Friday, October 19, 2007

Meditative Quranic verse | the Greater Death, MahaSamadhi

Wa la taqooloo liman yuqtalu fee sabeeli Allahi amwatun bal ahyaon wa lakin la tashAAuroona. transliteration

And do not call those who die in God (MahaSamadhi) as "dead", no! they are living in their soul's merging with God; only you perceive not. (The Quran 2:154)

Translated on the esoteric level of meaning.

The Final Testament, Quran has many levels of meanings and on broad generalization namely two: external or literal and internal or mystical (sufistic) or that of ma'rifa (gnosis). This particular verse is a good example why literal translation of Quranic verses are not the only way to approach the Quran.

First of all, in general translation and explanation (tafsir or exegeses) of this verse, the death referred as: yuqtalu fee sabeeli Allahi, is translated as that of death in lesser Jihad (some even translated as those who are slain). But this poor translation is not fitting to the weight of this verse.

Here is an explanation why literal translation of Quranic verses without probing into esoteric dimensions misses out the essence. In literal sense, those who die are called "dead", thats the common knowledge. But the verse starts with the negation that the (special) people who die are not to be called "dead". On top of that it is said, those who died are actually living! That paradox is a good indication that this verse is not a subject of literal interpretation only, because it challenges that limited literal understanding. It surely contains deeper meaning(s) on the esoteric dimension.

Now as for "fee Sabeeli Allahi" many only try to mean or explain 'death on the lesser Jihad', the external fighting. But this is not about the lesser, but the Greater. And according to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the Greater Jihad or the Greater Struggle is the struggle against the nafs, the ego.

Similarly, when indicating the Greater Death, remember from the sacred tradition (hadith) where Prophet says, "Die before your death". This death signifies the death of the nafs or ego. Thats the annihilation of the ego. In eastern philosophy this Greater Death is defined by a beautiful term, MahaSamadhi (Maha means Great, Samadhi means death). Although MahaSamadhi on one level refer to soul's departure from the physical realm, for highly cultivated souls this state is independent of the physical body.

The Sufi word Fana-fi Allah is a good hint of this MahaSamadhi or Greater Death. The word Fana meaning: to pass away, to cease to exist, annihilation in God - is the complete losing of self and the realization of God. It rises towards the achievement of union with God. Fana is attained by constant meditation and by contemplation on the attributes of God, coupled with the denunciation of nafs. The other names of MahaSamadhi / Fana in other traditions or culture can be found as Nibban or Nirvana.

Referring to the part of the verse that says, those who die (the Great Death) are not dead, but they are alive! this state of being alive is the state when individual self or soul merge into Supreme Self or Supreme Soul.

God, The Supreme Self is Al-Hayy, the Ever Living and there is no death. That is the pinnacle of the inner meaning of this verse when it says, no! they are living. But alas we perceive that not in our deluded dualistic state, because that Supreme State of Being, Ever Living is beyond perception, beyond comprehension.

This verse of Quran from chapter 2, sura Al-Baqara (The Heifer), is an excellent seed for meditation. May the divine verse enter our inner hearts. amen.
And do not call those who die in God as "dead", no! they are living in their soul's merging with God; only you perceive not.

And God, The Supreme Knower (Al-Alim) knows the best.

. learn more about the concept of Samadhi or Mahasamadhi in eastern philosophy. / . Egolessness / Shunyata
. Sufi Tafsir
. Translation of the Quran

. To Die Before Death - The Sufi Way of Life by Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (read via Google Book).

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