Monday, July 20, 2009

ascent of spiritual state | miraajul maqam





"The hearts of the children of Adam are as if between the two fingers of the Infinitely Compassionate One. He turns each however He wishes.

O God, O Turner of hearts, turn our hearts toward obedience to You."
- The Holy Prophet


"God made the heart the locus of this longing to bring actualization of this reality near to the human being, since there is fluctuation in the heart. If this longing were in the rational faculty, the person might seem to be in a constant state. But since it is in the heart, fluctuation comes upon him always. For the heart is between the two fingers of Rahman (the Most Compassionate One), so its situation is not to remain in a single state. And so it is within this fluctuation, witnessing the way the fingers cause it to fluctuate." - Ibn Arabi


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

1.
For the sufis, heart is often used as a major symbol to let us have a better insight into the reality of our existence. "Our heart is between the two fingers of Beloved, He turns it as He wills" as symbolically spoken by Muhammad Mustafa. The metaphysical turning of the heart causes the changing states of the inner heart, in our innate psycho-spiritual makeup. The heart's going between two states, in sufi term, are called qabd, the state of contraction and bast, the state of expansion.

At the state of contraction (qabd), one feels constricted, feels unhappy, an indescribable melancholy suddenly appear, we suddenly feel a strange sadness without any explainable reason. Extreme fear and confusion out of that fear, the feeling of serious uncertainty is perhaps describe closely the state of qabd or contraction of our psycho-spiritual state.

At the state of expansion (bast), one feels elated, happy - specially the kind of happiness which some gives the name, "happy for no reason", even the most stupid thing fill your heart with laughter - be it stupidity of your own. To better understand how does the heart feels when its in state of expansion, try to think how you felt when you 'fall (for the lack of a better word) in love' with someone for the first time. The new lovers have the purest form of heart expansion experience when the love between the two is unrestrained.



In the presence of the King at His Court, every affair has its own etiquette. For the people of reality thus every state has its etiquette to follow as for them the only reality is the Presence of the Real and this passing existence is but a play under the shadow of His Royal Court. The state of contraction and the state of expansion both have their etiquette. When one is in contraction, one is recommended to ask for forgiveness, to seek penance (the sufis repeat the term astaghfirullah). In the state of expansion, one is recommended to give thanks (shukr). "Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me". - The Quran 2:152. In both states repeating the name or names of God is also practiced by Sufis.

Now in bast or expansion when one give thanks and repeats the name of God from the place of sincerity (ikhlas), one's state (haal) is stabilized and heart expands. When the state stabilizes, with that the soul of the person ascends in the realm of divine reality. This ascension is triggered in a perfect moment inside prayer when one feels the divine presence inside his or her heart's communion so intimately that as if there is such nearness which is described symbolically in Quran (53:9) as 'at a distance of but two bow-lengths or nearer'. That moment is so precious that one can exchange the whole life's prayer for that moment. That is called the ascension of the devotee - according to Prophet Muhammad when he said, "As-salatu miraj ul Mumin" "The Salah (Prayer) is the Ascension of the Believer."

As this ascension of maqam (station) happens during the mystic communion of the heart of lover and that of Beloved, this raises the maqam or station and stabilizes, if so God wills, even when one leaves that state of sweetness inside the prayer. Is there a suitable time for such divine communion? The deep heart of the night when inside its silence womb one is gifted an undisturbed space. "And pray part of the night: (it would be) an additional prayer (of spiritual profit) for you: soon will you Lord raise you to a praised spiritual Station! (Maqam an mahmooda) (Q 17:79). The prayer of deep night (tahajjud) in reality is a practice in quest of that special night of miraajul maqam.

And if you happen to encounter such night when your heart's expanding state become like an expanding cosmos to accommodate none but The King of kings alone, then you shall know that you have found miraaj of your soul. Such nights when the raising of maqam (spiritual station of spirit) happens as well as when the heart is flooded with pure inspirations - revelations, are better than thousand nights as confirmed by the Quran (In surah Qadr). So powerful such nights are in spiritual implication that its called 'The Night of Power' and it is better than a thousand months or more. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees - affirms the Quran.

2.
In many parts of the world (in the eastern hemisphere) tonight (Sun down on July 20, varies according to lunar calendar) will be celebrated as the Special Night of Holy Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be sweet benediction of all the angels and saints from the beginning of time.

Here are 3 previous posts on Miraaj for a better background and inspirations:

> . Miraj | holy ascension to the Ultimate Divine Presence
> . Esoteric Symbolism of Miraj
> . Secret of the Spiritual Ascension (Miraj) of Prophet

3.
This year Miraaj night (Lailatul Miraaj its called in many places) is happening at a moonless night and a friend of mine who lives in the far east commented how there is a power in tonight's atmosphere (and in one or two days we have the last solar eclipse in a century, to add on to that). By the way, the night of ascension or Miraj in the life of Prophet occurs just five days after the transfiguration of Jesus in Orthodox Christianity, upon both of them be peace. In the episode of transfiguration as recorded in the New Testament, Christ stood atop a mountain where he spoke with God (divine communion in Intimate Presence, same theme as the Miraaj).

Wish you all a very blessed Miraaj Night and may us all find our own Miraaj in perfect prayer of our heart, whenever that Night may be in our life. May God bless us by raising our maqams. On such night (be it tonight, or any other night) may your time alone with the Alone be filled with grace and become better than thousand nights.

O Allah, The Glorious. You Who took Your servant on a sacred night of ascension from the sacred place of worship to farthest distance, in order to show him some of Your majestic Signs; surely You are the Hearing of our prayers, the Seeing of our states and stations - may You bless our heart inside our prayers for the ascent to Your intimacy as You did to Your beloved one. O Allah: Your aid is available for those who seek it. O You Who come nearer to whom You Will - please remove the veils from our heart and present us the sweet fragrance of Your divine Presence as You did on this blessed night to Your Chosen one.

4.
Pahunche Miraj me, Arsh Tak Mustafa

Jab Na Mabud O Bande me Parda Raha.

In the Night Ascension Mustafa* arrives at the Intimate Divine Presence, When there was no veil between the Master and servant.

Tab Malaik Ne, Hazrat Se Chup Kar Kaha
Sari Makhluq me, Haq Numa Tu hi Tu.
Allah Hu, Allah Hu, Allah Hu

Then angels whispered secretly to Prophet,
Cosmic totality holds this truth alone: Only You, Only You!
Allah Hu, Allah Hu, Allah Hu

- From Qawwali Allah Hu by Nusrat Fateh Ali

* Mustafa means the chosen one, a title of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace


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