Facing Oneself - 3

Facing Oneself - 3

(Circle3: On the touchy implorations by Imam Zeynel Abidin, continued)

Together with all of the fears and worries that this saintly person voices at his entreaties, he does not neglect to petition God with reference to divine beneficence and his heart changes rhythm with the excitement of hope.  By behaving in this way, he presents an attitude that calls to mind the act of straightening up after bowing to God. For those who continue to struggle spiritually, he thus points to the ampleness of Divine Mercy with reference to the fact that “God’s mercy takes precedence over His wrath” [1]. One cannot help but remember the following words of a poet at this point:

“What would happen even if my sins were like the mount Qaf, O Majestic One,
Compared to Your sea of Mercy, it is surely a little thing”

He acts in accordance with this poetic idiom and spits in the face of sins and faults by imploring, “Please hold my hand to guidance, O God!” He places his head down on the doorstep of hope and petitions God once more by saying, “Mercy, mercy!” then he enters a mood as if he were sipping fresh oxygen and sighs on. Here are a few droplets from those breaths:

“O the One who responds with mercy as soon as His servants turn to Him, who never leaves their hopes unanswered, who saves them from the grief of falling apart from Him with the extra ways and disciplines that make them closer to Him, who covers up the defects of those polluted with sins and vices! O my most exalted Lord! As you never turned down those who turned to your door with hope and placed their head on Your doorstep empty handed, do not abandon this humble servant of Yours to despair either!”

With these cries, he makes petitions with a tone of fear and hope and thus gives the successors of his path signals for turning to that door with the feeling of hope.  With a call to prayer, he lets the vastness of Divine Mercy be heard, even by unfortunate ones who have lost their sense of prayer direction. He calls to them to share his experiences and to hopefully inspire them to find their way. By presenting them with the most vivid messages woven out of hope and fear, he shows the ways towards a fresh revival with lyrics of resurrection after death; afterwards, like the archangel’s breath to initiate the resurrection, he blows life into them and turns them to the direction of the Divine they lost.

There are so many points I omitted from this profound session.  With apologies to him and to readers, I would like to conclude with these diamond-like considerations. With other imploring groans special to his spiritual anatomy with heavenly riches, I would like to refer to some other life-giving points that sound like angelic melodies which he makes while his tears stream on. His tongue is guided by the heart, his thoughts beyond metaphysical realms, his sir (secret faculty) in citadels beyond and beyond, surpassing our comprehension.  Here are a few droplets around the same theme as examples of those considerations, which deserve to be called a “legend of spirituality”:

“My God!  Though I am without provisions, my reliance and submission to You is complete.  In spite of this, when I think that my transgressions are boundless, I shake and fear from being subjected to Your punishment.  On the other hand, when the ampleness of Your mercy comes to my view, my heart overflows with a feeling of optimism. So, when I am in that mood, although my sins make me groan with fear about perdition, my hope about Your pardoning gives signals of possible forgiveness to my soul.” What a balanced approach, which is found in those closest to God! What a profound blend of hope and fear!  He continues to say, “Even though I came to Your sublime presence empty-handed, the consideration of the ampleness of Your bountifulness reinvigorates this servant of Yours and my eyes start shining brightly with Your beneficence’s promise of benisons.  So much so that at the same moment when I am brimful with transgressions, my heart begins to experience changes of rhythm one after the other, with extra surprises of Your pardoning and breezes of proximity.  Here I am at Your presence, O God! I let myself to the waterfalls of Your mercy and get away from myself as far as I can and turn to You with the entirety of my being!”

With a feeling of fear and insight of expectancy, he has an attitude of admitting failure to give his position its due. Then this great personage from those closest to God changes his orbit of prayer; virtually, with the idea that “worship is a result of blessings already enjoyed,” he once more takes into consideration the shower of Divine blessings that he has already received and begins to resonate with thankfulness by touching his face onto the doorstep of gratitude. He responds to God’s blessings beyond count and measure with thankful praises by giving his tongue and lips under the command of his spiritual intellect:

“My God!  I do not know what to say before your immense blessings that come showering on the horizons of my perception consecutively. Before the Divine favors out of Your grace and generosity I remain spellbound and lost for words.  When I consider Your very special blessings that come flowing like waterfalls and much beyond my deserts under the light of “Were you to attempt to count God’s blessings, you could not reckon them” (Ibrahim 14:34). Helpless to say anything, I double over with this feeling. Before those special bestowals of Yours, I feel manifold humility of indebtedness: My revival to life in the real sense with faith.  Turning to Your door via Islam, with the honor and sense of duty  of being sworn to worship only You, my head is down on the doorstep of munificence and grace, my hand on the knob of beneficence and bestowals, upon which I say “all of these are from You” and feel revitalized with thankfulness.  Actually, even this feeling of thankfulness is from You.  Whenever I offer thanks to You, given that thankfulness is another blessing of Yours – with such a virtuous cycle of thankfulness, I will never be able to offer due praise and thanks to You.”

If only we could continue our lives always on this course with awareness of these bestowals! Although we are not capable of thorough comprehension, I wish we could take what He has given as a sign of what He will give and thus take up the path to eternal bliss. It is especially important to remember this considering that this world is often compared to a carcass, without letting our hearts fall for this transient world. If only we could turn our backs to worldly status, fame, glory, wealth, corporeal desires, and thus always walk to the sun of suns without faltering.  Alas! We fell for the attractions of this transitory world!  With delusions of immortality, we were entangled with long-term worldly ambitions and suffered such losses on what could otherwise be a suitable ground for winning. Bediuzzaman put it so beautifully: “Alas! We have been deceived. We thought that this worldly life is constant, and thus utterly wasted everything. Indeed, this passing life is but a sleep that passed like a dream. This life, having no foundation, flows away like a brook.”

It is such a bitter fact that we fell for this deception, and at the expense of losing eternity. We were captivated by the passing attractions of these faithless desires and thus totally condemned the eternal realms to oblivion and thus darkened our futures.  So much so that we were neither properly give the due of Divine bestowals and benisons nor were we able to comprehend them. To put this in the breaths of Ziya Pasha:

“We are the losers of this game once again;
For the loss is obvious, but I don’t know if we won anything at all.”

Actually, it was not possible for us to win. Because we led a carefree life as if we would never die and rendered this world—an arable field for the Afterlife—into a wasteland. By destroying the bridges extending to eternity on our course in the world one by one, we ceased the thoughts of the realms beyond and belief. We did not manage to come to our senses to see our miserable condition and turn to God.

Note

  1. Bukhari, Tawhid 22; Muslim, Tawba 15.

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