Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Knowledge of self

Knowledge of self is the key to the knowledge of God, according to the saying: "He who knows himself knows God," and, as it is Written in the Koran,

"We will show them Our signs in the world and in themselves, that the truth may be manifest to them."

-Imam Ghazali (may Allah bless him)

"The first step to self-knowledge is to know that thou art composed of an outward shape, called the body, and an inward entity called the heart, or soul. By "heart" I do not mean the piece of flesh situated in the left of our bodies, but that which uses all the other faculties as its instruments and servants. In truth it does not belong to the visible world, but to the invisible, and has come into this world as a traveler visits a foreign country for the sake of merchandise, and will presently return to its native land. It is the knowledge of this entity and its attributes which is the key to the knowledge of God.

Some idea of the reality of the heart, or spirit, may be obtained by a man closing his eyes and forgetting everything around except his individuality. He will thus also obtain a glimpse of the unending nature of that individuality. "

-Imam Ghazali (may Allah bless him)

A soul which allows its lower faculties to dominate the higher is as one who should hand over an angel to the power of a dog or a Mussalman to the tyranny of an unbeliever.The cultivation of demonic, animal, or angelic qualities results in the production of corresponding characters, which in the Day of Judgment will be manifested in visible shapes, the sensual appearing as swine, the cruel as dogs and wolves, and the pure as angels. The aim of moral discipline is to purify the heart from the rust of passion and resentment , till, like a clear mirror, it reflects the light of God.

"The Alchemy Of Happiness" by Imam Ghazali R.A

Some one may object, "But if man has been created with animal and demonic qualities as well as angelic, how are we to know that the latter constitute his real essence, while the former are merely accidental and transitory?" To this I answer that the essence of each creature is to be sought in that which is highest in it and unique to it. Thus the horse and the ass are both burden-bearing animals, but the superiority of the horse to the ass consists in its being adapted for use in battle. If it fails in this, it becomes degraded to the rank of burden-bearing animals.

"The Alchemy Of Happiness" by Imam Ghazali R.A

We Are In His Hands In Anger And In Peace

Mathnawi I: 1510-1513

1510 If we come to (a state of) ignorance, that is His prison. And if
we come to (a state of) knowledge, that is His (lofty) balcony.

If we come to (a state of) sleep, we are His drowsy-drunken ones.
And if we come to (a state of) wakeful alertness, we are in His

If we come to (a state of) weeping, we are His cloud full of
glistening (raindrops).1 And if we come to (a state of) laughing,2
we are His lightning in that moment.

1513 If we come to (a state of) anger and battle, it is the reflection
of His Wrath.3 And if we come to (a state of) peace and pardon, it
is the reflection of His Love.4

--From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi. Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with gratitude for R. A. Nicholson's 1926 British translation) © Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration) (4/27/02)

Notes on the text, with line number:

1(1512) we are His (raining) cloud full of glistening (raindrops): The rhyme ("zarq" with "barq") suggests the idiom "zarq-o barq," which means "gleaming and flashing," "dark-blue and glittering (with lightning)," as well as "magnificence and grandeur." Nicholson later changed his translation to, "we are His cloud shedding rain-drops abundantly" (from, "we are a cloud laden with the bounty dispensed by Him"). And he explained: "i.e. full of the rain of Divine Mercy. GH [= the two earliest manuscripts of the Mathnawi] read 'zarq,' 'brightness', 'splendour'. . . In that case there would be a comparison of glistening tears to rain-drops." (Commentary)

2(1512) laughing: refers to the flashing gleam of smiling or
laughing teeth, which is compared to the flashing quality of

3(1513) it is the reflection of His Wrath: "If we are full of anger and
are quarrelsome, that anger of ours is the reflection and the effect
of the Wrath of God [qahr-é khodâ]. In other words, the qualities
of anger and rage which manifest in us are the reflection and effect
of the qualities of Divine Punishment and Wrath which have
manifested in us. Because human existence is the mirror and place
of manifestation of the Divine Attributes." (Anqaravi, the 17th
century Turkish commentator, translated here into English from a
Persian translation)

4(1513) it is the reflection of His Love: "And, likewise, if we are
inclined to peace and gentle kindness [SulH wa luTf], those are
also the effects of the Love and Gentle Kindness of God which
have appeared in us. In sum, whether (it is) anger or kindness, both
qualities (derive) from Divine Being, become overflowing in the
servant (of God) [= the human being] and mankind is never the
source of any attribute." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

1510 gar ba-jahl ây-êm, ân zendân-é ô-st
w-ar ba-`ilm ây-êm, ân aywân-é ô-st

wa-r be-g'riy-ém abr-é por-zarq-é way-êm
w-ar ba-khand-êm ân zamân barq-é way-êm

1513 w-ar ba-khashm-o jang `aks-é qahr-é ô-st
w-ar ba SulH-o `aZr `aks-é mehr-é ô-st

Allah (Exalted is He) says in a hadith qudsi

"Those who wish to draw near to Me can do so through nothing better than that which I have made obligatory upon them. A man will then continue to approach Me with supererogatory devotions until I love him. And when I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his foot on which he walks, and his hand with which he strikes. If he makes a request of Me I shall certainly grant it, and if he seeks My protection, I shall certainly protect him"


A believer is not he who maligns, curses, or is obscene or vulgar. [Tirmidhi]

Beware of being delighted with acts of worship, for they are a deadly poison. [Al Wasiti]

Suspicion is very wrong as a basis for action. Sufyan al Thawri says there are two kinds of suspicion. One is a sin: that is when you pass judgment against someone based upon your suspicion. The other is not a sin: that is when you suspect someone of having done something wrong, but refrain from judging or condemning him.

The opposite of suspicion is to think well of everybody. Even if there are signs to make you doubt the innocence of someone, it is still best to think of that person as innocent. To think badly and continue to be suspicious of someone who has been proven innocent is a sin. Thus it is best for you to have good will toward one and all. Above all, you should think well of your Lord. [The Path of Muhammad]

There comes a Sound,
from neither within nor without,
From neither right nor left,
from neither behind nor in front,
From neither below nor above,
from neither East nor West,
Nor is it of the element:
water, air, fire, earth, and the like;

From where then?

It is from that place thou art in search of:
Turn ye toward the place wherefrom the Lord makes His appearance.
From where a restless fish out of water gets water to live in,
From the place where the prophet Moses saw the divine Light,
From the place where the fruits get their ripening influence,
From the place where the stones get transmuted to gems,
From the place to which even in infidel turns in distress,
From the place to which all men turn when they find this world a vale of tears.
It is not given to us to describe such a blessed place:
It is a place where even the heretics would leave off their heresies.

-Hazrat Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (r.a) (1207-1273 AD) Divan i Shamsi Tabriz

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