Friday, October 13, 2006

For the Love of God

I remember so many times, in khutbhas and religious lectures and madressas and and and.. listening to members of the learned crowd preaching religion in so many ways. Some offensive to the ear, fear inducing and punitive. The dark side of belief and non-belief. Scattered with critical superstitions and trends that limit and forbid the souls creative splurge. The reach for love, caged by the need to tie, tag and label. We are divided. We are thus conquered.
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But in the early hours of this morning, I came upon a now almost dusty old journal from January this year, when I made the Hajj pilgrimage with my loved ones. And paging through its scribbled upon leafs, I discovered notes made at a lecture I attended in Azizia, a suburban retreat in Mecca, where we stayed for a few restful days before the five day Hajj rites were resumed. Im not too sure of the name of the khatib (speaker), but I know that he spoke beautifully and eloquently, and this is what I would like to share with readers of this meagre blog. If anyone else was present at this particular lecture on the 5th January 2006 in the Al-Nur Hotel, and if they remember the name of this learned speaker from New York, please furnish with details.
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The speaker commenced with an opening prayer and then made known his topic of speech:
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The Five Pillars of Islam. Had it not been for the explanation of the Hajj rites to follow, I may not have stayed on much longer. We have all heard the familiar diatribes. Taught and imprinted on memory since we could identify meaning. I am not saying this to mock the content, but merely to define and illuminate the impatience that often confronts us in the need to sift media and information that we are constantly presented with. So, anyway, I digress.
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The Five Pillars as we know them to be, are the Kalima, Salaah (Prayer), Zakaah (Charity), Fasting and the Hajj Pilgrimage, which is incumbent upon those who have adequate means.
The lecture was presented, quite refreshingly as follows:-
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The first pillar, ladies and gentlemen, is the Pillar of Love. The objective in life, is to establish closeness to the Almighty. To achieve love between the Creator and creation. The speaker identified three stages by which the individual might attain this end:
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1.) Raghbat, which is the inclination to achieve something;
2.) Talab, which is the need or desire to achieve a particular goal or objective; and
3.) Love, in a form that makes it difficult to live without that reason of ones striving.
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The ultimate form of Love, is Worship. Ibaadah. And the Ultimate Declaration of this form of Love, is the Kalima Shahaa'dah. La-ilaha-Ill-Allah. We worship Only You.
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The second pillar, is Humbleness. Humility towards Ones Superior. Sujood is this form of humbleness. The central idea of physical prayer (salaah), is humbleness. And to place your forehead on the ground is ultimate humility. My own addition is a poem brought to mind by Jelaluddin Rumi, who displayed this Love in Humility:
"When I touch the ground in prayer, my only purpose is You;
All else I speak of...nightingales and whirling, is just an excuse".
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The third pillar, is Zakaah, or alms-giving. This a means of cleansing ones material wealth, and in giving a means of cleansing the heart of attachments to the physical.
And the fourth pillar, is Fasting. Which encourages Taqwa, or God-consciousness. It is a physical treatise to enjoin what is good and a commitment to be aware of what is forbidden, and what stands in the way of achieving the goal of piety. These two pillars are the ways in which believers may prove their Love. In doing away with the physical indulges of wealth, nourishment and the desires of the lower self.
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The fifth pillar, is the Ultimate Act of Love. The Journey of Love. The Journey to be Closer to the Beloved. This is the Hajj Pilgrimage.
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The mind of a lover is such that it needs to behold the Beloved. But of course, Allah is beyond our imagination. Since the Noor of Allah, the Tajjalliah, descends upon the Baitullah/House of Allah, by making the pilgrimage in order to visit the Kaaba, we are closest. It is true that we face the Qiblah from anywhere on the planet. But it is in the circumbulation of the Tajjalliah that the Ultimate Hajj rite is completed. (In performing the Tawaaf around the Kaaba, its not the physical reality of the Kaaba that we circle, but the essence of the Noor of Allah (Tajjalliah) around which we are engaging completion of the Perfect Circle).
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The pilgrim, in Ihraam, is in the ultimate and conscious state of worship, and at that point is ready to perform the Journey of Love. At that point, is recited the Talbiyya, or the declaration of being present at Hajj: The Labbaik recital, meaning: I am here, Oh Beloved.
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The Quran says that we should perform the Hajj for the Love and Pleasure of Allah. For me, the profound message left in my heart after such an illumiinating lecture on Love, speaks only of pleasure and soul-enlightening beauties. My Hajj was many such things and more. I pray that all hujjaaj are able to accomplish what they set out to in their journeys, and may theirs be a Hajj maqbool, and a Hajj mabroor. Inshallah.

11 comments:

Fatima said...

oh my gosh oh my gosh.

this is the most beautiful description i've ever read.
so simple, yet it gets to the point efficiently.
why does everyone make our religion so complicated..when this is what it's really all about.

and the quote by Rumi...wow...it just describes it perfectly.

i'm going to print your post and keep it as a simple reminder for what we should be achieving everyday.

honestly, i'm just blown away :)

thanks

kimya said...

thnx u :)
i was impressed by the content of the lecture at the time.. and happy to share something that might inspire beauty and joy instead of fear and doubt.

may Allah guide us in Love and Virtue

mish said...

inspirational!

i think that the problem is that we get so caught up in the technicalities of islam that we loose sight of the spiritual aspect.

we could make good use of this post by sharing it, details later :)

have you read ali shariati's hajj. if not, i know you'll love it :)

kimya said...

hey beautiful mish :)

ur a store house of the good stuff!
will be sure to get me a copy of ur recommendation asap, thnx.

tc

Anonymous said...

Ameen.

I will be performing Hajj this year. So many mixed feelings.
Hope to make the most of it.

zee said...

so i finally got down to reading this post tonight and wow kim!

i should have read it the first night u told me u posted it.

to use inspirational would be n understatement

well written!

kimya said...

best wishes on ur hajj, ANON!

ZEE: Glad you liked it 2:)

Anonymous said...

Most definately a journey of love, but not my love for Allah. For me, it was more about Allah's love for his pathetic ungrateful creation (me). Being in my early 20's, what had I done to deserve the honour of standing
in such a blessed place with my dirty feet. A muslim by name, muslim in ramadaan, muslim on a friday. Could i claim to Love God, when I didnt even have the respect to understand or even
obey His perfect orders.
Standing before His House, you realise all of this, and FINALLY you realise that Allah is there, and that he knows whats in your dirty lil heart, and you realise that He is your creator and that you HAVE to
meet Him, and out of shame, you CANT
face him.


and when you reach the point of utter self disgust, and you wish the ground would open up and swallow you, you go further beyond that point, to a point that you have never been before, and your chest is sore cos you cant control the tears anymore....... and when you there, Allah embraces you with HIS Perfect Love, and He lets you know.... its OK.... Im Gafoor, Im Raheem, and even tho you didnt obey, I still loved you.... Now turn to ME...

Thats Allah's love for his creation.... greater than the love a mother has for her new born


yk Joe Soap

kimya said...

oh wow..

u inspired me then, when u were leaving for ur hajj, and again wen i was unsure of my own journey.. and continually, alhamdulillah..

may Allah guide ur path, my Friend, the soapSter :)

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum Kimya,

Thanks for this, it was a very insightful read. May Allah be with you and all of us, and grant us an opportunity to return to His house.

Wa salam,
Faraz

Nooj said...

beautiful read... would love to encounter this version of Islam more at formal lectures as opposed to the regular "fire and brimstone" rants