Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Quran Reading: The Chapter of the Mystical Letter & Sound “Qaaaf”

Greetings of Peace to you all.

As-Salamualikum wa Rahmatullah wa Baraktuhu!
Special Peace and Never Ending Grace and Chosen Blessings of the Glorious One be yours.


1.
“...Many people, especially non-Muslims, who read the Quran for the first time are struck by what appears as a kind of incoherence from the human point of view. It is neither like a highly mystical text nor a manual of Aristotelian logic, though it contains both mysticism and logic. It is not just poetry although it contains the most powerful poetry.

The text of the Quran reveals human language crushed by the power of the Divine Word.” - Seyyed Hossein Nasr


One of the most eloquent author of Sufism in modern time, Henry Bayman draws a wonderful analysis, borrowing comparison from Quantum Physics, how the deceptively simple yet multilayer meanings enfolded in the verses of the Qur'an are like holograph.

In an article titled, "The Koran as Holographic Text" Henry Bayman writes, 

"Holograph (or hologram) is produced like this: Split a beam of laser light, allow one part to be reflected off an object - for example, a rose - recombine the reflected and unreflected parts, train them on a photographic plate, and you obtain a holograph... The holograph of a rose is very different from the photograph of a rose: it does not look anything like the rose at all. In fact, it does not remotely resemble any object, but is an abstract pattern of interference fringes. Yet when one shines a beam of laser light through the holographic transparency, one obtains a three-dimensional image of the rose.

Cut the holograph of the rose in two, shine a laser beam through either part, and the whole image of the rose reappears, albeit reduced in size. Repeat the process of cutting, the result does not change. In fact, information about the entire rose has been encoded into every tiniest section of the holograph."

In explaining how Scientist Bohr used analogy of how the universe is holographic in attempts to describe it's reality, Henry Bayman points out: "In this view, the principle behind a hologram applies to the universe at large. Information about every part of the universe is enfolded into every other part. In other words, at bottom the universe is undivided, indeed indivisible. If we use the word “atom” in its original sense ('a'-no, 'tom'-parts), the universe is the only true atom."

Connecting the characteristics of holograph, construction of the universe and the nature of the Koran, the author goes on to comment: .. "The Koran may be structured in the same way as the universe: it may be holographic.... Some Sufis might even aver that the heavenly archetype of the Koran, the “Mother of the Book” or “Guarded Tablet,” constitutes the DNA of the universe itself. God’s light (and God is Divine Light, “the Light of the heavens and the earth”), passing through the prism of the Guarded Tablet, projects the universe (after passing through multiple layers of existence) as a four-dimensional spacetime bubble. This Cosmic Blueprint then becomes actualized in the myriad phenomena that meet the eye."

Click on the image below to read the article in full:


2.
Here is a Reading from the Quran of it's 50th Chapter that begins by a Single Letter Qaaf and hence it is called by that very Name: Surah Qaaf. The translation is not literal translation, neither any single translation of Qur'an is free from defects - but this one is done with the intention of fluid reading for English language as much as possible. You may read and hear the original text in Arabic with transliteration here: Quran: Surat Qaf.

TRANSLATION OF

Suratu Qaaaf


Revealed upon the Heart of Prophet Muhammad in Makkah, 45 verses

Auzubillahi minash Shaytanir rajim
We seek refuge in God from the rejected evil archetypes

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Universally Merciful, the Singularly Compassionate


Qaaaf – By (the solemn declaration of) the Glorious Quran.

Behold! But those who deny truth, they marvel that a warner has come to them from among them, and those who cover up (truth) say, “This is a strange thing! What! When we are dead and reduced to dust, (shall we be raised to life again)? This (sort of) return is highly impossible.”

The Supreme Reality now speaking, fully knowing how much of them the earth consumes – for with the Divine Authority is a Perfect Recording that preserves (all knowledge and even the tiniest bits of data and information).

Ah! (The truth of the matter is that) they, (those who have sickness in their heart so they do not perceive the reality) denied the truth when it came to them, so they are in a state of confusion.

Have they not seen the sky above them, how the Divine Designer has built it and decked it out fair, so that it has no flaws? (Do they not look) at the earth - the Supreme Architect spread it wide and set firm mountains in it, and caused to grow in it every beauteous species - a vision and a reminder for every devotee who turns to the Reality.

And The Supreme Planner send down blessed water from the sky, and cause to produce with it gardens and harvests of grain - and lofty palm-trees laden with spathes, cluster over cluster - to serve the servants for sustenance. And by means of this water the Divine Master raises the dead land to life. This is how the Resurrection (the coming forth from death) shall come to be.

(Many previous generations) such as the community of Prophet Noah denied (the Hereafter) before and so did the people of ar-Rass, and the tribes of Thamud (rejected the Messengers sent). And the (the people of) Ad and Pharaoh and the kinsmen of Prophet Lot. And the People of the Thickets (of Madyan) and the folk of Tubba - all of them rejected the Messengers (of God) so My threatened punishment duly befell them.

How you delude! Are the Supreme Creator worn out by the first creation (that He will not be able to resurrect them the second time)? Look how they are in doubt about the new genesis!

The Glorious Creator created the human being and know what whispers in his mind. The Incomparable Reality is nearer to man than man's jugular vein, his physical reality.

Behold, the two recording (agents) record - situated on the right and on the left - and man utters not a word but there is a watcher present (to record).

The stupor of death is truly to come. This is the thing which you sought to escape. And the Trumpet shall be blown. (It shall be announced:) "This is the Day, the warning of which has (already) been given."

And every soul shall come forth (to account for his/her deeds), and will be accompanied by (an angel) who shall drive it and (an angel) who shall bear witness.

A Voice shall cry out, "You were heedless of this, so God has removed from you your coverings (and veils of deception and thus) today your perceptions are sharp."

And his (other angel) companion (who will come to bear witness) shall say, "Here is (the record of his deeds) ready with me."

(It shall be commanded by the Perfect Authority on that Day) "Throw in to Gehenna (Hell, station of Divine Wrath and Retribution) every hardened denier (of truth), forbidder of good, transgressor, entertainer of doubts, who sets up (to worship) another deity (such as idols, false gods, money, fame, power) beside God, the One and Only without a second, Absolute, Transcendent and free from every imperfection. So cast into the terrible punishment."

(The disbeliever will blame) his (evil) associates (who) will say, "O our Lord! It was not I that seduced him to transgress but he himself was deeply sunk error."

God, the Supreme Authority shall speak, "Dispute not in My presence. I had already given you the warning of this beforehand. The Word from Me shall not be altered, and I Am not at all unjust to My servants."

On that Momentous Day the Divine Voice shall ask the Hell, "Are you filled?" and it shall say, "Are there yet more?"

And the Paradise, the Garden enclosed, both enwrap and enrapt in Absolute Divine Mercy - shall be brought near to those who had become secure against evil.

It shall be announced: "This is that (Paradise) which you were promised, for those who turned (to their Lord) again and again (seeking His Mercy) and observed (His laws) with care. Those who stood in awe of the Gracious God in the heart of their hearts, even unseen and came to Him with a heart turned in sincere devotion (to Him).

(Invitation shall be called out:) "Enter this (Garden) in peace. This is the lasting (reward) for ever."

They will have there all that they desire and the Divine Bestower has in store much more (to present to them).

And how many a guilty generation did the Divine Authority finished before, that was stronger in power and might than they, but (when the Divine Wrath came) was there any asylum (for them) to take refuge? (there is no other refuge ever but God, the Supreme Refuge for ever and ever).

Truly in that there is a reminder for one who has a heart or one who listens attentively and is a witness (to truth). And verily, the Divine Power created the heavens and the earth and everything between them in six cycles (in stage, one after another, evolution being one of the mechanism), no weariness touched God (as falsely claimed by some).

So bear in patience being steadfast with what they say, and extol the glories of your Lord, Absolute Holiness is His, before the rising of the sun and before its setting. And celebrate His praises during parts of the night and at the end of the prostrations (of submission before Him).

(Reader) hearken! On the day when one that calls will call from a near place - the day they hear the inevitable mighty blast, that will be the day of coming forth (from the graves). It is the Divine Authority Who gives life and cause death and to the very Authority is the (final) Homecoming - the Day when the earth is cleft from them and they hasten forth. To raise them to life and this assemble of humanity together - that is easy for the Almighty Divine Power.

The Lord is most aware of what they say, and you can by no means force them (to believe). So remind by the Qur'an, the Final Message to humanity, whoever fears My Threat (that must come to pass, for promise of God is ever true).


End of translation of the 50th Chapter, Qaaaf.



Dear Allah. I pray that whoever reads this shall have Your Comfort, Your Joy, Your Peace, Your Love, and Your Guidance. For You alone is the Source of comfort, joy, peace, love and guidance. I may not know their troubles, but You do, for nothing in the heaven and earth escapes from Your all-encompassing knowledge. Please keep protecting us by Your Infinite Compassion and Deep Love. Ameen.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spiritual Counsel of Sidi Ahmad Zarruq


Know – may Allah give you and us success, rectify our worldly and otherworldly lives, and grant us adherence to the way of the Truth in our journeys and our sojourns – that repentance (taubah) is a key, piety (taqwa) is vast, and uprightness is the source of rectification. Furthermore, a servant is never free of blunders, shortcomings, or lassitude.

Therefore, never be neglectful of repentance; never turn away from the act of returning to Allah; and never neglect acts that bring you closer to Allah. Indeed, any time you fail to do one of these three things, repent and return. Any time you make a mistake, listen and obey.

Anytime you display shortcomings or show lack of enthusiasm, don’t desist in your efforts.

Let your main concern be to remove from your outward state anything displeasing, and then continue to work on your outward state through continuous counsel.

Continue doing this until you find that fleeing from anything outwardly displeasing is second nature to you and that your avoidance of the boundaries of prohibited things is as if it has resulted from a protective net that was placed before you. At this point, it is time to turn inward toward your heart’s presence and to its reality with both reflection and remembrance.

Don’t hasten the end result before you have completed the beginning, but, likewise, don’t begin without looking toward the end result. This is so because the one who seeks the outset at the end loses providential security, and the one who seeks the end at the outset loses providential guidance.

Act in accordance with principles and the appropriate legal rulings (of Deen) and not in accordance with stories and fantasies.

Don’t even consider stories of how things went with others except as a tonic to strengthen your resolve, certainly not as a reference based upon their outward forms or what they seem to be revealing. In all of this, depend upon a clear path to which you can refer and a foundation upon which you can rely no matter what your state.

The best of these is the path of Ibn ‘Ata Illah because it gives clear direction to Allah. Do not take from others’ words unless it is in accordance with your own path, but submit to their implications if you desire realization.

Avoid all forms of vain and foul speech to your absolute utmost. Put aside anything if unable to discern its benefit immediately.

Beware of being extremely hard on your selfish soul (nafs) before you have obtained a mastery over it, but also beware of being too lax with it regarding any of the sacred rulings. This is so because it is constantly fleeing from moderation in everything, and it inclines toward extremism in both matters of deviance and guidance!

Seek out a companion to help you out in your affair, and take his counsel concerning matters that occur from both your inward states and your outward affairs. If you do indeed take his companionship, then treat him in a manner commensurate with his state, and give him of yourself based upon his inabilities and abilities because the perfected companion can no longer be found. Indeed, in these times, even a suitable companion who is agreeable rarely lasts.

Furthermore, beware of the majority of people concerning both your religious and worldly affairs, unless you have ascertained they have a sound relationship with their Lord, rooted in knowledge which is free of caprice and love of leadership, and they are in possession of sound intellect, free of the pitfalls of hidden agendas.

Do not be heedless of the machinations of others or their hidden states. Consider these two from both their origins and their actions. People of high character and family distinction are almost always beneficial; on the other hand, excruciating circumstances compel a person of low character and origin to forsake others in need.

Be extremely vigilant of the dominant qualities of a given people in any given land, and don’t be heedless of the Divine wisdom in the creation; notice gathering in separation.

Organize your hours in a manner appropriate to each time’s specific needs, using a gentle and tolerant approach all the while being very wary of the extremes of rigidity and laxity. With laxity, this is especially necessary given that too much latitude in permitted matters sets the heart back on its journey to such a degree that even a man of resolve ends up looking like a foolish child.

Work for this world as if you will live forever, but work for your next life as if tomorrow you die. In other words, do not neglect the externals of your worldly needs, all the while keeping in mind your end and final resting place. Be extremely vigilant about avoiding positions of leadership, but should you be tried with such matters, know your own limitations.

The Divine Name: "Allah" in Arabic Script
Be absolutely sincere to Allah with the sincerity of one who knows full well the One who is placing demands upon him.

Surrender completely to His decree with the submission of one who knows he can never overcome Him.

Have a firm foundation in all of your affairs, and you will be safe from their pitfalls.

Organize your devotional practices, and you will find your time is extended due to the grace that pervades it.

Never be fanatical about anything, whether it is the truth or not, and your heart will remain in a state of soundness toward others.

Never claim anything to which you are entitled, not to mention that to which you are not entitled, and you will be safe from connivance and treachery. Indeed, anyone claiming a rank above his own will fall, scandalized and humiliated. Moreover, those who claim a rank they warrant will have it stripped from them.

Conversely, those who claim a lesser rank than their own will be elevated to an even higher one than they deserve.

Never reveal to your companion anything of your state other than what his own state warrants. The reason is that if you go down to his level, he’ll have contempt for you; whereas if you attempt to raise him up to your level, he’ll forsake you.

Never demand a right from anyone, whether an intimate or a stranger. The reason is simple: a stranger owes you nothing, and one close to you is too important to direct your blame toward.

Never assume that anyone in this world can really understand your circumstances other than from the perspective of his own circumstances, because, in reality, people see things only in accordance with their frames of reference and their personal path. However, when aims, purposes, and aspirations are similar, people tend to work together toward a common goal.

Never belittle any talk that concerns absent people even if there is no harm in it due to the likelihood of harm entering into it.

Guard your secrets even if you feel safe with someone because the one to whom you divulge your secret is not a safer vessel than your own heart before you revealed it.

Never leave an atom’s weight of your regular devotional practice (wird). Never be lenient with yourself in either relaxed times or those of high resolve. Indeed, should you miss some of your practice at a given time, redress it later. If you are not able to do your usual practice, at least occupy yourself with some other similar practice.

Never obey your selfish soul even for a moment nor believe any of its claims no matter what it says. To the utmost, guard your resolve in all affairs; and should you resolve to do something, do it immediately before it abates or dissipates. Examine your soul constantly in matters you are obliged to do or those that you should do. Leave off anything you don’t need to do, even the recommended – in short, do not involve yourself in anything other than the absolutely necessary or that in which a real discernible need exists.

Treat others just as you would want to be treated, and fulfill what is due. All of this is epitomized in the words of the poet when he said:

If you desire to live such that your religion is safe
And your portion is full and your honor is  sound
Guard your tongue; never mention another’s  faults
For you too have faults and others too  have tongues!

Take care the eye, when it reveals another’s faults
Saying, “O my eyes, remember the eyes of others!”

Live treating well all others and avoid aggression
And should they oppress, repel it but with kindness.


The source of these words is in fact the traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he said, “Be vigilant of Allah wherever you are, and follow a misdeed with a good deed, and it will remove it; and treat others with the most excellence of character.”

In another, he, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, said, “Every child of Adam makes mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are those who seek to redress them.”

He also said, “The Holy Spirit inspired my heart’s core that no soul will die until it fulfills its decreed portion of this world and its appointed time here, so be conscious of Allah, and make your requests with dignity.”

In summation, repentance, awareness of Allah, and uprightness are the foundations of all benefits.

The truth is manifest, and its details are weighty and significant. The affair belongs to Allah. Success is in His hands. Peace.


-  an extraordinary and beneficial counsel from Sidi Ahmad Zarruq, may Allah sanctify his secret, taken from his two books The Poor Man’s Book of Assistance (Kitab al-‘Iaana) and The Principles of Tasawwuf (Qawaa’id at-Tasawwuf).Translated in English by Hamza Yusuf

Credit: Foundations of the Spiritual Path by Sidi Ahmad Zarruq (PDF)


About: Ahmed Zarruq (or Sheikh Shihab al-Din Abu al-Abbas Ahmed b Ahmed b Muhammad b Isa al-Barnusi al-Fasi Zarruq) (1442–1493) was a Shadhili Sufi Sheikh and founder of the Zarruqiyye branch of the Shadhili Sufi order (Tariqa). He was born on the 7th June 1442 (846 of the Islamic 'Hijra' calendar) in a village in the region of Tiliwan, a mountain area of Morocco. He was a contemporary of Muhammad al-Jazuli, another famous Scholar and Sufi Master.

He took the name 'Zarruq' (meaning 'blue') and he studied the traditional Islamic sciences such as jurisprudence, Arabic, traditions of the Prophet and wrote extensively on a number of subjects. His most famous works are first of al his Qawa’id al-Tasawwuf (The Principles of Sufism), his commentaries on Maliki jurisprudence and his commentary upon the Hikam of ibn 'Ata Allah.

He traveled East to the Hijaz and to Egypt before taking up residence in Misrata, Libya where he died in 899 (1493). May Allah raise his station to further heights among the blessed companions.



# Resources:
* Qawaa'id al tasawwuf (The Principles of Sufism) by Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq: An annotated translation with introduction by Istrabadi, Zaineb S (Indiana University, 1988). via Scribd
* Teachings from The Book of Wisdom: al Hikam of Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ata ‘Illah as-Sakandari via Green Mountain School
* The Book of Aphorisms by Ibn Ataillah
* Wird of Ahmad Zarruq (in Arabic)
* Al Hikam of Ibn Ata Allah Commentary by Ibn Abbad in English
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Latest Attack on the Sufi Shrines in Libya | Failure of the Sufis and the Religious Scholars

Sufi religious sites attacked and destroyed in Libya, source


News Flash: On Friday, 25th August, a group attacked the tomb of 15th-Century scholar Abdel Salam al-Asmar in Zlitan, about 160km (100 miles) south-east of Tripoli, Lybia. The Reuters news agency said its dome had collapsed. The attack came a day after hardliners the deviants were accused of damaging the tomb of a Sufi scholar in the city of Zlitan.

A shrine in the Libyan capital Tripoli venerating a Sufi Muslim saint has been partly destroyed - the latest in a series of attacks blamed on ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists by neo-Khajirites.

There has recently been an international outcry over the destruction of centuries-old shrines in Timbuktu, Mali. (Source: BBC)

On Sunday 26th August 2012 the Salafis deviants came at night 3 AM while people were sleeping and dug out the blessed resting place of Hazrat Shaykh Ahmad Zaruq Alayhi Rahma. Shaykh Ahmed Zarruq, one of Islam's greatest scholars ever. These cowardly men have been digging up, bombing and bulldozing sacred grave sites in Libya for the past week.

It is also reported that the vandals have taken the blessed body of Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq and removed it at unknown location and the Salafis the neo-Khajirites are on their way to destroy the tomb of a blessed companion (sahabi), Ruwayfi’ b. Thabit al-Ansari in Libya. (Credit: Journey of a Seeker of Sacred Knowledge).

This falls in a series of incidents of rising ignorance. In October 2011, raids on Libyan Sufi sites included the desecration of the Al-Masry shrine in Tripoli and the extraction from their burial crypts within it of the bodies of two Muslim scholars, Abdul-Rahman al-Masri and Salem Abu Seif  and reburied according to the principles of the hardline Wahabi school. In January 2012 fanatics had wrecked the cemetery of Sidi Ubaid in Benghazi, stealing 31 corpses.

The shrine of the fifteenth/sixteenth-century C.E. Sufi Sidi Abdul-Salam Al-Asmar Al-Fituri, at Zliten in western Libya, was targeted four months ago, in March 2012 by one hundred carloads of armed fundamentalists, according to the Libya Herald, a post-revolutionary media source. (credit)

(+) Follow Google News real time updates on the Libyan Shrines attack

Destruction of shrine of Zuhayr Ibn Qais Al-Balawi (credit)

This past month, July 2012 in Timbuktu, Mali we also witnessed destruction of ancient tombs of saints and mosques by neo-Khajirites.Timbuktu is known as the “City of 333 Muslim Saints,” and has been the depository of hundreds of thousands of priceless manuscripts and documents in libraries and private collections. Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee, may Allah give him hayyat-at-tayyiba in a message then issued the following message strongly condemning such act of barbarism and totally unacceptable action, no matter done under whatever guise. Shaykh Nooruddeen issued the following message (quoted in part, read in full here):

The recent brutal terrorist acts of rampage carried out in the name of Islam in Timbuktu, destroying the ancient tombs of Muslim saints and threats to wipe out every religious shrine in the fabled city known as the city of 333 saints is an act of malicious transgression which needs to be unanimously condemned and rejected by all true Muslims.

Over the past two years, Sufi shrines and their visitors have become victims of terrorism in Pakistan, Egypt, India, Libya and now in Mali.

We as Muslims, openly condemn violent attacks on innocent lives, property and places, and safeguard sacred sites. Allaah says, “Had it not been for Allaah repelling some people by the means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and masaajid,  in which the Name of Allaah is much remembered, would have beem demolished.” – Surah al-Hajj 22:40.  

Allaah further says, : “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” – Surah al-Ma’idah 5:32

Many people have been killed in the attacks during the past few years. These attacks are designed to promote fear, chaos, and disunity among Muslims.

Annas bin Malik (ra) narrates from the Prophet (salalahu alayhi wa ahli wa salaam) who said: “Three things are the roots of faith (1) To refrain from (killing) a person who says “laa illaaha illa-llah” (2) Not to declare him unbeliever for whatever sin he commits (3) and also not to declare him out of Islam due to any of his deeds.”…[Abu Dawud].

- Published at Green Mountain School website




.. and do not deprive people of their due or destroy the land after it has been set in order. That is best for you, if you are people of faith. - the Qur'an, 7:85

Alas! How people lose their sense of what is due to people of high maqam, the saints and awliyas.

"Let's reflect for a second here. This was the maqam of Sidi Ahmad Zarruq. He brought balance between the people who claimed to be people of Sharia and Tassuwuf. His contribution to the preservation and spreading of the Sunnah is exemplary, even amongst the best of scholars. He was one of the Ummah's most faithful servants... (those who destroyed his tomb, gave instruction and guarded with guns overseeing the destruction) they are not worthy of the name Muslims for they dont know how to pay respect to those who brought the Deen to every corner of the earth, they dont know what respect it deserves for the spiritual successor of the Prophet who continued the mission of the Messengers." - Comment from Facebook


It is narrated by ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb that the blessed Prophet said: "Among Allāh’s servants there are some who are neither prophets nor martyrs but on the Day of Judgement the prophets and the martyrs will envy their grades. The Companions asked: ‘O Messenger of Allāh, tell us, who are those people?’ He replied: ‘those are the people who love one another on Allāh’s count. They are neither related to one another nor do they have any property to exchange. I swear on Allāh that they will have faces of light, they will be on pulpits of light. They will not have any fear when others will be afraid, they will not have any grief when others will be aggrieved.’ Then he recited the verse: Beware! No doubt, there is no fear for the friends of Allāh (AwliyaAllah) nor shall they be sad and sorrowful. " [Qur’ān (Yūnus, Jonah) 10:62.]


From one perspective this is an extremely painful situation that there has been on-going attacks and destruction of holy sites, tombs, libraries of rare manuscripts, heritage sites of great historical value and places of worship across the world, be it in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, India, Mali or Libya. One has to be in a demonic state of mind to dig up graves and bones out of contempt. We make supplication to Allah and request all to make du'a that these barbaric acts stop immediately, that the responsible are brought to accountability and justice.

But this will not be enough because it also requires education, and there is a great responsibility on part of the people of truth (ahl-al-Haqq), the haqqani Ulamas (real religious scholars) and those who are true Sufi Educators (Authentic Sufi Shaykhs) to educate the common people about real teachings of Islam, tolerance, the respect due to the spiritual heirs of the Prophet (s) and what it means of to be an Awliya and their status with Allah, all Glory be to Him.

We are seeing this situation precisely because many Sufi Masters of the age have stopped doing their job properly and they have fogotten their role as educator and communicators of truth. In every single lands where such destructions are taking place, on the ground the Sufis have forgotten the sacrifice made by their spiritual elders, their tireless work to educate people and to keep Islam alive in the hearts and soul of mankind.

This aspect of  failure on the part of those who adhere to the Sufi Schools calls for serious contemplation and real introspection since every event offers us a opportunity to read deeply the Signs of Allah.

 

Fleeing Responsibility

 

If we try to understand the real situation on the ground we can not deny that we have arrived at such situation and many other sorrowful states of the Muslims (facing a new order of Jahiliya, the return of another kind of age of ignorance) because traditionally those who are bestowed with the spiritual authority and responsibility, namely the Sufi Guides and the Religious Scholars (Ulama) who are positioned in the direct chain, hence who are suppose to carry out and continue the work of the Rasul Allah (s) of educating, purifying, teachings wisdom and providing guidance - it is them who have for the past two generations or more are miserably failing in carry out their sacred responsibilities which have enabled the re-emergence of Jahiliyya. We have even failed to teach our children, our young the value of sitting in the presence of the scholars, of the people of remembrance - which is a direct instruction of Allah in the Quran. "Be with the siddiqin, the truthful, the sincere and the righteous people" - says the Quran.

The Prophet (s) said, "Everyone of you is a guardian and everyone of you is responsible (for his wards). A ruler is a guardian and is responsible (for his subjects); a man is a guardian of his family and responsible (for them); a wife is a guardian of her husband's house and she is responsible (for it), a servant is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible (for that). Beware! All of you are guardians and are responsible (for your wards)." [Bukhari, narrated by 'Abdullah bin 'Umar]

For sometime now (historian and academics can tell accurately when this stagnation and fleeing from responsibility has arrested the Sufis) the Sufi Masters are fleeing from their responsibilities and those who are ignorant and know nothing about Islam have ceased the opportunity to impose their ignorance which is evident across the globe. The corrupt people are in charge (for example the Mufti of Libya follow the school of the ignorants of this age, credit) and they are uttering all sorts of non-sense to ignorant people capitalizing on their lack of knowledge about the Deen.

The degeneration of true spirit of Sufis have occurred everywhere. In the country where I come from and live, here in Bangladesh (and its the same tendency all over the Sub-Continent, probably same is true for Sufis in North Africa as well) that those who claim to be Sufis (and even those with authentic silsila and authorization) they themselves have reduced their Sufic activities into business by displaying the maqam / tomb of their ancestors, close door gatherings reserved only for their disciples while forsaking the entire community and so on and so forth.

So there is no effort of educating others, no struggle (jihad) of propagating the lofty ideals and Sunnah and complete abandonment of the tradition of leading the Ummah in calling to good and forbidding the evil. As a result what happened is nothing surprising. They are found caught by those who now rule over them with ignorance that even dwarf, in some cases the classical Jahiliya period. At one time Islam was greatly propagated by the Sufis and now a days in most places they are the laziest bunch; at one time the Sufis were the most forthcoming in serving all, and now a days they are the people who expect and demand that others serve them. This is a serious reversal of Sufi ideal and we can not afford to be surprised at these actions.

 

Present Day Ignorance is worse than the first ones

 

The Blessed Prophet warned us, "There will be in my Community a dissent and a faction, a people with excellent words and vile deeds. They will read Qur'an, but their faith does not go past their throats. They will pass through religion the way an arrow passes through its quarry. They will no more come back to the religion than the arrow will come back to its original course. They are the worst of human beings and the worst of all creation.. They summon to the book of Allah but they have nothing to do with it. Their sign is that they shave (their heads)." - Hadith (partial)


In a thoughtful article titled Are the Terrorists of Today the Khawarij (PDF) the author Salih al-Fawzan argues how the terrorists such as those who are responsible in bombing and killing innocents in the pretext of Islam are today's Khawarij (and worse than the originals), the deviant group of early Muslim period responsible for the first civil war in Muslim history. They were branded as terrorist, deviants and those who took themselves out from Islam:

This group that has left the Muslims, rebelling against them – this is the result of disassociating oneself from the scholars. ... They broke away from the scholars, broke away from the Muslim leaders, and the disbelievers and hypocrites put these ideologies into their heads. So, they have become outcasts in Muslim societies. They are Khawārij, no doubt. This act of theirs is the act of the Khawārij.

Rather, they are even more violent and extreme than the (original) Khawārij. The (past) Khawārij did not use to destroy buildings and residents. The Khawārij used to show up face-to-face on the battlefield. They used to fight on the battlefield despite what they were upon of ignorance. But they did not used to collapse buildings on everyone inside them – women, children, the innocent, those at peace with Muslims, people with whom Muslims have a treaty, and other people guaranteed safety. The Khawārij used not to do this. This is worse and more violent than the actions of the (original) Khawārij. This is more like the actions of the Qarāmiṭah (a severely violent, misguided sect). They are more like the Qarāmiṭah because the actions of the Qarāmiṭah are secret, based on secrecy and underhandedness and what these people today do is also based on secrecy. The (former) Khawārij – their actions were not kept hidden and secret; they would make themselves and their objectives known, publicly announcing them. So, these people are even worse than Khawārij. (credit)


Now if we look at now how Imam Ali, may Allah ennoble his face, (notable one of the early Sufis of the Golden Chain, many Sufi orders goes back to him as their Grand Sheikh immediately after the Messenger) dealt with them, we will find that he took the issue very seriously, divided his troops and ordered them to catch the dissenters before they could reach major cities and disperse among the population. This shows the seriousness on his part. Imam Alī's cousin and a renowned Islamic jurist, Abdullah ibn Abbas, pointed out the grave theological errors made by the Kharijites in quoting the Qur'an, and managed to persuade a number of Kharijites to return to Alī based on their misinterpretations (credit). This shows the effective attitude of educating them and correcting their faults. This is exactly what the Scholars of Tasawwuf and Educators must also do in our present situation. Name calling and distancing from members of the Ummah by looking upon them, by calling them this and that, cursing them, pointing out how wrong they are - is not the solution, rather to work with them, sitting down with them, debating their masterminds and educating them is what is required at this time.

Destruction of shrine of Zuhayr Ibn Qais Al-Balawi (credit)
Every image of destruction of holy sites of Islam is a naked reminder that there is something very very wrong within and people those who are suppose to carry out spiritual works are failing to attend to their sacred responsibilities. Else why we have to endure such pictures where even the Book of Quran is not spared by this vandals who call themselves Muslims and defender of Islam.

 

Failure on Part of Ahl-e-Tasawwuf / the Sufis

 

Sacrifice the self,
otherwise don’t be occupied with the foolish talk of the Sufis.
~ Abu Said Ibn Abil-Khayr


There are few obvious tendencies of contemporary Sufis or those who claim to be Sufis which have led to degeneration:

Sufis have stopped guiding the common people: Many Sufis somehow distanced themselves from the common people when it comes to giving counsel, guiding them, admonishing them, warning the rulers when they are corrupt etc. These were tasks commonly performed by earlier Sufis. Even the Sufi Saint whose tomb is destroyed very recently they were such great activists and reformer that some of them are responsible for bringing the Message of Truth and Harmony to the North Africa, they were tireless servers of community, some even fought actively to drive the oppressive and thief colonialists away and fighting for independence.

Even though the Sufis claim to be the people of haqiqa, they have forgotten the haqiqa (reality) of not leaving / forsaking the Jamat, the community, as warned against by the Prophet (s) himself.

Role as Educator is ignored: The Sufis who carry the flag of the Messenger also bear the responsibility of educating people, purifying them from deviant/ ignorant activities and constantly reminding people about the greater reality of the Hereafter. But for sometime Sufis, for example those who are in Sub-Continent, they are busy in making money, turning the tombs into a business and giving their time at a price only to those who are willing to make donations. If one visits the shrines of great Sufi Masters in Indian Sub-continent who have sacrificed their entire life in educating others, you will find no trace of education, no dispensing of knowledge and guidance but transaction of money, material gifts and cheap entertainment, none of which has nothing to do with the life and mission of the True Sufi Saints.

Shutting themselves: Now a days many Sufi Guides have confined themselves into their own corners and not reaching out, not willing to speak out, acting out against violence, oppression and injustice. Their gatherings are often not for common people but for chosen few. They have forgotten traditionally their gatherings where aimed to attract the common people while organized and maintained by the inner circle, so that they could dispense true advice to the maximum members of greater community. Many now a days even refuse to give information about their gatherings to public. For some extra-ordinary cases it may be necessary, but making it into norm is denial of the Great Sufi Teachers of the Golden Age who traveled to great length, so that they could meet people from all walks of life, freely give advice and guide actively. Their private time with their Lord didn't prevent them from calling people tirelessly from the dunya to the Way, as did the Messengers and the Prophets of God in every age.

The case of Sufis shutting themselves from going out among the common people, working with them, guiding  / teaching them, warning them and reminding them of the greater reality  - they are like physicians who place himself at a place which is off-limit to those who need medical treatment. As a result the society all over is filled with sick people and no wonder these zombies are now coming back to haunt with their number one weapon of mass destruction: Ignorance (Jaheliyya).

Lest we fool ourselves

 

Coming back to the specific incident of destroying the graves and shrines, lets look at what our Beloved Prophet's way was. Here are some Traditions worth mentioning to understand his way of being when it comes to respecting the dead, let alone the Saints of God about whom there are dire warning already issued by God Himself through the agency of the Messenger as we find in Hadith Qudsi: "Allah said this: "Whoever harms a friend of Mine (awliya), I declare war against."

Here are some of the noteworthy Hadith:

The Prophet instructed, "If a bier of anyone passes by you, rise to your feet and remain so till it disappears from your sight or buried in its grave."

Qais Ibn Sa'ad and Sahl Ibn Hanif told that when they were in Kadisiya a bier passed by them and they stood up on seeing it. When they were asked why they have behaved like this since the bier was one of the unbelievers of the area, they replied that once a bier passed by the Prophet and he stood up. when it was said to him that the dead was a Jew, Muhammad said: "Was it not the holder of a human being?".

The Prophet used to go towards the end of night to Al-Baqi' (grave yard of the inhabitants of madina) and turn his face towards the graves and say: "Peace be to you, the believers who reside these graves. You have been given what was promised to befall you one day. You will remain here till the Day of Resurrection. We are following you. May Allah forgive the inhabitants of this place."

"Do not speak ill of our dead lest you hurt our living relatives."

So we see that towards the dead, towards those who are buried or on the way to be buried, Muslims must show respect, must act respectfully. The Way of the Prophet (Sunnah) was to greet them with peace and remember them with respect and pray for them and he forbade to even speaking ill of the dead, let alone harming their resting place. May God increase our knowledge and help us act on the knowledge that we are granted.

 

Lets not forget the fiasco of the Media

 

Last but not the least, in every coverage of the Media on such news you will find many labels and even more importantly whenever such an attack is carried out by whosoever, it gets immediate media coverage. Those who understand the world Media at the present will know for sure that the Media never reports / invest their air-time without agendas serving their corrupt leaders.

In this case one of the prime motive you will find is ignite division and hatred of one people against it's own.  This is to portray Islam as a religion of the barbaric and uncivilized people. The classic "divide and conquer" strategy is also in play. As a proof of this its worth reading an article by Simon Maghakyan titled, Is Western Condemnation of Cultural Destruction Reserved Exclusively for Enemies? one can see the bias of the Western media. And this is not an isolated case. See more here.

The western governments who continue to pursue the same policy of oppression, colonialization mentality, it is them who are relentless against dividing the Muslims through various labels. Muslims need to be cautious against every attempt to divide the Ummah and not forget that it lays heavy responsibility on those who knows better to educate those in the community who are ignorant and acts on their ignorance. That has been the model for the Muslims as taught by the Prophet, may our knowledge be increased to receive his sublime teachings.

The toxic divisions sponsored, pushed and bombarded by the corrupt Media worldwide
 

The Labels of Divisions

 

Thanks to the mainstream media, instead of more knowledgable ones educating those who need education, we are given the capsule of hatred of one group for other. While I was surveying news from various news group I came across more than half a dozen labels: "the Salafis", oh its "the muslim extremists", oh its "the hardline Islamists", "the ultra-conservative Islamists", "Wahhabis," "Islamist Hardliner", "Terrorists," "Hardline Salafists," "Sunni extremists," and spin of labels go on and on! So instead of teaching them, the Haqqani Ulamas (real religious scholars) distance themselves and thus the darkness in the society keeps growing and growing. Growing hated and malice towards members of the same community will only open the flood gate of fitna and nothing else and thats people needs to be cautious against.

May Allah forgive the Ummah for failing to teach the sublime teaching and ways of the Messenger, may Allah forgive us for failing to implement the Universal Laws of God (Shariah) which calls for equality, human rights, justice and peace and get rid of all impurities and may Allah forgive us for failing to teach each other the Manners (adab) of the Sublime Messenger. May Allah forgive us that we are still an Ummah of ignorant people whereas our Prophet has instructed that education and illumination is compulsory on both male and female.

May Allah help us in understanding the verse of Surah al-Fatiha when we say, 'Ihdina assirata al mustaqeem, Sirata allatheena anAAamta AAalayhim.' "Guide us to the Straight Way, The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Choicest Grace." (the Quran, 1:6) The very 'Straight Way' is defined by the people upon whom Allah has bestowed His special Grace and lets not forget that these are the Messengers, the Prophets and the Awliya Allah, who walks on the very footstep of the Illuminated Messengers of God.

May Allah forgive us for we have not honored the scholars of our Deen, both of the past and the present, we are not builders of knowledge-house, but destroyer of libraries and manuscript. Unless Allah forgive and help us there is no hope and there is refuge and indeed Allah is severe in Punishment. In the beginning and at the end, all help comes from Allah and He is independent of the entire creations. May Allah guide us all and help us to hold tight the Rope of Allah in unity. Fatiha to the soul of all rightoues servants and may Allah increase our capacity to serve. Ameen


Sadiq M. Alam
Dhaka, Bangladesh
27th August, 2012


# Resource:
Answering-Extremism
* A Concise Introduction to Khawarij
* Scholar's opinion based on Islamic teachings about the Graves of the Blessed Awliya of Allah
Hadith on Awliya

# Further:
* Death and devotion by Paaras Abbas
Libya: More destruction of Sufi tombs
* Libya: Stop Attacks on Sufi Sites
* Libya’s Sufism being bulldozed to the ground via RT
* Sufi shrines attacked in Libya: Al-Jazeera Report Video via Youtube
* ‘Rebels’ desecrate cemetery in Libya [29. February 2011]
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sufi Song: Noorun-ala-Noor - Light upon Light

Noorun ala-Noor: Painting by Sadiq Alam

Chaaron taraf, chaaron taraf

Noor-un-ala, Noor-un-ala,
Noor-un-ala-Noor

yeh barkh-e-Tajalli
andheron ko cheerti

yahaan bhi Tu,
wahaan bhi Tu

yeh roshni,
kya roshni!

Tere siwa koi hai
ke poochhoon?

andheron se poochha to chup ho gaye,
chup ho gaye

ujaalon se poochha to sharmaa gaye,
sharmaa gaye

parindon se poochha, kahaan parwaaz hai?
khamoshi se poochha, kahaan aawaaz hai?

phoolon se, patton se, rangon se
aayi sadaa
"charon taraf, charon taraf
Noor-un-ala, Noor-un-ala,
Noor-un-ala-Noor."

uthaayi chilman
to dekha jalwa Tera
badhaaya kadam
to manzil Teri, manzil Teri
uthaayi nazar
to Soorat Teri, Soorat Teri

bhanwarein ki gun-gun mein
kangan ki khan-khan mein
aashiq ke tan-man mein
birhan ke nainan mein
gaanon mein, sargam mein,
taanon mein sargam mein -
"bas Tu hai, Tu hi Tu
Noor-un-ala, Noor-un-ala,
Noor-un-ala-Noor."

dil ki deewaanagi
mann ki aawaaragi Tu

Door leke chal tu, kuch pooch na tu,
kuch pooch na tu

zindagi ek raaz thi, ek raaz hai
ek raaz hai

jaankar hoga kya...jaankar hoga kya?
kisne hai jaana?

koi kahe mohabbat,
koi ibaadat
deewaanagi kahe, chaahe junoon
chahat hi, mere adaaaaaaa...

Noor-un-ala, Noor-un-ala,
Noor-un-ala-Noor
In four directions, in all directions

Light upon Light, Light upon Light,
upon Light is Light

This Majestic Light of Divine Epiphany
penetrates every darkness

You are here, You are also there
for You are everywhere

This Effulgence,
Oh what Magnificent Splendor this is!

Who else is there but You - that
I may ask (about this Glorious Light)?

When I asked darkness, no reply was received
and it kept quiet

When I asked a lamp, she grew shy
her shyness turned to silence

I asked a bird, where to is the flight?
I asked quietness, from where comes voice?

From flowers, from every leaf and colors
came a voice:
"Everywhere is
Light upon Light, Light upon Light
upon Light is Light."

Upon lifting the veils
saw I Your Magnificent Beauty
Upon forwarding my steps
reached I Your Station
Upon lifting my glance
beheld I Your Countenance

In the buzzing of the bees,
In the melody of the ornaments,
in the heartbeat of the lovers enamored,
in the eyes of the lovers separated,
in every song, in every melody,
in every beat, in every tune -
"there is none but You, Only You
Light upon Light, Light upon Light
upon Light is Light."

Heart's bewilderment is You
Spirit's perplexity is You

Take all questions away, don't ask anything
never ask anything

Life was always a mystery, still is a mystery
Life ever remains a mystery

What would happen if you knew,
Who else has known the true mysteries of life?

Someone calls it Love,
others call it Devotion or Adoration
whether they call it craze or madness
Love for You is mine...

Light upon Light, Light upon Light,
upon Light is Light

Album: Sufiaana - Sufi Euphoria (CD2)

Singers : Murtaza Khan & Qadir Khan


The above song is a popular Hindi Song that is based on the Sufic idea of Light Divine. The phrase "Noor-un-ala-Noor" is from the Quran, part of a very well known verse known as Ayat an-Nur (Verse of the Light) used to point towards the indescribable Divine Light.

Perhaps more than any other, this single ayat suggests only mystical interpretations, as the metaphor is completely coherent, but it does not surrender an obvious meaning. Hence it was and remains a key Qur'anic passage to many Sufis and Muslim Philosophers into the present day, who argue for esoteric readings of the Qur'an.


Divine Light may be compared to a niche 
wherein is a lamp 
the lamp in a glass 
the glass as it were a glittering star 
kindled from a Blessed tree 
an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West 
whose oil would almost shine forth 
though no fire touches it
Light upon Light 
- LIGHT SURA (QUR'AN 24:35


Allahu Nurus Samawati wal Ard. 
.. Nurun ala Nur. 
God is The Light of all planes of existence: 
both terrestrial and celestial, 
- heaven and earth, 
- body and soul. 

The luminous candle of His Holy Personal Name, 'Allah' suspends in the globe of the heart of a gnostic by the tree of his material body. Light upon Light, Light of Lights.
- Non-linear translation of Quranic verses from Chapter of Light (an-Noor)


 Some Inner Interpretation of the Verse / Tafsir 24:35

Hasan al-Basrī said, ‘He intended by this the heart of the believer and the luminescence (diyā) of professing the divine oneness (tawhīd), for the hearts of the prophets are far too brilliant in their light to be described in terms of the likeness of these lights. He said, ‘The similitude of the light of the Qurʾān is a lamp (misbāh), a lamp whose candle (sirāj) is gnosis (ma'rifa), whose wick (fatīl) is the religious obligations, whose oil (duhn) is sincerity (ikhlās) and whose light (nūr) is the light of [spiritual] attainment. Whenever the sincerity increases in purity, the lamp increases in brightness; and whenever the religious obligations increase in [inner] realisation (haqīqa), the lamp increases in light (nūr).- from Tafsir al-Tustari of the Light Verses

Allah then mentioned the honour and blessings that He had bestowed upon the believers, saying: (Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth) He is the guide of the dwellers of the heaves and earth. Guidance from Allah is of two types: clarification and making things known; it is also said that the verse means: Allah is the embellisher of the heavens by means of the stars and the embellisher of the earth by means of plants and water; it is also said that this means: Allah enlightens the hearts of the believers among the dwellers of the heavens and the earth. (The similitude of His light) the light of the believers; it is also said that this means: the light of Allah in the heart of the believer (is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass) made of gems. (The glass is as it were a shining star) ... (This lamp is kindled from a blessed tree) from the oil of a blessed tree, (an olive neither of the East nor of the West) in an open space, not touched by the shade of the East nor by the shade of the West; it is also said that this means: in a location which is untouched by the sun when it rises and when it sets, (whose oil) the oil of the tree (would almost glow forth (of itself)) from behind its rind (though no fire touched it. Light upon light) the lamp emits light and the glass emits light and the oil emits light, (Allah guideth unto His light) Allah honours with knowledge; it is also said that this means: Allah honours with His religion (whom He will) whoever deserves it; it is also said that the verse means: the likeness of the light of Muhammad in the loins of his forefathers is like this, up to Allah's saying (… kindled from a blessed tree).

He says: the light of Muhammad in Abraham was an upright religion (olive tree), and Abraham was neither Jew nor Christian (neither of the East nor of the West), the works of Abraham would almost glow forth in the loins of his forefathers like this (would almost glow forth (of itself)), up until Allah's saying (kindled from a blessed tree) He says: as if it is the light of Muhammad and if Abraham was not a prophet, he would still have this light (though no fire touched it); it is also said that the latter passage means: Had Allah not honoured Abraham, he would not have had this light; it is also said: if Allah had not honoured His believing servant with this light, he would not have had it.- Tafsir ibn Abbas, Light verses 24:35


[+] Download the song as mp3 via Facebook page of Technology of the Heart: http://www.facebook.com/TechnologyofHeart

* Ishraqiya | Suhrawardi's Philosophy of Illumination
* Theophanies and Lights in the Thought of Ibn 'Arabi
* The Sufi Meditation of the Heart by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Be like a Bee

“Be amongst the people like unto the bee amongst the birds; while the bee is incomparable to the birds and they look down upon it, had they known the blessing within the bee’s belly they would not have considered it lowly; Mingle amongst the people with your conversations and your bodies, but separate them from your deeds and your heart. For truly, to a man belongs what he has gained and in the Day of Judgement he shall be with whom he loved!” - Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib

Your worth cannot be determined by what people think of you! Your value is not outside you, indeed what is precious is within! Had people known this would they have betrayed you? Would they have forsaken you? There is something of immense value within you, like the honey deep inside the bee, but no one sees it and values it:

They sold him for a miserable price, for a few Dirhams counted out: in such low estimation did they hold him! [The Qur'an 12:20] (About the sale of Prophet Joseph as an inexpensive slave)

When people look at a bee or hear its buzzing, do they taste the sweet blessing of its honey? Similarly Imam Ali teaches that no one appreciates the value of what is inside you by simply talking and being physically close, rather the sweetness of this honey blesses when the man is alone doing something good or feeling something beautiful within his heart! Likened to a bee, which only when alone, concealed within the hive, the blessing of its honey leaves its physicality and is suitable for others to consume and to benefit from, even long after the bee is gone.

Chieftain of all the beloveds of Allah, Muhammad peace be upon him said:

“The believer is like unto a bee, feeds upon the goodness, relieves a burden of goodness (honey), lands upon a branch softly so as not to break it and when falling into the water does not pollute it.”

And again the commander of the nation of the lovers saw Divine Secrets beyond the Zāhir (Outmost Manifest) of everything, peace be upon him rendered the Kamāl (Perfection) of human-ness:

“The very example of a believer is that of a bee, its companionship benefits you, its consultation benefits you, and if it sits by you it benefits you and all its affairs are beneficial, such is everything about the bee: beneficial”

Eat from the goodness of all things and let it leave you as goodness for humanity! Eat from the goodness of all things and plunder not! Be the bee that devours the nectar of a blossom and leaves it as it found it.

Be useful to all things around you, be it a bush or a bird or another human being. Examine your affairs, if you find one that has the potential for causing any harm, cease and desist.

Heal all around you as the honey naturally heals while being sweet: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought. [16:69]

“The example of Bilal is that of a bee, whether it ate the sweet or the bitter, it is entirely sweet (its honey)” admired the Prophet. Whether Allah decreed for you the sweetness of destiny or the bitterness inevitable, digest everything into a honey for all around you, those you see and those you cannot and those who come after you. Does the bee choose who devours its honey? Then don’t let your compassion be selective.

Is within this bee that buzzes around your yard any Divine Secrets? No! Then look closer through the Prophetic Eyes:

“From some of your Dhikr (Remembrance) about the Jalāl (Momentous Glory) of Allah be it Tasbih (Glorification) or Tahlil (Exultation) or Tahmid (Praise) circle around the ‘Arsh (Divine Throne) buzzing like the buzzing of the bees, recalling their companions (Al-Dhakir, the Rememberer ). Doesn’t each one of you love to have someone that would not cease remembering him?”

Do you want me my love to tell you why that special somebody broke your heart and left your forsaken forever? For you forsake the Dhikr (Remembrance) of Allah, indeed Allah is for you as you feel for Allah!

What did the Sultan of all lovers warn against? The Eden’s Nightingale sang:

“He who loves a nation shall be amongst them in the Day Judgement”

And again

“The man is with whom he loves and you shall be (resurrected) alongside your beloved”

Would you inform your Self, where you shall be resurrected? Your next eternal genesis shall be amongst those whom you loved, alongside your current beloved!

Who is your beloved? Are you sure Hu is your Beloved?

Make sure.

- from Untired with Loving (www.untiredwithloving.org), Dara O. Shayda



  Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

 Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

     Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt -- marvelous error!
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

- by Antonio Machado (1875 - 1939), English version by Robert Bly


#Further:
* How Bees Work
* The healing power of honey
* Honey, multipurpose nutrient and healer in one package
* About Honey
* Spiritual Healing in Islamic Sufi Tradition
* Ephphatha | Healing of Christ


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nafee-Esbat Zikr in Naqshbandi Sufi Way | An Infographic Edition


Nafee Esbat (may also be written as Nafi Aesbat) is a common technical term in the Sufic Science which refers to the practice of repeating the formula of "La ilaha illa-Allah," which according to Sufism is the grand formula of Truth. It consist of two part, first the negation of everything other than God and second part is the affirmation of the Supreme Being.

Frithjof Schuon in his book "Understanding Islam" wrote on the sacred formula: "The first proposition of the sentence, which is negative in form ("There is no divinity..") relates to the world and reduces it to nothingness by taking away from it any positive character, the second proposition, which is affirmative ("...save the Divinity, Allah"), is related to the Absolute Reality or to Being. In the Shahadah (la ilaha illa-Allah) there is metaphysical discernment between the unreal and the Real, and then combative virtue; this formula is both the sword of knowledge and the sword of the soul, while also marking the peace that Truth brings, serenity in God."

"...The Shahadah is the juxtaposition of the negation la ilaha (no divinity) and the Name Allah (the Divinity)... thus in the center of the Shahadah there is a kind of inverse image of the relationship which it expresses, and this inversion represents the truth according to which the world possesses the degree of reality proper to its level, since nothing can be cut off from the Divine Cause."

In this particular practice of moving the Shahadah on various subtle centers of the body, it may be worthy pointing out that the Lataif or the Spiritual Subtle Centers even within the Sufic tradition may get defined by different school differently, varying in terms of location, color and their subtle functions. Here we have used a particular school of classical Naqshbandi Sufi School from the references as mentioned in the Infographic above. For those who are interested to explore more on Lataif, the Wikipedia article may give some more details: Lataif-e-Sitta.

The differences of the centers are partly because Lataif or the Spiritual Subtle Centers like Spirit itself, is something which belong to the realm of unseen and beyond our everyday language. That is why even though the basic idea is almost same as Eastern notion of Chakra, yet the Lataif in Sufi Schools get slightly different interpretations and that again varies within various School.

In the Book Essence with the Elixir of Enlightenment, A. H. Almaas touched some important aspect of Lataif:

"The lataif, as Shah says, are not only centers but also forms of consciousness, operating on the subtle dimension. These forms of consciousness when understood precisely will be seen as a dimension of Essence, a subtle form of substance. They comprise the subtle body. They are the beginning experience of Essence in some of its basic aspects. For instance, the green lataif is the beginning of compassion, or the loving kindness aspect of Essence. The red lataif is the beginning of the strength aspect of Essence, and so on. They are called lataif, meaning qualities that have subtlety, gentleness, and refinement to them, and are the first subtle and fine manifestation of Essence.

... condition of openness and spaciousness usually leads by itself, to the activation of the centers of the subtle physiology called the lataif... there are said to be five centers of spiritual perception...They are conceived of as having physical locations in the human body. 

The Sufi tradition uses the lataif system. This is somewhat deeper than either of the above energy systems. In fact at this level it becomes difficult to speak of energy. We can still use the term energy, but the lataif really operate with the higher, more diluted forms of Essence. We can say that the lataif level is the transition from the level of energy to the deeper level of essential Presence."

But beyond differences on the locality and modalities of Lataifs, what is far more important is sincere application and consistence practice once a particular school is adhered to.

In the beginning and at the end, the goal of any spiritual practice is to attain Taqwa or Divine Consciousness and the practice of Nafee-Esbat also has the same goal of attaining the taste (dhawq) of the Supreme Presence and hence the Consciousness of the Supreme One. Indeed all opening and success comes from God and we beseech only His grace and help.


ala bi zikri Allahi tatma-innul quloob
 
Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility. 
~ The Quran, 13: 28 ~


Note: This is an introduction to the method and possibility of this Zikr / Sufi Remembrance Practice. For effective progress on the Path and to obtain desired benefit, the Sufic Science invariably recommend to receive such practice from an authentic and authorized Guide of the Path.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nature, Garden and the Reflection of the Great Paradise Here

DESCENDING to the earth,
That strange intoxicating beauty of the unseen world
Lurks in the elements of Nature.

And the soul of man,
Who has attained the rightful balance,
Becoming aware of this hidden joy,
Straightway is enamored and bewildered.

And from this mystic marriage are born
The poets' songs, inner knowledge,
The language of the heart, virtuous living,
And the fair child's Beauty.

And the Great Soul gives to man as marriage gift
The hidden glory of the Final Abode.


- The Secret Rose Garden of Mahmud Shabistari
Translation by Florence Lederer with slight modification




A faqir (one who is poor and in need of God's grace) was sitting on the veranda that opens to a green field in front of the house. The late monsoon rain is pouring in making every blade of glass on the field and every leaf on trees become even more green. The cool breeze makes the tree branches dance.

Looking at the green the faqir contemplates with amazement at the never ending beauty of the nature. Are there any color more beautiful than green? Green is the color of life (hayy), revival, vitality, the color of the chosen servant Khidr, green is the color of the Chosen Messenger and his nation. Green is the very color that made the earth a special place in the cosmos.

The faqir was thinking how fast the world is changing and in large cities where less and less nature is visible, people are becoming more and more selfish in proportion to the decrease in nature, the green, the trees and the open sky. The lifestyle of people in large cities around the world are becoming such a pathetic artificial life filled with greed, money making pursuit and devoid of vision. Man is fast losing his appreciation for nature and as he does, he is also forgetting what it means to live happily. The more man replace green, the trees and all the bounties of nature with artificial concrete jungle, walls that veils the open sky - the more he loses his touch with oneness of the world.

If men caged in large cities do not actively make effort to be in touch with the nature, if he forgets to nurture the nature, plant more trees and relax within greens his spiritual nature is greatly endangered. All that will be left is making everything profane through greed, pursuit of materialism and consumerism.


Speaking of appreciation, the most sublime attitude of the heart of man is the sense of deep appreciation. Whether we look at the opening and central prayer of Islam that is al-Fatiha or the Lord's prayer as taught by Christ or the Gayatri Mantra of ancient India, everywhere there is this adoration of the Highest and the fruit of adoration is appreciation and gratitude. Al-Hamdulillah! All praise and thanksgiving is to God.

The way science has evolved it has taken a wrong attitude towards the nature. While science could easily be the tool to help appreciate the beauty and glory of the nature, it has become a tool to turn everything sacred into profane. 'Profane' in the sense that it removes the awe, the mystery and glorification into mere theories, formula and dry analysis. Where science had the opportunity to glorify the Creator, it has increasingly become a tool to deny the Magnificent Artists behind the masterpiece universe.

If our children with the help of science could appreciate everything in the nature, it would in return could promise many individuals who would endeavor to transform the earth into heaven. Instead we are busy destroying the nature and replacing them with everything artificial because we no longer have the sense of sacredness in anything.

Every garden on earth is a reflection of the Final Abode in the Kingdom of God which is always pictured (at least in human language) as Garden, Garden of Eden or Paradise. Garden here on earth is representative of the beauty of nature.

The faqir while sitting and watching the nature in front of him was reminded of the Quranic description of the Paradise, the eternal abode which is described as, "Garden beneath which rivers flow."

And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls remember God and ask forgiveness for their faults- and who else can forgive the faults but God? - and who do not persist in the actions they have done while they know. For such, the reward is Forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (wa Jannatun tajree min tahtihaal-anharu), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers of beautiful actions! - The Quran 3:135-136

In an article written by Emma Clark for Islamic Magazine, the author expressed more clearly what the faqir was contemplating in that evening. The title of the article is, "Underneath which rivers flow: The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden," where the author writes:

There are over one hundred and twenty references to the “Gardens” in the Qur’an, the phrase most commonly used being jannat al firdaws, meaning gardens (jannat) of paradise. The range of epithets used with jannat indicates a place not only blissful and eternal, but also a refuge, a sheltered and secure retreat (khalwa). The term “Gardens of Eden” suggests the spiritual peace and harmony of man’s primordial state. Gardens of Eternity, Delight Bliss, Refuge, as well as Eden all recur several times, but the phrase most often used (over thirty times) is Jannat tajri min tahtiha al-anhar, “Gardens underneath which rivers flow”.

On one level this evokes the literal image of water flowing under the pathways in order to irrigate the flowerbeds, but on a more profound level it suggests the nurturing of the ‘garden within’ by the ever-flowing waters of the spirit which purify the soul. Indeed, water is symbolic of the soul in many sacred traditions, reflecting the soul’s ability to renew itself while remaining true to its source...

The most detailed account of the Gardens of Paradise in the Qur’an is in Sura al-Rahman (Sura LV, “The All-Merciful”). Four gardens are described, divided into two pairs. The lowest pair are the Garden of the Soul and the Garden of the Heart (reserved for the Righteous) and the higher pair are the Garden of the Spirit and the Garden of the Essence (reserved for the “Foremost”).
Integral to the Muslim idea of a paradise garden on earth is that it is a private place, hidden away from the world and from people, a place for prayer and contemplation... The garden in Islam also serves as a reminder of both the immanence and the transcendence of God. The great love and knowledge of plants, flowers and trees in, for instance, Islamic Spain and Mughal India, was a love born of the deep belief that the beauty of nature was a reflection of a transcendent truth; these plants and flowers are the shadow of their heavenly archetypes, their beauty a radiation of God’s glory on earth.


Towards the end of his reflection the faqir decides to plant more trees in the courtyard which extends to the field. Planting tree is one of those rare self-less acts which done by the one but the fruit and result is enjoyed by other people, the next generations. By the time a tree grows really large, start to give shelter and shades to many lifes, generally it takes ten, fifteen or even fifty years. So it is for the sake of others, not for the person who plants it. This rainy season is the perfect time for planting tree, he contemplates.

Also what comes to his mind is that in order to taste the Paradise of the Eternal Abode in the Kingdom of God, one can and need to create small little paradise on earth by cultivating beautiful gardens. Perhaps those gardens of the Zen monks where there is also water fountains, sound of the flowing water percolating through rocks and pebbles and create an atmosphere of purity.

Perhaps those who are fortunate to create such garden with their own hands and can sit and enjoy in such a garden have already become a Person of Paradise. They are like those who are given the glad tidings of their secured place in the Garden in this very life, in this very here.




Perchance we see in this, as in a cloudy mirror,
The far faint reflect of the Perfect Face.
And these deep feelings of delight and wonder
Can only issue from the One True Beauty,
For in Divine Perfection there is no other partner.

- The Secret Rose Garden






# Related:
* The Sufi Garden | Place of Many Meanings
* Being a Person of Paradise | from the Teachings of Shams Tabrizi 
* Dream of Secret Garden and of Unfathomable Recognition
* You are a flower in His Garden
* The Garden of Self-healing | cure for sins

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