Towards the Inner Vision of the Truth


"And those who believe in Allah and His messengers, they are the loyal, and the martyrs are with their Lord; they have their reward and their light." — Holy Qur'an 57:19


2017 — The Year for Higher Spiritual Enlightenment

Diamond Jubilee Spark :: The Purpose and Power of Dhikr (Divine Remembrance)

Enlightenment Post No. 22 :: Knowledge & Prayers for Advancement

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Ya Ali Madad! The launch of Diamond Jubilee year of Noor Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam (a.s.) is only 67 days away. To keep up with the momentum, here is another enlightenment post to increase our knowledge and enhance our yearning through Dhikr and Angelic Salwat. This enlightenment post has a dhikr track titled, 'Noore Karim, Ya Rabb' because it relates to our primordial covenant with God.

Knowledge Section:
In this Enlightenment Post, I would like to present knowledge and wisdom about: (1) the primordial covenant between God and humanity, (2) the purpose and power of Dhikr from a Sufi point of view; (3) the proper attitude to perform dhikr; and (4) Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam's perspectives on din and duniya.

In the South Asian Ginanic tradition, we come across the word 'kol' which means 'a promise'. Our Holy Pirs have taught us that we have made promises such as: to submit dasond, perform bandagi (meditation) and not to indulge in backbiting and slander. However, from a Qur'anic perspective, we have to think of the primordial covenant between God and our souls. This is a profound agreement that we have made because we have to face our Lord on the Day of Judgment. This knowledge constitutes the first portion of this enlightenment post.

The practice of dhikr is a fundamental practice through which we advance in our ascent to the Absolute Light of God. In our Tariqah, dhikr is performed in several ways:

  1. The most common method in our tariqah is collective remembrance (Dhikr-i jamat). In this type of dhikr, all the members of the congregation participate by performing dhikr with their voices or silently. For example, during Jamati Mushkil aasan satada, we say a special tasbi collectively with our voices and then say another tasbi silently while standing.
  2. We also practice individual remembrance (Dhikr-i fard) at various times of the day so that our souls remain in contact with our Mowla. For example, we say Ya Allah, Ya Ali, Ya Muhammad.
  3. Bandagi is a very special silent luminous dhikr which is done with a luminous word (bol, Ism-i azam or with the names "Pir Shah" or "Ya Ali") at a luminous time (Noorani waqt) which is a special time before sunrise.

In this enlightenment post, I will also present a holistic perspective of dhikr from the Sufi perspective as described by Annemarie Schimmel in her book from 'Mystical Dimensions of Islam' and the proper attitude to perform dhikr through the examples of Noor Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.) and our third Imam, Noor Mowlana Zainil Abideen (a.s.). I will conclude with some perspectives of Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam on the topic of din and duniya.

  1. Primordial Covenant Between God and Humanity
  2. Transliteration English Translation
    Wa'iz 'akhaza Rabbuka mim-Banii-'Aadama min-zyhuu-rihim zur-riyyatahum wa 'ash-hadahum 'alaaa 'anfusihim: "'A-lastu bi-Rabbikum"? Qaaluu "Balaa shahidnaa"! 'An-taquuluu Yawmal-Qiyaamati 'innas kunnaa 'an haazaa gaa-filiin. (7:172) When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful." (7:172)

    Here is an explanation for this ayat from 'Mystical Dimensions of Islam' by Annemarie Schimmel:

    The aims of all mystics are essentially the same. For, as Henry Corbin has stated, "the religious conscience of Islam is centered upon the fact of meta-history" (W 46), namely, upon the transhistorical fact of the primordial covenant as understood from the Koranic word in Sura 7:172. Before creation, God called the future humanity out of the loins of the not-yet-created Adam and addressed them with the words: "Am I not your Lord?" (alastu bi-rabbikum), and they answered: "Yes, we witness it" (balaa shahidnaa). The idea of this primordial covenant (mithaaq) between God and humanity has impressed the religious conscience of the Muslims, and especially the Muslim mystics, more than any other idea. Here is the starting point for their understanding of free will and predestination, of election and acceptance, of God's eternal power and man's loving response and promise. The goal of the mystic is to return to the experience of the "Day of Alastu," when only God existed, before He led future creatures out of the abyss of non-being and endowed them with life, love, and understanding so they might face Him again at the end of time. (p.24)
  3. Why Man's Knowledge Is Always a Recollection?
    (Source: Ibn al-'Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination: The Sufi Path of Knowledge by William C. Chittick, State University of New York Press, 1989)
  4. Chittick writes:
    The potential infinity of the objects of human knowledge goes back to the fact that the creatures have already been "taught" this knowledge, for it is latent [i.e., hidden] in the cosmos through God's nearness or self disclosure to all things. Since we already know everything, coming to know is a fact of remembrance or recollection (tadhakkur). In the process of explaining this, Ibn al-'Arabi refers to the "taking (of Adam's seed) at the Covenant" (akhdh al-mithaaq), when the children of Adam bore witness to God's Lordship over them before their entrance into the sensory world. The Koran says, "When thy Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins, their seed, and make them testify touching themselves: 'Am I not your Lord?' They said, 'Yes, we testify'" (7:172) (p.154)

    Ibn al-'Arabi writes:
    This waystation includes the fact that God deposited within man knowledge of all things, then prevented him from perceiving what He had deposited within him. Man is not alone in this. On the contrary, the whole cosmos is the same. This is one divine mysteries which reason denies and considers totally impossible. The nearness of this mystery to those ignorant of it is like God's nearness to His servant, as mentioned in His words, "We are nearer to him than you, but you do not see" (56:85) and His words, "We are nearer to him than the jugular vein" (50:16). In spite of this nearness, the person does not perceive and does not know, except inasmuch as he follows the authority [of the Koran]. Were is not for God's report [i.e., Qur'anic ayats], no rational faculty would point to this fact.

    In the same way, all the infinite ways of knowledge that God knows are within man and within the cosmos through this type of nearness. No one knows what is within himself until it is unveiled to him instant by instant. It cannot be unveiled all at once, since that would require restriction (hasr), and we have said that it is infinite. Hence, man only knows one thing after another, ad infinitum. (154)

    ...God made the servants forget this, just as He made them forget the face that they bore witness against themselves at the taking of the covenant, even though it happened and we have come to know of it through divine report [i.e., through Qur'anic ayats]. So man's knowledge is always recollection. Some of us, when reminded, remember that we once knew that knowledge. Such was Dhu'l-Nûn al-Misri.* Others of us do not remember that, though we have faith that we witnessed it. (Ii 686.4) (p.155)

    *When the famous Sufi Dhu'l-Nûn (d.246/861) was asked about the verse "Am I not your Lord?," he said, "It is as if it is still ringing in my ears" (II 108.31, 566.1). (p.399)

  5. What is Dhikr?
    (Source: Mystical Dimensions of Islam by Annemarie Schimmel, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1975)
  6. "Dhikr is a strong pillar in the path towards God, nay rather the most important pillar" (Q 35), for nobody can reach God without constantly remembering Him. Indeed, 'life without the thought (yâd) of Him is altogether wind (bâd)" (S 94). In modern terminology one may say that concentrated recollection sets spiritual energies that provide help in the progress on the Path.

    The particularly attractive aspect of dhikr is that—in its primary form (not in its later, highly developed phase)—it is permitted in any place and at any time; its practice is restricted neither to the exact hours of ritual prayer nor to a ritually clean place. God can be remembered anywhere in His world.Whenever the adept finds difficulties on the Path, "dhikr is the sword by which he threatens his enemies, and God will protect him who remembers Him constantly in the moment of affliction and danger" (Q 37). On the whole, the Sufis agree that the heart of the faithful must be "perfumed with the recollection of God." Recollection is the spiritual food of the mystic. ... It [dhikr] leads to a complete spiritualization, and "he who remembers God permanently is the true companion (jalis) of God" (B 638), for God has promised in a hadith qudsi: "anâ jalisu man dhakarani," "I am the companion of him who recollects Me."

    Dhikr is the first step in the way of love; for when somebody loves someone, he likes to repeat his name and constantly remember him. Therefore the heart of him in whom the love of God has been implanted will become a dwelling place of constant dhikr (A 10:44).

    The mystics have credited Muhammad himself with the praise of dhikr:

    He who recollects God among the negligent
    is like a fighter in the midst of those who flee
    like a green tree in the midst of dry trees.
    (G 1:265)

    The last verse has contributed to the imagery of popular mystical folk poetry. The poets of Turkey (following Rumi and Yunus Emre) and of Muslim India often compared the heart to a tree, which lives and moves only by the breeze of love and nourished by the water of dhikr; it is the jasmine tree watered by the and illâ (the two parts of the profession of faith, which was frequently used in dhikr), as Sultan Bâhû of the Punjab sang. His younger contemporary, Shah 'Abdu'l-Latif in Sind (d.1752) devoted a whole chapter of his poetical work to the dry tree that needs the water of recollection to be revived. (pp.167-169)

  7. Types of Dhikr
    (Source: Mystical Dimensions of Islam by Annemarie Schimmel, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1975)
  8. As has been mentioned, dhikr is generally divided into two branches: recollection with the tongue (dhikr jalî, jahrî, 'alanîya, lisâni) and recollection in the heart (dhikr khafî, qalbì). The latter is usually recognized as superior to the former—there is even a hadith to underscore its high rank (L 42); the spoken dhikr, however, plays an important role in the common ritual of the dervishes: "A man asked Abu 'Uthman al-Hîrì" 'I recollect with the tongue, but my heart does not become friends with the recollection.' He answered: 'Be grateful that one of your limbs obeys and one of your parts is led aright: maybe later your heart will come into accord'" (T 59). Even he who offers the dhikr with his tongue polishes his heart so that it may becomes pure enough to reflect God's beauty. But, as one Sufi has said, it is the mirror itself that should be cleaned, not its handle or its back—if the disciple does not realize the implications of this thought, the danger is that he performs his silent dhikr "with his stomach, not with the heart" (N 390).

    Dhikr has also been classified according to the traditional tripartition: "a recollection with the tongue, that is reckoned for ten good works, with the heart, that is reckoned for 700 good works, and a recollection the reward which can neither be reckoned nor weighed—that is to be filled with His love and awe of His nearness" (L 219).

    The dhikr should permeate the mystic's whole being, so that in constant dhikr he forgets the recollection of everything else: "everybody who forgets to recollect the [created] things in recollecting God, is guarded by all things, since God had become a substitute for all things" (T 1:132). That sentence was written by Yusûf ibn Husayn ar-Razi, who may have gotten this idea from his part-time master Dhûn-Nùn, to whom similar words are ascribed. The complete reliance upon God and absolute love of Him that both cause dhikr and result in dhikr make the mystic independent of this world, even make him the sovereign of the world. (p.171)

  9. The First Dhikr
    (Source: Mystical Dimensions of Islam by Annemarie Schimmel, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1975)
  10. The Sufis began to ponder the meaning of dhikr very early. They recognized its superior qualities as spiritual exercise and accepted it as the form of worship peculiar to those who strove to wander on the path leading towards God. They therefore tried to discover why dhikr should yield such wonderful results in the spirits of the adepts. Kalâbâdhi gives and answer to this question that may well reflect the general feeling among early Sufis" "People heard their first dhikr when God addressed then saying alastu birabbikum 'Am I not your Lord?' This dhikr was secreted in their heart, even as a fact was secreted in their intellects. So when they heard the [Sufi] dhikr, the secret things of their hearts appeared" (K 166). The dhikr goes back to the primordial covenant, the initiative goes back to God's activity; man responds with his dhikr to the eternal words that truly made him a man. Thus his dhikr, performed now in time and space, brings him back to the moment of the divine address, when spiritual nourishment was granted to him at the "banquet of alast," as Persian poets would call it. And man answers with words of adoration and glorification, until in permanent recollection he may reach the stage in which the subject is lost in the object, in which recollection, recollecting subject [i.e., the Sufi], and recollected object [i.e., God] become one again, as they were before the Day of Alast. What has been created disappears, and the only true subject, the everlasting God, is as He had been and will be. (p.172)
  11. Meditation and the Radiance of Eternity
    (Source: Memoirs of Aga Khan, Cassell Co. Ltd, London, 1954)
  12. Noor Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah (Aga Khan III) wrote:
    "Life in ultimate analysis has taught me one enduring lesson. The subject should always disappear in the object. In our ordinary affections one for another, in our daily work with hand or brain, we most of us discover soon enough that any lasting satisfaction, any contentment that we can achieve, is the result of forgetting self, of merging subject with object in a harmony that is of body, mind, and spirit. And in the highest realms of consciousness all who believe in a Higher Being are liberated from all clogging and hampering bonds of the subjective self in prayer, in rapt meditation upon and in the face of the glorious radiance of eternity, in which all temporal and earthly consciousness is swallowed up and itself becomes the eternal." (p.335)
  13. Humility and Rapt Meditation
  14. Transliteration English Translation
    Qad'aflahal-Mu'minuun— (23:1) Indeed1530 successful are the believers, (23:1)
    'Allaziina hum fii Salaatihim khaashi-'uun; (23:2) Those1531 who in their prayers are humble (23:2)

    Here are the footnotes (pp.1047-1050) for the above ayat from S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali's translation of the Holy Qu'ran:

    Vr. 1 (1530) The faithful ones surely succeed in reaching their destined goal in life.

    Vr. 2 (1531) This verse gives the description or the identification of the true believers in God—In prayers they are filled with awe for God's Glory—Humility on the part of the individual presented in prayer manifests the individual's estimation and the acknowledgment of his own self, being nothing in the presence of the Almighty power of God's glory and the individual's consciousness of the Absolute Authority of the Lord. Once a man was seen, while in prayer playing with his beard. The Holy Prophet said: "Had the man been conscious of his insignificance in the presence of the Supreme Majesty of the Lord's Authority, he would surely have manifested this his consciousness in his physical existence and in his presentation before Him." ... Man, while praying should totally forget himself and get so much mindful of God that he must be practically away from the world around him. This type of concentration can be achieved with constant practice.

    It is said that in the battle of Ohad, the steel-point of an arrow had struck into the foot of Ali-ibne-Abi Taleb and its removal was difficult. In the attempt to pluck it out, it broke and was left in the foot and Ali did not allow anyone to take it out. People reported the matter to the Holy Prophet, who commanded them to remove it while Ali is engaged in prayer, and it was done accordingly. The operation caused the flow of blood on the prayer mat and the holy Imam did not come to know what took place, and when he completed the prayer and saw the blood stains on the mat, he asked the people what the blots were of. He was then informed of what they had done. Ali used to be so much absorbed in his communion with the Lord that there are many such instances when he was taken to be dead. This aspect of his has, unanimously been quoted as one of his unique distinctions.

    People had noted that the Holy Imam Ali-ibne-Abi Taleb, whenever he took the ablution for prayers, his face used to get pale, and when asked he replied saying: "Standing to pray is to stand before the Glory of the Majesty of God and one should present himself before the Lord as the humblest of slaves stands before his Master." It was noted of the Holy Imam Ali ibnul Husain 'as-Sajjad' Az-Zainul-abideen that while preparing for prayers his body trembled. All these qualities were made to manifest from the holy ones to guide mankind to indicate that when the sinless and the holy men of God, His own chosen ones, held themselves so humble and self-effaced before the glory of the Lord, what about ordinary sinful beings, and how much more they should humble themselves before Him.

    By the examples of those of the sublime qualities referred to in this verse, are meant the holy ones, the Ahlul-Bait, who are purified by God Himself (33:33) and sent into the world as the correct models of perfect godliness in man on earth. It is referring to his fact the holy Prophet gave the guiding declaration: "The likeness of my Ahlul-Bait is that of the Ark of Noah. he who got into it was saved and he who turned away from it was drowned and lost."

  15. Conclusion:
  16. In his firman made in Karachi on December 13,1964, Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam said,

    "On this happy day, I rejoice in being with my spiritual children and in the knowledge that their spiritual and moral strength is such as to allow them to benefit from many more worldly goods without forsaking the remembrance and the submission to "he from Whom we have come and to Whom we will return."

    Through the above ayat, Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam has clearly reminded us that we will all return to our Lord according to the covenant which God has made with our souls. The path of returning is directly related to our ethics and the practise of the faith, especially dhikr. We have learned how dhikr is practised by the mystics. It requires time, effort, sincerity, love, longing, and an ardent desire to please Allah and to be among the deserving ones who will be handed their Book of Deeds in their right hand. The search for Light, with the foundational pillar of dhikr, is and should be our primary objective. May Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam fill our spiritual hearts with his NOOR and nothing else! Ameen.

    Dhikr Section: New Luminous Dhikr Titled Noore Karim, Ya Rabb
    In the firman made on December 13, 1964 in Karachi, Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam said that 'his Noor has indicated to you where and in which direction you must turn, so as to obtain spiritual and material satisfaction'. I have taken this firman to my heart and am now doing dhikrs which call on the Noor directly because in my heart, Noor Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini (a.s.) is the pillar of Light and is represented by the words 'Noore Karim' in the dhikrs. I firmly hold on to this luminous pillar in my dhikr of Noore Karim, Ya Rabb. Let us perform the luminous dhikr of Noore Karim, Ya Rabb with utmost humility and tenderness of the heart (length 2 min 22 sec; 3.3 MB). The lyrics for the 40 beads are given below:

    Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
    In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

    Noore Karim, Ya Rabb
    With the wasila of Noore Karim, I call upon the Lord (Rabb)

    Recited by Noorallah Juma

    Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin.
    Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds!

    Reaffirmation of Baiyat:
    Let us also reaffirm our baiyat to our Holy Imam, NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam by reciting the Shahada from the second part of our Holy Dua:

    "La ilaha illallah, Muhammadur-Rasoolullah, 'Aliyyun Amirul-Mu'mineen 'Aliyullah
    Mowlana Shah Karim ul Hussaini, Al-Imamul Hazarul Maujood."

    "There is no deity except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, 'Ali - the master of believers - is from Allah. Our Lord Shah Karim Al-Hussaini is our present and living Imam"

    Angelic Salwat Nazrana:
    Let us now start presenting a nazrana of at least 101 salwats or continuous salwat for 3 to 5 minutes to our beloved NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam for the fulfillment of our noble wishes. May our beloved Mowla continually keep us on the Right Path. Ameen.

    Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
    In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

    Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad:
    O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants

    Recited by Noorallah Juma

    Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin.
    Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds!

    May NOOR Mowlana Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Hazar Imam (a.s.) grant peace, prosperity, happiness, barakat, higher spiritual enlightenment, spiritual & luminous tayid (help) and empowerment to you, your family, your Jamat and the worldwide Jamat! Ameen.

    Rakh Mowla je Noor te Yaqeen (Certainly, we trust in Mowla's Light only)

    Haizinda — Qayampaya
    (Our Present Imam is Living and His NOOR is Eternal)

    Your spiritual brother,
    Noorallah Juma
    Friday, May 5, 2017

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