"Great fortune to perceive eternity in the now.
Only Grace can reveal the seamlessness of perpetual Presence disguised as moving time.
Much effort and toiling is needed only to reduce illusions of separation.
Sacred connectedness encompasses the self's darkness and the soul's light. Patience, self sacrifice and all other good deeds necessary yet insufficient.
Allah's ways are His ways and He removes the veil as and when readiness is there, not thru asking or prayers. The ultimate gift carries itself. Allah's Nur penetrates as perfect destiny is.
~ Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
A Brief Commentary with Five Signposts
Allah transmits through the most transparent of His creations, transparent (ummi) to the divine flow, the blessed master of masters, Hazrati Muhammad Mustafa that - 'Man is Allah's Secret and Allah is Man's Secret.' And among the secrets of secret is another elegant mystery - which is the mystery of time. Every now, or moment - if we can penetrate, we come to know that the real nature of the moment is timelessness and pure consciousness.
In hadith Qudsi, the sacred tradition of Islam we come to a statement about time in which Allah declares that He Himself is Time. A mind blowing revelation indeed.
Allah said: Sons of Adam inveigh against [the vicissitudes of] Time, and I am Time, in My hand is the night and the day. It was related by al-Bukhari (also by Muslim).
So time holds some of the most elegant secrets of this reality. With so much knowledge of quantum physics, particle physics, unveiling of so many complex theories about the physical universe, even the modern physicists are still incapable to penetrate the reality of time.
Shaykh Fadhlalla, may Allah bless him and him works, in the statement mentioned in the beginning of this post points to the elegant secret of time. Like many other aspects of the reality, time is also where we come to meet paradoxes of apparently opposite nature. It is time where eternity meets in the now - but it takes great fortune, great wisdom to perceive that.
... and they encompass not a thing, nothing of His knowledge except for what Huwa wills and allows. ~ Qur'an, 2:255
Since time belongs to the domain of Divine Reality, hence the unveiling of the realities of time can only happen through Divine Grace. Man can encompass nothing of Divine knowledge on his own except what Allah opens to him. This is the why Shaykh Fadhlalla says, "Only Grace can reveal the seamlessness of perpetual Presence disguised as moving time. " Allah is al-Maujud, the Ever Present, the Presence Itself. The Sufi mystics use the sacred formula, La maujuda illaAllah. It means No presence but that of Allah. Nothing is present except Allah.
This is the first Signpost.
Knowledge about Divine Reality is shrouded in veils, often those veils are veils of apparent illusion, of opposite and paradoxical attributes. al-Awwal wa al-Akhir, al-Zahir wa al-Batin. God is the First and Last, the Hidden and Manifest at the same time. Similarly the Ever Present is disguised through the veil of illusional separation. God is near, entangled, intimately near; and more than that, He Himself is the Nearness but Man thinks and says I am far far remove from God.
Even in the realm of time, the seamless perpetual presence is veiled by the illusion of separation. "Much effort and toiling is needed", reminds the Shaykh here. The illusion of separation is such that it won't disappear suddenly, one can only gradually reduce them with continuous and sustained effort.
This is the second Signpost.
The self's darkness and the soul's light are like twins, one help the other to exist. It is the sacred connectedness that encompass both. Movement becomes apparently real when we consciously move from self's darkness to soul's lightness.
|Movement of celestial bodies are among the Signs in the horizon|
Some seekers in the spiritual path may focus too much on 'their' efforts. But this is like giving too much importance on what is unreal, the self or the shadows of ego. That is why the Shaykh reminds that certain things such as patience, self sacrifice or other good deeds may be necessary but they are not sufficient. May Allah grant us the capacity to understand the difference.
We are reminded here about the wisdom of Bayazid Bistami, a great sufi master:
"The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it."
"I stood with the pious and I didn’t find any progress with them. I stood with the warriors in the cause and I didn’t find a single step of progress with them. Then I said, ‘O Allah, what is the way to You?’ and Allah said, ‘Leave yourself and come.’
What is necessary has to be done, and yet one must rely upon the One Who alone is worthy of reliance. Not the vanishing and phantom ego but God Himself, the real and only Doer. This is the third Signpost.
Finally the keyword towards which we need to pay attention is 'readiness.' One of the most interesting thing about life is the relation with unasked for gifts and our readiness. Just as Allah never burdens a soul beyond its capacity, there is another side to this reality - which is Allah only gives when one is ready to receive.
Asking in prayers, much effort in the name of sacred activities, doing this or doing that - they all are fine, but unless there is a readiness, ripeness, all gifts from the unseen is withheld. And this withholding is also due to Divine wisdom and mercy.
Here is a parable to understand the 'readiness.' Lets imagine a very successful businessman who is the Director of a group of companies, all of the companies therein are quite large, doing business in international capacity etc. Now the son of the Director has finished his education but has never dealt with the business at any level. The son has no experience what so ever, lack proper ideas about how this business operates.
But one day suddenly the son start to demand that he be made director of one of the companies. First he asks politely, but is refused by father. Then he start to pretend that he is very willing to get engaged and must be give a top position. Finally he start to plead to his father, and yet the experienced and wise father deny his son simply because he has not got the right experience, is too immature and its not the proper time for the company. So in summary, the son is not ready.
Similar is our situation. As long as we are not ready, we are not given; be it certain gifts in life, material gains, spiritual understanding or spiritual experience - you name it. This is the meaning of the Shaykh's saying, "Allah's ways are His ways and He removes the veil as and when readiness is there, not thru asking or prayers." This is the fourth Signpost.
Finally, it is Allah's Nur, the Divine Effulgence is the ultimate gift and it carries itself. The penetration of this Nur is with perfection. Out beyond the apparent right and wrong, relative justice and relative injustice there is a place of perfection where everything is perfect. Even in the realm of physical universe often scientists discover this perfect balance embed within nature, within physical laws which are so precisely fine tuned that it is beyond explanation. That perfection is like a reflection of the Most Perfect.
The final and fifth Signpost is that Allah's Nur penetrate as perfect destiny. This Nur has already penetrated every possible nook and corner of the universe, including our, your heart. Are we, are you ready to receive?
Allahu Nur as-samawati wal-ard - God is the Light of all that is. ~ Qur'an 24:35
Subhana Allahi AAammayasifoon
The perfection of the Ever Perfect is beyond anything we can ever articulate.
~ Qur'an 37:159
O Allah please bless Your habib, the master of masters, Hazrati Muhammad Mustafa and his holy family and the noble companions. Upon them all be Your peace.
Sadiq M. Alam / Dhaka, Bangladesh