Friday, July 18, 2014

The Spiritual Context of Fasting ─ a Synoptic View


Fasting among the Pillars of Islam:

The five pillars of Islam are: Declaration of Faith, Salat, Zakat, Saum and Hajj.

In the declaration of Faith, viz. La Ilaha Illallah, Muhammadur Rasoolullah (i.e. nothing worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad (s) is the Messenger of Allah), we become conscious of the individual positions of Allah, the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) and the rest of the Creation. It signifies that every soul has come from Allah, and every soul goes back to Allah. A successful return back to Allah is only possible through the Message and Guidance given by Allah Himself. As a matter of fact, Allah has appointed the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) to convey His message to every soul in order to guide them towards the destination earmarked for them. Therefore, when we say Muhammad (s) is the Messenger of Allah, it is not only an assertion of the high status of the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s), it is at the same time a reminder of the functional relationship of the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) with Allah on the one hand and with the rest of the Creation on the other.

Salat (devotional Prayer), Zakat (minimum Charity), Saum (Fasting) and Hajj (Pilgrimage) are the mechanics applied for that journey back to Allah. The pre-requisites in these mechanics are the high moral standards of good conduct exemplified by the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s); and the efficiency of these mechanics is a reflection of the spiritual relationship one establishes with Allah.

Briefly, Salat is a vehicle which continually brings the soul into the Presence of Allah. One may say, it is the rehearsal for the soul, before it stands in the Grand Presence at the end of its journey. [A training in the protocol, before visiting the King].

Zakat is a vehicle which reminds the soul that it is not alone in the journey. The soul has to share the given resources with other souls, so that everyone can have an easy passage towards the destination.

Hajj is a vehicle which brings home the message of the Grand Gathering (Mahshar) that will take place at the end of the journey.

Last but not the least, Fasting is a vehicle which brings the soul closer to Allah by virtue of practising Samadiyyat, i.e. by emulating the divine attribute As-Samad ─ One who is not dependent on anything.

What is said above about Salat, Zakat, Hajj and Fasting does not do any justice to the extent and depth one can go in describing these mechanics. The idea here is to put Fasting in the picture as a whole, and then look at it in a bit more detail ─ especially in the spiritual context.

The Unique Role of Fasting:

The central theme of all divine worship is to perfect the ability of recognising the greatness of Allah; to glorify Him as He must truly be glorified; and to surrender to Him in the absolute terms. One who has done that to the maximum limits of one’s potential is said to have acquired divine qualities. That is exactly what the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) required of us when he said, takhallaqu be-akhlaqillah i.e. inculcate in you the qualities of Allah.

Now, in all the other forms of worship, viz. Salat, Zakat and Hajj, the soul achieves a certain measure of purification which determines the measure of its divine qualities. In these forms of worship, attention may not be directly focussed on aquiring divine qualities, although the end result is just the same.

In contrast, the primary attempt in Fasting is to emulate Allah in His attribute of As-Samad. Allah does not depend on anything for sustenance. He does not need any food or drink. In short, He is free from any biological needs. He is above biology and bio-chemistry. However, our souls are entrenched in our bodies, which are purely organic, i.e. they undergo growth and decay; and therefore, for their biological function they need sustenance; food, drink, sleep and a few other things.

Allah has decreed that the rank or position of khalifa, i.e. His deputy or vicegerent, in short, the position nearest to Him, be given to human beings. The various forms of worship are nothing but the secrets revealed by Allah to man, to help him achieve that rank.

Fasting, in which we abstain from supplying the body its biological needs, goes a long way in achieving that nearness. What we actually do in Fasting is copy Allah, as it were, and live outside the bounds of biology.

That is why Allah has said in a Hadith Qudsi, “as-Saumo Lee wa Ana Ajzi Behi”, i.e. Fasting is for My sake, and it is I who will give the rewards for it. There are two things in this statement. One, the rewards for all other good deeds will be distributed, as it were, by the Angels; of course, as per the command of Allah. But the reward for Fasting will be given by Allah Himself. Second, the reward for all good deeds has been mentioned in the Holy Quran and the Sacred Ahadith. But the reward for Fasting is the vision of Allah Himself. That is why, the above Hadith Qudsi is also read as, “as-Saumo Lee wa Ana Ujziya Behi”, i.e. Fasting is for My sake, and I will be the reward for it.

Fasting ─ a Training in Self-Restraint:

Let us look back at what is really denoted by Fasting. It would seem that, if abstinence from food and biological functions is the only requirement in Fasting, then the reward just mentioned is too great,. Had it been so, Fasting would be no different from starving, which people undertake to reshape their body; or from hunger-strike, which is used as a weapon in a non-violent agitation; or from the starving of a poor man, who is compelled to do so because of lack of provisions. As a matter of fact biological abstinence is mainly physical and very little spiritual, if at all. Whereas what we are looking for is the spiritual connection, or the spiritual context, in Fasting.

Allah therefore, in giving the reasons for Fasting, has summed up the whole issue in one short, albeit comprehensive, phrase : “La’allakum Tattaqoon”, that you may learn self-restraint. When we talk of self, we do not mean body alone; we mean body, mind and soul.

Needless to say, in Fasting, restraint for the body is ‘abstinence’ from food, drink and carnal desires. If one has to do it voluntarily, it does require some level of spiritual strength. Even so, this is the lowest kind of Fasting.

Restraint of the mind would require ‘control’ over all the limbs of the body, in order to stop them from committing the sins they usually commit. This is the Fasting of the selected muslims.

Restraint of the soul means to remain ‘vigilant’, so that the soul does not stray away from the Presence of Allah, i.e. the remembrance of Allah. This is the Fasting of the very elect.

One may point out that, restraint of the mind and restraint of the soul are not specific to Fasting. They should be practised all the time, fasting or not fasting. The truth of the matter is, when the body is subjected to the rigours of Fasting, it becomes easier for the spirit to take hold of the activities of the mind and the soul. Herein lies the special significance of Fasting. No wonder, it becomes much more productive when undertaken as a month-long program, as in Ramadan.

This is the time during the year, when such a concerted effort is devoted to repairing all the damage done to our body, mind and soul.

To repeat, Fasting is the totality of control imposed on all aspects of self, so that all our overt and covert actions are in complete accord with the commands of Allah.

Restraint of the Mind:

In elaborating what has been termed as restraint of the mind, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (may Allah be merciful with him) has said the following:

1. Restrain your eyes from looking at what may give you evil ideas, or what will divert your attention from the remembrance of Allah. The Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) has said: Five things destroy Fasting ─ falsehood, backbiting, slander, perjury and to see with lust or animal passion.

2. Restrain your tongue from useless and vain talks. Stop false-speaking, back-biting, slander, abusive speech, obscurity, hypocrisy and enmity. Adopt silence. Busy your tongue with the mention of Allah and the recitation of the Holy Quran.

The Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) has said: Fasting is like a shield; if a man is fasting, let him not rebuke and dispute. If a man wants to assault or start a quarrel, say to him, ‘I am fasting.’

Two women were fasting at the time of the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s). They became so much over-stricken with hunger, that order was sought from the Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) for them to break their fast. He asked for a cup and told them to vomit what they had eaten. Both of them vomitted fresh blood and flesh. The Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) said, “The two women fasted with lawful food, but broke their fast with unlawful food. The two women back-bited people and ate their flesh.”

3. Restrain your ears from hearing evil talks. What is unlawful to utter, is unlawful to hear. To remain silent at the time of back-biting is unlawful.

The Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) has said, “The back-biter and the hearer of back-biting are equal co-sharers in the sin.”

4. Restrain your hands, feet and other organs from sins. Save your belly from doubtful things at the time of breaking fast. It is also injurious to eat lawful food in excess.

When you commit a sin, you are drinking poison and destroying religion. When you do a lawful thing, it is like a medicine. The Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) has said, “There are many who do not gain by Fasting, except hunger and thirst.

5. Restrain eating even the lawful food so much, at the time of breaking fast, that it fills up the belly. The usefulness of Fasting is lost, when you eat all that you could not eat during the day. To the sages, it is a sin to spend the day preparing different food for breaking fast. The object is to keep the belly empty, in order to control passion, and increase God-fear (Taqwa). The belly which remains full from morning to evening increases baser passions, greed and temptation.

Restraint of the Soul:

With respect to restraint of the soul, Imam Ghazzali (may Allah be merciful with him) says the following:

The soul of one who is fasting, should remain in a constant state of fear and hope, because he does not know whether his fast will be accepted or not; whether he will be near Allah or not. This should be the case for every divine service.

Once, the great Hasan of Basra (may Allah be merciful with him) was passing by a party of men who were playing and sporting. He said to them, “Allah has made the month of Ramadan in which people should be running and competing each other for good deeds.”

The object of Fasting is to anoint one with one of the divine attributes. That attribute is Samadiyyat, which means, not only to be bereft of hunger and thirst, but also to free oneself from all passions, like the Angels.

The rank of man is superior to animals, in that he can control his passions using intellect. But he remains lower than the Angels as long as he has not won the trials of his passions.

The Holy Messenger Muhammad (s) has said: “Fasting is a trust. Let everyone of you keep that trust. To explain the point, he read the verse from the Holy Qur’an, ‘Allah commands you to give the trust to its rightful owners’ (4:58).” While reading the verse he (s) placed his hands on his ears and eyes, and said: “Ear is a trust and eye is a trust.” Had it not been a trust, he would not have said to the person who wanted to pick a quarrel, ‘I am fasting’, in other words, ‘I have kept my tongue as a trust, I have to save it from countering you.’

So it appears that for every affair there is an open matter and there is a secret matter. There are things that we observe physically, and there are things that we observe in our mind and soul. The totality of all that is the spiritual context in which Fasting should be observed.

- by M. Alamgir
  July 13, 2014 / Australia 

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Did you think that We Created you as a joke? Meditative Quranic Verses


Did you think that We created you as a joke,

and that you would not be returned to Us?

~ The Qur'an, Chapter of the Faithful 23:115

computer simulation of development of human face within the womb

And truly We, the Divine Authority, has created the human from essence of clay,
Then we placed him as a drop of sperm in (the womb's) secure lodging
Then We made the drop of sperm into a clinging clot,
And We made the clot into a shapeless lump,
Then We made (from) the lump bones
And We covered the bones with flesh
And then We brought (all of this into being as) another creature.
So blessed is Allah, the excellent Creator.

Then surely after that you die.
Then on the Day of Standing (forth from the grave) you are resurrected.

And it is He Who has created for you hearing and sight and hearts.
Little are you thankful!

And it is He Who has multiplied you in the earth, and to Him you will be gathered,

And It is He Who gives life and causes death, and His is the alternation between the night and the day. Won't you use your intelligence?

Allah will ask on the Day of Standing, "How many years did you remain on earth?"

People will say, "We stayed a day or a part of a day. Ask those who keep count."

He will say, "You spent but a short time there, if only you knew."

"Did you think that We created you as a joke? and that you would not be returned to Us?"

So exalted is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth. There is no deity save Him: Lord of the Seat of Generous Authority.

* Read the full Chapter al-Mu'minun Here

Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Dimensions and Reality of Death and beyond











~ Thus transmitted
Rasul Allah

It is unfortunate that the reality of “DEATH” is not known in a true sense in our time, and DEATH is commonly assumed to be someone’s “ending”. Actually, without being an end, DEATH is nothing more than a transition from the physical world to a world beyond the physical! It is just a transformation!

Right after a person’s separation from his physical body through DEATH, his life goes on within a “spirit” — hologramlike body of frequencies— either in the grave or outside. That is, DEATH is the continuation of life, beginning with the spirit body after the end of life with the physical body.

The Quran that informs the fundamentals of Islam explains “death” as follows:

“Every SOUL will taste DEATH!”

What we call DEATH is the transference into a life at a universe of frequencies within a spirit body after separating from the biological material body. As the brain ceases to function, the bioelectric energy outspread to the body disconnects and the body loses the electromagnetic force that normally keeps the spirit tied to body. So the human SPIRIT is released to a new life independent from the physical body. Such an event is what is meant by DEATH.

All the activities realized through the brain of a person throughout his lifetime are stored in his spirit, i.e., hologramlike body of frequencies, like the waves of sound and vision. Therefore, the spiritual dimension is directly accessed without any change noticed of life on dying. The person continues his life in a form of SPIRIT the same way as he was within his physical body!

There is one difference however: Although he is still completely alive and conscious (aware) as before, he cannot conduct his physical body any more! Similar to a permanent vegetative state (PVS) patient (the state of being permanent vegetable) [he is alive and aware]! He can observe everything going on outside, can hear and sense them, but he cannot communicate or respond in any way to his physical surroundings in the outside world.

Following is a saying of Mohammed aleyhessalaam about death as the great Islamic Scholar and Sufi Ibrahim Hakki Erzurumi recounts it in his book entitled “Marifatname (Book of Gnosis):”

“The deceased (one who tasted death) knows those who washed his body, who shrouded the corpse, who performed the funeral service for him, who attended his funeral procession, who descended the corpse into the grave and who prompted over his grave!”

“Do not cry out by slapping your cheeks and tearing your clothes beside the deceased for he is tortured by your wailing!” 

This shows that he will be seeing and feeling troubled of the others’ emotional states.

I want to draw your attention to the following saying of RasulAllah, that will make us clearly comprehend that, even though someone in grave —who has experienced his death,— has lost his tie with his physical body, he will still be living on in an aware and conscious state within his “spirit” and besides he will be hearing the addressing from outside.

As Talha radhi’allalhu ahn narrated:

“On the day of the battle of Badr, RasulAllah (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered that the twenty four corpses from the Quraish tribe should be picked up altogether. They were then thrown into a pit among the ditches of Badr; so, had more dirt added to it.”

When a victory was gained, RasulAllah used to take up temporary quarters in the open fields gained from the enemy tribes each time for three days. As it was the third day of the battle of Badr, he ordered his camel to be brought. Food for the road was put upon the load.

As RasulAllah rode on, the companions followed him. Meanwhile they talked among themselves that RasulAllah was probably going for a purpose. At last, RasulAllah stopped by a ditch where the killed had been thrown, and then called them by the name of their fathers: “O, Aba Jahil Ibn-i Hisham! O, Utbe Ibn-i Rabia, O, So-and-so!! . . . Would not you be joyful now if you believed and obeyed “ALLAH” and HU’s Rasul? The Killed! We have indeed found the victory that our Lord promised us. Have you, too, found the victory that your Lord promised you, indeed?”

On hearing him speak, Omar r.a. asked:

“O RasulAllah! How do you address people already cadaverous?”

RasulAllah replied: replied:

“I swear by Whom in Whose hands Mohammed’s soul is that you are no better than they at hearing what I say!”

In this event recounted in Bukhari , RasulAllah corrects a great misunderstanding by an occasion.
No hadith can be better to correct such a false belief that “men are laid into their graves being as dead and they are raised to life later again on the Day of Resurrection (qiyamat).”

In fact, men are put into grave in an aware, conscious and an alive state same as in our current state of life, and they hear the addressing from outside as easily as if they are outside.

Othman bin Afwan r.a. who is the third khaliph to RasulAllah, used to shed tears until his beard got wet if he stood by a grave. He was asked once:

“You do not cry when remembering heaven and hell, but why do you shed tears because of the fear of the grave?”

Othman answered:

“As I have heard from RasulAllah, the grave is certainly the first of stations in the next world! If a person is freed from there, it will be easier to be released from the others to come. If he fails to become free from there, the others to come will then be more fierce!”

Othman then continued:

RasulAllah said that: “I have never seen a TERRIBLE sight worse than that in a grave!”

Standing by the grave of Sadd bin Muaz who was a leading Islamic figure and martyr for the Islam (shahid), RasulAllah (salla’llahu aleyhe wasallam) once said:

“Such a distinguished servant was he that heaven trembled and its doors were opened for him and thousands of angels came on earth. Even he felt so squeezed into the grave that his bones almost crackled!

If it were possible to escape from the torment of the grave and the afflictions after death, it would first have been bestowed on Sadd! He was immediately delivered from such afflictions owing just to the spiritual state he had reached; that is all

Take a minute to consider this! If men were not in an alive state, i.e., conscious in their graves, would such a torment ever be under consideration?

It was once asked to Hazrat Nabi:

“O RasulAllah! Who is the most aware and conscious among the believers?”

He answered:

“Those who most often remember what befalls a man on death and who prepare themselves doing their best for such a life beyond death. They are the wisest, the most conscious and aware ones.”

In another statement he noted that:

“The most conscious and the most farther-sighted man is he who makes himself (his soul) subject to divine orders and who deals with the deeds that will bring benefit after death. Weak is he who remains dependent on his own (selfish) desires and then expects favor from ALLAH!”

Ibn Masud who was among the companions (ashab) of RasulAllah, tells the following about the torment in grave:

“As I have heard from RasulAllah: “Sinners will surely be exposed to the punishment (azab) of the grave; the beasts even have a sense of hearing their cries.”

Narrated Abu Said al Khudri:

RasulAllah (salla’llahu aleyhe wasallam) notified: “The unbeliever is obsessed by ninety nine monsters in his grave, each biting and stinging him until Doomsday. If any one of them had ever breathed over the earth, no grass would ever be able to grow then!”

Narrated Ibn Omar radhi’allahu ahn: RasulAllah notified:

“When anyone of you dies, he is shown his place both by day and night. If he is one of the people of paradise; he is shown his place in it, and if he is from the people of Hell-Fire, he is shown his place there-in. Then it is said to him: ‘This is your place till ALLAH will resurrect (baa’th) you on the Day of Resurrection!”

Now let us also pay attention to another point that is a sentence we recite in Amantu (faith):

“Wal baa’th u bad’al MAWT” meaning “and [I believe] to revive right after (as a consequence of) DEATH”

Examine this carefully! We do not say: “Wal baa’thu bad’al KIYAMAT (DOOMSDAY).”

It is that, the event implied by the word “baa’th” is not one after DOOMSDAY, but that after TASTING DEATH!

In this world, a person lives with his known physical body along with the spirit body constructed by his physical brain. In parallel, great Islam scholar (alim) and Sufi (mutasawwuf) Imam Ghazali tells the following in the explanation of the name AL-BAIS in his book entitled “The Interpretation of Asma Al-Husna”:

“Most people are taken in by false conjectures and vague imaginings regarding this fact, the upshot of which is their imagining death to be mere absence, non-existence, or that the “baa’th” brings forth something new in the wake of this absence, as in the first creation. Before all, their presumption that death is non-existence is a mistake, as is their opinion that the second revival is like the first one.
Concerning their belief that death is non-existence, it is groundless. Indeed, the grave is either one of the pits of the fires of Hell, or a garden out of the gardens of Paradise.

Interior vision has guided the masters of intellectual perception to the fact that man was created for eternity and that there is no way for him to become non-existent. Of course, there are times his tie with his corpse is cut off when it is said “he is dead”; or other times his tie may return, and it is said “he has enlivened, he has come to life.”

Now, concerning their hypothesis that the resurrection is something like the first coming-to-be, that is not sound, they are wrong in their assumption, for the “resurrection” refers to another sort of creation quite unrelated to the first coming to life.

To tell the truth, human beings undergo a number of revivals, not only two.”

On tasting death, human spirit is released from the physical body, so the life goes on within spirit, which experienced death, in a grave until Doomsday. Far later it is once more revived (baa’th) on the base of its current (today’s) characteristics during the term when the earth is corrupted in the heat of the Sun; which is known as “Doomsday!” And ultimately all those bodies are formed by baa’th for the final time in accordance with the environment they reach.

Are we going to have our current awareness, perceptional- comprehensional mechanism in grave, also?

Abdullah bin Omar told about this point. During a talk with RasulAllah about two angels known as Munker and Nakir who examine people in their graves, Hz. Omar asked:

“O RasulAllah! Are we going to be awake in the grave?”
“Of course. The same as you are now!”

What happens to the person who has tasted death, who is lucid, conscious but his physical body left out of order.

Shall we learn this from Anas radhi’allahu ahn:

“RasulAllah (salla’llahu aleyhe wasallam) said: When a servant is laid in his grave and his companions return, he even hears their footsteps leaving his grave. As they get away, two angels come up to him, make him sit up and then ask:

‘What did you used to say about this man named Mohammed?’

If he is a faithful believer, he will answer:

‘I bear witness that Mohammed is the servant of ALLAH and HU’s Messenger.’

On his answer, it will be said to him:

‘Have a look at your place in the Hell-Fire! ALLAH has replaced it for you with a place in Paradise.’

RasulAllah added: He will then see his places both in Paradise and in Hell. added: He will then see his places both in Paradise and in Hell.

But if he is a non-believer or a hypocrite, (a Muslim by name,) he will answer: ‘I do not have a certain idea. . . nothing more than what the people used to say!’

It will be said to him:

‘Neither did you know nor take the guidance!’

Then he will be beaten by a mallet, and he will send such a cry that will be heard by whatever near to him except human beings and jinni!” (Bukhari)

Let us finally note the following hadith to conclude the subject.
“The deceased, —the person who tasted death— is tortured for the wailing of his relatives over him.”

Many more hadithes of RasulAllah concerning this issue are available in related hadith books where they can be further studied.

As a brief conclusion from all:

Human beings NEVER DIE, BUT TASTE DEATH; so his dimension of life changes.

On tasting death, the person loses his tie with his physical body and goes on living from then onward within his hologramlike body of frequencies, i.e., his ‘spirit”.

Therefore, awake is everybody when they are put into grave.. And they keep on living there in an aware and conscious state until the Resurrection day, when each person takes over a new body suitable to the conditions of that term.

We shall briefly mention now what else is undergone after death is experienced.

When DEATH is experienced, the person’s perception of the external world still continues for some more time. Just the same as though he had been living within his biological body, he follows what is going on around himself, hears people’s conversations and their wailing..

During that period he feels as if a patient in permanent vegetative state. He observes all events from outside, however he cannot communicate any response to the outside world. By then, the time for the corpse’s bathing comes. As for the reason for washing the dead corpse… The wisdom in bathing the corpse, as far as we could make it out, is to provide the body whose cellular life still continues, with a bioelectrical reinforcement by way of osmosis. So that the person may carry on his contact, though one sided, with the world for some more time that he used to move about in a while ago with his physical body.

The dimension of life that begins at the time of DEATH is TASTED and continues till the Resurrection day is known as the universe of BARZAKH (Isthmus). The life beginning by death is divided into three phases:

A. Life in a grave,
B. Life in the world of grave,
C. Life in the Isthmus (Barzakh).

A. Life in a Grave:

This is the stage entered upon by someone’s baa’th within his hologramlike body of frequencies —his spirit— after his tasting death, and it lasts as long as someone’s life in his grave continues perceiving his physical environment. During that stage he continues perceiving the events that happen around himself both prior to his burial into the grave and thereafter. This transitional stage resembles that of a period between our waking and sleeping in our beds that is experienced everyday by all of us.

Prior to falling asleep, one lies in his bed conscious and awake, aware of his surroundings, the softness or the hardness of the bed he lies on. Similar to a man who is about to sleep, someone in the grave in this first stage perceives everything around and inside a grave as if he is still alive.
Just like a man who is conscious of his environment and meantime falls into sleep into a world of dreams, someone in grave perceives the occurrences inside his physical grave as well as outside.

Meanwhile he is about to begin his journey into HIS OWN WORLD of GRAVE. Right then, two angels as noted in the Deen-i Islam come up and ask three questions: “Who is your Lord?”, “Who is your Nabi?” and “What is your Book?”

PAY ATTENTION! There is no question in the GRAVE concerning someone’s sect, order (mazhab) or cult (tariqat)! Never an imam of any cult nor any sect is discussed there!

THOSE WHO THINK THAT THESE SORTS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ASKED IN GRAVE ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE DEEN. Neither in the Koran nor in any of Mohammed’s aleyhessalaam hadithes is there an instruction showing that such a thing as a cult or sect will be asked! The sects and the other organizations have been established long after Hazrat Mohammed’s aleyhessalaam transition into the universe of Barzakh. . . that such things do not serve in the universe of Barzakh! Subsequent to that examination is the transition of person into either his world of grave or into the universe of Barzakh.

What is the difference between the “world of grave” and the “universe of Barzakh”?

B. Life in the World of Grave: 

In this stage, a person in grave resembles that of a man who is completely asleep in the world of dreams being unaware of his entrance to the world of dreams, and he continues to observe his life as though still in his waking life.

Just like we experience our actual lifetimes in this world as if our only life, the person who has entered for his life in the world of grave experiences his new dimension of life the same way as his only life there. In the subsequent course, he either lives pleasing dreams of Heaven (jannat), enjoying himself peacefully, which is known as the “heaven in the grave,” or lives in the nightmare kinds of frightening dreams of Hell among severe tortures and torments, “the Hell-fire in the grave.” That phase keeps on the same way until Doomsday.

This is a person’s life in his world of grave during his stay in a grave.

The following hadith-i shariff of our Nabi instructs that state:

“The grave of a human is either a garden out of the gardens of Paradise (jannat), or a hole out of the holes of Hell.”

Besides that there is a life in the universe of Barzakh.

C. World of Barzakh Life: 

This is the dimension of life which is experienced by the martyrs (shahid) who have died on the path to “ALLAH” fiysabiilAllah, Anbiya, Rasuls and awliyaullah who have been known, if so mentioned, have died before death actually came to them. There they move freely within their “spirit bodies” as being liberated from the limitations of the grave life.

In the life of BARZAKH: Martyrs (shehids), Friends of ALLAH (awliyaullah) and Rasuls are able to move, to travel and make communication freely with each other owing to their status.

Besides, there is a hierarchy in the Barzakh life; and executives there in that hierarchy.

Out of those in the Barzakh life, a group of awliya who have reached the spiritual state of “fatih” during their lives in this world, can communicate with the ones in this world. However those awliyaullah who have reached the spiritual state of “qashif” but who have not attained “fatih” cannot get in direct communication with those in the world though they are completely free in their universe.

Each person continues his life after the EXPERIENCE OF DEATH either within his own world of grave or in the Barzakh as his spiritual station (martaba) allows him. Such a life awaits every one of us!

- Article by Ahmed Baki, cited from the site Seeker after Truth

Pin It Now!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

A Letter from Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

This letter is from Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, a contemporary Sufi Teacher who is now based in South Africa and this letter address to all who love humanity and who seek peace. May its message reach our heart, reach your heart and beyond.

Reality and the way of Allah have its rules, regulations and governance which affect the transient world of shadows and dualities in our dunya (this world). In order to be fully established in the new realm you need to be constantly aware of the light in your heart and be serious with the seven points that I will append below.

The path of liberation is like a narrow winding, mountain pass which requires caution, attention and disciplined maneuvering. On the other side of the pass you will be astonished at the different vistas and views. It is only then that you begin to enjoy the freedom of your soul and will consider dunya(this world) as most insignificant and something of the past. It is from that stage onward that you can help others who are ready to take on the call of liberation and awakening seriously.

You must remember at all times that you are no longer the same as you were a few months ago. Do not compare yourself with others who were your friends relatives and colleagues, they remain in the confusion of dunya whilst you are almost entering NA KUJA ABAAD (the place which is not a place). Most human beings are drugged sleep walkers. Rumi said regarding these people, sit, be still and listen, for you are drunk, and we are at the edge of the roof. This spiritual advantage you have open up vistas of consciousness that are not available to others. Like all advantages it comes with a condition as in this case, that you cannot go back for the path is one-way traffic. So comparing your state or desires with others will bring about confusion.

Please consider at all times seriously the following points.

1. Human life is divided into two zones, one is earthly and concerns survival and the other, heavenly and concerns arrival.
survival vs. arrival

Islam is based on a spiritual map that clearly defines the mental zone and duality as well as the zone of soul, spirit and absolute unity. Both are in us and as we grow in wisdom we lose the former and live by the eternal light of the Ruh(soul). The closer one gets to that state the more one needs the realised teacher for there are certain dangers during the journey to the ultimate. You will discover Mohammed’s light in your heart for the truth regarding all of humanity is only that.

2. So long as we are in this world, ‘Hijra’ (migration) both literally and metaphorically has to be undertaken. Hijra from fears, anxieties, sorrow and all other mental emotions to the light within the heart. Hijra from people of dunya to beings of akhira (hereafter), hijra from anyone who pulls to the grave of the dark mind. We need to constantly disconnect with the past and be on spiritual wudhu every instant.

hijra / migration / journey from familiarity / attachment to freedom is necessary

3. Be in the infinite presence at all times for it is from this infinite instant that the past and future draw their energy. We must desist from speculating and projecting about the future and the images the mind may present as desirable. We can never plan for a happy future but we can however plan minimally regarding material issues such as living in a pleasant home. If I am happy now and I can tap into that state in a sustainable way then I know that the future will be the same.

4. The mind is described by our Master Mohammed as the Shaytan for it is through that, that we can relate to dunya and without it the child will not grow to be that awakened adult. This Shaytan is the trick of Rahman and is the starting point in every life. Please safeguard your mind from wondering off for that is what makes the ego and generates dark clouds which can only cause regrets, doubts, depression and misery. To sublimate the mind we need constant dhikr, special verses of Qur’an, other indicators and beams that take us back to the light of the ruh. Being in constant wudhu is a good crutch and whenever the darkness of the ego touches one, the wudhu should be renewed.

5. Selfless work. Even the most mundane activity can be given a higher purpose. Whenever I do dishwashing I think of the purifying effect of water and how every time I touch it I am reminded of its spiritual energy. Awareness and remembrance of the spiritual teacher will always help to lift ones work and sublimate it as a service dedicated to Haqq. The role model of the teacher is to be absorbed in one’s heart so that his inner authority is transferred to one’s own heart. A time will come that all of ones actions and thoughts become blessed and the ego becomes a faint shadow. This state is accompanied with bewilderment because you see thousands of other people as vicious creatures and animals living their ego with no awareness of the treasure of the Ruh. All of life on this earth is afflictions and difficulties but the compensation of living the Ruh overcomes all of the negative side.

6. Earthly challenges and difficulties will persist until the soul is released from the body and mind. Earthly turbulences however, become subtle and mild when the Ruh rules supreme within the heart. Once you are secure with the light of Rahman then the shadows of shaytan becomes insignificant although they are always lurking there.

7. We are heavenly creatures, brought down to earth as human beings in order to appreciate fully the perfections and balance of duality and the bliss and joy of unity, which is the abode of Jannah. Our reference, refuge and sanctuary is Allah whose light is the Ruh within the heart. Let your spiritual anthem be: Astagfirullah, Mashallah, Subhanallah and La ilaha illallah.

Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri is a Spiritual Teacher, Thinker and Author whose teachings combine knowledge and experience of the spiritual wisdom of the East with a practical and first hand understanding of the West. Shaykh Fadhlalla was raised in a family of several generations of Islamic spiritual leaders in the Holy City of Karbala. Educated in Europe and America, he worked in the petroleum industry and was an international businessman, all of which he eventually abandoned in pursuit of spiritual knowledge.

Shaykh Fadhlalla subsequently went on to establish Zahra Trust, a charitable foundation, with activities in several countries spanning education, health and publishing. His re-discovery of the universality of the true Islamic heritage enables him to understand and relate to the spiritual quest wherever it may arise, irrespective of culture or ethnic diversity. One of his main aims is to make accessible to younger generations the Prophetic way of life, through the discovery of the root and foundation of the divinely revealed message and its ever present perfect Creator.

via Tahir Muhammad Maepa, Shahadat Hossain Khan

 # Further:
* Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
* Academy of Self Knowledge
* Friends of Shaykh Fadhlalla

Pin It Now!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ramadan and the sickness of Ana Khayrum Minho - Ramadan Reflection by M. Alamgir

After eleven months, Ramadan is here once again. For those of us who are still alive, this is yet another opportunity to take stock of our past performances as a Muslim; and for the future, a resolve to do better than before.

Some features of Ramadan automatically create an environment for this self-examination. For instance, the fasting of this month is directly linked with patience. Patience in abstaining from physical needs, especially food; patience in controlling our tongue and aggressive demeanour in our behaviour; and above all, patience in our thoughts that relate to scheming and planning our reactions to the people around us. Allah knows what we say. He knows what we do. He knows what we think. Many things in our thoughts, words and deeds are wrong – sometimes dreadfully wrong.

But Allah, who is as-Sabur, the supremely Patient, does not bring down His justice or His verdict or His punishment then and there, although no one can stop Him from doing so. As our Guardian (al-Wakil), He loves us, because He is ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim and al-Wadud. So He gives us enough time and opportunity in order that we may mend our ways. More than that, He wants us to become abdus Sabur, i.e. the servant of as-Sabur, or the prototype of as-Sabur; one who is immensely patient with fellow-beings; who overlooks and forgives ordinariness in people’s conduct; and who maintains refined standards of decency, politeness and humility with a conscious sense of gallantry.

Another feature of Ramadan is that it is particularly noted for charity. The austere practices that are the hallmark of fasting, naturally prepare and incline our hearts towards charitable deeds. We are easily disposed to share our good fortune with those who are not as fortunate. Many Muslims take out their compulsory Zakat during this month for extra blessings. We show our affection to our friends and young ones by giving them gifts. That too is part of sharing our wealth with our dear ones. The opposite of this sentiment is the use of money to influence those in high positions, in order to deprive other people of their rights and wealth (Sura Baqara, 2:186). Ramadan paves the way to the understanding and rejection of all forms of bribery, which is an obvious negation or antithesis of the spirit of charity in the use of the bounties given to us by Allah.

Yet another feature of Ramadan is that during this month Satan is kept in chains. This may mean two things: one, that Satan cannot make any more mischief during this month; and two, a Muslim must weed out the mischief that Satan has already planted in him or her. It is recorded in Sura A’raf  (7:12) that Satan refused to pay obeisance to Adam (a) despite Allah’s command to do so, and in his reason, he said: Ana khayrum minho, i.e. I am better than him. This is the root of all evil including arrogance, haughtiness and oppression. From the days of the sons of Adam to date, this sentiment has torn mankind apart. From petty jealousies between individuals, to every belligerent attitude, right up to warfare between nations, the prime mover is I am better than him. People distinguish themselves over others because they are stronger, they are more beautiful, they have fairer skin, they are taller, they have an aristocratic pedigree, they possess goodly wealth, they speak a certain language, or they belong to a clever country. It means, in their conceit they never miss an opportunity to oppress one who is weak, less beautiful, dark in skin, shorter in height, born of a less than average family, suffers from chronic poverty, speaks pedestrian language, or comes from a nondescript country.

In any of these comparisons, an individual may fancy himself to be more agreeable than others. Even if there is some truth in his superiority, it is not desirable that he should be rubbing in the inadequacy of other people. On the other hand, if his superiority is a myth, then that will certainly take him on the path of grave injustice. As a matter of fact, race, colour, country or language do not make anyone superior to others. Allah says: Inna akramakum indal-Lahe atqakum, i.e. the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (one who is) the most righteous of you (Sura Hujurat, 49:13). In his Farewell Hajj sermon, the Prophet (s) did emphasize that, when he said: “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor has a non-Arab any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white; except by piety and good conduct; all mankind is from Adam and Adam is from clay.”

In this connection we may mention the elevated rank of Bilal (r) in the eyes of Allah and His Messenger (s). Before Islam, his life was worth less than the sand of the desert, because of two unenviable disqualifications – he was black, and he was a slave. After Islam? Well, one may wonder, how many Muslims are worth the dust of his feet. True to his word, the Prophet (s) chose Zayd ibn Harithah (r), his onetime slave, to lead an expedition to Mutah, ahead of his own cousin Jafar ibn Abi Talib (r), and Abdullah ibn Rawahah (r), a noble of Madinah. The two followed Zayd as his deputies. Similarly, the last expedition that the Prophet (s) sent out was led by Zayd’s son Usama (r), who as a mere youth headed an army that comprised of nobles and many vastly experienced men.

In the early history of Islam, the tradition of capable slaves rising to the position of Sultans was not uncommon in India and other parts of the Muslim world. By the same token however, it is sad to note that the Persian Muslims, proud as they were of their cultural superiority, never stopped grudging the ‘Bedouin’ Arabs The only exception to their malice were some of the direct descendants of the Prophet (s). Their resentment led them to fabricate doctrines around these noble descendants – doctrines, that were at loggerheads with the orthodox teachings of Islam, and created great schism in the body politic of the Muslim Ummah. At later times, whenever they got the opportunity, they formed their own dynasties in defiance of the central institution of the Caliphate. However, with the dismantling of the Caliphate, and the concomitant introduction of nationalism by the scheming West, the sentiment of I am better than him has become a vicious sickness among all Muslims regardless. They can now be seen committing excesses at all levels of life – family, social, economic, political and international.

With the pursuit of material comfort, remembrance (zikr) of Allah has gone out of our thoughts; likewise, with the cultivation of I am better than him, fear of Allah (taqwa) has departed from us. In our actions (i.e. thoughts, words and deeds), our central aim is to prove that I am better than him. We must learn to disregard the need to impose our false merit on our folks. We must understand that our ranks in the sight of Allah are directly proportionate to the piety and purity we achieve. The need for anything else is a mirage, which is bound to lead us to our doom. In the fasting of Ramadan, not only do we forego the need for food, we must also give up the need to give them a piece of our mind. That is the way we can free ourselves completely from the need to react to what we perceive in the attitude of people around us – regardless of whether what we see is a truth or a myth. As far as mortal human beings are concerned, this is the essence of Samadiyyat. Indeed Allah alone is as-Samad, i.e. absolutely free from all needs. Within the constraints of human life, we human beings can only become abdus Samad, i.e. the servant of as-Samad. Ramadan is the training ground for that lofty goal. Ramadan is the best opportunity to cure the sickness of I am better than him – the sickness that is the identity of Satan.

M. Alamgir
Sydney, Australia
(June 29, 2014)

Muhammad Alamgir was born in Kolkata. He retired in 1996 as an IT professional, and has since translated Muhammad in the Hindu Scriptures from Bangla to English, Kitab al-Hikam from English to Bangla, Muhammad, Seal of the Prophets from Bangla to English, Minhajul Qur’an from Urdu to English, and Globalization of Fundamentalism from Bangla to English.

In his student life, Muhammad Alamgir was trained in theology, comparative religion and spiritual discipline by Shaykh Fadlur Rahman Ansari (may Allah be merciful with him) of Karachi, Pakistan, under whose guidance he studied Philosophy and Social Sciences at the Karachi University. In 1974, he migrated to Australia, where he has lived and worked for most of the time since.

Pin It Now!