Iman Ali’s Supplication for the Holy Month of Sha’ban

June 29, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Saturday, July 2, 2011, begins the month of Sha’ban. Here then is the supplication, or prayer, of the Holy Month of Sha’ban, the famous Munajat-e-Shabanyeh, narrated by the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali:

“In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful”

“Oh God! Send salutation upon Muhammad and His Holy Progeny and since, I beseech You (please) grant my prayer; whenever I cry,- please listen to my cry; whenever I supplicate You please pay attention towards my condition; Because, I have taken refuge in You, am standing before Thy Threshold in a state of grief, entangled with hardships shedding tears, while still remaining hopeful of Your mercy and compassion- Thou are Knowledgeable about my heart; is aware of my needs, knows thoroughly about myself; and there is nothing hidden from You as far as my affairs of this world and next worlds are concerned.”

“And whatever I bring upon my tongue to speak about my needs as well as regarding my being hopeful in Thee for my eternal salvation-Thou know every thing about it- Oh my Master! Thou will governs all the hidden and apparent affairs of my life till its very last breath; whatever profit or loss reaches to me, it is from Thee and not from other than Thee- Oh God! If Thou deprive me than who else is there to provide my sustenance ? If Thou make me abject then who else is there to support me? Oh God!! I take refuge in Thee from Thy wrath and the severity of punishment- Oh God! If I don’t deserve to receive Your blessing –Thou possesses the decency of bestowing forgiveness upon me with Thy infinite mercy and compassion.”

“Oh God! As though I am standing before Thy sacred threshold; my good faith and trust in Thee has already spreaded the shadow of mercy upon my head,- whatever was befitting from Thy magnanimity and benevolence, Thou have done with me accordingly, forgiveness and blessing has surrounded my entire existence- Oh God! If Thou pardon me who else is more befitting than Thee ?”

“And In case my death is near and my deeds did not earn Thy nearness, Then I will present my admittance of sins as a means to receive Thy forgiveness. O God! I do admit that I have oppressed my self: then woe be upon the self: if you do not bestow forgiveness upon him. Oh God ! Thy beneficence and merci surrounded me throughout my living; therefore, do not deprive me from Thy grace in my dying. Oh God! how can I be disappointed from receiving Thy Favors, after death, because during my entire life I have not seen any thing from Thee except compassion ?”

“Oh God! Be my guardian and supervisor over my affairs the way it is befitting of Thee (not what I deserve) pay attention with Thy benevolence and merci towards me -a sinner who has been overtaken completely by his ignorance. Oh God! Indeed thou have covered all my sins in this world; I need their cover-up in the Hereafter much more than the covering of this world, because, Thou were kind and did not expose them to anyone of your descent servants; therefore, on the Day of Judgment do not insult and expose me in front of all the humanity.”

“Oh God! Thy mercy and compassion have increased my hopes, because Thy forgiveness is for better than my deeds. Oh God! On the Day when Thou will issue the final verdict for Thy servants, make me happy with Thou countenance. Oh God! I beseech Thou for forgiveness like some one who really is in need of acceptance of his repentance, therefore, accept my excuse, oh Beneficent! Who is besought by the sinners for atonement. Oh my Master! Do not turn down my request; do not deprive me from remaining hopeful of Your forgiveness,” through the grace of Thy magnanimity do not cut off any hope and desire.

“Oh God! If thou had the intention of seeing me despised, would never blessed me with Thy guidance; if Thou had intended seeing me contemptible, would not have blessed me with health and happiness. Oh God! I can never believe it that Thou will turn down my request for which I have spent an entire life beseeching Thee for its grant. Oh God! Thou are the only one worthy of praise and adoration -the eternal and continuous praise always increasing and never ending, only if it could receive Thy pleasure and acceptance.

“Oh God! If Thou will remonstrate me for my offenses I will seek refuge in Thy forgiveness,” if Thou will take me to task against my sins, I will take Thee to task for Thy forgiveness, if Thou will send me to Hell will inform its inmates that I loved Thee. Oh God! If my deeds are insignificant, but as compared to them my hope and desire in Thy magnanimity and benevolence is too much. Oh God! How can I return deprived and disappointed from Thy magnanimous kingdom, while remaining quite hopeful about Thy compassion and merci, that thou will be kind to me, and would include me among the rescued ones.

“Oh God! I have spend my entire life in ignorance, negligence, and forgetfulness from Thee, wasted my youth drunken into passions being ignorant of Thee. Oh God! I did not awake, because of being too proud to receive Thy forgiveness, and in this manner I followed the path of Your wrath and rage. Oh God! I am your humble servant and son of your servant who is now standing before Thee, pleading for Thy mercy and compassion as a means of my salvation.

“Oh God! I am your servant who has came to Thy threshold as ashamed and apologetic, I seek forgiveness and pardon for all my sins and transgressions, which were committed by me due to my lack of modesty from Thy presence, because bestowing forgiveness is the characteristic of Thy magnanimity. Oh God! I do not have the power of relinquishing sins except that Thou awaken me with love and kindness. Or, if thou desire that I should become the way Thou want me to be,’ must be thankful to Thee for spreading Thy compassion and cleansing and purifying my heart from the filthiness of negligence.

“Oh God! With Thy Magnanimity treat me like some one to whom Thou invited -he accepted, and Thou asked him for obedience –he obeyed. Oh near one who is never away from Thy lovers, Oh Beneficent and Merciful who never acts miserly towards those who are hopeful of Thy favors. Oh God! Bless with a heart eager and anxious of Thy nearness, a tongue which should keep itself engaged in sending the words of truth up-ward towards Thee, and an insight which should bring me closer to Thee.

“Oh God! Whoever is known by thee cannot remain un-known; whoever takes refuge in Thee can never be despised, whoever received Thy attention would never become servant of anyone else, whoever followed Thy path become enlightened, whoever sought Thy shelter become secured. And I have taken refuge in Thee, therefore, Oh God! Don’t disappoint me from Thy blessings and do not deprive me from receiving Thy grace and favors.”

“Oh God! Consider me among Thy favorite saints and bestow upon me the rank of some one who strives to receive Thy love as much as possible. Oh God! Reveal upon me the sweetness and pleasure of engaging into Thy remembrance continuously, bless me with the courage to seek pleasure, victory, and dependence in Thy Sacred Names and Exalted Essence. Oh God! I swear You by Thy Own Exalted Essence and the right which Thou possess over the creation to include me among the obedient ones and bestow upon me a descent position of Your pleasure and consent, because I am totally incompetent and neither can defend my self while encountering an evil nor can increase any profit for myself Oh God! I am a helpless servant and repentant sinner full of defects and faults, therefore, do not include me among those who earned your displeasure and because of their negligence become deprived of Thy forgiveness.

“Oh God! bestow upon me perfect attention towards Thee; open the esoteric eyes of my hearts so that they could witness Thy glory and piercing through the veils of celestial lights may connect them with the Absolute Source of Majesty; let our souls achieve the union with Thy Exalted Holy Essence. Oh God! consider me as some one to whom Thou called he accepted Thy invitation, when Thou paid attention toward him -became infatuated due to Thy glory and splendor and Thou confided in him secretly -he accepted it explicitly.

“Oh God! Don’t impose hopelessness and sorrow upon my good expectations towards Thee, do not cut off my hopes from your generosity. Oh God! If my offenses have made me low and abjected before Thee, pardon me for the sake of my reliance and good faith in Thy forgiveness. Oh God ! If my sins have made me distant apart from Thy mercy and compassion, my belief reminds me about Thy magnanimity. Oh God! If ignorance and negligence have caused me to remain unprepared for Thy countenance, Thy bounties and blessings make me aware. Oh God! If Thy wrath and punishment will send me to Hell’s fire, Thy generosity and reward have invited me towards the eternal Paradise.

“Oh God! Therefore, whatever I need I beseech Thee; cry and shed tears with hope, desire and anxiety before Thy Holy Threshold; I request Thee to send salutations upon Muhammad and His Holy Progeny; include me among the ones who are busy in Thy remembrance continuously; never break their commitments with Thee; don’t forget thanking Thee even for an instant; and don’t treat Thy commands lightly.”

“Oh God! Enlighten my existence with the illumination of thou Sacred Essence whose cheerfulness and joy is far superior than any other pleasure, so that I become absorbed in Thee completely, getting cut off from others, fearing Thee and paying attention towards Thy commands. Oh Thou possessor of splendor and majesty and salutations of God and lots of greetings be upon Muhammad and his Holy Progeny”

Ya Haqq!

Note:  For more information on the blessed month of Sha’ban, click here.


Knowledge of Speech, But Not of Silence

June 28, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.

- from the opening stanza of The Rock, by T.S. Eliot, 1934

Note: To read the entire, remarkable opening stanza, click here.

Ya Haqq!


Islamic Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang!

June 25, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united piece, and then We parted them? And We have made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”  – Qur’an 21:30

“then He turned to the heaven (sky) when it was still gas (smoke) and said to it, and to the earth, “come into existence, willingly or unwillingly” and they said “we come willingly.” – Qur’an 41:11

Alhamdulillah! I find it fascinating, no matter what the critics and detractors say, that only Islam through the Noble Qur’an rightly says that all life originated and evolved from the sea and is mostly water. And Islam alone of the three “Peoples of the Book” states that the universe originated from dust and hot gas or smoke, as described in the Big Bang theory of creation.

The science is of course much more complex and exacting, but no other religion even suggested it 1400 years ago.

Ya Haqq!


“…there’s really only one work.”

June 21, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“And watch two men washing clothes, one makes dry clothes wet. The other makes wet clothes dry. They seem to be thwarting each other, but their work is a perfect harmony. Every holy person seems to have a different doctrine and practice, but there’s really only one work.”   –  Rumi

Ya Haqq!


The Sufi Question

June 16, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that one day in New York City in the mid 1980s, while Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, was visiting the khaniqah, someone asked him this question: “Why do so many spiritual orders that have costumes and dancing, and public performances of chanting, etc, have so many followers, and our order does none of these things and does not have as many followers?”

Dr. Nurbakhsh replied, “Because most people are after the color and smell of Sufism, and in our order, the costume is to be colorless.”

Ya Haqq!


Sufi Wisdom – The Four States of Life

June 12, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Here is blessed advice from Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi, the second Shaykh of the Shadhili Sufi Order, to Muhammad ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari, that precipitated a major shift in Ibn Ata’illah’s life. He stated that after this conversation he felt that his worries and grief were like a garment that had been taken off.

There are four states in a man’s life:

1. Blessings
2. Trials
3. Obedience
4. Disobedience.

If you are blessed, what Allah requires of you is thankfulness.

If you are tried, what Allah requires of you is patience.

If you are obedient, what Allah requires of you is your contemplating His blessings upon you.

If you are disobedient, then what Allah requires of you is your asking for forgiveness.”

- from the Book of Aphorisms by Ibn ‘Ata’illah (( Being a translation of the Kitab al-Hikam)

 

Ya Haqq!

Note:  Ibn ‘Ata’illa eventually became the third Shaykh of the Shadhili Order.


Origin of the Spiritual Species

June 8, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

I maintain that we are born and grow up with a fondness for each other, and that we have genes for that. We can be talked out of that fondness, for the genetic message is like a distant music, and some of us are hard-of-hearing. Societies are noisy affairs, drowning out the sound of ourselves and our connection. Hard-of-hearing, we go to war. Stone deaf, we make thermonuclear missiles. Nonetheless, the music is there, waiting for more listeners.

- Lewis Thomas, quoted in the book, The Universe and the Teacup, by K.C. Cole.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this view of the world, which is becoming more and more prominent among a growing group of biological and genetic scientists.

Cooperation, not competition, may be the true reason why life abounds in such a vast network of symbiosis, of working together for the life-sustaining mutual benefit of all.

On the Sufi path, as on every mystical path, this has long been taken for granted, as a gift of God’s grace to His creation.  Indeed, the biological evolution of humanity and its spiritual evolution, as the Sufi Master noted in the novel Master of the Jinn, are like two inextricable strands of the same rope. It is now more and more evident that they are bound together even on the genetic level.

Every mother knows this bonding energy; every father knows this protective instinct. It is this natural instinct to love that is at the core of this new concept of evolution, the origin of the spiritual species. I suspect that it may even be the case that spirituality itself is also biological in essence, for what is evolution but a quest to reach higher than our grasp, the genetic drive to better ourselves as individuals and as a species.

“To love thy neighbor as thyself,” and its corollaries of kindness, generosity, mercy and compassion, are then not only noble attributes, but a sign of the biological evolution of humanity’s consciousness.  We are very slowly but constantly growing away from our war-like and destructive primitive origins;  It may take another fifty thousand years of doing good and being good, of being kind and civil to each other  (which is the true meaning of civilization), but each conscious act of compassion is a step on that path of physical and spiritual evolution toward the Source of all Goodness.

We evolve in love towards God!

 

Ya Haqq!


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