Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tasawwuf Lessons by Sheikh Ali Mustafa

Sheikh Ali Mustafa Seinpaal hails from Suriname, South America, a former Dutch Colony; from a Christian, religious family. Sheikh Mustafa embraced Islam in 1966. After meeting Maulana Dr. Fazlur-Rahman Ansari (r.a) in 1969 in Suriname, he went to study at the Aleemiyah Institute of Islamic Studies at Karachi.

Sheikh Mustafa graduated from the Aleemiyah Institute in 1974, the same year Dr. Ansari passed away. He obtained the Alim Degree: AD-DARAJAT AL-IJAZAH AL-ALIYAH.

Shaykh Ali Mustafa in his website has published a number of lessons on Tasawwuf or Sufic Science of Islam. The first lesson of Tasawwuf is quoted here and the successive lesson links are provided thereafter.

Lessons 1



AS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE IN US (OUR CAUSE), WE WILL SURELY GUIDE THEM TO OUR PATHS AND VERILY, ALLAH IS WITH THOSE WHO DO GOOD (MUHSINÛN).”

{It is the word of Allah, Qur’an 29: 69}

Tasawwuf is Spiritual Science or the science of Spirituality in Islam. It is the science of the Path to Allah. Tasawwuf is the science of conforming the Path of Islam through direct experience of the Real instead of through speech or learning from books. In fact, the Path of Islam is the Path to God-Allah. Tasawwuf is the essence of Islam and Religion. It is the basis and the proof of Religion. Without it, Religion is just dry dogma without any attraction, without any flavour.

A Definition Of Tasawwuf According To The Grandmasters: The First Is From SHAYKHUL-ISLAM ZAKARIYYAH AL-ANSARI R.A. He says:

Tasawwuf Is The Science That Outlines The Different Conditions Of The Purification Of The Selves, The Refinement Of Character, Rectifying The Outward And The Inward So As To Attain Everlasting Happiness.

The Second Is From: SHAYKH AHMAD ZARRUQ R.A.: He says:

Tasawwuf Is A Science Whose Objective Is Reformation/ Rectification Of The Hearts And To Single Out The Heart For The Remembrance Of Allah (And Its Dedication To Allah Alone).

The Third Is From: IBN KHALDUN R.A. He says:

Tasawwuf Is Dedication To Worship [Ibadah], Devoting Oneself To Allah; Turning Away From The Adornments Of The World And Abstaining From Enjoyments, Wealth And Status [Pomp].


It is therefore logical that Tasawwuf should be, as it is, as old as Religion. Just as Islam, meaning Submission to the Will of God, has always been the only Religion of God-Allah, so also its inner soul or reality, Tasawwuf, has always been.

The difference, however, between the Muslims of this last era and those of the previous times, is the finality of the teachings and Divine Revelation, which are given to this Ummah (Community of believers) and more than was given to those before. Yet the believers of earlier times will get their rewards.

As for the followers of so-called other Religions, they became other Religions due to distortions brought about in the original Scriptures by corrupt followers or loss of the original teachings through natural disasters.

The yearning for spirituality or the religious experience is a thing common to most human beings, not only those who believe in, or know about religion, but even those who are classified as primitive or their religion as unrevealed. This is natural and universal, because all humans have an inbuilt spiritual nature. One universal proof of this is the reality of dreams.

True spirituality to the highest degree can be found only in pure Islam. The key to that reality is the holy Prophet Muhammad (Sollallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). He is the soul of the universe and the Qur’an is witness to the fact that he alone, of all human beings, was invited by the Almighty Creator: Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala) to observe and witness divine truths about God-Allah and the spiritual world.

Allah Almighty says in His Glorious Qur’an, Surah Talaaq (65), verse: 3:


“… AND WHOEVER RELIES ON [PUTS HIS TRUST IN] ALLAH, THEN HE WILL SUFFICE {IS ENOUGH FOR} HIM. VERILY, ALLAH WILL ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE. VERILY, ALLAH HAS SET A MEASURE FOR EVERYTHING”

The reality thereof is confidence and calmness in the heart and the realization that the sustenance of your physical body is from Allah alone. It is not from anyone other than Allah, nor by any of the debris of this world nor by any other cause. The sun that shines on us every day is a living testimony and proof of this, as no one makes the sun shine and no one has or could have put into the multifarious rays of the sun their diverse qualities, except Allah. That particular ray of the sun, which causes the photo-synthesis in the green leaves of plants, is the nourishment of all life on earth.

What will help us towards understanding this is to remember that Allah guarantees us provision, and that His knowledge and power are perfect; that He is other than creation and far removed from forgetfulness and incapacity. To obey Allah while trusting Him is to abandon all sense of practical limitations, and to embark on the achievement of what Allah has ordered us to do. We obey Him not according to our opinions, but we obey Him according to His Command. We abandon the idea of being practical and we enter into the swift way of being obedient. Obedience only takes place with understanding.

Tasawwuf is the light and the heart of the Deen, and without it our understanding of the Shari’at would be superficial. Tasawwuf enhances our possibilities because it gives wisdom and light to every situation in life. It enlightens us in difficulties and guides us in ease. Tasawwuf is incompatible with being a passive, docile consumer in this society with social evenings and weekends. Rather, Tasawwuf is the transformation of the heart so that one may realize that one is in charge of the Dunya (this world), and the Dunya is not in charge of us. It allows us to understand and realize that what Allah has ordered is possible, and it shows us the path to achieve our highest goals for the sake of Allah. Tasawwuf also allows us to understand that the deeds of the heart are more powerful than the deeds of the limbs.

Tasawwuf renders all other sciences subject to the highest knowledge which is: LA ILAHA ILLALLAH [=There Is None Worthy Of Adoration Except Allah Alone]. With Tasawwuf we realize that knowledge of Allah is above every other knowledge. Tasawwuf allows us to realize that there is no power save by Allah, [Laa Hawla Wa Laa Quwwata Illaa Billah]. Those who are touched by this knowledge become different people and to them there are no barriers and no fears besides Allah. If these are the people you want to be, then Tasawwuf is for you.

(end of lesson one)


If you're interested you may read the successive lessons from the following link:

Lessons 2


Lessons 3


Lessons 5


Lessons 6


Lessons 7


Lessons 10


+ Access All Available Lessons Online


 



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Saturday, October 18, 2014

the attributes of the lovers




Allah the Most Glorious, at one stage during The Ascension (Me’raj) informed the Prophet (s) the following:


"As for the happy way of living, it is that in which the person is not tired of remembering Me, does not forget My bounties, and does not ignore My rights (on him). He seeks My pleasure day and night. The ever-lasting life is realized when the person works for his spiritual benefit until the world loses its significance for him, and looks small in his eyes. The hereafter becomes great for him.

He gives preference to My pleasure over his own desire; seeks My pleasures; thinks the right of My great bounty; keeps in mind what I have done for him (i.e. for his benefit); remembers Me day and night whenever he is tempted to commit any wrong or sin; keeps his heart clean from that I dislike; hates Shaytan and his whisperings, and does not let Shaytan establish a hold over, or a passage to his heart.

When he acts like this, then I put (My) love into his heart, until I make his heart, as well as his leisure and engagement, and his thought and speech, a part of (My) favors which I have bestowed on those of (My) Creations who love Me; and I open his heart’s eye and ear, so that he hears with his heart and looks with his heart to My Majesty and Greatness; and I make the world straitened for him and make him hate it with all its pleasures; and I caution him of the world and all that it contains, as a shepherd protects his sheep from dangerous pasture lands.

When this happens, he flees from people and transfers from the house of termination to the abode of eternity, and from the house of Shaytan to The Seat of The Beneficent Allah. O’ Ahmad! I adorn him with dignity and majesty. So, this is the good way of living and the eternal life, and it is the status of those who are pleased (with Me).

So, whosoever acts for My pleasure, I give him three characteristics: I teach him gratitude, which is not polluted by ignorance, remembrance, that is unadulterated with forgetfulness, and love that takes preference over the love of creatures. Then when he loves Me, I love him and I open the eye of his heart to My Majesty. I do not keep (My) special beings hidden from him. I converse with him secretly in the dark of night and the light of day, until he ceases talking with and sitting with the creatures.




I make him hear My talk and the speech of My Angels. I make My secret known to him, which I have kept hidden from all (My) creation. I dress him in modesty, until all the creation is awed of him. He walks on the earth (and all his sins are) forgiven. I make his heart hearing and seeing, and I do not hide from him anything of The Garden or the Fire. I make known to him the terror and afflictions awaiting the people on The Day of Resurrection, and about the things I will question the rich and the poor, as well as the learned and the ignorant.

I will make him sleep (in peace) in his grave, and I will send Munkar and Nakeer to question him. He will not experience the sorrow of death, or the fright of the prelude (of the next world). Then I will erect his weighing scale for him, and will unroll his book (of deeds). I will then put his book in his right hand and he shall read it unfolded. Then I will not keep any interpreter between Me and him.

So these are the attributes of the lovers. 

O’ Ahmad! Make your concern one concern, make your tongue one tongue, and make your body (i.e. your person) alive that is never oblivious (of Me). Whoever is oblivious of Me, I do not care in which valley he perishes."


~ Al-Taba Tabai (RA) in his book, al-Mizan Volume Two, discusses the way of living that is happier and the life that is more durable. In this narration, al-Daylami narrates in his al-Irshad

Quoted from the Book - Strategies for Concentrating In Prayer | You may Download it as PDF here.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Healing with the 99 Divine Names - Self Healing Tips for Any Day


Healing comes


when we choose

to walk away

from darkness

and move towards
a brighter light.


~ Dieter F Uchtdorf


In the Name of the Real Owner of All Sublime Names in the Heavens and the Earth


In a very enigmatic Sign of the Quran, Allah the Most Sublime Majesty is transmitting to us, "All that are in the heavens and on the earth entreat Him (in their needs). Every (moment of every) day, He is in a new manifestation (with all His Attributes and Names as the Divine Being). ~ The Quran 55:29"

Drawing on that hint that the Real is manifesting ever renewed in every moment and in understanding of the spiritual reality, great mystic, Mevlana Rumi said, "the spirit beholds a new world in every moment."

This being human is a great adventure in which we are given the honor of experiencing a new world, birth of a new cosmos (which is our-selves) in every new day and not only every new day, but every new moment. If we mindfully contemplate this truth that no two moments that make what we are, are the same, every single moment in every single day is exclusively unique in its manifestation - we may come to appreciate this reality. And if we can carry that consciousness we may move towards making the moments in our life more meaningful, more lively, more full of freshness.

"Stop acting so small. 
You are the universe in ecstatic motion."  
~ Mevlana Rumi

Now in actuality, most of us don't live with that consciousness in most of our time. Specially if you are an ordinary person like me who have a job to go to, a family to take care, have society to mingle with, have traffic to pass through, have emotional ups and downs - then we are not living in the original state of deep peace and complete contentment in all our moments, in all of days of our existential life.

Lets face it. People suffer and we suffer 100% of the time because of our lack of wisdom and application of what we already know, the experiences that life teach. People have all sorts of imbalances including emotional imbalances.

Now there are great wisdom of healing given to mankind through which he/she can heal himself/herself in any of such times of suffering, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. Biological bodies are created by God with capacity to self heal itself. Birds, fishes, animals don't go to doctors, they heal by itself through God's grace and enabling, same is the reality for man. All of the bodily mechanism has already in built capacity to self-heal. We humans often block that capability by our ignorance or by perpetuating our wound.

Jesus Christ, upon him be peace, was among the Messengers of God, the archetype healer so to speak. Allah enriched him with the gift of healing as a Sign of Christ's authority and a witness to his truthful claim of his messengership. The tradition of such powerful healing which is oriented towards divine energy and prophetic methods continues to survive in our day and Sufi Healing carries that line of prophetic healing in our contemporary time.

Let me share here a great healing tip by one of the leading sufi healer in present time. By the enabling of Allah, may this tip be useful to you. 
 

May your hand be a reflector of the healing energy of Allah, the Only Healer



Here is a useful self healing tip you can use every day!

Start with identifying the emotion you are feeling (ie anger, loneliness etc).
Track that emotion to a location in your body (usually a place we are experiencing pain or discomfort).
Put your right hand on that location and pray one of the 99 Qualities of God (keep your qualities books handy) that is the opposite of the emotion you are feeling until the emotion and pain go away.

If you do not know what quality to use pray for help and that one be shown to you.

Blessings to all of you!

~ Ibrahim Jaffe. MD (credit)






Note:

+ Click here to see a list of 99 Names of Allah

The Divine Names are the pointer to Divine Attributes and Qualities, the reflection of which is found everywhere including within us. If you study them carefully you will notice that there are some Names which are indicative of Divine Beauty (Jamal), others are indicative of Divine Majesty (Jalal) while rest are pointer to Transcendent Attributes. But all names are the Names of Perfection, of the Absolute.

In the context of healing, here are few examples. If you are feeling restless and without peace, then look for the Divine Name which is opposite of it - namely Peace. The Divine Name is as-Salaam - the Source of Peace and Wholeness and Well-Being.

So in this healing, its important to identify the actual emotion. This is an important step where healing begins, because anything that goes on within you, begs for acknowledgement. Once we acknowledge it by our intention of identifying it, this itself will be our first step towards healing light.

Secondly you may find out that instead of restlessness, you're actually feeling insecure. Then look for the Name of Allah which is opposite of insecurity, namely Security. The Divine Name in this context is al-Muhaymin, The Bestower of Security,  The Safeguarder. Also similar is the Name al-Mu'min which means The Remover of Fear, The Giver of Tranquility, The Source of Faith. So in this case you have to be mindful and fine-tune accordingly as which Name corresponds more accurately in terms of its Quality.

A third example should suffice here. Say you are feeling fearful about your sustenance, a sense of insecurity regarding your income is engulfing you, you are seeing no hope for your financial security - that means most of this is about your sustenance, your earning, job etc. So the most suitable healing Quality here can be ar-Razzâq - The Provider,  The Providence,  The Supplier,  The Bestower of Sustenance. So if one recite this name with the understanding and certainty that it is God alone who Provides (given that we strive within our capacity) and it is the Same God Who provide for those who don't store their food, namely countless animals and other living creatures on earth, on sea can and will also provide for him/her, this certainty in heart is a powerful energy to heal and wash away the fear, uncertainty and doubt. So with that certainly if one proceed one may come out of his/her unwholesome state and walk towards light of healing and then receive enabling from Allah to fulfill the needs and nourishment of his/her life.

+ Click here to see a list of 99 Names of Allah

+ Download a Recitation of the Beauteous Names of the Divine (as mp3)


About Ibrahm Jaffe, MD.


Ibrahim Jaffe, MD is the current President of University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism (USHS). You may connect with him via his Facebook Page.









"The University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism is a spiritual university that opens her doors to all people who are searching for the truth through the way of God, to all people who love truth and justice, to all people who want to carry the spirit of God, to all those people who love God regardless of their religion or beliefs. This University teaches only divine knowledge that leads to happiness, love and peace." ~ Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal, Spiritual Guide of USHS



# Further:
+ Visit University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism
+ Facebook Page of USHS
+ Books by Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal
+ Spiritual Healing in the Sufi Tradition
+ Modern age's tendency of inventing false disease and spiritual cure for insomnia
+ Ephphatha - Healing of Christ and Sufi Invocation
+ The Importance of Knowing Allah's Names
+ Spiritual Energy Healing in the Sufi Way
+ Spiritual Healing in Islamic Sufi Tradition
+ To heal is to become one with the Deep Love of God

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Tomae Notun Korey Pabo Boley - Only to Find You Again and Again



And I, the Divine Creator, did not create the beings of other dimensions and mankind except to worship Me. ~ The Quran 51:56

To serve or to worship any being, one first need to know or recognize that being. Gnosis (marifa) is a prerequisite to serve God. Thus a positive interpretation of the above verse is that God created man to first recognize God and then to serve / worship God. Otherwise that service is incomplete or has not reached ihsan or station of excellence.

Every action of man has its highest fulfillment when that action is for the Lord (fi sabilillah), the Most Sublime, the Most Glorious. God declares that "I have created everything in the creation for you O Man, but I have created you for Myself." Thus every possible expression when expressed for the glorification of the Supreme Lord - that expression achieves its excellence (ihsan). The Revelations tell us that Man's purpose of creation is to worship the Creator because without that duality of a worshiper and the One Who is Worshiped, everything would collapse in the ultimate singularity (when God alone existed in preeternity and there was nothing else beside God) and it was Divine Will that God - 'the Hidden Treasure' was to be known through the creation. Then God manifested time which is an attribute of Himself and in that time He brought forth the creation.

Now human activity are of infinite variety. Like infinity is an attribute of God, He also stamped that upon the infinite actions of human being. Diversity in creation know no limits. Singing is one such action that came into manifestation among various other human activity when man was touched deeply by certain state of his heart, when man was exploding in joy, when man (or woman) was exceedingly happy and couldn't contain that happiness except through producing melodious sound and words. The birds sing spontaneously - so perhaps did man in prehistoric period.

The best of songs are those which is sung in remembrance of the Most High. The best songs are those that bring the remembrance of the One in our heart and elevate it towards the Intimacy of the Divine Presence.  There are certain lyrics which are so precise in its arrangement of words that they can express volumes of realizations and spiritual wisdom. These songs can work as key to unlock the heart towards greater realization. These songs have the potential to transport the listener to certain states of heart which otherwise would be impossible to reach in such short period of time.

In this post I would like to introduce the readers with one such song. Its a Tagore song, which mean the lyric, the composition and notation all were done by Rabindranath Tagore himself, a man of excellent talent and who rejected idols and believed in the oneness of God. The Tagore family was influential in reintroducing the Oneness teaching of Vedanta among the Hindu Indians through Brahmo Samaj.

The song is titled, "Tomae Notun Korey Pabo Boley" - which roughly translate as, "Because I am to Find You again." This song actually belongs to the Puja phase which means it was a song dedicated to the Divine and the subject matter is devotion to the Lord Most High.

You may listen to this song via various artists on youtube such as: Rezwana Chowdhury Banna, Kanika, Swagata Lakshmi Dasgupta, Vikram Singh, Indrani Sen, Sahana Debi, Supriti Sen etc.

This song beautifully illustrate playful mysteries of the God Who plays hide and seek from the devotee. Allah is at the same time Zahir (Manifest) and Batin (Hidden) which is a hint of that playful mystery. Huwa az-Zahir wa al-Batin says the Quran. Below is the translation of the lyrics and their corresponding translation and meaning from a Sufic perspective.




Original Lyric in Bangla:

তোমায় নতুন করেই পাব বলে হারাই ক্ষণে ক্ষণ
ও মোর ভালোবাসার ধন।

Transliteration in English:

Tomay notun korey pabo boley harai khoney khon
O mor bhalobashar dhon

Translation in English:

Only to find You ever renew
I keep losing You time and again
O my precious treasure of love.


Explanation: In the sacred Tradition of Islam we find that - Allah the Most High said, ‘I Am as My servant thinks or expects I Am.' This tradition encourage the faithful to always have a lofty, hopeful expectation of the Lord Who has power over all things and Who encompass everything with His boundless mercy. Also among the many attribute and facets of the Divine, the above tradition encourage the devotee to call God by the Most Beautiful of His Names and one of the most beautiful of this name is al-Wadud, the Beloved, the Source of Love. The lovers of God love to expect and think of God as the Beloved and as Allah promises that He is as the servant thinks or expects Him to be, so those who expect Him, call Him as the Beloved, as Wali, their Most Dear One, as al-Wadud, the Supreme Beloved - for them His Manifestation is also through Love.

In this opening lines, the poet is addressing God as the precious and treasured Beloved and also introduces his realization of an important paradox in reality. Lost to be Found is that paradox. A seeker of God loses the sight of God every now and then and the poet tells us that this so that the seeker can discover and re-discover God again and again. This is His Mercy that He become lost from the seeker only to be found again and again.


দেখা দেবে বলে তুমি হও যে অদর্শন,
ও মোর ভালোবাসার ধন॥

Dekha debe boley tumi hou je odorshon
O mor bhalobashar dhon


You become Unseen
 Only to show Your Glorious Self
O precious Love of mine


Explanation: On seeing God the sacred tradition of Islam transmits the following:

Some faces that Day shall be radiant,
Looking at their Lord.
~ The Quran 75:22-23

He – sallallahu alayhi wa sallam – also said: ”You will see your Lord with your eyes.“ [Sahih Bukhari]

”On the day of rising you will see your Lord as you see this (moon). " [Sahih Bukhari]

The Prophet –sallallahu alayhi wa sallam- said, ”Do you dispute with one another about seeing the moon on the night of the full moon?“ They said: “No, Messenger of Allah.”
He asked: ”Do you dispute with one another about seeing the sun when there are no clouds?“ They answered: “No, Messenger of Allah.” He said: ”You will see Him like that.“ [Sahih al Bukhari]

The people of Jannah will see their Lord, and it is from the greatest favors for the people of Paradise.

So there is this Divine Play where God Make Himself Unseen in this world only to Unveil His Glorious Self, the Divine Self Disclosure on the Day of Judgment and beyond. In these two lines of the song the poet speaks of this Divine action that Allah remains Unseen only to make Himself Seen.


ওগো তুমি আমার নও আড়ালের, তুমি আমার চিরকালের--
ক্ষণকালের লীলার স্রোতে হও যে নিমগন,
ও মোর ভালোবাসার ধন॥

Ogo Tumi amar nou araler, Tumi amar chirolkaler -
Khonokaler leelar shrotey hou je nimogon,
O mor bhalobashar dhon 


O Dear You are not veiled;  You are my eternal one
plunging into the currents of Your Divine manifestation
O loving treasure of mine


Quran remind us about the Divine Intimacy Who is Qareeb (Near). "And when My servants ask, concerning Me - indeed I Am Near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me." (The Quran 2:186)

Wa huwa ma'kum, aynama kuntum.  and He is with you wherever you are. (57:4) So in the light of these two  beautiful Quranic verse the above segment of the lyrics can be more intimately clear to the audience that this nearness, this eternal companionship is for the One who is more near to man than man to himself. "and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein." (50:16)


আমি তোমায় যখন খুঁজে ফিরি ভয়ে কাঁপে মন--
প্রেমে আমার ঢেউ লাগে তখন।

Ami tomae jokhon khuje firi bhoye kanpe mon -
Preme amar dheu lagey tokhon


When I seek You, my heart trembles in apprehension
Waves burst upon my adoration


Mevlana Rumi said “God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.” The more the beloved is dear, the more careful must the lover become as not to displease the beloved. Every single matter that is important to the beloved becomes important to the lover out of fear lest he/she become hurt or displeased. So when divine love occupy the heart, a divine apprehension or fear will take root. This fear is a natural outcome of love, not ordinary fear in negative sense. This fear is from the delicate care for the beloved.

It is said that the believer must have two wings to fly, one is fear of God and another is to have high hope on God. Both are necessary. In the latest verses the poet acknowledge the fear which trembles his heart while seeking God. This is a sincere seeker who seeks and when He come to know the Majesty of the Supreme One, one can not remain calm but tremble in fear lest the we become unworthy of His Love. This fear unsettle the state of the heart which is so full to the brim with divine adoration and love.


তোমার শেষ নাহি, তাই শূন্য সেজে শেষ করে দাও আপনাকে যে,
ওই হাসিরে দেয় ধুয়ে মোর বিরহের রোদন,
ও মোর ভালোবাসার ধন॥

Tomar shesh nahi, tai shunno shejey shesh korey dao apnakeje,
Oi hashire dey dhuye mor biroher rodon,
O mor bhalobashar dhon

Having no end, You disguise as nothingness
My euphoria is washed away by the pain of separation
O precious beloved of mine!


These ending lines are most marvelous. The translation can not do enough justice to the beautiful precision in which Tagore expresses these lines. It is such a beautiful marvel of the Divine Reality which even though pervades and encompasses all having no beginning and no end, Huwa al-Awwal wa al-Akhir, and yet It disguises itself into the Grand Nothingness, the Ultimate Void, Sunnyata as it is said in Easter Traditions. And this veiling into the nothingness brings pain for those who long for God, those who love God.



May Allah help us recognize Him, know Him by Him and through Him with His Help for there is no power and transformation except through His. La hawla wa la quwwata illa biLlah. None can encompass any knowledge of God except what God grants. So we pray that Allah enable us to understand Him, to know Him as He aught to be known and adore Him as He aught to be adored. La ilaha illaAllah.



// Sadiq M. Alam
// BUET Quarters, Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Temporary Autonomous Zone to Permanent Autonomous Zone and Surah al-Kahf

an imaginal portrait of the companions of the cave

 According to contemporary Islamic Scholar and expert in Islamic Eschatology Sheikh Imran Hosein, Surah al-Kahf, the 18th Chapter of the Quran is the quintessential Chapter to access the sacred knowledge of the later days or last age. This subject is known as 'Ilmu Akhir al-Zaman.

While reflecting on the 18th Chapter of the Final Testament, the Qur'an called al-Kahf or the Cave, it becomes clear that there both the Temporary Autonomous Zone and Permanent Autonomous Zone are to be discovered in that brilliant and mystical chapter of the Qur'an.


WHAT ARE TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE & PERMANENT AUTONOMOUS ZONE


The term Temporary Autonomous Zone (T.A.Z), and the concept was first used in his book by writer and philosopher Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson). It is a concept of temporary spaces that elude formal and wordly structures of control which eventually has become synonymous with corruption, delusion, oppressive power and hagemony than anything else. It is to create a non-hierarchical system (in exact opposite to how the worldly power is obsessed with) and to concentrate on the present and on releasing one's own mind from the controlling mechanisms that have been imposed on it.

While this is the classic concept of T.A.Z but in Islamic point of view Temporary Autonomous Zone is something much more Deenic (religious & spiritual way of life) oriented as well as practically implemented. An archetypal example of such Temporary Autonomous Zone is to be found in the Chapter of the Cave of the Last Testament.

The City State of Median - that very early community of Muslims fleeing persecution was a successful Temporary Autonomous Zone to begin with, and the best example already established on earth by the Last Prophet himself as its founder, administrator, chief executive, law-giver and spiritual and religious guide at the same time. Thousand of salutation and divine blessings be upon him.


Surah Kahf speaks of two kind of Autonomous Zone, here Autonomous with capital A represent Autonomy of the Most High, the Divine Authority, not any fake authority.


THE QUINTESSENTIAL SURAH OF LATER AGE


Surah al-Kahf is identified perhaps as the most important Surah to understand the emerging phenomena of the later age. The surah itself was revealed to the Last Prophet when the pagan Arabs asked the Jews living in Medina about signs that could enable them to recognize his claim to be a Prophet of God. Since the Children of Israel or the Israelites always had a Prophet among them for very long time, they knew the exact signs, the hidden knowledge that a Prophet must possess in order to prove his claim. So the Surah contains subject matter which none could know except a Prophet of God who had direct revelational link with the Unseen world. The Jews of Medina very carefully asked questions which themselves were wrapped in multiple layer of meanings so that their true intention was camouflaged. Never the less revelation came down and those questions were answered. For detail of this background please read Sheikh Imran's book Surah al-Kahf and the Modern Age

The subject matter of the Surah covers story of the companions of the cave (18:9), the travel of a myterious historical figure who is known as Dhul Qarnain (18:83) or one who has impact in two ages and Khidr or the mysterious companion of Moses who is the archetype of a being who is guided by inner vision (18:65), not simply external observation. The Surah also hints what strategy to take when society become utterly corrupt in every sense. The story of the companions of the cave also carry encoded hints for multi-dimensionality of time dimension and the reality of a ten dimensional universe in which we live in.

The Surah provide hints what it will mean to associate with God and remind that Authority (18:44) and Legislation belongs to God (18:26), not with man. When man follow his base desires and limited understanding, he is bound to go astray when governing himself and society through man made law devoid of Guidance from the Highest Authority.

The Surah also speaks of a comparison between two person, one who was given much wealth which caused him to forget true reality and eventually he became among those who have gone astray. His ungrateful attitude was, "I do not think that this (wealth, material possessions) will perish - ever. And I do not think the Hour will occur. And even if I should be brought back to my Lord, I will surely find better than this as a return." (18:35-36) This is the reality of the materialists of today and every age. They become permanently obsessed with impermanent world and its material glitters. For them a parable is present of the present life with the easily understood parable of rain, earth's vegetation and its becoming dry and scattered by wind (18:45). Even theology is distorted to the degree that it makes people falsely believe that they can do anything in life, violate and abuse every Law and will not be help accountable by the Most Accountable God. Western Christian theology has removed itself infinitely far from teachings of Christ and the original Church (18:4).

While revealing about Dhul Qarnain, the Surah also reveals about God and Magog who are the greatest corrupter and mischief maker on the face of the earth before the end of history. Gog and Magog are signs of the last age as well.

One of the primary agency of disbelief in the Later age will not be worship of idols like past, but taking others as allies and lords - in terms of law, governance, politics and so forth (18:102).


MERITS OF SURAH AL-KAHF


The prophetic tradition mentions a number of merits and links it with the later age.


“Narrated by Abū Sa’īd: The Prophet said: If anyone recites Sūrah al-Kahf on Yoūm al-Jum’ah (i.e., ‘Friday’ of the pagan world), a light will shine brightly for him till the next Jum’ah.”

“Abu Sa’īd al-Khudri reports that the Prophet said: Whoever recites Sūrah al-Kahf on Jumu’ah will have illumination from the light (of the Sūrah) from one Jum’ah to the next.”

“Ibn ‘Umar reports that the Prophet said: Whoever recites Sūrah al-Kahf on Jumu’ah will be blessed with a light that will rise from underneath his feet to the peak of the sky. This will be a light for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be forgiven for what is between the Jumu’ah, i.e., or the day of the congregational prayers [and the next] Jumu’ah. “

Abū Darda reported that Allah’s Messenger said, “If anyone memorizes the first ten verses of Sūrah al-Kahf, he would be protected from Anti-Christ (Dajjāl).”

Anti-Christ or Dajjal is one of the biggest sign of the later age, and the Prophet's mentioning that this Surah works as a protection against the Dajjal is quite significant because those who can receive light from the Lord Most High will be able to read between the lines and formulate and be guided to certain strategy so that they will be protected from the illusions, charm, magic and falsehood of Dajjal in these massively trying period in human history.


THE TWO AUTONOMOUS ZONES



So in this Surah we find there are two autonomous zone, one made autonomous by the Highest Authority in the Highest Place and the other need to be created by his deputy on earth, by His help indeed.



Permanent Autonomous Zone



This is described in this particular Surah as the following:

...give good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a good reward in which they will remain forever. 18:2-3

Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds. Those will have gardens of perpetual residence; beneath them rivers will flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting abode. 18:30-31


Temporary Autonomous Zone


Behold, the youths betook themselves to the Cave: they said, "Our Lord! bestow on us Mercy from Thyself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way!" 18:10

Then We draw (a veil) over their ears, for a number of years, in the Cave. 18:11

And they remained in their cave for three hundred years and exceeded by nine. 18:25



The cave of Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, modern day Turkey / credit

In the light of the Quran, specially surah Kahf in this age of deception and corruption, the best strategy for individual and community is to create one's own Temporary Autonomous Zone just as the companions of the cave flee or took refuge to one such. And at the same time knowing that there is a greater Hijrah (migration) waiting for us, that Hijrah or travel or migration is, by Allah's permission and enabling, to move from any Temporary Autonomous Zone to the Permanent Autonomous Zone, Our Original Homeland, the Beautiful Garden.

And finally, metaphysically speaking, when we taken into account the true reality of things, then we must also never forget the higher truth that both in Zahir and Batin, both in apparent and unseen reality, its equally true that:

walan tajida min doonihi mul'tahada

And never will you find a refuge except Him.  18:27



May we all find our refuge in the Truth and with the Real. Ameen.



# Further:
* Surah al-Kahf and Modern Age
* Ilmu Akhir al-Zaman ~ Teachings and Discourses of Sheikh Imran Hosein
* T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone
* Seven Sleepers


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