Monday, November 23, 2009

Path of Spiritual Chivalry | Way of Enlightened Behavior

If the love is true, then the lover must keep respect
to the Beloved and ethics
in manners with Him.
- Shaykh Nazim


Chivalry keeps men conversant with all
that is beautiful and sublime
in the intellectual and moral world.
- Marian Chivalry

O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to God, and seek the way of approach unto Him, and strive in His way in order that ye may succeed. - The Quran 5:35

So be mindful of your duty, and believe, and do good works; and again: be mindful of your duty, and believe; and once again: be mindful of your duty, and do good. God loveth those who do good.
- 5:93

1.
Beyond our occupation, each of us has a vocation, a calling toward sacred service. This calling may be understood as our life’s purpose, our personal contribution to the transformation of the world. Spiritual chivalry is the cultivation of our capacity to answer the call. It is to swear oneself body, heart, and soul to the ideals of truth, justice, peace, and beauty - and thus sworn, to go forth into the battle of life.

The heroes and heroines of the past are remembered for the exceptional ideals they personify, ideals that are essentially universal. In legend and history alike, heroism reveals itself in acts of pure love, compassion, self-sacrifice, discipline, loyalty, generosity and service to all.

The name of the heroic path, chivalry, carries the connotations of valor, prowess, strength of character and fortitude in adversity. But the defining feature of chivalry is an outlook on the world that is free of bias and enmity. It is said that the true hero or heroine on the path of spiritual chivalry is “the one who has no enemy.”

Drawing inspiration from heroes past and present, The Seven Pillars: House of Wisdom taking up the great task of our time, to revive these timeless virtues and foster their application to the challenges of our time under the banner of “peace with all.” Where does the modern heroic quest lead, what forces must today’s hero or heroine contend with, and what mode of enlightened action promises success?

2.
The Seven Pillars House of Wisdom website is hosting some wonderful articles of wisdom on the theme of Chivalry.

David Spangler in his article, The Chivalrous Path attempts to answer the question, "What is the chivalrous path, particularly as a spiritual practice?"

... Chivalry is not a code to which to aspire but a description of our innate capacities, an expression of qualities intrinsic to being human. What is at the heart of all these questions concerning chivalry is love. Indeed, love may be seen as the heart of chivalry itself. To act chivalrously is to act with love. We can see this in the evolution of chivalry from military unit to code of conduct. The mounted trooper had to love his horse, at least sufficiently to respect it, care for its well-being, and find that mutuality of partnership that good riding embodies. The knight had to love his companions to be loyal and faithful to them and to be willing to sacrifice himself for their well-being. And he had to respect his foe, a form of loving, in order to meet him in honorable battle according to the rules of knightly and chivalrous combat. And to the extent that knightly virtues also express an attitude of service to a larger whole or a greater cause - that, too, is a form of love that takes one beyond oneself. (read in full)

In his excellently written article, Chivalry of the Night and Day: Chivalry in Christianity and Islam, Mahmoud Shelton shared:

A Christian eyewitness to the rise of Islam characterized the Muslims in a significant way: “They are cavaliers in the day and monks in the night.” Knights belong to the day because it reveals the field of action, and the apparent distinctions between opponents as well as between the lover and beloved; it is the domain of movement, and so of love in the sense of Dante: “Love which moves the sun and the other stars.” Monks belong to the night because it has the quality of stillness; it allows contemplation and knowledge of hidden things, and is the domain of union. While there are no monks in Islam, there is Sufism, which preserves esoteric knowledge and the methods for its realization.

Although Christianity and Islam both include dimensions of love and knowledge, Christianity may be understood to have a “diurnal” orientation, with its solar calendar and Spring festival of Easter, and a corresponding emphasis on love. Islam, with its lunar calendar, emphasizes knowledge. Despite this orientation, the historical Jesus was not a horseman, unlike the Prophet of Islam; and in Islam, even the nocturnal festival commemorating the Night Journey and Ascension has a marked knightly aspect, since the Prophet, who is called the Beloved of God, undertook his supernatural movement by means of a heavenly horse.

For such reasons, to quote Titus Burkhardt, “knighthood as a spiritual path is organically inherent in Islam; it emerges from Christianity only indirectly.” Still, the models of knighthood mentioned in the Qur’an – the Companions of the Cave or Seven Sleepers, Joshua, and Abraham the “Father of Knights” – belonged both to Islam and Christianity.

Knighthood as a spiritual path is known is Islam as futuwwah, and developed under the guidance of Sufism. In the “Age of Chivalry” of the Christian West, when Courtly Love contrasted with a growing devotion to the Virgin Mary, a “new knighthood” was born under the patronage of Christian esoterism. Inaugurated by the Templars, this development united the action of the cavalier with the knowledge of the monk. During this age, even when outwardly in opposition, the knights of Islam and Christianity shared an ideal for which the most adequate word in English is “chivalry.” The Arthurian literature of the Grail Quest was shaped by this ideal, and within this Christian genre traces of Islamic esoterism may be found. More apparent is the dependence of the Divine Comedy upon Islamic accounts of the Night Journey and Ascension, even while Dante’s allegiance was to the Templars.

Chivalry is really a kind of balance. While love should be the cause of every action, chivalry balances knightly action with the spiritual knowledge of the reality of things. (read in full)

Also, H. Talat Halman writes another piece titled, “The Knight of Faith”: Imam Husayn’s Chivalry at Karbala

[>] Explore the Theme of Chivalry @ Seven Pillars House of Wisdom

3.
Forgive him who wrongs you;
join him who cuts you off;
do good to him who does evil to you;
and speak the truth
even if it be against yourself.
- Inscription on the sword of Prophet Muhammad
upon him be peace and blessings

The Prophet passed by some people of the tribe of Bani Aslam who were practicing archery. The Prophet said, "O Bani Ismail ! Practice archery as your father Isma'il was a great archer. Keep on throwing arrows and I am with Bani so-and-so." So one of the parties ceased throwing. Allah's Apostle said, "Why do you not throw?" They replied, "How should we throw while you are with them (i.e. on their side)?" On that the Prophet said, "Throw, and I am with all of you."
- Bukhari, Narrated by Salama bin Al-Akwa

The 'Prophet was the best and the bravest amongst the people. Once the people of Medina got terrified at night, so they went in the direction of the noise (that terrified them). The Prophet met them (on his way back) after he had found out the truth. He was riding an unsaddled horse belonging to Abu Talha and a sword was hanging by his neck, and he was saying, "Don't be afraid! Don't be afraid!".
- Bukhari, Narrated by Anas

4.
Upcoming Event: Spiritual Chivalry: Answering the Call

With Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, founder of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom and spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International

Friday, December 4, 2009
Georgetown University, Copley Hall Formal Lounge, Washington, D.C.

This evening lecture precedes a two-day Sufi retreat, The Path of the Heart, Saturday and Sunday, December 5 & 6, with Pir Zia.

[>] Read Details of Event


# Media: Video
. Pir Zia Introduces Chivalry Theme at Seven Pillars’ Inauguration
. Bishop Michael Banks on Chivalry at Seven Pillars’ Inauguration
. The Spiritual Undercurrents of the Crusades

# Further:
. Inheriting Islamic Chivalry
. Royal Chivalry (Al Futtuwa)
. Marian Chivalry
. Spiritual Chivalry and Henry Corbin
. Chivalry and the Church
. Futtuwah In Sufi Way
. Spiritual Chivalry | Event on Facebook

# Resources:
. The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry: Futuwat Namah Yi Sultani, Kamal al Din Husayn Kashifi
. The Way Of Sufi Chivalry: When The Light Of The Heart Is Reflected In The Beauty Of The Face, That Beauty Is Futuwwah by Ibn Al Husayn Al Sulami (Author), Toscun Bayrak Al-jerrahi
. God's Will be Done: The Psychology of Spiritual Chivalry
. Chivalry and Chivalric Order via Wikipedia Pin It Now!

LinkWithin