'O God, carry us in the ships of Thy deliverance, give us to enjoy the pleasure of whispered prayer to Thee, make us drink at the pools of Thy love, let us taste the sweetness of Thy affection and nearness, allow us to struggle in Thee, preoccupy us with obeying Thee, and purify our intentions in devoting works to Thee, for we exist through Thee and belong to Thee, and we have no one to mediate with Thee but Thee!' Imam Sajjad ('A); Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Signs and Gateways to seeking Yaqin

Jami' al-Sa'adat by Muhammad Mahdi ibn abi Dharr al-Naraqi

There are certain signs associated with the state of certainty against which anyone can measure himself to determine his own degree of conviction. These signs are:

1. Reliance on God in all one's affairs, and having mind only for His good pleasure. To put it succinctly, it should be one's firm belief that: 'There is no power or might [in the world] except that [it is derived] from God, the Most High, and the Most Great.'

2. Humility before God, both inwardly and outwardly, at all times and under all circumstances, and obedience to His commands to the smallest detail.

3. Possession of extraordinary - almost miraculous-powers through being close to God - a condition that comes about after one has realized one's insignificance and weakness before His greatness and majesty.

There are three stages of Certainty
1. `Ilm al-Yaqin: Which is certain and permanent conviction. It is like the conviction of a man who when he sees smoke believes with certainty that there must be a fire too.

2. `Ayn al-Yaqin: Which is beholding something with-either the outer or the inner-eye. Using the above example, it is like the conviction of a man who not only sees the smoke but fire itself.

3. Haqq al-Yaqin: Which is the state of certainty acquired when a form of spiritual and actual union exists between the knower and the known thing. This would be the case, for example, if one should be himself in the midst of fire mentioned in the above example. This is called "the union of the knower and the known", and is discussed in its appropriate place. 

In order to attain haqq al-yaqin one must fulfil certain necessary conditions. These are:
1. The individual soul must have the capacity to receive and understand these truths; the soul of a child, for example, cannot understand the reality of things.
2. The soul should not be one defiled by corruption and sin.
3. Complete attention must be concentrated on the object in question, and the mind must be free of pollution of worldly and base interests.
4. One must be free of any kind of blind imitation and prejudice.
5. In order to attain the aim, relevant and necessary preliminaries must be covered.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Observing Moderation - first step

Allamah Tehrani from the teachings of Allamah Tabatabai

The first step for the spiritual traveler to take is to abandon the contingent affairs; those illusory and fictitious values, and conventional habits and practices that prevent him from traveling on the path. What we mean is that he should live in moderation among the people.
Some people are constantly preoccupied with the rules and customs of society, and all their thoughts and efforts are centered on pleasing others and cultivating friendship. Such people are obsessed with formalities and welcome all kinds of interaction with various people, whether meaningful or useless, for the sake of maintaining their social status.
They habitually subject themselves to these formalities in order to maintain their actual or imagined prestige, often exposing themselves to obligations and severe hardships. In order to preserve that which is peripheral, they set aside the very substance of life. They take common people’s admiration and/or disapproval as criteria and waste their lives conforming to those standards.
The vessel of their being is besieged with the tides of social habits and customs, swept hither and thither by the waves of social decorums and values of the society. Not knowing themselves, this group of people have no will power of their own, but are totally submissive to the will of society and follow that.

In sharp contrast to this group, there is another group of people who withdraw from society and people, renounce all kinds of social customs and norms, and free themselves from all societal obligations and privileges. They do not associate with or frequent the company of people, but live in their peaceful seclusion to the extent that their very seclusion brings them notoriety and recognition.

In order to attain his desired goal, the traveler must always observe moderation, adopt a middle position, refrain from either extreme, and walk on the straight path. This objective will not be achieved unless a reasonable degree of interaction is maintained with society. In such a situation, should a discord inevitably arise between the spiritual traveler and ordinary people as a result of the frequency and/or quality of their association, it would not be very harmful to the wayfarer.

Of course, such a conflict will rarely arise because, while social intercourse is necessary and essential to a certain extent, the traveler would not under any circumstances submit himself [to follow] the manners and practices of the common people: 'And they do not fear the blame of any blamer [in matters relating to God].' (5:54)

This verse in effect points to the traveler’s steadfastness in his pursuit of the straight path and his fortitude in his beliefs and practices.
On the whole, one can say that the wayfarer must examine every social issue, evaluate its advantages and disadvantages, and never submit to the moral values and modalities of the masses of the people.

Kernel of the Kernel; by Sayyid Muhammad Husain Husaini Tehrani, From the Teachings of Allamah Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai