Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perfection of the Holy Face: The Book of Hu wa Hu

This valuable text is brought from the inner teachings of the Naqshbandi Muhibeen portal | Naqshbandis are the Impressionist Sufis, the Designer Mystics who imprint the Secret of God in the Heart of Man | On the authority and transmission from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Haqqani and his Deputy Mawlana Shaykh Hisham al-Qabbani

My Lord, open my heart as You opened the Heart of the Complete Man.
Alam nashrah la sadrak?
Indeed! As you always open the Heart of the Son of Man 
who come to completion in You, by You, for You.
By the truth of Your Perfect Words, Open us!

kullushay-in halikun illa Wajhahu

“Everything (that exists) will perish
except His Holy Face.” 

- Holy Quran 28:88 

From Hellboy to Hu-man

The Most Distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Way takes its name from one of the greatest Sufi saints, our Master Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband, who said “our way is association, and goodness is with the gathering.” In the presence of an authorized Master, the hearts of seekers are slowly attuned to the Divine Presence. As much as the seeker can maintain the presence of their Master, whether physically or spiritually through meditation, that Master can effect a change in the condition of the seeker’s heart. God says “I cannot be found in Heaven or on earth, but I can be found in the heart of a person who believes in Me.” So the purpose of a spiritual guide is that they are able to change the condition of your heart so that it becomes a source of Divine blessings.

The heart of every person is like a treasure chest filled with precious jewels. We all have equal access to the treasure, but most people do not seek a means to open that chest. Every result requires a means – you need a way to achieve that result. Watch any movie about a lost treasure, and you will find the treasure hunters seeking something that others have heard about but have abandoned hope of finding.

It is the same in Sufism. Many people have heard of these realities, but they don’t seek them out. Then the treasure hunters seek out a means to find that treasure, and in every movie they find a treasure map. The map is symbolic of the lives of the Saints who have already walked the spiritual path and received their spiritual trusts. When we read about their lives and study their teachings, we are following a map towards a Heavenly treasure.

Therefore, the entire spiritual path is focused upon perfecting the light that is contained within the heart, and its foundation is the relationship between the student and a perfected spiritual guide who can mentor that student to perfection. This is a particularly important point in the era of the “self-help” mentality. They take that knowledge from the Sufis, because Sufism is an organic form of psychology. But when they brought this knowledge to the West they took out the concept of a perfected guide and called it “self-help”, and Mawlana is teaching us that all of that is a false illusion with no spiritual fruits because it requires the individual to be truthful with him/herself, and the reality is that no one is truthful with themselves.

Generally, when someone is asked what their character defects are they say “well, I have a bit of a short temper sometimes, but other than that I’m a great person.” No one will say, “I am a terrible person filled with bad characteristics” because the ego hides our defects so that we won’t work on ourselves. The wisdom of following a spiritual guide is that they have walked the path and purified themselves of these defects. They know all of the defects, and they know how to treat those defects. Just like a doctor knows how to diagnose and treat a patient, a Sufi Master is able to diagnose and treat negative characteristics that you may not be aware of, but which are preventing you from reaching the Divine Presence.

When we enter Mawlana’s presence for the first time, we are like the character from the movie “Hellboy”.

Hellboy was a huge red-coloured demon with two horns that he filed down so as to not look so grotesque, and we do exactly the same thing! As Hellboy tries to hide his horns, we try to hide our bad character from others. We perfume ourselves and beautify the outside to mask the fact that our inner core is rotten, but in reality, true and lasting beauty comes from connecting the soul to its Divine source. That is why Saints have a beautiful appearance and a beautiful and loving character. They have achieved a station of everlasting beauty by purifying their hearts from material desires.

“By the soul and the proportion and order given to it, and its inspiration as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it.” (The Quran 91:7-10)

When we enter a Sufi order, however, we are not purified. We are filled with anger and bad character that is making us to be very fiery, like Hellboy. The goal of the Sufi path is to move from that negativity which is represented by Hellboy, towards the perfected image that the Divine created us in, which is represented by the Saints, because they are inheriting from the reality of the Prophet Adam (as) when God said, “We have honoured the children of Adam” (17:70).

What was that honour? We are created in God’s image.

In reality, however, God does not have an image because He has no form, only an emanation of power which is called Hu. That emanation is reflecting from the Divine essence of “Hu” to the face of Prophet (s), and from Prophet (s) to creation, but in reality it reflects to the Saints because we have not yet reached that nobility of purpose that is our Divine inheritance. Therefore, we must seek to follow the guidance of Saints. In following that guidance, they will gradually purify us and dress us with a Heavenly dress, so that we move from Hellboy towards our Divine reality.

"And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive,
[Saying], "We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude." (76:8-9)

Secrets of “Hu wa Hu”

It means that they will be dressing us from the reality of their holy face, because as God says in the Holy Qur’an

“Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face.” (28:88)

There is a deep secret to this verse that Saints are able to understand through their heart, because when that spiritual connection is established, inspirations come to the heart and provide insights that normal people would never think of. If the Divine is saying that “everything will perish except My face”, it is hinting to us that we must be in that image. To be in that image means to be in the image of the Prophets, because God doesn’t have an image; the Creator is outside of creation. God is the essence which is powering creation, but He does not manifest as something created. This is the secret of the numbers 1 and 2, or to use Roman numerals, I and II. The number I is Ahad, meaning “one and only” because there is nothing like the Creator. God has no partner, la sharik Allah. Then the number II is a reflection of I, like a mirror (I + I = II). The II stands for Wahid, meaning “unique”. Wahid has the Arabic wow attached to its Ahad. That wow is for Wadud, meaning that it is in love with the Ahad, and that love for the Divine is the power behind its manifestation.

The number II is the light of the Prophet (s). It means that the first act of creation was the creation of the light of Sayedena Muhammad (s), as evidenced by the phrase la illaha illAllahu Muhammadun Rasulullah. The first part, la illaha illAllah, is a negation: “there is no God but God”.  It means that there can only be one source of power. In that negation all that exists is the Creator, there is nothing else. There cannot be two creators in that ocean of negation because all that exists is the essence of power and that essence is One. But the Divine says, “I was a hidden treasure wanting to be known”.

How is the Divine known? It has to manifest, and that manifestation occurs through Muhammadun Rasulullah. So from I and the Divine’s ocean of oneness, comes a reflection of that oneness making II which is now witnessing that oneness . It means that the Divine is known through the creation of the light of Sayedena Muhammad. That is why Prophet (s) said to Sayedena Ali [as], “Verily, before your Lord made any other thing, He created from His own Light the light of your Prophet (s), and that Light rested where God willed it to rest. And at that time there existed aught else-not the Preserved Tablets, not the Pen, not Heaven nor Hell, not the Angelic Host, not the heavens nor the earth; there was no sun, no moon, no star, no jinn nor man nor angel – none was as yet creation, only this Light.”[i]

So there are two distinct oceans we are speaking about: the ocean of God’s essence, which is la illaha illAllah, and the ocean of manifestation known as Nur Muhammad or the “Muhammadan Reality”. When we speak of the light of Sayedena Muhammad we are speaking about all of the Prophets because each Prophet was carrying that light until the physical arrival of Prophet (s). So all Prophets are represented by the number II, which is the Prophetic reality. Prophet (s) was created from God’s essence, and we are created from the light of Prophet (s), we are all drops from the ocean of Prophet’s (s) light. So the Divine is saying “I have created you in My image”, which is the image of the holy face, but due to the circumstances of our existence in this material world, we are pulled towards evilness and bad desires which sicken the physicality and damage the soul, so that our image begins to reflect the excessive materialism of this world, rather than the Heavenly image of our Divine origin. Spiritually, we have assumed the appearance and characteristics of Hellboy. That is why we must seek out true inheritors of the Prophetic way; those who have left the material world and material desires behind, and who only seek the Holy Face of the Divine.

“And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His face, and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this life.” (18:28)

The Prophetic way is based upon the Prophetic sunnah, which refers to the actions, practices and manners of the Prophets of God. All of the Prophets had strikingly similar sunnahs/ ways. For example, all of the Prophets had a beard and wore a turban, and most of them carried a walking stick. Furthermore, none of the Prophets wore expensive clothes that were symbolic of worldliness. They were ascetics who saw through the illusion of this world and wanted nothing to do with it, and they reflected this state-of-being by wearing loose fitting garments which placed no emphasis on physical beauty or sexual attraction. So when you turn on the TV and you see someone with a Versace suit and a gold watch, you must know that he is not representing the character of Prophet Jesus, who cast-out the money lenders and who was so humble that he washed the feet of common people. And many of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) described him as the gentlest, the most tolerant and the most merciful of human beings. God Himself called him “Kindest and Most Merciful” (9:128). He never kept one dinar or dirham in his house, always making sure that everything he had was given to the poor. So when you see someone abusing women or blowing themselves up and killing innocent people (may God forgive us) that person is not representing the character of Sayedena Muhammad (s)!

“O ye who believe! Fear God and be with those who are true (in word and deed).” (9:119)

We are living in a world that is filled with falsehood. That falsehood exists in each of us, but the Saints of God are truthful servants of their Lord – there is no falsehood in them, nor is there any deficiency in their worship or their character. They have been purified and perfected in the light of Prophet (s), which means that they follow every Prophetic sunnah so that when you look at them you are seeing a perfected reflection of the image of Sayedena Muhammad. They dress like him, they talk like him, they act like him, and when you are around them you begin to feel a tremendous love developing in your heart for them because they have been authorized to carry the light of Sayedena Prophet (s). Through them you are able to complete your faith. When we say “I bear witness that there is no God but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God”, it means that you must witness Sayedena Muhammad. Is anyone witnessing him? No. We cannot see him, so that means that we are not even fulfilling the first requirement of the Sufi way. But for sure the Saints can see him, and through them you are developing a tremendous love for Sayedena Muhammad (s) and all of the Prophets, because you are witnessing someone who has been authorized to carry that Prophetic light. That is why God says,

“Obey God, obey the Prophet (s) and obey those charged with authority over you.” (4:59)

Seek out those spiritual teachers who have been given authority from Prophet (s). Seek out those who have reached the station of annihilation in the Divine Presence. Those who have reached annihilation will no longer possess the appearance and manners of an ordinary person. Instead, they will possess the perfected reflection of the Prophetic reality. This is “Sufi 101” - the reality of HuwaHu; the Hu which is the emanation of the ocean of la illaha ill Allah and is reflecting to the holy face of Sayedena Muhammad, Muhammadun Rasulullah. From Muhammadun Rasulullah that light is reflecting to the heart of the 124,000 living Saints, and the Saints reflect that light towards their followers.

At that level of understanding, you begin to see the deep truths contained in movies like Lord of the Rings, Matrix, even Hellboy! Because the Divine doesn’t leave anyone out; everyone must hear the message. If we are not going to hear the message in church or in a religious gathering, the Divine is going to reach us through something that we enjoy, like the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses was seeking his Lord and he was cold, so God showed himself as a burning bush. Of course, God is not a burning bush, but it is something that we can understand and, more importantly, it made Moses (as) to approach because he was in need of warmth. It is the same with modern technology and movies. So when you watch a movie like Matrix, you see that in reality there is only two characters, Neo and the Agent, and they clone themselves. It means that we all approach looking like clones of Hellboy, and that frequency of light is very negative, but as the Saints begin to clean us and purify us, they pull from the secret of the ocean of:

“Rabbananaaa ‘atmim lanaa Nuuranaa wag-fir lanaa: innaka ‘alla kulli shay-‘in Qadiir.” 
“Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and grant us Forgiveness, for thou hast power over all things.” (66:8)

Under the manifestations of that verse, Saints are able to perfect our light so that we begin to walk in the Kingdom of Heaven. It means that we will all be matching our real image in Paradise, like a mirror. At that time we will be dressed with the inner meaning of the Quranic verse:

“To whom belongs the Kingdom on this day?
To God, the One, the Irresistible” (40:16).

According to the teachings of the famous gnostic, Shaykh Ubayd Allah al-Ahrar, 20th Grandshaykh of the Naqshandi Sufi Order, this verse requires us to understand that the “kingdom referred to is the heart of the seeker. If God looks at the heart of the seeker with the light of His vision, then He erases the existence of everything except God in his heart...In that state the heart is speaking, the heart from which God has erased everything but Himself.”[ii]

God says “I cannot be found on Heavens or earth, but I can be found in the heart of the believer.” However, before we can open the heart, the crown of creation must be in submission. The example of a messenger is in the crown, the head. It means we must ask the Masters to take us towards the reality of HuwaHu and how to perfect the 7 openings of the Holy Face, so that we begin to reflect the face of God and the face of the Prophets.

7 Openings of the Holy Face

“Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face.” (28:88)

So when we first come to a spiritual path we are like Hellboy, filled with bad characteristics, especially anger. That anger made Hellboy to have a red color, very fiery, and like a volcano he could explode at any time. Anger is a very bad character trait because it destroys faith. Those who have attained real faith never get angry. Why? Because they understand in their heart that God is the Originator of all events. But most people are filled with anger, and that anger symbolizes that we are struggling with our faith in the Divine. So when the student enters the doors of a Sufi order, the first thing the Master does is to spark the light of faith in his or her heart. When that light has been sparked, the student can now begin to move towards understanding and opening the levels of the heart, which are 5 levels. These 5 levels of the heart are representing 5 big Prophets of the Divine: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon them all) and Sayedena Muhammad (s).

We are trying to align our reality with the Divine reality, and align our will with God’s will. The more that we are able to align ourselves with that reality, the more we can receive that Heavenly light which frees the soul from its imprisonment in the physical body. The body is a horse which allows the soul to experience, but for most of us it is a wild horse which needs to be tamed. In the first stages of spiritual development, that horse is partnered with the ego and is battling hard against the soul. While the soul is desiring spiritual nourishment and to attend spiritual associations, the ego is making the body to go to Las Vegas and engage in activities that are of no lasting benefit to the soul. So the first step is to start attending spiritual associations; to sit, to meditate and contemplate and feel the energy of the association, but that takes a tremendous amount of willpower because the ego is going to fight you every step of the way. It doesn’t want to go to those associations. That is the reason for the concept of the “body, mind and soul” meditation that a lot of holistic movements talk about. However, many of them use the formula, “mind, body and soul” where they first go after the mind.

Sufism takes a different approach. It seeks to first go after the body and discipline the body, because we understand that if this physicality doesn’t submit and go onto a spiritual path, then how is it going to benefit the mind and the soul? So then the reality is that if you just take your mind into meditation, but your body is free to do whatever it likes, then that is just a level of illusion, where we’re meditating only through the mind and the mind can go in any direction, but has no restriction on the physicality, so then you see many of them can meditate and do anything with their bodies. Sufism comes to teach us energy and a holistic way, that if you discipline the physicality and place some restrictions on the physicality – bring down the power of the ego, and all of these desires – instead of being a wild horse, your body becomes a tamed horse that you can use to take you to the Divine Presence. That is one understanding of the story of when Prophet (s) rode the Buraq, which was a Heavenly horse, on a journey through the seven Heavens and came within “two bow lengths or nearer to the Divine” (53:9). Your body is your buraq, but first it needs to be tamed.

Anyone who has watched how they tame wild horses, you know that a wild horse is not going to easily be ridden. It is not going to allow the rider onto a wild horse because it’s not used to letting anything ride it. So then the concept of breaking in the horse which is the wild ego that has never been told and never been disciplined, means they take these bags on the saddle, fill them with bricks and put this weight onto that wild horse, which makes the horse to buck and kick because it is extremely upset at that concept of being weighed down when it was once free to roam as it liked. It means that the horse has to be weighed down, and these disciplines are teaching us that I have to weigh down the physicality, that I have to contemplate on how much to eat and how much to drink and how much to play and how much to give to this physicality. When I start to put these weights onto the physicality and restrict the physicality it starts to become more tamed and the mind becomes clearer. The bodily desires are no longer controlling the mind, and it is now able to think clearly and understand these realities.

Then after the horse has been tamed, the mind is able to gain greater insight into the secrets behind our physical creation and what this body really is, because the reality is that we are not created for the purpose of endless physical pleasures. “Who knows himself will know his Lord”.  The reality behind this saying is the framework for the entire path of Sufism, where God says “We have honoured the children of Adam.” (17:70). Therefore, all of this knowledge is at the first level of the heart, which is the Qalb, under the authority of the Prophet Adam (as), because the Prophet Adam (as) is teaching us about ourselves – who we are and why we were created.

The nobility of our creation is that we have access to heavenly knowledge, and the first step in unlocking that knowledge is to understand our physical creation and what it means to be created in the image of the Divine. It means that we must understand the reality of the holy face, and perfect the 7 openings of the face because it is the crown of our creation; it symbolizes that nobility. And the Divine said, “I have created you in my image”, which means that our face is a reflection of the holy face:

“Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face.” (28:88)

 Therefore, the face and the 7 openings of the face, which are the 2 ears, 2 eyes, 2 nostrils and 1 tongue, must be perfected to begin the opening of the heart and the greater perfection of the self. That greater perfection opens the reality of the holy face because all of our 5 senses have a physical and a spiritual reality. It means that we can hear, see, smell, taste and touch from the level of the soul, and that is an eternal gift from the Divine, as mentioned in the Hadith Qudsi:

My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him.[iii]

That is why the Saints don’t pray for Paradise, and don’t fear Hell, but ask only to see the holy face, and God tells us to find them and frequent their company: “And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His face, and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this life.” (18:28)

Two Ears: Doorway to the Soul

So when we want to open the heart, the first thing we must do is unlock the crown of creation, which is the head. The first level of the heart, the Qalb, under the authority of the Prophet Adam (as), is showing us that there is a nobility in this creation and that I have been created by the two hands of the Divine. It means that our heart is connected to the Prophetic heart, which reaches to the Divine Presence. The nobility in our creation is that we have access to Heavenly knowledge. The angel in charge of this station is Gabriel, because he is in charge of conveying that knowledge. The first step in trying to unlock that knowledge is “do you hear the message?”

Samina wa attana
“we heard and we obeyed” (2:285).

The highest level of submission is the perfection of hearing. That is what makes a Messenger to be a messenger – their ears are entirely for the Divine. Their faculty of hearing is in complete submission waiting for the Divine order. It means that you have to open the two ears and the power of the two ears because the ears are the door to the soul. As you begin to open the heart to the Divine Presence, the Divine is showing you that your ears are going to be the door to your soul. What you hear is going to affect your soul; if what you hear is good it’s going to nourish your soul; if what you hear is bad its going to crush the soul. So the secret to open the soul is going to be found in what we hear and what we do with the ears. In the washing of the ears and the fasting of the ears is a tremendous Prophetic secret. You wash the ears to wash away negative energy, and you fast with the ears to abstain from negative sounds because those sounds will negatively impact your heart.

Then, are you hearing the message? Are you seeking Heavenly knowledge? That Heavenly knowledge is going to nourish your soul. It is as if the angel Gabriel is going to establish like an agency office in your heart; he’s going to establish his light in your heart. Why? Because then he can send from his Heavenly station to your physical station. He’s going to start sending inspiration. As soon as you clean this body, and say “I’m going to develop this temple, this Heavenly being”, Gabriel starts to send his light and like grafting, his light starts to nourish your light. Then they stand back and watch you to see what you do with what you have been given, because everything in this way is based on trust. Can you be trusted with this knowledge to do the right thing and serve creation?

As that light increases in you then you feel that inspiration becoming very strong because that presence is now very powerful in your heart and he is able to instantaneously bring information in and dispense that light throughout the kingdom of your soul. Then we realize that there is a tremendous importance in my ears. What I hear is going to affect me, so when I’m breathing and meditating and contemplating.

So the ears must hear the message. Then, the more difficult station is the station of obedience. Even the Prophets struggled in their obedience to the Divine, so we have to know that this is going to be a major battle ground. To obey something other than ourselves comes against the selfishness of the ego, and the ego is very upset by this because it means that you are saying “O my ego! Your opinion is useless to me.” That is why very few people are able to seek out spiritual guidance and follow that guidance. It requires a certain level of humility and submission to the Divine. That submission is the ultimate goal of the Sufi path; that I understood that I must give my will back to God. That free will was the test for me, and the greatest act of love and the greatest gift I can give is to offer it back, as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Then that opens the reality of the verse:

“Obey God, obey the Prophet and obey those charged with authority over you.” (4:59)

To obey God is impossible. If we were in obedience to God we wouldn’t sin and we wouldn’t do anything wrong. God knows that to obey Him is extremely difficult, which is why He gives three levels of obedience. The second level is to obey the Prophet (s), but since Prophet (s) is not with us we must obey those charged with authority over us – those who are carrying that Prophetic authority. That verse is referring to the Saints of God, who are inheriting from the authority of Sayedena Muhammad (s). They will train us on obedience and in doing so they will test us to show how much we are still servants of our ego. The ego is like Pharaoh, saying “I am the Lord Most High!”

The ego makes it almost impossible to obey anyone because it sees itself as Lord over you. That is why Mawlana points out that when we say “who knows themselves will know their Lord” we must recognize which Lord we are speaking about, because there are degrees of Lordship. The term “Lord” implies authority and obedience to that authority, and the Saints are inspiring us towards the realization that the physical desires of our ego are the first Lords over all of us – not God. It means that we are only obedient to our ego. That is why God asks in the Holy Qur’an:

“Do you see such a one as takes for his god his own passion (or impulse)?” (25:43)

“Then do you see such a person as takes as his god his own vain desire? God has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart and put a veil over his eyes.” (45:23)

When we follow our physical desires instead of God’s will we empower the ego and give it Lordship over us, and that blocks the spiritual connection with the Divine Presence. The heart is like a satellite dish that is trying to establish a connection with the Heavenly reality, but the ego is like a cloud which disrupts the transmission. That is why God uses the phrase “sealed his hearing” rather than “sealed his ears”, because we are trying to open the spiritual faculty of hearing from the face of the Divine, but so long as we are following the ego that reality cannot appear in us.

So the job of a spiritual guide is to train us and to guide us towards that obedience. It means that they will give advice and then watch to see how much you are able to follow. Most of us, especially at the beginning, will struggle to follow even the simplest advice from Mawlana Shaykh, and that shows us the true nature of the spiritual battle that is taking place within us. From Mawlana’s teachings and Grandshaykh’s teachings, they say that we should put three nails in our head. These three nails are fundamental to progressing within the Naqshbandi Order. The first nail is that if the teacher gives you a broken shovel and asks you to dig, you dig. The second nail is that if the teacher hands you a bucket and tells you to empty the ocean, you start trying to empty the ocean. The third nail is that if the teacher tells you that your sustenance is in the west and you are in the east, you start walking towards the west.

These examples are trying to emphasize the importance of the faculty of hearing: samina wa attana (we heard and we obeyed). Hear the advice and obey it. Don’t try to use your mind. It is not the mind that is their focus, but the heart, so you must know that their advice is unlikely to make sense to your mind, but still you must try and obey. We are speaking only on advice that is within the Divine Law and is not harmful, we are not talking about something crazy. So when the teacher tells you to empty the ocean with a bucket, the first thing that goes through your mind is “this is impossible.” Why is it impossible?! If you have faith in your teacher and in God, then it is not impossible, but faith does not come from the mind, it emanates from the heart of the believer. All that the teacher wants to see is whether we will listen and obey, listen and obey, and struggle in that obedience until Divine support comes. Then you see just how important these two ears are in enabling you to walk the spiritual path, and glory be to God, the Divine shows us physically this spiritual reality because when someone gets vertigo what happens? There is a problem with the inner ear, and suddenly you have trouble walking or even standing. The Divine is showing you that the quality of your hearing is going to determine your ability to walk this path.

Two Eyes are window to the soul

Then we move on to the importance of the two eyes, which are the window to the soul. Once you’ve heard that call of the Divine, then the next step in perfecting the face is are these eyes interested the material world, or are they interested in the Divine Presence? The eyes of the Prophets were always closed to the material world. It means that they had no interest in it; they were not distracted by material concerns because their heart was only for the Divine and they understood that what their physical eyes saw was not the truth. The material world is built on falsehood, that is why you turn on the tv and one day their telling you it’s black, the next day telling you it’s white. So the truth of this material world is that it’s like a big magic act - everything in it is an illusion and you will be lost by the magician. That is why Sayedena Isa, Jesus (may the blessings of God be upon him) described that in this world it is the blind leading the blind – people are not seeing with the spiritual vision that God has granted to them, they are only seeing with their physical eyes.

A perfect example is the movie “Matrix”. What we see and experience is not the reality. When Neo reaches a certain station he begins to see the world of the Matrix in binary code – he sees the reality of the world through his spiritual vision. The Divine says that we are veiled from the truth so that we cannot see it.

“They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle – nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning)” (7:179).

What is vision? These two pieces of flesh are connected to the brain, which is like a computer screen. If you are looking at a bird, for example, photons of light from that bird are transmitted to the retina in the eye, which then sends an electrical signal to the brain. The brain, already having the image of a bird in its “files”, recognizes the pattern and immediately an image of a bird pops-up on the screen. However, if the brain is not familiar with something, we often fail to see things that are right in front of us. There is a famous story that when European ships appeared off the Atlantic coast of North America for the first time, the Native Americans did not notice them for many days or weeks because they had never seen ships like them before. The brain had no frame of reference to draw a picture from, and so the conscious mind was completely unaware, or “in the dark”.

The Divine is showing us that “don’t place too much emphasis on what you see with these eyes. Try to open the vision of your heart instead”.  This world is dirty and deceptive, and that dirtiness contaminates the heart. God shows us through technology because the heart is like a hard drive, and our eyes are like a digital camera that constantly capturing images all day long. If you allow your computer to capture negative images such as violence, pornography, horror and other vulgar images you are going to crash the hard drive. Those images are saved – once we’ve downloaded them it is very difficult to forget them. Then you have to format the hard drive with zikr and meditation.

So when we want to perfect the eyes and open the spiritual vision of the heart we must close the eyes to this world and spend more time in meditation and contemplation. This is the reason that one of the main principles of the Naqshbandi Order is to watch your steps. It means that the seeker should keep their eyes on their feet because the images of the material world veil the heart.

Nostrils: Unlocking the Divine Breath

Lungs are The Tree of Life, Then, we must become conscious of the breath because every breath is a pocket of life. So are you breathing in remembrance of the Divine? And Mawlana Shaykh is teaching that the Naqshbandi way is built on the breath. That breath is our gift of life, and when put in that context you realize that everything else in life is irrelevant if you can’t take a breath: your money, your spouse, your children, your house, your cars, all of it means nothing if you have no breath. So then go and look at children who are suffering with asthma and every breath they take it is as if they’re dying, and that fear of suffocating is an absolutely horrible feeling. It means the breath is the single most important mercy from God. That is why we call it the Nafas al Rahma “breath of the Most Merciful.” Why? Because we are asking so many things in this room; each person upset with the Divine because they didn’t get what they want, but we have to want what we have before we ask for other things. And the biggest and the greatest gift we have is the gift of life. If God at some time becomes upset with us, in one instant He can make that breath become very difficult to get, and instead of arguing and complaining about all the things we want we find ourselves just trying to take a single breath without difficulty. God forbid that happen to anyone! May He forgive us and keep such difficulties away from us!

So that is the breath of the Most Merciful. “O! My Lord! I am praising You and thanking You for this breath!” It means that we begin to breathe consciously with remembrance. So the Shaykhs are teaching that if we are thankful for that mercy, every other mercy opens because we appreciated the gift of life. Then that answers many questions for us.

We don’t put all these things into the body that are going to contaminate that breath, that are going to poison that breath, that are going to put difficulty onto that breath. We are actually trying to purify the breath, not throw all sorts of pollutants into the breath. We are trying to purify that breath with remembrance, closing our eyes in meditation and breathing in with the zikr of “Huuuuu” from the Divine Essence, and breathing out with “Huuuu.” So it means that the Prophets are showing us the importance of the ears, the eyes, and then the most important - the breath. When the ears are submitting, the eyes are submitting and the breath is submitting, then we begin to open the power of the tongue, which is what makes a Messenger to be a Messenger for the Divine. It means the opening of the “tongue of truth”. That tongue of truth is flowing from Sayedena Muhammad (s) to the Saints because the Saints speak the truth. At that time, when the holy face is in submission, then the Divine can work through that servant.

Secrets of the Star

Kullu shay-in hâlik-un illâ wajha-hu
“Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face.” (28:88)

Once we have perfected the crown of our creation and the 7 openings of the face, we can begin to spark the light of the Divine within the heart, because God says “I cannot be found on heavens or on earth, but I can be found in the heart of My believing servant.” Sparking that light and building that light within the heart becomes the journey towards what we call an “enlightened being”. In Sufism, we call this the Shaykh al-Kamel, or the “Perfected Guide.” And what symbolizes light and guidance is the star. It means we must unlock the secret of the Star of Soleman (Seal of Prophet Solomon and the Star of David) [as].

Inna hu min sulaymana wainna hu bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
"It is from Solomon, and is (as follows): 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful"(27:30)

It is not something that only belongs to one particular religion. It is a Prophetic teaching and a gift from the Divine which can unlock the power of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Prophet (s) said “follow any of my companions, for they are like stars on a dark night.” Stars are guidance, are Saints. All Prophets came and taught law for the general public, and taught spiritual realities for the very few elite who were willing to take a spiritual path and to seek. The process of enlightenment is to become a star. It means that once you become enlightened you are filled with light, and when you are filled with light you are a star. You will guide in this world in your physicality, because that light is glowing from you, and you’ll guide in the hereafter because you are a star in the Heavens.

We take guidance for granted now-a-days but before, when people were sailing on ships, they relied completely on the Heavens. They had to look at the sky to determine where they were because there was no GPS, there was no Google Map quest. So the Divine is showing you that anyone seeking enlightenment is seeking to become a shining star. It means that the Divine is teaching us, “if you can unleash these secrets and bring these disciplines upon yourself, entire universes are going to open for you!” You will understand the secrets of creation. You will understand the secrets of light.

When we say someone is enlightened, what does that mean? A thousand years ago, if someone came to you and said “it’s time to become enlightened,” you would say, “what are you talking about, enlightened?!” But now it doesn’t even require faith because science is telling you that from this form you have a molecular structure; from molecular structure you have atomic structure; from atomic structure you have sub-atomic structure, and below all of that you have quantum – light. Quantum physics! It means that we have now reached a point that, ok, faith or no faith it is all going to be laid out for you. Everything has to do with light. Everything around you is created from light. The floor has a form. Its molecular structure has atoms, but when you go to the level of quantum it’s just light, it’s energy.

Science is showing you that everything has to do with light. So when you are “enlightened”, it means you understand everything, because everything has a knowledge. You may open just one level of light which is the energy level. Then you may go deeper in the understanding of light which is the angelic level of understanding, where the angels teach you the reality of each atom of light, and how that light is hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting. It means that every atom in this room hears, sees, smells, tastes – everything! So the pursuit of spiritual realities is the pursuit of light; to enlighten oneself to become light, and that is what Saints had achieved – a station of light. That was Einstein’s theory; that if you become light then time stopped for you. E= Mc2 Why? Because time is only relevant to our physical body that is on this earth, but enlightened individuals are not bound by time anymore. Their soul moves at the speed of light, and that is the importance of what quantum physics is now coming to teach all of mankind.

So to unlock the secrets of light, the secrets of our soul, we must move towards the star and the station of self-realization.

That star is made up of two triangles: one triangle that points up towards the Heavens, and one triangle that points towards the earth. The bottom triangle which points towards the earth represents our earthly or animalistic nature. The three points on this bottom triangle are: 1) anger 2) ignorance and 3) fire. So when we come towards a spiritual path we are engulfed by that lower triangle; means that we are like Hellboy, and we are seeking that upper triangle which provides the remedy for the negativity that is within us and which seeks to destroy us.

The three points on the upper triangle are: 1) religion (Islam) 2) faith (Imaan) and 3) moral excellence (Ihsan). So another understanding of “Hu knows themselves will know their Lord” means that we must know the reality of the Star of Soleman (Solomon and David's Star) [as] , the Prophetic Star, because the star symbolizes our journey towards the Divine Presence.

So when we first come we are in the station of the lower triangle, which is the lower desires and negative energy. That energy by its nature is fiery, and like a wild forest fire it is still not under control. That energy is moving up, and its first influence on the physicality is to keep that physicality ignorant. These two points, ignorance and anger, when we focus on it, it opens many different understandings on how everything is related, and how Sufism opens up the understanding of our physiology - “He who knows himself will know his Lord”. So the first level of knowing is what is this vehicle that I’ve been given? Because this is not your reality; this is a car that you were given for this material world – your body, your form. That is not who you really are because your soul is ancient, but you have to know how does this car operate? How does it function? How do I put fuel in it? How do I drive it so that it doesn’t drive me?

So this fiery energy from the material world, its first influence is to keep you ignorant – ignorant of everything! So that is why the first point on the bottom triangle is “ignorance”. That negative energy is trying to whisper to your heart, “Don’t learn about yourself and why you were created. Don’t learn how to perfect yourself. Don’t learn about how to meditate and deal with stress.” In other words, don’t get any understanding of how to safely and effectively operate this vehicle that the Divine has given you. That negativity that is active in the world wants to keep you ignorant because if it can keep you ignorant you will become heedless. And when you look around, people are more ignorant than at any other time in our history. There is so much information available to us today, but that information is extremely... what is the word? Superficial? Yes. All this information is superficial; coming at you left and right, but there is no wisdom in it.

Then, the next point on the triangle is “anger”. When that negativity can keep us in a state of ignorance we become very angry. Why? Because you don’t understand what is happening in this world. You feel like you’re in the dark and bumping into everything, and then your react from anger instead of wisdom and faith.  As that anger increases it makes us to be very fiery because in that state you are burning with the lower desires of the ego.

So the bottom point of the lower triangle is “fire”, and if we place it over the body it is pointing to the area of the genitals. In that region these characteristics of ignorance and anger come together to make us to be fiery, and that becomes the widespread violence and pornography that we are seeing everywhere. Mawlana Shaykh says that in most countries the value of life is about 30 cents, which is the cost of a bullet – and they even recycle the bullets now! All over the world people are being slaughtered, and women and children are being horribly abused. That is a sign for us that this is a very ignorant time, and when you are ignorant you’re going to be very angry, and when you’re angry you’re going to be fiery and violent. In this state of being we are like Hellboy, coming from a world filled with Shayateen, or demonic and evil influences that are pulling us towards negativity.

Then Sufism, which is the path of gnosticism and knowing the self, comes to teach us how to reverse this process by empowering the soul with Heavenly knowledge. It takes us from the station of “Hellboy” to a true Hu-man, by dressing our soul with the reflection of HuwaHu that is reflecting through perfected beings. It means that as the negative energy of the material world is moving up the physicality, there has to be a balance and a solution to that difficulty – because the Divine is Just. That balance is the top triangle which represents the Heavenly energy that is raining down on the physicality from Heavens (although there is no up or down direction). Then these two energies meet at the stomach and the clash begins - like Yin and Yang. That is why Sayedena Muhammad (s) was teaching that the root of all sickness is in the stomach.

So the first point of the upper triangle is “religion”, and it can be any religion that you are comfortable with, but there must be a set of rules which discipline myself, my family and my community; rules which teach me that I’m not supposed to cheat, that I’m not supposed to steal, and that I’m not supposed to hurt anyone. Those rules must be a Divine set of laws or they will keep changing based upon people’s desires, and then the result is that if I’m a person that likes to slap people, I’ll make up a religion where I’m allowed to go around and slap people, and we see many religions like that today. So it has to be a Divine set of rules which clearly explain what is right and wrong and don’t keep changing. Then I know that if something is wrong, even if 9 out of 10 people in the room are doing it, it’s still wrong.

But if we are constantly modifying the part we call religion, then we find ourselves moving in all sorts of different directions and we become distracted. So then the first Heavenly emanation that comes is teaching us to use a set of Divine rules – whatever they are – to govern my physical life. That I’m allowed to do this, and I’m not allowed to do that. These restrictions tame the physicality so that the soul becomes more powerful over the body. Then you can see that  “religion” is opposite “ignorance” on the diagram. As we start to govern our physical life according to Divine guidance, we begin combating our state of ignorance because religion brings wisdom to the heart, which is the opposite of ignorance. That’s why it’s like a manual for how to perfect yourself.

When you read any of these ancient texts, it’s like telling you about yourself, and all of these Prophets and spiritual masters, they describe what they went through to reach that reality. So it conquers ignorance; every book of wisdom that you read, regardless of who wrote it. It means that there has to be an ability to extract wisdom from anything you read, and then it gives you an insight like “ah! I was ignorant about that.” And then that writer is writing and showing us how to conquer ignorance when we study about ourselves and how to discipline ourselves, our families and our communities.

Then, as a result of that struggle against ignorance, it builds faith, which is the next point on the top triangle. Faith is not something physical. Faith has to do with the soul now. Once you have applied the physical disciplines that I can’t harm myself, I can’t harm my neighbours, I can’t harm anybody, now the power of the soul is growing because the soul starts to agree with these disciplines and guidelines. The soul is like a bird in a cage. If the physicality is empowered, it makes it like a solid cage and that bird is trapped inside. As the physicality diminishes in its power and has more discipline, that soul begins to move out of the cage. The bars become narrow and there is more space in between so that the bird can come and go as it pleases, and the soul starts to gain greater influence over the body. As the soul starts to gain control, it begins to inspire and increase your level of faith. So that becomes the station of faith because the soul believes in the Divine and respects the law and order of the Divine. It believes in Holy Books – all Holy Books. It believes in the Day of Judgement and that one day we are will be responsible for our actions. It believes in angels and spiritual beings, because as you become more spiritually subtle, the soul begins to teach that there has to be many more types of creation than what we see with our physical eyes.

So faith comes and inspires us that the space you are in is filled with beings that you can’t see. You may look and say, “no it’s empty” but science tells us it has to be full. Your glass of water is filled with life. That is why if they take your water and look at it under a powerful microscope they find creation in it. They look and they find a microscopic bug, and then they zoom-in more and they find a bug on top of the bug. Glory be to God! Because one of God’s attributes is al-Khaliq, the Creator. He is constantly Creating. So then the soul starts to teach us that this room is filled with angels and spiritual beings, and that is from faith. We can’t perceive them with our physical eyes, but there is a technology that God has placed in the hearts of all human beings which allow us to perceive this type of information. That technology is the hands of Saints.

So faith is the exact opposite of anger, as we see on the diagram, because anger is the result of a lack of faith. When something happens that you don’t like and you get angry, it is because you are lacking in faith. If you had faith you would never get angry because you would see every event as originating with your Lord. So as we build our faith we begin to extinguish the anger inside of us like putting water onto a fire. So we begin to see that the Prophetic Star that was given to David is like a self-help manual that tells us about ourselves. By using the star we can judge ourselves and our level of self-realization. Do we find ourselves to be ignorant? Then we need to seek out Heavenly knowledge and study about ourselves. Do we find ourselves to be quickly angered and stay angry? Then we need to build our faith.

Then we come to the two poles of our reality. The bottom point of the lower star is “fire”, and you see that its opposite is the top point of the upper triangle, which is “moral excellence” because moral excellence is the exact opposite of lower desires. If we reach to that perfection that the Prophets and Saints are calling us towards, it means we have discipline, we have faith, then it opens the station of moral excellence and what they call the “third eye”. That is why the point of moral excellence is at the forehead on the diagram. That opens the ability to see what people can’t see. We close our eyes in contemplation and start to use the spiritual vision and open the eye of the heart, which will be moving through that forehead. That is the reality behind the testimony of faith that Prophet (s) was teaching, when we say “I bear witness that there is no God but God.” To bear witness means to see, and Prophet (s) said “worship the Divine as if you are seeing Him.” You can’t see the Divine Presence with your physical eyes, so it means we must open the eyes of the heart through the achievement of moral excellence.

So the station of moral excellence is the top of the upper triangle because it symbolizes the apex of our spiritual growth. It is the exact opposite of lower desires. It means that the more you reach towards moral excellence, the more you will extinguish the fire in your being, and instead of being a fiery and angry creation, the fire becomes the fire of love. Then that becomes the Hu Logo. This is the “face of God”, the secret of HuwaHu through the perfection of the Holy Face, so when we look at it we see that the entire Sufi path is encapsulated in this image. You notice that the heart has replaced the downward triangle from the diagram of the star because as we leave that fiery energy of the material world and start to be dressed by the light of HuwaHu that is reflecting through perfect beings, the sufi saints and masters, then the power of our heart becomes dominant over the lower desires.

That heart is now a heart based off of love - it’s no longer a triangle and love of the material world. And you notice that the heart is engulfed in fire; means it is now burning with that love for the Divine Presence. That is from the reality of the Prophet Abraham (as), when he was going to be burned by the fires of Nimrod.

Qulna ya naru koonee bardan wasalaman AAala ibraheem
“We said ‘O fire! Be thou cool, and (a means of) safety for Abraham!” (21:69)

When we look to a fire we see it as something destructive, but when you in submission to the Divine, that fire becomes cool and peaceful. It means that at the state of perfection when the soul and our lower desire is locked, it becomes a star. And that is why it has six points and this is the secret of a star.

Then people say, “well why don’t you draw it as a light?” Because the reality of a star is that it is a fire. The sun is a fire; it emits light, but its essence is fire. So something must be burning to create that light. And that is why all of the examples of the Prophets and the Messengers of the Divine is that they had tremendous difficulties in life. It means that all of the difficulties that are being carried within the heart, if they are burned and processed through spiritual practices, that fire begins to produce a tremendous light.  It means that instead of having fire for the material world and being angry, you develop the perfection of character of bringing in your issues and keeping them to yourself. Not correcting anything or anyone, but correcting ourselves.

Take all of our life issues and anything that happened to us and instead of exploding, bring them inside. But you can’t just internalize them and not doing anything about it; you have to process those negative energies with zikr and meditation. Then those issues become like a source of fuel for the soul to ascend. It means that you bring it inside and try not to explode because anger is like a volcanic eruption. It means that lava just pours on everything and destroys everything, but the way of the Prophets was to bring these issues inside and internalize them and turn it over to the Divine. You start to pray and meditate to the Divine, and have a dialogue: “O my Lord! It wasn’t fair what happened to me!” Start saying that “whatever life brought me I cannot deal with it, and I’m upset by it,” and cry to your Lord.

So you can’t have light without fire. The fire is from the sins and difficulty of people. It means that you take on those sins, and it becomes like somebody throwing charcoal onto your fire. If your fire is small, it needs a fuel source. So what’s the fuel source for your fire? The sins and bad character of people. First you begin to process your own sins, constantly making the zikr of “astafirallah” – “I’m asking forgiveness, my Lord”. Then, God willing, we reach a point where our sins are not so great. Then what is going to feed the fire? Because at that time its like an engine – it wants to burn. Now it starts to take the sins from everyone else, like they’re shoveling coal into that fire and it’s burning hotter and hotter and hotter and giving off more light as a result. So that is why Saints are able to come into an area and take-on the sins and difficulties of people and give out light. Because they burn, they burn, they burn and they give in exchange, light. It means that the Divine is showing us the secret of a sun, of a star, is reflected in the Friends of God, the Saints -because we are a microcosm of the universe. As the Divine says in the Holy Qur’an:

“We will show them our signs on the horizon and within themselves, until it will be manifest to them that it is the truth.” (41: 53)

Then it is a training for us in which direction to go to resolve our issues. We cannot resolve things with our hands and beat on people. Instead, internalize it. Say, “Wow, I cannot deal with that. That was hard and it crushed me.” Then in that love and turning these issues over to the Divine that energy becomes like a rocket fuel for the soul and the soul is elevated. And then the Divine starts to teach in the meditation, “you deserve what happened to you. Take your beatings, take your lessons, take your examples – its bringing your physicality down! I’m trying to dress your soul, not pamper your physicality and make it to be crowned. I’m trying to crush your physicality and bring the reality of the soul out. I want your soul in my presence.”

Then we start to think “why did this happen?” But the answer is what makes you any better than any of the Prophets? Didn’t they have difficulty? Weren’t they whipped and beaten? Didn’t people throw rocks at them and yell at them and throw all sorts of abuse onto them? So what’s wrong with a little bit of difficulty? Because none of us are dealing with the level of difficulty that Prophets had to deal with, so then we constantly turn things over to the Divine, and then the intuition comes back that it’s not that bad. Wasn’t it a little bit of cleansing? Didn’t it bring out some issues that we weren’t aware of? Then the teaching is that this brings out the perfection of character. As soon as something happens, contemplate about it and find an issue in yourself that may have caused it to happen, and then you can use it to resolve a character defect.

This, by the way, is all the study of the Enneagram, which is a Naqshbandi reality that Gurdjieff was given permission to use when he met with our Grandshaykh, Mawlana Shaykh Daghestani. For anyone who is interested in the Enneagram, we have to realize that the Enneagram today of psychology is a self-help program. They took out the mentor and made it a self-help program, which is false because no self-help program ever works. That’s like doing a surgery by book, where you sort of lie down and cut and pull your own organ out and stitch it up! Self-help means that you have to be truthful with yourself and your character defects, and most people are not truthful with themselves, so the Enneagram that people are familiar with in the west today is an innovation of the original reality, which is that the real Enneagram are the spiritual mentors.

They have the knowledge of who we are and what our character defects are. Once you’re in their association, their prayer for you is that that testing starts and that cleansing starts. They pray that, “My Lord, this person is asking to ascend! Let their testing begin.” Then the Divine will say, “I know what is inside of them and I know that which they don’t know about themselves. Bring it out!” If you don’t bring it out, that sickness stays and you are buried with it. At that time you will have to deal with it; at that time they say it is 70,000 times more difficult than dealing with it now. So instead of facing that cleansing in the grave, the spiritual mentor begins to make that prayer and to bring out that badness within ourselves.

Most of the testing is within the association, because it’s more real when it comes from the people you love. If a stranger yells at you, you say “who cares?” but our friends, our community, our family, our fellow students – they have all the buttons. So they are inspired by the Divine: “press 1,2,3” and boom! Everything changed! (laughter). With that realization we have to be happy. The Shaykh’s prayers are moving, and they’re going to bring out all of that sickness with their prayers. So the real Enneagram are the spiritual mentors who are praying for the real character defect to come out. Not the one that you think you have, but the one you weren’t aware of having and how much difficulty it is bringing onto your soul.

That brings out all of these character defects, and God willing, with their prayers and their guidance we will find ourselves reaching the station of moral excellence and the perfection of the star. It means that we will have reached the reality of the Star. When we leave ignorance and seek wisdom; when we extinguish anger with faith, when we come against the fire of materialism and lower desires by reaching towards moral excellence, then it means that we have left our Hellboy reality behind. That negativity within us has died, and we can now be dressed from the reality of the Holy Face. So when we look to the shirt, we see “Hu” written in Arabic over the heart. That “Hu” is the face of the Divine Presence { Not God nothing is like unto him}. If you look you will see two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and below that the tongue is red and becomes the heart. It means that your heart is in submission, now you may speak with Heavenly authority and what you say will bring blessings to people.

So when the heart has been perfected with the reality of the star, then you become a source of light that is able to spread light to people. It means that you become a true servant of the Divine because you have perfected yourself and can now serve other people. At that time you will have reached the ocean of God’s love, and God says: “When I love (my servant) I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks.” (Hadith Qudsi)

It means that the Divine will be your seeing, and with that vision you will see the Holy Face of the Divine. Then you will go from imitation to reality. You enter as Hellboy, then the Saints dress you from their reality and the reflection of the Holy Face until you reach perfection and are granted that spiritual vision. That vision is what all Saints and mystics prayed for. They weren’t interested in Paradise, and they weren’t afraid of Hell. All they wanted was to see the Holy Face. Those Saints were known in the time of the Prophet David:

"He will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob" (Psalm 24:5-6)

“And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His face, and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this life.” (18:28)

“Follow the way of those who turn to Me.” (31:15)

Those that seek the Holy Face of the Divine are the Sufi Saints. All praise be to God that we have been destined to follow the very best from among them, the Sufi Masters of our age: may God grant them long life and raise their spiritual station higher and higher! When we follow their way and their guidance, they will lift us to the Divine Presence to be dressed with the reflection of the Divine essence.

Wala tadAAu maAAa Allahi ilahan akhara 
la ilaha illa huwa 
kullushay-in halikun illa Wajhahu 
lahu al hukmu wa ilayhi turjaAAoon

"And do not invoke with Allah (One God) another deity. 
There is no deity except Him, the One. 
Everything will annihilate except His Holy Face. 
His is the perfect Command and Judgment, and to Him you will be returned." (28:88)


* The Arabic Formula "Hu Wa Hu" literally means, "He is He" / "That which is That", Hu stands as the pointer to the Divine Being (Divine Essence is neither male or female), above every association (la sharika la Hu) and mental conceptualization.

# Reference used in the article:
[i] Hajjah Amina Adil, Muhammad The Messenger of Islam: His Life & Prophecy, p. 1 (Islamic Supreme Council of America, 2002).
[ii] Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, The Naqshbandi Sufi Way: History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain, p. 208 (KAZI Publications Inc, 1995).
[iii] Related by al-Bukhari.
[iv] M. R. James (Trans) The Apocryphal New Testament. “The Apocalypse of Peter (Traditional Version)”, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924.

Credit: Secret Book of Hu wa Hu
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food for Thought: On the other dimension of compassion

When we talk about 
we talk 
in terms of being kind. 

But compassion is not 
so much being kind; 

it is being CREATIVE
a person up.

- Chögyam Trungpa

Chogyam Trungpa (1939 - 1987), the brilliant ‘bad boy of Buddhism,’ fled the invasion of Tibet, studied at Oxford, and shattered Westerners’ notions of how an enlightened teacher should behave. He was a Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and originator of a radical re-presentation of Shambhala vision. Recognized both by Tibetan Buddhists and by other spiritual practitioners and scholars as a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, he was a major, albeit controversial, figure in the dissemination of Tibetan Buddhism to the West, founding Vajradhatu and Naropa University and establishing the Shambhala Training method. 

"Crazy Wisdom" - a film about the life and times of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche is recently released and being shown in US and elsewhere. Here is a lovely recollection of Ram Dass (video) of his memory with Chogyam Trungpa at the screening of Crazy Wisdom at the Maui Int'l Film Festival

"Any perception can connect us to reality, properly and fully. What we see doesn't have to be pretty, particulary; we can appreciate anything that exists. There is some prinicple of magic in everything, some living quality. Something living, something real, is taking place in everything." - Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

# Here are some of his discourses available via Youtube:
* Spiritual Materialism - a good talk!
* Surrendering your aggression
* Basic Goodness and Harmony
* Spirituality and the Now
* Meditation Instruction @ Naropa Institute
* Chogyam Trungpa - Naropa Talk
* The Ice Cubes of Bodhi
* Challenge Demoness
* The Perfect Love Poem

# Resources:
+ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
+ Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project
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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Dawn of Love | Meditative Quranic Verses

Qul aAoozu bi Rabbi al-falaq
Min sharri ma khalaq
Wa min sharri ghasiqin ithawaqab
Wa min sharri annaffathati fee alAAuqad
Wa min sharri hasidin itha hasad.

 My beloved Muhammad, please instruct and inspire humanity to take refuge in Allah Most High with this potent prayer: "May I lose myself in the Source of Love,
Who abides in all hearts as the eternal dawn of love.
May I be protected by Allah Most Powerful against those
who turn away from their own True Source,
and against the darkness and confusion which they generate.
May I be protected by Allah Most Powerful against all projection of negative energy,
from the casting of harmful spells to the bitter hatred of those who are consumed by envy."

~ Meditation on Holy Koran, 113:1-5 from Heart of the Koran (Goodword Books) ~

by Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi (Lex Hixon), a non-linear meditative rendering of Surah al-Falaq (the Chapter of Dawn)
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

El Zahir - Sufi theme in Jorge Luis Borges's writing

Zahir, 99 Name, God, Allah

 Random Opening

Perhaps others also have this habit, to pick up a book and randomly open a page to read one paragraph or two. This morning I picked up the book called, "The End of Science" by John Horgan. This is a good example of a non-fiction book which can be read randomly from anywhere as it comprise of many brief and assorted sub-sections. After reading one of these sub-sections which I stumbled upon in random opening, I went back to check the Table of Content and my attention caught upon this content called: The Meaning of the Zahir which was part of the Second Chapter: "The End of Philosophy."

Now this was unexpected. Zahir is a Quranic term and pre dates even the Quran because of the term's existence in the ancient Arabic language and culture. End of Science is a book that borders at science and philosophy 'examining the limits of knowledge in the twilight of the scientific age'. So a term like Zahir making its way into the Table of Content of such a book by an America writer who writes for Scientific American was a pleasant surprise.

This is what the sub-chapter reads, titled "Fearing the Zahir."

One of my favorite literary philosophers is the Argentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges. More than any philosopher I know of, Borges has explored the complex psychological relationship that we have toward the truth. In "The Zahir" Borges told the story of a man who becomes obsessed with a coin he receives as change from a store-keeper. The seemingly nondescript coin is a Zahir, an object that is an emblem of all things, of the mystery of existence... it grips the mind of the beholder until all other aspects of reality becomes insignificant, trivial.

At first, the narrator struggles to free his mind of the Zahir, but he eventually accepts his fate. "I shall pass from thousands of apparitions to one alone: from a very complex dream to a very simple dream. Others will dream that I am mad, and I shall dream of the Zahir. And when everyone dreams of the Zahir day and night, which will be a dream and which is a reality, the earth or the Zahir?"

The Zahir, course, is The Answer, the secret of life, the theory to end all theories.

The Name: al-Zahir

This brief reading made me interested to read The Zahir by Jorge Luis Borges which is a short story by the Argentine writer from his book, The Aleph and Other Stories, first published in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974.

The Story El Zahir is based on a Mystic theme as already summarized by John Horgan. Sources and Illumination by Professor Giovanna de Garayalde, I am told, is a great book for those interested to explore more of Jorge Luis Borges connection and influence by Sufism. In the story itself Luis Borges have borrowed quite freely Sufi ideas around the term and other cultural meaning associated with it. But above all, the story transmits a powerful allusion to the Great Mystery that is expressed within the term Zahir which is also a Holy Name of God in Sacred Tradition of Islam where al-Zahir means:

The One who has manifest all of creation and who is manifest in all of creation.

The One whose nature and existence is demonstrated in all of creation.

The One whose essence and attributes are shown throughout all of creation.

The One who is above creation, yet who is made visible through creation.

Awe Inspiring

Speaking of randomness, which interestingly occurs when we suspend our free-will and dive into the unknown probability field (or what can be termed as "not as I will, but as Thou will") - while reading the online sources of the original story El-Zahir, following a reference of a Quranic verse, I stumbled upon another verse that links to the same theme / meaning used in the book, The End of Science. As I mentioned, the sub-chapter was titled as "Fearing the Zahir" and the verse from the Quran that came upon in a random search was the following:

Ma lakum la tarjoona lillahi wa qara?

What is the matter with you that you fear not the greatness of Allah? 
- The Quran 71:13

And this was how the beginning and end of the sub-chapter Fearing the Zahir read: "Of course, philosophy will never really end. It will simply continue in a more overtly ironic, literary mode, like that already practiced by Nietzsche, or Wittgenstein, or Feyerabend... Popper, Kuhn, and Feyerabend tried to protect us from the Answer with doubt and reason, Borges with terror."

And the very story of Jorges Luis Borges which explore this awe inspiring, almost like a holy fearsome quality of Zahir. Below is the highlight part from the short-story, El-Zahir (translator unknown).

El Zahir
(El Aleph, 1949)

In Buenos Aires the Zahir is a common twenty-centavo coin into which a razor or penknife has scratched the letters N T and the number two; the date stamped on the face is 1929. (In Gujarat, at the end of the eighteenth century, Zahir was a tiger; in Java a blind man in the Sukarta mosque who was stoned by the faithful; in Persia, an astrolabe that Nadir Shah ordered thrown into the sea; in the prisons of Mahdi, in 1892, a small compass, wrapped in a shred of cloth from a turban that Rudolf Karl von Slatin touched; in the synagogue of Cordoba, according to Zotenberg, a vein in the marble of one of the twelve hundred pillars; in the Jewish quarter of Tetuan, the bottom of a well.) Today is the thirteenth of November; last June 7, at dawn, the Zahir came into my hands; I am not the man I was then, but I am still able to recall, and perhaps recount, what happened. I am still, albeit only partially, Borges.

It was about two o’clock, I guess, when I stepped into the street. Outside, the predictable ranks of one- and two-story houses had taken on that abstract air they often have at night, when they are simplified by darkness and silence. Drunk with an almost impersonal pity, I wandered through the streets. On the corner of Chile and Tacauri I spotted an open bar-and-general-store. In that establishment, to my misfortune, three men were playing truco. In the rhetorical figure known as oxymoron, the adjective applied to a noun seems to contradict that noun. Thus, Gnostics spoke of a “dark light”; and alchemists of a “black sun”. Departing from my last visit to Teodolina Villar and drinking a glass of cheap gin in a corner bar-and-grocery store was a kind of oxymoron: its very vulgarity and accessibility were what tempted me. (The fact that men were playing cards in the place increased the contrast.) I asked the owner for an orange gin; with the change I was given the Zahir; I looked at it for an instant, and then walked outside into the street, perhaps with the beginnings of a fever. The thought struck me that there is no coin that is not the symbol of all the coins that shine endlessly down throughout history and fable. I thought of Charon’s obolus; the alms that Belisarius begged; Judas’s thirty pieces of silver; the drachmas of the courtesan Lais; the ancient coin proffered by one of the Ephesian sleepers; the bright coins of the wizard in the 1001 Nights, which turned into disks of paper; Isaac Laquedem’s inexhaustible denarius; the sixty thousand silver coins, one for every verse of an epic, which Firdusi returned to a king because they were not gold; the gold doubloon nailed by Ahab to the mast; Leopold Bloom’s unreversible florin; the Louis that betrayed the fleeing Louis XVI near Varennes. As though in a dream, the thought that in any coin one may read those famous connotations seemed to me of vast, inexplicable importance. I wandered, with increasingly rapid steps, through the deserted streets and plazas. Weariness halted me at a corner. My eyes came to rest on a weathered wrought-iron fence; behind it I saw the black-and-white tiles of the porch of La Concepción. I had wandered in a circle; I was just one block from the bar where I’d been given the Zahir.

I turned the corner; the dark facade at the far end of the street showed me that the establishment had closed. Sleepless, possessed, almost happy, I reflected that there is nothing less material than money, since any coin (a twenty centavo piece, for instance) is, in truth, a panoply of all possible futures. Money is abstract, I said over and over, money is future time. It can be an evening just outside the city, or a Brahms melody, or maps, or chess, or coffee, or the words of Epictetus, which teach the contempt of gold; it is a Proteus more changeable than the Proteus of the Isle of Pharos. It is unforeseeable time, Bergsonian time, not the hard, solid time of Islam or the Portico.

Adherents of determinism deny that in the world there is only one possible event, ed ist an event which could have happened; a coin symbolizes our free will. (I did not suspect that these “thoughts” were an artifice against the Zahir and a first manifestation of a demoniacal power.) After long and tenacious musings, I at last fell asleep, but I dreamed that I was the pile of coins guarded by a gryphon.

The next day I decided I’d been drunk, I also decided to free myself of the coin that had so affected me. I looked at it; there was nothing particularly distinctive about it, except those scratches. Burying it in the garden or hiding it in a corner of the library would have been the best thing to do, but I wanted to escape its orbit altogether, and so preferred to lose it. I went neither to the Basilica del Pilar that morning nor to the cemetery; I took a subway to Constitución Station and from Constitución to San Juan and Boedo. On an impulse, I got off at Urquiza; I walked toward the west and south; I turned left and right, with studied randomness, at several corners, and on a street that looked to me like all the others I went into the first tavern I came to, ordered a gin, and paid with the Zahir. I half closed my eyes behind the dark lenses of my spectacles, and managed not to see the numbers on the houses or the name of the street. That night, I took a sleeping pill and slept soundly.

Until the end of June I distracted myself by composing a tale of fantasy. The tale contains two or three enigmatic circumlocutions: “water of the sword”, it says, instead of blood, and “bed of the serpent”, for gold, and is written in the first person. The narrator is an ascetic who has renounced all commerce with mankind and lives on a moor. (The name of the place is Gnitaheidr.) Because of the simplicity and innocence of his life, he is judged by some to be an angel; that is a charitable sort of exaggeration, because no one is free of sin.

... I have said that composing that piece of trivial nonsense (in the course of which I interpolated, with pseudo erudition, a line or two from the Fafnismal) enabled me to put the coin out of my mind. There were nights when I was so certain I’d be able to forget it that I would willfully remember it. The truth is, I abused those moments; stating to recall turned out to be much easier than stopping. It was futile to tell myself that that abominable nickel disk was no different from the infinite other, inoffensive disks that pass from hand to hand every day. Moved by that reflection, I attempted to think about another coin, but I couldn’t. ..

On July 16, I acquired a pound sterling; I didn’t look at it all that day, but that night (and others) I placed it under a magnifying glass and studied it in the light of a powerful electric lamp. Then I made a rubbing of it. The brilliance and the dragon and St. George availed me naught; I could not rid myself of my idée fixe.

In August, I decided to consult a psychiatrist. I did not confide the entire absurdity of the story to him; I told him I was tormented by insomnia and that often I could not free my mind of an object, any random object, a coin, say. A short time later, in a bookshop on Calle Sarmiento, I exhumed a copy of Julius Barlach’s Urkunden zur Geschichte der Zahirsage (Breslau, 1899).

In that book was a description of my illness. The introduction said that the author proposed to “gather into a single manageable octavo volume every existing document that bears upon the superstition of the Zahir, including four articles from the Habicht archives and the original manuscript of Philip Meadows Taylor’s report on the subject”. Belief in the Zahir is of Islamic ancestry, and dates, apparently, to sometime in the eighteenth century. (Barlach impugns the passages that Zotenberg attributes to Abul-Feddah.) In Arabic, “Zahir” means visible, evident; in that sense, it is one of the ninety-nine names of God; in Muslim countries, the masses use the word for “beings or things which have the terrible power to be unforgettable, and whose image eventually drives people mad.”

Its first undisputed witness was the Persian polymath and dervish Lutf Ali Azur; in the corroborative pages of the biographical encyclopaedia titled Temple of Fire, Ali Azur relates that in a certain school in Shiraz there was a copper astrolabe “constructed in such a way that any man who looked upon it once could think of nothing else, so that the king commanded that it be thrown into the deepest depths of the sea, in order that men might not forget the universe.” Meadows Taylor’s account is somewhat more extensive; the author served the Nizam of Hyderabad, and composed the famous novel Confessions of a Thug. In 1832, on the outskirts of Bhuj, Taylor heard the following uncommon expression used to signify madness or saintliness:“Haber visto al Tigre” (Verily he has looked on the tiger) He was told that the reference was to a magic tiger that was the perdition of all who saw it, even from a great distance, for they continued to think of it till the end of their days. Someone mentioned that one of those unfortunates had fled to Mysore, where he had painted the figure of the tiger in a palace.

Years later, Taylor visited the prisons of that kingdom; in the jail at Nithur, the Governor showed him a cell on whose floor, walls and vaulted ceiling a Moslem fakir had designed (in fantastic colors, which time, rather than erasing, refined) of an infinite tiger. It was a tiger composed of many tigers, in the most dizzying of ways; it was crisscrossed with tigers, striped with tigers and included seas and Himalayas and armies that resembled other tigers. The painter had died many years before, in that same cell; he had come from Sind or perhaps Gujarat and his initial purpose had been to draw a mapamundi. Of that purpose there remained some vestiges within the monstrous image. Taylor told this story to Muhammad al-Yemeni, of Fort William; al-Yemeni said that there was no creature in the world that did not tend toward becoming a Zaheer (Taylor writes the word this way), but that the All-Merciful does not allow two things to be a Zaheer at the same time, since only one is capable of entrancing multitudes. He said that there is always a Zaheer and in the Age of Ignorance it was the idol called Yahuk (see Ref #), and then a prophet from Khorsasan who wore a veil studded with precious stones or a mask of gold. He also noted that God is inscrutable.

Over and over I read Barlach’s Monograph. I cannot sort out my emotions; I recall my desperation when I realized that nothing could any longer save me, the inward relief of knowing that I was not to blame for my misfortune, the envy I felt for those whose Zaheer was not a coin but a slab of marble or a tiger. How easy it is not to think of a tiger, I recall thinking. I also recall the remarkable uneasiness I felt when I read this paragraph: “One commentator of the Gulshan i Raz states that ‘he who has seen the Zaheer soon shall see the Rose’ and quotes a line of poetry interpolated into Attar’s Asrar Nama (The Book of Things Unknown): “the Zahir is the shadow of the Rose and the rending of the Veil.”

... Time, which softens memories, only makes the memory of the Zahir sharper. First I could see the face of it, then the reverse; now I can see both sides at once. It is not as though the Zahir were made of glass, since one side is not superimposed upon the other; rather it is as though the vision were spherical and the Zahir flutters in the center. Whatever is not the Zahir appears to me filtered and distant .. Tennyson said that if we could but understand a single flower we would know who we are and what the world is. Perhaps he was trying to say that there is nothing, however humble, that does not imply the history of the world and its infinite concatenation of causes and effects. Perhaps he meant that there is no deed, however humble, that does not imply universal history and its infinite succession of effects and causes. Perhaps he meant that the visible world is complete in each representation, just as Schopenhauer tells us that the Will expresses itself entire in every person. The Kabbalists believed that man is a microcosm, a symbolic mirror of the universe; as would everything, according to Tennyson. Everything, even the unbearable Zahir.

Before the year 1948, Julia’s fate will have overtaken me. I will have to be fed and dressed, I will not know whether it’s morning or night, I will not know who Borges was.

Calling that future terrible is a fallacy, since none of the future’s circumstances will in any way affect me. One might as well maintain that the pain of an anesthetized patient whose skull is being opened is terrible. I will no longer perceive the universe, I will perceive the Zahir. According to Idealist doctrine the verbs “to live” and “to dream” are rigorously synonymous; as for me, thousands of appearances will become one; a very complex dream into a simple one. Others will dream that I am mad, while I dream of the Zahir. When every person on earth thinks, day and night, of the Zahir, which will be dream and which reality, the earth or the Zahir?

In the deserted hours of the night I am still able to walk through the streets. Dawn often surprises me upon a bench in the Plaza Garay, thinking (or trying to think) about that passage in the Asrar Nama where it is said that the Zahir is the shadow of the Rose and the rending of the Veil. I link that pronouncement to this fact: In order to lose themselves in God, the Sufis repeat their own name or the ninety-nine names of God until the names mean nothing anymore. I long to travel that path.

Perhaps I will succeed in wearing away the Zahir by thinking and re-thinking about it; perhaps behind the coin is God.

# Ref: Barlach observes that Yaúq figures in Alcorán (LXXI, 23) and that the prophet is Al-Moqanna (the Veiled One) and that no one, except Philip Meadows Taylor's surprising correspondent, has associated them with the Zahir.

> To read the full version of the short story El-Zahir in English translation click here.

 Sufi Mystic's Vision of Zahir

God is where all opposites meet. Thus God who is ever Transcendent and Hidden, symbolized by the Divine Name al-Batin, the opposite of which is the ever Immanent and Manifest, al-Zahir. These two qualities comes together in the Revelation of the Quran. The ancient root of z-h-r points toward that which goes from the center and spreads out, disperses or radiates into being, which is to say that it becomes outwardly manifest. Zâhir (manifest) and Bâtin (hidden) are complementary attributes. Zâhir is that which is outward, manifest, apparent, visible. Bâtin is that which is inward, concealed, obscured.

Zahir is one of the Most Mysterious Names of God. It is mysterious because it boldly affirm the truth that divine manifestation is to be found in the very creation. Thus Zahir is the Holy Name that calls for the inner eyes to behold the revelation of God Himself stamped upon every drop, upon every face, upon every flower.

The Sufi masters recommend few special practices with the Divine Name Zahir, some of which are as follows:

- After Ishraq prayer, calling 500 times the Name "Ya Zahiru", (meaning  "O the Manifest One") Allah shall illuminate both the outward and inward eyes (nur in the qalb).
- Desire of one's heart is fulfilled in regularly reciting this Name, "Az-Zahiru" after the Night Prayer (Salat al-Isha), 500 times.
- Enlightenment will come, God willing, to those who recite "Ya Zahiru" 15 times after performing the Friday mid-day prayer (Salat al-Jumah).

The Sufi thematic short story of Zahir also recalls one of the very interesting aspect of Islamic esotericism. The main character of the story becomes intoxicated by the Zahir. There is a term called Madzub (also written as Madhzub) or Divinely mad one. It is a condition which seize upon the author in the story; whereas for the Madzub who are so overwhelmingly captured by God, the Splendor and Magnificence of God that it obliterate every other existence and they drown in only that Single Existence which is the heart of all that exists. "Zahir .. when it grips the mind of the beholder until all other aspects of reality becomes insignificant, trivial." This condition is spoken in the Quran as "Wheresoever you turn is the Face of God."

"And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing." - The Quran 2:115

"Remember Allah abundantly, in order that you become successful (for real)." 
- The Quran 8:45

Wazkuri isma rabbika wa tabattal ilayhi tabteela.
And remember the Name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him exclusively.
- The Quran 73:8

The hadith has it preserved on remembrance "he who loves something remembers it much."

The Messenger of God also has this saying, "Remember the name of God so much that people may think of you as mad (majnun)." This is the situation of the Madzubs, the mad ones of God. And Borges writes it beautifully when he says: "thousands of appearances will become one; a very complex dream into a simple one. Others will dream that I am mad, while I dream of the Zahir."

The mystics of Bengal, the Bauls sing,

"Ami ekdino na dekhlam Jare,
chinbo Tare kemon kore?" (Lalon)

Him whom I have seen not for a single moment,
how am I to recognize Him?

Sri Ramakrishna, when he was asked, "Its heard that you claim that you see God, is that true?" And the great sage replied, "I see God as clearly as I see you." Hazrat Umar, one of the foremost companion is famously said, "I have seen my Lord with the eyes of my heart."

It is the mystical recognition of God in this very world is the pre-cursor to behold His vision in the post-resurrection reality, in the hereafter. Those who fail to recognize God here, those who sees not God here in His creation, will be raised blind similarly and the key to attain that vision is remembrance of God and in that remembrance the vision of the eyes of inner heart become alive. The failure of beholding the vision of God here means the mirrored reality in the post resurrection will also render the eye of the spirit blind.

"And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind."
- The Quran 20:124

Zahir is the very Name within which resonates this call, "Lift Up Your Veil And Meet Your Beloved." It takes the grace and tremendous longing of the Divine that opens the eyes of the heart to meet the Beloved, to behold Him wheresoever we turn in this very existence.

The famous Indian poet and mystic Rabindranath Tagore thus wrote:

    Eto bhalobashi, eto jare chai,
    mone hoe nato sheje kache nai.

     Jeno e bashona byakulo abege
    Tahare anibe daaki.

     Dibosho rajani ami jeno kar
     Ashaey ashaey thaki.

    This never ending love, this tremendous longing,
     has made me oblivious that He is beyond sight.

    It is my hope that this infinite longing
    shall bid Him to me.

    Day and Night I burn unending
    with hopeful longing of the Unknown.

    - Song of Tagore

And the Last Words

He brought the cosmos into existence upon His own Form. Hence He is a mirror within which He sees His own Form. ...Thou art His Form and He is Thy spirit.
- Ibn 'Arabi

I am the mirror of Thy Face, through Thine own eyes, I look upon Thy Countenance.
- Semnani

If you see yourself in the mirror, then all you worship are your own thoughts; but if you see God in the mirror, then God is seeing Himself in you.
- Tradition of the Sufis

# Further:
* The Original Story El Zahir in Spanish by Jorge Luis Borges 
* The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges
* Series of 99 Names of God
* Why Wazifa (the practice of remembering God's Name)
* Metaphysics of One
* El Sueño por Jorge Luis Borges. The Dream By Jorge Luis Borges 
* The Zahir (Jorge Luis Borges / 4Buddhas): A student movie inspired by short story of Jorge Luis Borges made for film festival at Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.
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