I asked a friend of mine recently, "Have you read Shaykh Abdul Qader Geylani?* (*a famous Sufi Grandshaykh of the Syariat (the Law) and the Tarikat (the Path)). To which he replied in the negative. And I think he was amused by my crestfallen reaction (which I think I found hard to hide) for he said, "He is not in my priority of reading..."
So I asked him what was his priority reading, and he said, "The Holy Quran, the Hadith (verbal traditions of the Prophet), perhaps the books of the four school (mahzabs) of jurisprudence of Islam..." He felt that it is important for him to focus on these basic groundings and not be distracted by other books, which I guess appear to him to be secondary and collateral to these books.
My first (and emotional) reaction was to spring on him and shake his structure- Oh why oh why would you not want to open yourself to the love manifested by someone such as Shaykh Abdul Qader? A love of divine presence connected through the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) and the Companions and Saints? A love that you can sense, taste and feel through his spiritual discourses? Why would you not want to grab hold of this Saint's robe and let him drag you through our simple hypocrisies though it may hurt our spiritual sensibilities? Why would you not want Love at all? But then someone interrupted us and he whispered to me,
In the Kiss, In the Embrace
Love cannot be informed upon,
Love cannot be explained,
Love cannot be told from
One person to another.
Love must be transmitted in a kiss,
In the embrace of the Master
And submission by the apprentice.
So I said no more on this matter.
But the next day, another old friend of mine dropped by in the hallow of my thoughts and by this he challenged my friend's view - You say that you wish your religious study not to be distracted by other spiritual books than the Holy Quran and the Hadith and the books of the four Imams of Jurisprudence. But in your life you are reading the newspaper, you are reading about politics, the economy and society in general. You are driving and you would be studying the advertisement billboard that litter the roadside. You are reading books, journals, magazines, brochures for computers and surfing the internet and reading all sorts of things, written by all sorts of people. And this you say is okay because those reading material are not spiritual or religious in nature.
But what is 'nature'? At another level everything in its very nature is spiritual. Whether it is about health or wealth, science or technology, people and society, politics and ideologies, banking and commerce - Such things sometimes appear with a gloss of materialism because we are dealing with the physical world and its inhabitants. But truth be told, the knowledge is coming from the same source and MORE importantly, one way or another, it is TALKING about that same source - the One Originator of all things physical, felt or deserving of our contemplation, our One Lord God.
Coming and Returning
All knowledge comes from God,
And all knowledge returns to God...
But I cannot share such things with him because there is of course adab (good manners) to consider. I cannot intrude into the bridal chamber of Love. So I ask of Love for Love and no more. Love will bide His time as He wishes.
Have a lovely day, sunshine.
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way