Reflection on July’s theme: Be cleansed of shallow idolatries; affirm the Real. Ya Haqq.
Alhaqqah, Mal-haqqah, Wa Maa adraka mal haqqaqah.
Oh the Laying-bare of the Truth. How awesome that laying-bare of the Truth. And what could make thee conceive what the laying bare of the truth will be?[Surah 69: Al Haqqah]
As we journey from covering the Truth “La illaha…”(There is no God…) towards “…il Allah/Haqq/Hu” (…but God/Truth), the inner journey of self-examination allows the veils of separation with the One to fall away. Our ability to discern becomes marred by anxiety created in the lower self and the resultant feelings of doubt and confusion that make us unaware of al-Haqq.
Our negative conjectures of malice, resentment and envy block the Light, which connects us all. “Vain breathings and lies cannot be joined with the Truth” [Rumi]. Judgments fuel a sense of righteousness that the ego enjoys to the fullest. You create a right and a wrong causing separation. The gradations of lies deny Allah and we simply mirror back our own pain. “Those who were deniers were real enemies to themselves: they were striking at themselves the blows that they struck” [Rumi].
Within the different layers of Haqq, like attracts like. “The part gravitates towards its whole. Whoever is bitter will gather with the bitter” [Rumi]. Whilst few live up to the Prophet’s (pbuh) saying, “The best amongst you is he whose face reminds you of God,” we are all responsible for writing our own book and ultimately for our thoughts and heart-space. “O Brother you are what you think. If your thought is a thorn; you are just kindling for the bath-stove” [Rumi]. And yet we are held in the bosom of infinite Rahman (mercy and compassion), for even the bath-stove has a function – to purify and cleanse. Hence, to be cleansed requires opening to Grace through gratitude and acceptance.
With increased knowledge, honest self-examination, surrendering our emotional wounds to Grace and by focusing our attention on God, we allow the alchemical process to take root. Eventually we become grateful for our enemy: “the dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond” [Rumi].
As we learn to discern between the real and the unreal, we deepen our experience with the Oneness of Being and the permanence of its undying reality. The more we choose to participate with Haqq and experience this Living breath Hu with each other, the more ours/yours/my/Truth is laid bare and we are love, patience, tolerance and contentment in each passing moment.
~ Tazeen Ahmad, Cobham
August’s theme is: The more the mind and heart become still, the more we can trust in God.
We welcome your reflections on this theme. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK Annual Retreat: Returning to The Source (of Love)
Registration are now open for the UK annual retreat with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Shaikha Camille Helminski, & Jeremy Henzell-Thomas.
The main retreat will start on Friday 28th August at 5pm with arrivals/registrations. We are pleased to offer an additional day with a lighter, more informal schedule to our retreat this year. The normal retreat will end at 2pm on Sunday and the additional day will begin from 4pm, ending 2pm Monday (Monday 31st August is a UK bank holiday). We kindly ask attendees leaving on Sunday to vacate the grounds before 3pm.
Boarding £250, Camping £190
Monday extra: Boarding £90, Camping £45
Only 10 camping places left.
Please register your places as soon as possible. Registration form and information is attached here. Please read all the information carefully and contact us if you have any questions: email@example.com
There will be no coach from London this year.
Lessons in the School of Love: The Adab of Sacred Space
Sufi training is accomplished, above all, in the Sufi lodge and the network of relationships cultivated there. Sometimes the Sufi lodge is an actual tekkye or dergah, a private home, a rented hall, and sometimes it may even be a “tekkye on wheels,” as when we travel to a foreign country together. What is most important is the intention and an understanding of why we come together. We are seeking to create and sustain an environment where spiritual realization can be optimized, where the influence of egoism can be minimized, and where the values and knowledge of the tradition can be preserved.
When we step over the threshold of the Sufi tekkye (lodge) we are leaving one world and entering another. We are leaving the environment of the mundane and entering sacred space. We do this, above all, with our intention. Our intention is to be present, courteous, and aware of our own self (nafs)…read the full article.
Affirming the Real – Ya Haqq
Latest podcast on last month’s theme:
Being a Person of Paradise
We begin in the name of God, the Infinitely Compassionate and Infinitely Merciful, and we ask His help. As it says in the beginning of the Maqalat, this talk was gathered from the words of the beloved Mevlana Shamsuddin Tabrizi, the Sultan of those who have attained. May God not deprive us of his abundant blessings.
We are deeply grateful for the opportunity that we have had to spend time in the companionship with Shams during the journey of preparing the book Rumi’s Sun, The Teachings of Shams of Tabriz, selections from his Maqalat, and the generosity of Dr. Refik Algan whose inspiration it was to begin a translation of the Maqalat into English. One of the gifts of that journey has been to feel Shams’ constant encouragement of those to whom he speaks to become “people of paradise” now, here. So, in this moment, we wish to share with you some of that encouragement.
We are living in the midst of very challenging times. Shams and Mevlana also lived in the midst of very challenging times, yet what a possibility opened with the example of being they unveiled. They invite us into the garden of seeing God’s beauty and abundance in the midst of everything, seeing the Unity, and encouraging souls to be people of Paradise now, here.
In the Maqalat, the “Conversations” of Shams-i Tabriz, Shams tells us,
People say that there is no path, or they say that the path is very long. Yes, the way is long, but once one sets out to walk, with great exuberance and joy, the distance of the way disappears. Just as it was said, “Paradise is surrounded by things we dislike” (hadith). All around the garden of Paradise are thorns, but when the fragrance of Paradise reaches our nose, bringing news of the beloved to the lover, then that place of thorns becomes very pleasant. The thorns that surround Hell always seem to be roses and basil, but the unpleasant odor of fire comes to us from them.
If I were to try to explain about the beauty of this path, it wouldn’t be appropriate.
In this world the opposites play out their dance of light and dark, of difficulty and ease, and in the midst of it, we have the work of being rightful caretakers, khalifas of the Divine, here, acting as servants (‘abd Allah) to establish the mizan, the balance and good measure in this world.
~ Shaikha Camille Helminski
London venue and day change
The London circle have a new weekly home in Angel every Friday at 7pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Mevlevi Zhikr recording
Access the full Mevlevi zhikr recited by Shaikh Kabir and Shaikha Camille and support your daily practice. Listen online or download.
Aug 7th: Threshold London Monthly Open Group, 7pm. Newcomers to the group are asked to seek a telephone introduction and briefing with the host/facilitator before attending. Please phone Sadat on 07710 511517, or e-mail Mahmoud on email@example.com with your phone number so he can call you back — please do this at least two days in advance.
Aug 28-30/31st: UK Annual Retreat, Gaunts House, Dorset. Registration sufism.org/events/uk-annual-retreat-2015.
Sep 2nd: Shaikh Kabir will be speaking at City Circle on Islam & The Transformation of The Ego. Venue TBC (London), more details will be emailed soon.
Get in touch
We’d love to hear from you — a favourite piece from Mevlana, your own poetry, reflections on the path… please do contribute. We learn so much from each other, may this space be an opportunity for community, connection and companionship. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can a Mirror Ever Lie?
Could a mirror not reflect, or balance-scale lie,[Mathnawi I: 3546-3551, The Rumi Daybook]
for fear of hurting or shaming anyone?
Mirror and balance are both like touchstones:
even if you beg for two hundred years,
saying, “Conceal the truth for my sake,
display the abundance, not the lack,”
they’ll say to you, “Don’t be ridiculous:
how can a mirror or balance deceive?
Since we are a means for knowing the truth,
if we fail to display it, what good are we?
If not for us, who else will mirror the face of the fair?”