Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sufi Parable of Honey Bee

1.
Sufi Master Sidi Muhammad Jamal, may Allah bless him, in his teaching gives the following parable:
(Look at the bee) when she flies, and she goes to the garden full of different flowers, different fragrances, and different tastes. And she takes everything from every flower that meets her, because Allah guides her to take the love, with the complete freedom, in the gentle way.

After that she makes the honey, not for herself, but for another, who searches about this honey, to feed himself from the honey that she makes. She does not worry when she visits any flower, and she takes what she needs, because God guides her in His perfect Way.

Exactly this is a part of the ocean of the love which God gives for all who want to know and to take.

~ Music of the Soul: Sufi Teachings, 2nd Edition, 1997

Credit: OGU via GfxArtist


2.
The parable is an allusion of the Divine Arrangement in manifesting Divine Action while every other created creatures carry them out in appearance but ultimately it is done under the inspiration of the Divine. This parable also demonstrate how free-will of creature does not contradict the Divinely inspired actions.

And your Lord inspired the bee: "build homes in mountains and trees", and in (the hives) they build for you. "Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively." There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colours, in which there is healing for mankind; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect. - The Quran, chapter of the Bee, verse 68

The action of the bee is inspired within its being, from its birth it knows it's course of action and it seeks out nectar from flower. After that she makes the honey, no, said more truthfully and closer to the reality that she is given a system by which honey is made. And who gave her that way, that system? It is the Mysterious Maker of all things. Allahu al- Badi': The Wonderful Originator; Allahu al-Bâri': The Maker from Nothing and the Evolver. Allahu al-Barr: The Gracious Benefactor, the Source of Goodness, Allahu al-Khâliq: The Creator, the Planner. Allahu al-Wahhâb: The Bestower, the Giver of Gifts.

"A bee makes honey, not for herself, but for another." 

At-Tahiy-yatu lil-lahi was-salawatu wat-tay yibatu
Every adoration, every prayer and devotion are for the Divine.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un
Surely we are for Allah and to Him shall we return.

This is a great secret. All creatures, all creation are manifested for Allah. Thus all action through the creature are also actions of Allah. But human being is special for the fact that he or she is bestowed with free-will. But this free-will also has its limitations. The greatly illuminated beings understand the secret and they ascend to the station of surrender (taslim) and freely give away their free-will out of their loving surrender in that very free-will so that they may rise as the true image of God, true khalifa of Allah.

Just as in the parable, the bee is inspired by Allah for its truest purpose of life, and yet to carry out that purpose, it is also bestowed free will in its going out into the garden, to take freely from any kind of flower of its choosing. "Allah guides her to take the love, with the complete freedom, in the gentle way." Nevertheless the product that comes out of their action, that is honey, is pre-destined by the Divine. That is the Qadr of Allah.

Wali'Llahi ma fee assamawati wa ma fee al-ardi 
wa-ila Allahi turjaAAu al-omoor.

And to Allah (belongs) whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth;
and to Allah all Commands are returned.
- The Quran, Family of Amran,109

And upon Allah is the direction of the [right] way, and among the various paths are those deviating. And if He willed, He could have guided you all (but you're being tested on receptivity of divine guidance). - 16:9

"She does not worry when she visits any flower, and she takes what she needs, because God guides her in His perfect Way."

That is the secret of attaining tranquility of being who rest in God's assurance of providing their rizq, sustenance, as opposed to those who run after the worldly-life (dunya) like mad, who doubt the Lord of Sustenance. The wise ones only takes what they need and leave, or give away what is excess, as opposed to the people afflicted by the disease of excess wanting but fail to be satisfied and their disease only goes on increasing. Those who attain faith, are not affect by worries and anxieties, like the bee who freely visit and takes what is provided. And Allah is ar-Rashid, the Guide of Siraatim-Mustaqim, the Perfect Way.

And whoever places his trust in Allah, Sufficient is He for him, for Allah will surely accomplish His Purpose: For verily, Allah has appointed for all things a due proportion. - The Qur’an 65:3

The bee produces the honey, not for herself, but for another, who searches about this honey, to feed himself from the honey that she makes.

Thus creation is made inter-dependent and inter-woven in their dependence. God is independent of the worlds and His richness diminishes not by an atom even if He were to fulfill the demand of every supplicant, yet He wills that human beings be assisted by other human beings. Those who lack wisdom and do not see the Divine Wisdom in this fall into clear error in denial of generosity of giving for others.

And when it is said to them, "Spend from that which Allah has provided for you," those who disbelieve say to those who believe, "Should we feed one whom, if Allah had willed, He would have fed?" You are not but in clear error. - 36:47

Thus it is made an obligatory act upon human being who are endowed with free will to help others who have less, who lack something which one may have in plenty. You are given the rizq, the provisions and everything that you are given, not for yourself to consume alone, but to give generously like that bee to others who are made needy. It is Allah who gives one wealth and gave excess of what one really need and He also created deficit in others, so that He may try whether one who has be grateful and generous or be a denier and stingy.

It is Allah who gives (you) want or plenty. And to him you shall return. - The Quran 2:245

And Allah has made some of you excel others in the means of subsistence, so those who are made to excel do not give away their sustenance to those whom their right hands possess so that they should be equal therein; is it then the favor of Allah which they deny? - The Quran 16:71

Just as the honey maker bee collect flower nectar and turn into honey and preserve them carefully under the inspiration of God so are the human beings whose wholesome actions are like honey which He is to find with God transformed as rewards, gifts in the reality of post-resurrection awakening.

And it will be said to those who are conscious of the Divine, "What is it that your Lord has revealed?" They will say, "[That which is] beautiful." For those who do good in this world is good; and the home of the Hereafter is better. And how excellent is the home of the righteous, Gardens of perpetual residence, which they will enter, beneath which rivers flow. They will have therein whatever they wish. Thus does Allah reward the righteous - The Quran, 16:30, 31

May Allah guide our hearts to the Divine Path. Allahu al-Wârith: God is the Inheritor of All, the Supreme Heir.


~ Sadiq Salim
10th Ramadan, 1432 Hijri
Dhaka, Bangladesh

3.
Your soul has become an invisible bee.
We don't see it working,
but there's the full honeycomb.

Your body's height, six feet or so,
but your soul rises through seven levels of heavens.

~ An Invisible Bee by Rumi


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