Sunday, December 12, 2010

Anonymity in the Oneness of God, Abu Bakar, Mary and that Descartes Dude

WE ARE ALL ANONYMOUS. I don’t know who most of my readers are. This used to bother me, but now I am just happy for someone to drop by. And it made me wonder– do we really know any other person? Do you really know your best friend? Your wife? Even your mother? Your husband? You see them daily, you eat and drink with them, you share joys and tears together. You support the same football team. But really, do we understand the depth of emotions, experience and personality that makes up another human being?

WE DON’T REALLY KNOW EACH OTHER. Of course not. To a large extent, we transact only with the surface of the man / woman. We exchange pleasantries and speak their names. But the deeper substrata, the subconscious personality of the person is often beyond our immediate attention or contemplation. So in a manner of speaking, we are often anonymous to one another.

WE DON’T EVEN KNOW OURSELVES. Matters become more complicated when we are often propelled by self-delusions. For me, I often catch myself saying / doing things which are abnormal to my general attitude. I would like to think that I am kind, hard working, loving and patient. But the truth of the matter is I can do the exact opposite sometimes. I can be mean. I can be selfish, and sometimes cruel words come out of my mouth. Words I wish I had never uttered, but in that split second I forgot who I was train wrecking myself on sleepers laid down by my ego.


I think that anonymity is the true nature of Reality– ergo the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, that ‘I bear witness that there is no god but God…’. Thus I remembered Abu Bakar, the Shadow of the Prophet, in a little poem that I wrote…

39. The Lament of Abu Bakar & Then Some
If only I was blade of rye,
About to be cut by a swing of the scythe.

If only I was lost and nameless,
Nothing even to my deceiving self.

Like a book unread,
Gathering dust on the shelf.

The ‘…And Then Some’ in the title of the prose above is a reference to Mary, Mother of Jesus. She uttered the exact same sentiments as Abu Bakar as-Siddique.

I AM NOTHING SPECIAL but my ego always likes to claim that I am special. Whether as a sinner or a believer, whether I am drowning in sins, or performing prayers and charity – my ego stakes a claim on my behalf to be somehow different, special from the rest of humanity. The ego is subtle you see, even when you are down and out, a penniless bum on skid row, your ego can be as gigantic as the richest man in the world. Only true anonymity will keep the ego at bay…

190. Mundane
The thought of finding pleasure in the mundane,
The thought that you might be mundane,
Is almost too much for your ego to bear.

In a world where everyone craves a name,
Anonymity is arsenic.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE… To conclude this posting, I refer to the second limb of the declaration of faith, “…And that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. This is not merely a statement of the Prophethood of Muhammad, but also the statement of our plurality as human beings. It is by this second part that mankind is created, to exhibit the many attributes of the Beloved, to be the ink by which we write ourselves (or are written) unto the consciousness of God.

GOD THINKS THEREFORE I AM. I like to believe that we are all anonymous in the Oneness of God, but we become identifiable through His Love for the Prophet and for us. To reassess what old Rene Descartes once said, "I think therefore I am ", to “ God Thinks therefore I am”. I hope Rene doesn't mind...

Have a thoughtful Monday, sunshine.

Pax Taufiqa.

Footnotes – An earlier posting about Abu Bakar and Abu Yazid may interest you. Click here.

‘The Lament of Abu Bakar and Then Some” and “Mundane” are prose from chapter 1, ‘The Dam.SunSun.Ana (circa June 2004).

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