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Sufi Encounter
10-19-2006, 03:46 PM, (This post was last modified: 10-19-2006, 03:51 PM by lovelyk.)
#1
Sufi Encounter
Sufi Encounter
ali ozman
November 2, 2005

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‘A mystic once said:

Quote:‘My mind does not recall being close to God. The experience is as it is - and I simply know that being close to God is good.’

The mystical state is an immediate, direct encounter. By following the mystical way I came to understand the true nature of God’s revelations to Muhammad.’

Muhammad travelled through the <span style="color:#FF0000">seven higher worlds of Heaven during his ‘Night-
Journey’ and the closer to Allah came, the greater the Light he saw until it practically blinded him. So <span style="color:#FF0000">in Islam God is often described as Light. There are many great Sufi mystics who reveal the nature of God in Islam.

In my one book there are more accounts than I can give here but I will choose a few. For example Ibn Arabi writes:

Quote:‘If you think of God only as Transcendent, your view of Him is too narrow. If you think of Him only as Immanent, your view is too limited…
If you understand the reality of God’s Transcendence and immanence, you are a master of spiritual science.
But if you think that there are two gods, one transcendent and one immanent, then you are ignorant.
Do not think of God as isolated from His Creation.
Do not think of God as bound by rules…
You are not God; and you are god.
You see Him in the essence of all things; yet He is boundless…
He created me in order to serve Him and please Him.
I embody His genius and I give expression to His intelligence.
He has sent His message to earth and it is fulfilled in me.
I belong to God… yet I also belong to myself.
He becomes himself through me. I live in Him and I live in myself...
But He is not I and I am not He.
My actions are the theatre in which he expresses himself;
to Him I am a vessel (which He wishes to fill)…
God is equally present in every being or event.
He is constantly unfolding His creative plan in every being and event…
constantly before our eyes – even though rational argument
may be used to deny his presence…
The mystical soul sees the presence of God


People asked the saint Rabi’a if she could see God. She answered ‘If I did not see that which I worship, I should not worship.’ Once she had been fasting for seven days and nights – and spending all the nights in prayer. On the eighth night she was faint with hunger. ‘and her soul cried out: ‘How long will I be tormented?’ At that moment someone came and gave her a bowl of food. She went to fetch a lamp but her cat spilled the food. So she fetched a jug of water but the lamp went out and when she tried to drink in the dark the jug slipped and was broken. She cried, ‘Oh God, why are you making me so helpless? She heard a voice in her ears:

Quote:‘Be careful, lest you want Me to fulfil your material desires. <span style="color:#FF0000">Material desires and the desire for Me cannot exist within the same heart.’

Thirty years later she related this event and added: ‘When I heard this voice I detached my heart from material things and since that time, whenever I have prayed I have assumed it to be my last prayer.’

Junayd, another famous saint, writes:

Quote:‘In order to worship God you must know God. In order to know God you must recognise His unity. In order to recognise His unity, you must deny any possibility of describing how God is present, where He is present, and when He is present. It is through God that you can be guided towards Him….

Recognising His unity is the essence of faith in God. Faith in God leads to knowledge of God. Knowledge of God implies obedience to His Commands. Obedience to His Commands is the means whereby you ascend to Him. And by ascending towards Him you will eventually reach Him….

Yet in finding God you become bewildered and this bewilderment removes any possibility of speaking coherently. Thus the true worshipper of God, who has encountered Him directly, is unable to describe Him’
.

To achieve this kind of vision and knowledge takes many years of worship and devotion.

In Junayd’s case he was accepted as a pupil of his uncle Sari when he was only 5 or 6 years old. When he was 7 Sari took him on pilgrimage to Makkah and his wisdom astonished the religious leaders there. His uncle said ‘It is becoming plain that your special gift from God is your tongue. Where did you acquire this gift?’ Junayd answered : ‘From listening to you.’

When Junayd grew up he had a shop and sold glasses. At the end of each day he would close the shop and say four hundred prayers. But after some time he gave up the shop and devoted all his time to worship. He taught that <span style="color:#FF0000">knowing God directly is more important than anything else.

Quote:‘You may possess great religious knowledge and be regarded as an authority on religious matters; you may perform your religious duties punctiliously and with unstinting devotion. Yet your religious knowledge and duties do not coincide with your instinctive spiritual desires. <span style="color:#FF0000">If you become aware of this gap, you will wish to close it; and the only means of closing it is by seeking to know God directly. When you seek to know God directly you become modest and humble and prefer poverty to wealth.’

On another page Junayd describes a man who has achieved this state of direct knowledge of God.

Quote:‘The truest and highest stage of worship is to see God face to face and to receive his guidance from his own mouth. Those who attain this highest stage, choose for themselves whatever God chooses for them. Their entire characters are transformed by God. They are God’s friends; so they no longer discriminate between people but regard all people as friends.

Wherever they go, they go from God; wherever they arrive, they arrive at God.
Whatever they do they do for God; whatever service they perform, they perform it in God.

The self has been truly annihilated.
God returns these true worshippers to the communities from which they have come, as a means of enlightening them.

True worshippers attract others to the worship of God

There are hundreds of books about the saints and their teachings but to really know about God you have to do more than read.

Rumi writes,

Quote:‘Spiritual progress depends on the grace of God. But you must exert yourself also; do not merely wait for God’s Grace. Those who do not exert themselves are showing disdain for God. Is disdain for God worthy of a spiritual warrior?

…In reality <span style="color:#FF0000">God is worshipped by all people, since all people are searching for the road to happiness. But <span style="color:#FF0000">some have turned their faces away from God and are lost. My religion is to live in the service of love… Love is an attribute of God, who Himself has no need of love…

<span style="color:#FF0000">Outwardly the earth is made of dust. But inwardly it consists of the Light of God. Its outward form is in conflict with its inward essence; inwardly it is a pearl and outwardly it is a stone. Its outward form declares: ‘I am this and no more.’ Its inward essence says: ‘Look carefully at what lies behind and beyond.. Just wait! We shall show you...

<span style="color:#FF0000">When love for God has doubled in your heart, you know without doubt that God loves you. Do not look at your own form... look at the true object of your love and the goal of your search… look at the true object of your hopes and aspirations. In whatever state you are, seek God. <span style="color:#FF0000">Seek God as if your lips were dry and you were seeking water….

<span style="color:#FF0000">To seek is a blessed activity. It destroys the obstacles on the path to God…

If you want to sit with God, sit with saints. If you do not consort with saints you will be… separated from the whole. Purify yourself from all the attributes of the self, that you may see your own pure essence. <span style="color:#FF0000">There may be sweet pleasures for the body in this world But anything other than love for God, whose beauty is unmatched, is agony to the soul...

Who can describe the attributes of God? I speak obliquely because I have no choice. Sometimes God shows himself in one way and sometimes in an opposite way. The work of religion brings much bewilderment but it is not a bewilderment that turns you away from God; it drowns you in Him and intoxicates you with Him. <span style="color:#FF0000">We think we exist; but in ourselves we do not exist.

You, O God, are real existence; You express yourself in that which is transient. We are like lions painted on a flag: we appear to move but in reality it is the wind which makes us move

Qushayri also speaks of the union of the Sufi Muslim with the God he adores.

Quote:‘When people address God in words – in the form of intimate conversation, petition and pleading, gratitude, remorse and repentance and so on – they are in a position of separateness from God. When they address God directly through the heart, they are in a position of union with God


Al-Hallaj was one of the saints who described this union in a powerful way.

Quote:‘What is wrong, O God, with this earth, that people want to rise up to the Heavens? Why can people not find you on the earth, so they must seek You in the Heavens? <span style="color:#FF0000">Look at them staring upwards. You are right before their eyes; yet their eyes cannot see. You are in front of them; yet they are blind.

Once my soul was patient; I was willing to wait for You. But can my soul be patient with itself? Now I know that my soul and Your Soul are blended together. Whether I am near You or whether I am far away, my soul and Your Soul are mingled. I am you, O God. You are my being. You are the fulfilment of all my desires. I embrace You in my innermost thoughts. <span style="color:#FF0000">Your Soul and my soul are like two lamps, shedding a single light

Words can not take us to where God is. It seems that only a lifetime devoted to spiritual practises can do that. But Al-Hallaj, unlike most of the saints I’ve read about, did give a description of God. By describing Him in terms of opposites He makes it clear that actually God is beyond anything that we can conceive of with the intellect or mind.

Quote:‘God is rooted in the earth; yet He also appears from above. <span style="color:#FF0000">He is invisible, yet he appears as a blazing fire and a blinding Light. God is in the water of the lake; he is also in the cracked bed of the lake, when the lake has dried up. God is in the abundant harvest; He is also in the famine that occurs when the harvest fails. God is in the lightning; he is also in the darkness when the lightning has faded away…

In my view Al-Hallaj was one of the greatest saints but sometimes Sufis were not accepted by the ordinary Muslims. He was tortured and killed by the fearful narrow-minded leaders of his time who were afraid of his popularity and found his experience of union or oneness with Allah threatening and blasphemous.

It is a good example of how dangerous intolerant people with small, closed minds can be. Mystics of all religions often see Allah ‘in everything and as everything.’ When he was persecuted Al-Hallaj wrote,

Quote:‘Since I knew God as he is, and was in union with him, he appeared to abandon Me.. but even if he were to torment me with the fires of hell for ever and beyond I should not bow down to any other being but him. My proclamation of faith is the same as the proclamation of all who are sincere. In the love of God I am triumphant.

How could it be otherwise?
’

I find this intense love for God and this fierce faith, fearless emotion expressed by all the saints from all the religions. I love finding about new ones. Because I live in a multi-ethnic city, I have friends who are practising different religions and I learn from them and from Religious Education lessons about the other religions. I think it is important and inspiring to know about other beliefs as well as our own.
Salem Kirban quotes Weishaupt gloating over his successes in a letter to Illuminatus Cato:

The most admirable thing of all is that great Protestant and reformed theologians [Lutherans and Calvinists] who belong to our Order really believe they see in it the true and genuine mind of the Christian religion. Oh man, what can not you be brought to believe?

These people swell our numbers and fill our treasury; get busy and make these people nibble at our bait.. .but do not tell them our secrets. They must be made to believe that the low degree that they have reached is the highest
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10-19-2006, 03:48 PM,
#2
Sufi Encounter
Quote Tags are not working..
So i have to use 'bold'
Salem Kirban quotes Weishaupt gloating over his successes in a letter to Illuminatus Cato:

The most admirable thing of all is that great Protestant and reformed theologians [Lutherans and Calvinists] who belong to our Order really believe they see in it the true and genuine mind of the Christian religion. Oh man, what can not you be brought to believe?

These people swell our numbers and fill our treasury; get busy and make these people nibble at our bait.. .but do not tell them our secrets. They must be made to believe that the low degree that they have reached is the highest
Reply


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