Purify My House

Peace, one and all…

‘Purify My House for those who circumambulate it and those who bow and prostrate themselves’ (Quran 22:26)

In his beautiful commentary on this verse, beloved Sahl al-Tustari focuses our attention on inward purification. Within each heart lies an inner ka’ba, an inward ‘place’ beyond place where we can meet God within our own manifest individuality. Just as the outward Ka’ba is our physical qibla, the heart is our inward qibla, directing us Home:

‘That is, ‘Purify My House from idols, for those among My servants whose hearts are pure from doubt, misgivings and hardness. Therefore, just as God has commanded the purification of His House [at Mecca] from idols, so also He has commanded the purification of that house of His in which He deposited the mystery of faith and the light of gnosis, namely, the heart of the believer. God, Exalted is He, has commanded the believer to purify himself from rancour, deceit, inclination towards the lusts of the lower self and heedlessness. For those who circumambulate it [the Kaʿba], as also for those who uphold the lights of faith, there will be manifold increase in [God-given] success’.

He then turns to explore the second half of the verse: ‘and those who bow and prostrate themselves’:

‘…in fear and hope. Truly the heart is [like] a house: if it is unoccupied it goes to ruin, and [likewise] if it is occupied by other than its owner, or by other than one whom the owner has settled there, it will also go to ruin. Therefore, if you wish your hearts to be in good repair, do not let your prayer in them be other than to God, Exalted is He; if you want to keep your breasts in good repair, let not anything be in them other than [awareness of] the Hereafter. If you want to preserve your tongues, do not let your prayer on them be other than truthfulness; and if you wish to preserve your bodily members, do not allow them to become engaged with anything other than what is in accordance with the Sunna’.

Ultimately, our life is a sacred journey, a pilgrimage. Traditionally, pilgrims had to travel a long way, and face all manner of difficulties, before arriving at their goal. Our spiritual lives are also a pilgrimage, in which we journey from our everyday state to a lived, moment by moment awareness of God, in God. And, just as pilgrims begin their journey from their physical home, so too do we start from wheresoever we are. No matter where we are, we can begin our journey to God. No matter what we have done, we can always return home.

And our last prayer is in praise of God, Sustainer of all the worlds.

Ask olsun! May love increase!

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