Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Arab King and the Arab Spring - The Caliph of Islam and the River of Time

24. For freedom or for the King?
Historians are prone
To garnish history
With the trends
Of today.

Imputing alien ideas
And foreign motivation
To those who cannot,
Alas, respond.

We too,
Could be labeled the same,
Save that the subjects
Of our constant study,
Do react,
Most passionately.

Our predecessors are reacting now.
And they are telling us,

"We studied you
Before you studied us."

History is not passive. So recorded the sinner in the month of Ramadhan, 2008. And this is the thing, for my friends who are avid students of history and its personalities, the past is not a passive thing to be studied. In Islam, in particular in the mystic's path of Sufism, the past is a reactive thing that reacts to our study. And to the sufis, there is no personality more alive and more reactive and active than that of Muhammad, the Prophet of God(pbuh). And the same goes, in smaller doses of awesomeness, in the spirits of all Prophets, the Companions of the Prophet(pbuh) and the Saints. And that is how the prose ends with this beguiling reply to all mureeds (students of the Path) - "We studied you before you studied us."

Upstream or downstream in the River of Time. In the mystical path, time is not linear, moving in a single direction. Time is essentially a river, and though its preponderance is to make its way to the Ocean, you can actually swim upstream or downstream. Really, it is up to you. The only limitation is your stamina and swimming skills. Some people are gifted by birth, but most people can study and practice under the guidance of the Masters of the Sufi Orders.

The Caliph.

Servanthood of a King. Modern pop culture likes to paint the struggle, civil wars, rebellions and conflicts of the past in simple black and white. Liberty vs Oppression. Enlightenment vs Ignorance. They are not wrong, but they are not wholly correct. For it is often in the past that liberty and enlightenment is manifested in a single personage - a King, a Sultan, an Emperor, an Emir, a Prince or a Khalifah. And in this world of individualism and consumerism, it goes against the grain of this times to talk about servanthood. For servanthood was an important aspect of traditional life, for even a King or a Sultan is ultimately a servant of God, and one who is responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of his subjects. It is no easy burden. 

The Arab King and the Arab Spring. That is why the Arab Spring of 2012 does not fill us with hopeful anticipation. Sober hearts are reading the changes in the Arab countries as one form of tyranny being replaced with another form - Change happening for the sake of change, and not fostered by culture, Adab or education. Change that is 'managed'. And to hoist the crude politics of socialism, liberalism, conservatism or even populism upon the most noble mantle of Muhammad Habibullah(pbuh) is to insinuate a dogmatic approach that is alien to the nature of the Prophet, Mercy to the Worlds(pbuh). Perhaps that is why our friends are earnestly looking to King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Caliph of Islam of this epoch, Commander of the Believers, Lion of God.  

If you ask me how this event will play out, I shall have to confess that I don't know. How can I, when the principle actors of this Divine Stage are still acting out their roles and reacting to the congress of the wise, however long they have been laid to rest in the bosom of the welcoming Earth?

But look to Shams (Syria), and look to Jordan and Turkey. And Russia too.

Have a thoughtful day, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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