"Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light." — Holy Qur'an 2:257
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:: Candle Post #32 :: How to Participate in the Spiritual Knowledge Society? ::
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Ya Ali Madad. We live in a knowledge society in which there is a voluminous activity in every sphere of knowledge. Over the past several postings, I have used excerpts from prayers of Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi. In this posting, I would like to present his articulation of different types of knowledge. I think this will enable us to understand the power of his knowledge and the strength of his personal prayers. The moral we can take from this presentation is the quality of knowledge directly affects the quality of prayers which are composed. The quality of knowledge also shows the closeness of the human soul to the One who is above all else. Let us learn about hikma or wisdom and its relationship to three types of knowledge from the following excerpt:
|'In fact, the whole body of Mulla Sadra's transcendental theosophy functions as the rational structure and logical articulation of Ibn 'Arabi's teaching, something which is clear if we examine the key notion of hikma. One of the original meanings of this term, the understanding of which is the ultimate goal of both the sufis and philosophers, is the very 'wisdom' or 'esoteric sapience' mentioned in the Koran (II: 269): "God gives wisdom on whom he wills and whoever is given wisdom, is given a great blessing." In a saying attributed to the fifth Shi'ite Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, such hikma is interpreted as al-tanafaqquh fi'l-din, namely, the struggle to understand the meaning of faith and religion. It may be noted that the word fiqh or 'jurisprudence', from which tafafaqquh is etymologically derived, originally meant 'right understanding' and 'deep insight'. Since this type of hikma has its origin and the source in God himself, many Muslim philosophers understood 'wisdom' as the struggle to acquire divine qualities or attributes (al-takhulluq bi-Akhlaq allah).
Needless to say, the hikma alluded by the Koran is a sort of knowledge beyond the reach of the rational faculty, although human reason can apprehend its existence. In the passage at the beginning of his Futuhat, Ibn 'Arabi divides the sciences into three different ranks: rational or intellectual science, the science of taste and the science of mysteries. As far as intellectual science goes, human intelligence is the source and the master of its understanding and cognizance. In the science of taste, as its name indicates, the object of knowledge is known only through an indescribable intuition: a 'taste' which is like the taste of the sweetness of honey, to which the rational faculty cannot attain. Finally, the science of mysteries is considered to be the noblest and highest type of knowledge; it is realized only by prophets and saints, being a kind of divine grace, neither innate nor originating in human reason ï¿½ which however, is still quite capable of understanding it.'
[Source: Muhammad Reza Juzi. The Influence of Ibn 'Arabi's Doctrine of the Unity of Being on the Transcendental Theosophy of Sadr al-Din Shirazi. Volume III. The Heritage of Sufism. Late Classical Persianate Sufism (1501-1750). Edited by Leonard Lewisohn and David Morgan. 1999. Oneworld Publications, Oxford. Excerpt taken from page 267.]
Here I would like to present excerpts from Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam's speech made at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat (Ottawa, Canada) on December 6, 2008 in which he has linked the intellect to the mystery of God:
'Why rock crystal? Because of its translucency, its multiple planes, and the fascination of its colours ï¿½ all of which present themselves differently as light moves around them. The hues of rock crystal are subtle, striking and widely varied ï¿½ for they can be clear or milky, white, or rose coloured, or smoky, or golden, or black.
It is because of these qualities that rock crystal seems to be such an appropriate symbol of the profound beauty and the ever-unfolding mystery of Creation itself ï¿½ and the Creator. As the Holy Quran so powerfully affirms, "Allah is the Creator and the Master of the heavens and the earth." And then it continues: "Everything in the heavens and on earth, and everything between them, and everything beneath the soil, belongs to Him."
But in Islamic thought, as in this building, beauty and mystery are not separated from intellect ï¿½ in fact, the reverse is true. As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas - and in outer space. We reach back over hundreds of millions of years in time. Extra-ordinary fossilised geological specimens seize our imagination - palm leaves, amethyst flowers, hedgehog quartz, sea lilies, chrysanthemum and a rich panoply of shells. Indeed, these wonders are found beneath the very soil on which we tread ï¿½ in every corner of the world - and they connect us with far distant epochs and environments.'
In order to answer the question: "How can we participate in the spiritual knowledge society in order to learn about the mysteries of God and His Creation?", I would like to synthesize the information about three kinds of knowledge presented by Ibn Arabi and Noor Mowlana's Hazir Imam's explanation about the link between intellect and mystery of Allah and His Creation. It is quite clear from the above quotations that we have to seek three kinds of knowledge described by Ibn 'Arabi.
To further elaborate on this concept, I wish to raise a fundamental question: What kind of knowledge was Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam referring to when he gave us the following Dua in the Talika Mubarak on December 13, 2008: "I convey to all my beloved spiritual children individually ... blessings ... for spiritual enlightenment to guide you in your lives ..."? In my humble opinion, it is a prayer that can be actualized through bandagi and good actions, which are linked to the knowledge of the science of mysteries. Imagine the impact of the highest form of knowledge (hikma) upon the rational knowledge acquired through education and lifelong learning? In order to actualize this thought, let us think about the integration of knowledge in the design and creation of the Delegation Building of the Ismaili Imamat. Now can this type of knowledge synthesis not be used to solve all our spiritual and material problems?
From an Ismaili point of view, the ascent into the higher spheres of knowledge creates spiritual strength and creativity to solve all material and spiritual problems. Therefore, it is in our interest to continually search for the gems of crystallized knowledge which are collectively known as 'hikma' (Wisdom) every morning through mediation at spiritual campuses of the 'Aga Khan University', also known as Ismaili Jamat Khanas!
The other beauty of the Dua from the Noor Mowlana Holy Imam is that the door of highest spirituality has been opened for murids who would like to be immersed into it. This is the mechanism by which the Divine Intellect informs the human intellect. True Muslims have always maintained the balance between the material and the spiritual and have been able to grow towards understanding the mysteries of Allah and His Creation in multiple dimensions. Al-Hamdulillah!
May Mowla's Light be with all of us, always, in everything that we do!
Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam's speech made at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat (Ottawa, Canada) on December 6, 2008
Does Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam have a Spiritual University?
What can be achieved through bandagi and ism-i azam?
Eighteen Bandagi Gems
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, create Sunshine in our hearts, light in our foreheads, and bless us all with the inner vision of the Truth!
Ya Ali, Ya NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam, grant the global Jamat luminous (noorani) and spiritual (ruhani) tayid (help) to advance materially, spiritually and intellectually. Ameen.
Haizinda — Qayampaya
(Our Present Imam is Living and His NOOR is Eternal)
Rakh Mowla je Noor te Yaqeen (Certainly, we trust in Mowla's Light only),
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
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