LESSONS / Compilations

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وَ بِهِ نَسْتَعِينُ

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَ الصَّلاَةُ وَ السَّلاَمُ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ صَحْبِهِ اَجْمَعِينَ

‘IBÂDAH -1

“Rabb رَبِّ

That is, He who raises and tarbiyyah the ‘âlam with all its component parts, each of which is an ‘âlam like the greater ‘âlam, with all its atoms, like its stars dispersed, in motion, in order.

Know that Allah ‘Azza wa jalla appointed for everything a point of perfection and deposited in each an inclination towards it, as though commanding it in a ma’nawî manner through this inclination to set out for the point of perfection. In its journey, each thing stands in need of what will help it and what will repulse the things that hinder it, and this is the tarbiyyah of ‘Azza wa jalla. If you study the universe, you will see that it resembles human groups and nations, with each individually and collectively employed in the duties its Sâni’ has appointed for it, striving diligently, obeying the laws of its Khâliq. How surprising therefore is man, in his being an exception!”  Signs of Miraculousness ( 24 )

 

رَبَّكُمْ 1 that is, perform ‘ibâdah to Him for He is Ar-Rabb who raises and tarbiyyah you! It is incumbent on you to be an ‘abd who performs ‘ibâdah…

…As for the phrase الَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ 2 know that when Allah ta‘âlâ commands to ‘ibâdah, which necessitates three things:

Firstly: the existence of the Ma'bûd,

Secondly: Ma'bûd’s wahdah;

Thirdly: Ma'bûd’s right to be performed ‘ibâdah” Signs of Miraculousness ( 171 )

 

“Concerning  لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ3  

"لَعَلَّ" signifies hope, and when it precedes something desirable it is used to increase eagerness, and when it precedes something repugnant, its function is to put [the listener] on his guard. Here, the hope cannot refer literally to the Speaker [that is, to Allah], so it is either metaphorical or refers either to the addressee or to observers or listeners.

If it refers to the Speaker, it is an allegorical metaphor. If one equips a person with the gear for a job, one hopes and expects that he will do it. In the same way, Allah has decked out humanity with the potentiality to be perfected, and the capacity of accountability and the means of the will.

The metaphor indicates too that the hikmah of man's creation is taqwâ. It also infers that ‘ibâdah results in the degree of taqwâ. So too it is a sign that the taqwâ is the highest degree.

Moreover, in the style of sultâns, the metaphor suggests encouragement and the holding out of hopes and [the making of] certain promises.

If لَعَلَّ refers to those addressed, it is as though saying: "perform ‘ibâdah through aspiring the taqwâ, between fear and hope." From this consideration, it indicates that man should not rely on his ‘ibâdah. It implies too that he should not suffice with his present degree of ‘ibâdah, but should confirm the saying "it is incumbent on you to act without ceasing" and look beyond the degree at which he is found [and aspire to more].

And if  لَعَلَّ refers to observers and listeners, it is as though whoever observes human beings equipped with such abilities and potentialities will hope and expect taqwâ from them - just as a person who sees the claws and fangs of a predator will expect it to be rapacious. It indicates too that ‘ibâdah is required in man's fitrah.

Since the taqwâ results from the ‘ibâdah of all the classes [of men] mentioned previously, the word تَتَّقُونَ alludes to all [types and] levels of taqwâ. That is, taqwâ [preventing] the shirk, taqwâ [preventing the committing of] kabâir, taqwâ [causing one] to preserve one's heart from [attachment to] things other than Allah Ta‘âlâ, and taqwâ [causing one] to avoid [things leading to] punishment, and taqwâ [causing one] to restrain oneself from anger of Allah. It is also a hint that ‘ibâdah is that which is [performed] with ikhlas. And it indicates that ‘ibâdah should be the sole aim, and not a means, and suggests too that ‘ibâdah should not be [performed in the hope of] reward or [to avoid] punishment Now the elements of the phrase اَلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اْلاَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً 4 :

Consider this: by describing the vastness of As-Sâni’s Qoudrah, this indicates that it is spurring [the people] on to ‘ibâdah, and by mentioning His favours encouraging [them]. It is as though saying: "O man! The One who subjugates the earth and samâ to you deserves your ‘ibâdah."

It also indicates man's fadhîlah and his high worth and his nobility in Allah's sight, as though saying: "You should show through ‘ibâdah the One who has ennobled you by making the heavenly and lowly bodies [in such a way] that you might benefit from them despite their vastness, that you are worthy of His favour."

Moreover, it is a hint rebutting chance, coincidence, and the [actual] effect of nature. That is: "All the attributes you see [in nature exist] through the making of a Khâliq, the intention of an Intender, the specification of a Specifier, and the order of an Orderer. How sublime is His hikmah!" Signs of Miraculousness (175-176 )

 

اَلَمْ تَرَ اَنَّ اللهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَنْ فِى السَّمٰوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِى اْلاَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُومُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَۤابُّ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَكَثِيرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَذَابُ وَمَنْ يُهِناللهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ مُكْرِمٍ اِنَّ اللهَ يَفْعَلُ مَايَشَۤاء5

We shall point out only a single jewel from the treasure of this extensive and sublime âyah. It is as follows:

Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm states clearly that everything, from the ‘arsh to the earth, from the stars to flies, from malâikah to fishes, and from planets to particles, performs sajda, ‘ibâdah, hamd and tasbîh to Janâb-i Haqq. But their ‘ibâdah varies according to their capacities and the Names that manifested on them; it is all different. We shall explain one of the varieties of their ‘ibâdah with a comparison.

For example,  وَ لِلّٰهِ الْمَثَلُ اْلاَعْلَىwhen a mighty lord of all dominion builds a city or splendid palace, he employs four categories of workers.

THE FIRST CATEGORY is his slaves and bondsmen. This sort receives no wage or remuneration, but for each item of work that they carry out through their lord's command, they experience a subtle pleasure and pleasant eagerness. Whatever they utter by way of praise and description of their lord increases their pleasure and eagerness. Knowing their connection with their holy lord to be a great honour, they content themselves with that. Also, they find ma’nawî pleasure from looking to their work with the view of their lord, and for his sake and in his name. They are not in need of any wage, rank, or remuneration.

THE SECOND CATEGORY is ordinary servants. They do not know why they are working or that they are being employed by the glorious lord. He causes them to work through his own ideas and ‘ilm and gives them an appropriately small wage. These servants are unaware of what various and comprehensive aims and exalted matters result as a consequence of their work. Some of them even imagine that their work concerns themselves alone and has no aim besides their wage.

THE THIRD CATEGORY: The lord of all dominion has some animals which he employs in various jobs in the construction of the city and palace. He only gives them fodder, but their working at tasks suitable for their abilities gives them pleasure. For, if a potentiality or ability is realized in action and work, there is a breathing in and expansion and this results in pleasure. The pleasure to be had from all activity stems from this mystery. The wage and remuneration of this sort of servant, then, is only fodder and that ma’nawî pleasure.

THE FOURTH CATEGORY is workers who know what they are doing, and why and for whom they are working, and why the other workers are working, and what the purpose of the lord of all dominion is, and why he is causing them to work. Workers of this category are therefore bosses and supervisors over the other workers. They receive remuneration that is graded according to their rank and degree.

In exactly the same way, Ar-Rabb al-‘âlamîn, Who is Al-Mâlik Zuljalâl of the samâwât and the earth and Zuljamâl Builder of this world and the âkhirah, employs both malâikah, and animals, and inanimate beings and plants, and human beings in the palace of this world, in this realm of causality. He employs them not out of need, for Al-Khâliq of everything is He, but for certain instances of hikmah, like the shuûnah of might, sublimity, and rubûbiyyah. He causes them to perform ‘ibâdah and has charged these four categories with different duties of ‘ubûdiyyah.

The First Category is the malâikah, who are represented in the comparison by the slaves. For the malâikah there is no endeavour6 and progress; they all have their fixed station and determined rank, and receive a particular pleasure from the work itself and a faydh from their ‘ibâdah. That is to say, the reward of these servants is found within their duties. Just as man is nourished by air, water, light, and food, and receives pleasure from them, so are the malâikah nourished by the varieties of dhikr, tasbîh, hamd, ‘ibâdah, ma’rifat, and love of Allah, and take pleasure in them. For, since they are created out of nûr, nûr is sufficient for their sustenance. Fragrant scents, even, which are close to nûr, are a sort of nourishment for them which they enjoy. Indeed, good rûhs take pleasure in sweet smells.

Furthermore, there is in the tasks that the malâikah perform at the command of Al-Ma’bûd, in the work they accomplish for His sake, in the service they discharge in His name, in the supervision they execute through His favour, in the honour they gain through their connection with Him, in the immaculateness they attain through studying His dominion in both mulk and malakût, and in the ease they find through beholding the manifestations of His jamâl and jalâl (beauty and glory), such sublime bliss that the human mind cannot comprehend it, and one who is not a malâikah cannot perceive it.

One sort of malâikah is the performer of ‘ibâbah and the‘ubûdiyyah of other sort is in the deed. The sort of workers among the malâikah of the earth has a likeness to humankind. If one may say so, a sort of them are shepherds and another like farmers. That is to say, the face of the earth is like a general farm. An appointed malâikah supervises all the species of animals within it through the command of Al-Khâliq Zuljalâl, and with His permission, for His sake and through His power and strength. And for each species of animal, there is a lesser malâikah who is is appointed to act as a special shepherd.

The face of the earth is also a place of cultivation; the plants are all sown in it. There is a malâikah charged with supervising them in the name of Janâb-i Haqq and through His power, and there are malâikah who are lesser than him and who perform ‘ibâdah and tasbîh Janâb-i Haqq by supervising particular species. The Mikail ‘Alayhissalâm, who is one of the bearers of the arsh of Razzâqiyyah, is the most important overseer of these.

The malâikah who are in the position of shepherd and farmer do not bear any resemblance to human beings, for their supervision is purely for the sake of Janâb-i Haqq, and in His name and through His power and command. Their supervision of animals consists only of beholding the manifestations of rubûbiyyah in the species where they are employed; studying the manifestations of qoudrah and rahmah in it; making known to that species the Ilahî commands by way of a sort of ilham, and in some way ordering the voluntary actions of the species.

Their supervision of the plants in the field of the earth in particular consists of representing the plants' ma’nawî tasbîhs in the malâikah language; proclaiming in the malâikah language the ma’nawî tahîyyah of the plants offer to Al-Fâtir Zuljalâl through their lives; and employing the faculties given to plants correctly and directing them towards certain aims and ordering them to some extent. These duties of the malâikah are a sort of ‘kasb’ by their juz’ al-ikhtiyârî. Indeed, they are a kind of ‘ubûdiyyah and ‘ibâdah. But the malâikah have no real power of disposal, for on everything is a stamp peculiar to Al-Khâliq of all things. Another's hand cannot interfere in creation. That is to say, this sort of work of the malâikah forms their ‘ibâdah. It is not a custom-like with human beings.

The Second Category of workers in this palace of the universe is animals. Since animals also have an appetitive nafs and juz’ al-ikhtiyârî, their work is not 'purely for the sake of Allah;' to some extent, they take a share for their nafs. Therefore, since Al-Mâlik Al-Mulk Zuljalâl Al-Ikram is Karîm, He bestows a wage on them during their work so that their nafs receives a share. For example, Al-Fâtir Al-Hakîm employs the famous nightingale, {Since the nightingale speaks poetically, our discussion also becomes poetic for a bit. But it is not imaginary, it is the haqiqah.} renowned for his ‘ashq of the rose, for five aims.

First Aim: It is the official employed to proclaim in the name of the animal species the intense relationship that exists between them and the plant species.

Second Aim: It is a Rabbânî orator from among the animals, who are like guests of Ar-Rahmân, needy for rizq, employed to acclaim the gifts sent by Ar-Razzâq Al-Karîm, and to announce their joy.

Third Aim: It is to announce to everyone the welcome offered to plants, which are sent for the assistance of his fellow animals.

Fourth Aim: It is to announce, over the blessed heads and to the beautiful faces of plants, the intense need of the animal species for them, which reaches the degree of ‘ashq.

Fifth Aim: It is to present with acute yearning at the Court of Mercy of Al-Mâlik Al-Mulk Zuljalâl wal-Jamal wal-Ikram a most graceful tasbîh inspired by the truly delicate face of the rose.

There are further meanings similar to these five aims, and they are the purpose of the deeds the nightingale performs for the sake of Haqq Subhânahu and Taâ’lâ. The nightingale speaks in his own tongue, but we understand these meanings from his plaintive words. If he himself does not altogether know the meaning of his own song like the malâikah and rûh beings do, it does not impair our understanding. The saying, "One who listens understands better than the one who speaks" is well-known. Also, the nightingale does not show that he does not know these aims in detail, but this does not mean that they do not exist. At least he informs you of them as a clock informs you of the time. What difference does it make if he does not know? It does not prevent you from knowing.

However, the nightingale's small wage is the delight he experiences from gazing on the smiling, beautiful roses, and the pleasure he receives from conversing with them and pouring out his woes. That is to say, his sorrowful song is not a complaint arising from animal grief, it is thanks in return for the gifts of Ar-Rahmân. Compare the bee, the spider, the ant, creeping insects, the male animals that are the means of reproduction, and the nightingales of all small creatures, with the nightingale: the deeds of all of them have numerous aims. For them, too, a particular pleasure, like a small wage, has been included in their duties. Through that pleasure, they serve the important aims contained in Rabbânî art. Just as an ordinary seaman acts as helmsman on an imperial ship and receives a small wage, so do the animals employed in service of Subhân each receives a small wage.

An Addendum to the Discussion on the Nightingale: However, do not suppose this proclaiming and heralding and these songs of tasbîh are peculiar to the nightingale. In most species, there is a class similar to the nightingale that consists of a subtle individual or individuals which represent the subtle feelings of that species with the subtle tasbîh and subtle poetry. The nightingales of flies and insects, in particular, are both numerous and various. Through their humming poetry, they make all animals with ears, from the largest to the smallest, hear their tasbîhât, and give them pleasure.

Some of them are nocturnal. These poetry-declaiming friends of all small animals are their sweet-voiced orators when all beings are plunged into the silence and tranquillity of the night. Each is a qutb of the circle of dhikr al-khafî7 , an assembly in solitude, to which all the others listen, and, in a fashion, dhikr and tasbîh Al-Fâtir Zuljalâl in their own hearts.

Another sort is diurnal. By day, in spring and summer, they proclaim the rahmah of Ar-Rahmân Ar-Rahîm to all animate beings from the pulpits of the trees with their ringing voices, subtle songs, and poetic tasbîhât. It is as if, like the leader of a circle of dhikr al-jahrî 8 induces the ecstasy (jazb) of those participating, all the creatures listening start to the dhikr of Al-Fâtir Zuljalâl each in its own special tongue and with a particular chant.

That is to say, every sort of being, and even the stars, have a chief-dhâkir and nûr-scattering nightingale. But the most excellent, the most noble, the most luminous, the most dazzling, the greatest and the most honourable nightingale, whose voice was the most ringing, whose attributes the most brilliant, whose dhikr the most complete, whose shukr the most universal, whose essence was the most perfect, and whose form the most beautiful, who brought all the beings of the samâwât and the earth in the garden of the universe to ecstasy and rapture through his subtle poetry, his sweet song, his exalted tasbîhât, was the glorious nightingale of humankind, the nightingale of the Qur'an: Muhammad the Arabian

عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ اَمْثَالِهِ اَفْضَلُ الصَّلاَةِ وَ اَجْمَلُ التَّسْلِيمَاتِ

To Conclude: The animals, who serve in the palace of the universe, conform with complete obedience to the takwinî commands and display perfectly in the name of Janâb-i Haqq the aims included in their fitrah. The tasbîhât and ‘ibâdah they perform by carrying out the duties related to their lives in this wonderful fashion through the power of Janâb-i Haqq are gifts and tahîyyah which they present to the Court of Al-Fâtir Zuljalâl, the Bestower of Life.

The Third Category of Workers are plants and inanimate creatures. Since they have no juz’ al-ikhtiyârî, they receive no wage. Their work is 'purely for the sake of Allah,' in His name, on His account and through Janâb-i Haqq’s Irâdah, power and strength. However, it may be perceived from their growth and development that they receive a sort of pleasure from their duties of pollination and producing seeds and fruits. But they experience no pain at all. Due to their will, animals experience pain as well as pleasure. Since will does not enter into the work of plants and inanimate beings, their work is more perfect than that of animals, who have the will. Among those who possess will, the work of creatures like the bee which are enlightened by wahy and ilham is more perfect than the work of those animals which rely on their juz’ al-ikhtiyârî.

All the species of plants in the field of the face of the earth pray and ask of Al-Fâtir Al-Hakîm through the language of their being and potentiality: "O our Rabb! Give us strength so that by raising the flag of our species in every part of the earth, we may proclaim the splendour of Your rubûbiyah; and grant us prosperity so that we may perform ‘ibâdah to You in every corner of the mosque of the earth; and bestow on us the power to spread and travel in order to exhibit through our particular language the embroideries of Your Most Beautiful Names and Your wonderful, antique arts."

Al-Fâtir Al-Hakîm answers their ma’nawî du'â and bestows on the seeds of one species tiny wings made of hair: they fly away spreading everywhere. They cause the Ilahî Names to be read in the name of their species. (Like the seeds of most thorned plants and some yellow flowers.) He gives to some species beautiful flesh that is either necessary or pleasant for human beings; He causes man to serve them and plant them everywhere. To some He gives, covering a hard and indigestible bone, flesh that animals eat so that they disperse the seeds over a wide area. On some He bestows small claws that grip onto all who touch them; moving on to other places, they raise the flag of the species and exhibit the antique art of As-Sâni’ Zuljalâl. And to some species, like to the bitter melon, He gives the force of a buckshot rifle so that, when the time is ripe, the small melons which are its fruits, fall and fire out their seeds like shot to a distance of several metres, and sow them. They work so that numerous tongues will tasbîh Al-Fâtir Zuljalâl and dhikr Him. You may think of other examples in the same way.

Al-Fâtir Al-Hakîm and Al-Qadîr Al-‘Alîm, has created everything beautifully and with perfect order. He has fitted them out beautifully, turned their faces towards beautiful aims, employed them in beautiful duties, caused them to utter beautiful tasbîhât and to perform ‘ibâdah beautifully. O, man! If indeed you are a human being, do not confuse nature, chance, futility, and dhalâlah with these beautiful matters. Do not make them ugly. Do not act in an ugly fashion. Do not be ugly!

The Fourth Category is human beings. Human beings, who are servants of a sort in the palace of the universe, resemble both malâikah and animals. They resemble malâikah in the universality of ‘ubûdiyyah, the extensiveness of supervision, comprehensiveness of Ma’rifat, and in being heralds of rubûbiyah. However, man is more comprehensive but since he has an appetitive nafs that is disposed towards sharr, contrary to the malâikah, he is subject to progress and decline, which is of great importance. Also, since in his work, man seeks pleasure for his nafs and a share for himself, he resembles an animal. Since this is so, man receives two wages: the first is insignificant, animal, and immediate; the second, like malâikah, universal, and postponed.” The Words ( 361- 367)

 

“The meaning of ‘ibâdah is this, that the ‘abd sees his own faults, impotence, and poverty in the Ilahî Court and goes to the sujûd in love and wonderment before the perfection of Rubûbiyah, Ilahî rahmah, and the Qoudrah of As-Samad. That is to say, just as the sovereignty of Rubûbiyyah demands ‘ubûdiyyah and obedience, so also does the holiness of Rubûbiyyah require that the ‘abd sees his faults and through istighfâr, and through his tasbîh and declaring “Subhânallah” proclaims that his Rabb is pure and free of all defects, and exalted above and far from the false ideas of people of dhalâlah, and hallowed and exempt from all the faults in the universe.

Also, the perfect Qoudrah of Rubûbiyyah requires that through understanding his own weakness and the impotence of other creatures, the ‘abd proclaims “Allahu Akbar” in admiration and wonder before the majesty of the works of As-Samad’s Qoudrah, and goes rukû’ in deep humility seeks refuge in Him and places his tawakkul.

Also, the infinite treasury of Rubûbiyyah’s rahmah requires that the ‘abd makes known his own need and the needs and poverty of all creatures through the tongue of entreaty and du’â, and proclaims his Rabb's ni’mahs and gifts through shukr and laudation and uttering “Alhamdulillah”. The Ninth Word-2nd Subtle Point

 

‘Ubûdiyyah looks to Ilahî command and Ilahî acceptance. What summons ‘ubûdiyyah is Ilahî command and its result is the acceptance of Haqq. Its fruits and benefits pertain to the âkhirah. But, so long as they are not the ultimate purpose and not intentionally sought, the benefits which pertain to this world and the fruits which come about themselves and are received while they are not sought are not contrary to ‘ubûdiyyah. Rather, for the weak, they become incentives and a cause for being preferred. If those fruits and benefits which pertain to this world become the reason -or a part of the reason- for that awrâd or dhikr, it partly invalidates that ‘ubûdiyyah. Indeed, it renders the meritorious awrâd fruitless and produces no results.

Thus, those who do not understand this mystery, recite for example the Awrâd-i Qudsiya of Shah Naqshband, which has a hundred benefits and peculiarity, or Jawshan al-Kabir, which has a thousand peculiarities, by making some of those benefits their prime intention. They can not see those benefits, and will not receive those benefits and they do not have the right to receive them. For those benefits may not be the reason for that awrâd and they may not be sought deliberately and directly from it. For they come about to that sincere awrâd without demanding, in the form of fadl. If they intend them, ikhlas will be spoilt to a degree. Indeed, it ceases being ‘ubûdiyyah and loses all value. There is just this, that weak people are in need of incentives and a cause to prefer reciting such meritorious awrâd. It causes no harm if they think of the benefits and eagerly recite them purely for the pleasure of Allah and for the âkhirah, it is even acceptable. It is because this hikmah has not been understood that when they do not receive the benefits narrated from Aqtâb and Salaf as-Sâlihîn, many of them come to doubt, or even come to deny them.” The Seventeenth Flash/13th Note-The Second Matter

 

 

سُبْحَانَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَا اِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ

رَبِّ اَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ ٭ وَاَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ اَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ

 

 

 

1 (Your Rabb)

2 (Who has created you)

3 [So that you may have the chance to learn righteousness.(taqwâ)]

4 (Who has made the earth a resting place for you and the samâ a canopy)

5 (Qur’an:22:18)

6 jihâd with nafs and shaytan

 

7 (the silent-hidden dhikr)

8 (the open-loud dhikr)

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