Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi on the Spiritual Significance of Fasting, Part 1

Linguistically, to fast means to abstain from something. In the language of the Sufis, it means to abstain from everything but their Beloved. This station has its own obligations, conditions, nullifiers and recommendations, as the author [Ibn Ashir] will detail. He begins:
Fasting is obligatory in the month of Ramadan,
And recommended in the months of Rajab and Sha'ban,
The nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, especially the last,
The month of Muharram, especially the tenth.
We have already seen what the Sufis mean by fasting; the author of the 'Ayniyya [al-Jili], may God be pleased with him, said about it:
Fasting is to abstain from seeing all that is other;
And my breaking of fast will come when I meet You!
Someone else said:
In fasting from every other, my soul was truly rarefied;
In what poured over me and flowed on to others, my Zakat was truly purified.
But the abstinence of the gnostics from all that is besides God takes place in a particular Presence, namely the Presence of the Essence [hadrat al-dhat], or they might call it the Presence of the Domination [hadrat al-jabarut]. As for the Presence of the Names and Qualities, or of the Acts, it is not obligatory to look upon the Essence in such a domain because of how difficult it is to see It when it is portrayed on the canvasses of the Names and Qualities; hence in those two Presences, abstinence is only recommended. It is usually impossible for the one in this station to combine it with the other because of the turbulent waves of the Names and Qualities, all of which disturb abstinence. The same is not true of the Presence of Oneness, for it cannot be disturbed by anything; even if the one in this station tried to see something else, he would be unable to do so, because by definition it does not allow it. Were something other than God to come to his heart, he would immediately come out of the station and his fast would be broken. The Sultan of the Lovers [Ibn al-Farid] said about this:
If a desire for anyone but You were to come to me,
Even accidentally, I would call myself apostate.
Thus it is for the person in this Presence. As for the other Presences, the person in them is veiled by the appearance of the Names and Qualities, and so looking upon the Essence is only recommended for him, if he is able. Hence the author says, 'And recommended in the months of Rajab and Sha'ban.'

From Holy Gifts of Grace [al-Minah al-Quddusiyya].

الله

1 comment:

Umar Arif said...

Salaam brother can you email me on
Muhammadumar_1011@yahoo.co.uk
Please, i would like some advice

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