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Salman Spiritual :: Towards the Inner Vision of the Truth :: An Ismaili Perspective

Promoting Personal Search for Higher Spiritual Enlightenment

"And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light." — Holy Qur'an 24:40


2019 — The Post Diamond Jubilee Year for Higher Spiritual Enlightenment

Post Diamond Jubilee Spark :: Idd-e-Navroz: A Time for Transforming the Spiritual Heart

Enlightenment Post No. 51 :: Knowledge & Prayers for Advancement

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

Ya Ali Madad, Yawm-e Ali and Idd-e-Navroz Mubarak! On the occasion of the birthday commemoration of our first Holy Imam, Amir al-mu'minin, NOOR Mowlana Murtaza Ali (alayhi salaam) and Idd-e-Navroz 2019, we would like to extend heartfelt felicitations to the global jamat. May NOOR Mowlana Hazar Imam and the Noorani family be blessed with excellent health, peace, prosperity and happiness! Ameen. Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad. May Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam grant peace, prosperity, happiness, barakat, higher spiritual enlightenment, spiritual & luminous tayid (help) and empowerment to us, our families, our Jamats and the worldwide Jamat in the New Year. Ameen.

Festival Greeting Card

Let us also reflect upon the transformation of the spiritual heart from an excerpt of a mystical poem of Rumi:



Knowledge Section

For this enlightenment post, I have used the following resources: (1) Excerpts from M. Ali Lakhani's Chapter titled 'The Metaphysics of Human Governance: Imam 'Ali, Truth and Justice' from the book titled 'The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam: the teachings of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib' by M. Ali Lakhani, Reza Shah-Kazemi and Leonard Lewishon; edited by M. Ali Lakhani, World Wisdom, Bloomington, Indiana and Sacred Web Publishing, Vancouver, BC, 2006; (2) An excerpt from the Memoirs of Aga Khan, Aga Khan III, Cassell, London, 1954; and (3) An excerpt from Mystical Poems of Rumi. A. J. Arberry, 1968, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

How can reality (haqqiqah) be known?

In his Usul-e-Din firman made in Dar-es Salaam on September 29, 1899, Noor Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah (a.s.) blessed the Jamat with a foundational prayer: "I pray that you may follow the path of righteousness and have the gift of inner vision of the Truth. This prayer means more than any other prayer." This prayer is implemented in many ways and appears in all our supplications. For example, 'Ya Ali tu Gat Jamat ke Haqqiqati Samaj baksh' which means 'O Ali bless the Jamat with the understanding of the Truth or the Reality'. In order to achieve this, all our esoteric practices, such as our Holy Dua, Holy Ginan and Granths, Holy Qasidas, silent and congregational dhikr and bandagi (meditation), are integrated so that we may advance to really understand the Absolute Truth. We can ask the question, is it not enough to read and learn about the Truth? The answer is learning cannot teach us about the Absolute Truth. Similarly, the power of reason and reflection are not the right techniques because the Absolute Truth transcends the capacity of human beings.

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These topics have been presented to the readers in a number of ways but I have come across some new insights from the writing of M. Ali Lakhani, QC, a Canadian lawyer who has been recognized for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession. He is also a brilliant author as well the editor of the Sacred Web Journal. I had an opportunity to meet him in Edmonton HQ Jamat Khana during the launch of his book titled, 'Faith and Ethics: the Vision of Ismaili Imamat'. He writes with great precision and at a higher level. I would like to use his work to address three questions: (1) How can reality (haqqiqah) be known?; (2)What does the soul know and what is its relationship to the Intellect?; and (3) How is the spiritual heart be transformed? Please read the excerpts as well as the footnotes. A correct understanding can enhance clarity and progress in the personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment and the inner vision of the Truth. I have also included links to other posts that I have made through the website so that we can continue to deepen knowledge of esoteric principles of our faith. Let us now read the first excerpt which is answer and explanation of the question: How can Reality (Haqqiqaq) be known?

"Before one poses any questions about the nature of reality, it becomes necessary to consider an epistemological question: "How can reality be known?" Common experience teaches us about the unreliability of the five senses, and a moment's reflection makes it clear that discursive reason cannot yield any answers to questions about the ultimate nature of reality, which is transcendent10. How is it possible, then, to discern reality truthfully? The answer provided by traditional metaphysics is simple: truth, being of a universal order, is inscribed within our deepest self—that within us which is transcendent and universal, our primordial nature, the core of our very being. Knowledge of reality is therefore equated with self-knowledge or gnosis, and can at one level be understood as the centripetal and radial reconnection of the circumference with the Center through the grace of primordial intelligence that constitutes our very being. The faculty which is capable of discerning reality in its most subtle nature—bearing in mind that the merely human in not privileged to know the Divine—is not the human faculty of the common senses or the discursive reason, but the transcendental faculty of supra-rational Intellect11, the core of our discerning self, which is sometimes labeled the "Heart".12"
(Source: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam, pp.6-7)

Footnotes

10 Frithjof Schuon writes: "Reason obtains knowledge like a man walking about and exploring the countryside by successive discoveries, whereas the Intellect contemplates the same countryside from a mountain height" (Stations of Wisdom, Frithjof Schuon, World Wisdom Books, Bloomington, Indiana, 1995, at page 65). In a well-known phrase, Meister Eckhart has defined the Intellect as "something in the soul which is uncreated and uncreatable". It is the Intellect alone that is adequate to Truth. Reason alone cannot discover Truth: this is as futile as "a fool who seeks the luminous sun in the desert with a lamp in his hand" (an image from Shabistari's Gulshan-i raz).

11 Metaphysic is supra-rational, intuitive and immediate knowledge. Moreover, this pure intellectual intuition, without which there is no true metaphysic, must never be likened to intuition spoken by certain contemporary philosophers, which, on the contrary is infra-rational. There is an intellectual intuition and a sensory intuition; one is above reason but the other is below it; the latter can only grasp the world of change and becoming, namely, nature, or rather an inappreciable part of nature. The domain of intellectual intuition, by contrast, is the domain to eternal and immutable principles, it is the domain of the metaphysic. To have a direct grasp of universal principles, the transcendent intellect must itself belong to the universal order; it is thus not an individual faculty, and to consider it as such would be contradictory, since it cannot pertain to the possibilities of the individual to transcend his own limits": René Guénon, Le Métaphysique Orientale, p. 11, quoted by Whitall N. Perry in his magisterial anthology, A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom, Perennial Books, Middlesex, Second Edition, 1981, at page 733.

12 The center of oneself, symbolically the "Heart", is in traditional cosmology also understood to be the metaphysical center of the world, symbolically the "Sun". This radiant Center is, like an eye, the visionary core of one's being, which, in Meister Eckhart's terminology, is simultaneously "the eye by which I see God" and "the eye by which God sees me". The symbolism of the "Heart" is universal: Some examples are: "I am seated in the hearts of all", Bhagavand Gita, XV:15; "His throne is in heaven who teaches from within the heart", St. Augustine, In Epist. Joannis ad Parthos, cited by A. K. Coomaraswamy in 'Recollection, Indian and Platonic', Supplement to the Journal of American Oriental Society, No. 3, April-June, 1944, p.1; and the hadith qudsi of the Prophet: "My earth and My heaven contain me not, but the heart of My faithful servant containeth Me", cited by Whitall N. Perry. A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom, supra, at p.822.

(Source: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam, p.7)

What does the soul know and what is its relationship to the Intellect?

"The Islamic response to the epistemological question is completely in accord with the response of traditional metaphysics: true knowledge resides in the "Heart" or spiritual core of our being. Muslim theosophy starts with the Qur'anic teaching that the divine breath is the very spirit that is infused with our Adamic clay: "Then He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed into him of His Spirit."13 This divine spirit is our fitra—our primordial and innate spiritual nature14— which pre-existentially affirms and testifies to its Origin in the Qur'anic episode of the Covenant of Alast15, and is endowed with an innate knowledge of its fiduciary obligations—the Amanah16 or Divine Trust, the duties entrusted to humanity and to each of us individually and which constitute our raison d'être. This is the primordial self of whom the Prophet has said: "Every child is born according to fitra. Then its parents make it into a Christian, a Jew, or a Magian (Zoroastrian)."17 It is a self already endowed with the knowledge of its Maker (in other words, the ultimate integrity of reality—in Islamic terms, tawhid) even before its entry into this world. It is the spirit or ruh, whose discerning faculty is 'aql or Intellect, not merely the discursive reason or the senses. This is the center and "Heart" of our consciousness, referred to in the famous hadith qudsi: "My earth and My heaven contain me not, but the Heart of My faithful servant containeth Me"; and again in those Qur'anic surahs that refer to the inscription of faith upon the "hearts" of men18."
(Source: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam, pp.7-8)

Footnotes

13 As-Sajdah XXXII:9.

14 Note the hadith: "God created mankind in His own image": Bukhari, Isti'dhan 1; Muslim, Birr 115.

15 The Covenant of Alast refers to a primordial covenant between each human being and God, referred in the Qur'anic Verse, Al-A'raf VII:72—"And (remember) when your Lord took their offspring from the loins of the children of Adam and made them testify as to themselves (saying): 'Am I not your Lord?'—They said: 'Yea, verily, we so testify', lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: 'Verily, we have been unaware of this'." The term "Alast" derives from the key Arabic phrase that appears in the quoted verse: alastu bi-rabbikum ('Am I not your Lord?). By attesting to the essential nature of reality, humanity affirms its pre-existential bond with God, as both supra-temporal Origin and supra-spatial Center. This attestation requires of humanity an existential re-affirmation of its Source and Nature through discernment, remembrance and virtue, the central features of religious life, which constitute, allowing for the grace of God, the means of all salvation.

16 The Islamic concept of Amanah or the Divine Trust derives scripturally from the following Qur'anic Verse, Al-Ahzab, XXXIII:72—"We offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to carry it and were afraid of it. And the human being carried it. Surely he is very ignorant, a great wrongdoer." Humanity, being privileged by the grace of revelation and intellection to know the transcendent and to recognize creation as manifestation of transcendence, also bears the responsibility of stewardship towards creation. This is an aspect of the principle of noblesse oblige. To know God is also to know all things in God, and God in all things, and to treat all God's creatures as sacred. The origin of morality is predicated on the discernment that "all lives are holy" (William Blake), which in turn is premised on the discernment of the sacred as the radiance of the divine. That humanity is general is content to accept the privilege of its creaturely superiority without accepting the responsibility that such superiority confers, explained the Qur'anic comment at the end of the quoted verse.

17 Bukhari, Jaan'iz 80; Muslim, Qadar 22.

18 Al-Mujadilah LVIII:22 — " ...For such, He has written Faith in their hearts ..."

(Source: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam, pp.7-8)

How can the spiritual heart be transformed?

"...This is the Heart which, while capable of "containing" that in us which is divine, is also capable, in Qur'anic terms, of being "diseased"19 or "rusted"20 or "locked"21. It is this knowing "Heart"—the seat of our conscience— that "fallen" man, now in the state of "heedlessness"22 (ghafla), must strive, by divine grace, to awaken. This "awakening" operates as both an illumination and a liquefaction of the heart, simultaneously dispelling the darkness of its ignorance and melting the carapace [i.e., covering] of existential hardness23 with the tender love of the spirit24. Truth is an awakening into a state of presence and the awareness of Presence, into a state of Self-remembering wholeness (or holiness) that is imbued with a sense of the sacred25, a sacramentally charged all-absorbing and immersed awareness of the Omni-Presence of the Divine Countenance26, so that its consciousness is illumined with and moistened by the knowledge of its Maker. The realizational knowledge (gnosis), which the believer had pre-existentially affirmed in the Covenant of Alast, now (that is to say, in this privative existence) becomes incumbent on the devout Muslim as an existential affirmation of the first part of the shahadah. The formula for this affirmation is the testament, la ilaha illa'llah—literally, "there is no God if not the God", which could, for this purpose, be rendered esoterically as "Nothing is real if it is not discerend as a manifestation of Absolute integrated reality." In other words—to anticipate our argument—Truth is to be discerned as a theophany."
(Source: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam, pp.7-8)

Footnotes

22 Al_hajj XXII:46 — "...Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are the breasts that grow blind."

23 Frithjof Schuon writes: "The world is made of forms, and they are as it were the debris of the a celestial music that has become frozen; knowledge or sanctity dissolves our frozen state and liberates inner melody. Here we must recall the verse in the Qur'an which speaks of the 'stones from which streams spring forth', though there are hearts which are 'harder than stones', a passage reminiscent of the 'living water' of Christ and of the 'well of water springing up into everlasting life' in the hearts of saints" (Understanding Islam, Frithjof Schuon, Unwin, London, 1976, at page 41).

24 Grace operates as a Divine Ray of Love that is operative within the serenity of the contemplative mind and in the vigilance of spiritual ardor. Frithjof Schuon writes in Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, translated by P. N. Townsend, Perennial Books, Pates Manor, Bedfont, Middlesex, 1987, at page 158: "Peace is the absence of dissipation. Love is the absence of hardness. Fallen man is hardness and dissipation ... In the peace of the Lord, the waves of this dissipation are calmed and the soul is at rest in its primordial nature, in its center. Through love, the outer shell of the heart is melted like snow and the heart awakens from its death; hard, opaque and cold in the fallen state, it becomes liquid, transparent and aflame in the Divine life."

25 The term "sacred" denotes the theophanic radiation and resonance of the Absolute in the contingent: "The sacred is the presence of the Center in the periphery, of the Motionless in the moving (Understanding Islam, Frithjof Schuon, supra, at page 48).

26 The notion of the theophanic Countenance of the Divine derives scripturally from the following Qur'anic Verse, Al-Baqarah, II:115 — "Wherever you turn, there is the Face of God."

(Source: The Sacred Foundations of Justice in Islam, p.8)

My Perspective on the development of the soul

Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah, also known as Aga Khan III, has linked the value of soul to the concept of monoreality as follows:

"Once man has thus comprehended the essence of existence there remains for him the duty, since he knows the value of his own soul, of making for himself a direct path which will constantly lead his individual soul to and bind it with the universal Soul of which the Universe, as much of it we perceive with our limited vision, is one of the infinite manifestations. Thus Islam's basic principle can only be defined as monorealism and not as monotheism."
(Source: Aga Khan III, Memoirs of Aga Khan, p.175)

Monoreality is the gnosis or recognition of God in one's own soul and is the final step in understanding the reality of the statement "Lo! we are Allah's and lo! unto Him we are returning" (Holy Qur'an 2:156). Monoreality can be achieved by man if he strives to excel in the physical, spiritual and luminous dimensions of his existence. Spirituality is concerned with the development of soul. Luminosity is concerned with enriching the soul with Light, the highest form of intellect. This can all be achieved in the microcosm or the personal world of an individual as described by following verse of the Holy Quran:

"We shall show them Our portents on the horizons and within themselves (in their souls) until it will be manifest unto them that it is the Truth. Doth not thy Lord suffice, since He is Witness over all things?"
(Source: Holy Qur'an 41:53)

Point of Reflection

When our beloved Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam bless us he says, " ... your are constantly in my heart, thoughts and prayers." The concept of the 'Heart' (Qalb) is very different than what is generally expressed through our emotions and sensory perceptions. What is he heart of the Holy Imam? It is the Real Heart which is full of transcendent, integrated knowledge and wisdom, and infinite Love. He blesses us with these so that we can awaken our soul and return it him with full luminosity. Idd-e-Navroz Mubarak!

Related links:

  1. Diamond Jubilee Spark No. 22: Primordial Covenant Between God and Humanity
  2. Candle Post #119 :: Unveiling or Self-Disclosure of God
  3. Diamond Jubilee Spark No. 14 :: Knowledge of God is the Knowledge of Self-Disclosures
  4. Diamond Jubilee Spark No. 44 :: The Effusion of Light is Proportional to the Measure of Preparedness
  5. Timeless Ilm Gems of Noor Mowlana Murtaza Ali (a.s.) for the Global Jamat

 

Gratitude for the bounties of Idd-e-Navroz

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Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (33 beads)

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

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (1)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (2)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (3)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (4)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (5)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (6)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (7)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (8)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (9)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (10)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

Shukran Lillâh Wal Hamdu Lillâh (11)
(All thanks are due to Allâh, and all praises are due to Allâh)

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

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.

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Angelic Salwat (33 beads)

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

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (1)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (2)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (3)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (4)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (5)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (6)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (7)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (8)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (9)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (10)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

Allâhumâ salli alâ Muhammadin wa âle Muhammad (11)
(O Allah! Bestow Peace on and through Muhammad and his Descendants)

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

Ardent Prayer

In this post Diamond Jubilee year period, may Noor Mowlana Hazar Imam fill our spiritual hearts with his NOOR and nothing else. May we all be blessed with many, many Batini-Noorani Didars in our personal search for higher spiritual enlightenment through the Noor of Mowlana Hazar Imam. 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 in religion,
Noorallah Juma
Thursday, Idd-e-Navroz, March 21, 2019

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The lit candle represents the Light of Imamat. Let us actualize this Light into our spiritual hearts, heads, & consciences so that we may also be able to submit spiritual & luminous nazranas in the Diamond Jubilee.

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