Thursday, September 29, 2011

Allah Misses You

Night with Full Moon


1.
Every single night when the two-third of it is over, the old Dervish is awakened. The process of his waking up from sleep never ceases to feel mysterious to him, even though it’s a seemingly ordinary phenomenon for others perhaps. Deep within, the Dervish has always felt like a mystic and as days go by he is increasingly becoming aware of this nature of his. What is ordinary to others - feel wondrous to him, just as this waking up at the same time in such fashion in the deep watches of night is. Isn't this finding joy, ecstasy in the ordinary and discovering wondrous signs in all that exist - a sign of mystic!? he wonders by himself, or its also common for the children perhaps, comes to him as a second thought. Saying of the blessed Master Christ comes to his mind, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them from coming to me! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." and it pleases the Dervish.

Every night almost at a precisely same time no alarm clock or any other means wakes him, but it is as if some one comes and whispers to his spirit and gently he is brought back to this realm. Slowly opening his eyes he is fully awake in an instant. This happens every night, for last how many years, the old Dervish has lost that count. He is about seventy four years old. The body has become weak and frail but his spirit is strong, ever so feels ageless and timeless.

After waking up every night he would perform his wudu or ablution, washing his hands, face, feet and running his wet hands on the head, neck and crown – a continuation of the symbolic and ancient ritual that was performed by many Biblical Prophets including John the Baptist, Jesus the Son of Mary and so many. Perhaps Jesus was hinting the intermingled mystery of water and spirit: "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." (John 3:5).  As water caresses his limbs - a cool sensation immediately gives rise to a special tranquility in his heart, followed by an ethereal peace in his entire being.

Tonight this feeling of peace does not arrive alone. Along with it comes a nostalgic feeling, suddenly the face of his beloved wife comes to his mind who has left him and this world more than eight year ago. Suddenly so many emotions rushes to his heart overwhelming his mind. Automatically he give praise to God saying Subhanallah, Glory be to Allah - 'Alleluia' as he fondly remembers how sweet it was the companionship of him and his beloved. The memory of beautiful companionship becomes alive and in a deep way he start to miss human company, his best friend, life's partner.

The Dervish looks out at the night sky, which has now taken up a mystical deep blue hue. Long time passes by while he gazes at the infinite reaching the furthest limit of his eyes. Then suddenly this strange thought comes to his mind: 'we as human being have company of other humans, even when we live alone we may pick up a book by another person and participate in others thoughts, we may pick up the phone - call and chat with another human being, but how terribly alone God must be! How lonely it must feel for God to be alone, all alone without a partner, without an associate. Does God miss companionship? If we're made in God's image, does it apply the other way as well?' Such thoughts come to him cascading in such a fashion that he feels overwhelmed and start to bear a strange kind of sadness for the eternally lonely God.

The Dervish comes inside to say his night prayer. Sitting on the prayer rug he start to recite the Holy Names of God one after another: Allah, Ar Rahman, Ar Rahim, al Malik, al Quddus, as Salaam, al Mu'min, al Muhaymin ... His heart become tranquil for a moment. Then as soon as he pauses after finishing his wazifa practice, the heart-ache for the impossible solitude of God rises in the heart again. To ease his strange heart-ache the Dervish gets up and opens the Qur'an.

Saying Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Rahim, he gently opens the Quran randomly, hoping for guidance from the all Guiding One. His finger is guided to open the chapter called Surah as-Sajdah, the Chapter of Prostration and the verse where his finger tip stops reads:


Tataja fa junoo buhum AAani almada jiAAi yadAAoona Rabbahum khawfan wa tamaAAan wa mimma razaqnahum yunfiqoon

Fala taAAlamu nafsun maokhfiya lahum min qurrati aAAyunin jazaan bima kanoo yaAAmaloon.


Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in holy fear and hope, and they spend out of what is bestowed on them. No soul really knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do. - The Holy Qur'an 32:17,18

The eyes of the Dervish over flow with tears, for in his heart of heart he knows that Allah just answered his heart-ache by opening these signature verses to him. Immediately he falls to prostration out of gratitude and while giving praise to God in that instant it comes to him that the Eternally Solitary one desires the companionship of His worshiper. It is the private presence of those who remember Him at the deep watches of the night is what is loved by Allah, precisely because it is those special moment when blessed companionship is exchanged alone with the Alone. It is the friends of God, the lovers who rise from their bed to be with their Lord, who supplicated the Beloved and remember Him - it is them who gives company to God and God gives company to them. It is for them such reward is kept hidden which no mind can conceive, no heart can perceive.

The saying of blessed Prophet comes to his mind and he is shown the truth of the symbolic statement in the light of the new reality of Love which is unveiled to him. "Our Lord - Blessed and Exalted is He! - descends every night to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night and declares: Who is supplicating Me so that I may answer him? Who is asking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him." The "descent" is the desire of the Beloved to receive companionship of those servants who calls upon Him.

No wonder, the Dervish contemplate by himself that the Great Beloved opens the gate of Mercy in those hidden watches of the night, because in those private moments the companionship become strong.

The saying of the Prophet comes to his mind, "The closest that a servant comes to his Lord is during the middle of the latter portion of the night. If you can be among those who remember Allah the Exalted One at that time, then do so. (at-Tirmidhi)

"Every night there is a special time during which whatever a Muslim asks Allah of any good relating to this life or the Hereafter, it will be granted to him; and this moment comes every night.''

"If My servant comes near Me one hand-span I come near him one cubit. If he comes near Me one cubit I come near him an arm's length. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running." (hadith qudsi)

Later at that night when the Dervish fell asleep, he had a marvelous dream in which a sublime voice calls out to him saying: "Allah misses you." The words continue to echo until it evaporates in the subtle mist in the Garden where he was strolling in his dream. The rest of what transpired in that blessed dream remains veiled from us.



- Sadiq Salim
Sept 29, 2011 / Dhaka, Bangladesh

* Dedication to Baji Amr, who transmitted Sidi's love imbued words, "Allah misses you" which inspired this post. May Allah bless you and bless Sidi in abundance.


2.
Tumi je amare chao,
     Ami shey jaani.
Keno je morey kadao,
     Ami shey jaani.


It is You Who desires me -
                 I know.
Why You make tears flow,
In the heart of my Heart -
                 I know, I know.

- Song of Tagore | listen via Raaga | download as mp3


3.
The Following is a supplication (dua) that the Beloved Prophet, upon him be divine blessings and peace used to say when he got up to offer his Tahajjud Prayer (night vigil prayer) at the later part of the night:

Allahumma lakal-hamd. 
Anta qaiyimus-samawati wal-ard wa man fihinna.
Walakal-hamd, Laka mulkus-samawati wal-ard wa man fihinna.
Walakal-hamd, anta nurus-samawati wal-ard.
Walakal-hamd, anta-l-haq wa wa'duka-l-haq,
Wa liqa'uka Haq, Wa qualuka Haq,
Wal-jannatu Haq wan-naru Haq.

Wannabiyuna Haq.
Wa Muhammadun Haq,
Was-sa'atu Haq.

Allahumma aslamtu Laka wabika amantu, 
wa 'Alaika tawakkaltu, wa ilaika anabtu, 
Wa bika khasamtu, wa ilaika hakamtu,
Faghfir li ma qaddamtu wama akh-khartu wama as-rartu wama'a lantu,
Anta-l-Muqaddim, wa anta-l-Muakh-khir,
la ilaha illa anta.
Wa la haula wa la quwata illa billah.


O Allah! All the praises are for You.
You are the holder of the Heavens and the Earth, and whatever is in them.
All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth and whatever is in them.
All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth;
And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth;
And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth,
And to meet You is true, Your word is the truth
And Paradise is true And Hell is true.

And all the Prophets are true;
And Muhammad is true;
And the Day of Resurrection is true.

O Allah ! I surrender to You; I believe in You
And depend on You, and repent to You,
and with Your help I reason and I take You as a judge.
Please forgive me my previous and future sins; and whatever I concealed or revealed.
And You are the Expediter and You are the Delayer.
There is none to be worshiped but You.
There is no might or power except with You O Allah!

- Prophet's prayer at night vigil (Tahajjud) (Bukhari)


4.
I made four mistakes in my preliminary steps in this Way. I thought that:
  I remember Him
  and I know Him
  and I love Him
  and I seek Him,

- but when I reached Him I saw that:
  His remembering of me preceded my remembrance of Him,
  and His knowledge about me preceded my knowledge of Him
  and His love towards me was more ancient than my love towards Him,
  and He sought me in order that I would begin to seek Him.
 

- Saying of Sufi Master Abu Yazid Bistami, may Allah be pleased with him (credit)
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