Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Secret of Spiritual Heart | Fauozi Skali

My Lord,
Let my breast have a heart that is aware;

I am but dust, set me afire with the light of David's song;
Give, to every particle of my being, wings of sparks.

- Iqbal, from his work, Kulliyat-i-Iqbal

Following text is The Four "(Spiritual, Inner) Hearts" of The Human Heart / taken from Chapter VII of Faouzi Skali's (French) LA VOIE SOUFIE (The Sufy Way). English translation: Khalil ibn Walad.

A. On The Breast : As-Sadr

The "Sadr" (breast - chest) represents an image of the most exterior part of the being. In Qur'anic language, a distinction is made between the breast and the depth of the breasts (Dhat Asoudur), and this latter represents, in a certain manner, the antechamber - one in which thoughts remain hidden. "Does not God know what they hide? He knows the contents of the depths of their hearts." (Qur'an , XI , 5).

It is into the breast that flow-florth (Yasduru) thoughts into immediate consciousness and this occurs at a level where these thoughts present themselves in their most exterior form, for, in reality, they take birth at much deeper levels.

Without following a spiritual way, the Sadr remains the seat of the despotic soul (An Nafs Al Ammarah); one of whose characteristics, as we have seen (Chapter III), is pride: "They have only pride in their breasts", says the Qur'an (XL , 56), and, elsewhere, describing the despotic soul, says: "the soul is an instigator of evil, unless My Lord has shown mercy" (Qur'an , XII , 53).

In its origin, the Sadr is the "place" of Islam, meaning, submission to God. "God opens to submission (Islam) the breast of the one He wishes to direct." (Qur'an, VI, 125) And, then, begins the whole process of purification, "so that God tests what is found in your breasts and that He purifies the contents." (Qur'an, III, 154)

This process is, at the same time, a divine therapy: "We have uprooted from their breasts the hatred which still remained." (Qur'an, VII , 43)

B. On The Heart : Al-Qalb

If, as we have seen, the Sadr in its positive aspect is the place of Islam ... the heart is the place of Iman (faith). The terms Islam and Iman should be understood here in the sense they are employed in the Hadith of Jibril (Gabriel) which established the following progression: Islam-Iman-Ihsan. "God has inscribed faith in their hearts," (Qur'an , LVIII , 22). "But God has made you love faith, He has made it beautiful to your hearts." (Qur'an , XLIX , 7)

The heart, a Sufy technical term, represents the subtle center of being, the awakening of which being the goal of spiritual experience. In general acceptance, it is the place of intuition, vision and spiritual states. Before coming to signify "jurisprudence", the word Fiqh was first used in the Qur'an to connote an "intellectual-quality", an intelligence of the heart. Which is what "a contrario" the following verset illustrates: "They have hearts with the which they understand nothing." (Qur'an VII , 179)

Or yet, concerning the vision of the heart, the following verset: "It is not their eyes which are blind, but it is the hearts in their breasts which are blind." (Qur'an , XXII , 46)

However, we shall later see that vision is more specifically attached to the Fu'ad (the depths of the heart).

The Qur'an also mentions the spiritual states of the heart which the Sufy experience brings to life and allows one to "taste" to their fullness : peace (Sakinah), piety (Al-Tuqwah), reverential fear (of God) (Wajal), humbleness (Al-Khushu), tenderness (Laiin), relief-pacification (Tama'ninah), purification (At-Tamhîs) and purity (At-Taharat).

If the Sadr is the place where thoughts take form and influence actions, the heart is the seat of intention (Niyyah) ... sub-jacent to these thoughts and actions.

The decisive role intention plays is well-known in Islam. Only this counts. An action unaccompanied by correct intention (Niyyah) has, from the Islamic point-of-view, no value ... whatever the results. A Hadith states that God does not look at the actions of men, nor their exterior forms (Suwar), but watches their hearts.

Another Hadith declares: "May God forgive my Umma (community) that which is suggested (to its members) by their souls."

In general, the Sufy derives another consequence from the etymological sense of the verb Qalaba - which means "to return."

"The hearts," says another Hadith, "are between two fingers of the All-Compassionate (Ar-Rahman); He turns them about as He will." In this sense the heart becomes the place of the inspired soul: "By a soul ! ... How well He has modeled it and inspired it to know its freedoms and duties." (Qur'an , XCI , 7)

And once the individual is guided in the Way of God, the science which the heart receives is no longer that of ordinary exterior science as in the case of As-Sadr. It originates from divine inspiration (Ilham). It is from just such a heart that the real beginning on the initiatic way of the Sufy begins. The spiritual station is that indicated in Jibril's Hadith (mentioned above) as that of Iman.


C. On The Depths Of The Heart : Al-Fu'ad

The Fu'ad is a correlative of vision : "The heart (Fu'ad) has not denied what it has seen." (Qur'an, LIII , 11)

As the eye of the heart, an organ of vision, the spiritual station of Fu'ad is above all that of excellence (Ihsan). This station is described in the Hadith of Jibril as follows : "Ihsan, is to adore God as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He sees you."

In addition, the place of Fu'ad is that of the pacified soul. The term Itmi'nan, which we translate as pacification, indicates for example the relief one finds when at last one is re-assured of the condition of a person who is very dear to us. This sentiment is brought to its maximum when one sees for oneself directly the condition of the person in question. In a general manner then, it consists thus of the pacification of the heart after a period of troubles and agitations.

It is this meaning we find, for example, in the following verses concerning Abraham : "Abraham says, "My Lord! Show me how you bring life to the dead." God says: "Do you not believe?" He answered, "Yes, I do believe ... but it's in order that my heart be appeased." (Qur'an , II , 260)

Pacification is thus a correlative of direct vision, but at this stage where the individual has not yet arrived at the supreme quintessence -- to the Lubb -- he still has his eyes fixed on the ultimate obstacles which beset him. There remains in him, says Al Sahili (d. 1353), something like a scar, the ultimate vestige of his individuality. From which comes the possible denomination of a soul having its place in the Fu'ad as, in this case, the Nafs Al Luwwamah ... the admonishing (accusing) soul which is mentioned, as follows, in the Qur'an: "No! ... I swear by the soul which admonishes." (Qur'an , LXXV , 2)

The heart "understands" and is thus the link to the science named 'Ilm Al Yaqin (the science of certitude). The Fu'ad "sees" and thus becomes the place of the science named 'Ayn Al Yakin (the eye of certitude). These two Sufy technical terms, 'Ilm and 'Ayn Al Yaqin, are of Qur'anic origin: "No! If only you knew it with the science of certitude! ('Ilm Al Yakin) you would surely see the Hell-Fire; you will see it with the eye of certitude ('Ayn Al-Yakin)". (Qur'an , CII , 5-6-7)

D. On The Quintessence : Al-Lubb

This stage is that designated by the Sufys as being that of Haqq Al Yakin : The truth of certitude. It is also that of Ihsan (excellence), in a higher sense than that concerning Al-Fu'ad.

It is also designated as the "Sirr", the inexpressible secret. "He (God) gives wisdom to whom He wills. He to whom this wisdom has been given benefits from a great goodness. Those who are gifted with intelligence (literally: Those who possess the Lubb) are the only ones to remember this." (Qur'an , II , 269)

As the "summum" of knowledge the Lubb is the place of the pacified soul (Mutma'inah), as well as the satisfied-pleased (Radiyyah) and satisfying (Murdiyyah) souls. All of these terms come from the following Qur'anic verset: "O you! ... pacified soul! ... return towards your Lord, satisfied and satisfying." (Qur'an , LXXXIX , 27-28)

The Lubb is quite often cited in the Qur'an. It always represents an absolute and positive quality. We mean to say that it is never subject to certains failings which can, on occasion, affect the other levels.

Amongst the literary interpreters or the philosophers the term is invariably associated with the intellect: Al 'Aql. But, even if this were the case, this word must be taken in the sense of a transcendent intellect: The "great intelligence" (Chapter III) and is not to be taken as assimilable to reason.

The relation between reason, the little intelligence and the great intelligence is illustrated for us, according to certain Sufys, through the following metaphor:

-- The man gifted with reason resembles someone walking in the night with only the star-light as illumination.

We can here, incidentally, remark that the feeble luminosity of the stars as well as their multiplicity illustrates well the characteristics of reason as applying essentially to the world of multiplicity; its modalities of knowledge are themselves founded upon distinctiveness.

-- The man gifted with the little intelligence resembles someone walking in the night illuminated by the full moon. At this stage there is already a unification but this process does not operate directly but by reflection; in the same manner in which the moon only reflects the solar luminosity.

-- The man gifted with the great intelligence, which we can here assimilate with the Lubb, resembles the one who is illuminated by the sun.

All things appear to him with their true face, by direct vision, without having any need for imagination or any hypotheses at all.

If we compare the classifications of the soul established in this present chapter, which are those adopted by Hakim Tirmidhi, with those given by Mulay 'Abd Al-Qadir Jilani ... we constate that they are not identical. Actually, in the hierarchical classifications, two terms are inversed; that of the Nafs Al-Mulhamah (the inspired soul) which , in the order given by Mulay 'Abd Al-Qadir, finds itself at a higher level than that of the Nafs Al-Luwwamah (admonishing-accusing soul).

That being, the ontological levels to which the two Sheikh(s) allude to are rigorously the same. The commentaries which they have added witness to this.

They are, never-the-less, "tasted" (Dhawq, an important notion for the Sufy about which we will return) in different manners through differing experiences; in these cases certain divergences of exterior expressions utilising divergent terminologies will occur.

(end - chapter VII : La Voie Soufie par Fauozi Skali - Albin Michel , ed. 1993)

English trans-version from French by Questor Johnny, Khalil ibn Walad. via the Sufi Notes Yahoo group.

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