryam, the inner Qunut is that she approaches Allah(swt) with her Heart, suppressing all the desires of her Nafs (self,ego), so that the Nafs does not move, becomes unruly, boils and envelops with its dark vapors the chest (sadr) which is the place of the Divine Illuminations (Ishraqat Ilahyat) . For it is not befitting that, when the Lord bestows the Illumination of the Light of His Supremacy in the chest of a slave that the slave neglect its guard and protection....if he does, the Illumination is withheld, veils descend
and the slave remains veiled as if empty from purification.

Maryam is commanded here to be CONSTANTLY in a state of Qunut and stillness so that her Heart faces constantly the Supremacy of Allah(swt) and so that she is maintained in perpetuity in the station of Praise of the Supremacy of the Jalal (the Exaltedness,Nobility,Glory).

Similarly, in the absolute last prayers of the evening ( witr), the invocation of Qunut starting with the Takbeer takes the slave beyond the prayers that have been decreed upon him, with their attended station of subjugation and humility, to the station of desire (rughba) and awe(ruhba) in the Hands of the Nobility and Generosity of the Lord-

Thus does the slave move between two stations....