Friday, July 08, 2005

Tasawwuf Dialogue with Sayyidi Fakharuddin Owaisi al-Tijani

Divine Reality & Muhammadan Reality o5/07/05

Divine Reality: Haqeeqah Mutlaqah/al-Dhat al-Makhsusah/al-Huwiyyat al-Mahdhah
Muhammadan Reality: Haqeeqah Muhammadiyyah/a-Aqal al-Awwal/Haqeeqat al-Haqa'iq/Ruwh al-Kul

Jazakallah Khayra for your 'interferance' sidi for surely you have provided a golden moment for me to learn from you. I hope others will benefit from this too and share some of their knowledge on the topic, bi iznillah.

FO: Fakharuddin Owaisi
MA: Munawwar Ateeq

[FO]The matters you have asked about (Haqeeqah Mutlaqah and its Ma'rifah) are only known to Alim of Aqidah or Kalam can come near them.

[MA] Ofcourse. The knowledge of the theologians is based on Doctrine (naql) and rationality (aql). They either research an issue in the transmitted doctrine or present logical arguments to draw rationally sound conclusions. This is the first martabah/mode of Tawhid, namely, Ilm al-Tawhid. The Gnostics, in knowing tawhid, belong to the station above this, namely, ‘Ayn al-Tawhid’ or Tawhid by perception which is ‘true realisation in knowledge’. This is when one steps away from burhan to ayan, ilm to shahadah and ghaybah to hudhur. ‘Fa ayna haza min zhaak?’

[FO] and that (the Muhammadan Ligt) is what is referred to when the Nusus (texts) speak of the first creation being 'Water', 'Qalam', 'Aql',....etc.

[MA] Our grand shaykh, the Ghazali & Razi of his era, al-Seyyid Sa’eed Ahmad al-Kazimi is recorded to have said exactly the same. He was the most renowned Hadith, tasawwuf and philosophy teacher and shaykh from Multan, in Pakistan.

In his Discourse, he said, ‘‘Scholars have reconciled between the ostensibly contradictory hadith texts on the first creation by applying the 'ibtida haqeeqi' and 'idhafi' rule, as some applied the 'ibtida urfi' rule…I do not agree with them in this issue. I say, Arsh, Qalam, Aql, and the other narrated wordings are metaphors ‘isti’araat’ for the Nur of our blessed prophet, May Allah give him peace & blessings.

The Arsh is a metaphor for His Nur which symbolizes his azmah & haybah.
The Qalam is a metaphor for His Nur which symbolizes his knowledge etc…’’

[FO] There is nothing in reality (not khayal) but Allah...

[MA] Reality is Allah. This stems from the Wahdat al-Wujud view which is the acme of Ayn al-Tawhid, and the station after Wahdat al-Shuhud.

[FO] 'The beginning of Divine manifestation' ...

[MA] The purpose of creation was the manifestation of Asma & Sifaat. In the beginning the Muhammadan Light was chosen for manifestation. Not only did Asma & Sifaat manifest in it, the Dhat selected this Nur as its personal theophany.

If it were not for the 'Tajalliy al-Dhat wa Hadhrat al-Asma' in the Muhammadan Light, the veils of absolute nothingness (al-adm al-Mahdh) would have remained prevalent. ‘If it was not for you, I would not have manifested my Lordship’ [law laaka lama azhartu al-Rabuwbiyah]

Therefore, the first manifestation was this Light and by means of it the asma & sifaat manifested into other things. As if, the Muhammadan Light is the Prism revealing the Divine One, through whom the light of existence shun into the mist of absence. I composed a short poem on this,

You are the discloser of ‘‘I was a Hidden Treasure’’
You are the first light of the primordial ‘‘be’’
Inwardly beginning of the Prophetic sequence, outwardly final
In you is perfection of all first and last
Prophethood circumambulates Your essence
You are the pivot, the seed, and the nucleus
If I utter a say, your beauty is restricted by words
Whilst silent, you are absolute excellence
The Divine reveals in others through His attributes
You are alone the ideal theophany of the Dhat
You are the acme of what Divine ability does innovate
You are the symbol of ‘‘so blessed be Allah, the best to create’’
For until you did not come, things were in a misty absence
You are the cause, the source, the exposer of all light
Through you alone we find God, the unknown to all
Through you we receive rain, light and life in all
You alone are the prism revealing Divine light
You alone know who you are, Oh Praised One!

May Allah give Hime peace & blessings

[Fo]'Amaa' as in some hadith…

[MA] The narration is as such, The Prophet May Allah give him peace was once asked ‘where was our lord before he created creation?’ to which he replied, ‘in ‘amaa’ above which was ‘hawaa’ and beneath it was ‘hawaa’'. I have searched for the meaning of hawaa here, in certain tasawwuf books but I could not find an explanation. Can you please elaborate the meaning of ‘hawaa’?

[FO] So No-thing and Him (Allah) are same…

[MA]What you mean by nothing here is that there was nothing when he existed in pre-eternity. The ‘thing’ or ‘Shay’ in these sentences applies to the world of contingency ‘Alam al-Imkan’ since the word ‘shay’ generally applies to every ‘existent’ according to Ahl al-Sunnah, whether wajib or Mumkin. Therefore, we must preclude the ‘wajib being’ from the application of ‘thing’ in this matter.

[FO] (Haqeeqah Mutlaqah) You can’t even call it Dhat! It is all beyond any human understanding.

[MA] From a certain perspective this is correct since Allah Almighty is in ‘martabah al-Itlaq’ and the word Dhat, rather ‘all words’ qualify or restrict him! Even the word Allah!

The Gnostics have repeatedly said by inner realisation, ‘whatever’ man utters about the Divine is a qualification and Allah is beyond that. Whatever the Intellect determines about the Divine, it is confined and within precincts.

If I utter a say, your essence is restricted by words
Whilst silent, you are absoluteness

As Khatam al-Wilayah al-Muhammadiyah al-Shaykh Ibn al-Arabi says in his Futuhat Chapter three hundred and twenty two, man is not obliged to worship Allah as absolute nothingness (this realisation is the perfection of ma’rifah). If Allah accounts the men of Aqa’id for everything they say about Him through their intellect (which is limited & contingent), He Almighty would destroy them since Allah is in martabah al-Itlaq and they have restricted His Divine attributes by words. Nevertheless Allah has pardoned humanity from this and forgiven them since they have made their efforts in the way of his ma’rifah. [Paraphrased]

Some linguists upheld that the word Allah is a derived form from the verbal root ‘wilaah’ meaning, ‘izha takhabbata aqluhu’ when the intellect is lost and sunken into something mind blowing. Some have derived it from ‘layh or laah’ meaning ‘iza ihtajaba wa irtafa’a’ when something is hidden and exalted. Others have derived it from the verb ‘aliha’ which means ‘tahayyara’ to be astounded. Hence, the Divine essence is exalted and hidden from all eyes, beyond the grasp the mind and intellect. Whenever the intellect approaches it, it is left sunken in its confusions and dumfounded by Allah’s absoluteness.

Our knowledge of Allah is of what is outside of his haqeeqah (kharijah an haeeqatihi) and is therefore known as 'Ma’rifa Ardhiyyah'. The peak of the intellect is to realise 1. Allah exists 2. He exists forever 3. His I’itibarat Salabiyyah and 4. His I’itibarat Idhafiyyah. The Divine Reality is different to what man knows of his existence, his eternity, and other attributes therefore, it is absolutely unknown to Him. Wa la sabeela ila idrakihi min haythu huwa huwa…wa huwa al-Musamma bi al-Ma’rifat al-Dhatiyyah.

This Ma’rifah Dhattiyyah is only with Allah. This is what Sayyidi Abu Sa’eed al-Kharraz’s statement ‘‘none except Allah knows Allah’’ implies.

Some of them upheld that nothing can rescind Allah from exposing the a-Dhat al-Makhsusah to his muqarrabeen, al-Raf’ii mentions in his Taqreerat.

However, the question does not lye with the Qudrah issue, rather it pertains to whether if it did expose and the major Gnostics have agreed that it has never been exposed.

Wallahu A’lam.

[FO] However this Hidden treasure (Allah) manifested itself IN ITSELF BY ITSELF FOR ITSELF........

[MA] The purpose of creation was the manifestation of Asma & Sifaat. You here are referring to the Nuzul from la-Ta’yyun to Ta’yyun which all links to the Divine Reality.

[FO] This manifestation is called Muhammad/Ahmad....a synonym for whole of existence...

[MA] That’s a beautiful approach to the point. The Muhammadan Reality is actually the manifestation and everything, meaning all that exists is created from Him (as mentioned in the hadith "O Jabir, the first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His light, and that light remained in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished, and there was not, at that time, a Tablet or a Pen or a Paradise or a Fire or an angel or a heaven or an earth. And when Allah wished to create creation, he divided that Light into four parts and from the first made the Pen, from the second the Tablet, from the third the Throne, [and from the fourth everything else]"). Therefore, He (May Allah give him peace and blessings) is inwardly the essence of Phenomena and outwardly a part of it. Yet ‘outwardly’ we may saw Muhammad is the entire existence by synecdoche ‘Tasmiyat al-kul bi ism al-Juz’. Sayyidi Muhammad is the seed and the fruit, and that’s where it ends for us.

[FO] … as it is all praising its Origin

[MA] This is why exegetes of the Qur’an have upheld that the definite particle (‘alif laam’ or ‘laam’ alone) prefixed to the word ‘Hamd’ in surah al-Fatihah is either for ‘jins’ which renders hamd a generic word or for ‘istighraq’ which encompasses the entire individuals and constituents of praise. Both of which entail all praise for Allah whether it be the praise of

1. the pre-eternal for the pre-eternal
2. the pre-eternal for the contingent
3. the contingent for the pre-eternal
4. or the contingent for the contingent

All praise is from Him and to returns to Him. Hence, some Gnostics have upheld that the genitive particle (laam) prefixed to the word Allah is in the meaning of ‘min’ from or ‘ila’ to. Therefore the meaning of the verse is, ‘all praise i.e. the abovementioned four categories are from Allah and to Allah they all return’.

[FO] The Ahl-ul-Hijab from those who only know Shari'ah and book knowledge and are devoid of Marifah will totally not understand any of this

[MA] Ahl al-Hijab here means those who are devoid of Ma’rifah as you have explicitly mentioned. However, we are all from Ahl al-Hijab in a certain way and the hijab is of Azmah which refers to ‘adm al-Ihatah bihi’. In Chapter two hundred and eighty two Shaykh Ibn al-Arabi says, ‘If this hijab is removed the Dhat Almighty (haqeeqah Mutlaqah) becomes known and whosoever claims he knows the Divine Dhat i.e. al-Makhsusah, by his vision shall envision his ignorance in the hereafter’.

[FO] He (Allah's Messenger on night of Mi'raj) was taken to a station where he ceased to exist and only Allah remained......

[MA] When Allah’s messenger commenced this journey (Isra) in Aalam al-Nasuwt or the material world, he was in Human form. At this time his Nuraniyyah was ‘bi al-quwwah’ or passive and bashariyyah was ‘bi al-fi’l’ active. After the Isra, the Mi’raj started which was a pathway through the realm of Light or Aalam al-Malkuwt. It was here when Sayyidi Muhammad was in Nur form actively ‘bi al-fil’ and Bahsar ‘bi al-quwwah’. Angel Jibril left Allah’s messenger where His (May Allah give him peace and blessings) Haqeeqah was prevalent and the qualities of nur and bashr rendered passive. His Haqeeqah was exposed to none, not even Abu Bakr from the Bashr and neither Jibril from the angels! ‘‘Ceased to exist’’ here means in any ‘qualified form’ yet He May Allah give him peace and blessing did exist but in an unknown form. This is what our Grand Shaykh, Ghazaliy al-zaman, al-Seyyid Sa’eed Ahmad al-Kazimi explained.

However, my question still remains unanswered about Allah’s messenger having attained the mode of Haq al-Tawhid in the proximity of ‘Qaaba Qawsayn auw adna’.

What I have studied is that the Haqeeqah Mutlaqah is unexposed to creation. None can ever attain Haq al-Tawhid. The Hijab of Azmah remains in the eyes of all. Some are nearer to this Dhat and some are far. The Prophet (May Allah give him peace and blessings) is the most nearest entity who ever attained such proximity and nearness as explained in the abovementioned verse. This is why the Prophet May Allah give him peace and blessing said, ‘‘Ana a’lamukum billahi wa akhshakum minhu’’ ‘‘I am the most learned amongst you about Allah and most fearing of him amongst you’’.

[FO] only Allah sees the time of true Ru'yah.....only He is there

[MA] Haqeeqah Muhammadiyah is therefore like a mirror which reflects the Dhat, Asma & Sifaat. It is here where the eye of the lover becomes the eye of the beloved.

Ibn al-Arabi said,

‘‘Izha ma tajjalal habeebu bi ayyi aynin arahu
bi aynihi arahu la bi ayni arahu’’

‘‘When the Habib manifests with which eye do I see him?
With His eye I see Him and not mine’’

The Hadith in Bukhari pertaining to the awliya…. ‘‘I become his hearing power by which he hears, his eye by which he sees etc…’’ is indicative to this reality. The station of the Prophets is greater than this…

As Imam al-Sha’rani said in al-Kibreet al-Ahmar, ‘‘The Muhammadan station cannot be entered. The acme of our knowledge of Him is as if we look at the stars in the sky and as the people of the lower paradise who see the people of the greater stations above them’’

In al-Yawaqeet wa al-Jawahir he says, ‘‘the zenith of Wilayah does not connect to the beginning of Nubuwwah.’’

As for His (May Allah give him peace and blessings) station of Nubuwwah, Imam al-Sha’rani further comments, ‘‘all Prophets and Awliya seek help from Muhammad May Allah give him peace and blessings.’’

Therefore, the outer vision of Sayyidi Muhammad by the Divine Light is of the greatest form regardless of his inner firasah.

[FO] (Mi'raj) It was a journey to non-existence.

[MA] Actually, it was a journey to the real existence (al-Wujud al-Mahdh)! Non-existence here means contingency or ‘Alam al-Imakan’. It was a journey to ‘everything’ from the ‘Wahdat al-Wujud’ perspective.

However, at a certain point the journey was ‘through’ nothingness.

[FO] The Reality of ALLAH is too big a subject for anyone to write is only through real experience that one can know it (or come near it).

[MA] I must say again,

If I utter a say, your essence is restricted by wordsWhilst silent, you are absoluteness
The Divine Dhat does not lye in the knowledge of the Alim or in the ignorance of the ignorant. He is beyond all that…and this is where man is dumbfounded in ‘hayrah’.

The Gnostics sang,

The Friend is nearer to me than myself;
How strange it is that I am remote from Him.
What can I say and what can I do,
thatWhile He is with me, I am distant from Him.
(Gulistan, Sa’di Sherazi)

Shaykh Abdal Jabbar al-Nafri said, ‘‘The Divine Most High informed me whilst saying ‘‘I swear by my glory and majesty! I am not exactly what people know and neither exactly what they do not know’’’’

He also said, ‘‘the Divine said to me, ‘‘I am not the knowledge (they know of), neither is the proximity my slaves know of, is like the nearness I know of. They do not therefore know my nearness and remoteness neither my qualities which are of my majesty. I am near and far without distance, and they do not know my nearness and remoteness’’’’

And he further said, ‘‘The Divine said to me, ‘‘if you want to acquire my ma’rifah, throw your knowledge of me behind your back and do not enter my presence with knowledge or ignorance. Stand behind all existence and ask it about me, you shall find it ignorant of me. Ask ignorance about me and you shall find it ignorant of me. Surely I am the manifest not like other phenomena, and I am the hidden not like other hidden things.’’’’

Mauwlana Nazeeri Naishapuri sang,

‘‘Kunhey zaatey tuw bah idrakey nashayad danist
ween sukhan nayz ba andaza’ey idrakey man ast’’

‘‘The reality of your Dhat cannot be grasped by my physical senses
And this realisation is also a part of my understanding, from which you are way beyond’’

Khawajah Hafiz said,

‘‘Bishauw awraq graham darsey mai
keh ilmey ishqey dar daftar nabashad’’

‘‘Wash away the pages if you are our class fellow
Because the science of love is not found in books’’

[FO] If one is serious about wanting to know this, they will HAVE TO find a true ARIFBILLAH who holds this knowledge and then submit to him like a dead body …One will learn everything.

[MA] The peak of that 'everything' is that he will realise he knows nothing at all! The fact is when it comes to the Divine, the more flabbergasted manly power is the more knowledge he shall acquire of it. And the Zenith of this knowledge is that he cannot be known.

Imam al-Sha’rani said, ‘‘kullama izdadat Hayrat al-Abdi izdada ilman billahi ta’ala li kauwn al-aqli ijzun an dhabti ma yudrikuhu’’

Ibn al-Arabi said in the chapter of secrets, ‘‘sometimes knowledge of something is to know it cannot be known. The Gnostic realises his purpose cannot be known (i.e. Divine reality). The purpose of knowledge is not to know something as it is, rather to know something means that t distinguishes from others and this verification that Allah cannot be known distinguishes him from others, thus the Gnostic’s purpose is fulfilled’’

A true Gnostic will lead man to the Divine presence. The seeker must stay with one shaykh and not seek others. Sayyidi Ali al-Khawas said, ‘the shaykhs have hindered their mureed from gathering with other shuyukh so that the pathway is made easier and the journey quicker for him. The Tareeq of each shaykh is like the finger which is connected to the palm. If someone travels some part of this finger and moves onto another finger and so forth, he will be preventing himself from sayr. If however, he travels the entire parts of a finger with one shaykh, he shall enter the presence of the palm quickly. If not so, he shall remain in the first part of all fingers i.e. all turuq during his entire life.’’

Mawlana Rumi said,

‘‘Chuwn garifti peer hain tasleem shauw
Ham chuw Musa zayrey hukmey Khizr rauw’’

‘‘Lo! When you hold your Shaykh then accept what he says
As did Musa under the instruction of Khidhr’’

[FO] The Qutb of the time is there and His representatives are there......they have all the secrets.

[MA] Secrets which can be known and are exposed to the creation…Yet the Hijab al-Azmah still remains in place (metaphorical place ‘majazi’).

These secrets reveal through the Sufi’s dhat. Mauwlana Rumi said,

‘‘Ilmey Haq dar ilmey Sufi gum shuwad
Een sukhan kaiy baawarey mardam shuwad
Ghufta’ey uw gufta’ey Allah buwad
Garcheh az hulquwmey Abdullah buwad’’

‘‘Allah’s knowledge is hidden inside the Sufi’s knowledge
Even though people may not take this positively
The Sufi’s speech is the speech of Allah
Even though it comes from the throat of Allah’s servant’’


Allah Most High is unknown and for Man to accept his incapability of knowing him through ‘Ma’rifa Dhatiyyah’ he created ‘Haqeeqah Muhammadiyah’ and ascended it above the earths, heavens and throne. The Divine is hidden yet so apparent that He manifested in His creation and centralized the origin of creation in the Muahammadan Light through which the Asma and Sifaat manifest in existence.

He chose to be unknown and inconceivable himself and chose for His beloved Muhammad to be a manifestation of that, so he made Muhammad’s reality unknown too. When the linguists and scholars of books searched for the origin of the word ‘Allah’ they were astonished by its vastness…all because it reflects some of the rays of the Divine Light which flabbergasts them when they approach His Divine Dhat and exalted Sifaat. As if, some rays of the Divine are centralised in this word and when intellects looked into it the rays dumfounded their eyes and minds so they fell into dispute; is it Suryani or Arabic, a noun or a siffah, a derived form or a proper Noun or other than that?

Same as for what happened with Allah’s Messenger, Sayydidi Rasulullah May Allah give him peace and blessings. When men looked at his station they were confused of what they should think of Him… so he uttered clearly saying, ‘I am a man like you’ yet he was the mediatory between creation and the Divine, the Link between the lowest and the greatest, the seed of essence itself and its fruit, the Prism through which light generated life so he added straight after ‘I am inspired with Divine Revelation’. Allah guided man whilst informing him Muhammad is ‘a Light from Allah’ in the absolute sense. Nevertheless, the Muhammadan reality still remains unknown to the Human intellect.

If ‘Haqeeqah Muhammadiyah’ is exposed to the intellect the doors to the Divine Reality would widely open. Therefore, both are unrevealed to the Tur of Human knowledge.

Wallahu A’lam wa ilmuhu atamm.
Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi