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Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Principles Of Our Path, V, VI & VII

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan
(Taken from a lecture given on May 10, 1997 in Stockholm, Sweden)

(a. General Principles)

5. Murâqaba (Awareness)

The next principle in the tariqa is a continuous state of murâqaba (awareness, watchfulness). It is the awareness that Almighty Allah is omnipresent and sees everything and that we are before Him all the time. It is the watchfulness to stay away from the sin and disobedience while paying utmost attention to acting in compliance to His consent with the thought, "Almighty Allah sees me; He is with me and present everywhere."

This is required because the Prophet SAS said: "The highest level of belief is the awareness that wherever you are, Almighty Allah is with you."

There are verses in the Qur'an: (Wa huwa ma'akum, ayna mâ kuntum) "O mankind! Wherever you are, Allah is with you." (Wallàhu bimâ ta'malûna basîr) "Allah sees what you do." (Lâ tudrikuhul-absàr, wa huwa yudrikuhul-absàr) "Eyes do not see Him, but He sees the eyes."

The eyes have a limited capability of vision. When the light goes off, they cannot see anything. We know that there are walls, the furniture, the table, and other things, yet we cannot see them in the dark. So the eyes have a limited ability: they cannot see the particles in the air, they cannot see the light with a wavelength below a specific value or above another specific value. They are powerless in that sense. Yet there is no limit in the vision of Allah: He sees everything.

The dervish has to realize that Allah is manifested in everything and keep this awareness all the time. Then the desired Sufism is achieved with the proper code of conduct. The dervish says, "Almighty Allah sees me, so I should not stretch my legs. Almighty Allah hears me, so I should not utter this word. Almighty Allah watches me, so I should not get involved in misconduct, disobedience, or improper actions."

6. Wuqùf-u Qalbî (observance and control of the heart)

The next principle of the tariqa described in the books is the Wuqùf-u Qalbî. Wuqùf-u Qalbî means the observance of the heart, the control of the heart.

As stated in the verse above, Allah cannot be seen with these eyes. These eyes do not have the power to see Almighty Allah. If He makes Himself visible, these eyes cannot not look at Him as they cannot look at the sun.

Prophet Moses AS was described in the Glorious Qur'an. He said, (Qàla: Rabbi arînî anzur ilayk) "My Lord! I hear You, I receive the revelation; please allow me to see You."

Almighty Allah said: (Qàla: Lan tarânî) "You cannot see Me!" (Walâkinunzur ilal Jabali) "If you want to understand why you cannot see Me, look at this Mount Sinai." Moses AS was at the Mount Sinai. (Fa inistakqarra makânahû fasawfa tarânî). "I am going to show Myself to the mountain, so you observe what will happen to the mountain. If the mountain can withstand My manifestation, then you can see Me. Watch what will happen to the mountain."

(Falammâ tajalla rabbuhû lil-jabal.) "His Lord manifested Himself to the mountain. (Ja'alahû dakkâ) the mountain got shattered. The Mount Sinai could not withstand the manifestation, and got crumbled. The rocks exploded and got broken into pieces. (Wa harra mûsâ sa'iqà) Moses AS collapsed and fainted due to the intensity of the event."

When the prophet received revelation while he was mounted on a camel, the camel's legs would be bent and it would collapse to the ground. The camel could not carry the weight of the revelation, and kneel down to the ground. It is the revelation from Almighty Allah; it is not possible to withstand.

If the eyes cannot see Him, how would we attain the ma'rifatullah, the knowledge of Almighty Allah? How would we see Him? It is done by the heart. The tool for acknowledging Allah and knowing Him is the heart in us.

There is an organ in our chest that works like a clock. It is the physical heart. The heart described in the ahadith and in the verses of the Qur'an is not this physical heart. It is the spiritual heart that is called "gönül" in Turkish. From a location point of view, it is related to the physical heart, yet it is not this piece of meat. It is a tool of spiritual sense and perception. In the Qur'an bad people are described as: (Lahum qulûbun lâ yafqahûna bihâ) "They have hearts, but they do not comprehend the details; they do not use their hearts."

That means the heart is a tool of perception and comprehension. It is not a piece of flesh. The books on Tasawwuf clearly describe this. For instance, Imam Ghazzali states this in the beginning of his work Ihya-u Ulûmiddîn.

We ought to observe this spiritual heart. O friend! Didn't you express your desire that you want to see Almighty Allah, know Him, love Him, and attain His consent? Then, look at your spiritual heart.

That is why a person must watch the window of his spiritual heart. Those who do not look through the window cannot see the beautiful view. Those who do not look at the screen do not see the picture. Those who do not observe their heart cannot realize the manifestation of Allah. One has to turn his attention to his heart. In a quiet place, one must turn to his heart and observe it.

One of the poets of our time puts it in a nice way:

I wonder how my inner world fits in my body; I get amazed as I watch it. The worlds are so small for my sight, So I watch my inner world.

The inner world is the spiritual heart. If a person watches his inner world, he does it while his eyes are closed; his head, tilted. He does it when he disconnects himself from the outer world. You may see an advanced dervish sitting while his head is tilted. You wonder, "Is he asleep?" Of course not. He is looking at his heart. He is watching the revelations through a window. That is needed!

"I sat across the television, but I fell asleep due to the hard work I did during the day. What did it say?"

My friend, if you do not look at it, you cannot see it. If you fall asleep or close your eyes, you will not be able to see anything.

Since Almighty Allah is known by the spiritual heart, and He is observed there, man has to look at his spiritual heart, and turn to his inner world.

Almighty Allah manifests Himself to the heart of the man. Almighty Lord does not fit in heavens or the earth, yet He fits in the heart of a believer. He manifests Himself to the heart of a believer. Then look at your heart and observe.

Imagine a man who never watches his heart, his eyes are turned to outside. He observes birds, trees, flowers, people passing by, events, and alike. For Allah's sake, take a look at your heart for once! Observe your inner world for a while. If you do not watch, you will not see what is happening there. This is needed, and called Wuquf-u qalbî.

7. Keeping the Ties

Then, the Hifz-i Nisbet (the preservation of relationship, keeping the ties to the murshid in tariqa) is the seventh principle. It is a must not only in our tariqa, but also in other tariqat. If a dervish pledges allegiance to a Murshid-i Kâmil, a perfect guide, and if that guide is a proxy of our beloved Prophet, if he is one of the heirs of the Prophet, if he is authorized to guide with an authentic hand, then the dervish must respect the guide, keep the ties strong, and hold onto the silsila of the tariqa. The dervish should not let that tie become loose.

Imagine a person at the bottom of a pit or an abyss. From above a rope is extended to him to pull him up. He must hold onto that rope very tight; otherwise, he will fall all the way down.

Hifz-i Nisbet is very important; without it any progress in the tariqa is possible. The absence of it can be described as the following. Imagine a building: walls built, electrical wiring completed, light fixtures and switches installed. When you turn the switch on, no lights would come on because the house is not connected to the utility line. The Hifzi Nisbet is similar to the connection to the utility line for electricity for the house. A novice has to have a strong spiritual connection to the tariqa so that he can receive guidance and illumination.

If the house has no connection to the utility line, the lights would not come on. The light bulbs do not produce the light themselves; they have to have electricity flowing in them through a connection to the utility grid. Something comes to the light bulb, so it is lit.

Without such a connection, a dervish cannot receive spiritual guidance and enlightenment.

To Be Continued...


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