Friday, November 25, 2011

Love is pouring tea of make believe
Love is stirring my cup of storm,
Pouring tea of make believe -
That love can change my everything,
That love will lure you back to me.

Love is stirring my cup of storm,
Serving tea of make believe -
That right and good shall always prevail,
Through tempest snow, through rain and hail.

Love is stirring my cup of storm,
Making tea of make believe -
That Love is watching over us
Since the day we breathe our first.

Love is stirring my cup of storm,
Pouring tea of make believe -
That Love made reign His kingdom be
If only mankind would still believe.

Another night that I am unable to sleep, sunshine. This time, Love is stirring my cup of storm, and perhaps by recording this little prose, Love shall calm the waters of my soul, and gently rest my soul to sleep. How can I say this, without appearing impolite or ungrateful - Please, Love.... I need my sleep!

wa min Allah at-taufiq.
Would you that spangle of Existence spend
About THE SECRET-quick about it, Friend!
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True-
And upon what, prithee, may life depend?

A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
Yes; and a single Alif were the clue-
Could you but find it-to the Treasure-house,
And peradventure to THE MASTER too;

Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins
Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; and
They change and perish all-but HE remains;

~ Omar Khayyam
When the young traveler got off the boat, they saw that he looked wise, devout and humble that there was only one place at which he could possibly stay.

They deposited his luggage at the monastery. There the youth was made welcome by the pious community.

One day the head of the community said to the youth:
‘Would you please sweep the rubbish away from the mosque?’
That was the last they saw of him. All were puzzled, but decided that he had no aptitude for work.

But next day, one of the servants of the community happened to catch sight of the youth, and stopped him.
‘It was foolish of you to go off like that,’ he remarked. ‘Don’t you know that it is only by service that you climb the ladder?’

At this the youth wept.

‘Oh my friend,’ he cried, ‘what could I do? I looked around and the place was spotless. I therefore concluded that the head of the community was referring to me! I removed myself so that the place should remain pure and spotless.’

The "Soul - Bird"

Equating the human soul with a bird is found in myth and mystical literature all over the world. From Hallaj to Sanai and Rumi, Persian mystical poetry has used the symbol of Bird, beautifully. The human soul, like a bird can choose to remain caged in this perishable world or fly towards Liberation. Ibn Sinna (Avicenna) used this motif and Ghazali wrote the Risalat at-tayr, “Treatise on the Birds”. The nightingale of Sufi poetry, yearning for the rose, singing night and day of its unfulfilled longing and union, suffering without complain the sting of its thorns - is the soul longing for eternal beauty. It is this longing that inspires the soul bird to sing. Longing is the most creative state that the soul can reach.

Rumi often spoke of the soul as a white falcon, exiled amidst the black crows, or a nightingale in the company of ravens. Rumi’s pun on the word falcon or baz, which in Persian also means “to come back”, refers to the baz’s desire to come back to its Lord and Master.

However the symbol of the soul bird’s jouney to is final abode is ingenuously developed by Attar - the master story teller of Iran, in his epic poem, Mantiq u-tayr, “The Birds’ Conversation”, also known as “The Conference of the Birds”. Fariduddin “Attar” (= seller of essence and scents), a druggist by profession, is considered by many as the greatest of the Mathnavi writers of Persian mystical poetry after Rumi. He was born in Nishapur (north-eastern Iran) and died there most likely in 1221 C.E. The idea of traveling and ascension towards the spiritual home, so dear to the mystics of Islam, found its most poetic expression in Attar’s poetry. The Mantiq u-tayr was modeled on the, Risalat ut-Tayr, Treatise on the Birds composed half a century earlier by another Sufi master, Ahmad Ghazali (d. 1126 CE).

“The Conference of the Birds” revolves around the decision of the birds of the world to embark on a journey to seek out their king, the Simurgh - their debilitating doubts and fears, and the knowing counsel of their leader Hoopoe. Each bird falters in turn, whereupon their leader urges them on with parables and exemplary stories, including numerous references to some of the early Muslim mystics such as Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya, Abu Sa’id ibn Abi’l-Khair, Mansur al-Hallaj and Shibli. The different birds represent the different personality types among humans as well as the complex characteristics that make up the human individual.

In these 4500 couplets, Attar speaks to all of us - to our inner being. We are all born with wings, but few of us discover them in our lifetime. Wings to fly back to our home - the abode of the mystical Simurgh - the Lord of all Birds, who lives on the world encircling mountain of Kaf. This journey ultimately is the soul’s progression towards inner perfection.

The different stages along this spiritual journey, which may take a different sequence in different individuals, are symbolized by Attar as seven valleys. Perhaps the series of valleys are used to denote that this journey is not that of a single ascension. It occurs in stages, and once you crossed one valley, you find yourself at the bottom of another. Valleys can be both enchanting and entrapping and the wayfarer may be tempted to linger on or get trapped in one of them. These seven valleys may be interpreted as follows:

The valley of Longing and Searching: The longing and searching of all creatures, who unknown to themselves, long for their original home. It is the strange yearning that overcomes some of us when we listen to beautiful music or behold Natures’ beauty - its mountains and valleys, oceans and springs…… It is this longing that drives us from one desire to another. Not knowing what it is that will quench our thirst once and for all

the valley of Love: The all consuming Love which purifies and the lover is regenerated and altered by it to such an extent that his very being undergoes a change - his every fiber purified, raised to a higher state, resonating to a higher tune. True loving surrender, irrespective of religious tradition, reputation, name or fame, like the Love of Majnu for Laila.

The valley of intuitive Knowledge: Also known as the wisdom of the heart, marifa or gnosis, this is direct revelation of the truth as apposed to ‘ilm‘ or discursive knowledge.This revelation leads to detachment from all things perishable (valley of Detachment) and the realization of the unity of all existence (valley of Unity) - of both the phenomenal and the causative world. All opposites melt, everything is renounced and everything is unified. All forms merge into one singular Essence.

According to Jami, ‘ Unification consist in unifying the heart, that is, purifying it and denuding it of all attachment to all things other then “The Truth”, including not only desire and will but also knowledge and intelligence’. These valley or state leads to the valley of Bewilderment, this is the long dark night of the soul - a state of perpetual sadness, and consuming desire - the agony of being in Love but not knowing with whom.

Finally in the valley of Poverty and Annihilation ,

the thirsty birds who undertook the painful journey in the search of Simurgh realize that they themselves - si murgh (= thirty birds in Persian) are the Simurgh. The story thus ends with one of the most inventive puns in Persian mystical poetry. This is the ultimate sought after state of fana - the nullification of the mystic in the divine presence when the seeker finds his way into the ocean of his own soul, all longing ends. However, this is not the end. When the soul has finished its journey to God, the journey in God begins - the state that the Sufis call baqa i.e. the absorption and abiding life in God. Here the soul traverses ever new depths of the fathomless, divine being - which no tongue can describe. Referring to this state Ghazali says ‘When I saw the rays of that sun, I was swept out of existence. Water flowed back to water’. The water drop finally falls back into the ocean, and the mortal form of the moth is reduced to smoke and ash in his Beloved flame’s embrace. It is the the moksha of the soul-bird which has finally returned Home.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“For a man would not hesitate to spend everything he had - if he only knew the secret of his own heart. If a man could grasp the bliss of his secret he would shed a tear with every breath he breathed.”
(Shaykh lbn al–Habib – The Greater Song,’)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

‎"Let not your tongue mention the shame of another, For you yourself are covered in shame and all men have tongues. If your eye falls upon the sins of your brother, Shield them and say: 'O my eye! All men have eyes!'"

(Imam Shaafi'i rahimullah)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I want union with Him and He wants separation;
thus I leave what I want so that His wish comes true.

- Al-Ghazzâlî1
When al-Hallâj was in prison, he was asked:

“What is love?”

He answered:

“You will see it today and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.”

And that day they cut off his hands and feet, and the next day they put him on the gallows, and the third day they gave his ashes to the wind….

What al-Hallâj experienced publicly on the gallows of Baghdad, each lover comes to experience silently within her own heart and psyche, for

“Nothing is possible in love without death.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"You are not aware of the consequences that would result (if you were granted what you desire) because what you seek might be to your detriment. (O soul) be conscious that your Master is more aware about your well-being than you are."

-Ibn Al-Jawzi

If you have the capacity to practice five things, you will never have to worry about being amongst the sinners again!

A man came to Ibrahim Ibn Adham (Rahimahullah), who was one of the scholars whose words were profound cures for the heart, and said:

“I have repeatedly transgressed against myself by commiting sin; give me something that will inhibit me from continuing like this?

So Ibrahim said: “If you have the capacity to practice five things, you will never have to worry about being amongst the sinners again.” The man was athirst for this admonition so he said: “Ibrahim give me these five things!” So he said:

“Firstly: If you want to disobey Allah*, then don’t eat anything from the provisions He facilitated for mankind!” The man was amazed at this comment and asked: “How can you say this Ibrahim while all of the provisions are from Allah?!” So he said: “Well if you know this, then how do you have the audacity to eat from His provision while you are disobedient to Him?!!” So the man said: “No, you’re right, we shouldn’t have! Give me the second one!”

So Ibrahim said: “Secondly: If you want to disobey Allah, then don’t live in His earth!” the man was amazed at this comment, more so than he was the first comment, so he said: “How can you say that Ibrahim when all of the earth belongs to Allah?!” So Ibrahim said: “If you know this, then how do you have the audacity to live in His earth while you are disobedient to Him?! The man said: “No, you’re right, we shouldn’t have! Give me the third one!”

So Ibrahim said: “Thirdly: If you want to disobey Allah, then choose a place to disobey Him, where He can’t see you!” The man said: “How can you say this Ibrahim, when Allah knows the secrets of the heart and what is hidden! He hears the crawling of an ant on a smooth boulder in the depths of the darkness of the night!” So Ibrahim said: “Well if you know this, then how can you have the audacity to disobey Him?!” He said “No, you’re right, we shouldn’t have! Give me the fourth one!”

So Ibrahim said: “Fourthly: If the angel of death comes to take your soul, say to him: “wait on taking my soul until a later time!” So the man said: “How can you say this Ibrahim when Allah says:

“When their appointed time comes it will not be delayed nor will it be hastened before its time” (Surah Al A’raf 7:24)

So Ibrahim said: “Well if you know this, then how can you expect to be successful at the time of your death when you are disobeying Allah?!” The man said: “Yes, you’re right, give me the fifth one!” So Ibrahim said: “Fifthly: When the Zabaaniyah i.e. the angels who guard the Hell Fire, come to escort you to the Hell Fire, then don’t go with them!” The man couldn’t handle the fifth one and started crying while he was saying: “Enough Ibrahim! Enough! I seek Allah’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance!” He remained steadfast on obedience to Allah until his demise.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Maa’im be raah-e ‘eshq puyaan hame ‘omr
Vasl-e to be jedd o jahd juyaan hame ‘omr
Yek cheshm zadan khayaal-e to pish nazar
Behtar ke jamaal-e khubruyaan hame ‘omr

We have run on the path of love all our life,
We have searched with great force for union with You all our life.
To catch one glimpse of You is better for our sight
Than the beauty of earthly beauties all our life.

- Jami
“When you are walking in the street, do not keep turning to your right and left, but keep your eyes on the floor.” - Imām Abū Hanīfah (r)
To desire a thing is to desire the need for that thing.