Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sakina

It is He who sent down the Sakina into the hearts of the believers, that they might add faith to their faith...and that He may admit the believers, men and women alike, into gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to dwell forever, and acquit them of their evil deeds; that is in God's sight a mighty triumph. [48:4-5]


Sakina means tranquility, and so it is translated by Yusuf Ali and Shakir, and is translated as "peace of reassurance" by Pikhtall. It also means Divine Peace. Thus Allah sent down tranquility and (divine) peace into the hearts of the believers.


But Caroline Williams says that the Arabic Sakina is probably cognate (i.e. related by origin) to the Hebrew term sechina, which means "holiness of God." [1] It also means the Divine Glory. [2]


Mu'mineen, usually translated as "believers", is a stage higher than that of muslimeen and so it does not apply to all who submit to God, but to those who have iman in their hearts and do good deeds, because iman is also something that increases by one's deeds and worship. Thus, iman does not simply mean "faith" as it is usually translated. One's iman is divided into many branches including his actions and thoughts and his righteousness, and it is something that increases and decreases. It leaves one while someone is committing zina or something else that is forbidden and returns to him after he's done.



Thus another deeper meaning of the verse might be, "It is He who sent down the holiness of God into the hearts of the mu'mineen, that they might add iman to their iman...", and God knows best. See this hadith.


According to Najm al-din Kubra, the Sakina is "a group of Angels who descend into the heart". [3]


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1. Williams, Caroline. 1983. "The Cult of 'Alid Saints in the Fatimid Monuments of Cairo. Part I: The Mosque of al-Aqmar". In Muqarnas I: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture. Oleg Grabar (ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press, 37-52. [footnote # 20]
2. The Sufi Paradigm of Peace-Making
3. Henry Corbin, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, p. 79.

Teachers, Disciples

Put every great teacher together in a room, and they'd agree about everything; put their disciples in there and they'd argue about everything. -- Bruce Lee