Monday, July 30, 2012

Every heart melts in the rapture of the Beloved

The Sufi inspired vocal group, the Burdah Ensemble (founded in 2009 in Montreal) produced some of the most beautiful sacred Sufi music in contemporary time. Their music is a journey, for each listener to travel along the different caravan trails that lead to the presence of the beloved. To kneel at the beloved’s threshold and inhale the sweet fragrance of the exalted Rawda (paradisal garden).

The center of this sacred music is the chanting in different Maqamat (music levels), for it is this that expresses the richness and nuance of Arabo Andalus and Near Eastern music. Each Maqam is a semi improvised recitation of poetry experienced within a ritualized structure that oversees the application of melodies, structure, rhythm and the type of poetry.

There are dozens of Maqams, and countless numbers lost in the sands of time. Each Maqam has a different spiritual character which conveys a mood, and the reciter must enter a state of deep spiritual exaltation, distilling the spiritual essence of the maqam, leading the listeners to states of joy and ecstasy and enraptured in a deep web of connection with the Musical Ensemble.

Qari Sidi Anwar Barrada,
group leader of The Burdah Ensemble
The Burdah Ensemble's first studio album is "Pearls & Coral Vol 1," featuring 8 full-length songs that are made up of multiple ascending maqams. The album is a beautiful journey to the spiritual world of enlightnment and Divine praises. From this album one song became very popular thanks to its full length sharing on Youtube titled "Madad Madad (Maqam 13)."

The lyrics of the song is exquisite and if you follow its lyrics while watching on youtube and if you know about whom this song is sung, you cant help but feel in your heart its beauty and if you're lucky something else may move within that very heart, if Allah moves by His Will.

I have shared its lyrics along with part of the song's original Arabic lyrics (thanks to J. M. and her friends to collect it, Allah reward them all) at the end of this post. Click on the image below to watch and listen to this song on Youtube. The Music Video is made with scenes from Naqshbandi Sufi Centre, Montreal, Canada.

Click the image above to Watch and Listen on Youtube

Here is the lyrics of the song along with approximate Arabic transliteration. The end part needs further work as I could not collect the original words unfortunately.

Qullul qulub

Qullul qulubi
ilal habibi tamilu

wa ma'ibi zalika shaahidun,
shaahidun wa dalilu

ammad dalilu iza zakhartu

sarath dumu'ul ashikin

Haza Rasulullah,
Haza Rasulullah,
Haza li Rabbil-alamina khalilu

al-Madad, al-Madad, al-Madad
al-Madad! Ya Rasul Allah!
al-Madad, al-Madad, al-Madad
al-Madad! Ya Habib Allah!

Rabbi wa j'al moujtama'na,
ghayatouh housnou al khitam
Wa akrimi alarwaha mina,
bilka khayri alanam

al-Madad, al-Madad
al-Madad Ya Rasul Allah!
al-Madad, al-Madad
al-Madad! Ya Habib Allah!

Rabbi inna kad da'awna,
i'atina ma kad rajawna
Hab lana fi dini 'awna,
bis swalat 'ala Muhammad

al-Madad, al-Madad
al-Madad Ya Rasul Allah!
al-Madad, al-Madad
al-Madad! Ya Habib Allah!

Sidi Sahiba al-hadra
'akrima minka bi nazra
Sidi ya aba az-Zahra
wa al-Qasim wa 'Abdi-Llah

Sidi Anta al-habib
bi zikrik qalbi yatib

Sidi hasha yakhib
man laza bi Rasul'Llah

Madad, Madad, Madad
Madad! Ya Rasul Allah!
Madad, Madad, Madad
Madad! Ya Habib Allah!

Sidi Anta al-Mukhtar
bi-majik tujla l-qadar
Sidi ajirna min 'n-nar
bi jahik ya Rasul Allah

Ya Rabbi bi im (?)
wa li alihi
ash shilbin nasri wa bil farazhi

Warhami ya Akrama
man Rahima
abadan an thabika
lam ya uji

Wakahtim amalik
bi khawa timia
li akuna khatan
fil hashri najhi (?)

Ya Rabbi bi im (?)
wa li alihi
ash shilbin nasri wa bil farazhi

la kinni bi shudika
faqadal bi ma atihi
ya hujazi (?)

Wa iza bika
dafal amru fakhu
asmatu tal fariji (?)

Ya Rabbi bi im (?)
wa li alihi
ash shilbin nasri wa bil farazhi
Every heart

Every heart melts
in the rapture of the beloved

And for that love I have a witness,
a witness and a proof:

Regarding that proof, if I mention
the name of Muhammad

the eyes of the lovers
will be overrun with tears

He is the Messenger of  God
He is the Messenger of  God
He is the Chosen One,
He is, to the Lord, a most trusted friend

Aid us, Help us
Support us oh God's Messenger!
Aid us, Help us
Support us oh Most Beloved of God!

Oh Lord, grant our gathering
a joyous purpose and conclusion
and bless all souls among us
to meet the Pearl of Your Creation

Aid us, Help us
Assist us oh Messenger of God!
Aid us, Help us
Support us oh Most Beloved of God!

Oh our Lord, we're calling upon You
and we seek that which pleases You
Grant us for our journey Your aid
by the blessings upon Muhammad

Aid us, Help us
Assist us Oh Messenger of God!
Aid us, Help us
Support us oh Most Beloved of God!

Oh, Treasured friend of the Divine,
Honor us by looking once upon us!
Our Master, father of  Fatima Zahra!
and Qasim and Abd-Allah!

Our Master, you are the Beloved,
with your remembrance my Heart is healed!

Oh my Master! One who takes refuge
will never lose with the Messenger of God!

Aid us, Help us
Assist us Oh Messenger of God!
Aid us, Help us
Support us oh Most Beloved of God!

Oh Master, you are the Chosen one
in praising you our destinies become clear.
Oh Master, save us from the fire,
for your sake, Oh God's Messenger.

Oh Lord, we ask You
by the beloved and his family,
grant us a speedy victory and spiritual openings!

Oh Most Merciful One
Who is generous with His mercy,
a poor servant at Your Door
will never be refused!

And make my life's deeds
to be of virtuous result
so on that Day I come before You
my soul may be in peace!

Oh Lord, we ask You
by the beloved and his family,
grant us a speedy victory and spiritual openings!

Therefore by Your grace
grant me forgiveness
and bestow upon me that
for which You know I'm in dire need!

Oh friends, if you ever feel hopeless
in your life's situation
say, "with every burden
comes a divine opening!"

Oh Lord, we ask You
by the beloved and his family,
grant us a speedy victory and spiritual openings!

[+] Download mp3 version for private listening only: Visit Facebook page of Technology of the Heart to download this song as mp3 file.

Original text (in part):

Click on the image above to view enlarged
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rules of Love from the Beloved for every lover

The Almighty Creator has fixed rules and constants for everything in the creation. If you look at the heart of atoms even, you will find that the Ultimate Designer has fixed elegant mathematical values which are constant across the universe. If you span out into the large galaxies you will also find they obey the rules of attraction (forces), the rules of annihilation (decay) which by Command of the Lord carried out everywhere in the cosmos. Yet we who are so habituated to cover up every truth, every sign, we go on not marveling at them and not recognizing the signs in them.

The scientists, the astronomers and every kind of seekers can go on discovering these rules of physics, rules of biology, rules of chemistry as we have named them, one after another until the end of time; for each of them are glorifying the Creator and the glory of the Almighty are inexhaustible.

The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you understand not their (way of) glorification. Truly God is ever Clement, Forgiving. - The Qur'an, Chapter of the Night Journey 17:44

Just as there are rules for the physical world, on the matrix of which this entire existence is sustained, similarly there are rules in the domain of Love. Every one who knows love know that when one sincerely loves someone, the wishes, the desire, the will of the beloved becomes the center of the universe. No true lover wishes to displease the beloved, on the contrary they are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of attaining approval, that which pleases the beloved. The story of love tells us that what the lover fears most is the displeasure of the beloved, those actions or attitude or state of being which will make the beloved avert his or her gaze from the lover.

About the nature of the Divine we are communicated in the Illuminated guidance that "Your God is a Jealous (Lover) God," "God forgives everything except sharing partner with Him," "To hold equal anything against God for that violates the sanctify of the exclusivity of the Beloved," just as any lover who do not wishes to be shared and divided for love. There is no doubt that God's central role is as Lover and all the drama that have been going on in the creation revolves as a story of love and either moving towards that Unending Love or to moving away, gravitating away from that Love.

In the Final Revelation are provided for those who have a heart guidance regarding what earns approval of the Great Beloved and what earns disapproval. Following graphic enumerates the qualities which God loves and also that which God loves not. Those who are chosen friends of God, they first purify themselves from characteristics or attitude which God loves not and at the same time they attain those qualities which God loves. In doing so they become the ones whom God loves. It is them who are worthy to be called as lovers of God.

Based on the Quranic transmission regarding the qualities possessing which attain Allah's Love and its opposite states


Those whom Allah loves: from the Writings of Shaykh Ibn Arabi

Know then, may Allah grant you success, that, Love is a Divine station for He has characterized HisSelf by it and named Himself in the Qur'an al-Wadood (The Loving), and in the Hadith, the Lover.

He is the One Who inspired to Musa in the Torah: "O you son of Adam, by your right with me, I am a Lover, be then a lover to Me."

Mahhabat (Divine Love) has been mentioned in both Qur'an and Sunnah in reference to Allah and the created beings. Allah swt has mentioned the types of people He loves, according to their characteristics;

He has also mentioned the characteristics of the people He does not love.

He commanded the Noble Prophet to tell us: "If you love Allah follow me; Allah will love you… "3:31 and stated: "O you who believe! If any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him 5:54"

In mentioning the types of people whom He loves, He then informed us that Allah loves:

Those who turn to Him in repentance 2:222

Those who purify themselves and those who keep themselves clean and pure(Mutaharun and Mutatahirun) 2:222 & 9:108

Those who rely on Him ( al-mutawkilun) 3:159

Those who are patient 2:153 ( al-sabirun)

Those who are grateful & thankful 31:4 (al-shakirun)

Those who give in charity 12:88 ( al-mutasadiqun)

Those who do good 2:195, 3:134, 3:152, 5:13, 5:93 ( al-muhsinun)

Those who fight in His cause in [solid] ranks, as though the were a building firm and compact 6:14

The Almighty distanced Himself from some folks because of the presence of characteristics that He does not love; meaning that He, may He be praised, wants those characteristics to vanish, which can only happen if they are replaced with their opposites.

The Almighty informed us that He does NOT love:

Those who spread corruption, the evil-doers ( al-mufsidun) 5:64, 28:77.

He does not love corruption (fasad) 2:205, the opposite of which is working righteousness/making peace/doing good (salah).

Those who exult over riches 28:76 (al-farihun)

Those who are conceited and act in a boastful manner 4:36 & 31:18(al-mukhtalun)

Those who are unfair, the oppressors 3:57 & 42:40 (al-zalimun)

Those who exceed the bounds, the squanderer 6:141 (al-musrifun)

The disbelievers 3:32, 30:45 (al-kafirun)

Those who speak evil openly 4:148

The aggressors 5:87 (al-mu'tadun)

It is so, that, Allah Subhanuwa tala has also made certain matters lovable to us:

Either by their absolute lovable value as He said stressing our indebtedness to Him: 49:7 "But Allah has made faith (Iman) lovable to you"

Or by making them attractive in our eyes: 3:14 "Alluring unto man is the enjoyment of worldly desires" and said in the case of the human pair: 30:21

"He put loving-kindness (mawadat) and mercy (rahmat) between you".

Source : Al Futuhat al Makkia " The Meccan Openings" via Qur'an Diary blog
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is Sufism by Martin Lings

What is Sufism
This is an important title in the genre of Sufi Science. Written by Martin Lings who upon embracing Islam took the name Abu Bakr Siraj-ud-Din, may Allah have mercy on him.

Very recently I came across this title in e-book format online and wish to share here for those who are interested to download and read.

Here is the Book's description as found by it's publisher, Islamic Texts Society:

Martin Lings provides an excellent and authoritative introduction to the mystical movement of the Sufis based on his lifelong interest in Islamic culture. His explanation derives from a profound understanding of Sufism, and extends to many aspects which are usually neglected. His illuminating answer to 'What is Sufism?' gives a taste of the very subject matter itself. What do Sufis believe? What do they aim at? What do they do? Unlike other writers on the subject, Martin Lings treats all the three questions with equal justice. He is thus able to give a wealth of answers to the main question 'What is Sufism?', each answer being from a different angle but all going to the root of the matter. A reviewer wrote 'Should the book appear in paperback, I would use it for undergraduate and graduate courses on Islamic civilization', and in fact What is Sufism? has become a set book in colleges and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. It is now accepted as the authoritative statement on the subject of Sufism and it has been translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish.

In the Author's Preface which the writer wrote back in 1973:

The title of this book is a question; and that question, as far as the Western world is concerned, has been given some dubious and suspect answers in recent years. Moreover the rapidly expanding interest in Sufism increases still further the need for a reliable introductory book-introductory in the sense that it requires no special knowledge, and reliable in that it is not written any more simply than truth will allow. But though such a book may presuppose no special knowledge, it necessarily presupposes a deep and searching interest in spiritual things.

More particularly, it presupposes at least an inkling of the possibility of direct inward perception an inkling that may become a seed of aspiration. Or at the very least, it presupposes that the soul shall not be closed to this possibility. Nearly 1000 years ago a great Sufi defined Sufism as 'taste', because its aim and its end could be summed up as direct knowledge of transcendent truths, such knowledge being, insofar as its directness is concerned, more comparable to the experiences of the senses than to mental knowledge.

Most Western readers of this book will have heard quite early in life that 'the Kingdom of Heaven is within you'. They will also have heard the words.: 'Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you'. But how many of them have ever received any instruction in the way of seeking or the art of knocking? And even as these last four words were being written down, it came to mind that they are, in this given context, an answer to the very question put by our title. Enough has now been said to make it clear that although our subject may be treated summarily-a book of this size, for so vast a theme, is bound to be summary-it cannot be treated superficially, for that would amount to a contradiction in terms.

Sufism is a touchstone, an implacable criterion which reduces everything else, except its own equivalents, to a flat surface of two dimensions only, being itself the real dimension of height and of depth.

The book is divided in 9 chapters, namely:

1 The Originality of Sufism
2 The Universality of Sufism
3 The Book
4 The Messenger
5 The Heart
6 The Doctrine
7 The Method
8 The Exclusiveness of Sufism
9 Sufism throughout the Centuries

You may download the book in PDF format from here: What is Sufism by Martin Lings

I quote here some highlights from the Book to appreciate the richness with which the author have really conveyed his message. I am quoting from the chapter The Heart.

... of all those Qur'anic terms which may be said to refer to them (the realised Sufis, the Saints) and to no one else except a priori the Prophets, the most significant as well as the most recurrent is probably the somewhat enigmatic phrase those who have hearts; and mention of this has been reserved until now because it is important enough to be the central theme of a chapter. For what indeed is Sufism, subjectively speaking, if not 'heart-wakefulness'?

In speaking of the majority, the Qur'an says: It is not the eyes that are blind but the hearts (Quran XXII:46).  This shows-and it would be strange if it were otherwise--that the Quranic perspective
agrees with that of the whole ancient world, both of East and of West, in attributing vision to the heart and in using this word to indicate not only the bodily organ of that name but also what this corporeal centre gives access to, namely the centre of the soul, which itself is the gateway to a higher 'heart', namely the Spirit. Thus 'heart' is often to be found as a synonym of 'intellect', not in the sense in which this word is misused today but in the full sense of the Latin intellectus, that is, the faculty which perceives the transcendent.

In virtue of being the centre of the body, the heart may be said to transcend the rest of the body, although substantially it consists of the same flesh and blood. In other words, while the body as a whole is 'horizontal' in the sense that it is limited to its own plane of existence, the heart· has, in addition, a certain 'verticality' for being the lower end of the 'vertical' axis which passes from the Divinity Itself through the centres of all the degrees of the Universe.

If we use the imagery suggested by Jacob's Ladder, which is none other than this axis, the bodily heart will be the lowest rung and the ladder itself will represent the whole hierarchy of centres or 'Hearts' one above the other. This image is all the more adequate for representing each centre as separate and distinct from the others and yet at the same time connected with them. It is in virtue of this interconnection, through which the centres are as it were merged into one, that the bodily heart receives Life from the Divinity (according to Sufi doctrine all Life is Divine) and floods the body with Life.

In the opposite direction the bodily heart may serve as a focal point for the concentration of all the powers of the soul in its aspiration towards the Infinite, and examples of this methodic practice are to be found in most forms of mysticism and perhaps in all. It is also in virtue of the same interconnection that 'Heart' may be used to indicate the topmost rung of the ladder, that is, the Infinite Self, as in the following Holy Tradition: 'My earth hath not room for Me, neither hath My Heaven, but the Heart of My believing slave hath room for Me.' Another example is to be found in the poem of the Sufi Ijallaj which begins: 'I saw my Lord with the Eye of the Heart. I said: "Who art thou?" He answered: "Thou".'

From this last point of view, 'Heart' can be considered as synonymous with 'Spirit', which has a Divine as well as a created aspect; and one of the great symbols of the Spirit is the sun which is the 'heart' of our universe.

.. So far we have considered the Heart mainly as a centre which includes all its 'vertical' prolongations. But when the term 'Heart' is used in Sufism (as in other mysticisms) of one particular centre as distinct from others, it normally denotes neither the highest nor the lowest but the next to the lowest, that is, the centre of the soul. In the macrocosm, the Garden of Eden is both centre and summit of the earthly state.

Analogously the Heart, which in the microcosm corresponds to the Garden is both centre and summit of the human individuality. More precisely, the Heart corresponds to the centre of the Garden, the point where grows the Tree of Life and where flows the Fountain of Life. The Heart is in fact nothing other than this Fountain, and their identity is implicit in the Arabic word 'ayn which- has the meaning of both 'eye' and 'spring'. The extreme significance of this penultimate degree in the hierarchy of centres is that it marks the threshold of the Beyond, the point at which the natural ends and the supernatural or transcendent begins. The Heart is the isthmus(bartalch) which is so often mentioned in the Qur'an as separating the two seas which represent Heaven and earth the sweet fresh-water sea being the domain of the Spirit whereas the brackish salt sea is the domain of soul and body; and when Moses says: I will not cease until I reach the meeting-place of the two seas,he is formulating the initial vow that every mystic must make, implicitly if not explicitly, to reach the lost Centre which alone gives access to transcendent knowledge.

One of the Quranic keys to inner meanings is the verse: We will show them Our signs on the horizons and in themselves. This draws our attention to the correspondence between outer phenomena and inner faculties, and in considering what is meant by the Heart it is particularly instructive to consider which of 'the signs on the horizons' is its symbol.

When it is said that God is Love, the highest meaning this can have is that the Archetype of all the positive relationships conjugal, parental, filial and fraternal-are Indivisibly One in the Infinite Self-Sufficing Perfection of the Divine Essence.

A less absolute meaning is that the central relationship, namely the conjugal one on which the others depend and in the background of which they are already present, has its Archetype in the polarisation of the Divine Qualities into Qualities of Majesty and Qualities of Beauty. It results from this Archetype that mutual concord depends on likeness and unlikeness, affinity and complementarity. Both the Majesty and the Beauty are Infinite and Eternal, whence their affinity. But one is Active Perfection and the other is Passive Perfection, whence their complementarity.

… There is nothing in the world which has not its Divine Archetype. But harmony demands also that the world shall be a complement, and complementarity implies invertedness. Thus man, whose Archetype is the Divine Being Itself from which everything derives, is the last of all created things, the finality towards which all creation tends. It is thi.s precedent that causes, on the lowest plane of all, the reflection of an object to be a faithful yet Inverted image of the object itself. The mountain whose top appears to be at the bottom of the lake which reflects it is a natural prototype of the Seal of Solomon, the world-wide symbol of the Union of the Active and Passive Perfections and by extension the symbol of all the pairs which are the images of this Union throughout the worlds of the universe.

The perfect balance of the primordial soul depends on the harmonious union of the domains of inner and outer man. If we take the apex of the upper triangle of the Seal of Solomon to represent the Heart's direct experience of Spiritual Truths which are the fruits of the Tree of Life, the down-turned apex of the lower triangle will represent taste in the literal sense, whereas the two interpenetrating bases will represent the indirect mind-knowledge which derives from the two direct experiences. The Seal's message here is that if we want to know what Heart-knowledge is like we must consult the senses rather than the mind, at any rate as regards directness. But our symbol also figures the gulf which separates the senses from the Heart: sense-knowledge, being the lowest mode of perception, is the most deeply submerged in space and time and other earthly conditions and is therefore narrower and more fleeting than mind-knowledge, whereas the inner 'taste' escapes from these conditions in virtue of its exaltation and is thus of all experiences the vastest and most enduring.

The Seal of Solomon is a key to the interpretation of many texts which have eluded the comprehension of those who are ignorant of the laws of symbolism, and amongst such texts are the Quranic descriptions of Paradise. It is true that spiritual bliss is often indicated simply by an affirmation that there is no common measure between earthly and heavenly joys, or by: such words as Verily thy Lord shall give and give unto thee and thou shalt he satisfied.

But in descriptive passages, the Qur'an speaks in terms of the pleasures of the senses, because these direct pleasures are in fact the earthly projections or shadows of the Paradisal archetypes which it is seeking to convey. Having their roots in these archetypes, the sensations have power to recall them, for the 'tether' which attaches the symbol to its reality not only traces the path by which the symbol came into existence but can become, in the opposite direction, a vibrating chord of spiritual remembrance. These Quranic descriptions, while serving to remind the soul that Paradise is intensely desirable, serve also to re-endow life on earth with a lost dimension; and here lies a significant aspect of Sufism, already hinted at in connection with Islam's claim to be a restoration of the primordial religion.

… Since everyone has always a centre of consciousness, everyone may be said to have a· 'heart'. But the Sufis use the term on principle in a transcendent sense to denote a centre of consciousness which corresponds at least to the inward Moon. This principle has its roots in the Prophet's definition of ihsan (excellence) which is directly related to Heart-knowledge: 'Excellence is that thou shouldst worship God as if thou sawest Him; for it thou seest Him not, yet He seeth thee.' 'As if thou sawest Him.' As if man were still in full possession of his primordial faculties. The whole of one aspect of Sufi method lies in the word ka' annaka, 'as if thou ... '; and this rule of idealism has many applications, some of which we shall see later. But it needs to be combined with the rule of actualism, the rule of 'but in fact'. No one is more acutely conscious of the fall of man than the mystic-so much so that a thing counts for him as positive according to the measure in which it is capable of setting up a vibration towards the Heart and clearing an access to it. In principle, since there is nothing which doth not glorify Him with praise, everything has this capability. Yet ye understand not their glorification. It has to be admitted that the symbols which could penetrate the Heart of primordial man are prevented from being fully operative for fallen man by his obstructedness. In other words he cannot react to them powerfully enough to effect the necessary vibration; and if left to his own resources he would be impotent to achieve access to the Heart. The sight of a beautiful landscape, for example, arouses not only wonder and delight but also longing inasmuch as the subject cannot merge with the object; and this longing is no less than a degree of the already mentioned presentiment of one's higher possibilities, a degree of 'remembrance' that in the archetypal world of the Spirit a merging of subject with object actually does take place. But such a presentiment would be, in almost every case, no more than a qualification for the spiritual path. In itself it would be hopelessly measured.

It is not for nothing that in most traditions the obstacle to be overcome is represented as a gigantic monster with supernatural powers. Nothing will serve short of a sword that has been forged and tempered in Heaven; but as an auxiliary to such a sword, the presentiment will be a precious strength in the soul; in other words, it needs to be consecrated by some Heaven-sent incantation, above all by the Divine Name itself.

It is important to remember here that Dhikr Allah (Remembrance of God or Invocation of God) is a name of the Prophet, and that according to the Qur'an this invocation is 'greater' even than the ritual prayer. The word in question could also be translated 'greatest', without the comparison, for both interpretations are linguistically possible; and in the present context it can be affirmed that calling on the Name of God, whether it be accompanied by some other experience 'Or not, is the most positive thing in all the world because it sets up the most powerful vibration towards the Heart. The Prophet said: 'There is a polish for everything that taketh away rust; and the polish of the Heart is the invocation of Allah.'

… it may be mentioned that although the invocation of the Supreme Name Allah takes precedence over all the other practices of Sufism, the term Dhikr Allah is also extended to other rites and in particular to the recitation or audition of the Qur'an which is, as we have seen, of one substance with God; arid in the context of causing vibration and of the passage from the outward to the inward, it is relevant to quote what the Revealed Book says of itself in virtue of the power of its own verses in this respect: It causeth the skins of those that fear their Lord to thrill. Then their skins and their hearts grow pliant (or supple) unto the rememhrance ofGod. The Sufis have here all the authority they need for using outward movement, such as the swaying of the body in the sacred dance, as a means to inward concentration.

The words their hearts grow pliant or, as it could be rendered, their hearts soften, can be glossed 'their Hearts grow less hard'. The barrier in question may be spoken of as hardness of heart or rust on the heart or clouds over the Moon or as a dragon that guards the access to the Fountain of Life. If it were not for this barrier, which is the direct result of the fall of man, there would be no need of religion in the ordinary sense, for Revelation could come directly to each man in his Heart which would then refract the Message to the mind and to the rest of the psychic substance. There would thus be a perpetual flow and ebb between the Self and the self. But as things are, a special Messenger has to be sent that he may transmit to others what his Heart receives. This does not mean however that all other souls are entirely cut off from the inward reception of spiritual light. It means that for so tremendous a descent as the Revelation, the Heart must be fully operative as is the case only with the Prophets and the Saints; but between these and the majority is the minority of mystics-'travellers' for . whom by definition the barrier is or has become relatively transparent. They seek, as we have seen, to identify themselves with the Prophet and to ebb as he ebbs in response to the Revelation. In other words, it must be for the traveller as if the Revelation has come directly to him, in his Heart; and this ka' anna, like all the other 'as ifs' of Sufism, is only possible on the basis of certainty.

What then is certainty? Or what is the difference between certainty and conviction? Conviction is indirect and belongs to the mind, being the result of purely mental processes such as arguments But certainty, being always direct, belongs to 'the apex of the triangle'. As such it can be the result of sensory perception; hearing or touch or sight can give certainty. But in its spiritual sense, when it has for object the Transcendent, certainty is the result of Heart-knowledge. Moreover, failing this knowledge in its fullest sense, those elements which are nearest the Heart at the summit of the soul must also be considered as faculties of direct perception, albeit in a fragmentary way; and through the light which these faculties of intuition receive in virtue of the transparency of the barrier, a soul may claim to be possessed of a faith which is no less than certainty.

Before closing this chapter, and as a preface to the doctrine which like all mystical doctrines presupposes at least a virtual certainty in the soul-otherwise the seed would 'fall on stony ground' -let us consider the three degrees of certainty as Sufism defines them. The Divine Truth is symbolised by the element fire. The three degrees, in ascending order, are the core of Certainty (' ilm al-yaqin), the Eye of Certainty (' ayn al-yaqin) and the Truth of Certainty ('aqq al-yaqin). The Lore is the certainty that comes from hearing the fire described; the Eye is the certainty that comes from seeing its flames; the Truth is the certainty which comes from being consumed in it. This last degree is the extinction (fana') of all otherness which alone gives realisation of the Supreme Identity. The second degree is that of Heart-knowledge, for the Eye which sees is the Heart. As to the Lore, it is a mental understanding which has been raised to the level of certainty by the faculties of intuition which surround the Heart; and it is one of the functions of the doctrine to awaken these faculties and make them operative.

[+] Free to Download: You may download the book in PDF format from here: What is Sufism by Martin Lings

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid

That’s the question Facebook designers Ben Barry and Rasmus Andersson are asking on a poster-creation site by the same name. They are encouraging people to go on the site, create a digital poster and “tell the world.”

It was interesting to see what people responds. When people are asked this question, it seems they tend to respond to things close to their heart, which testifies that through the wall of fear that we build around our lives, we go on living a life, in many cases, of denials of the matters of Heart.

This is a lovely question as an exercise of the Heart, to ponder on it and who knows perhaps it will also give us a clue how were really were meant to live our lives. What is our Heart's call, the Heart-Ache as some people call, the very thing, responding which we may attain bliss, here and now.

Here are some note worthy Posters from responses that people left:

Its a lovely exercise for the Inner Heart. What would you do if you weren't afraid? Visit the site for what other people wish for, and may be you can write yours. (+) Click here to visit the site. Pin It Now!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Medical Benefits of Fasting | Infographic

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# Related:
* Science of Fasting - Medical benefits of fasting and beyond
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Sufi Quranic Commentary on Fasting

A section on fasting from the Sufi Qur'an commentary of Ruzbihan al-Baqli (1128-1209 A.D.):

"O you who have faith, fasting is decreed for you, just as it was decreed for those who were before you" (Quran 2:183).

This is a call to the companions of the hearts (ashab al-qulub) and an address to the seekers of the crescent (hilal) of witnessing in the regions of the heavens of the unmanifest realms. Namely, O folk of certainty, it is an obligatory duty for you to abstain (imsak) from existent being (kawn) primarily (aslan), because you are [involved] in seeking witnessing.

So it is necessary that you fast from the familiar things of physical existence in the station of servanthood, just as it was decreed for the messengers, prophets, gnostics, and lovers before you; so that you might become freed from the dirt of humanness and reach the stations of security (amn) and nearness.

"[Fasting] for a limited number of days" (Quran 2:184 cont.), and they are the days of the time of the world. By means of this address He incites His friends (awliya) to abandon [for a limited time] indulging in pleasantries, getting married, sexual intercourse, socializing, being frivolous, the delights of life in all kinds of lusts, drinking cold drinks, and wearing fine clothes.

Namely, be patient, O My friends (awliya), with the lusts of the world, since indeed they [i.e. such days] are days that will come to an end soon, so that you may break the fast by means of My pre-temporal meeting and live in My generous proximity.

"So whoever among you is ill or on a journey, [fast] the same number of other days" (Quran 2:184). Namely, whoever among those who are cut off is ill on account of My separation (furqati) or is on the journey of estrangement from My union (wuslati), he must make up the days of weakness (al-fatrah) after his reaching the station of nearness (qurbah) and witnessing (mushahadah).

"And for those who are capable there is a sacrifice [that they can perform]" (Quran 2:184). Namely, for those who are capable of abstaining from existent being (al-kawn) -- characterized by ascetic withdrawal (zuhd) from the world [throughout] the days of his life, while not performing the action of the folk of capability due to the paucity of his receiving grace (tawfiq) and guidance -- there is a sacrifice. And it is the service of God's friends (awliya' Allah) by means of [their] expending (badhl min) [their] selves and wealth (mal) for those who have abandonned the world to its folk. And that is [the allusion of] His (t) words "[...there is a sacrifice, giving] food to the wretched" (Quran 2:184 cont.). The wretched are those who accidentally encounter the station of variegating (talwin) without reaching the station of stability (tamkin).

"And whoever voluntarily does good (ta'awwa'a) [beyond what he is obligated to do], it will be better for him" (Quran 2:184 cont.). Namely, whoever, sacrifices (compensating for his inability ('ajz) to fulfill the truth of the pious action [mu'amalah]) --in excess of the obligatory duty that is necessary for him-- [sacrificing something] from that which is available (mawjud) [to him] after enduring (muqasat) what was lacking (al-mafqud), it is better for him than seeking dispensations.

"And that you fast…" (Quran 2:184 cont.) [38] namely, that you abstain from what the folk of the world are preoccupied with.

"is better for you" (Quran 2:184 cont.) in establishing (thubat) your state and the strength (quwwah) of your will (iradah).

"if you were to know" (Quran 2:184 cont.), namely, if you gain gnosis of the joy of those who fast, both a joy in the world by means of unveiling (mukashafah) and a joy in the hereafter by pure witnessing (bi-sirf al-mushahadah).

"The month of Ramadan, in which the Quran was revealed as a form of guidance for people and as clarifications deriving from the Guidance and the Criterion" (Quran 2:185) is a month in which there is the burning of the hearts (akbad) of the folk of the direct encounter (ahl al-'ayan) due to ardor (shawq) for witnessing the Infinitely Compassionate (al-Rahman). Hence, the Quran was revealed in it on account of the tenderness (riqqah) of the hearts of those addressed, [a tenderness] deriving from the fires of striving (mujahadah) and [from] the unveiling of the lights of witnessing.

It was said, "It [i.e. the Quran] was revealed [in the month of Ramadan for the following reasons:] on account of its [i.e. Ramadan's] excellence, God's choosing it out of [all] the months, fasting in it being made obligatory, and the rising during its nights with the Quran being made a sunnah.

"So whoever among you witnesses the month, let him fast during it" (Quran 2:185 cont.) Namely, whoever comes during it to the station of seeking (talab), let him wean himself of suckling from the physical world for the sake of reaching the station of rejoicing.

Also, "whoever among you witnesses the month, let him fast" from drink and food; and whoever witnesses Me, let him fast from violations (mukhalafat) and sins (atham).

It is said, "Whoever among you witnesses the month, let him fast during it" and whoever witnesses Me (shahidani) and witnesses directly (shahada) My command, let him fast during all of His moments (awqat) from violations. And whoever witnesses the month while having the vision (ru'yah) of the affirmation of [Divine] awesomeness, let him abstain in it from foolish talk (laghw) and villification. And whoever witnesses [the month] while having the vision of his acting (fi'l) and fasting, God (Allah) has no need [for him] to abandon his food and drink. And he is just as the Prophet (s) informed [us], "There are many who fast whose share of fasting is [simply] hunger and thirst."

May peace and God's infinite mercy and blessings be received by all.

Shared by Sidi 'Abd al-Haqq on Sufis Without Borders Yahoo Group

# Related:
* A Sufi Masters Advice on Fasting
* Purpose of Fasting

* Also you may read Ruzbihan al-Baqli's Commentary on "Guide us on the straight path" (Qur'an 1:6)
* Who was Ruzbihan Al-baqli?
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blessedness of the Nights of Ramadan

Moon meets Jupiter via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day
For every spiritual discipline and action which are performed for the sake of attaining Divine approval and righteousness there are rewards which are mentioned and enumerated, yet fasting is such a special mode of worship that God declares, "Fasting is for My sake and I Myself is it's reward." - Sacred Tradition of Islam

This opportunity of fasting is bestowed generously in the month of Ramadan, which is like the period of holy spring for ahlul qulub, the people of Heart. There are innumerable blessings, both hidden and manifest, which are placed within the nights of Ramadan. Why night? Because nights are special moments for every lover to be alone with the Beloved. Night is specially chosen to keep vigils, meditation and contemplation for it is enshrouded in the veils of mystery and made perfect for those who seek privacy with their Lord.

"Verily there are my servants among my servants who love Me, and I love them, and they long for Me, and I long for them and they look at Me, and I look at them… And their signs are that they preserve the shade at daytime as compassionately as a herdsman preserves his sheep, and they long for sunset as the bird longs for his nest at dusk, and when the night comes and the shadows become mixed and the beds are spread out and the bedsteads are put up and every lover is alone with his beloved, then they will stand on their feet and put their faces on the ground and will call Me with My word and will praise Me with My graces, half crying and half weeping, half bewildered and half complaining, sometimes standing, sometime sitting, sometimes kneeling, sometimes prostrating, and I see what they bear for My sake and I hear what they complain from My love."
~ Imam al-Ghazzali

"He has lied who claims to love Me but who when night falls sleeps (and leaves) Me. Does not every lover love to be alone with his beloved." ~ Imam Al-Haddad

Spiritual Heir and one of the foremost companion, venerable Ali Ibn Abi Tailb, may Allah ennoble his face, narrated that, one day he asked the Generous Messenger, His excellence Muhammad, sallalhu alaiyhi wa sallam about the daily blessings of Ramadan.

The Precious Pearl, Muhammad Mustafa, the chosen one, countless peace and blessings upon him, then pictures each night of the blessed month of Ramadan as below:

1st night of Ramadan: A mumin/person with piety (pious-virtuous in merit) becomes as innocent as a newly born child, that is, all his/her sins are forgiven by Allah azza wa jal.

2nd night of Ramadan: If the parents are mumins, all sins of his/her parents are forgiven.

3rd night of Ramadan: Angels from under the Arsh (Divine Throne) calls the fasting muslim, “O Pious! Clear all your amals (deeds) to Allah Who has forgiven all your past sins and crime.”

4th night of Ramadan: Equivalent rewards of the reciters of the Holy Torah, Gospel, Psalms and Qur’an.

5th night of Ramadan: Allah gives reward to the fasting muslim as equivalent to those praying in Masjidul Haram (Makkah), Masjid un Nabi (Medinah), and Masjid al-Aqsa (Jerusalem).

6th night of Ramadan: Rewards given to the one doing tawaf/ circumbulating around Baitul Ma’mur/the House in the Heavens.

7th night of Ramadan: Reward gained as equivalent to Musa Alaiyhis salam when he fought against Firaun and Haman.

8th night of Ramadan: The person of piety achieves rewards equivalent to all rewards gained by Ibrahim Alayhis salam in his whole life.

9th night of Ramadan: The person of piety receives rewards of Nabi Kareem Rehmatullil Aalamin Muhammad sallalahu alaiyhi wa sallam achieved in his whole life.

10th night of Ramadan: The pious receives overall goodness in this world and the hereafter.

11th night of Ramadan: Receives the status of those great mumins who died with perfect Imaan (faith) and as fully innocent.

12th night of Ramadan: The person with piety gains the status on the day of judgment of those who will have illuminating face like the beautiful moon of 14th night of a month/full moon.

13th night of Ramadan: The person of piety will be secured from all disasters on the day of judgment.

14th night of Ramadan: The pious secures a collective testimony of the angels that he/she has prayed Taraweeh prayers and so, Allah shall grant him/her paradise without question.

15th night of Ramadan: All angels including the holy carriers of Arsh Kursi will pray for the person to shower him/her Rehmat.

16th night of Ramadan: Allah Jalle Shana Hu will set the person free from hell-fire and grant entry to paradise.

17th night of Ramadan: Rewards achieved as equivalent to all the Prophets since the beginning of time on earth.

18th night of Ramadan: An angel will call the person, “O Allah’s servant! Allah is satisfied with you and your parents”.

19thth night of Ramadan: Allah shall increase his/her status at the highest heaven (Jannat-ul Ferdous).

20th night of Ramadan: The person of piety will receive rewards as equivalent to all the martyrs and righteous servants.

21st night of Ramadan: The person of piety will receive the status of those who will have no fear, anxiety on the day of judgment, and those who will be protected from all adversaries on that day.

(not recorded)

23rd night of Ramadan: Allah will create a city for the person in Paradise.

24th night of Ramadan:  Allah will raise his/her status as that of a person whose 24 supplications have been granted. (24 wishes/ dua / supplications to be granted).

25th night of Ramadan: The person of piety will receive the status of those who are protected from trials of the grave.

26th night of Ramadan: Allah will shower him/her rehmat of 40 years.

27th night of Ramadan: The person of piety will receive the rank of those who will pass the pulsirat/ bridge over hell in fraction of a second, like a thunder.

28th night of Ramadan: Allah will raise him/her one step higher in heaven.

29th night of Ramadan: Allah gives rewards of the Hajji whose pilgrimage is accepted.

30th night of Ramadan: Allah will call this servant saying, “O my servant! Eat the fruits of paradise as you please, bathe in the water of salsabil and drink the water of al-kawthar. I am your Sustainer and you Are my servant!”.

Subhanallah! All Perfect Glory be to Allah.. Please accept from us for Your sake. Ameen.

Fabi-ayyi ala-i Rabbikuma tukazziban

So which of the bounties of your Lord can you deny?
- The Quran, 55

Transmission and credit: The foregoing fazilat/blessings of the Ramadan nights were given to Shahzia Mohsin Khan by her guide Mr. Taher Sobhan, may Allah be pleased with him, accept his work and preserve him, in the holy Shabaan of 2009 via his spiritual brother and disciple Mr. Tapan, custodian of the wireless-gate mosque in Moghbazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Please feel free to distribute among yourselves, family, friends, and anybody on the straight path of Love and Truth. For details you may contact: khan.shahzia (at) gmail (dot com)

# Related:
* Verily, I Am regarding them in their loneliness and I See their weeping
* The Meaning and Dimensions of Fasting in Ramadan
* Observing Ramadan as a Month of Universal Spirituality Pin It Now!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Prophet Muhammad's Sermon on Ramadan | an Infographic Edition

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The Sermon Given By Prophet Muhammad On The Last Friday Of Sha'ban | The Reception Of The Month of Ramadan as This sermon has been narrated by al-Sadooq in his book, "Al Amali" relying on the authority of Imam al-Rida. Excerpted from The Best Month, the Best Night by El-Sayed Rachad El-moussaoui

Illustrated by Sadiq Alam for Technology of the Heart
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ramadan Preparation 2012: The Sufi Notes

The Life of Deen or Way of Righteousness is sincere advices from the spiritual elders and from those who have sound knowledge and who are gnostics of God (aref'billah). There is a saying of the Messenger of God, salutation of peace and divine blessings upon him, where he said, "The Deen is Naseehah."

When he was asked 'towards whom?' the blessed Messenger said, "To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and the general people."

The Arabic word Naseehah is advice, spiritual counselling, sincere recommendations. Another shade of meaning of Naseehah is purification. In the resourceful Yahoo Group called The Sufi Notes, it's moderator Dara Shayda has posted few very useful resources and advice towards the preparation of Ramadan. May they be beneficial for us all and help purify our intention, state and practice during this Ramadan.

As the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching, which is the month of refreshing our spiritual aspiration, provide much needed nourishment to the soul and prepare ourselves to the sure journey back to the Creator, it is a time to contemplate over our shortcoming, reform ourselves and to concentrate ourselves to be worthy to be in the Presence of the Lord, the Beloved, the Real.

Sidi Dara Shayda wrote the following (compiled from the thread on Preparation for Ramadan 2012):

Fasting is a STATE of human spirituality, it is not merely abstaining from food and water.

A reader wrote to me, this person is a heavy smoker and fasting is almost impossible. Suggestion to the person was to reduce unnecessary speech and avoid anguish and hurtful thoughts.

Next thing I know this person took a break from Internet.

This is correct fasting, though the person is eating and drinking, he or she place their mentality in the state of fasting.

This person is cultivating their heart so the actual physical fasting becomes simply ornamental to beautify the individual's trek on the Path.

Ramadan requires preparation, I cannot just fast, as the Prophet peace be upon him practised the faster needs preparation and training.

These are good recommendations preparing for Ramadan:

1. Speaking when spoken to, reducing phone conversations, text messaging, online wasting of time ...
2. Eating simpler foods, specially for those who are getting older, our bodies do not need much eating, slices of bread with cup of tea can energize a large man work well for quite a few hours. Pleasure eating is the root of much evil in North America.
3. Avoiding harsh thoughts and angry speech
4. Avoiding unnecessary shopping, browsing product catalogues and so on
5. Politeness and gestures of friendship with neighbours

Today passed by a cemetery. Asked myself: Other than physiological and mechanical aspects of my form, what is the difference between me alive and these servants under the ground?

Answer came, two differences:

1. I can undo my foul deeds, at least I have a chance with good intention to undo what evil my hands crafted. But they are cut-off from this life. What they did, tyrannically, shall be unchanged! No probability of any undoing.

But for me there are much worse than these foul deeds:

2. The words I uttered to listeners, with much much more effort than #1, I might be able to change and re-say or apologize for. But the dead are incapable of changing a single word they said when alive.

In our religion of Islam, intoxication and lewd sexual behaviours are sadly the focus of all what we hear from our scholars, in comparison to the harm of our words the evils of these actions are minuscule.

Say I got drunk last night and did what an honourable man should not do, what shame!

But infinitely more shame if I said words that broke someone's heart, specially a loved one. No comparison. Worst shame!

Abstaining from food and water in Ramadan delivers a message to our Nafs (Self): You are designed by Allah for other functions as well, can you see your Self busied with other than daily consumptions and struggle to accumulate?

For example, if you do not find your Nafs (Self) capable of calling your loved ones, your children, your friends or colleagues and mend words and re-start with a clean slate, then all is lost for Ramadan. It is more spiritual for you to spend the time in a SPA eating and drinking and enjoying life, than the throes of useless ineffective fasting.

An American woman in her 70s, just moved back to Canada, wrote to me and gave me some Naseeha as following:

She lived in USA with her wealthy husband and in a large house and so on. Until he became ill of old age and before he passed on he asked her a question:

Can you take any of our money or houses or jewels with you to the grave? I cannot.

She told me those words struck a chord with her. He passed on, may Allah ease his journey, and she is now living in Canada in a small room by herself with a dog.

Naseeha for Dara this Ramadan, for him to see the light:

Sit back and look at all things around, and all the people around, can you take anything into the grave? can you take any companion into your grave Dara?

Answer is no, nothing, except blossoms of Jasmine.

Citing the news published by, titled, "A veterinary emergency raises the question: What is my dog’s life worth?" Sidi Dara writes:

"No one shed one tear for the 100,000 libyan casualties of Nato war, and Canada is tilting towards the suicide machines and right to choose the moment of death, while the pet's are not allowed to die of natural causes.

People around me sob for their pets, spend fortunes on their medical bills, while their sons and daughters are in need and while local orphanages bloating with unwanted children.

Perhaps this Ramadan it is a good time to sit down quietly and wait for Allah to show the way to live like a human being, eat like one, spend like one, love like one and finally die like one."

Sidi Dara is describing, "I met a lady who lost her teenage daughter some 10 years back. The details of course are of no relevance to us, but one: the day her body was found the mother had a harsh exchange of language with her.

The loss of the child is unbearable, but I understood form the mother that the loss was doubly harder sine the last thoughts and words with her daughter were not peaceful.

Ramadan is a good time to weed these defects of our Nafs (Self) and cleanse our mind and our tongue INSHALLAH. To go hungry and thirsty is easy, to keep the words soft and thoughts beautiful very hard, almost impossible for most of us."

Here is an excellent writing of Abu Talib Makki (born around 900CE) as shared by the Sufi Notes.

Specialized Fasting of the Muqinin ( The People of Certainty- those with no doubt)

Muqin is a person who has reached the high rank of doubtlessness with regards to the Divine Beingness. This person is above and beyond the confinements of human logic and reasoning that allow for doubting and probabilities.

May Allah The Sublime grant you success - Know that regular fasting amongst the fasters is that of their corporeal form (i.e. abstaining from eating and drinking) while the specialized fasting of the Muqinin (The People of Certainty) is the fasting of:

1. The Qalb (Heart) in abstaining from the preoccupations & musings of the world

2. The ears, the eyes and the tongue in abstaining from transgression of the Hadd (Divine Limits)

3. The hands and feet in abstaining from exerting force upon, and striving towards the causes and instruments of the Nahy (Divine Prohibitions)

He who fasts in such a manner has fully grasped and comprehended the passage of his time each day and the occurrence of each hour - living his entire day in full Dhikr (Remembering the Divine). It is of such that it has been said: "The sleep of the faster is Ibādah (Serfdom & Worship) and his breath is Tasbih (Praise & Adoration)". (This specialized form of fasting in which the heart empowers the Murid (Seeker) to savour each moment of his life regardless of the external conditions. Today we hear millions saying: “Life is passing me by” or “The week just went by so fast” or “My life is all wasted”. This peculiar form of fasting is the definite cure for the wasting away of human life. It can be practiced by anyone anywhere anytime and at any age!)

The Exalted, the Mighty - Allah, has coupled the notion of hearing Bātil (Falsehood, Vanity) or speaking offensively with that of eating Harām (Unlawful Provision)! Were it not for the Harām (Unlawful) within what is heard and spoken for the listener as well as for the speaker, Allah would not have conjoined them with the notion of eating Harām (Unlawful), which is one of the Great Sins.

Allah The Sublime has said: “(They are fond of) listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden” (Qur'an [5:42]) and again: “Why do not the rabbis and the religious learned men forbid them from their (habit of) uttering sinful words and eating things forbidden?” (Qur'an [5:63]).

Indeed a slave preserving & observing the Hadd (Divine Limits) set by Allah remains as though fasting in presence of Allah even after he breaks the fast, by eating or by sexual intercourse, due to the virtue of continuous compliance (with the limits). Whoever fasts by abstaining from food and sex but continually transgresses the Hadd (Divine Limits) is not considered a faster in presence of Allah - for his Nafs (Psyche, Self) is not fasting, for what he has missed of the fast is dearer to Allah than what he has complied with. (There is nothing dearer to Allah than preserving & observing the Hadd (Divine Limits). (Hadd is a limit set for human behavior e.g. do not steal. In Islamic tradition fasting requires the faster to abstain from both food & sex during the fasting hours of the sunrise to sunset.)

The example of someone who fasts by merely abstaining from food yet leaves the rest of his limbs ungoverned is the example of a person making ablution by merely ‘wiping’ over the limbs ‘thrice’ then praying, his prayer is void because all he succeeded in doing was to maintain the number (three) of wipes while he abandoned the obligation of ‘washing’—Failure of functionality. The example of someone who breaks the fast by eating but remains fasting with his limbs by preventing the Nahy (Divine Preventions) is the example of a person making ablution by washing his limbs only twice, abandoning the number of rinses, so he has perfectly performed his prayers by acting upon the knowledge (of how to perform ablution and prayer). The example of someone who fasted by abstaining from food and sex and preserved his limbs from all sins is the example of a person making ablution by washing his limbs thrice meeting the necessary requirements thus performing the prayers in the most perfect status as stated by Allah: "Fulfillment of the best for him who does good"( Qur'an [6:154]). And as was said by the Prophet—peace be upon him—"This is my ablution and that of the prophets before me, the ablution of my forefather Abraham and indeed Allah said: “The nation of your father Abraham” (Qur'an [22:78]), in other words it is upon you to fulfill and follow him (Abraham). (In Islamic tradition the worshiper makes ablution prior to prayers by rinsing the limbs thrice each. Makki is setting an example of an invalid behavior as opposed to the perfection of an action or a ritual.)

“The grateful person eating has the same status as a patient faster” Narrated by the Prophet peace be upon him.

During the time of the Prophet, two women fasted struggling with thirst and hunger till they were at the point of death at the end of the day. They sent a dispatch to the Prophet seeking permission to break their fast. In response the Prophet sent them back a bowl saying:" Tell the women to vomit what they have eaten into this bowl". One of them vomited blood and much meat and the other woman did the same, until the bowl was filled up. This bewildered the people (since the stomachs of the women were supposed to be empty), the Prophet then explained: "These two women were fasting in abstaining from what is allowed by Allah for them (food & drink) while they broke their fast by not abstaining from what was forbidden by Allah for them: They sat one next to one another backbiting people and this (the content of the bowl) is the meat of the people (they were backbiting). (In Qur'an backbiting is equaled to the eating of the flesh of the people: “O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” (Qur'an [49:12]))

Abu Dardā’ said: "How wonderful! The sleep and the breaking of the fast of the clever people dishonors the moron’s fasting and a single particle endowed with Yaqin (Divine Certainty) and righteousness is preferred over the mountains of worship performed by the ignorant who is deceived by this evanescing world". (Clever people are those worshipers who understand the spiritual meaning beyond the physical actions and the ignorant worshiper is lost within the surface-manifest of the physical actions, even though his actions (worships) are numerous.)

All that is forbidden for you to utter is forbidden for you to listen to, and all that is forbidden for you to do is forbidden for you to look at or think about : “you would be like them” (Qur'an [4:140],( this verse is about blasphemy, ‘them’ refers to those who ridicule the Divine Words, the one who listens to "them" speaking is equal to them).

Fasting is similar to repenting since both require patience. Repentance covers up the loathsome actions committed in the past; it requires patience for that which has passed of foul habits and the parting with bad habits requires safeguarding the limbs that were the conduits for loathsome deeds. In the same way, fasting is protection against the fire (of Hell) and a virtue of those who rank amongst the righteous! When the faster applies patience, he safeguards his limbs against the sins, but when he commands his limbs towards sinful actions his situation is similar to a repenter who is on the verge of breaking his promise (not to do the sinful actions); his repentance is insincere and his fast less than virtuous as you can see in the words of the Prophet peace be upon him: “Fasting is the protection against the Fire (of Hell) do not impair it (the protection) with lying or backbiting”. And again in his words: “During the day when one of you is fasting do not be obscene or foolish, and if it (devil, Nafs (Psyche)) abuses him (by commanding him to evil), the faster should say, “I am fasting””. In other words, the day of fast and the day of non-fasting should not be the same i.e. preserve the sanctuary of the fast.

And in other Prophetic words: “Fasting is a ‘trust’ so each one of you must preserve what is entrusted upon him”, the preserving of this trust is that of safeguarding the limbs (against committing evil).

Similarly, as the Prophet was teaching the verse: “Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due” (Qur'an [4:58]): he placed his hands over his ear and over his eye and said: “The ear is a trust and the eye is a trust” and this is the figure of speech when the faster says: “I am fasting”. Namely he (the faster) remembers the trust that is being carried and the fact that he is to return it to its rightful owners. He who preserves a trust hides it (e.g. covering the eyes not to see evil); if he shows it, in the absence of a valid reason, he indeed has betrayed the trust since the consignor did not allow for it to be revealed. The reality of preserving a secret is forgetting all about it; for a secret to be lost, its vault should be fortified. Therefore the reality of fasting is to forget all about the fast itself and not to wait for the time to break the fast i.e. busying the fasting with transience (Feel the fasting to be a continuum of staying away from evil, thus forget about the very act of fasting and completely ignore the transition of breaking the fast).

End. (Credit with original text in Arabic via Untired with Loving)

Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Sullami's 'Defects of Nafs' is the best place for the Murids to self-evalute and self-therapy to find one's own defects for the coming month of Ramadan:
Defect: Busied adorning the appearances and show humility and false-fear of Allah due to the presence of people and yet in the heart there is no fear of Allah, and showing servitude for Allah and yet not feeling Allah's Presence.

Defect: Excessive talking is born from two things: If the person wishes leadership and for that reason wishes people to see him and hear his eloquent speech, or scantiness of knowledge so by talking people are attracted to him.

Defect: If the Nafs (Self) is pleased and satisfied it goes overboard in praising the one who satisfied her, and if she is angered and then she blames to the point of trespassing the limits.

Defect: Excess of Tamanni and this word means objecting to what Allah has ordained for fate and decree, and longing for some other outcome.



Defect: Excessive coveting for this world. (Covet for or be after)

Therapy: To know that this world is not a stable place for staying, and indeed the Hereafter is the everlasting world, and the intelligent man works for his final destination not for the journey's rest-places, and the rest-places ends as soon as he commences travel, hence work for the final destination: Know you (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children [Hadid:20]

Defect: Ambition and anxiety over livelihood/provisions. The Nafs (Self) is anxious and ambitious for acquisition of the provision and yet her provision is but guaranteed by Allah, and scantiness of her anxiety and ambitions for deeds that are made mandatory by Allah. (Deeds that can only be done by the person and no one else can do it on his behalf e.g. another person can perform Hajj on your behalf but you have to pray by yourself.)

Therapy: To know that Allah has guaranteed the sufficiency of his provision, as said by Allah: Allah is, That Which, created for then provided you with provisions [The Rome:40], and as Allah has no partners in creation, Allah has no partners in providing the provisions.

Hatam Al-'Asam said: No one arises at dawn and except the Satan quizzes him: What are you going to eat? What are you going to wear? Where are you going to reside? And I say to him defiantly: I shall eat the death, and wear the cerecloth (cloth the Muslims wrap the dead with) and shall reside in the grave.

- Notes by Dara Shayda, Allah bless him for his tireless service

(+) Read Defects of the Nafs (ego-self) by Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Sullami

Past Years Posts on Ramadan Preparation
(+) Ramadan Inspirations
(+) Ramadan Preparations and Inspirations
(+) Preparation for Ramadan | the quintessential month of fasting
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Thirty Three Sacred Ways to Mystery

Within every moment - hidden are
Thirty Three ways
to be grateful, to sing glory and to transcend,
to soar towards the Most Transcendent
beyond all visible and invisible space

With every breath, one after the other,
Thirty Three more ways to rend the veils
and to come closer

Was-sabiqoona as-sabiqoon
'Ula-ika al-muqarraboon ^

For the lovers drawn nearer, at any instance,
there are Thirty Three more hidden ways to love

To love with all heart, with all soul
with all strength and with all mind
until it be known: there is no strength and power
except the all consuming power of the Sole Lover

la haowla wa la quwwata illa bi'Llah

The Mystic Grand Master has taught us thus:

Every moment when we wish to soak in gratitude
then to sing: Al-hamdu-li-llah, 
Al-hamdu-li-llah, Al-hamdu-li-llah,

Every moment when we wish to bathe in glory
then to hymn: Subhan-Allah, 
Subhan-Allah, Subhan-Allah,

Every moment when we wish to soar towards the Invisible Sky
then to laud: Allahu-akbar, 
Allahu-akbar, Allahu-akbar

And for creating the perfect harmony,
the praised one has advised precisely
to follow as many times
as the master number: Thirty Three

May it be blessed, may it be blessed, may it be blessed
All of our journey
upon the Thirty Three Sacred Ways
                          to Mystery.

- Sadiq M. Alam
16 July, 2012 | Dhaka, Bangladesh

^ Verses from Surah al-Waqiah, 56:10-11

Wa-s-sabiqoona-s-sabiqoon, 'ulaa'ik al-muqarraboon, fi jannatin na'im.
- Surah al-Waqiah (The Inevitable)

And those who have gone beyond - gone beyond all
they are the ones brought near
in abode of bliss.
- The Quran 56:10, 11

"So bear with patience all that they say, and glorify the Praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting. And during a part of the night (also), glorify His praises, and after the prayers." 
- Message of the Quran

In Sacred Practice of Islam, there is a teaching of the Messenger of God passed down primarily through his spiritual heir and close companion Ali to sing the praise of God, to Glorify God and to acknowledge the ineffable mystery by using the formulas respectively which are Al-hamdu-li-llah, Subhan-Allah and Allahu-akbar. They are known as Tahmid, Tasbih and Takbir respectively.

The Arabic phrase Al-hamdu-li-llah is a phrase of thanksgiving, to give thanks by praising God. Literally it means "praise be to Allah," but a more contemporary meaning would be, "Thank you Allah." Al-hamdu-li-llah is close in meaning to the Biblical phrase Hallelujah.

The phrase Subhan-Allah is a phrase of responding to the awe of Allah. A contemporary Teacher of Islam, Etsko Schuitema recently said it beautifully, "The supreme application of human attention is to be a vessel to carry awe." Literally Subhan-Allah means 'Glory be to God.' This is the awe inspiring state of the heart of lover in the bewilderment of Supreme Glory manifested in bewildering and countless manifestations.

The phrase Allahu-akbar is a phrase to acknowledge the supreme transcendence and ever ineffable mystery of God Who's Essence remains beyond the idea of beyonds. Literally Allahu-Akbar means Allah is Greater (than everything and anything else) or Ever Greatest. This is the formula that aspire the seeker to draw even more closer to the One Who is Ever Expansive and never limiting and can never be limited by any limitations, whether it be mental, spiritual or otherwise. This is also the formula that separate every illusion (ghayrullah) from the Real.

These three formula used together in harmony helps achieving spiritual illumination of the heart and they are also helpful in developing the condition of the Heart of a grateful worshiper ('abd), awe-inspired lover (habib) and illuminated gnostic of God (aref).

Prophet Muhammad, heartfelt salutation of Divine peace and blessings to him, who said, "Shall I not tell you a thing upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you (in doing good and righteousness)? Nobody would overtake you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say Subhan Allah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar thirty three times each after every Salat (prayer)."

Some companions said, We differed and some of us said that we should say, Subhan Allah thirty three times Alhamdulillah thirty three times and Allahu Akbar thirty four times. I went to the Messenger to clarify and he said, " "Say, Subhan Allah and Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar all of them for thirty three times." (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The companions have reported that the Messenger has passed down, "He who recites Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah) 33 times, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) 33 times and Allahu-akbar (Allah is Greatest) 33 times, which makes a total of 99 times, and then recites once (the following) to complete 100, his or her sins will be forgiven, even if they are as much as the foam of the sea. The additional formula should be: "La illaha ilAllahu, waHdahu la shareeka lahu, lahul Mulku, wa lahul Hamd, wa Huwa ala kulli shaiy'in Qadeer" None is worthy of worship but Allah, Who is One, Who has no partner, His is the Kingdom, and for Him is all the Praise, and He, over all things, exercise Immense Power." (Muslim)

Once Prophet's beloved daughter Fatima and her husband Ali, Allah be pleased with them, wanted to request for a helper to help them in their work. Prophet refused since he and his household but later he went to them and said thus, "shall I not direct you to that which is better than a helper, if you get into your bed say Subhanallah 33 times, and Alhamdullilah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times, Allah will suffice you from needing a helper. Ali says, "by Allah after saying it Allah increased us in strength so we did not need someone to serve us".

The Messenger of Allah said: Cleanliness or purity is half of faith and Alhamdulillah fills the Divine scale (for reward), and SubhanAllah and Alhamdulillah fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All people go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby either setting themselves free or destroying themselves (be aware for which you sell your being, your time, your heart for). (Muslim)

And while passing down this practice the Mystic Grand Master recommended to repeat them Thirty Three times each after prayer. This has become the most common wazifa or regular spiritual practice of Muslim community.

The number used here 33 is very interesting to note because according to ancient science of numbers or numerology 33 is a Master Number. Qualitatively the Master Number 33 is like number 9, the highest number. Symbolically 33 is a number of bestowal of gift. In various sources Number 33 is associated with the following symbols:Christ-like, Christ-Consciousness, Number of Healer, Compassionate, Blessing, Teacher of teachers, Martyr, Inspirational, Honest, one who turns away from the reflected world to turn towards the Real world (the everlasting Kingdom). The experts of numerology also identifies number 33 as the number of prayer, chanting, spiritual oneness, creative energy and higher mind.

Whether we will ever fully comprehend the magic hidden in the language of the cosmos, namely, in the language of numbers, the wisdom passed down to us by our spiritual elders, who inherited them from the Messengers of God, the Apostles, the Broadcaster of Divine Wisdom, it is sufficient to say that the most important thing is the tasting. The tasting of the fruits that ripe from spiritual practices.

The Sufic term for "tasting" is Dhawq. Dhawq is the result of Shawq or longing. Abd al-Qadir as Sufi said, "It is the heart's longing to meet with the Beloved. It is the delight of the heart as it moves towards its Lord. Desire ceases with arrival, but yearning and longing never end, for the heart of the lover will never be satisfied by one glance. More secrets will be sought for, more unveiling, more knowledge. And the gifts of the Beloved continue beyond our expectations or merit, and the secret of the Beloved are endless."

It is for this reason, spiritual practices such as repeating the formula of Al-hamdu-li-llah, Subhan-Allah and Allahu-akbar are continual practices in response to the reality in which unveiling is endless.

When Shawq or longing or desire for God intensifies in the Heart, then in unexpected moments 'taste' (Dhawq) is given. They can come in listening to special tunes (sama), Sacred words or chants or even in movement. When this tasting is bestowed, then it is life itself, another kind of life, as if breaking for the first time. In the words of a Teacher of Islam, "This tasting if you like - it is the first impulse of wakefulness after a long night of sleep. The sleeper awakes. Sleeps again. Stirs. This stirring precedes rising and full day ligth experience after the night of ignorance."

May with every pronouncing of the wazifa of Al-hamdu-li-llah (praise be to God), Subhan-Allah (glory be to God) and Allahu-akbar (everlasting greatness belongs to God), as recommend by HabibAllah, Muhammad Mustafa, Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam, may our Heart's night of ignorance fades and may there the Sun of Gnosis rise and illuminate for us all.

Wheresoever you may be, may Divine peace, the true Peace find its abode in your Heart.

* Spiritual Discourse on Dhikr
* Beautiful Seeds of Remembrance
* Virtue of Alhamdulillah
* 33 Mysteries
* Sacred Numbers and Origin of Civilization
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