You only have what you give!

May 3, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Paralyzed and silent in her bed, my daughter Paula taught me a lesson that is now my mantra: You only have what you give. It’s by spending yourself that you become rich. …The pain of losing my child was a cleansing experience. I had to throw overboard all excess baggage and keep only what is essential. Because of Paula, I don’t cling to anything anymore. Now I like to give much more than I receive. I am happier when I love than when I am loved. I adore my husband, my son, my grandchildren, my mother, my dog, and frankly I don’t know if they even like me. But who cares? Loving them is my joy.

Give, give, give–what is the point of having experience, knowledge, or talent if I don’t give it away? Of having stories if I don’t tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don’t share it? I don’t intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world, and with the divine. In is in giving that I feel the spirit of my daughter inside me, like a soft presence.

- Isabel Allende, Chilean novelist, journalist, and dramatist.

Ya Haqq!


The Initiation of Nasir-i Khusraw

March 13, 2009

That sage set his hand upon my heart
(a hundred blessings be on that hand and breast!)
and said, “I offer you the remedy
of proof and demonstration; but if you
accept, I shall place a seal upon your lips
which must never be broken.” I gave my consent and he
affixed the seal. Drop by drop and day
by day he fed me the healing potion, till
my ailment disappeared, my tongue became
imbued with elegant speech; my face, which had
been pale as saffron now grew rosy with joy;
I who had been a stone was now a ruby;
I had been dust-now I was ambergris.
He put my hand into the Prophet’s hand,
I spoke the Oath beneath the exalted Tree
so heavy with fruit, so sweet with cooling shade.

Have you ever heard of a sea which flows from fire?
Have you ever seen a fox become a lion?
The sun can transmute a pebble, which even the hand
of Nature can never change, into a gem.
I am that precious stone, my Sun is he
by whose rays this tenebrous world is filled with light.
In jealousy I cannot speak his name
in this poem, but can only say that for him
Plato himself would become a slave. He
Is the teacher, healer of souls, favored of God,
image of wisdom, fountain of knowledge and Truth.
Blessed the ship with him for its anchor, blessed
the city whose sacred gate he ever guards!

O Countenance of Knowledge, Virtue’s Form,
Heart of Wisdom, Goal of Humankind,
O Pride of Pride; I stood before thee, pale
and skeletal, clad in a woolen cloak,
and kissed thine hand as if it were the grave
of the Prophet or the Black Stone of the Kaaba,
Six years I served thee; and now, wherever I am
so long as I live I’ll use my pen and ink,
my inkwell and my paper…in praise of thee!

- from the Diwan of Nasir-i Khusraw, greatest of the Isma’ili Shia Persian poets, on his initiation. It is a striking example of the depth of the Master-disciple relationship expressed in beautiful poetic form.

Ya Haqq!


Psalm 19 – A Song of David

March 5, 2009

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Ya Haqq!

Note:  This is my favorite Psalm for its simple beauty and universal truths.


Benefits of Acquiring Knowledge

February 14, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Acquire knowledge because doing so is good. Seeking it is worship. Reviewing it is glorifying Allah. Researching it is jihad. Teaching it to the ignorant is charity.

- Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (ra)

Ya Haqq!


Patience, Prayer, and Love – A Resolution for the New Year

January 3, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the humble-minded,
Who know that they will have to meet their Lord, and unto Him they are returning.

(Quran 2:45-46)

Patience and prayer, two attributes that lift the foot in humility to take a step on the path of Love. Prayer by the Sufi zekr, with each inhalation and exhalation of the breath, and patience forged of acceptance of all that happens, in the certain knowledge that to Him we are returning.

In the Mathnawi, Rumi writes that a piece of iron when kept for long in the fire begins not only to look like fire, but to burn like fire. This is the soul purified by patience and prayer, which are each an act of love. Love is the fire that lights the Way.

And this is my resolution for the New Year. God give me the strength to be steadfast, to be resolute, in patience and prayer and love. Amin.

What are your resolutions  for this New Year of 2009/1430?

Ya Haqq!


This is Allah!

May 26, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

He is controlling the affairs of all the kingdoms. He commands and prohibits, creates and gives provision, and gives death and gives life. He raises and lowers people’s status, alternates night and day, gives days (good and not so good) to men by turns, and causes nations to rise and fall, so that one nation vanishes and another emerges. His command and decree are carried out throughout the heavens and on earth, above it and below it, in the oceans and in the air. He has knowledge of all things and knows the number of all things. He hears all voices, and does not mistake one for another; He hears them all, in all the different languages and with all their varied requests and pleas. No voice distracts Him from hearing another, He does not confuse their requests, and He never tires of hearing the pleas of those in need. He sees all that is visible, even the walk of a black ant across a solid rock in the darkest night. The unseen is visible to Him, and secrets are known to Him; “Whosoever is in the heavens and on earth begs of Him (its needs from Him). Every day He has a matter to bring forth (such as giving honour to some, disgrace to some, life to some, death to some, etc.)!” [al-Rahman 55:29].

He forgives sins, eases worries, relieves distress, helps the defeated person back on his feet, makes the poor rich, guides the one who is astray and confused, fulfills the needs of the desperate, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, conceals faults, and calms fears. He raises the status of some and lowers the status of others; Even if all the inhabitants of heaven and earth, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn alike, were to be as pious as the most pious among them, this would not increase His sovereignty in the slightest; if they all, the first and the last of them, mankind and Jinn alike, were to be as rebellious as the most rebellious among them, this would not decrease His sovereignty in the slightest. If everything in heaven and on earth, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn, living and dead, animate and inanimate, were to stand in one place and ask of Him, and He were to give them everything that they asked for, this would not decrease what He has by even an atom’s weight He is the First, before Whom there is nothing, and the Last, after Whom there is nothing, may He be blessed and exalted. He is the Most deserving of being remembered, the Most deserving of being worshipped, the Most deserving of being thanked. He is the Most Compassionate of Kings, the Most Generous of those who are asked. He is the King Who has no partner or associate, the One who has no rival, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who has no son, the Most High, and there is none like unto Him. “Everything will perish save His face” [al-Qasas 28:88], and everything will vanish except His sovereignty; He will not be obeyed except by His permission, and He will not be disobeyed except with His knowledge. He is obeyed, so He shows His appreciation, and He is disobeyed, so he forgives. Every punishment on His part is justice, and every blessing from Him is a favour. He is the closest of witnesses and the nearest of protectors. He seizes people by their forelocks, records their deeds and decrees the appointed time for all things. Hearts conceal nothing from Him, for secrets are known to Him. His gift is a word and His punishment is a word: “Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” and it is.” [Ya Seen 36:82].”

- From al-Waabil al-Sayib (The Invocation of God), by ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya.

Originally posted on the City University Islamic Society blog

Ya Haqq!





A Moment Comes Like a Thunderbolt!

May 16, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A moment comes like a thunderbolt, in which a flash of the undisclosed rends our dark apathy asunder. It is full of overpowering brilliance, like a point in which all moments in life are focused, or a thought which outweighs all thoughts ever conceived of. There is so much light in our cage, in our world, it is as if we were suspended amidst the stars.

Apathy turns to splendor unawares. The ineffable has shuddered itself into the soul. It has entered our consciousness like a ray of light passing into a lake. Refraction of that penetrating ray brings about a turning in our mind: we are penetrated by God’s insight. We cannot think anymore as if God were there and we are here. God is both there and here. God is not a being, but Being in and beyond all beings.

A tremor seizes our limbs.

Our nerves are struck, quiver like strings.

Our whole being bursts into shudders, but then a cry wrested from our very core fills the world around us as if a mountain were suddenly about to place itself in front of us.

It is one word: “God.”

Not an emotion, a stir within us, but a power, a marvel beyond us, tearing the world apart. The word that means more than Universe, more than Eternity.

Holy!

Holy!

Holy!

We cannot comprehend it. We only know it means infinitely more than we are able to echo.

Staggered, embarrassed, we stammer and say, “God,” who is more than all there is, who speaks through the ineffable, whose question is more than our mind can answer; “God,” to whom our life can be the spelling of an answer.

- From Man is not Alone, by Abraham Joshua Heschel, a contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr., an ally of his in the civil rights movement, an anti-Vietnam war activist, and a profound religious thinker of the 20th Century.

“He says before this paragraph that in general we resist the knowledge that’s coming at us. We stay inside what he calls a cage and live on a “dainty diet” because we’re apprehensive about what is waiting for us outside. But then, at a certain moment…something happens to us.”

This is the Truth.

- Reposted with thanks from the My Inner Adult blog

Ya Haqq!


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