Happy New Year 2013 :)

December 31, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Happy New Year to all my Brothers and Sister of every faith, race and creed around the world!  May God bless you all this year with health and happiness, wisdom and love.  I can think of no better resolution for the New Year than to resolve to be of service in any way we can, and to repeat these  noble words and lovely prayer.

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

- Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Ya Haqq!


And your Lord shall give to you and you shall be satisfied

December 29, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

And your Lord shall give to you and you shall be satisfied.  Did He not find you an orphan and provide refuge?  And did He not find you astray and guide you? And did He not find you without means and provide sustenance?  So as for the orphan – do not oppress him.  And as for the beggar – do not drive him away.  And as for the grace of your Lord – proclaim it.

- Qur’an 93:5-11

Ya Haqq!


Coming of the Magi

December 21, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In the days before Christmas, I confess that one of my favorite parts of the story of the birth of Jesus, or Isa ibn Mariyam, is the coming of the Magi, and the legends that have grown up around them.

In Christian tradition, the Magi, also referred to as the Three Wise Men, Three Kings, or Kings from the East, are said to have visited the baby Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense.

The word Magi is a Latinization of the plural of the Greek word magos, itself from Old Persian maguŝ from the religious/priestly caste into which Zoroaster was born. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic.

The Gospel of Matthew (2:1-16), the only one of the four Gospels to mention the Magi, states that they came “from the east” to worship the Christ, “born King of the Jews”. Although the account does not tell how many they were, the three gifts led to a widespread assumption that they were three as well. Their identification as kings in later Christian writings is linked to Old Testament prophesies such as that in Isaiah 60:3, which describe the Messiah being worshipped by kings.

The Syrian King Seleucus II Callinicusis recorded to have offered gold, frankincense and myrrh to Apollo in his temple at Miletus in 243 BC, and this may have been the precedent for the mention of these three gifts in the Gospel of Matthew (2:11). It was these three gifts, it is thought, which were the chief cause for the number of the Magi becoming fixed eventually at three.

A model for the homage of the Magi might have been provided, it has been suggested, by the journey to Rome of King Tiridates I of Armenia, with his magi, to pay homage to the Emperor Nero, which took place in 66 AD, a few years before the date assigned to the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.

And finally, this account by Lewis Williams expands the story in a lovely spiritual way:

While oftentimes conflicting lore muddles the story of the Magi, those bearing gifts for the Christ child are most often named Caspar of Tarsus, Melchior of Persia and Balthasar of Sabia, which was the ancient name of Yemen/Ethiopia (as in the Queen of Sheba/Sabia). Weary from desert travel, the Magi humbly offer their gifts. Caspar is young, European, and offers gold. Gold finances the Holy Family’s coming flight to Egypt and also symbolizes Christ’s immortality and purity. For his generosity, Caspar receives the gifts of charity and spiritual wealth. Melchior is middle-aged, Persian and offers myrrh. Myrrh is a fragrant gum, which the ancient Israelites believed to strengthen children. This symbol of Christ’s mortality was blended with wine and offered to him on the cross, and also mixed with aloes to wrap his body for the tomb. Melchior receives the gifts of humility and truth. Balthasar is elderly, Ethiopian and offers frankincense. Frankincense is a resin used in incense for worship and also symbolizes prayer and sacrifice. Balthasar receives the gift of Faith. And Christ, humbling himself to become man, offers us the greatest gift of all, the light that forever burns in the darkness.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night :)

Ya Haqq!

Note: The above painting is Adoration of the Magi by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682).


Rumi’s Nuptial Night – Dec. 17, 1273

December 17, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

On December 17th, 1273 AD, Mevlana Jalal al-din Rumi died at Konya. The 17th of December is thus called Sheb-i Arus, meaning ‘Bride’s Night” or ‘Nuptial Night’ or ‘Wedding Night,’ because of the union of Mevlana with God. As Rumi’s epitaph states:

‘When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.’

Rumi was a universally loved genius, one of the greatest servants of humanity, founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Brotherhood, his poetry and doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness and charity, and awareness through love. Looking with the same eye on Muslim, Jew and Christian alike, his peaceful and tolerant teaching has reached men of all sects and creeds.

Love and imagination are magicians

Who create an image of the Beloved in your mind

With which you share your secret intimate moments.

This apparition is made of nothing at all,

But from its mouth comes the question,

“Am I not your Loved One?”

And from you the soft reply, “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

- Rumi

Inna lillahi wa-inna ilayi raji’un.
(To God we belong and to God are we returning)

Ya Haqq!


“Every child is potentially the light of the word.”

December 14, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“The world is but one country and mankind its citizens. Every child is potentially the light of the world.” - Baha’ullah

May God bless the 20 lights that went out today, and the six adult victims, and may He give peace and comfort to all their families.  Amin!

Ya Haqq!


In Memory of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh

December 9, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Monday, December 10th would have been the 86th birthday of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (12/10/1926 – 10/10/2008), the late and beloved Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order,  may God sanctify his secret. In his memory, this poem is dedicated.

Love is the answer
to every question

An ocean emerging
from a drop

This you taught us by your
every action, every word,

The revealed science
of the heart, the key

to the door of the spirit
that is never locked

To serve the One,
serve all, you said,

Eat but a little,
Feed the soul instead

As long as life
remains, and then

The drop returns
to the Ocean again,

Of Love, of Love, of Love
Ya Pir! Ya Hayy! Ya Haqq!


The Habit of Gratitude

December 5, 2012

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Ya Haqq!

 


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