Sunday, January 15, 2006

al-Fitra and Divine Knowledge

Before the Prophet Muhammad's ascension to the Heavens, he had to drink the cup of 'Fitra'.

I mounted [al-Buraq] and came to Bait al-Maqdis. I then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets*. I entered the area of the Mosque and prayed two rak'at in it. I then came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk. I chose the milk, and Gabriel said, 'You have chosen al-fitra'.

He then ascended with me into the lower heavens ....


[reported by Muslim]


Abu Hurayrah said,

Allah's Apostle was presented with two cups one containing wine and the other milk on the night of his night journey at Jerusalem. He looked at it and took the milk. Gabriel said, "Thanks to Allah Who guided you to the Fitra; if you had taken the wine, your followers would have gone astray.

[Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 232:]



The Fitra is the "primordial" state/nature in which all humans are born, for Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said,

"No child is born except on Al-Fitra"

[Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 298:]



Thus those who wish to attain Divine Knowledge must "drink the cup of Fitra", as the Prophet (pbuh) did in order to ascend to the Heavens, and God knows best. And how do we return to the fitra? By subduing, or "killing" the ego. We must return to the state of newborns who have no egos. Newborn, until sometime near their first year, do not know that they exist as an independent entity.. they do not know what "I" means. And for a much later time, they still do not have egos like we do. So in order to return to that state, we must go through ego "extinction" and lose our "I-ness", and that is done by spiritual discipline. When one reaches the goal, and becomes a true sufi, he attains Divine Knowledge, or Wisdom. In fact, the numerical value of the arabic word sufi is equal to the numerical value of al-Hikmatul ilahiya (Divine Wisdom)**.

As for the Prophet himself, he was already on the fitra, for he had already subdued his ego, or evil-commanding nafs. When he told the people that they all have their own satan (ego), one person asked, and do you have a satan, O Messenger of Allah? He said , "Yes, but my satan has submitted (aslama, become Muslim)."

The Prophet was known to do and say things in front of the people that did not apply to him, but he said them to teach his followers to follow in his example. For example, he would always repeat in front of people the du'a, "O Turner of hearts, fix my heart on Your religion". This dua was intended for us to hear and emulate, and was not something that the Prophet needed to say himself.

Therefore by "drinking" the cup of fitra, the Prophet (pbuh) was showing the Muslims what they should do in order to obtain divine knowledge: to return to the state of purity, fitra. That is why Gabriel said to him, "if you had taken the wine, your followers would have gone astray". Because we are meant to follow in the Prophet's example. Afterall, the Mu'min (true believer) can have a Mi'raj too, for the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The salaat (prayer) is the Miraj of the believer".


The same truth expressed in other religions:

[
"To the one who dwells in the non-manifested, all beings manifest themselves... United to the Principle, it is in harmony, through it, with all beings. United to the Principle, it knows all through superior general reasons, and consequently no longer uses its various senses to know in particular and in detail. The true reason of things is invisible, imperceptible, indefinable, indeterminable. Alone, the spirit re-established in its state of perfect simplicity can attain in it deep contemplation."[1]

'Simplicity', an expression of the unification of all the powers of the being, characterizes the return to the 'primordial state' and we see here the whole difference separating the transcendent knowledge of the sage from ordinary and 'profane' knowledge. This 'simplicity' is also designated elsewhere as the state of 'childhood' (in Sanskrit, baalya), naturally understood in the spiritual sense, and is considered in Hindu doctrine as a precondition for the acquisition of knowledge par excellence. This brings to mind similar words found in the Gospels: 'Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it"[2], and "Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes."[3]

'Simplicity' and 'littleness' are here basically equivalents of the 'poverty' that is so often mentioned in the Gospels, and that is generally very much misunderstood: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'[4] According to Islamic esoterism, this 'poverty' (in Arabic, al-faqru), leads to al-fanaa', that is, to the 'extinction' of the 'ego' [moi][5]; and by this 'extinction' one attains the 'divine station' (al-maqaamul-ilahi), which is the central point where all distinctions inherent in outward points of view are surpassed, where all oppositions have disappeared and are resolved in perfect equilibrium.
] [6]


----------
* This implies that other prophets too have come to the Bait al-Maqdis for their own Mi'raj, and God knows best.
** Guenon, Rene. Insights into Islamic Esoterism & Taoism. Pg 3. Every letter in Arabic (and in Hebrew) has a numerical value. The numerical value of each word is thus the sum of the values of its letters.
1. Lieh Tzu, chap. 4.
2. Luke 18:17
3. Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21
4. Matt. 5:3
5. This 'extinction' is not without analogy, even as to the literal meaning of the term designating it, with the Nirvana of the Hindu doctrine; beyond al-fanaa' there is fanaa' al-fanaa'i, the 'extinction of the extinction', which corresponds similarly to Parinirvana. [footnote by Guenon]
6. Guenon, Rene. Insights into Islamic Esoterism & Taoism. Ch4 Al-Faqr. Pg. 19-20.

4 comments:

sara said...

MAY PEACE BE UPON YOUR SOUL, HEART, MIND, AND BODY...AMEN.

INTRESTING!

sara said...

MAY PEACE BE UPON YOUR SOUL, HEART, MIND, AND BODY...AMEN.

NOW...

***ORIGINAL STATE 'FITRA'***

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC, SO I HAVE TO CONCENTRATE AND WANT YOU TO AS WELL...AS IT IS RELATED TO WHY YOU'RE LIKE THAT, AND WHY I AM LIKE THIS...
NOW, GUESS WHAT?
MOOOOOOOOOOST OF OUR LIVES WERE NOT PLANNED RIGHT....
THE PROPHET SALLA ALLAHU ALYHI WASALAM SAID REGARDING RAISING KIDS...

1-PLAY WITH THEM UNTIL THEY'RE SEVEN...
that's not the case in most of the world's surface...
go and check out the KGs...
i taught and i know what I'm talking about..
I taught grades ones to fives...
Goodness... as if they are doing PhDs.
we should play with them until they're SEVEN...
KGs are full of math and science...etc...
THAT'S NOT THE WAY IT SHOULD BE...

and then,

2-DISCIPLINE THEM UNTIL THEY'RE 14...
that's also not the case in most of the places...
they (parents) usually get fed up when they're 8 or ten, and then give up on them 'cuz they we're not "good kids"... the kids they wanted them to be...(saaad)

and then,

3-BE FRIENDS WITH THEM UNTIL THEY'RE 21...
hehehe, funny...ITS HARDLY HAPPENING......

NOW REGARDING THE FITRA PART...

IT IS THE INITIALLY SOUND AND SURRENDER (to Allah) NATURE THAT CHARACTERIZES HUMANS AAAAAAAAAATTTTT BIRTH.
IT STARTS CHANGING FROM THE FIRST HIT ON THE BACK FOLLOWED BY THE FIRST SCREAM...
I MEAN LOOK AT ARAB MOTHERS... THE BABIES START SAYING BABA MAMA, AND ARAB MOTHERS TELL THEM LATER ON NOO NOOOOO, ITS PUPPY MUMMY...
WHY NOT ABY AND UMMY, THE PROPER ARABIC?!

*****KNOWLEDGE*****

Five things that the Qur'an demands from every Muslim are as follows:

1. The Muslim is required to believe in the Qur'an,

2. He is required to read it,

3. He is required to understand it,

4. He is required to act upon its teachings, and

5. He is required to convey its teachings to others.

http://islamonline.net/English/Quran/2004/07/article04.shtml

NOW WHAT I MEANT, IS ANY KNOWLEDGE THAT YOUR PURE AND SOLE INTENTION BEHIND IT IS PLEASING ALLAH AND HIS APOSTLE IN A WAY...
AND WAYS ARE ALWAYS DIFFERENT...

WITH RESPECT,

Anonymous said...

very nice work my friend. keep it up . i may also want to add that fitra itself is not given to human beings alone. every living has fitra bestowed in it.

that is the knowledge that god has given to aimals to migrate. the eagle doesnt fly at the same level as a pigeon.plants when to bare their fruit. who taught it to do that? fitra in my opinion in a philosophical term is just like the "Logos" in Greek phylosphy, " the nature of Nature".

jazakum allah kher.

Silencer said...

hmm thank you for that! it's true.