September 11, 2006

There once lived a merchant who had a very pious wife. He did not mind her being spiritual, except that she had the habit of saying “Bismillah” (In the Name of God) with every action she took. When she woke up, she said, Bismillah. When she opened a drawer, she said, Bismillah; when she prepared food, she said Bismillah with every step of the preparation, when she did anything she said Bismillah, and when she went to bed she said Bismillah.

Now her husband was getting annoyed at her constant uttering of Bismillah, so he decided to teach her a lesson. He brought her a bag of gold and told her to hide it for him. She said, Bismillah while taking it, and Bismillah while opening a drawer in the kitchen and hiding it behind some other goods, and Bismillah when she closed the drawer.

A few days later, when his wife went to pray, the merchant took the bag of gold from the hiding place and threw it down a well. Then when she returned from prayers, he asked for the bag of gold. She said Bismillah when she opened the drawer, and Bismillah when she reached in, and Bismillah again as she handed her husband a sopping wet bag of gold.

Her husband looked at the wet bag in his hand and cried, “Bismillah!”

Ya Haqq!

PS  On a related theme, please take a look at Mystic Saint’s excellent blog post on Sri Ramakrishna and the Secret of Male and Female. It goes well with the previous post on this blog titled, Of Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Wives, which you can read here.

Subhan – The Praised One

September 8, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

One day Abu Sa’id Abi’l Khayr was recounting an anecdote about Nuri, a disciple of Junayd. Nuri was talking about the different names or attributes of God, and how people invoke a name in order to get what they want. The Sufis call Him by the name Al-Haqq, the Truth, whereas others call Him by such names as Ar-Rahman, the All Merciful, or Ar-Rahim, the All Compassionate.

Those who want their daily food to be available to them call Him by the name Rahman, and those who want to go to heaven after they die appeal to Him by the name Rahim. Those desiring social status and power refer to Him as Al-Malik, the King. Whoever desires something calls upon God with the aspect related to that thing.

Then Abu Sa’id said: “God is praised beyond description, whether verbally or mentally. He has ninety-nine names, and the highest of them all is Subhan, the Praised One. This name is like the knot at the base of the beads of a rosary. If one uses this name, it is like using all the names, while if one uses all the other names without this one, it is as if they had used no name at all; as in a rosary without an end-knot, the beads will fall off and scatter.

“One must work hard to praise God. Every being on earth praises Him; yet one does not hear. The birds that sing a thousand songs praise Him, and yet one does not hear.”

Excerpt taken from Under the Sufi’s Cloak, by Ali Jamnia and Mojdeh Bayat, which is available on

Also see the previous post on Gratitiude.

Alhamdulillah!  And none can praise God enough, except in gratitude for every moment of time and in every movement through space. This is the life we are given.

Ya Haqq!

The Sufi Prayer

September 6, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Thank you all for the prayers and good wishes on my journey. By the Grace of God, I have now returned. Alhamdulillah!  While sitting in the Chicago Nimatullahi khaniqah after majlis (the twice-weekly meeting), I began reading Discourses on the Sufi Path, by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, our Master, and came across the following. It is posted here as a reminder of how far this unworthy darvish has yet to travel on the Path of Love.

A Bedouin was walking with his dog in the desert, carrying a leather skin of water on his shoulder, and crying pitifully as he went along. When asked why he was crying, he replied, “Because my dog is dying of thirst!” 

“Why don’t you give him some of your water, then?” the person said.

“Because I might need it for myself.”

So it is with many who aspire to the Path of Love. They enjoy reading Rumi and Hafez and other Sufi books, and hearing Sufi music, and listening to Sufi Shaykhs give talks, and they like calling themselves Sufis or darvishes (or dervishes), but when it comes time to put it into practice, their nafs, their self-absorbed ego, has second thoughts.

The Sufi prayer (namaz) is only two rak’ats. In order to perform these two rak’ats, Sufis do their ablutions with the water of love, then face the qibla of “And wherever you turn, there is God’s countenance.”  (11:15), and repeat Allahu akbar four times.

With the first Allahu akbar, they put the world and all of its inhabitants behind them.

With the second Allahu akbar, they forget the hereafter.

With the third Allahu akbar, they cast the very thought of anything other than God out of their heart.

With the fourth Allahu akbar, they forget even themselves.

Only then do they begin the prayer, performing the two rak’ats sincerely over the corpse of their nafs (egos).

The ablution alone for this namaz (prayer) takes most Sufis many years. If they manage to complete the ablution, they spend more years on the first Allahu akbar, and there are very few who get to the second and forget the two worlds.

Alhamdulillah!  May Allah grant His mercy and compassion on all who love and struggle in His name.

Ya Haqq!