From Issue: 1011 [Read full issue]

Sacred Consciousness

Knowledge is a mirror which reflects patterns, colours, designs and conditions as they are. Knowledge is a mirror before the world. Its name: science. That is all. It has no good or bad. To serve or commit treason are not pertinent to it. Formal purity or impurity has no meaning in it. It is a science and only a science. It is one everywhere and always.

Kafir or Muslim, the people or the enemy, traitor or servant. These limitations appear with consciousness. A power which employs science, gives direction, creates debauchery or piety, war or peace, cruelty or justice. In a capitalistic system, knowledge is the same as that of an equitable system. A Nazi physicist recognizes nature the same way as the Nazi's physicist victims do. The ulama of the Caliph know religion in the same way as the ulama who are captive of the Caliph. What makes one an executioner and another a martyr? One a freedom seeker and the other a tyrant? One formally pure and the other formally impure? It is not knowledge and science. It is consciousness. Which science? It makes no difference as science is one. Which kind of knowledge? The question is useless as knowledge takes only one form. But which consciousness? This question must be answered and the hajj answers it! Sacred consciousness. That which is preserved in an environment of chastity, piety and purity.

Knowledge is a phase of science, the recognition of an objective relationship, an inner connection to an outer reality which requires sight and light but sacred consciousness is a phase of consciousness of self which contains the power of understanding and this is a subjective thing. The former is the sensation phase and objective witnessing: nazar. The later is the phase of thinking, inner consciousness: basirat. Not irresponsible, polluted and sick thought or reckless consciousness but a responsible consciousness, committed to an environment of purity and virtue. Like the sacred mosque (Masjid al-Haram), the sacred month (Dhul hijjah), the sacred area (Makkah) where sin and corruption are forbidden along with aggression, fighting or harming living creatures or uprooting plants.

Compiled From:
"Hajj: Reflections on its Rituals" - Ali Shariati