Sunday, September 4, 2011

At the Divine Presence Customs Clearance with a Saint and a Sinner - Sufism

238. Hide me in your trunk!
O’ Master,
You have attained
A high station,

But you still have
Many stations to visit!

In your travels,
Do not forget me!

Or better still,
Hide me in one
Of your trunks,
Beyond the piercing gaze
Of the Angels manning
The customs desk.

They are unlikely to
Let one such as I through!
I cannot imagine what they will do,
But you, I trust you!
Please... bring me with you!

And if the angels question you
As to why your luggage is so big,
Tell them it is nothing and empty...

For as a Master, they will have to believe you,
And in your reply, there is
Indeed, the truth.

Hehehe. I just hope the Angelic porters
Are not rough…

MASTER AND MURID. It is the essence of a mureed (student) in a tariqa (Sufi Order) to have a Master. When the mureed gives his bay'at (oath of loyalty) to the Master, the Master in return gives his promise to guide and care for his mureed.

WHO WANTS TO BE A MASTER? From confessions of friends who are mureeds (though they will say they are not), it is quite clear to me that it is better to be a student than a teacher. Better to be a mureed than a Master. For you see, mankind is worse than sheep - quite simply the most difficult domesticated animal to care for. Ask any shepherd you know. They would wander into the wolves' hunting ground, they eat everything in sight, they are curious and naive, still thinking this world is paradise. Well, it is, sort of... so long as you have a shepherd to guide you. Like a Master.

IF THERE IS A PATH, THERE ARE STATIONS TO VISIT. The tariqa is also known as the Path. And along this Path, you as well as your Master shall travel from one spiritual station to another. All Sufi Orders do it this way, but all their individual lines ultimately converge to the station of the Prophet, that of Muhammad Habibullah. It is the role, nay, devoted work of the Master to make sure you are on board the train, even if at any point in time you are several, or perhaps thousands of stations behind him. It is not an easy role to undertake, and daily it is the onerous duty for him to peek into you and see what you are up to. As if he has nothing better to do. I do pity the Masters.

CRITICISM OF SUFISM. The less-liberated members of the Muslim nation often look with suspicion at the mureeds and their devotion to the Masters. They say that the mureeds are glorifying the Masters to the point of idol worship. Which is of course the silliest conclusion. The Sufis understand the Quran and Sunnah at a level not for the common man. As Martin Lings once observed, the Holy revelations contained in the Quran is for the whole community but above all it is for the spiritual elect. And for the Sufis, monotheism is conceived and understood at a level which is difficult to explain if you yourself are not there. How can they accuse such people of idol worship, when the Sufis are at the level of direct struggle against the hidden idols which all men hide in themselves - the idols of selfishness and egoism.

IF YOU CANNOT STAND THE HEAT, GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN. To the mureeds, the Masters are direct representatives of the Prophet. And their devotion to the Masters is a mixture of awe, fear, envy but ultimately Love. And just like any other form of love, you cannot explain it to another if that other person doesn't have an inkling of what you mean. This is the problem facing Muslims now because they are thinking of religion as 'religion', not seeing that the love they have for their parents, lovers, children and friends are exactly the same sort of love and compassion that God Himself has promised unto the nation of humanity. It is different only in the question of degrees - between zero and infinity. And this Divine Love only has meaning if you yourself shower such affection and mercy unconditionally upon everyone, regardless of religion, colour and nationality. This is the high lesson offered by the Masters, but it is not for everyone. Ergo, the term 'spiritual elect' as used by dear Martin.

Pax Taufiqa.

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