Thursday, January 16, 2014

TWO BOW-LENGTHS - sunnah archery, whirling dervishes and the unity of Allah (swt)

Two Bow-Lengths
Beneath ten million stars
Across the plains of America
High in the mountains of the Himalayas, 
Deep in the sea of the Pacific,
Hidden in the dunes of old Arabia,
In the Artic tundra,
On the steppes of Russia,
In the hollow of a rainforest
In rural hilly Malaysia
We whirl...

Following the one
Brought closest to the One
Till he was at a distant of but two bow-lengths
Or even nearer.

All roads lead to God. The art of the whirling dervish and the prophetic tradition of archery appear to be two very different activities. That is true at one level, but at another level it is essentially one and the same, just like the God we all pray to. And if you follow the spiritual path, there are many, many more levels for you to traverse. Across a seemingly impossible divide between the temporal and spiritual, the physical and the mystical. Slowly, you will notice the blurring of borders between religious ritual and daily life, between this world and that world. 

And most importantly, between you and I, between us and them.

The last sentence in the prose references a Quranic verse depicting the arrival of God's Beloved Muhammad (saws) beyond the last veil, through which not even the Archangel Gabriel would pass. And it was there (wherever 'there' is) that Muhammad Habibullah (saws) was brought to the divine presence of Allah (swt), God of all Creation. As the Quran informs us...

While he was in the highest part of the horizon
Then he approached and came closer
And was at a distant of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer.
(Quran 58:7-9, Yusuf Ali)

In this month of the Prophet Muhammad's (saws) birth, the Muslims are busying themselves in remembrance of their beloved Prophet, polishing the old connection and reasserting their passionate love for the Habibullah (saws) in the celebrations of his prophetic attributes. Why, even sinners such as I cannot but get dragged along for the ride...

So have a good one, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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