Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Important Reminder / Antidote to Our Self-Importance Delusion

As we run through this maze of life we often forget some simple but important matters. One such thing is the reminder about our self's non-importance. Sometime we become so blinded by our material and external achievements all of which are infinitely because God gave us, those configurations, those capacity, those opportunity, those special and unique arrangements made for us than any of our achievements, capability or deservingness. If we say we achieved this or we did that, truthfulness in that statement is infinitesimally small, in comparison to if we say God made this happen or God really did it through His incomparable configurations - that is far more close to truth.

This is also an explanation of the Scripture where God is addressing to His Messenger saying:

wa ma ramayta idh ramayta

And you threw not when you threw

walakinna Llaha

but (in reality) Allah Threw

~ The Qur'an 8:17

That is haqiqat, that is reality in real sense. When the Messenger threw something, those with external vision only can see only a human hand moving in air, but those with internal vision knows and can see the truth infinitely more closer to Truth that it is the Real Who alone is the true agency of any Movement, Transformation and Doing. That is 'la hawla wa la quwwata illa bi'Llah' - there is no power and transformation except by God.

When Jesus heals a blind or revive someone from dead state, it is the agency of the Real Who is in manifest play. When the staff of Moses part the Red Sea it is not the staff or Moses who is acting but the Real is again manifest in His Divine Action, which is the case always, forever and ever and in every moment.

But in our ordinary consciousness and specially in life in a godless society where higher consciousness and sense of sacredness is almost totally remove from our atmosphere we are increasingly trained to only stimulate and work with our external senses and as a result we are losing our touch with our inner vision, with our heart, our intuition and sense of sacredness. We continue to define our life with our salary, our social status and accumulated material stuff.

This creates a crisis within our self, both our external self and our internal self. The crisis that is cause by our falsely and continuously inflating our self-importance. In its extreme form it may turn subtly into narcissistic personality disorder which is caused by inflated sense of self-importance, self-fixation, an extreme preoccupation with one’s self. This is the greatest disaster for the spirit, for one's spirituality and any chance of attaining freedom from the slavery of the self.

So what is the antidote to our self-importance?

Antidote is in Remembering the Opposite

In this reality everything is created in opposite. Thus when we run into a situation, we must find its betterment in it's opposite. What is the opposite of self-importance? Lets try to think the symptoms of a person who is deluded by this attitude of self-importance. Lets try to observe what happens to a person who is so full of himself that he can't see beyond himself or herself. When a person is suffering from chronic self-importance, he seems to think of himself or herself as center of the world, right? Center of the cosmos even!

The opposite of this situation is to understand our insignificance in grand scale of things. In this elegant universe if we remind ourselves, the scale of our self, our achievement, our stuff, our plans, our bank balance in comparison to the grand scheme of things- even in the context of physical universe, perhaps that can be a starting point for it.

So lets remind ourselves our position in this physical universe as far as our eyes or our technology can see or detect. We hope that this may put us back into some kind of perspective which is not so full of self-importance, but leave us more humble, more thankful, more grateful and also bring us a consciousness of the grand.

Below are three short youtube videos which I recommend here for you to watch and ponder over as an antidote of our self-importance and a tool to remember our smallness. It is said that "if you lose one sense, your other senses are enhanced. That’s why people with no sense of humour have  an increased sense of self-importance." I hope that these two videos will also help bring back that self of humor when it comes to our delusion about our self-importance.

May Allah include us among those who are humble. meek and free from self-delusions. Ameen. Amen. So be it.

Finally a Reminder from the Final Revelation:

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.

Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Divine Wrath manifest as Fire.

Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire - You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.

Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], 'Believe in your Lord,' and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.

Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise."

And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed - I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah , and Allah has with Him the best reward."

~ The Quran 3:190-195

# Further:
* The Universe is Huge
* Re-evaluate your entire existence

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

I Bear Witness that Muhammad is the Divine Messenger





I bear witness

that Muhammad

is the Rasul of Allah,

the Divine Messenger.

He is the one of praiseworthy station, known in the celestial realm as Ahmad - the one who is praised, the Periklytos (Advocate, Helper), about whom Jesus Christ mentioned of the Paraclete's (Solicitor, Intercessor, Comforter, Advocate ) advent after Christ's return to the Lord. That Intercessor is Our Master Muhammad who will intercede on the Day of Judgment.

Sayydina wa Habibina wa Shafayina Muhammad - Our Master, Our Beloved and Our Intercessor O Muhammad Mustafa, the Beloved of Allah.

Our Master Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets and after whom no other new Prophet are to come except the second coming of Christ. Through the holy heart of Muhammad, the Last Divine Message as Qur'an is revealed to the mankind and final code and guidance delivered which is to remain pristine until the end of the world. Qur'an is the Final Testament of Truth, the Final Direct Divine Revelation sent not only to any tribes or groups but to all of mankind. It is the complete code for a just, peaceful, ethical, divine centered society for mankind.

It is Our Master Muhammad who is the kingly Prophet promised in the Old Testament who will execute both the roles as priest (Imam) and law giver as well as administrator or ruler.
Sayydina wa Habibina wa Shafayina Muhammad, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam.

What Does it Mean that We Bear Witness

I ask where did the true spirit of religion go? Religion has been reduced into lip service and an excuse for spiritual / religious arrogance / self-righteousness.

Every day five times from minerate of every Mosque the caller to prayer will call that "I Bear Witness there is One God and Muahmmad is God's Messenger."

Question has to be asked, are we true to that statement?

Are we true to the heavy truth and responsibility that comes with this witnessing that Muhammad is God's Messenger. Let alone non-Muslims but even Muslims don't realize what it calls for, what minimum they aught to observer even in their heart when they bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger.


We say "Muhammad is Rasul of Allah", we acknowledge that Muhammad conveyed and transmitted the Risala or Message. Now what message was that? What did this message commanded us to do?

It said, to accept Allah, One God as Lord and accepting Lord means accepting His Commands (Hukum), His Laws, His Code of Ethics, His Guidance. On top of that we pray everyday that may we be guided to the Path (Sirat al-Mustaqim) and yet our behavior and action is so anti-thesis of that.

Have we not betrayed our Rasul by throwing the Book of Allah at our back, by rejecting the Guidance and accepting the Laws of Man such as British Law, French Law and so on and so forth. Did we not purchase misguidance while throwing away the Furqan? Has not the Muslim become the new Bani Israel who again and again betrayed, broke covenant and rejected Guidance?

Allah said again and again that you are commanded to do only one thing, that is to take God as your Lord, and no other. Now Lordship demand that we follow His Command in totality and anything short means we are walking towards associating His Lordship by something, someone else, primarily with misguided men who follow their own desire and whims.

But we so badly forgot that we follow godless profit driven, oppressive systems when it comes to legality, economics, monetary system, social justice and you name it. We were told to follow what the Messenger brought us and we were given the Quran as the basis of the basis of our constitution. But have we not betrayed both Allah and His Messenger by rejecting it.

Not a single country except perhaps Iran has Quranic principals as guidance. Instead we have godless systems where we are outrightly disobeying God and His Messenger.

God said oppression is forbidden, but our monetary system is designed in such a way that the value of money reduce everyday. Its debt based system which itself is forbidden by God. Yet we allow this and the gap between rich and poor grows infinitely forever.

Allah and His Messenger said, Interest (Usury / Riba) is prohibited, our godless system says its acceptable. Our godless society and all its monetary system, creation of money out of thin air and debt based borrowing - all are dealing with Usury which is the single most toxic cause of human suffering in massive scale.

Allah and His Messenger said, none can be killed without justification such as case of murder, and our godless system mass murder people and continue to fund billions of dollars into manufacturing weapons, use massive amount of resources to sustain military while its population starves, are homeless, education is made extremely expensive.

Allah and His Messenger said, we must live a life of ethical conduct, uphold family values and we must love each other. The godless society says there is no place of ethics, family has no place.

Allah and His Messenger said, every single human being is free, we are only servant of God, not servant of anything less. All our godless society wants us to enslave us economically, intellectually and in every other means. Because of oppressive monetary system, every single human being is now converted into a slave of the system where every human being has to work much longer, get much less time for themselves and their family and organic relationship with blood relatives and loved one are destroyed because of this artificial crisis of time due to the toxic nature of our engagement with time.

Allah and His Messenger said live simply, humbly and do not squander your wealth. But godless society is designed upon waste, materialistic over consumerism.

Allah and His Messenger said do not cause corruption, pollution on earth and consume moderately and share more. Godless society corrupts in every way, gang rapes earth, its natural resources including water in massively disproportionate rate, hides its reality, poisons food, water and air.

Allah and His Messenger prohibited to accept as guardian (Wali) those who deny God, who deny Ultimate Accountability (Akhirah) and yet in our ignorance we have accepted these godless people who are run by their satanic impulses and beastly drive who knows nothing but profit, materialism and consumerism. It is them who run the show in the UN, World Bank, IMF and we follow like cattle and have them made into our guardian. It is their laws which govern our society, create endless suffering and oppression and bring havoc to life of ordinary people.

Allah and His Messenger asked us to follow the Qur'an and accept its guidance and yet we rejected it outright, reduced it into religious entertainment and show-business where as we have given free ticket to godless principles in various disguises that have no ethics, no divine principals as its core.

Allah and His Messenger prohibited unjust war, any form of aggression, prohibited the killing of innocents even in war situation, and yet in godless world satanic ritual sacrifice of innocent victims continue.

Allah and His Messenger prohibited injustice in any form, but in godless society we see the exact opposite. From our tax system to education to everything else we see massive injustice. Those who have money are given free pass to own all, be all and value of human beings are measured with money where as if someone don't have money they are treated as cockroaches even in the most affluent society in the world. Is our legal system modeled after British and European godless model just? Does our legal system modeled after British and European godless model deliver justice or does it do everything it can to ensure that those who have money run the show, get all whereas the poor are ripped off, hardly get any justice and often are victims?

All of the above and much more - all those issues of the world are already explained and given solution in the Quran and in the Way of the Messenger. The Quran calls itself as a Book that explains everything and it does. Human society may claim to have become so called modern but our base drive for profit, consumptions, greed and many other shadows actually never changes. Thus Quran should not be viewed as a Text that is 1400 years old, but should be analyzed as a living, breathing Divine Code that has solution for all human phenomena including inheritance law, social law, marriage law, human ethics necessary for peaceful coexistence of people etc.


Does our action reflect what we say? The answer is massively NO. It is we human beings who have rejected, killed, crucified our Messengers and Prophets when they came and spoke of love, justice, peace. It is we human being who have called our Messengers and Authentic Prophets as liars, poets, magician and rejected them outright.

Have we changed to anything better?

We are given the direct communication, we are warned that this is from God and never to associate anything with God by way of replacing God's commandment and law, by covering up truth and yet again and again like our past generations we have rejected and betrayed the Message.

So we dont really bear witnesss that Muhammad is the Divine Messenger. At best we are hypocrites and arrogantly ignorant who have no idea what it means. We have no idea who the Messenger was, what is His Message and how we have complete rejected every single aspect of his teachings.


12th Rabiul Awwal is commemorated mostly as the birth of the Messenger and also the day when he returned to his Lord. It is celebrated around the world. Some do not celebrate also on the argument that it may become another Christmas. But thats not the real point.

The real point is whether we qualify as his Ummah? If we have outrightly rejected his message, his vision, his ideals, his teachings, his guidance, his ways - then by what right can we claim to be his followers and moreover by what right can we expect that he will make intercession for us on the Day of Standing?

In fact in Islamic tradition it is said that there will be people who will pass by in front of the Messenger at the Fountain of Kawthar where he will distribute drinks to his followers, and he will recognize them as his followers by some outward sign, but those people will be dragged away from him and it will be informed that these people betrayed him while claiming to be his followers.

Unfortunately we have been betraying our Messenger for many hundreds of years now. We have embraced godless society, its tricks, have take Satan as our master where we hypocritically claim to be his followers. So our qualification is the qualification of munafiqs, don't you think?


The blessed Messenger informed us that when we see something evil, bad, unjust, we must protest by our hand, that is try to engage directly to stop it. If that is not possible then we must speak out, engage with our voice. If that is even not possible then lastly we must know that it is evil and repel it by our heart, that is engage with our heart. That is the weakest of faith, the sign of least faith.

Now we have arrived at such a crisis point that we don't even qualify for the least of faith. Our ignorance has enveloped us to such an extent that we do not realize that we have made halal into haram (eg. gold and silver to be currency) or we have made haram into halal (usury, interest, riba) and there are many many examples of such. Even within Muslim society we are perfectly comfortable with evil because we have outright rejected the Divine Commandment to guard against Evil and to take Satan as our archenemy. But in our godless society it is the Satan that rules from the top of every international organization, be it UN, IMF, WorldBank and you name it. It is their Satanic policy that claims itself to be Supreme where as we know that it is Allah who is Supreme.

It is man made law that is gets written and become supreme, it is man made constitutions that replace divine constitution and act as supreme. This is outright blasphemy and betrayal of the Message as well as the Messenger.


There is only one teaching in this Mawlid, that is to realize first our massive betrayal of the Message and Messenger and then to repent. To repel from our heart what is evil, almost all the mechanism of the godless so called secular world that replace love with lust, value with money, trade with usury. Unless we recognize what is evil, we will be continuously led to the slaughter house like cattles and we will follow as one who has ears but can not hear, has eyes but can not see and hearts but can not perceive.

No matter how many Salawat we send upon the Prophet, while we betray him, it means nothing. No matter how much we try to read his zahir life, while we reject his message, it means nothing.

So with sadness in our heart we pray that may Allah help us look, see, understand and repent our massive deficiency which led us to betray our Prophet. May Allah help us to understand who the Prophet was and what was his ways. With sadness with our heart, we can not celebrate Mawlid except by first understanding that we are still not worthy to be his Ummah, at least not with our present condition of heart and mind that knows not the difference between forces of darkness (tagut) and divine light (nur), between misguidance and guidance, between following the satan and obeying God.

O Allah we ask your forgiveness and we invoke your blessings upon our Master, may we truly follow him and make him our Master, may divine benediction and peace be upon his noble Soul.

Astaghfir Ya Rasul Allah
Astaghfir Ya Allah

We ask forgiveness to You O Messenger of Allah
We ask forgiveness to You O Allah

As Salatu as Salamu Alikum Ya Rasul Allah
As Salatu as Salamu Alaikum Ya Habib Allah
As Salatu as Salamu Alaikum Ya Khatam an-Nabi
As Salatu as Salamu Alaikum Ya Shafee al-mujrimeen
As Salatu as Salamu Alaikum Ya Rahmatallil Alameen.

We send Divine greetings of Peace to You O Noble Messenger of Allah
We send Divine greetings of Peace to You O Beloved One of Allah
We send Divine greetings of Peace to You O Seal of Prophets
We send Divine greetings of Peace to You O Intercessor of the sinners
We send Divine greetings of Peace to You O Grace of all that is.

Sadiq M. Alam
12th Rabiul Awwal 1436 AH

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What is the Secret of Happiness? Its Gratefulness that Makes you Happy


Among My Most Favorite List of TED Talks

Kindly allow me to introduce you to one of my most favorite of TED talks which is titled: Want to be Happy? Be Grateful. This 14 minutes long refreshing talk was given by benedictine monk and interfaith scholar Brother David Steindl-Rast, where he offers us a truly inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where we’re going, and above all, being grateful.

This talk is a beautiful testimony that help us understand why gratefulness is found at the heart of many religious and spiritual tradition, specially in Islam where the everyday prescribed prayer begins with the invocation of gratefulness epitomized in the Arabic word, "Alhamdulillah."

I quote here selectively what Brother David has said in the talk (full transcript here) and you can listen it in full (and I highly recommend it) from the link given later in this post.

It is GRATEFULNESS that makes us HAPPY

My topic is gratefulness. How is the connection between happiness and gratefulness? Many people would say, well, that's very easy. When you are happy, you are grateful. But think again. Is it really the happy people that are grateful?

We all know quite a number of people who have everything that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else or they want more of the same. And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy. They radiate happiness. You are surprised. Why? Because they are grateful. So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy. If you think it's happiness that makes you grateful, think again. It's gratefulness that makes you happy.

GRATEFULNESS happens when two things come together

What really do we mean by gratefulness? And how does it work? We all know from experience how it goes. We experience something that's valuable to us. Something is given to us that's valuable to us. And it's really given. These two things have to come together: It has to be something valuable, and it's a real gift. You haven't bought it. You haven't earned it. You haven't traded it in. You haven't worked for it. It's just given to you. And when these two things come together, something that's really valuable to me and I realize it's freely given, then gratefulness spontaneously rises in my heart, happiness spontaneously rises in my heart. That's how gratefulness happens.

And how can we live GRATEFULLY? 

By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment, as we say. It's a gift. You haven't earned it. You haven't brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you, and yet, that's the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains. If we didn't have this present moment, we wouldn't have any opportunity to do anything or experience anything, and this moment is a gift.

How to live Gratefully, moment by moment? 

How can each one of us find a method for living gratefully, not just once in a while being grateful, but moment by moment to be grateful. How can we do it? It's a very simple method. It's so simple that it's actually what we were told as children when we learned to cross the street. Stop. Look. Go. That's all. But how often do we stop? We rush through life. We don't stop. We miss the opportunity because we don't stop. We have to stop. We have to get quiet. And we have to build stop signs into our lives.

You can find whatever works best for you, but you need stop signs in your life. And when you stop, then the next thing is to look. You look. You open your eyes. You open your ears. You open your nose. You open all your senses for this wonderful richness that is given to us. There is no end to it, and that is what life is all about, to enjoy, to enjoy what is given to us.

And then we can also open our hearts, our hearts for the opportunities, for the opportunities also to help others, to make others happy, because nothing makes us more happy than when all of us are happy. And when we open our hearts to the opportunities, the opportunities invite us to do something, and that is the third. Stop, look, and then go, and really do something. And what we can do is whatever life offers to you in that present moment.

Some symptoms of living GRATEFULLY

If you're grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.

A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people, and joyful people, the more and more joyful people there are, the more and more we'll have a joyful world.

Selected from full transcript. You may click the image below to watch the full talk: Want to be Happy? Be Greateful, also full transcript can be read here.

Click the image to watch the talk

+ On Youtube: Want to be happy? Be grateful

In another TED talk titled Nature. Beauty. Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg, it is brother David who spoke the following on being grateful:

You think this is just another day in your life? It's not just another day. It's the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment, with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, and even with the weather, we don't think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather. This day, right now, has unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. That formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now. Open your eyes. Look at that.

So I wish you that you will open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you, and then it will really be a good day. (credit)


 The Reality and Wisdom of Gratefulness

This talk led me to think about the most simplest prayer that every Muslim pray, its a prayer to aspire to be grateful. When a Muslim say Alhamdulillahir Rabbil Alamin, they essentially say, "Thank you O Lord of All that is, Gratefully I praise Thee." That is also the practice of giving back thanks and our gratefulness to the source of all gifts.

If you look at the Lords prayer taught in Christianity, its also recognizing the gifts that is given to us and what is the natural response in recognizing the Giver of Gifts, is to adore, is to praise, and thats what Christ taught us also in the Lord's prayer - "Hallowed, Praised be Thy Name.." The asking for daily bread is a symbol of all gifts that sustain us. To be grateful we must find two things as brother David shared: to find valuable matter in life and to recognize that its a gift by the Giver of all gifts.

Finally we may discover the truth that all that God wants is that we be happy, thats why God taught in the Final Revelation a prayer that is a prayer to be deeply grateful, over and over again so that we can discover again and again the secret of happiness. Its what makes the Divine Heart happy is to see us happy. And how we can reach our happiness? its through gratefulness.
Alhamdulillah - I am Gratefully Thankful and Praise You O God for all the Gifts.

In the Last Testament, to be Grateful to God is in truth a Commandment to Humanity.

  faz kurunee azkurkum, washkuruli, wa la takfuroon

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. ~ Qur'an 2:152

The Holy Qur'an goes on to teach us that every gift is essentially is from God.

wa ma bi kum mi ni'mati faminaAllah

And whatever of blessings and favors you have (any and every gift that is), it is from Allah” ~ 16:53 

In takfuroo fa-inna Allaha ghaniyyunAAankum wala yarda liAAibadihi alkufra wa-intashkuroo yardahu lakum wala taziru waziratunwizra okhra thumma ila rabbikum marjiAAukumfayunabbi-okum bima kuntum taAAmaloona innahu AAaleemun bithati as-sudoor

If you are ungrateful, then surely God is Self-Sufficient above all need of you; and He does not like ungratefulness in His servants; and if you are grateful, He likes it in you; and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another; then to your Lord is your return, then will He inform you of what you did; surely He is Cognizant of what is within the hearts. ~ 39:7

And finally there is this Divine Promise that when we practice gratefulness, we are given more gifts.

in shakartum laazee dannakum, wala-in kafartum inna AAathabee lashadeed

If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [My Gifts]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe. ~ 14:7

Meet the Most Greateful Human Being

Any unbiased reading of Prophet Muhammad's life will help anyone to come to this understanding that his entire life was infused with tremendous gratefulness. The Prophet, who was sent to perfect best examples, blessings of peace and benediction be upon him, was ever grateful to God and he was very generous in expressing that gratefulness. In truth his name Muhammad means one who praise God is due to the reality that he always praised God out of his gratitude. He, the best of creation, was the most grateful human being who ever walked upon this earth who never failed to thank the giver of gifts for any gift from God, be it small or great.

He also taught others how to practice gratefulness. One day the Master of gratefulness took the hand of one of his companion Mu’aadh ibn Jabal and said: “O Mu’aadh, by Allah I love you, by Allah I love you.” Then he said, “I advise you, O Mu’aadh, do not fail to say this after every prayer: "O Allah help me to remember You, to be grateful to You and to worship You beautifully."

The original Arabic of this Hadith is the following:

Allahumma A’inni Ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika

O Allah help me to be upon Your Remembrance, Gratefulness and Beautiful Adoration of Thee.

May God help us to imbibe grateful in every moment we live our life and through gratefulness may we reach the station of perpetual happiness, and may God include us among those who are grateful to Him and for every gifts He sends our way. Ameen.

# Further:

* In How Many Places the Qur'an Mention About the Word Gratefulness? See Here
* Remember to Say 'Thank You'
* From the TED Blog: A non-cheesy guide to gratefulness: What to read and watch
* Secret of Happiness Explained

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

From Humbleness to Wonderment and then Fleeing to God

Some of the stations of the Wayfarer from Humbleness to Wonderment to Fleeing to God


"Has the time arrived for the faithful that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of God?" 57:16

Humbleness involves a holy fear that is accompanied by awareness and humility. It involves three things: altruism and endurance in one's spiritual transactions, humility in service, and modesty and reverence in the inner consciousness.

The signs of altruism and endurance in one's spiritual transactions are three: bad people are safe from the humble, good people are happy with the humble, and creation and created beings are free from any burden from the humble.

The signs of stability and presence in service are three: a sweet temper through which one does not complain of Providence, a contemplation of the intended goal so one does not become preoccupied with people, and an awareness of one's own faults and shortcomings.

The signs of modesty and reverence in the inner consciousness are three: being aware that God is close, being aware that one is far from Him, and knowing that God's test carries weight. This fear is the fear of the sincere.


From the field of Humbleness the field of Meekness is born. Meekness is living in accordance with one's need, learning to progress through humiliation, thus sowing the seed of glory in both worlds (this and the hereafter). God the Most High says, "All faces shall be humble before Him - the Living, the Self-Subsisting, the Eternal." (20:111)

Meekness is of three kinds: meekness in accepting God's command acting in accordance to His command, aiming to seek Reality through mindfulness, and finally, being aware and knowing that God knows one's inner consciousness. 

Meekness in accepting God's command has three signs: desire for knowledge, eagerness to perform prayers, and sharp perception. 

Meekness of aiming to seek the Reality has three signs: keeping silence, loving poverty and constant reflection.

Meekness of awareness is knowing that God knows one's inner consciousness and that has three indications: the sleep of the meek is the sleep of drowning man, their eating is like that of sick men and their enjoyment is like that of men thrown into prison. This is the way of those who are on the straight path.


From the field of Meekness the field of Humble Acquiescence is born. God, the Most High, says '[and good news to] those who humble themselves." (22:34).

Humble acquiescence testifies a delicate nature, tender heartedness and holy fearfulness. 

Humble acquiescence belongs to the man who has tasted the truth of sincerity, who forgives people and who is liberated from his own self. The signs of having tasted sincerity are threefold: firstly, being free from ay worry about one's provision and ceasing to strive (for a living) and the upkeep of one's affairs in the world. Secondly, being firm in constant service and immersing oneself in the spiritual moment, while being occupied in self-purification. Thirdly, taking care that oneself never harms the world and all its living creatures and people. This is the quality of the spiritually transformed apostles of God.


From the field of Humble Acquiescence the field of finding a Haven and taking refuge in God is born. Haven is living with God and being in union with Him. God, the Most High says, "Where are you going?" (81:26)

Finding a haven in God occurs when awe blends with loving-kindness. This is the station of those who are conjoined with God, and its signs are threefold: trusting in God and leaving aside secondary causes, serving one's attachments to the world through certitude in God, and annihilating one's own control over things through confidence in God.

Three things are the outcome of leaving aside secondary causes through trust in God: freedom from needing people, detesting people and desire for death.

And three things are the signs of severing one's attachments through certitude in God: freedom from reliance on deliberation and one's own plan, freedom from dependence on one's own judgment, and freedom from concerns about one's provision.

And the annihilation of one's own control over things through confidence in God comprises three things: the spiritual moment of those who are proximate to God, the breath of the gnostic, and the knowledge of the saints.

Hayrat (Wonderment) - a Digital Collage by Sadiq M. Alam


From the field of Haven the field of Wonderment arises. God, the Most High says, "And know that God knows what is in your hearts, and take heed of Him." (2:235)

Wonderment is a station of the pure ones, and the position of the supporters (awtad). Wonderment is a fear born of direct vision, while other fears are the result of what is reported (thus not direct knowledge).

Wonderment is marvelous bewilderment shining into the heart of a wayfarer like lightning; and if the breeze of intimacy does not accompany it, the soul cannot endure such light (and fear). And it mostly concern during ecstasy, as happened to Moses, may divine peace be with him, on Mount Sinai. Rather than occurring as something instructive or didactic, wonderment befalls one as a divine cognizance, and it leads to three kinds of result; the spiritual/ metaphysical moment becomes pleasing, one becomes lost from one's self, and one is liberated from desires and passion.

Wonderment that is the outcome of insight will end in wisdom; wonderment that is the outcome of reflection will end in intuitive discernment; and the wonderment that is the outcome of audition (sama) either kills the adept or else bereaves him of his senses and reason.

"The supreme application of human attention is to be a vessel to carry awe."
~ Etsko Schuitema


From the field of Wonderment the field of Fleeing to God is born. God the Most High says, "Hurry you then to God" (51:50).

Fleeing is taking refuge in the Lord, shutting tight in the door of separation (from God) behind one, and becoming free from the bondage of the two worlds.

Fleeing to the Lord has three signs: losing hope in the efficacy of one's own deeds (thus knowing that your actions are not your own savior), the second is questioning your sincerity (confessing that your sincerity is blameworthy), and finally, repenting from beholding one's own devotional worship with conceit.

And shutting tight the door of separation from God behind yourself has three signs: uniting all your strength and (thus becoming focused), the next is freeing yourself from your own contrivances and personal deliberations, and finally resigning oneself to obey God's command submissively.

And become free from the two worlds has three signs: one is limiting your concern to that which is most certain and assured over all other concerns, which is the fear of being separated from God. The second is limiting your striving for saving your moments over all other striving. And, finally is making the hope of beholding God your ultimate hope.


by Abdullah Ansari of Herat

translation by Nahid Angha

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Maqam, Murshid and Murid: Sufi Way Stations and Master-Disciple Relationships in Conference of the Birds

 by Noora Kamel

Farid ud-Din Attar’s Conference of the Birds is an allegorical poem elaborating on the nature of mystical experience and the stages on a wayfarer’s path to the Divine. Using an overarching story of the hoopoe bird of Solomon who convinces a host of other birds to undertake a spiritual journey, ‘Attar maps out the human weaknesses that must be overcome before such a quest, as well as the arduous obstacles one will need to overcome to reach the goal. At each step of the journey, ‘Attar uses countless smaller tales within the frame story to underscore the point being made; cautionary tales warn of the dangers of worldly attachment, while stories of lovers and their beloveds illustrate the relationship that should exist between seeker and God. The poem gives a detailed presentation of a number of elements of the Sufi experience.

The seven valleys of spiritual stages, or maqamat, in ‘Attar’s poem, skillfully describe the stages in Sufi doctrine of the tariqa, or pathway to God, while the hoopoe’s role as guide for the birds and the relationship between Shaykh Sam’an and his disciples elaborate on the nature of master-disciple relationships. ‘Attar’s description of the seven valleys can best be described as stages or maqamat on the path to the Divine. As Ernst notes, different Sufis gave a different number of maqamat on the path, ranging from four to over a hundred. The number usually depended on the number of the stages that the author himself passed through, and each had to be overcome before advancing to the next stage (Ernst, 1997, p.102-3).

‘Attar’s poem describes seven maqamat: Quest, Love, Insight into Mystery, Detachment, Unity, Bewilderment and Poverty and Nothingness, which correspond to some of the maqamat mentioned in other Sufi texts. For example, ‘Attar’s valley of Love corresponds to al-Kalabadhi’s descriptions of the Sufi doctrine of love. Both ‘Attar and al-Kalabadhi describe the station of love as one in which the seeker is consumed wholly by love. al-Kalabadhi notes that the feature of this state is that one will not have any attention to give to any other creature, rather, one’s focus will be wholly absorbed by God (trans. Arberry, 1935, p.103). Similarly, ‘Attar claims the lover “...knows of neither faith nor blasphemy... who has no time for doubt or certainty” (trans. Darbandi & Davis, 1984 p. 172).

Thus both authors suggest that reaching the maqam of love involves attaining a level of oblivion to all besides God. This is further exemplified in the stories associated with the Valley of Love in‘Attar’s poem. The man in love with a beer seller defines lover as one who will sell all he owns and do anything at all for the sake of being near the beloved (‘Attar, p. 173). Majnoun expresses a similar sentiment when he risks his life for the merest glimpse of Leili; this supports al-Kalabadhi’s description of the lover being someone who prefers the beloved to all else in existence (al-Kalabadhi, trans.Arberry, 1935, p.102). Another aspect of the Valley of Love is that it includes achieving a state of intoxification with God. al-Kalabadhi describes the Sufi doctrine of intoxification as that state in which the lover finds both wealth and poverty, good and bad, are equal in worthlessness in the face of overwhelming awareness of the beloved. In other words, all consciousness of the material world falls away and is solely focused on the object of love (Doctrines of the Sufis, al-Kalabadhi, trans Arberry, p.110-1). Thus, Majnoun’s consideration of the ragged sheepskin as being worth the same as a lavish cloak, and the both insignificant compared with love for Leili, exemplifies this. The idea that both pain and pleasure are of equal worth to the intoxicated is expressed in ‘Attar’s lines, “...poverty in love is like salt...It gives love taste; you can’t call that a fault” (trans. Darbandi & Davis, p. 175).

This matches al-Kalabadhi’s description of the state of intoxification as being one in which pain brings pleasure and is chosen over pleasure (al-Kalabadhi, trans. Arberry, p 110-1). Love is also an integral part of the next valley in ‘Attar’s seven, that of ma’rifa, or gnosis. Here ‘Attar continues the theme of the lover by recounting the stories of the sleeping lover and the wakeful lover. Sincere love is described as having the ability to unveil hidden secrets about God, should the lover remain steadfast in his love. However, ‘Attar differs in his order here from other Sufi orderings of the way stations on the path. For example, al-Qushayri puts Love after Gnosis, instead of before as ‘Attar does (Ernst p.104). For Ansari, the maqam of Love comes many stations before the attainment of Gnosis, which occurs just a few stations from the end of his long list (Ernst p. 105-6). Again, this illustrates the different nuances of mystical experience, underscoring that each person will take a different route to the Divine. ‘Attar himself states this in the Valley of Insight, saying that it is a place where “every pilgrim takes a different way...and different spirits different rules obey” (‘Attar, trns. Darbandi & Davis, p. 179).

‘Attar also suggests that some element of intoxication is present at this stage of the path, as intoxication will lead to a love that will open the doors of ma’rifa for the seeker (ibid. p. 183). This is also supported by Ibn Tufayl’s assertions about the nature of mystical experience, as put for in his introduction to Hayy ibn Yaqzan, that it is a highly individual and idiosyncratic experience that defies description in human words (Ibn Tufayl, trans Goodman, 2009, p.95-7) .

‘Attar’s Valley of Detachment corresponds in some ways with the Sufi doctrine of detachment elaborated on by al-Kalabadhi. al-Kalabadhi describes this stage as one in which all care of this world falls away, and one should act without any anticipation of reward or otherwise, but solely act for God. This detachment should even be carried to the point of becoming oblivious to one’s states as well. Thus everything in existence becomes worthless to oneself,

. Credit

* Al-Qushayri's Epistle On Sufism By Abu'l-Qasim al-Qushayri
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