With those who know secret things

L.I.F.E Intensive course. Summer 2016 Chicago

“It is befitting if an individual spends half of his life searching for insane kamil (one of the special friends (awliya) of God)”

What is it that one  feels when meeting for the first time, the person that in your eyes, is the closest manifestation of an Awliya?

I have asked myself this question several times, and I often find it difficult to come up with words that might give justice to the sweetness one might feel when finally meeting a person that mirrors the essence more than the multiplicity. When I think about this question, I often end up picturing Allameh’s first meeting with Seyyed Qadhi. I wonder what pleasure must have overtaken Allameh the when he finally laid his eyes upon the physical manifestation of his suluk to come.

Everyone’s spiritual journey is unique, and from this perspective, an awliyah can perhaps be defined in terms relative to one’s station of Marifat. From this standpoint, a person whom one will consider to be an awliya (as a generic term) would be one whose behaviour best mimics the demeanour of the prophet in light with the Sunnah and the Quran with regards to his or her’s own knowledge and spiritual awareness. In order words, when you meet someone whose etiquettes and morals almost instantly reminds you of Allah and who is willing to share with you, some of his or hers knowledge of the path, you have met the bridge that might help you go through the various layers of multiplicity.

‘I have met eyes that knew about tawhid much more than I have ever known. I have met smiles that revealed secrets. Meeting him was the sweetest thing that happened to me. Our encounter reminded me of Rilke’s verse*, and for the first time, it was more about being with those who know secrets than being alone. Alhmadullillah.’

*I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.

 

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L.I.F.E and The journey ahead

Montréal Airport, July 2016

Hours before embarking on a journey of knowledge to be aquired, friendships to be made, and moments to be remembered, we often find ourself thinking about the new person we will become after having familiarized ourselves with the new realities we’ve been exposed to

Often while embarking on a journey, whether to aquire formal education, on a business trip, or for leisure purposes, we tend to set standards and goals for ourselves in order to then judge the success of our journey based on them. While these goals can be quantified rather objectively and /or quantitatively for most trips involving a material purpose, the task becomes more difficult when one tries to assess the impact a spiritual trip can have on one’s soul and behaviour. After all, how does one set finite and achieavable goals that can be both realistic and challenging when dealing with the infinity of one’s spirit?

One might say that knowledge holds the key. Any journey involving the study of Islam should primarly be based on knowledge (from a theoretical standpoint), and what one remembers after the journey defines how succesful this individual has been on the path towards light. The more one remembers Ahadith mentionned by scholars, verses cited by and explained, or  lessons from our Ulamas, the more one can be sure that his or her trip has been beneficial.

Others might say that the key is to spark the intelect, to enable our mind to think crticially and assess our realities. That beyond theoretial knowledge that is just delivered, what matters the most is to instigate in one’s mind the capacity to create content, to awaken one’s cognition.

But what if the ultimate goal, the so called destination, although bearing an intellectual component was actually measured in terms of actions and behaviour? What if the proximity of a person in relation to the light he or she seeks could be assessed in measures of ethical enlightenment?

Often in Islamic traditions and cultutre, the question of whether a spiritual journey has been ‘accepted’ (or not) by Allah is tied to the concept of change. I have personally heard countless times how one can judge whether one’s Hajj (pilgrimage) has been accepted or not by judging his or her’s behaviour. If the trip was able to revive in an individual, a desire to constantly watch over his or her action (Muraqabah) such that people surrounding him or her notice a positive change in his or her’s akhlaq and demeanour, than that person can consider that his or her Hajj has been accepted.

From this perspective, the goal that I have set for myself on this journey besides learning, is to let the knowledge aquired to change me in a way that reflects the certainty of the passing time.

To become a living manifestation of Surah Al Asr to the best of one’s ability.

That is perhaps what defines the path of light.

 

Teach Me Patience, Mother

There are personalities whose lives never cease to give. They are like flowing rivers of wisdom, never stagnating, never still, and most importantly, always present and ready to shower your pain with love and warmth.

**

Mother,

I take refuge in the many folds of your love quietly residing in my heart.

I whisper your name,

Lost,

battled,

struggling to navigate in these seamingly shoreless oceans.

I am drowing, Mother,

I cannot breath,

There is no light,

And yet I whisper your name,

For I do not know other than yours,

A name carrying more resilience,

In both meaning and essence.

Mother,

Whenever alone,

and strugling against myself,

I have taken your pain,

as a symbol of hope,

For your pain has always thaught me,

That my strugle is sweet in the mirror of your life,

That my pain is honey in the garden of your devotion,

That my loneliness is a blessing, in the kingdom of your love.

**

Ya Zahra, words were written on your life. Poems were recited on your fate. Your name itself is enough Oh Mother, to bring peace to my heart and to tear it into pieces at the same time.

Amongst the many verses I have heard in your name, Mother, there is one line that has always brought my existence to a sudden end. I whisper this line and I drown, in your love, in your pain:

امشب پرستوی علی از آشیان پر می کشد
داغ فراق فاطمه آخر علی را می کشد

Tonight, the swallow bird of Ali (a.s) has flown away from its nest

The separation with Fatima, has finally taken Ali (‘s life)

They call you ‘Lady without a shrine’. But I swear by your name, you have a shrine in my heart.

None but You

 

Ya Mahdi,

There is none in the progeny of Adam except you, that my eyes have looked for with such intensity. My soul shivers at the thought of meeting you, for if ever we do, Ya Imam, how will my unfaithful eyes gaze towards the very love they have betrayed? Ya Mawla, If it wasn’t for your mercy, I would have no hope of ever seeing you, but I know for a fact that your generosity, by far, exceeds my heedlessness, just like your perfection has always been greater than the imperfection of my soul.

I have looked for you in the depth of my heart and in the infinity of skies. I kept waiting for a sign of yours behind every cloud, at the corner of every turn my life took since we met. By God, there is no wish in my heart that is dearer to me than to put my head in your hands and to join the kingdom of your servitude.

Ya Imam, there are countless reasons why I seek you, and each one of them is mentionned in the beautiful supplication of Nudbah. But if I had to add just one Ya Mawla, I would say that my eyes cry and weep for you for I am an orphan in your absence, and every orphan longs to meet the Ali of its time. I seek you for you are the son of Fatima and only through you can I ever witness the purity of my Lady. I seek you ya Mawla for whenever I read from the peak of Eloquence, I look for the source of its light, and that light leads me towards you. Whenever my soul has longed to witness the presence of Ali, My eyes have looked for You and for the oceans of your love.

I have tied myself to the Quran in this blessed month of Ramadhan, hoping that it would soothe my longing for you. But everytime I open it, the book of God whispers to me, that  it is itself waiting to be delivered by the one soul that will embody its wisdom and give a voice to its truth.

‘There is none but you Ya Mawla, none but you oh Quran al Natiq’