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RAMADAN FASTING


The scope of life is infinite, but as everyone views life within their own spectrum it is confined into dimensions. Dimensions are the images created by the mind in accordance with one's thinking pattern, which obscures the limitless expanse of life. A life that is free of dimensions is explained in the Quran as,

"Thee we worship; Thee alone we ask for help." (Quran, 1:4)

God is the pivotal point of existence, and any path that leads elsewhere is deviation. The attributes of God are infinite, and infinity can be denoted by a circle. Although, a circle in itself is a dimension, its facets, such as the apparent and the concealed, and the first and the last, are all uniform. Contrary to this, the attributes of the creations are finite, and are denoted by a triangle. Both circle and triangle are encompassed by God. However, God attributes one mode of life as Ahsan (the best), and the other as Non-Ahsan (the worst). When a creation is acquainted with its link to the infinity, its life breaks free from the edges of the triangle and harmonises itself with the line of the circle.

"Unto God belong the East and the West, and whither-so ever ye turn, there is God's countenance. Lo! God is All Embracing, All Knowing." (Quran, 2:115)

Two men are sitting in a lush garden where colourful flowers are swaying from a cool breeze, and butterflies fly between blossoms. Despite this scenic view, one of them is gloomy; for him the blooming garden appears as deserted and unhappy as he is. But the other man enjoys the greenery to its fullest. At this stage, if doubt enters the mind of the happy person, and the unhappy man finds a ray of hope in the gloom, consequently, the beauty of garden will fade away for the former, and the latter will now see the garden as beautiful. Did the alteration in their feelings affect the nature of the garden? No, it did not. The garden remains as it is with all its components.

Both men are sitting in the garden and yet, none has paid attention to what it really is. In fact, what they do is see within themselves and surmise their feelings to that of the garden. This example brings forth a question - if the experiences of the viewers are confined to their feelings, then what do they really see?

Huzoor Qalandar Baba Auliya (RA) says:

Har cheez khayalat ki hai paimaish,

hain naam k dunya main gham-o-aasaish,

Tabdeel huwi Jo khaak goristan main,

sab koocha o bazar ki thi zaibaish

Translation:

It is all a measurement of thoughts, this world's joy and grief in which we're caught, As clay settles in its grave, you'll see that it was decor once so sought.

A sight free of partiality or dimensions sees things as they are. For instance, if one wants to observe the garden in its true form, their personal opinions must not hinder the vision. If not, the garden will fade into the backdrop, and their feelings will dominate the surrounding. When a person is not ruled by pleasure and pain, they enter into infinitude.

An individual spends four seasons among lush green trees and gardens, and observes the scenes being altered numerous times. But despite repetitive alterations, there is no change in their cycle. The change, which we refer to as summer, winter, autumn, and spring, does not determine what the garden is. These seasons are analogous to infancy, adolescence, youth and old age, and define dimensions of life. What we assume the garden is, in actuality, is something else entirely!

We identify an object through its physiognomy, but appearances change, and hence assessments tum out to be wrong. Despite all of this, we do not think on how a child transforms into an adult. Why do they tum old? How does a garden that was inflicted by autumn now bloom and what does the arrival of summer after spring indicate? Why do leaves fall? How do fallen leaves mix and merge with clay and what does their transmutation signify? What is it that we refer to as clay? And what becomes of those colours that tum desolation into colouration and colouration into desolation?

Dear readers, a change in emotions affects the state of mind, but if the mind maintains its equanimity, it remains unperturbed. What is equanimity? It is an evenness of the mind that gives one freedom from selfreferences.

For example: When one's sight fixates on the sky, it must be free from all references to truly understand what the sky is. Else they will not see the sky, rather the pre-conceived ideas in their minds.

The sky seems to be blue or white in colour to the average person because their minds are not used to moving into the depths of a matter.

This action reflects a self-centered pattern of thinking shrouded by colours. However, the colours should not merely be seen as green, blue, and yellow; they are dimensions. Look up at the sky - do you see dimensions there? Why they are not visible? Can the colours red, blue, black and white be defined as the sky? If the sky is blue in colour, then where does this blue colour disappear to as the day transcends?

Is there anyone who contemplates what the sky is? The sky is free from dimensions. Those who muse over it are guided by Divinity that what they otherwise deem as a tangible canopy, is in actuality a combination of lights. As light cannot be perceived by the confined senses, when one looks at the sky with limited consciousness, their vision fogs up. This obscurity is then perceived by them as the sky.

Fog is a phenomenon that engulfs tall mountains, highways and structures; and everything that it covers vanishes away from sight. But despite their apparent invisibility, the structures remain where they are. The same phenomenon applies to the sky. The sky is a mirror for the earth. Since the senses on earth are covered with fog, this fogginess is therefore reflected on the mirror of the sky. As a result, when one looks up, they do not see the sky - what they see is a reflection of their minds. The Quran highlights this pattern of thinking as,

"And verily in the heaven We have set mansions of the stars (burooj), and We have beautified it for beholders. And We have guarded it from every outcast devil.'' (Quran, 15:16-17)

While giving an account of someone's personality, it can be said that they are beautiful, well-mannered and possess noble qualities. However, these features only refer to their characteristics and do not define who they are. If a well- mannered person misbehaves, this misconduct alters their  image  and  people  then  describe  them  as  ill-mannered. An average mind assesses life and behavior in an average manner, that is, on the exterior plane only. These are those people who have considered a person both beautiful and ugly. What is the basis of their judgement? They base their judgement on behaviour. While forming these opinions, the underlying factors that cause reactions and behaviours are typically ignored. Without knowing how someone is from within, they judge through a filter.

Why do our judgements go wrong? Why do we not know someone even after spending years with them? We consume things throughout our life yet remain oblivious of their reality. Do we even have an ability to know anything?

God has made everything from water. Water has the tendency to adopt its shape to the mould it is held in. In fact, the mould itself is made from water. When we drink water, the colours within us are manifested, and when it is consumed by the earth, it surfaces in the form of variegation. Water is referred to as al-sahab al-siqal in Chapter Raad of the Quran. Sahab and Siqal are Arabic words for clouds and gravity respectively. It is gravity that brings out dimensions in objects, and since every object is made out of water, one can understand that when it rains, the droplets of water contain dimensions within it.

As water is responsible for dimensions within creations, the birth of everything from nothingness to various forms is possible through it. When water evaporates, an object disappears. This act of disappearance does not mean that the object has gone extinct however.

An average mind does not go beyond its desires, and aims at satisfying its needs alone. For instance, there is not a single day that passes without drinking water as it satiates thirst. But do we ever give thought to the feeling of thirst itself and how it is quenched?

A faint weight is felt on a mind when information descends, but at this stage, its impression is subtle and beyond the grasp of the being. This stage is called Wahima in Tasawwuf. 2. As Wahima takes root, the impression begins to clear. 3. If the mind remains centered upon the information descending, its impression becomes vivid.

A young man asked an elderly man, "Why does information descend in the form of imagery?"

The elderly man said, "Ponder upon your mind, you will find nothing but images there. They hear, see, talk, understand and also have an ability to look within. But tell me, is it that image in your mind that is causing those movements?"

The young man paused for a moment and said, "No, sir! Images are reflections, and reflection is an emulation."

"Then who is it that causes the movement?" the elderly man asked. "The one who bears the images in their mind," came the instant reply. "The universe is a reflection of  The Will of God." said the elderly man. "Considering the answer you've just given me, tell me, what is the universe and what is our standing in it?"

Hearing this, the young man became immersed in his thoughts ... and then a smile flickered across his face.

The elderly man said, "You've got the answer to your question."

This write-up explains through various examples that rather than seeing things at the surface level, one should explore life and its mechanisms behind what is apparent. The course of life is sustained on information, as it beholds the command of God in the form of images. Those who are unaware of their reality cannot acquaint themselves with the reality of anything else.

Everything that came into being, is the proclamation of "Kun" (Be), therefore, the mechanism embedded in the command of "Kun " is present within everything. This engrained mechanism is unveiled to those who abstain from average thinking patterns and the best way to cultivate this trait of abstinence is through fasting.

In the month of Ramadan, when one eats, drink and talks less, and is inclined towards God all throughout the day, they become free from selfcentered thinking. Self-centered thinking gives birth to dimensions. A sight that defies dimensions however, enters into the plane of Noar (God's Divine Light).

"God is the light of the heavens and Earth." (Quran, 24:35)

Everything in the Earth and the Sky is the Noar of God, and the attribute of Noar defies dimensions.

God has mentioned five of His attributes in Chapter Ikhlas of the Quran. One of them is Be-niyazi, which means to be devoid of needs because God is beyond dimensions. When an individual makes an effort to adhere to the Be-niyazi attribute by talking, eating and sleeping less, and turning towards God for all of their needs, it is easier for them to attain the blessings of fasting. God says,

"Fasting is for me, and I am its reward."

May the Benevolent and Merciful bless all with the reward of fasting. Amen.

Ramadan Mubarak.

May God protect you.

            MAY 19-QSM

 


MESSSAGE OF THE DAY

KHWAJA SHAMS-UD-DIN AZEEMI


Topic from Qalandar Shaoor Monthly