Saturday, September 24, 2005

Gems in Divine Subtleties

Some gems I collected from various vereses of the Noble Qur'an based on several Tasawwuf texts. This is a taste of what is going to come, bi-Idhnillah.
1. ‘‘And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that are signs indeed for those who reflect’’[1]

[Ar: wa sakhara lakum ma fi al-samawaati wa ma fi al-ardhi jamee’am-minhu inna fee dhalika la-aayaatin-li qauwmiy-yatafakkaruwn]

Oh Man! You are the medium between the higher and lower worlds. Allah Most High has placed in you a soul from the highest realm, namely, the Ruh al-Insani illustrated in the verse ‘‘and I blew in him my soul’’ [wa nafakhtu feehi min ruhi][2] and created your body from the lowest world. The Divine purpose in this is that you realise your true station, that is, you embody the angelic realm and manifest all creation. In you is the reflection of creation thus you are the epitome of being. Your body belongs to the Universe as a part, yet the universe is not but a part of your inner self.

In the earlier scriptures Almighty Allah revealed: ‘‘Oh son of Adam! I created everything for you, and created you for myself. Do not occupy yourself with that which is for you over that which you were created for.’’

Oh Man! In you are qualities of all creation. You manifest the angelic qualities through intellect, worship, and recognition [ma’rifa]. You embody satanic attributes through disobedience, malice and rebelliousness as well as having beastly nature in the inner-self. Thus, You are like the lion in anger, the swine in lust, the dog in greed, and similar to the fox in cunning. You have the qualities of flora since your youth is fresh and colourful, and old age is dull and dry. You epitomise the heavens that are the centre of Divine secrets, illuminations and angels, and the earth that cultivates behaviour and embosses human nature- either easygoing in your disposition or harsh. You manifest the Heavenly Tablet [lauwh] that is the treasure of all knowledge, and the Throne [arsh] whose heart is the centre of theophany [tajalliy]. Heaven and hell are both in you; if your character is virtuous you will benefit your companion and if your character is blameworthy you will set him on fire.

Your essence is the microcosm [al-`alam al-sageer] of the macrocosm [al-`alam al-kabeer]. In you are summed the secrets of all worlds. If you keep your eyes fixed to the outside world, you will become ‘‘the lowest of the low’’ [asfala saafileen][3] so keep your vision towards the creator so you stay connected with the highest of all high.

You must step beyond the confines of your exO and walk into the boundlessness of the esO to recognize who you really are. You will remain with the worlds whence heedless of Allah, and when you enter the Divine presence [Hadrah Qudsiyah], the worlds will be with you. ‘‘Do they not ponder in themselves? Not but in truth and for a term appointed, did Allah create the heavens and the earth’’[4] Do not be heedless of the subtle arrangement in this verse involving You, the heavens and the earths.

2. Ayah: [Fakhla’ Na’layk fa innaka bi al-waad I al-Muqaddasi al-Tuwa]

Oh Seeker! When entering the presence of your Lord, you must remove the shoes of this world and what is in it, for surely, you are entering the Divine Presence [Hadrah Qudsiyyah] that is greater than the district of Tuwa. When stepping towards this door take off the shoes of ostentation, arrogance and worldly longings, for whosoever comes to this door bare footed is given permission to enter.

The following verses conveys a similar meaning:

3. Ayah: [La taqrabuw al-salata wa antum sukara]

‘‘Do note enter prayer [Salah], whilst in state of intoxication.’’

Prayer is the intermediary between man and his Lord and this relationship requires purity and sincerity.

Oh seeker! When you attempt to enter prayer- a humble call and state of exhibiting your absolute servitude to him- do not forget that you are connecting yourself to the higher realm and it’s time to wake up and be conscious. You must not try to connect whilst in the intoxication of worldly thoughts, longings of the lower-self and satanic influences. Therein, Allah Almighty will not look at your physical appearance and neither your body, rather, Allah will look at your heart and what is in it.[5]

This is the only avenue to reach the true Islamic psyche of prayer described as that which ''prevents one from fahsha, munkar and bagy.’’[6]

4. Ayah: [Huwa al-ladhi arsala rasulahu bi al-Huda wa deen al-haqq]

Oh Seeker! Always remember that the pathway to the Divine one [Haq] is the final Prophet, our Master Muhammad, boundless peace and blessings shower upon him. He alone remains the entry to Allah and brings to us a clear direction. His actions, sayings and tacit approvals are his traditions [sunnan] as well as his inner states [ahwal] all of which reflect his proximity with the Divine presence.

In a hadith, Allah’ s Noble Messenger, our Master Muhammad, boundless peace and blessings shower upon him, said to the companions: ‘‘do not stand for congregational prayer until you do not see me’’ [La taquwmuw hatta tarawnu].

In the apparent, what this meant is that the point of standing for the congregational prayer in the second call [Iqamat] is when the companions saw the Prophet walk into the mosque. Yet this wording implies another meaning for the men of vision. What Allah’s Messenger also indicated was that the Divine Presence is only entered through Him since he remains the only means for this. Our Master Muhammad, May Allah shower peace and blessings upon him, remains the only step between the higher and lower worlds. All connections until the last day between the two realms are through Him.

The Divine One cannot be grasped by our senses or our intellect. Glorified be He who is beyond our confined means. The only solution of removing the veil from our eyes to enter the vision of Divine existence is Prophet Muhammad, (boundless peace and blessings shower upon him). Without him, the ambiguities of ‘Huwa’ and ‘al-ladhi’[7] remain obscure in the Divine words. ‘Arsala Rasulahu’, alone, is the opening to their elucidation and meaning. Hence, proximity with the Divine Huw can only be achieved by means of the Noble Prophet,boundless peace and blessings shower upon him.

5. ‘‘That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for it, in order that we may test them as to which of them are best in conduct’’[8]

[Ar: Inna Ja’alna maa ala al-ardhi zeenatan-laha li-nabluwahum ayyuhum ahsanu amala]

Dear Seeker! Do not be fooled by the colours of this temporary world. They are not but there to distract you from your ultimate goal, that is, to find Allah in your heart. [wa ma khalaqtu al-Jinna wa al-insa illa li-ya’budwun]. Your conduct reflects your inner state. Your embodiment of pure traits reveals your inner state of Allah-consciousness and ugly mannerisms manifest your inner corruption. The more you spend your time with Allah, the more is your heart beautified with chasteness, heavenly light and centralised for spiritual opening, hence more pure becomes your conduct. The quality of a well is judged by its water.

If you seek Allah, keep your eyes up towards the highest realm. As soon as you turn away from it, you will drown in the gleaming display of the world. Remember that ‘‘this present life is nothing but temporary enjoyment’’[9] so fasten yourself to the eternal and everlasting delight. Do not become those who ‘‘know but the outer things in this life’’[10] and are heedless of the treasures in themselves. Surely, ‘‘the luggage of this world is not but very little’’. [11] ‘‘Know you all, that the life of this world is but a play and past time, adornment and mutual boasting and multiplying in competition among yourselves, among riches and children…And what is the life of this world, but Goods and possessions of deception?’’ [12]

In comparison, the world is your shadow and knowledge of Allah, religion and good character-all of which are centrally connected with one another- as a whole are like the sun. As long as you face in direction of the sun, your shadow will always follow after you. Likewise, when you are focused in direction of knowing Allah, He will suffice all of your worldly needs by placing the world at your feet. On the contrary, you are at liberty to back the sun and find yourself chasing your shadow for the rest of your life. It is up to you what direction you take.

This meaning is also conveyed in the following verse, ‘‘we created you in order to test you as to which of you are best in conduct’’.

The verses suggest that Man is at liberty to do what he wills.

6. ‘‘He (Satan) said: Because you have thrown me out of the way, Lo! I will wait for them (believers) on the straight path. Then I will assault them before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor will you find, in most of them gratitude’’. [13]

Oh seeker! Be assured that the Satan is never heedless of you. He will put you in doubt about the hereafter before you, drag you towards the world from behind, confuse you in the matters of your religion from the right and beautify sins for you from the left. [14] Therefore, do not neglect your Lord whose power has control over you.

Dhunun al-Misri said: ‘‘if he sees you whence you cannot see him, lo! Allah sees him whence he cannot see Allah. So seek help with Allah.’’

Man is put to test by four things, Satan, the world, lower self, and lust. As long as you keep them as your enemies, they will have no way over you since Allah has promised you his security, ‘‘As for my servants, no authority shall you (satan) have over them. Enough is your lord for a disposer of affairs’’. [15]

Allah Most High says, ‘‘O men! The promise of Allah is true, let not then this present life neither deceive you nor let the chief deceiver deceive you about Allah. Verily, Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his supporters, that they may become companions of the blazing fire’’[16]

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi
Incomplete work. Posted by request.

Note: I have based much of this work on the peerless Aphorisms of Ibn Ata’illah and its commentaries by al-Shurnubi, Ibn Ajibah and al-Sharqawi, May Allah reward them all.
[1] Al-Jathiyah: 13
[2] Qur’an.
[3] Qur’an
[4] Al-Rum: 8
[5] Hadith: surely Allah does not look at your physical appearances and your bodies, but he looks at your hearts. (Sahih Muslim)
[6] Qur’an
[7] Huwa: ‘He’, al-ladhi: ‘who’. Referring to the verse. Both words are ambiguous in their import.
[8] Al-Kahf: 7
[9] Gafir: 39
[10] Al-Rum: 7
[11] Qur’an.
[12] Al-Hadeed: 20
[13] Al-A’raf: 17
[14] Commentary of Ibn Abbas
[15] Al-Isra:65
[16] Fatir: 6