Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Ya Ali Madad. May Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam grant peace, prosperity, happiness, barakat, higher spiritual enlightenment, spiritual & luminous tayid (help) and empowerment to you, your family, your Jamat and to all Ismailis globally. Ameen.
In this post, I would like to address the meaning of the phrase, 'Barakat in your spiritual and material worlds' which we heard in the Navroz Talika. Here is the table of contents for this post:
- Definition of the Word 'Barakah' and Related Words
- How to Actualize Blessings for Both Worlds?
- How Prepared and Receptive Are We To Blessings?
- Ibn al-Arabi's Gem on the Concept of Mercy
- Is the Mercy of al-Rahim Meritocratic?
I hope this knowledge will enable us to prepare to internalize the blessings of Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam.
Part 1: Definition of the Word 'Barakah' and Related Words
In order to shine more light on the definition of the word 'Barakah', I looked for the root *B R K in 'A concordance of the Qur'an' authored by Hanna E. Kassis, 1983, University of California Press, Berkeley (ISBN 0-520-04327-8). I saw three entries derived from this root (pp.332-3) and a list of ayats sorted grammatically under these headings:
BARAKAH (noun, feminine) ~blessing
BAARAKA (verb) ~to bless. (participle passive) one who is blessed, holy. Other derived words from this root are buurika and mubaarak.
TABAARAKA (verb) ~to be blessed
So we now have to reflect deeply on Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam's dua "Baraka in your spiritual and material worlds' because this is a comprehensive Dua. Let us reflect on how many blessings do we have in our spiritual and material worlds. The more we think about this, the more grateful we should become!
It is quite obvious that we are talking more than money, abundance or material prosperity. So I am asking myself the following questions:
- What are the different types of material blessings?
- How many of these are upon me?
- Am I grateful for these?
- Material blessings are like rain. How should I do to actualize these blessings? What is my game plan?
- What are the different types of spiritual blessings?
- How many of these are upon me?
- Am I grateful for my spiritual blessings?
- Spiritual blessings are like rain. How should I do to actualize these blessings? What is my game plan?
Isn't it really nice that Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam has sent us this dua?
Now the real question is: How do we actualize this comprehensive Dua at the level of the Jamat across Canada and across the world?
Part 2: How to Actualize Blessings for Both Worlds?
Let us first read the following ayats (7:55-58) from the Holy Qur'an (pp.582-3) and the attached footnote from S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali translation (p.578):
"Call ye on your Lord, humbly and secretly; Verily loveth not God the transgressors." (7:55)
"And* make ye not mischief in the earth after its reformation, call ye on Him fearing (His wrath) and Hoping (for His mercy); Verily the mercy of God is well-nigh unto those who do good." (7:56)
"And* He it is Who sendeth forth the (heralding) winds bearing good tidings before His mercy; until they bring laden clouds We drive it to a land which is dead, then We send down water thereon, then bring forth with it of fruits of all kinds; Thus will we bring forth the dead that ye may be mindful." (7:57)
"And* the good land, springeth forth its vegetation (in abundance) at the will of its Lord; and that which is bad cometh not forth (from it), (herbage); but scantily. Thus do we display Our signs to people who give thanks." (7:58)
*Verses 57 & 58. (856) The revelation of truth is compared to rain. Men good and bad avail of it as a good by a fertile land and as bad, by the barren soil, to mean by the one and the same grace of God the good-natured ones are profited and bad-natured ones are not profited, as in the case of rain water. It is not the mistake of the revelation which is unquestionably true but the inherent nature of various kinds of inclinations developed by the individuals themselves. (p.578)
Here are some of the things that we can do:
- Let us all count our spiritual and worldly blessings and be more thankful for these! This will create greater consciousness within ourselves.
- Call on the tasbi of 'Ya Ali, Ya Allah, Ya Muhammad' humbly and secretly, and augment this with many other forms of dhikr, supplications and remembrances within the framework of our Ismaili Tariqah.
- Do our best not to disturb the peace and harmony of others, especially in Jamat Khana. In this context, here is an excerpt from the speech of Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam at the foundation ceremony of Dhaka Jamat Khana made on Wednesday, 21 May 2008:
"But we also see the new Jamat Khana as a place which will make an important statement symbolizing an important message. We see it as a place of peace and tranquility, filled with a spirit of humility and prayer. It will not be a place for conceit or self-satisfaction, but rather a place for search and enlightenment."
- What should each one of us do to increase peace, tranquility and spirit of humility and prayer in Jamat Khana as described the above speech of Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam? A practical suggestion is to do all social networking in the social hall and maintain the sacredness and blessedness of Jamat Khana at all times. Speech is silver and silence is golden. Quiet time is really needed in the search for higher spiritual enlightenment. If you are not offering extra prayers, please be considerate and allow others to conduct their personal search In Jamat Khana.
- Let us all be humble, thankful and pure so that the barakat of the spiritual and material worlds continually enter our bodies, minds and souls. Let us be receptive to the flows of barakat, noor, mercy, spiritual knowledge (Ilm-u laduni), spiritual strength and many other gifts from the treasury of Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam! Knowledge about preparedness and receptivity to these barakats are presented in Part 3 and we have to develop a conviction to change our vision for this life and the life hereafter!
Part 3: How Prepared and Receptive Are We To Blessings?
I have taken excerpts from a book entitled 'Ibn al-'Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination: The Sufi Path of Knowledge', written by William C. Chittick, published by State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989. In this book, Chittick has compiled gems of knowledge from the vast literature of Al-Shaykh al-Akbar, the "Greatest Master", 'Ibn al-'Arabi and given his commentary on each topic.
In the following passage, Ibn al-'Arabi explains the important role played by preparedness in the context of addressing the practical problem of why prayers are often not answered:
"God says, "The giving of the Lord can never be walled up" (Koran 17:20). In other words, it can never be withheld. God is saying that He gives constantly, which the loci receive in the measure of the realities of their preparedness. In the same way we can say that the sun spreads its rays over the existent things. It is not miserly with its light towards anything. The loci receive the light in the measure of their preparedness." (pp.91-92)
The loci in the above quotation can represent individuals in a congregation. Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam sends his blessings to every murid of his global Jamat through his Talikas. In a congregation of 500 murids, everybody hears about the blessings in the Talika. However, the absorption of the blessings is proportional to one's preparedness, receptivity and capacity. In the latter sense, blessings are personalized for each individual.
Let us continue with Ibn al-'Arabi's passage (p.92):
"...A single verse from God's Book reaches the listener as one entity. One listener understands one thing from it, another listener does not understand that thing but understands something else, while a third understands many things. Therefore each of those who consider this verse cite it in accordance to the diversity of the preparedness of their understandings."
"... Once you understand this, you will know that the gift of God is not withheld. But you want Him to give you something that your preparedness cannot receive. Then you attribute the withholding to Him in that which you seek from Him, and you do not turn your attention towards the preparedness. It is possible that the person has preparedness to ask, but he does not have the preparedness to receive what he asks for—if it were given to him in the place of being withheld. You answer, "God is powerful over everything" (Koran 2:20 etc.), and you speak the truth in that. But you forget the hierarchy of divine wisdom in the cosmos and what is demanded by the realities of the things. (I 287.10)"
Part 4: Ibn al-Arabi's Gem on the Concept of Mercy
The following gems are extracted from the heading entitled, 'Relief Through Mercy' which spans pages 130-132.
"Mercy (rahma) can be divided into two basic kinds, referred to in the formula, "In the name of God, the All-Merciful (al-Rahman), and All-Compassionate (al-Rahim)". The terms All-Merciful and All-Compassionate both derive from the word rahma. The first kind of mercy (from the attribute al-Rahman), known as essential (dhatiyya) mercy or the mercy of free gift (al-imtinan, al-minna) is all inclusive ('amma), since no existent thing is excluded from it. God bestows it upon all creatures without distinction. "Existence itself is mercy for every existent thing" (II 281.27).
The second kind (from the attribute al-Rahim), known as mercy of obligation (wujub) is specific (khassa), since its bestowal becomes obligatory for God only in the case of certain servants who come to deserve it. Both kinds of mercy are referred in the Koranic verse, "My mercy [in the all-inclusive sense] embraces all things, but I shall prescribe it [in the specific sense] for those who are god-fearing and pay the alms, and those who have faith in Our signs, those who follow the Messenger' (Holy Qur'an 7:156)."
Part 5: Is the Mercy of al-Rahim Meritocratic?
In order to understand this clearly, I would like to give an example of lighting a charcoal barbeque. The first step is to gather and purchase charcoal briquettes, a charcoal lighter fluid and a box of matches. Then one has to organize the charcoal in the barbeque, pour the lighter fluid and light the mixture with a match. The charcoal is the energy source and the match is just needed for its ignition. So how does this apply to spiritual enlightenment?
In order to gather the charcoal and lighting fluid of our personal spiritual world, one has to practise our faith with conviction by attending Jamat Khana regularly, submitting dasond, saying three Duas on time, practising bandagi (luminous prayer), reciting angelic salwats, performing abundant dhikr, performing volunteer service, balancing din and duniya, and being absolutely ethical. When all the components of the above package of activities are accumulated in sufficient quantity, then the attribute of al-Rahim has to oblige by throwing a spiritual match to illumine the soul. Thus, the whole process of receiving the mercy from al-Rahim is meritocratic. This mercy is not a free gift but it is achieved through hard work, absolute submission and utmost humility. This is the reason why the Prophets, Pirs and great mumins performed intense supplication on the top of all the above mentioned activities for the mercy of al-Rahim. This is also the deeper understanding of the phrase 'faith of conviction'. This has been demanded from us by Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam in his firman made in London, England in 1994.
In conclusion, I would like to urge all my readers to pay special attention to increase the capacity of preparedness and receptivity to spiritual experiences inside and outside Jamat Khana. Based on the above knowledge, each murid/mu'min gets a personalized experience in Jamat Khana! Al-Hamdulillah!
Part 6: Links:
- Click here to download the PDF version of Candle Posting 117 :: Harnessing Barakat in Spiritual and Material Worlds ::
- Click here to download the PDF version of Candle Posting 116 :: Enlightening Wisdoms of Noor Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.) ::
- Click here to download the PDF version of Candle Posting 115 :: Harnessing the Power of Sura Ikhlas ::
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),
Noorallah Juma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thursday, March 28, 2013