August 20, 2015
A friend shared the following parable with me the other day:
A lover knocked at the door of his beloved.“Who is it?” she replied.The lover replied, “It is I.”“Go away. This house will not hold you and I.”The rejected lover retreated into the wilderness. For a long time he prayed and meditated on the beloved’s words. Finally he returned and knocked at the door again.“Who is it?” she said again.The lover replied, “It is you.”Immediately, the door opened.
Strangely enough, after leaping from one mind ripple to another and yet another, my reflection upon this has brought me to rest upon the memory of something Shaykh Abdullah al Kadi told us as the 2011 Rihla in Bursa, Turkey slowly came to an end. Sitting in a corner of the room, I listened as Shaykh discussed the route that Rasoolallah SAW took upon his entry into Makkah, during his conquest of the same city that, 8 long years ago, had cast him out into exile and left him fleeing for his very life. That event, i.e. the conquest, is so astronomical, so much of a miracle (particularly given the bloodless nature of it!), that it immediately grabs the eye and holds our focus – so much so that, until the Shaykh spoke of it, I never once wondered whether the route that Rasoolallah SAW took into the city was, in any way, particularly remarkable. But what’s interesting about that route is that, when you pay attention to it, you realize that it was not the route that travelers from Madinah normally took to enter into the city, nor was it even the most efficient route to take. At first glance, you may be tempted to suppose that it was simply a matter of strategy – why let the enemy catch on to your plans, right? And perhaps this *was* a part of the story…but it was certainly not the all, and certainly not the most beautiful aspect. Because all the places that Rasoollallah SAW stopped at on his way into the city had something very important in common: every single one of them was connected, in some way or another, to Khadija (ra).
The place where their house had stood, the place where he buried her, the place where he used to meet her half way, between the mountain of hira and the city of Makkah, when she used to bring him supplies so that he could continue to meditate in a cave up in the mountain as was his practice to frequently do so…shaykh called this their “coffee place” 🙂 And the flag that he carried, when he finally conquered the city, was a flag made from the fabric of her clothes. All these years after her death, all these years after his prophethood began, still, the prophet took the time, *needed* to take the time, to honor the memory of the woman who had stood by him when nobody else in the world had believed. Who had comforted him, sustained him and supported him so that, after all these years, he *could* enter the city as its conqueror. Even after all these years, he carried her into the city with him…because even after all these years, he still carried her in his heart.
As tears had streamed down my face, I remember thinking, “Wow. That’s love” The room was filled with many of us softly crying, and even shaykh had had to pause to give himself a moment. At the time, I had felt so cheated and angry at the thought that so many of us are not given enough instruction in the sunnah of love, that, until now, I hadn’t even known about how beautifully, how sincerely, Rasoolallah SAW had loved – for if ever there were a most perfect beautiful lover, it was certainly Rasoolallah. If ever there were a beloved, it was Khadija (ra). If ever there was a beautiful love story, it was the story of their love. How truly, how deeply, did they love….and how truly, how deeply it must have hurt him to have *lost* his love. And yet, night after night, despite the pain or the longing, or the suffering, or the hardships, or the loneliness, or the sadness, never once did the Prophet (peace be upon him) turn to Allah SWT in despair and ask, “Why?” Despite the fact that, as a prophet, he could have asked Allah SWT for all manner of things, including the prolonging of Khadija’s life, still, he chose instead to submit. He chose the path of, not only patience, but also gratitude. Because there simply wasn’t any room for, “You and I” in his heart.
It comforts me to remember this now. It reminds me that if I want to reach Allah SWT, then I have to let go of depending on x,y,z outcomes. Work for them? Yes. Hope for them? Yes. But rely upon them, *depend* upon them as the only means of happiness and my continued well being? No. These things that we wish for, hope for, beg for, cry for, become the things that we love. And when we don’t get what we ask for, we’re lost and cast into this state of darkness..this sense of mourning for the thing(s) that we can’t or don’t have. How many of us embark upon the path of patience and gratitude instead? Spend those precious spiritual prime time hours of the early morning or the intimate late night crying out of thankfulness and longing for Him instead of longing for our lost “loves” ? This much I know to be true: Not I.
If I truly want Allah, then I have to submit to His will instead of constantly trying to enforce mine. I have to cast out the “I” until there isn’t any room for “You and I” in my heart. And I am comforted by the thought that, although the path is hard, I am not alone in trying to walk it – for verily, I was sent the example and the memory of the messenger who traveled ahead to show me, to show *us*, that it IS possible to walk.
Verily, Allah is enough for us..and He is the best of Guardians.
~ by the beautiful, Feiza Naqvi.
August 20, 2015
My goal for you is for you to forget all goals
As long as you persist on the path of guidance,
For you to leave aside existence and not long for it
And grasp hold only of the cord of firm reliance.
How long will you neglect me while I always
Watch over you with love and diligence?
How long will you gaze upon what I’ve created
Wandering enraptured, entranced with each glance?
And never turn your attention toward my presence?
You’ll pass your life far from the mark in deviance!
My love is timeless- remember “Am I not your Lord”
On that day my uniqueness held you in a trance.
Do you have other than me another sustaining Lord
Who may save you from future disturbance?
You call upon others, the needy to the needy
For the entire cosmos is incapacity and impermanence.
Everything manifest by my will manifests
Through me alone existing thing have existence.
In this world that I create, command and possess
Is there anyone to face who claims self-persistence?
Look around with the open eyes of faith and you’ll see
Every being’s effectiveness depends upon my dominance.
On a journey from nothingness to nothingness
You’re headed for obliteration with no hope for permanence.
This is my gift decreed for you- don’t reject it,
So from others keep aloof your hope’s countenance!
All your plans are suspended at my doorway
So before my presence leave your baggage at a distance.
Accept your inherent quality of lowly humility
See my generosity match your willing compliance.
Be a servant to me, like a real servant, content
Accepting all the master’s demands with obedience.
Why hide your lowly qualities with qualities that are mine
And replace your ignorance with open defiance?
Will you make yourself my partner in ownership
And compete with me against wisdom’s radiance?
If you aim to reach my intimate presence, then beware!
Your self is raving, so oppose it with stridence.
Plunge into the ocean of obliteration- you might see me,
Prepare to meet me in the end with confidence.
Continually invoke me for blessings that you encounter
Apt actions of the master who gives without hindrance,
And spend not a day led by others in dalliance
For there is nobody else to turn to today for guidance.
~Ibn Ata’Alla as Sikandari (rahimullah).