In the Company of the Master

June 30, 2015

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

banbury gateThe following anecdote is a lovely remembrance of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (1926-2008), Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order. It will be included in the forthcoming book, Tales of the Sufi Master.

___________________________

I leave dry Santa Fe and arrive in the misty green English countryside. Here, every taxi driver knows the way to the Old Windmill farm, twenty-four acres of fruit trees, flowers, and deep bed vegetable gardens. A dog and a welcoming party greet me at the center gate.

I sleep in a brick grain tower with a spiraling staircase winding up three floors of wall lined bookcases, attached to an old Tudor house. Surprisingly, I meet an old friend I haven’t seen in years. We “room” together on the second landing of the tower. Rugs, snakeskins, dream catchers – a vast collection of gifts accumulated from international guests also line the walls. Master’s room in the main house is overflowing with flowers and gifts; weird and yet strangely beautiful and humorous at the same time. More gifts hang on the walls; an array of musical instruments rest by the fireplace in the large meditation room. The breezeway connects the Master’s room with the meditation room.

My hair discovers its African roots in the mist. It is happy in its short ringlets. It is as relaxed as my skin. But I can’t only claim the climate for the change. Lack of stress has conditioned my hair here and moisturized my skin. Lines are there but they sit easy on my face.

I garden, weeding for two weeks solid, and then for a change plant flowers. But here is where words fail me. I am laughing, crying, talking to myself and seem to be opening up with each weed I pull, with each flower I plant. At one point I lie down on a mound of earth blissfully holding on like a child to its mother.

I am left alone while others work together in the apple orchard. While all this is happening Master comes and goes, instructing me in the proper conduct of life, my life. But not with many words; a laugh, a demonstration regarding attention to details, intuition, a word or two, a stern word, a loving word, a look…and so it goes. I pay close attention and pray I learn. I never finish an area of work, I never complete a project; Master moves me on to another project. One time the rain began to come down heavily but I didn’t hear anyone call me in. When a few finally yelled to come in for lunch, I ran upstairs to clean up, got in line to welcome Master, as we could see him from the window screens in the breezeway. He stopped, looked down at the one flower I neglected to plant when called in. It was still in my hand. He didn’t look at me, he looked at the plant in hand amid the pouring rain. I left the line, went out and planted the flower. They all waited until I cleaned up and came down again. So it goes.

There are about fifteen others here. I am happy to see “Bruja”Jane; mistress of the garden. It’s been three years sine I’ve seen her. In my enthusiasm I weed more than just weeds. Actually, one of her prized African lily seedling. She asks where is her prized African lily and I freeze. I think I heard myself say, “I’m sorry.” She wasn’t angry but…So I’m thinking I know less about weeds that I thought I did. I ask her this time to take me around the garden and point out those that are and are not weeds. My ego is not feeling too good.

I see Mr. Niktab, the Shaykh of Shaykhs, walking slowly in his 80 years and recent knee surgery. He uses a cane and only walks short distances. He has been a darvish for maybe 40 years. He mirrors-lives only to serve the Master. A sudden spring arises in my eyes and travels down my face as I see him walk by. Maybe the years he came to visit the Seattle center, maybe the years he spoke to me, have finally found a way into my heart. He danced that night for Master in our sama gathering. I am certain he used no cane.

I massage the Master’s feet and he tells me I’m not strong enough. Two days later he asks for a massage again and tells the person sitting next to me how strong my hands are. He tells me how young I look one day and tells me not to help serving lunch the next day because I am too old, I should just sit. So it goes. I realize he is training me and every person that sincerely comes before him, relentlessly, tirelessly, patiently, never saying directly what to do. But I am weak, broken, wounded by the mere outskirts of life, in search for understanding, in search of myself. I look up at the sky, pregnant with the possibility of rain again, and then it rains and then the sun shines and the process begins again and it’s all very simple and clear here. I am not thinking of my departure.

The dynamics of the fifteen or so of us keep shifting as some leave and new beggars arrive. We are kind here. We want to be. We want to serve. Our ego-the dragon-liquid fire is with us. We are aware of it as it comes and goes, tricks us, shifts, but maybe we are more vigilant here and try not to hold on, just let it come and go.

However, the two weeks are over and Master boots me out of Paradise. The list of my my unvoiced questions have somehow been answered. Master had delivered on his promise, and tells me I must return to pick apples in September. That, too, is enigma. At this point in time I am to begin a new teaching job in September. At this point in time it seems impossible.

He yells at me “goodbye” the night before I leave in a very unattractive sound and the next morning I stumble out of bed 3:30am for a 4:30am cab. In the kitchen, one darvish has made it a point to get up with me and serve me tea, bread, cheese and honey before I leave…with a hug goodbye. What a loving 4:30am.

I have been home now for one month and have not “recovered.” My dragon is a little more active and my tears are like rain clouds overflowing onto the lush countryside of longing. I yearn to return but I know the work is inward and I must live in this world too as I have lived there.

– Carole Ross, July, 1998

Ya Haqq!

 


Rumi’s Poem on Fasting during Ramadan

June 24, 2015

Celebrate! The month of fasting has come.
Pleasant journey to the one

Who is the company of the fasting.
I climbed the roof to see the Moon,

Because I really missed fasting
By heart and soul.

I lost my hat while looking at the Moon.
the Sultan of fasting made me drunk.

O Muslims, I have been drunk
since that day I lost my mind.

What a beautiful fortune fasting has.
What a wonderful glory.

There is another secret moon
Besides this one.

He is hiding in the tent of fasting
Like a Turk.

Anyone who comes
To the harvest of fasting in this month

Finds the way to this Moon.
Whoever makes his face

Resemble pale satin
Wears the silk clothes of fasting.

Prayers will be accepted in this month.
Sighs of the one fasting pierce the sky.

The person who sits patiently
At the bottom of fasting’s well

Owns the love of Egypt, like Joseph.
O the word which eats the Sahur* meal,

Be silent so that anyone
Who knows fasting will enjoy fasting.

Come, O Shams, the brave one of whom Tabriz is proud.
You are the commander of fasting’s soldiers.

– Jalaluddin Rumi, a ghazal from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, translated by Nevit Ergin.

Note:  * Sahur:  Meal before dawn during Ramadan fast.


A Special Ramadan Prayer from Yemen

June 19, 2015

wadiSalaam and Greetings of Peace:

Ramadan Mubarak!

The following is a du’a that is constantly read in Tarim, a town in the Wadi Hadhramawt, Yemen, throughout the blessed month of Ramadan. This beneficial du’a has been translated and made available through Sidi Amin Buxton (Allah preserve and increase him):

Sayyiduna Salman narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) spoke to the Companions on the last day of Sha`ban. He informed them that they were about to enter a great and blessed month, a month in which there is a night better than a thousand nights. He mentioned some of the merits of the month of Ramadan. Then he said: “Do four things in abundance: two things with which you please your Lord, and two things which you cannot do without. As for the two things with which you please your Lord: your testification that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and your seeking His forgiveness. As for the two things which you cannot do without: your asking Allah for Paradise and seeking refuge in Him from the Fire.”1.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught al-Sayyida `A’isha to say on Laylat al-Qadr:

“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us.”2.

On the basis of these two hadiths the scholars and people of Tarim repeat the following du`a throughout the month of Ramadan:

أشْهَدُ أن لا إلهَ إلا الله نَسْتَغْفِرُ الله نسأَلُكَ الجنَّةَ ونَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النَّار (3)

Ashadu alla ilaha illallah, nastaghfirullah, nas’aluk’l-jannata wa na`audhu bika min an-nar

“I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and we seek the forgiveness of Allah. We ask You for Paradise and take refuge in You from the Fire.” (3 times)

اللهمَّ انَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحبُّ العفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنَّا (3) يا كريم

Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna

“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim).

1 Narrated by Ibn Khuzayma

2 Narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi with a sahih chain of transmission.

NOTE: Wadi Hadhramawt is a 220-mile wadi (seasonal river valley) which has a collection of 31 small sultanates with Aden in the middle. Hadhramawt is the biggest wadi in the Arabian Peninsula and runs for 99 miles through a stony desert. This area has been settled since at least the 3rd century AD and brilliant green fields ran alongside the wadi.

Ya Haqq!


30 Daily Ramadan Prayers 2015/1436

June 8, 2015

RAMADAN MUBARAK!

Ramadan in the year 2015/1436 begins Thursday, June 18th, so here once again are the 30 Daily Ramadan Prayers (duas), which are posted each year.  InshAllah, they will enlighten the mind and ennoble the heart, making the fast easier in this blessed month.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 1

ALLAH, on this day make my fasts the fasts of those who fast (sincerely), and my standing up in prayer of those who stand up in prayer (obediently), awaken me in it from the sleep of the heedless, and forgive me my sins , O God of the worlds, and forgive me, O one who forgives the sinners.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 2

ALLAH, on this day, take me closer towards Your pleasure, keep me away from Your anger and punishment, grant me the opportunity to recite Your verses (of the Qur’an), by Your mercy, O the most Merciful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 3

ALLAH, on this day, grant me wisdom and awareness, keep me away from foolishness and pretension, grant me a share in every blessing You send down, by You generosity, O the most Generous.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 4

ALLAH, on this day, strengthen me in carrying out Your commands, let me taste the sweetness of Your remembrance, grant me, through Your graciousness, that I give thanks to You. Protect me, with Your protection and cover, O the most discerning of those who see.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 5

ALLAH, on this day, place me among those who seek forgiveness. Place me among Your righteous and obedient servants, and place me among Your close friends, by Your kindness, O the most Merciful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 6

ALLAH, on this day, do not let me abase myself by incurring Your disobedience, and do not strike me with the whip of Your punishment, keep me away from the causes of Your anger, by and Your power, O the ultimate wish of those who desire.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 7

ALLAH, on this day, help me with its fasts and prayers, and keep me away from mistakes and sins of the day, grant me that I remember You continuously through the day, by Your assistance, O the Guide of those who stray.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 8

ALLAH, on this day, let me have mercy on the orphans, and feed [the hungry], and spread peace, and keep company with the noble-minded, O the shelter of the hopeful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 9

ALLAH, on this day, grant me a share from Your mercy which is wide, guide me towards Your shining proofs, lead me to Your all encompassing pleasure, by Your love, O the hope of the desirous.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 10

ALLAH, on this day, make me, among those who rely on You, from those who You consider successful, and place me among those who are near to you, by Your favor, O goal of the seekers.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 11

ALLAH, on this day, make me love goodness, and dislike corruption and disobedience, bar me from anger and the fire, by Your help, O the helper of those who seek help

Ramadan Dua: DAY 12

ALLAH, on this day, beautify me with covering and chastity, cover me with the clothes of contentment and chastity, let me adhere to justice and fairness, and keep me safe from all that I fear, by Your protection, O the protector of the frightened.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 13

ALLAH, on this day, purify me from un-cleanliness and dirt, make me patient over events that are decreed, grant me the ability to be pious, and keep company with the good, by Your help, O the beloved of the destitute.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 14

ALLAH, on this day, do not condemn me for slips, make me decrease mistakes and errors, do not make me a target for afflictions and troubles, by Your honor, O the honor of the Muslims.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 15

O Allah, on this day, grant me the obedience of the humble, expand my chest through the repentance of the humble, by Your security, O the shelter of the fearful.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 16

ALLAH, on this day, grant me compatibility with the good, keep me away from patching up with the evil, lead me in it, by Your mercy, to the permanent abode, by Your Godship, O the God of the worlds.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 17

ALLAH, on this day, guide me towards righteous actions, fulfill my needs and hopes, O One who does not need explanations nor questions, O One who knows what is in the chests of the (people of the) world. Bless Muhammad and his family, the Pure.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 18

ALLAH, on this day, make me love goodness, and dislike corruption and disobedience, bar me from anger and the fire [of Hell], by Your help, O the helper of those who seek help.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 19

ALLAH, on this day, multiply for me its blessings, and ease my path towards its bounties, do not deprive me of the acceptance of its good deeds, O the Guide towards the clear truth.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 20

ALLAH, on this day, open for me the doors of the heavens, and lock the doors of Hell from me, help me to recite the Qur’an, O the One who sends down tranquility into the hearts of believers.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 21

ALLAH, on this day, show me the way to win Your pleasure, do not let Shaytan have a means over me, make Paradise an abode and a resting place for me, O the One who fulfills the requests of the needy.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 22

ALLAH, on this day, open for me the doors of Your Grace, send down on me its blessings, help me towards the causes of Your mercy, and give me a place in the comforts of Paradise, O the one who answers the call of the distressed.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 23

ALLAH, on this day, wash away my sins, purify me from all flaws, examine my heart with (for) the piety of the hearts, O One who overlooks the shortcomings of the sinners.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 24

ALLAH, on this day, I ask You for what pleases You, and I seek refuge in You from what displeases You, I ask You to grant me the opportunity to obey You and not disobey You, O One who is generous with those who ask

Ramadan Dua: DAY 25

ALLAH, on this day, make me among those who love Your friends, and hate Your enemies, following the way of Your last Prophet, O the Guardian of the hearts of the Prophets.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 26

ALLAH, on this day, make my efforts worthy of appreciation, and my sins forgiven, my deeds accepted, my flaws concealed, O the best of those who hear.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 27

ALLAH, on this day, bestow on me the blessings of Laylatul Qadr, change my affairs from (being) difficult to (being) easy, accept my apologies, and decrease for me [my] sins and burdens, O the Compassionate with His righteous servants.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 28

ALLAH, on this day, grant me a share in its nawafil (recommended prayers), honor me by attending to my problems, make closer the means to approach You, from all the means, O One who is not preoccupied by the requests of the beseechers.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 29

O ALLAH, on this day, cover me with Your mercy, grant me in it success and protection, purify my heart from the darkness of false accusations, O the Merciful to His believing servants.

Ramadan Dua: DAY 30

O ALLAH, on this day, make my fasts worthy of appreciation and acceptance, according to what pleases You, and pleases the Messenger, the branches being strengthened by the roots, for the sake of our leader, Muhammad, and his purified family. Praise be to ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds.

Ya Haqq!

NOTE:  To read the duas (prayers) in Arabic, click HERE.


Poem by Mansur Al-Hallaj

June 5, 2015

“Before” does not outstrip Him,
“after” does not interrupt Him
“of” does not vie with Him for precedence
“from” does not accord with Him
“to” does not join with Him
“in” does not inhabit Him
“when” does not stop Him
“if” does not consult with Him
“over” does not overshadow Him
“under” does not support Him
“opposite” does not face Him
“with” does not press Him
“behind” does not limit Him
“previous” does not display Him
“after” does not cause Him to pass away
“all” does not unite Him
“is” does not bring Him into being
“is not” does not deprive Him from Being.
Concealment does not veil Him
His pre-existence preceded time,
His being preceded non-being,
His eternity preceded limit.
If thou sayest ‘when’,
His existing has outstripped time;
If thou sayest ‘before’, before is after Him;
If thou sayest ‘He’, ‘h’ and ‘e’ are His creation;
If thou sayest ‘how’, His essence is veiled from description;
If thou sayest ‘where’, His being preceded space;
If thou sayest ‘ipseity’ (ma huwa),
His ipseity (huwiwah) is apart from things.
Other than He cannot
be qualified by two (opposite) qualities at
one time; yet With Him they do not create opposition.
He is hidden in His manifestation,
manifest in His concealing.
He is outward and inward,
near and far; and in this respect He is
removed beyond the resemblance of creation.
He acts without contact,
instructs without meeting,
guides without pointing.
Desires do not conflict with Him,
thoughts do not mingle with Him:
His essence is without qualification (takyeef),
His action without effort (takleef).

– Mansur Al-Hallaj  –  (Trans. A.J. Arberry)
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The 15th of Sha’ban – June 2, 2015

June 1, 2015

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 is the 15th of Sha’ban this yearthe 15th day of the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The preceding night is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Sha’ban in the Arab world, and as Shab-e-barat in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, and Afghanistan. These names are translated to the Night of Recordsthe Night of Assignment and the Night of Deliverance. The observance involves a festive nightlong vigil with prayers, feasting and illumination.

Muslims observe Mid-Sha’ban as a night of worship and salvation; it is a night noted for its great blessings and virtues, when Allah determines the destiny of all people, including whether a person lives or dies in the coming year. For this reason it is sometimes called the “Night of Emancipation.”  The date also may commemorate the saving of Noah’s followers from the deluge by Allah.

The Qur’an describes it as the blessed night, and fortunate indeed are those who attain the full blessings and benefits of this night by spending it in performing good and refraining from evil.

‘Ali (pbuh) narrates that the Prophet (saws) said,“When it is the fifteenth of Sha’ban, then stand (in worship) at night and fast during the day. Because Allah subhanahu wata’aala descends in this night at sunset to the first heaven and says: ‘Is there any seeker of forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there any seeker of sustenance, that I may sustain him? Is there anyone in affliction, that I may remove his affliction? And so on. This continues until Fajr, the dawn prayer.”  – (Ibn Mãjah)

SUPPLICATION ON THE NIGHT OF 15th SHA’BAN

O Allah! You shower favours on everyone
And no one can do You any favour.
O The Possessor of Majesty and Honour,
O The Distributor of bounty and rewards,
There is no one worthy of worship except You.
You help the fallen
And provide refuge to the refugees And give peace to those who are in fear.

O Allah! If in the Mother of All Books that is with You
You have written me down as someone who is
Doubtful of achieving salvation, or deprived,
Or rejected or without enough sustenance,
Then, O Allah, with Your Grace
Remove all of these misfortunes from me
and in the Mother of All Books that is with You,
establish me as someone who is
blessed, with abundant provision and charitable good deeds.
Indeed, what You said in The Book You sent
Through the tongue of Your Blessed Prophet is true
That Allah changes and establishes what He wants
And with Him is the Mother of All Books.

O My Lord! For the sake of Your Divine Manifestation
On this fifteenth night of the blessed month of Sha’ban
In which You issue all Wise and Irrevocable Decrees
Remove from us all calamities and hardships,
those that we know about as well as those that we don’t,
while You know everything.
Truly, You are the Most Powerful, Most Generous.

And may Allah the Exalted shower blessings and peace on
Sayyidina Muhammad, and on his family and his companions
And all praise is for Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Ameen!

Ya Haqq!

Note: To read the supplication/prayer in Arabic, click HERE.


“…the Matrix of All Matter.”

May 27, 2015

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. All matter originates and exists only by virtues of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

– Max Planck, physicist and the originator of modern quantum theory

“To God belong the East and the West; whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of God; God is All-embracing, All-knowing.” – Qur’an 2:115


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