Peace, one and all…
In a recent post, we explored Rahma and its place within the conceptual universe of Islam. We saw that rahma can be thought of as embodied love, as love made manifest. The sayings of the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) contain instructions on how to invoke God’s mercy, how to make Divine love tangible. Ibn Umar relates the following saying:
‘The All-Merciful (al-Rahman) – exalted be He – shall bestow His mercy (rahma) upon those who show mercy. Be merciful to those on earth and He who is in Heaven shall bestow His mercy upon you’ (al-Hakim)
Show loving-kindness to those on earth, and God will pour out His love upon you. Show love to those on earth, and they too shall reflect God’s own love back to us. A second hadith relates the following words (related by Abu Usama):
‘Indeed, God possesses an angel dedicated to those who supplicate by saying ‘O Most Merciful of the merciful (Arham al-Rahimin).’ To whomever repeats this three times in his supplication the angel says, ‘Indeed, the Most Merciful of the merciful is before you, therefore ask!’ (al-Hakim)
This phrase invokes God’s mercy in an intensive, superlative form. It is a reminder that God alone is the Source of all mercy, of all love. As this awareness begins to penetrate our inner beings, our hearts begin to reflect this quality of compassionate love. A’isha relates the following words of the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam):
‘Indeed, God the Exalted loves kindness in everything’ (al-Bukhari)
Hz. Ali relates a very similar statement:
‘Indeed, God is kind (rifqa) and He loves kindness: He accords to it that which can never be attained through the use of force’ (Ahmad ibn Hanbal)
Elsewhere, the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) said:
‘The best deed after belief in God is benevolent love (tawaddud) towards people’ (al-Tabarani)
The word tawaddud is derived from the same root as the Divine Name al-Wadud (the Ever-Loving). The more compassionate we are, the more love we generate, to the point where we can reflect God’s pure light. In a commentary on the first hadith cited above, we read these words:
‘Divine mercy (rahma) must radiate within man and be offered to others in the form of generosity, forbearance, and forgiveness’ (Spiritual Teachings of the Prophet, page 9)
Our hearts are transformed by His love into a pure mirror, as these words related by Anas ibn Malik make clear:
‘The Faithful (al-Mu’min) is the mirror of the faithful (al-Mu’min)’ (al-Tirmidhi)
May the Beloved Friend of All sweep the dust from the mirror of our hearts. May His cleansing love, His tender mercy, transform us.
Peace, one and all…
In a beautiful and oft-quoted verse, the Quran states:
‘Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, – any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve’ (2:62; see also 5:69).
I have always seen a remarkable openness in this verse, a reaching out beyond narrow human boundaries. Indeed, it has always been one of the most impressive verses in the entire Quran, especially in the way it extends the promise of redemption and salvation to all who believe. I also find the same spirit of openness in the following passage:
‘Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching’ (16:125, trans. Ali, with slight adaptation)
In this beautiful passage, Muslims are encouraged to share their faith in a gentle, and open-handed way. And, even though Muslims have sometimes strayed from such spiritual generosity, the ideal remains and continues to inspire real, human dialogue.
As I grow older, I begin to see ever more clearly that true dialogue can only occur through the development of human relationships. Indeed, when such relationships exist, communication moves beyond mere surface ‘dialogue’, to a place where our differences cease to be something that divides us; they become the ‘spice’ that makes conversation enriching. In other words, true dialogue is a means of soul-sharing.
The Sufi tradition places great emphasis on such relationships – describing them by the prophetic term suhbah (or sohbet in Turkish, and related languages). Sohbet is a means of both spiritual companionship and spiritual conversation – a way of being with our companions that moves beyond these surface differences. It is in this spirit that I wish to offer a personal exploration of some key aspects of the worldview of Islam – as a means of sharing, beyond sectarian and religious labels, from one human being to all those who happen to read these words.
In talking to others, I have occasionally encountered those who feel that the Islamic tradition has little to say of love. According to this view, although the Quran and prophetic traditions spend a great deal of time extolling the power, might and majesty of God, they say almost nothing of Divine love. Although the Quran contains numerous references to God’s kindness and compassion, as well as to His maintenance of the Universe, it presents these as attributes of a distant, cosmic ruler – Who is so exalted as to make any real relationship impossible. On reflection, I think this idea comes from a misunderstanding of the conceptual universe of Islam. In particular, it arises from a misunderstanding of how Islam conceptualises compassion, mercy and love.
A brief example might help to illustrate my point more clearly. In Surah al-Dhariyat, we find the following verse:
‘And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me’ (51:56)
Without understanding the full range of meanings behind the key term ‘worship’ (`ibadah), it is easy to misunderstand this verse. Indeed, it has often been seen as a command for mere robotic service, as though God requires human automata. When the semantic range of ibadah is explored, it then becomes possible to have a much fuller understanding of the Quran’s vision of life’s pupose (this is something I hope to do soon, insha Allah). Furthermore, even those verses that refer to Divine Immanence, are sometimes believed to paint a picture of God as an angry watcher.
Personally, this has not been how I have experienced God, as a Muslim. Indeed, this picture is not one most Muslims would recognise I suspect. So, where, then, does this idea come from? Whilst, in part, this may derive from older visions of Islam as a dry, law-bound faith, I also think this misunderstanding comes from a lack of familiarity with the conceptual universe of Islam, as broadly conceived. So, with these things in mind, I’d like to explore a key aspect of Islam’s picture of the Divine – namely, Rahma.
Arabic words are based on trilateral roots, which give the basic meaning of the term. The root of rahma, ra ha ma, has the following basic meanings:
‘the womb, blood relatives; mercy, kindness, compassion, pity, sympathy, to show mercy, to show compassion, to let off, to be kind, forgiveness, bounty, good fortune, blessing’ (Badawi and Haleem, Arabic-English Dictionary of Quranic Usage, p.354)
Forms derived from this root occur some 342 times throughout the Quran. As we can see, therefore, it is an important concept. Indeed, every chapter but one opens with the phrase Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim (In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful). As we can see, there are two basic senses: family ties and relationships (expressed in Quranic parlance as the ‘ties of the womb’) and compassion.
This connection between mercy and the ties of kinship is made explicit in an interesting tradition, related on the authority of Abdullah ibn Abu Awfa:
‘The Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) said, ‘Mercy is not conferred on people when there is someone among them who severs ties of kinship’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 63)
Those who deliberately weaken the bonds of family love are thus deprived of mercy in their own lives, leading to a further hardening of the heart. Conversely, as this statement attributed to Ibn Umar makes clear, maintaining the ‘ties of the womb’ encourage the outpouring of divine grace and mercy:
‘Ibn Umar said: ‘If someone fears his Lord and maintains his ties of kinship, his term of life will be prolonged, he will have abundant wealth and his people will love him’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 58)
Here, rahma is decisively linked with love. Indeed, this mercy is the intimate, personalised and life-enhancing outpouring of God’s love. Strengthening the bonds of family strengthens love, and loving-kindness allows the development of deep, spiritual bonds. It is only through rahma that one can acquire love; it is only through love (or perhaps we might say manifested mercy) that true spiritual companionship (suhbah) can emerge. Perhaps this is why religious communities are often depicted as being spiritual families, as the context in which rahma and love can grow beyond their primary genetic roots.
Islamic ideas of mercy contain love – indeed, we might say that they point to the embodiment of love in all its fullness. Compassion is presented as the embodiment of love…testifying to a greater love beyond. In a number of significant hadith, the relationship between rahma and parental love is given further nuance. In one such tradition, Anas ibn Malik relates the following story:
‘A woman came to Aisha (God be pleased with her) and Aisha gave her three dates. She gave each of her children a date and kept one date for herself. The children ate the two dates and then looked at their mother. She took the date and split it and gave each child half a date. The Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) came and Aisha told him about it. He said, ‘Are you amazed at that? Allah has granted her mercy because of her mercy towards her children’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 89)
This mother’s tender concern for her children’s well-being is here underlined as the very embodiment of rahma. In the English-speaking world, we would use the word ‘love’ to refer to the quality that drives a mother’s compassion. Abu Hurayra relates another interesting hadith:
‘I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, Allah divided mercy into one-hundred parts and He kept ninety-nine parts with Him and sent down one part upon the earth, and because of that, this one single part, His creaures are merciful to each other, so that even the mare lifts up its hoofs away from its baby animal, lest it should trample on it. (Bukhari, Book 73, 29).
This hadith adds to our understanding of rahma, which is again connected to parental love. In this case, the way a mare cares for its foal is also described as mercy. That is, compassion is an innate quality given to all living creatures – in a sense, mercy is the default setting of creation. We are then told that this universal mercy is merely one small aspect of God’s compassion for creation. Again, what the Islamic tradition describes as rahma, the English-speaking world would understand as love.
It is this compassion, this loving-kindness, that should form the basis of every action. Qurra ibn Iyas relates the following hadith:
‘A man said, ‘Messenger of Allah, whenever I slaughter a sheep, I show mercy to it (by using a sharp knife to ensure the least suffering)’ – or the man said, ‘I show mercy to the sheep when I slaughter it.’ He said twice, ‘If you showed mercy towards the sheep, Allah will show mercy to you’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 373)
Performing each action from a state of loving-kindness brings a greater, deeper love from God. A number of ahadith underline this reciprocity:
Abu Hurayra said: ‘The Messenger of God (as) kissed al-Hasan ibn Ali while al-Aqra’ ibn Habis al-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra’ said, ‘I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them.’ The Messenger of Allah (as) looked at him and said, ‘Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 91).
Abu Hurayra said: ‘The Prophet (as) said, ‘Anyone who does not show mercy to our children nor acknowledge the right of our old people is not one of us’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 353)
A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: ‘A bedouin came to the Prophet (as) and said, ‘Do you kiss you children? We do not kiss them.’ The Prophet (as) said, ‘Can I put mercy in your hearts after Allah has removed it?’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 90)
The connection between rahma and love is again given in this early commentary on a Quranic verse:
Urwa commented on the verse, ‘Lower the wing of humility to them out of mercy’ (17:24) (It means): ‘Do not refuse them anything they love’ (Adab al-Mufrad no. 9, Ath 5)
Drawing these things together, we can see that rahma denotes loving-kindness, a mercy that flows directly from love. Perhaps we might go so far as to describe rahma as embodied love, as love made manifest, the word made flesh. Understanding the earthly operation of rahma also provides us a semantic context within which to approach more metaphysical expressions. One report has this to say:
‘Abu al-Harith al-Kirmani said: ‘A man said to Abu Raja, ‘I greet you and I ask Allah to join us both of us together in the abiding Abode of His mercy (rahma)’. Abu Raja said, ‘Is anyone capable of that? What is the abiding abode of His mercy?’ The man said, ‘The Garden’. He said, ‘That is not correct’. The man said, ‘Then what is the abiding abode of His mercy?’ He said, ‘The Lord of the Worlds’.
In other words, the true abode of divine mercy is God Himself. The true Source of Rahma is al-Rahman. This makes for a very interesting reading ofSurah al-Rahman, the 55th chapter of the Quran:
‘The Most Merciful (al-Rahman), taught the Quran, created Man, [And] taught him eloquence’ (55:1-4).
Ahmad ibn Ajiba (d. 1809), in his spiritual commentary on these verses, has this to say:
‘The mercy thus comprised by the Name of al-Rahman has two aspects. One is Essential, inseparable from the Divine Essence, and the other Attributive, by which the sustenance of creation comes about and God shows mercy to those He will … Since the Quran is among God’s greatest gifts, He relates the act of its teaching to His very Essence. Indeed, the Quran is itself a theophany of of the Attributes of the Divine Essence, of Its mysteries and Its acts, and it unveils these spiritual realities to anyone whose inner vision God Most High has opened’ (The Immense Ocean, trans. M A Aresmouk & M A Fitzgerald, 2009, page 11).
Elsewhere in the Quran we read the following verse:
‘Say, ‘Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful (al-Rahman). Whichever [nam] you call to Him belong the Names Most Beautiful’ (17:110)
In this verse, al-Rahman is set beside the Name Allah, the All-comprehensive Name (Ism al-Jami`). In other words, compassion, mercy and love flow from the very Essence of God – suggesting that Creation itself represents the manifestation of loving-kindness, of embodied love. In this regard, it is worth closing with the following profound hadith qudsi (or sacred tradition):
‘Indeed My mercy and compassion (rahma) prevail over My anger’ (Ibn Arabi, Mishkat al-Anwar, 47)
Beloved, gather us all within the folds of Your mercy. Enliven every heart with Your overflowing love!
Peace, one and all…
In his Memorials of the Saints (Tadhkirat al-Awliya), Attar includes a profound story of the early Sufi saint Ibrahim ibn Adham. I was reading it on the train home this evening and wanted to share it here. It is set in Mecca, in the environs of the Ka’ba. May it be of benefit to all who pass by.
‘It is related the Ibrahim said: ‘At night I used to be on the lookout for a time when I would find the Ka’ba empty and free of worshippers and could pray for something I needed. I didn’t find the opportunity until one night when a heavy rain was falling. I went and seized the chance – it was just Ibrahim and the Ka’ba. I performed my circumambulations and took hold of the knocker on the Ka’ba’s door and asked for immunity from sin. I heard a voice call out, ‘You ask Me for immunity from sin? All the people ask Me for this. If I grant everyone immunity, what will become of My oceans of forgiveness and pardon, of my mercy and compassion? What use will they be?’
I then said, ‘O God, forgive me my sins.’ I heard the voice say, ‘Speak to Me on behalf of the world, not on behalf of yourself. It’s better for others to speak on your behalf’
Peace, one and all…
Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq (Quddus Allahi sirruhu) said:
‘Among what God, the Exalted, revealed to Prophet Moses: ‘I have not created anything as dear to Me as My believing servant, so when I try him I do so for his own good, and I make him prosper for his own good, and I shield him for his own good. And I know best what improves My servant, so let him endure My trial and be thankful for My favours, and be content with My decree, and I will record him among the righteous’
The Scale of Wisdom, 911
Peace, one and all…
As the wine merchant cares for the needs of the drunk
God forgives sin, and wards off pestilence.
Bringer of wine, be fair and fill up the poor man’s cup
so his craving won’t spill over and fill the world with grief.
For those of us stung by loss and craving wine
either fine wine or reunion will remedy our pain.
And yet, from those sufferings, the word of peace may come,
if the pilgrim stays devoted to the covenant of faith.
Seeker, should toil come to you, or rest,
trace those to no one else; both have come from God.
In sweatshops where there’s no room for thought or understanding
why do the ignorant make needless work?
Singer, strum the lute: ‘No one perished before his time’.
Whoever doesn’t hum along is sadly ignorant.
Wasted with desire for wine, Hafiz was scorched by love -
where is the breath of Jesus, to raise us back to life?
Peace, one and all…
In a beautiful passage, the Quran speaks of the collection and distribution of the compulsory alms-tax (the zakat):
‘Alms are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect and for bringing hearts together and for freeing captives and for those in debt and for the cause of God and for the traveler – an obligation [imposed] by God. And God is Knowing and Wise’ (9:60)
This verse has long been understood as being the basis of an organised collection system, by which that alms-tax is collected. Whilst this is certainly true, a closer examination draws out a number of deeper connections.
Although this compulsory alms tax is most often described as zakat (from a root meaning ‘purification’), in this verse a different term is used. If we look a little closer at this verse, we can draw this out more clearly. The word used here is sadaqat, literally meaning ‘charity’. Significantly, this word derives from a root denoting truth and truthfulness. Thus, we can say that charity is a practical means of engaging with truth, of manifesting truth in everyday life. To engage in regular charity is thus a means of visualising and actualising truth. Moreover, given that this verse refers to the compulsory zakat, it forcefully underlines two further points: all that we own comes to us from God, of ourselves we own nothing. Secondly, a just and equitable, organised tax system is a collective means of manifesting this truth. Religion is not merely a matter of private observance, it is also concerned with social justice.
‘Sadaqa is only for … bringing hearts together and for freeing captives and for those in debt and for the cause of God and for the wayfarer…’
Charity is thus a means of bringing peoples together, and for the cause of God, which is here tied to freeing humanity from captivity and debt.
Sadaqa is thus connected with love, with truth, in a spiritual, personal and collective sense. It is therefore an aspect of justice, particularly in the social realm. To give charity to others, in an arranged, socially accepted manner, is to do justice – and to do justice is to manifest the equilibrium of love. Indeed, the more we realise this, the more deeply we are able to access truth, to plumb the depths of sadaqa. Charity is thus a means of approaching Truth.
Charity is a function of our humanity, and is a means of enhancing relationships with others. This is why the Prophet (alaihi al-salatu wa al-salam) speaks of sadaqa in terms of its social utility, as in the following examples:
‘Charity given to one’s relatives twice multiplies its reward’ (al-Tabarani)
‘A kind word is charity’ (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
‘God has never dignified anyone due to his ignorance, nor humiliated anyone due to his knowledge. And wealth is never diminished as a result of charity’ (al-Daylami)
‘Two qualities are never coupled in a believer: miserlinenss and immorality’ (al-Bukhari)
This verse also points towards a deeper, existential truth: we are utterly dependent upon God in every aspect of our lives, in each new moment and place. This becomes clear when we look again at this verse:
‘Sadaqat is only for al-fuqara’ and al-masakin…’
Fuqara’ means those who are absolutely poor, without any other means, whilst masakin means those who are destitute, and therefore weak. Elsewhere, the Quran describes this poverty and weakness in interesting terms:
‘O mankind! You are those in need of God (literally, ‘you are the fuqara’), and God is the Free of Need (al-Ghani), the Praiseworthy (al-Hamid)’ 35:15
In other words, poverty and utter dependence are the hallmarks of the human relationship with God. Not only does God give us all that we need, we are also dependent upon God in each new moment. That the verse before us should come in Surah Tawba, or the Chapter of Repentance, is also significant – especially when it is remembered that classical Sufism understood tawba as the first stage of the spiritual journey.
Our poverty and God’s overflowing grace forms a relationship, and our breath is a living moment by moment transcription of this reality. That is, we can experience this now, in our very breath. Mevlevi tradition uses breathing techniques in its formal zikr, especially connected to the testimony of faith (the shahadah) – la ilaha illa Allah. With each exhalaltion, the practice is to breathe la ilaha (‘there is no god…’) as a means of letting go of every limitation, of realising our utter contingency. Each inhalation is accompanied by illa Allah (‘except God’) – in which our chest fills with God-given breath, with an organic awareness of Divine presence. This verse alludes to this process: we acknowledge our dependence on God, we literally breathe it by emptying and we receive a new in-breath, from the Infinite Tresuries of God, al-Ghani al-Hamid.
May God help us become open handed! May God help us realise the truth of our dependence upon Him, in each new new moment and circumstance.
Wa akhiru da`wana an il hamdu lillahi rabbil alameen.
Peace, one and all…
‘And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all commandments is, hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy understanding, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second commandment is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these’ (Mark 12:29-31)
This is a truly beautiful passage from the Gospel of Mark. In it Jesus (alaihi al-salam) responds to a learned Rabbi’s earnest question: ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ Our beloved master’s response, that love is the greatest commandment, is beautiful and profound.
I came across this passage once again, recently, and was struck not only by its beauty, but by its deeply evocative description of love as arising in life-giving oneness. Of course, Islam understands God’s nature differently than Christianity, but the oneness I refer to is not primarily theological in that sense. Rather, as I read this passage, I am struck by how it calls us to see the Divine as being behind, and yet mysteriously within, all things. I was also struck by the way in which it bids humankind to respond with everything to God’s call.
However, before proceeding any further, it is worth pointing out that I do not intend to explain these verses, as though ‘I’ know what they ‘really’ mean. This is for two reasons. Firstly, although, as a human being, humanity’s collective spiritual heritage is mine to draw on, I do not intend to interpret this Christian scripture to anyone, much less the worldwide Christian tradition. Secondly, what do I know anyway? No, my purpose here is simply to respond, to explore the profound beauty of these wonderful verses. Anything right or true, comes from God. Only the mistakes are mine.
Our verse begins with the Shema, the quintessential expression of Jewish monotheism: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Love arises first in the Divine, a Unity unto Itself. The world comes into being, and is sustained moment by moment by that love. To ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy understanding, and with all thy strength’ is thus to come into harmony with that overflowing Divine love. It is also to use our every faculty in pursuit of that aim. Our hearts, our souls/personalities, understandings and strengths, must all be dedicated towards the One, the Source of All.
It is, therefore, surely noteworthy that Jesus (as) begins with the heart, long perceived as the intellectual and spiritual centre of the human being. Sufi tradition understands the heart as a kind of meeting-place, in which the physical and subtle energy centres of a human being meet. The heart is also the primary entry-point of spirit, the divinely gifted source of life. Our capacity to love thus arises in the heart, and is itself a gift from God. In other words, our ability to love is given to us by the Divine; we are given everything we need to respond fully to that call.
If the heart is the centre, the ‘soul’ is the place in which our everyday notions of ourselves arise. Sufi tradition understands, broadly, that the ‘soul’ (or nafs in Arabic) is born from a kind of union between spirit (ruh) and our bodies. By soul, I am also referring to our psychological constitutions, our personalities, and our egos. This verse shows me that I can and indeed must love God in the very depths of my soul. Moreover, we are here told that our egos are capable of loving God, of becoming an active participant in our transformations. I find this profound, because it echoes the deepest registers of Sufi thought, and also because it offers a healing truth: our individualities, our workaday selves are valuable and part of a deep and noble purpose.
‘And with all thy understanding’. That Jesus (as) should mention understanding after both the heart and the soul is interesting. It is interesting because it suggests that in truth the intellect is the servant of the heart and soul. It is also interesting because it suggests that mere intellection has its own limits, when not grounded in the heart’s spiritual reality. Moreover, it contradicts the idea that spiritual growth is somehow against learning and knowledge per se. Perhaps the real point being alluded to here is that intellect must also serve. It must not master us.
‘And with all thy strength’. Not only do we possess strength, we also possess weakness – which is to say that our strength has its limitations. If, however, we can open ourselves to Divine love, we can partake of the heart’s strength, which arises in the infinite love of God. That is, if we serve in love’s cause, ‘our’ strength is enfolded by His strength. An Arabic phrase expresses this beautifully: la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (‘there is no power or might except in God’).
‘And the second commandment is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these’. By these words, Jesus (as) again draws on the deep roots of Judaism, being a re-iteration of Leviticus 19:18. Once we come into harmony with love, our path takes us beyond ourselves, out into the world. The perfection of love lies in service to others – with the understanding that service to God’s creatures is service to God Himself. To love our neighbour as ourselves means many things – ethical treatment, justice, respect, and beyond all of these a deep love for those around us, that runs beyond mere superficiality, beyond sentimentality. Moreover, from the perspective of oneness, it is God’s love that brings these relationships into existence. We are faced with the Divine regardless of the direction we look. The Quran expresses this most beautifully:
‘And to God belongs the east and the west. So wherever you turn, there is the Face of God. Indeed, God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing’ (2:115)
May the Divine Beloved open our hearts, our souls, our minds, our bodies, and every relationship we partake of, to His overflowing grace, mercy and love.
May all that you do this day be blessed.
Wa akhiru da`wana an il hamdu lillahi rabbil alameen.
Peace, one and all…
‘Everyone in the world, whether man or woman,
is dying and continually passing through the
agony of death.
Regard their words as the final injunctions
which a father gives his son. In this way
consideration and compassion may grow in your heart,
and the root of hatred and jealousy may be cut away.
Look upon your kinsman with that intention,
that your heart may burn with pity for his death agony.
Everything that is coming will come:
consider it to have already arrived;
consider your friend to be already
in the throes of death, losing his life.
If selfish motives prevent you from this insight,
cast them from your heart;
and if you cannot cast them out, don’t stand
inertly in incapacity:
know that with everyone who feels incapable,
there is a goodly Incapacitator.
Incapacity is a chain laid upon you:
you must open your eye to behold the One who
lays the chain’