Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad Part 2

No.9 Wonderful
Beauty made the world a canvas,
To paint His Names
In cosmic colour and hue.

And in between the First suns and the Last moons,
Beauty found time to create you.

MECCA, 1888. Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad was born to a migrant Indian family in Mecca in the year 1888. This boon companion of Mahatma Gandhi was described by the Mahatma himself as ‘The Emperor of Learning” and “a person of the calibre of Plato, Aristotle and Pythagorus”.

His father was reputed to be Sufi pir of the Qadiri and Naqshbandi Sufi Orders. Yet Mawlana Abul, although educated in the Islamic classic traditions, had a willful heart to explore beyond the books and sermons of the madrasah. His proficiency in Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Bengali permitted him to study many knowledge and lore which would otherwise be locked away from him. When married with a highly astute mind and a compassionate heart, is it any wonder that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's referred to him as “a very brave and gallant gentleman, a finished product of the culture that, in these days, pertains to few”. When you consider the giant personalities of Gandhi and Nehru, you would know that such personal accolades are not something to take lightly.

MY FIRST ENCOUNTER with Mawlana Abul’s book “THE OPENING CHAPTER OF THE QURAN” (Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad, Edited & rendered into English by Dr. Syed Abdul Latiff) was some 10 years ago while I was collecting notes and insights on the idea of Islam and the Environment for my book (grandly) entitled "THIS WORLD IS MY MOSQUE - A Walk Through a Twilight Forest under a Crescent Moon". Perhaps one day I should post some readable parts of my unfinished book.
Anyways, while searching through my old notes last night, I came across this following extract from Maulana Abul’s book – “To visualize God as Rabbul’-Alamin or the Rabb (Lord) of all creation is to conceive Him as not only the Creator of everything in the universe but its nourisher and sustainer as well. The provision that He has made for the sustenance and growth of everything is made under a plan, so marvelous that every being is furnished with all that its particular nature demands for its existence, and at the same time, it is furnished in a manner that takes cognizance of every changing situation and need.”

GOD THE PAINTER. I remember thinking about Mawlana’s words and how if I consider God as the Ultimate Artist and Painter, God would not be any ordinary sort of painter. Such is the vacuum of meanings and substance before Creation that God’s canvas would be made of unimaginable nothingness. A canvas empty even of emptiness and devoid of even voidness. And upon this divine canvas, God found the time to paint each ant, each zebra, the forest and mountains, the lakes and the seas, the sky and the vast expanse of outer space and beyond. And while working on His Masterpiece, He found the inspiration to create you. Little ol’ you.

But as the Rabbul’-Alamin, the Painter of this vast Creation doesn’t stop painting. Indeed not a moment past from Untime to this moment when you are reading this post, that God has ever stopped painting. And were He like us, to grow tired and bored – and turns away from His Creation, all of Creation would cease to be nourished and sustained by His Grace and we, together with everything else would simply slip back into the unimaginable emptiness. All the colours of the worlds, each infinitesimal dot and speck of paint would fall from the canvas. A ripple of creation blinked away into a sea of absolute zero, where even memories would cease to exist.

RUBUBIYAT. But (thankfully) God is not like us. He loves all of Creation with a Love and Power which humbles our mind, thus wrote the Mawlana – “Indeed there are countless varieties of creation infinitesimally small in form that our naked eye cannot perceive them. For them, also, the Rububiyat of God has made the requisite provision for sustenance and growth with as much care as for the bulk elephant or the intelligent man. All this man can observe in his external world. Should he look into himself, he will notice that his life, at every moment of its existence, discloses a world of activity propelled by the Rububiyat* of God.”

LOVE THAT HAS NO LIMITATION. Such is the love that God has for you. Someone once commented about this blog. “Surely it isn’t as simple as that. Surely it is not just about love, kindness and mercy”. To my friend I reply here – It is. And the eternal sadness of mankind is that however we talk of love, singing and praising love in poems and novels, we fail to understand His Love. We refuse to believe that such Love as His Love could possibly exist. And we don’t even try. We put limitations on God when He Himself says He has none.

IMAM GHAZALI. Oh my dear friends, believe. And set yourself free of your mortal cage. Your body is imprisoned for awhile here in this world. But your heart, as Imam Ghazali once noted – is not of this world. Believe in His love and let your heart be the wings to fly you to Him…

On this wonderful Wednesday, when I am sharing thoughts with Maulana Azad and Imam Ghazali (not to mention Nehru and the Mahatma), I bid you peace and love. Not of a sinner, but from these elevated souls to whom I owe so much.

Pax Taufiqa.

Earlier posting - Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad Part 1 - Click Here.

* Rububiyat means, as quoted from Maulana Azad’s book, “…in Arabic, Rububiyat means nourishing. But the term is to be conceived here in its widest sense, for in the opinion of some of the leading lexicographers, the terms means, “to develop a thing from a stage to stage in accordance with its inherent aptitudes, needs and its different aspects of existence, and also in a manner affording the requisite freedom to attain its full stature”.

The poem ‘Wonderful’ is from chapter 8 ‘Dawn Came, the Song’ circa October 2004.

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