Terrestrial Body, Safety of The People, Spiritual Experiences

Issue 1023 » November 2, 2018 - Safar 24, 1440

Living The Quran

Terrestrial Body
Taha (Taha) - Chapter 20: Verse 55 (partial)

"From it We created you and to it We shall return you."

Know that the Adamite is two things: spirit and body. The spirit is from light, and light is celestial. The body is from dust, and dust is terrestrial. The spirit wants to go up because it is celestial. The body wants to go down because it is terrestrial. In the perfection of His power, the King bound the two together. The spirit was bound to the body, and the body was bound to the spirit, so both are in bonds. The spirit and the body settled down together.

On the day of death, when the life of the servant comes to an end and the moment of death arrives, the bonds are loosened, as when a bird comes out of its cage. The spirit rises up from the body and goes skyward to its nest. The body takes the road of the earth to its centre. The spirit is put into a lantern of light, which is hung from the tree of blessedness. The body is wrapped in a shroud and entrusted to the earth. This is why the Lord of the worlds says, "From it We created you and to it We shall return you."

It is as if the King is saying, "Once I make dust the cause of being, and then again I make it the cause of nonbeing. Thus the world's folk will know that I am perfectly powerful, and I give being to all that is."

O Chevalier! If you ever pass through a graveyard, be careful to look at that encampment with an eye to taking heed.

It is not dust that you see, it is the bodies of the dear ones, the flesh and skin of the young, the elegant stature of those nurtured in joy, the hair and beards of the old folk.

We have decayed, but the rising stars have not.

The mountains remain after us, and the artifacts.

Compiled From:
"Kashf al-Asrar wa Uddat al-Abrar" - Rashid al-Din Maybudi. pp. 314, 315

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Safety of The People

Anas ibn Malik reports: There was some alarm in Madinah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) borrowed a horse belonging to Abu Talhah, which was named al-Mandub. He mounted the horse and went. When he returned, he said: 'We have found nothing [to worry about], and we have found this horse to be like a sea'. [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah]

This highly authentic hadith shows how alert the Prophet was to any danger that threatened his community. Here we see him rushing to its source, not waiting for anyone to join him, borrowing a horse in order to be able to move speedily, and returning to reassure his people once he had established that there was nothing to worry about. What local leader would do this today, let alone the leader of any state? More likely, present-day leaders would go in the opposite direction. The safety of the leader is considered as far superior to the safety of the community. Even in the most caring systems, the safety of the leader is given paramount importance, although he may take measures to ensure the safety of his people. The Prophet, however, was the one to move first thereby demonstrating to his successors that it is their duty to ensure that the people are safe.

When the Prophet reassured his companions that there was no danger, he immediately moved on to divert their attention from the cause of the alarm, so as to bring them back to normality. He thus spoke of the horse he had borrowed, describing him as highly useful and likening him to a sea, in so far as it flowed smoothly.

Compiled From:
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad with Full Commentary: A Perfect Code of Manners and Morality" - Adil Salahi


Spiritual Experiences

The best of worship occurs with the combination of speech and reflection. When practiced for a long time regularly, one achieves what is called fana in Sufi terminology. Imam al-Junayd is said to have coined the term, which literally means extinction. When it comes to the world of remembrance, it includes achieving supreme realizations about God the Exalted and His acts. When one reflects deeply, he separates himself from others and even from his own limitations.

Imam al-Junayd says that in spiritual practice there can be profound experiences. One is called a hal, which can be an overwhelming spiritual. The scholars of this science differentiate between hal and maqam. Maqam (station) is more or less a fixed condition or state, not a momentary burst of spiritual epiphany. For example, the maqam of tawba (station of repentance) is one in which one cannot willingly be disobedient to God. But the hal of repentance is when someone becomes so overwhelmed with remorse over what he had done wrong in the past, he rushes to God the Exalted and profoundly seeks His forgiveness with a powerful sense of God's presence. It is an inrush that comes into the heart, filling it with light and spiritual expansion. It is highest when one is not aware of himself, only of God and His attributes. This kind of extinction of the soul is caused by one's focus and heightened spiritual experience.

Our objective is not merely to go through these spiritual experiences, but to be firmly grounded in a path that takes us to the pleasure of God and salvation in the Hereafter. If one performs remembrance properly and often, things will happen to the inner self. These things are studied by scholars of the inner sciences. But we're also aware that Satan can play games with those who engage in certain practices blindly and without knowledge and prioritization. That's the peril of New Age practices and philosophies that can lead to sensations and experiences in which the one having them cannot distinguish between satanic influences, psychological phenomena, and true spiritual encounters.

What fana alludes to is altogether different. It is founded on the sources of Islam and the tutelage of learned people who have knowledge of both the Sharia and spiritual matters. The person who is doing dhikr with reflection loses awareness of himself. There are authentic reports of the Companions of the Prophet and other righteous people of later generations who, as they stood in prayer, were completely unaware of their surroundings.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf