Saturday, August 28, 2010

Manners of Walking

God has said: “The servants of God the Merciful, are those who walk on the earth meekly.” [25:64]

The spiritual seeker should know whether the steps he takes are for God or against Him. If it is for God, he should persevere in it. If it is not, he should beg Him for pardon.

God has said: “And their feet will bear witness to what they committed.” [36:65]

A dervish should therefore, be in th state of meditation when he walks, and should refrain from looking around. When he comes across someone, he should not move away to save his dress since all human beings are brethen. Moreover, it breeds conceit. However, if someone is manifestly filthy he should be avoided without letting him know about it.

If the dervish is walking in a group of people, he should not try to go in front of them since it is a sign of pride; nor should he lag too far behind in humility because it is also ostentation which amounts to pride.

He should also save his shoes and feet from filth on the way, so that God saves his inside from contamination. While walking, he should neither go too fast to look covetous, nor too slow to resemble the arrogant. And every step he takes should be of full length, for taking short steps is a sign of fickle-mindedness.

In essence, the walking of the lover of God shoul always be for God’s sake, so that if anyone says “Where are you going?” He should reply in the words of the Qur’an, “Verily I am going to my Lord who will guide me rightly.”

Otherwise his walking is nuisance, because steps in the right direction are the result of right thoughts. If his mind is concentrated in God his feet will fall in the right direction.

It must be remembered that there is no need to traverse physical distance to reach God. The journey to God is spiritual and can be completed by sitting in meditation.

God says in the Holy Qur’an: “We are nearer unto him than his jugular vein.” [50:16]

This means that the journey to God is not of physical nature. It is a spiritual nature.

When we talk about Divine Nearness, it means nearness of the human soul to Divine Being or Divine Essence. It is a kind of subtle union which cannot be explained by human language.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Surrender to The Divine Agenda

Confucius said, "When you are fifty years old, you should know your destiny." Fifty years old is figurative; you can be five, thirty or sixty years old. Or you can be eighty years old and clueless about your destiny.

Confucius is really communicating the concept that, if you have lived long enough, you should have made enough mistakes and accumulated enough sense to surrender to the will of Heaven. Only then, will you be able to see your destiny as Heaven intends it.

But exactly how can we know our destiny? We cannot just eat rice for fifty years and earn the merit of knowing our destiny.

Two agendas are prevalent in your life: Heaven's and yours. Often these two will clash with each other. When what we want our lives to be is different from our intended destiny, the universal will create roadblocks. Although we may fight with all of our might in an attempt to turn the outcome to our desires, the universal will always prevails. Out of desperation, we are forced to give up or give in.

Giving in to the will of Heaven does not mean doing nothing and just accepting life as you find it. It means using your given ability, talent and strength to do all you can to bring out a better life for yourself and others. You accept divine guidance instead of insisting on your preset notions about how things ought to be. You accept the validity of the way things are and apply your strength, possible thinking, discrimination and wisdom.

Conversely, surrendering to defeat requires nothing more than despair, hopelessness, devastation, becoming overwhelmed by life, and finally, tossing in the towel.

True surrender comes by knowing the grand design beyond the superficial, mundane level and thus opening up to and accepting divine guidance, allowing it to affect your life in an astoundingly positive way.

Surrendering to the Divine Will is not an easy task. Most of us go through life fighting furiously for what we think is the best for us. Yet, through kindness, our Maker drags us along despite our objections.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wisdom in Irritation

Agitation and irritation are good states. They are signs that we have taken the essential step on the journey to discovering the Truth.

Even if you think you have no desire to be spiritual, you ARE a spiritual entity, whether you like it or not. We cannot help, at some stage of our lives, seeking a reality beyond our mundane existence.

In most cases this happens when our lives start to whirl out of control. Things are not going well for us on all fronts - at work or at home. Stress and irritation are constant elements in our lives. As we feel disheartened by harsh reality, we look within to the Almighty for help. Whenever things are not going well, we suddenly become very spiritual.

For most of us, at some time of our lives, we will begin this inner journey. Few are self-motivated through the pure love of mankind and the Divine. We often need a helping hand to push us into embarking on this journey. This helping hand is provided without our permission in the form of the agitation and irritation we feel in our lives.

This agitation and irritation are positive signals functioning similar to pain, which warns us as a way of protecting our physical body from harm. It is a signal to tell us it is time to adjust our lives.

Soon, we will come to realize that the irritation and overwhelming stress were merely the first steps toward turning to effortless achieving - the power that inevitably enhances one's ability to function more fully as a progeny of the Divine on earth.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Life Has Kept Its Bargain

Life's challenges are never meant to devastate us. In fact, the challenges are placed before us for our enjoyment and to remind us that life has kept its side of the bargain to keep the game fun and entertaining.

Imagine if we were misinformed about the rules of football and we thought we were supposed to walk leisurely across the field with the ball while everyone else on the opposite team was supposed to keep a respectable distance from us. Suddenly, when people came from all directions, attacking us and stealing our ball, we would be horrified and furious.

Because we know the rules of football, we do not mind the attack. In fact, if the opposition force were not there, we would be dissapointed that we didn't get to show off our skills at the game. Life, too, gives us the opportunity to show off - by sending adversity our way.

For no other reason than the inborn desire to play, human beings participate in sports. The games may be artificial, but the struggle on the field or court is real. In the pursuit of fun, players are sometimes injured or even killed. However, the best players never lose sight of the reality that it is just a game, after all, and that they have chosen to play in it.

By the same token, we volunteer to play the game of being human in order to enjoy ourselves. However, the struggle becomes unbearable when we get caught up in the game, forget who and what we really are, and fall out of touch with our Divine nature.

Forgetting it is just a game; we wander about this earth convinced that we are the victims of creation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Rainmaker

There was a village that had been experiencing a drought for 5 consecutive years. Many famous Rainmakers had been called, but they all failed to make rain. In the villagers' last attempt, they called upon a renowned Rainmaker from afar.

When he arrived in the village, he set up his tent and dissapeared inside it for 4 days. On the 5th day, the rain started to fall and quenched the thirst of the parched earth. The people in the village asked the Rainmaker how he had accomplished such a miracle.

The Rainmaker replied, "I have done nothing."

Astounded at his explanation, the villagers said, "How can that be? After you came, 4 days later the rain started."

The Rainmaker explained, "When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was that everything in your village was out of harmony with heaven. So I spent 4 days putting myself into harmony with the Divine. Then the rain came."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Enemy Within : The Ego

Anger is ego-driven.

Our ego is so much a part of us because we have put so much energy in building it up just the way we build a house or polish a car.

We generally seek refuge in arrogance, fueled by ego, thinking it to be a strength. In reality, it is a weakness that covers an innate sense of inferiority. This, in turn, leads us to self-destruct.

EGO stands for Edging God Out.

Ultimately, we are in the midst of an epic-like war, with the ego as our nemesis. Everyday brings a new battle. And the battlefield is within.

Recognising this, the best of us fight it, so that the best in us can thrive. The worst of us allow the worst in us to be driven by it.

One has to be spiritually and mentally balanced in an Egoless state. This allows us to see order in chaos and chaos in order.

In fact, it is the balance within that permits us to see the balance in all things.

Hence, chaos without is a matter of perception, while chaos within is the conception of the ego.

A truly humble man cannot get angry. Reflect modesty like the tree that bends down low with the burden of ripening fruits. It is the barren tree that lifts itself high in an empty boast.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Uwais Qarni

Hadhrat Uwais Qarni, the Sun of the ummah and Candle of Islam, is one of the greatest Sufi shaikhs among the followers of the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him. But he could not see the Prophet (s.a.w), partly because he was overwhelmed by hal (ecstatic rapture), and partly because of full devotion to his mother's service.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, told his companions that there was a man in Qarn by the name of Uwais, "who will intercede for as many men of my ummah on the Day of Judgement, as there are goats in Rabia and Mudhir tribes," (who were famous for huge flocks of goats). He also bade Hadhrat Umar and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, to go and see Uwais who had the following signs: medium height, long hair and a white spot the size of a dirham on his left side, not caused by leprosy, and a white spot on his palm.

The Prophet (s.a.w) said, "When you meet him, convey my salaams to him and ask him to pray for my ummah."

After the Prophet (s.a.w) had passed away, Hadhrat Umar and Ali happened to be in Makkah. During his congregational address Hdhrat Umar turned to the people from Najd and asked, "Is there any man from Qarn among you?"

When they replied in affirmative, he enquired if there lived a person by the name of Uwais there. They said, "Yes he is crazy, lives alone and does not mix with people. He does not eat what people generally eat, and is not affected by happiness or sorrow. When people laugh he weeps, and when they weep he laughs."

Hadhrat Umar said, "I want to meet him."

They took Hadhrat Umar and Ali to the place where he lived, and found him saying his prayers (salat). When he finished his prayer, he wished them salaam and showed them the marks of recognition which the Prophet (s.a.w) had indicated. Hadhrat Umar and Ali delivered the Prophet's message to him and asked for doa' (prayer) for the ummah.

They remained there for some time. Uwais said, "I am sorry you had to travel all the way to see me. You should better go back now, for the Day of Dooms is near and we will meet again there without fear of parting; for now I am busy preparing for that day."

After Hadhrat Umar and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, had left, Uwais's honour and esteem went up among his people; as a result of which he fled to Kufah and was no more seen by anybody except Harm bin Hayan and that only once. He reappeared during the battle of Siffin (between Hadhrat Ali and Hadhrat Muawiyah, may Allah be pleased with them).

He fought on the side of Hadhrat Ali and fell a martyr. He lived as a hameed (virtuous) and died a shaheed (martyr). He is reported to have said, "Safety lies in solitude". For the heart which is alone is attached with God and detached from all else. But do not go away with the idea that solitude means living alone. Since even in solitude, Satan is your companion and your nafs (lower self) is your overlord.

Real solitude lies in the love of God. He who loves God, is not disturbed by anything. But he who loves the world, has nothing to do with God. Real solitude is characteristic of the pious soul who finds peace in the verse "Alaisa Allah-u-Kaffin abdahu" (Is God not enough for the abd [true slave]?) [39:36]