True Chivalry

Peace, one and all…

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One of the most beautiful and most profound explanations of the true purpose of spiritual chivalry.

‘Therefore, the true Futuwwah is nothing more, but nothing less, than man’s effective realisation of his radical ontological indigence and, with the destruction of the illusory ego, the unveiling of that which is and always will be the Unique Reality…

Along the path that leads to this end, the fata must first learn not to love his ego, and that is why, in the course of his novitiate, the Sheikh teaches him to love others before himself, and God above all. But once the goal has been attained, he discovers that the secret of his apprenticeship is that he has no ego, and what he loved was but a dream. The idol has reverted to nothingness; both ‘self’ and ‘other’ cease to exist. For him, the trials of spiritual combat have bow become like the furnace of Abraham (Quran 21:69), ‘refreshment and peace’ (bardan wa salaman)’.

Michel Chodkiewicz, The Way of Sufi Chivalry, 21-22

Bahar Movahed & Ali Akbar Moradi: Goblet of Eternal Light

Peace, one and all…

Light in the Forest --- Image by © Tony Hallas/Science Faction/Corbis

A beautiful poem set to wonderful music.  Enjoy and may your day be blessed.

By the eternal light of this goblet
what can I do if I do not remove
the darkness of false virtue from my own self?

By such a flame
what can I do if I do not light up
the endless darkness of this night?

If there is something in the treasury of my heart,
it is my passion, my fervor for you, so with such a balm
what can I do if I do not cure the wound of love?

My loved ones have gone away on the grim reaper’s caravan.
O death, please take me to my loved ones
so that I might not be left behind.

Now that the beloved postpones her sight
to the Day of Resurrection,
what can I do if do not mourn until the promised day?

Mamoosta Mahwi

Don’t Take So Much On To Yourself

Peace, one and all…

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Don’t take so much on to yourself.
Sit silently with your beloved,
and together
contemplate the Beloved of All.

Don’t take so much on to yourself.
Remember what you are:
a tiny water droplet
lost amidst the Ocean.

Don’t take so much on to yourself.
Live, love, serve, remember:
what’s here today will be gone tomorrow,
so give of yourself freely while you can.

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An I That Is Experiencing…

Peace, one and all…

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‘In this realm also you can observe two things: an ‘I’ that is experiencing and something that is experienced… That which experiences, on the other hand, is known by many names: the ‘kingdom of Heaven’ or ‘kingdom of God’,’ ‘the light,’ ‘Sophia’ or ‘Wisdom,’ ‘the Word’ or ‘Logos,’ and nous…All these terms reveal different aspects of this primordial Self, or experiencer… Rudolf Steiner says, ‘Body and soul are the vehicles of the ‘I'; it works in them. Just as the physical body has its center in the brain, the soul has its center in the ‘I”…

Understood in this way, these terms cast new light on many Gospel texts. When Christ says, ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33), he is giving a one-sentence commentary of inner Christianity…And when the Gospel says of the Logos, ‘The world knew him not’ (John 1:10), this is because the world, strictly speaking, cannot know; it is what is known. ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12) points to the truth that the ‘I’ that perceives is what makes it possible for the world to be seen at all; without a perceiver, an experiencer, it is nothingness’.

Richard Smoley, Inner Christianity 50-51

The Search For A Pure Language

Peace, one and all…

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The human personality is fond of wearing costumes, but to forget that one is in costume is an unfortunate, if not a ludicrous condition. Literature, and especially poetry, is the search for something beyond costumes and masks. Poetry is the search for a pure language that can express that ‘something’ that gives meaning and life to all these events and forms we witness.

Shaykh Kabir Helminski, Civilization of Paradise

Are You Not Worldly?

Peace, one and all…

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‘For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly?’

(1 Corinthians 3:3)

These powerful words from the First Letter to the Corinthians remind us of a simple, profound truth: true oneness rules all things to peace; true oneness brings us into a harmony with each other and the world around us. Anger and jealousy are signs that our realisation of oneness is as yet incomplete. Moreover, being in oneness means being in justice, which Islamic tradition defines as the ability to put all things in their proper place. Anger and jealousy are signs that our particular community still needs work, especially in terms of sacred community, which seeks to move us beyond this world.

Ask olsun,
Abdur Rahman

May This Goodness Forever Last

Peace, one and all…

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God forbid that a being such as You
Should throw one who has placed his hope in You into despair.
Your forgiveness is immense and Your gifts are ample.
O You who give Your kingdom and the angels their sustenance,
O Pole around which Heaven turns,
May this goodness and hospitality forever refresh Your guests.

Amir Arif Chelebi, Aflaki Manaqib al-Arifin 691

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Old Poem

Peace, one and all…

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Did Chuang Chou dream
He was the butterfly,
Or the butterfly
That it was Chuang Chou?

In one body’s
Metamorphoses,
All is present,
Infinite virtue!

You surely know
Fairyland’s oceans
Were made again
A limpid brooklet,

Down at Green Gate
The melon gardener
Once used to be
Marquis of Tung-ling.

Wealth and honour
Were always like this:
You strive and strive,
But what do you seek?

Li Po

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The Dust Beneath The Feet Of The Saints

Peace, one and all…

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Know that one must grind and then drink seven times daily the dust beneath the feet of the saints (erenler) whose hallowed mouths convey the tidings of spiritual understanding.  This is because a spiritual heart is the heart of a saint.  He is a magnificent treasury of the Real and a vantage point (nazargah).  Spiritual knowledge keeps those hearts alive and the heart’s eyes open.  Those whom the Real deems unbefitting are granted no spiritual understanding in their hearts and they comfort no one.

Hazret Haji Bektash Veli, Makalat, Chapter 7

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The Prophet (as) On Sacred Community

Peace, one and all…

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In a recent post we explored the importance of sacred community.  Both individually and collectively, we are the Temple of God on earth, and one of the most important purposes of religion is in enabling us to realise this ever more fully.  This is why we find a great many sayings of the Prophet (as) on developing sacred community.  In this post, therefore, I want to explore a few of these sayings.

In the first place, sacred community must be based on our living humanity, on those ties which unite us all.  That is, for community to be sacred it must be based on our most fundamental shared reality, our highest common denominator.  As such, the Messenger of God (as) said:

‘Love for humanity what you love for yourself’ Bukhari

There are many sayings which describe numerous ways in which to foster conscious Muslim community.  The more I read these, and reflect on them, the more convinced I become that this training is stepping stone to an ever more conscious humanity, of community building on a grand scale.  From this perspective, many sayings of the Prophet (as) take on a new, deeper significance.  As God wills, I hope to explore these sayings in the coming weeks and months.

‘God’s protective hand is with the congregation’ al-Tirmidhi

‘Prayer in congregation surpasses individual prayer by twenty seven degrees’ Bukhari and Muslim

‘Two should never converse privately excluding a third until others join them. The reason being is that it would dismay him’ Ibn Majah

‘The characteristics of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he gives his word, he breaks it; and when he is given a trust, he is unfaithful’ Bukhari and Muslim

‘Do not belittle any act of kindness, even that of greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance’ (Muslim)

‘He who directs others to a good deed is as the one who did it; and, assuredly, God loves the act of aiding the distressed’ Ibn Abi al-Dunya

‘May God have mercy on a servant who spoke well and gained good, or kept silent and avoided harm’ Ibn al-Mubarak

‘Three practices will keep sincere your brother’s love for you: greeting him when you see him; making room for him in gatherings; and calling him by the most endearing of his names’ Bayhaqi

‘Every Muslim has five rights over every other Muslim: the right to a reply, should he greet him; an acceptance, should he invite him; a visit, should he fall ill; a prayer, should he sneeze; a presence at his funeral, should he die’ Ibn Majah

‘The servants God loves most are those most sincere with God’s servants’ Imam Ahmad

‘The most virtuous behaviour is to engage those who sever relations, to give to those who withhold from you, and to forgive those who wrong you’ al-Tabarani

‘If you happen to see a funeral procession, stand for it until it passes or the dead are laid to rest’ Bukhari and Muslim

‘Muslims are a fraternity; therefore, there is no superiority of one over another, except in scruples (taqwa)’ al-Tabarani

‘If a Muslim consoles his brother during some crisis, God will adorn him in garments of grace on the Day of Judgement’ Ibn Majah

‘A believer is not one who eats his fill while his next door neighbour goes hungry’ al-Bukhari

‘A Muslim never gives a fellow Muslim a better gift than wisdom through which God increases him in guidance or turns him away from harmful behaviour’ al-Bayhaqi

‘Whoever walks with a tyrant in support of him, while aware of his tyranny, has abandoned Islam’ al-Tabarani

‘On the Day of Judgement, God will humiliate and forsake anyone who betrays a believer to a tyrant’ al-Bayhaqi

‘Whoever defrauds us is not one of us; deception and guile are hellish’ Abu Dawud & al-Tabarani

‘It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first’.

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