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]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


If the greatest war is the war over oneself, the greatest enemy is anger. There are people who live in eternal fear of their anger.

Anger is a drop of ink in a glass of milk. Once we become angry, there is no turning back. Once the ink gets into the milk, the milk is lost forever.

In an instant, a decade of good work can be wiped out by anger. Anger doesn't go away when we give in to it. It feeds and results in even more anger. Hence, the cycle never ends.

However, anger also has its uses. Scriptually, God gets angry too but only as a manifestation of his love. Anger as a manifestation of love is detached. Anger to one who is attached, is like a sword or a gun and if someone loses control, it is a weapon that can kill or destroy.

Anger is never an effective way to resolve conflict. Ultimately, it diminishes us all. Anger harms us as much as it harms others.

It destroys lives, relationships, families and communities. It can unravel the fabric of society and destroy nations in its path.

In detachment, anger, at best, is a tool and many great men have used it in order to create an impact. By practice we can become detached and this allows us, in turn, to redirect our anger without to become what it should be, a passion. A passion that drives us to achieve. The more we're willing to let go of our attachments, the more powerful we become.

However, it is the malicious anger within that is at the heart of vengeance, hatred and jealousy. It, invariably, destroys.

In short, if detached, anger is a tool. If attached, we become its tool. We can keep a sword or a gun but never have to use it; so should it be with anger.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Oldest Scripture

The body is the oldest scripture written by the hand of God Himself.

We did not choose to have two hands or one mouth or two eyes. Our parents did not have any say on the design of our body. But if we are to look at our body, everything comes in pairs; our eyes, nostrils, ears, our left and right brain, left and right hands and legs, left and right ventricle of the heart and so on. But right smack in the middle of our face is one organ that is singularly alone: the mouth, our tongue. From there, one can divine a particular message.

One should see twice as much as one speaks. One should think and hear twice as much as one speaks. One should work twice as much as one speaks. One should breathe twice as much as one speaks.

Yet we are all slaves of the tongue. It never rests. We hardly think before we talk. We talk even in our sleep.

There are 2 major barriers to hearing your inner self; the noise that you produce and the noise of the outside world. When you are too busy listening to yourself talk, you don't listen to others. There is too much noise outside and there is too much noise within.

The tongue, arguably, the single, is the most overworked organ in the entire body. First, we need to shut it down.

Then, we shut down the noise of the world, tracking down every single sound and telling ourselves that we do not hear it. If the word is more powerful than the sword, then every word that we speak must be of value.

Ultimately, when it flows, talk is cheap. But if we restrict it to a drip, then every drop will resound and every word reverberate.

"Silence of the heart, not only of the mouth - that too is necessary. Then you
can hear God everywhere: in the closing of the door, in the person who needs
you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, the animals - that silence
which is
wonder and praise."
- Mother Teresa

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Self Mastery

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream and put it in her bag. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry. The wise woman opened her bag to share her food.

The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman for it. She gave it to him without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."

This means that our vision will become clear only when we can look inside our heart. The one who looks outside, dreams; while the one who looks inside, awakens.

Our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w) has said:

"The greatest jihad or the greatest war is the war over oneself."

Therefore, the man who desires to rule, must begin by ruling himself and only those who master themselves can be masters of their fate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Rhythm of Silence

What would happen if the earth paused for a fraction of a second in its rotation?

There would be chaos and it would be a catastrophe of planetary proportions.

There is a continuity, a rhythm in all things, that is imprinted within us down to our cellular structure.

Our cells move with us as we move with the earth, as the earth moves with the sun, as the sun moves with the solar system, as the solar system moves with the universe.

In all things, there is a pattern, a rhythm.

But there would be a state of chaos and insanity prevalent around us if we moved against the flow of the universe.

Silence brings us back to the rhythm that is as old as the universe and with the universal source of strength that throbs through every living being.

A new born baby starts bawling because it is cocooned in complete silence until the moment it is born.

From the time we were born, there is a continuous din that hits and assails our senses. It never ceases even when we are asleep. It is a din that cocoons us so much so that we stop hearing. And even as we stop, we can still hear the din but not the silence.

Mankind has been adept at creating pleasure and satisfaction for the senses because they are superficially created, they are neither permanent or real. We feast our senses on a continuous array of new toys, new scenes, and new pleasures but there is rarely a true, peaceful moment.

Hence, one of the most valuable things we seek to find is tranquility and ultimately, silence.

Therefore, the ideal man is he, who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the most intense activity and in the midst of the most intense activity, finds the silence and solitude of a desert.