Sunday, October 09, 2011

Pleased with the Beloved's way, well-pleasing Him

Yaa ayyatuha an nafsu-l mutma-inna!
IrjiAAee ila Rabbiki radiyatan mardiyya
.

O serene soul!
Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with Him), well-pleasing (to Him).
- The Qur'an 89:27-28

The Master was reciting one of his favorite verses from the Quran. We have gathered around him like children who wish to listen to delicious tales, except that no tale is more soul quenching that the message of truth. Thus we look forward for these moments with the Master when he begins his transmission. As he enters more and more into the depth, his face glows with an indescribable light.

There is a new seeker in the circle. She is Radha, who for a long time has been following the ancient Hindu Path and when he first met the Master, she later described that as if she had met Sri Chaitanya who was a God intoxicated mystic, an embodiment of divine love who is highly revered in Hindu tradition. To Radha in those auspicious moment of first seeing the face of the Master felt in the heart like the special moments when Radha first read about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and felt an ecstasy of love for this man from Ancient Bengal. And co-incident or not, our Master also hails from the same region where the ancestors of Sri Chaitanya came from. Since those days of first seeing the Master, Radha have never missed a single gathering when Sidi would give his discourse.

After reciting the above verses, Sidi remains silent for a moment, as if absorbing what is transmitted. Then he asks one of us to read the meaning of the 89th Chapter of the Quran titled, the Surah of Dawn. And the Surah ends with the verses that he just recited which translates as: "O serene Soul! Return to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing. Enter you then, among my honored devotees. Enter into my Garden."

Either there was something in the voice of the reciter, or there was something in the revelation or both, I discovered that many of us were tearful, including our Master. After a moment Radha seeks permission, "Sidi, can I ask you a question?" "Yes Radha" - comes the answer.

"How do we know what pleases the Beloved?"

A smile shine on the face of the Master. He sighs with a prolonged call, "Allaaaaaaaah." Those of us who are blessed to be with him for long time know that Sidi would do that before replying any question, asking for Allah's help to speak through him. A real teacher intend not to speaks of his own, but from inspiration and earlier true revelation.

We await eagerly.

Then Sidi begins. "Listen my beloveds, just there are certain actions which if performed by a child, pleases his mother or father, similarly we who are all children of God - there are certain actions and state of being which are more pleasing to our Eternal Father, our Eternal Mother. Just as there are certain state of being and actions of the lover which are more loved to a beloved - similarly Allah has His Way which is prescribed for His servants, certain outer actions and inner state of being which are pleasing to Him and there are other actions and other state of being which are displeasing to Him. Similarly for God, it is through these actions an ordinary person may become a special friend of God, it is through these inner state of being through which a sinner may over-night become a saint in the eyes of God. It is the duty of a lover to be be mindful of the likes and dislikes of the beloved.

My teacher says, If you give everything in one day, He will give you everything in one day; if you give everything in one hour, He will give you everything in one hour. Such is the generosity of God.

Now how our earlier masters, great sufis, saints and those special friends of God know what pleases the Lord. They followed and still continues to follow the guidance of the Divine Prescription and for the Later Days, this Divine Prescription is the Last Testament after which no other Divine Revelation will come. After this Last Testament only the second coming of Christ will happen, but he will not give any new Law or Book but he will validate only the last revealed Divine Law just as he did in his time, asking his followers to respect the Law of Moses, similarly after his second coming he will follow and ask the true believers to follow the Law revealed to Muhammad which is the culmination of all the revelations and that is why Quran is preserved as it is and will be preserved without any corruption or change or substitute.

All Sufi Masters and Guides follow the Quran as a criterion of knowing what pleases God and what displease Him. To obtain the right to call God a Beloved is a heavy one and it is not granted to anybody and everybody. A real lover, a sufi long to know God as their Beloved because they dissolved themselves by giving precedence to what God wills over their own will, giving precedence to what God forbid over their whims and desires. That is why one of the definition of a Sufi is the one who give preference to God over everything so God gives them preference over others. That is why Sufi saints are muqarrabin, the ones who are brought near, from the word qarib.

Now Quran, the Last Testament is called the Book of Criterion or Standard or Discernment. In the message of Quran is hidden the universal standard of discernment, including what pleases our Creator and what displeases Him. If one can act upon those sincerely, by the promise of Allah it is them who receive direct guidance and it is them in whose heart becomes radiant with the Light of God's love.

Remember what I say that being the Last Divinely Revealed Book, Quran is the culmination of teachings found in all other Holy Scriptures. Thus what you read in the Quran regarding what Allah loves to see in His servants and what Allah loves not - are universal teachings and you can find the same truth in every holy scripture if you read them. These teachings are quintessentially the same teachings given to humanity at various turn of age, some of which are lost in the whirlpool of time, some are corrupted in their translation and transmission and some other got hidden by corrupt authorities.

I hand you over a summation of teachings from the Quran that describe at various places Allah provide hints of what please Him and what displease Him. Each of the following statements ends with a quality which can also be interpreted as an individual station on that path of attaining God's pleasure and hence stations of attaining God. They are station of the friends of God, awliya Allah.

Saying thus we were handed over a summary sheet containing message from the Qur'an.

That which Allah loves, that which pleases the Lord:

1- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muhsineen
Indeed Allah loves them who excel in doing good.
(2:195)

2- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu at tawwabeena wayuhibbu al mutatahhireen
Verily Allah loves them who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure.
(2:222)

3- فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
fa-inna Allaha yuhibbu al muttaqeen
So surely Allah loves them who are conscious of Allah.
( 3:76)

4- وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
wa Allahu yuhibbu al muhsineen
For Allah loves those who excel in good deeds.
(3:134)

5- وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ
wa Allahu yuhibbu as sabireen
And Allah loves those who are steadfastly patient.
(3:146)

6- وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
wa Allahu yuhibbu al muhsineen
And Allah loves them who excel in good deeds.
(3:148)

7- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al mutawakkileen
Indeed Allah loves them who put their trust (in Him).
(3:159)

8- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muhsineen
Truly Allah loves them who conduct their affairs with Ihsan (goodness, beautiful and wholesome action).
(5:13)

9- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muqsiteen
Indeed God loves them who are just in their conduct.
(5:42)

10- وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
wa Allahu yuhibbu al muhsineen
And God loves them who do good.
(5:93)

11- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muttaqeen
Truly Allah loves them who attain taqwa (taqwa is an Arabic word having vast meaning, beginning from guarding the self for Allah to being completely aware of God).
(9:4)

12- إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muttaqeen
Indeed Allah loves the person of God-consciousness.
(9:7)

13- وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ
wa Allahu yuhibbu al muttahhireen
And Allah loves them who make themselves pure.
(9:108)

14- إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muqsiteen
Indeed Allah loves them who are fair (and just).
(49:9)

15- إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
inna Allaha yuhibbu al muqsiteen
Verily Allah loves them who are unbiased (of selfishness, of ego).
(60:8)

That which Allah loves not, that which displeases the Lord:

1- إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبِّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu almuAAtadeen
Indeed Allah loves not the transgressors.
( 2:190)

2- وَاللّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ
wa Allahu la yuhibbu kulla kaffarin atheem
For He loves not creatures ungrateful and wicked.
(2:276)

3- فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
fa-inna Allaha la yuhibbu al kafireen
So Allah loves not them who covers up the truth.
(3:32)

4- وَاللّهُ لاَ يُحِبّ ُالظَّالِمِينَ
wa Allahu la yuhibbu az zalimeen
but Allah loves not them who oppress.
(3:57)

5- وَاللّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ
wa Allahu la yuhibbu az zalimeen
And Allah loves not them who act unjustly.
(3:140)

6- إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالاً فَخُوراً
inna Allaha la yuhibbu man kana mukhtalan fakhoora
Indeed God loves not the arrogant, the vainglorious.
(4:36)

7- إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ خَوَّاناً أَثِيماً
inna Allaha la yuhibbu man kana khawwanan atheema
Truly God loves not one given to perfidy and crime.
(4:107)

8- وَاللّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
wa Allahu la yuhibbu al mufsideen
And God loves not the evildoers.
(5:64)

9- إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu almuAAtadeen
Indeed God loves not the transgressors.
(5:87)

10- إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
inna Hu la yuhibbu al musrifeen
Indeed God loves not the extravagant.
(6:141)

11- إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
innahu la yuhibbu al musrifeen
Indeed God loves not the wasters.
(7:31)

12- إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
innahu la yuhibbu almuAAtadeen
Indeed God loves not who trespass beyond limits (set by God).
(7:55)

13- إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الخَائِنِينَ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu alkha-ineen
Truly Allah loves not the treacherous.
(8:58)

14- إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ
innahu la yuhibbu al mustakbireen
Verily He loves not the arrogant.
(16:23)

15- إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ خَوَّانٍ كَفُورٍ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu kulla khawwanin kafoor
Surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful.
(22:38)

16- إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu alfariheen
Indeed Allah loves not those who exult (in riches).
(28:76)

17- إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu almufsideen
Indeed Allah does not like corrupters..
(28:77)

18- إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
innahu la yuhibbu alkafireen
Verily He loves not those who cover up the truth.
(30:45)

19- إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ
inna Allaha la yuhibbu kulla mukhtalin fakhoor
Indeed Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.
(31:18)

20- إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ
innahu la yuhibbu az zalimeen
Indeed He does not love the unjust.
(42:40)

21- وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍَ
wa Allahu la yuhibbu kulla mukhtalin fakhoor
And Allah does not love any one self-deluded and boastful.
(57:23)


As we finish reading them Sidi says, remember it will take time to internalize these teachings. They are not a matter of reciting and memorizing. God will test you and give you amble opportunities to act accordingly which pleases Him. Even though I have quoted the verses out of context, you should read them in the context, as it comes in due course in the Quran so that you may receive it full baraka. More meaning will unveil to you when you encounter these verses in their proper context. You will also notice that same quality inside His servant please the Most appear again and again. I have mentioned them more than once as they appear in the Quran. Their abundance indicates emphasis through which we must try to internalize those quality inside of us if we want to earn acceptance by God.

Remember the most often occurring verse in the Quran regarding whom Allah loves is "Muhsineen" the ones who perform good deeds, who perform deed of excellence. Musineen is a plural of Muhsin which comes from the word Ihsan and Ihsan is excellence, is performing deeds with awareness of God, is doing good while being aware that God is the Ever Witness to our actions. It is the Sufis who consider Ihsan one of the most important pillar after Imaan (faith) and Islam (Way of surrender).

Remember that until you breathe your last breath, God offers you opportunities after opportunities to do good, to excel in doing beautiful actions, to engage in mindful deeds which are done to earn good pleasure of God. It is not enough to know what pleases God, but also we must guard ourselves from the actions and inner state which bring displeasure of God because it is through these our spiritual stations are lowered, our spiritual progress is hindered. Great care must be given to avoid those attitude and actions for which Allah repeatedly mentions what Allah loves not.

May Allah increase our knowledge and grant us Divine wisdom and increase our capacity to follow the right guidance.

So Sidi raises his hand, so do we join with him for supplication.

By Your Unfathomable Grace!
O Allah, may You include us among the muhsineen, make us people of Ihsan.
O Allah include us among your servants who are muttaqeen, who are conscious of You,
O Allah include us among those who are sabireen, who are steadfastly patient, 

who are mutawakkileen, who place their trust upon You, completely with Your help,
O Allah may we be among those who are muqsiteen, who are just, who are muttahhireen, pure and purified by You, Ya Quddus, O the Most Holy. 


Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. 
So be it, O Lord of the worlds.


# Further:
* Identities in the Quran about Muhsineen
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