By Dr Muhammad Maroof Shah
Arabi matters because he is amongst the thinkers or sages whose meditations on
key questions, we all face, are arguably amongst the most comprehensive and
physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual distress one seeks relevant healers
and one doesn’t ask about the colour or race of the doctor. I find everyone,
regardless of creed or IQ in some distress crying for help that Ibn Arabi can
offer. The distress over any issue – personal, familial, religious,
metaphysical – is overcome by turning to understanding/meaning of the issues in
terms that one can’t but testify. If one is in distress over some family issue
or has been hurt from someone’s bad words or divorce or is suffering an
existential crisis or regretting the course of events on which one had no
control or asks why people go astray or why good people suffer or why people
die in religions they were born into and arguably earn damnation for choices
they hardly make, consider what Ibn Arabi has to say. Ibn Arabi would show you
how it is Mercy wrapping us all in all circumstances and not even hell is
impenetrable to It. This hermeneutic of Mercy explains diversity of religions,
philosophies, styles, temperaments, habits, preferences, obstructions we meet
and even the hell we choose. God and His Mercy can’t be defeated and have the
last word necessitating ultimate cooling of hell and its turning to heaven and
some sweetness in the terrors of hell. Consider what Ibn Arabi stands for and
then ask how come one should be troubled by the above mentioned and more
Arabi is advocating or better helping us to demonstrate, among other things,
“view” that attachment to views is to be transcended. One should not make
fetish of one’s beliefs. The Perfect Man isn’t limited to/by any belief.
Allah is one but the Lord understood as an aspect of the Real that nurtures
each creature in a unique way fit for the latter can’t be one. All individuals
have their own unique personal Lord and are under divine tuition and are
worshipping God in some sense even though they may be ignorant regarding how or
fail to see how their every legitimate quest is for the Absolute and their
illegitimate (declared so by revelation) searches (such as idolization of
self/power/other than God) quests of the Absolute wrongly identified in the
object for it is misplaced or misidentified Absolute that they are seeking.
formless God is, paradoxically, manifested in every form and best revealed in
the feminine face (that explains universal adoration of women, “the stars on
the earth,” the fairies – pari chahra loag).
world is made of the substance of mercy and love as existence is ontologically
mercy. All events are love letters from God. Some know this and some are
compelled to learn this by experience. Some keep doubting but don’t doubt the
value of the gift called life and thus living by the mercy and countless gifts
and graces that constitute life’s bounties and joys in the form of food,
sunshine and rain, smiles and relationships.
have never loved nor can love anything except God in disguise/for the sake of
God. The fact that we love only inexistent things shows this.
not an object of knowledge but the one who knows when we know anything and all
perception necessarily is perception of God and perception by God. Who can say
he sees or hears when it is really God who sees and hears? How is it meaningful
to prove God’s existence when God is considered the very being of everything –
when one says is, one has already affirmed being or God the ground of
being/wujud and one sees anything because of the Light that illuttminates it in
the first place and the real perceiver is He. In fact, as Ghazzali would put
it, God is the light with which we see the world.
must necessarily differ by the very logic of what constitutes belief
–uqdah/knot/a limitation or form imposed – and that atheists have a version – albeit
impoverished one – of tawhid. Atheism is choosing not to travel further or
closing oneself to what may come or other disclosures of the Real.
is under a divine name and its secret or message is addressed to all that needs
to be deciphered first rather than judged or reviled. What has manifested in
the modern world has a reason/locus that needs first to be appreciated. We are
all addressed through every event by the Spirit of Guidance. The Time and the
spirit of times can’t be taken lightly.
happens to us, has been, so to speak, asked for by us. God is wujood
giving/actualizing reality and the request, albeit unconscious but quite
natural, is ours. This solves problems of determinism and free will.
love inexistence, in fact all love is only of the inexistent or God. We love
what makes friend or spouse or beautiful object adorable. Beauty, as Plato
sought to show, is a guest from the otherworld and a splendor of the Real.
Beauty attracts us because God is Jameel and Wudood (the Most Loving). Muhammad
is what we call the world of forms and colour – manifest face of the
reality/world we seek. Things were originally inexistent (adm) and the
Principle of their manifestation we call Muhammad. How come one lives and can
casually speak of Muhammad (blessings and salutations on the Principle of
life)? Whosever is in love with life and beauty is beholden to Muhammad, to the
Light of Muhammad. Beauty is a sort of Messenger of God – in fact every event/
lowly insect has a message to convey to the Gnostic – as it is thus the sermon
that interests all.
love that drives everything and mercy has the final word and hell gets cooled
one day or becomes an object of bliss for its denizens. The root word for azab
usually translated in terms of suffering is sweet thing. Imagine how hell has
an element of sweetness. Al-Jili illustrates by noting how scratching clot
gives pleasure. Hell is a torment for those who can’t face truth or consumption
through love. Sorrow is distance from the real and if God/the Real is resisted,
one can’t but suffer.
to belief in God is ultimately open invitation that one may take or decline and
one is punished not by some revengeful God in some torture chamber for
sinning/refusal but by the sin, by one’s own choice to be veiled from the
Truth/Beauty/Love that radical innocence or openness makes accessible.
stage is that of bewilderment that assimilates/builds upon various ideas like
wonder, ceaseless travelling, utter novelty of everything, no bragging about
one’s accomplishment or humility to acknowledge “I know that I don’t know” and
surrender of will to truth, to ever-new unveilings or manifestations of the
divine – that seeks to encompass, limit and manipulate.
can’t be sacrificed for belief/ideology – nothing is holier than human life as
it is a divine image. Wherever sacred law allows taking life as last measure it
is a means for letting greater life, social equilibrium, freedom and life of
the other to bloom.
infinite meanings or interpretations of scripture are all intended by the Real,
the All-Possibility/Infinite and that one must receive anew the meaning with
every new reading.
alone is/counts in the ultimate analysis. Who brags he exists or is proud for
any reason is decimated by experiences – suffering, humiliation, encounter with
the sublime – or purified by hell fire until realizes one’s error and
we see or happens is a play of divine attributes or effect of divine names and as such “endorsed” at ontological plane
though what has been prohibited by scriptures doesn’t please God the Guide with
whom man in search of perfection/joy/heaven is concerned. One sins by virtue of
God’s leave but suffers for the same by virtue of God’s other names such as
al-Qahar (the Subduer). Existence/life has to be approached ultimately in
aesthetic terms. Don’t worry for anything or feel like advising God for doing
this or that as that implies we fail to appreciate that particular
manifestation/tajalli of the Real. God is also Justice that seeks realization
through those who work for justice. As such every good work done by anyone or
say social activists/NGOs/right policing is worshipping/realizing God.
here or the world is there because we desired/have accepted being as against
nothing. God is That which grants the requests for being that creatures make –
who is ready to die and be gone or be nothing? In fact we are not – He alone
is. The world expresses plenitude of the Being whose very nature is to radiate
or see itself in a mirror – get recognized by the projected other and that we
are all seekers or travelers and are ultimately the projects of Being or hired
actors who however also choose to act to further their own ends which are
ultimately the play for the sake of playing well.
The old fool completely misses the beautiful lesson from the story that
even though the punishment is prescribed, the people must desist from bringing
charges (casting stones in the parable) against the sinners which is brought to
perfection in the Quran when it discourages people from bringing charges
against other people even if these are true.
Allah’s Mercy encompasses even his hudud laws. For a detailed exposition
read my comment:By Naseer Ahmed - 11/5/2018 11:44:55 PM
You are an ignorant old fool with little understanding. What I am
writing below is what I have said before, but it went over your head.
For an individual Muslim, following the Quranic law on adultery means
not committing adultery. The Indian law does not compel Muslims to commit
adultery. I hope you understand this much at least.
The Quranic law on adultery did not apply to any other community except
the Muslims. The polytheists were never punished for adultery since this is not
a crime for them. On the other hand, an adulterous Muslim while being forbidden
from marrying any non-adulterous person from communities in which adultery is
forbidden, could marry a polytheist Arab only because adultery was common and an
acceptable practice in that community. Following Islam does not require
imposing its laws on other communities.
Jesus (pbuh) is an example of a prophet who did not contravene the
prevailing Roman Law when a prostitute was brought before him for judgment by
mischievous people who wanted to test him. If he pronounced the judgment
according to the Mosaic Law, he would have run afoul of the Roman Law and if he
didn’t, the people could accuse him of being a false prophet. He simply asked
the one who had never sinned to cast the first stone. He therefore passed the
judgment of stoning in accordance with the Mosaic Law and yet ensured that it
was not carried out. This lesson is taken to perfection in the Quran.
First, the Prophet himself, when people of other communities came to him
for judgment, judged them by their own laws and not by Quranic laws. The lesson
from this and from the example of Jesus is even though you may be a Muslim
judge, you will judge by the prevailing law.
Just like Jesus (pbuh) gave a lesson to the accusers that they should
not be quick to accuse and judge other people, the Quran also discourages
people from bringing charges against other people even if these are true. Allah’s
Mercy encompasses even his hudud laws. As an individual therefore, it is not my duty to ensure the punishment of people according to any law. I need to only ensure that I live by the tenets of my religion in my private life. Even if I was a ruler, I cannot implement Quranic laws on people who do not believe in the Quran.