Essays, Talks, Poetry & Stories

Forty Days

Today for some reason I'm crying a lot again. I have also suffered a major relapse: my obsession makes itself conspicuous again, overshadowing everything else! And I really thought I'd outgrown that! But I suppose that would be too simple, such a sudden change after being stuck for so long. Hz. Mevlâna says: "There is that in me that has to be told 50 times a day, Stop hunting, step on this net". I suppose that's how it is, the relapse is something that says to me: Stop hunting, it doesn't work the way that you imagine.

Women and Sufism

Since the beginning of consciousness, human beings, both female and male, have walked the path of reunion with the Source of Being. Though in this world of duality we may find ourselves in different forms, ultimately there is no male or female, only Being. Within the Sufi traditions, the recognition of this truth has encouraged the spiritual maturation of women in a way that has not always been possible in the West.

The Dream of the Sleeper

When Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Human beings are asleep, and when they die they will awaken," it was not just a poetic reminder but objective fact. His further advice, "Die before you die," suggests the possibility of awakening from the subjective dreams of this life and entering the state we will know as death while we are still alive.

Levels of the Self

The Quran mentions five levels for the human soul. The basic level is the one in which we are born which is called the Blaming Self (Nafs Al Lawwama). If it is neglected and left to its whims and desires it will descend to the station of the Commanding Self (Nafs Al Ammara). And if it is developed and cared for through effort and resistance to its desires it will, God willing, ascend to the highest levels of closeness, contentment, and love for Allah and His Prophet. These higher levels are three, the first one above the Blaming Self is the Secure Self (Nafs Al Muttma'ina), followed by the Content Self (Nafs Al Radiyah), and finally to the Gratified Self (Nafs Al Mardiyyah) and that is the self that reaches its natural place and station which is "the most beautiful station."

Feasts of Wisdom

Water takes the name "wave" due to the waving of the wind; in reality, though, the wave is nothing but water. The heart's situation with the zhikr is the same. If the zhikr pervades the whole heart, it will completely become the zhikr. The zhikr expressed in words is the form of the zhikr that is within the heart. Yet, though the heart takes on the form of thiszhikr, essentially the heart is pure from any zhikr. It only takes on a form according to the thought that comes to it. It is for this reason that two ideas cannot exist within the heart simultaneously, for the heart takes on completely the form of whatever idea comes to it. The heart becomes that thought itself. Then another thought can no longer be contained within it. It is like the water of the sea: when water forms a wave, that that wave could also take the form of another wave is inconceivable. In the same moment there cannot be two waves in the same place. Understand this.

The Goal of Oneness

"Within the orders, a new, deeper, aspect of religion is introduced. You were doing these practices, maybe without inquiring. So let's go deeper now. These have an effect on the individual. They must bear a result, a fruit; what is the fruit? It becomes a deepening process for the individual. When one is doing this, some people say certain powers may manifest. Usually these are not favored; they are seen as a veil in front of the truth. If one can transcend these powers, if one doesn't cling to them, then one can pass to the stage of truth. If you use another terminology, one passes into objective truth, objective mind. In other words, the individual's blurred vision of the world due to the culture, the individual past, etc., drops away. The person gains a healthy vision, and one can surrender oneself to God. In such a way, one reaches the innermost joy in being free..."

Burke ’97: Relationship Panel

Sufism has such a respect for the family that it says that unless one has a very good reason for not being married, one ought to be married. It is expressed as an obligation. Now, of course, in our society where things are so fragmented and the whole institution is challenged, a lot of people are out of that relationship.

The Most Beautiful Names

He is the donor of all, without conditions, without limits, without asking any benefit or return, giving everything to everyone, everywhere, always. He gives money to the poor, health to the sick, children to those who are barren, freedom to the trapped, knowledge to the ignorant.

A Conversation on Good and Evil

William Chittick: Let me say something about your basic underlying insight in these discussions of good and evil. Something that Shaikh Kabir referred to a few days ago, and that is: evil is essentially nonexistence. There's none good but God. There's your principle. Being is good. Non-existence, the lack of being, is evil. Now, we run into problems with Mevlana, of course, since he's talking about the workshop of nonexistence, you say, well, does that mean that that nonexistence is evil? No, of course not. Because it has been pointed out that, when he's talking about nonexistence, he's talking from our point of view. But it's simply because we see things backwards. We think God is in nonexistence up there, and we're existent. No, we're non-existent. Remember that passage from Shams. Where he says, "You say God is dhat (essence). So what? What's it to you? He is eternal being. He is. You are not."

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