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[Reflection] Is God Hidden or Manifest? Syed Khadri shares his reflections, inspired by comic: In Search of Water

In Search of Water-1
In Search of Water-2
In Search of Water-3

 

Inspired by the Sufi Comic: In Search of Water, Syed Khadri reflects on the omnipresence of the Creator exploring excerpts from the Quran and Islamic traditions. His reflection ends with an insightful conclusion.

In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon our master the Prophet Muhammed.

Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) has revealed to his beloved Messenger Muhammed (blessings and peace be upon him) in Holy Quran – 2:115:
“And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”(Sahih International)

Alhamdulillah, the quest of the fish for finding the meaning of water after reading the ayath of Quran – 21:30 beautifully explains the Omnipresence of the Creator.

“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” (21:30, Sahih International)

Have you ever reflected on the names of Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) – Az-Zahir (The Manifest) & Al-Batin (The Hidden)? How do you explain the names of Allah – The Manifest and yet Hidden, and Who is The Hidden and yet Manifest? If you apply logical reasoning – both names are opposite to one another, isn’t it? For how something which is hidden can be manifest or something which is manifest can be hidden at the same time?

But if you look beyond logical reasoning, imagination and see the names through the eyes of the fish in the above story, you will realize that indeed He (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) is Manifest and Hidden.

Look through the eyes of that fish which is trying to find the answer for ‘what is water?’ – though the fish lives inside the water, the water is hidden from her perspective and yet it’s clearly manifest than anything else, similarly Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) is Manifest in this world and yet Hidden.

While reflecting on these, I found another beautiful example which explains Omnipresence of the Creator in Misykatul Anwar (The Niche of lights) of Imam Al-Ghazali (Radi Allahu ‘anhu):

Allah is Manifest and Hidden or Allah is the Light of heavens and earth can be explained in relation to the phenomenal – visible light. Imam Al-Ghazali (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) he quotes an example of Greenary, for example – in the full day light, you don’t have slightest doubt in your mind that you are looking at colors and it’s very likely you will suppose that you are looking nothing else along side with them. And if someone asks you ‘what you see?’, you would say ‘I see green and nothing along with green’. Here while looking at the color, you ignored that fact that light is also present which makes the color manifest for you to view. So, light which is manifest clearly is hidden when you look at things which light makes manifest as in above example.

Imam Al-Ghazali (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) quotes Misykatul Anwar (The Niche of lights):

“If this is clear to you, you must further know that those endowed with this Insight never saw a single object without seeing Allah along with it. It may be that one of them went further than this and said, “I have never seen a single object, but I first saw Allah”;”

You have to be very cautious here and should not take for granted from above fish or visible light example that – “Allah is in every place as light is with everything or water is in every place (as in fish’s example which lives inside ocean).” Too High and Holy is He to be related to any place! You should know that ‘place’ came into existence after the existence of this World but Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) existed before everything and He is prior to everything.

So, we should avoid asking the question about Allah in relation to time and place because He created the time/place from out-of-time and we are the beings of in-time.

Ibn Arabi (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) says in his Futuhat Al Makkiyya (The Meccan Revelations): “So actually we cannot say, in the true reality of things that Allah existed before the world – because it has been established that ‘before’ is a time phrase, there was no ‘time’ (before the existence of the world).”

And Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) knows best.

This post was originally written on the author’s blog. Check it out here!

Do you have some insights or reflections to share on your favorite  Sufi Comic &/or Sketch? Why not write for us?

 

[Reflection] Eman Eid on the blessings taken for granted and the treasure of contentment

Sufi Comics - The Headache
Sufi Comics – The Headache

Have you ever found yourself taking for granted the simple blessings in life? Sufficient food, clean water, education, or even a roof over our heads. The month of Ramadan was a month to rethink, revalue and reflect on one’s blessings. As we bid farewell to the month of Ramadan for another year, Eman Eid reflects on these blessings in life and what we can learn from the challenges we face.

This Sufi Comic: The Headache, made me realize how great our life really is. It describes how a man has a bad headache and how he questions why God has done this to him. But what he doesn’t take into consideration is how God has kept him well for 30 years, still he hasn’t thanked Him for doing so. Instead the man complains rather than thanking God for all He does for him.

In today’s society we are often blinded by other peoples luxuries that we cannot see and be thankful for what we have. We complain over small things when others would kill to live the way we do. We complain because we don’t have the best clothes, yummiest food, or even that we might have the most homework. What we don’t realize is that some people are less fortunate than we are and might not even have clothes on their back, or food to eat, or even a book to read. We are showered with treasures and only crave more.

How foolish we are that we complain and never even stop to think that we have it all and should be thankful for all we have. God has given us so much and if only we can realize that He does what He does for the benefit of us. We might go through situations that seem unfair and we ask God why has He done this to us but it is actually to cure us. Read more

[Reflection] Kiran Ashraf on personal responsibility in creating a fair and just society

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Kiran Ashraf presents a personal account of spiritual inspiration on the importance of individual and collective duty in creating a fair and just society. In her piece she presents what inspired her to take action and calls on others to become aware of  their responsibility to help others.

“This country is a failure”

“I don’t know when the poverty around the world is coming to an end”

“It’s the fault of the rulers. Obviously they are the ones to correct things”

Sounds familiar?

Each and every one of us in our lifetime has either come across or ourselves have been caught uttering such hopelessness. We either blame the rulers, the system, some person and many of the times God as well for such misery surrounding us.

By no means I am suggesting that we are wrong in pointing out the faults of the ones responsible but the question remains that have we ever tried to correct the situations ourselves?

Have we ever even tried a little bit to come forward and take this responsibility on our very own shoulders? I don’t think most of us would be nodding their head in agreement right now.

To tell you the truth, I myself at one point in time was the same sort of a person who would just be critical about the circumstances around. I was circled by cruelty, bias, injustice and other malign practices and all I did was to sit at home and cringe about them.

The best I thought I could do on my part was to post about them on the internet because physically getting into the mess to clear it was nowhere near my mind; it was more of impossibility.

Then came the day when I heard a Hadith of Prophet Mohammed where he declared that, “Your leadership will be a reflection of you [the people].”

It literally shook me from inside.
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[Reflection] Annihilation of the Lower Self: Barrier or Tool?

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This post is by one of our readers, Maya Hussein. Inspired by spiritual readings and the Sufi Comic above, she explores the concept of the lower self and asks these vital questions: what does it mean exactly? How do you master the self? Her reflection leads to an insightful conclusion about using our bodies for a higher purpose and re-examining the actions we do to strive to reach a higher-self. 

I have always been fascinated by the concept of the annihilation of the lower self, or nafs. What does it mean exactly? Does it mean that we don’t follow our desires when they contradict Islamic law? Does it mean that we deny ourselves all enjoyment? How far does it go?

Imam Ali (a) has said many, many things about this subject among his spiritual writings, which is one of the reasons that almost every Sufi school of thought is traced back to him. The mastery of the self is a fundamental part of Islamic spirituality, and a part of every other spiritual tradition. One quote that I feel gives some perspective on the nafs is from his sermon describing the God-conscious: “He killed his nafs and enlivened his heart.” So the heart and nafs also have an inverse relationship. Feeling is enhanced when the lower self is diminished. Our senses are given to us by our Creator, but their purpose doesn’t lie in their fulfillment.

A profound spiritual text suggests:

If we reflect in a rational manner for a moment, we shall realize that the aim of imparting to us all these graces and endowments is something else, superior to and higher than what is visible. This world is a stage of action and its aim is a higher and more sublime sphere of existence. This lower and animal existence is not an end in itself.
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[Reflection] Neda Hasni on why a Mothers Love is Undefinable

Neda Hasni reflects on Sufi Comic: Mother

 

Neda Hasni reflects on the high status and role of a mother, explaining why a mother’s love is bar none. Inspired by the above Sufi Comic, Neda brings forth various narrations combined with her own feelings about treating a mother with utmost respect and honour. 

“If you have a mother, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family) has said: “The look of a child towards his parents out of love for them is an act of worship.”

“Mother” whose love can never be replaced nor compared, Unconditional, filled with sacrifice, far beyond defining, one can never be thankful enough and understand the depth of a mothers love.

One should tremor even at the thought of causing discomfort in any form. Do every good that you can before it’s too late. Thank her by your words and good deeds. Thank Allah for being blessed with the bounty of a mother . The best Shukr one can do is become the person Allah wants us to be. The best form of happiness we can give to our mother is to improve ourselves and take our souls to a higher level of existence where it is satisfied with every decision of Allah.  Never ever lose an opportunity to serve her .

The above Sufi Comic reminds us of how much a mother does for her child and her importance in Islam, Her rights which we easily forget and always think we can recompense which is far beyond our imagination.

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