Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to know, "What is my station with God?" - someone asked

Someone asked, "I feel this restlessness  in the heart and I so long to know what is my position with God? How am I in the eyes of God?"

Generally to understand what is your condition with God, the Divine Informer, may abundant peace and blessings of Allah be with him, has transmitted this knowledge of the Unseen through the sacred tradition where the Divine voice speaks: "I Am with My servant as he or she perceives Me."

The full version of this tradition is: "I Am as My servant thinks I Am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running." (transmitted by Abu Hurairah, collected in Bukhari and also found as hadith qudsi)

The creation is a mirror of Divine Qualities (sifat) and nothing can contain God except the heart of the faithful. Thus God manifests in the heart according to the capacity and ways the inner heart within the breasts of man perceives the Divine, Glorious is Hu.

Thus the great sages of the Path have always advised to have sound knowledge of God (gnosis), to have good and pleasing opinion about God.

In order to have gnosis, one must humble one's self and ask God to remove Her veils so that the heart can perceive Her in Her Infinite manifestations, in this very world, in this very life - for the disclosure of God is only granted those who are guardian of faith and who comes before God with humility and devotion. The disclosure of God is not something which is granted just like any other object or phenomena in the world - it is from pure grace and only those who have purified themselves and strive to purify themselves are blessed with such vision.

A practical means by which the Sufis train their pupil to come to the unveiling of the Divine while living in this world is by knowing, understanding, contemplating and internalizing the Divine Attributes. These Divine Attributes are transmitted through the Asma-ul-Husna, the Beautiful Names in the sacred tradition of Islam. The Names are like ladder with many rungs and each helps the seeker reach higher and higher in his or her own unveiling of the One Who is Ever Manifest (az-Zahir), yet Ever Hidden (al-Batin) from ordinary consciousness.

The Beautiful Names, about which the Divine Informer has informed us that he or she who internalizes them, enters the Paradise. Which is to say, those who internalize the Names shall reach the Divine Presence. The Names take one to the Named, for Allah encompasses everything, including the Names and nothing encompasses Allah. And Allah knows the best and unveils according to the servant's station of walking upon the Path.

Wahiduddin.net, a beautiful Sufi site has the a list of the Beautiful Names and the practice of Wazifa (the remembrance practice of the Sufis using the Names) which can be useful for seekers (click here to access). You may read the Names according to their Numeric order.: Allah, ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim, al-Malik and so on until the 99th one, which is as-Sabur (here is the list). Also Sufism.org also has the Beautiful Names and relevant verses from the writing of Mevlana Rumi and Quranic Signs (ayah) concerning such disclosures (click here to access).

After or parallel to the practices of knowing God through His Unveiled Names, the seeker should always always have good or lofty opinion of God. And one of the best way to achieve this way station of the heart of having good opinion about God is to know in every state and every affair that God is the Beloved (al-Wadud) Who is the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate (ar-Rahman ar-Rahim) and also that God is the Most Tender (al-Latif) and the Most Generous (al-Karim) and One Who is Ever Forgiving (al-Ghafur) and like a mother She is the Ever Concealer of the faults of Her Servants (al-Gafir). As God promises, "Remember Me and I will remember you," remembering Him with lofty opinions about God also invoke lofty opinion about the servant in the Kingdom. God also commands, "Be thankful to Me" and God admonishes saying, "Do not be ungrateful."

We have sent among you
a Messenger of your own
to recite Our revelations to
you, purify you and teach you
the Book and wisdom, and to
teach you what you did not know.

So remember Me;
I will remember you.

Be thankful to Me
and do not be ungrateful.

You who believe, seek help
through patience and prayer;
surely, God is with the steadfast.
- The Quran 2:150-153


God is the jealous Beloved and every beloved wishes to be held in the heart of his or her lover with beautiful reflections. In the same fashion, manifestation of divine attributes within happens according to the reflections with which God is held in the heart. The duty of the seeker is to have always and if that is difficult, to have good opinion about God as much as possible. Human vision is myopic and hence his opinions based on the events of very small scale often lead to lose hope, to become ungrateful. This is because the grand mercy of the Most Merciful sometime is concealed within the trials and tribulations and it is the right of the Creator to test and try Her creation. But those who are steadfast and who abide at the station of faithfulness (mu'min) never rush from contentment to denial, from thankfulness to ungratefulness - for their faith is stable, by Allah and they know that their Lord is the Most Generous and the Most Tenderly Loving to the believers.

So even if temporary trial and tribulations befall them, they know that they are still in the Ocean of Mercy and the agitating waves are only but temporary. Whenever hard times befall them, their heart utter, "Indeed we are God's, and truly to God is the final return." (inna li-Llahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un). They thus rest in the embrance of divine reliance (Tawakkul).

"Indeed we are Allah's" - behold this statement of Truth. Enter into it and make yourself completely soak in the truth encapsulated in that very Sign: inna li-Llah, "Verily we are God's", "Indeed we belong to God". What a lofty maqam, what a lofty station to be exclusively for God's!

Ya Shadhdhuli,
when shall you be
solely for Me?!

Verily everything and every object in the heaven and the earth belongs to God and human being who submits to the Divine is the pinnacle of creation and is the most desiring to God. Allah says, "I have created everything in the cosmos for Man and I have created Man for Myself, so be for Myself and for nothing else."

In our forgetfulness, our negligence of our true nature, every human being time to time wrongs themselves and whenever we wrong ourselves by committing mistakes, by deviating from the Path, from Truth, Beauty and Harmony - our spirit hides gradually from the Self-Disclosure of God. Like the primal story of Adam in the Garden, when Adam became conscious of his mistake, his disobedince; he hides. Similar tendency we have inherited from our original father. Whenever we wrong ourselves (zalamtu nafsi) we instinctively hide from the Mercy of God. And this causes the light of God become more and more veiled from the heart to the extent that we no longer abide in the bliss but run around like mad touched by afflictions who have forgotten what is peace, what is happiness and what is contentment.

Even then the servant must have good opinion about God, for Beloved awaits ever patiently for Her lover. Inna-Llaha Ghafurur Shakur, wa Allahu Sabur. Indeed God is Ever Forgiving, Ever Grateful of Her servants turning (tawba) to Her and Allah is the Most Patient through Her Divine Patience (as-Sabur).

But from those who repent
and mend their ways and make
known the truth, I will certainly
accept their repentance: I am
the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.
- The Quran 2:160

So returning to the original question of the seeker, may Allah increase her iman and islam and may Allah perfect her ihsan, of how to know one's situation with God, how is one in the eyes of God - to find the answer one has to ask, "How is God in the eyes of your heart," "What opinion do your heart beholds for your Maker?", "Is your heart with God or with the things other than God / objects veiled from God." "God is Nearmost, closer to us than our own being, but are we close to God, is our heart in intimacy with God?"

Was bir li hukma Rabbika
Fa innaka bi a'yuninna ...

So be patient with your Lord's judgment,
for indeed you are
in Divine Eyes.
- The Quran, 52:48


Another way to know the station with the Khaliq (Creator) is the reflection from the makhluqat (creation). What and how is the opinion of people around you, is a Sign of how your condition is with God, but among this "opinion of people" the best indicators are those who are the nearmost, one's own family, after than one's own friends and circle of influence and finally those who know you in the society. The beloved Master of the mystics, Sayyidina Ahmed has thus said, "the best of you is the best to his wife and family."

Also the validity of creation's attitude being the reflection of that of the Creators can be understood again from another sacred tradition (hadith) where the Prophet transmits, “When Allah the Most Glorious, loves someone, he calls the archangel Gabriel and Allah then says, ‘Ya Jibreel! Inni uhibbu fulan! (Oh Gabriel! Verily, I love such and such a person, so love him!)’”

And Allah names that person and then Jibreel loves that person. Then Jibreel calls out to all the angels of the heavens and he says, “Allah loves so and so, so love him!”and so all the angels love him. And then Allah places pleasure in the hearts of the people towards this person (and that person is loved by people on earth)!”

So the ones  who are loved by people who know him or her is a Sign of Allah's love for him and this love of other people are not for the material wealth or worldly fame or temporal power but for the quality of his or her heart, character and disposition. Indeed successful is that person who has a pure and sound heart (qalbin saleem).

Again in another hadith we find, "Allah is pleased with that son, upon whom his father is pleased." This is also another indication that the nearmost family carries the Sign of how we are with Allah. May we be among those who are given a perfumed heart so that everyone who come in contact with us is perfumed with the beautiful qualities which are again qualities borrowed from the Most Beautfiul (al-Jamil). May we be generous and magnanimous and loving to those who are near us, specially that of our closest family, our parents, our partner and our related ones. So be it, ameen.

May we strive to find means and strive to find people of remembrance (ahlel zikr) who are possessor of tranquil heart, for they know the secrets of heart that is perfectly content with God the Most High. May we ask for removing every preoccupation of the world from our heart so that it can only behold the attributes of the Most High - and indeed Divine Mercy is the most foremost and the most overpowering attribute of Allah. Thus we begin and touch everything that we touch with that beautiful quality as we say, Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim: We begin with the Name of our Most Compassionate Lover.

May Allah grant us the vision necessary to know and love Him. Indeed Allah is the Hidden Most Treasure of the Heaven and the Earth and Allah longs to be known and  longs to be loved. May Allah include us in the circle of His lovers who are pleased with their Lord and Allah is well pleased with them.

And salutation of peace and blessings to the Praised one and his spiritual heirs and to every men and women who walk upon the path of surrender.

- Sadiq Salim
Dhaka, 2011
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