Recently we have talked about intelligence and knowledge:
Intelligence is a great gift of Allah which He offered to Adam as a sign of his forgiveness. It is the sign of man which distinguishes him from the animal. Allah says:
“[Reason] teaches you that which you did not know.” (2:151)
A man who is intelligent and has not used his mind to learn is not a man of knowledge. Yet, a man of knowledge is certainly intelligent. Allah asks:
“. . . is the one who knows equal to the one who does not know?”
Indeed not, because it is knowledge which enables us to judge what is right and what is wrong. What things are harmonious and should be kept together and help each other grow and what things are opposites and should be kept apart so that they do not destroy each other. Tyranny is to put things together which do not correspond to each other and justice is to put together things which belong to each other. With knowledge we abide with the Divine Order and with the lack of it we oppose Divine Harmony and are destroyed.
Allah taught Adam all the names of all the things in Heaven and Earth, visible and invisible which existed since the beginning and will exist until the end, including His own Divine Names, the names of His attributes. He made Adam, the first prophet, a teacher even to His angels in the Heavens. But when Adam sinned and was chased from the Garden, his knowledge spread to the 18,000 universes out side of him and hid in every part of his being. Then Allah forgave him and gave the gift of Intelligence as a sign of his forgiveness. It is with this divine gift that he was supposed to find the lost knowledge which lawfully was his.
That is why our master, guide and teacher Hadrat Muhammed (savs) tells us:
“Knowledge is the lost camel of the faithful, so take it where
ever you find it”
“It is an obligation for every muslim man and woman to seek and
“Seek knowledge even if it is as far away as China.”
So know that what ever exists in Heaven and Earth is also in you. You have to find it outside and the corresponding part of it inside of you and bring them together. That is our obligation in life, that is what is going to make us complete, unified and one.
Now know that there are infinite things in Heaven and Earth and that which is in between. But higher than all that is created is the “‘Arshi ‘ala,” the ninth Heaven, the Emperean, the Throne of God. At the Empyrean, 18,000 lamps are hung, each at least 70 times greater than our own universe, these are the 18,000 universes, these are Allah’s treasures above which is His throne. But the place of man is even above that. At the top of man;s body is the head, all the treasures of his life is in his head: intelligence, inspirations, knowledge, wisdom, love, exultation and above all the love of God. Each of these treasures, when realized, are worth more than a thousand universes. The head of man is like the throne of God above all His creation.
There are the Heavens and there is the Earth. Man;s back and shoulders are like the heavens and the soles of his feet are like the Earth. One’s back and shoulders carry the head, and the feet carry the body. As the heavens carry the “‘Arsh,” the Earth carries the sky. As Earth is alive with the rain from the sky, the body is alive from what comes from the mind. The mind is like the moon, the Wisdom is like the Sun and knowledge is scattered like the stars. The Sun rises and the world awakens, when wisdom enlightens the being, the living heart awakens.
There are seven layers of heavens above and seven layers in the human body: The skin, the flesh, the veins, the blood in the veins, the nerves, the bones and the marrow in the bones. There are clouds in Heaven and rain comes from them. Grief is like clouds and tears like the rain. The knees and elbows and knuckles are like mountains and hills. There are rivers like tears running from cheeks. There are seven seas where things fall and drown. In man there are eyes where images sink, there is the mouth where words fall in, there are the ears where what is heard is often drowned. There is the belly where what we eat is drowned and the stomach where the hunger drowns and the sickness and pain which in death are drowned and there is love where the mind is drowned. There are houses and towns where we know people live and when man touches and is touched he is aware that he is alive.
The trees which lift to the sky are like the fingers which stretch to touch. The hair is like the plants. Tender songs are like perfumed flowers.
There are four kinds of water upon the earth, pure and sweet, bitter to the taste, heavy waters and stinky waters like the sweet saliva in the mouth, bitter tears from the eyes, thick mucus from the nose, and the mucus excreted by the glands in the ear which stinks.
There are four kinds of fire in the universe, burning stones is one. Allah says:
“Be on your guard against the fire whose fuel is men and stones:
it is prepared for the unfaithful” (2:24)
And the other fire is the wood fire, Allah says:
“(Allah) made fire for you from the green tree . . . “
Then there is the fire of lightning. Allah says:
“And thunder and lightning: they put their fingers into their
ears . . . for fear of death.” (2:19)
And there is the Hell-Fire. Allah says:
“Fear the fire of Hell which Allah has prepared for the unfaithful . . .”
Man has four kinds of fire also: the fire of hunger, the fire of lust, the fire of the fever of sickness and the fire of love. There are four seasons. Spring is like childhood, Summer is like youth, Autumn, like maturity and winter like old age.
There are two seas in one place, one is sweet the other salty and they never mix.
“He has made two seas to flow freely - they meet.
Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass” (55:19-20)
Tears come from man’s eyes, which tastes bitter, but the fluid in the pupil of the eye is sweet. Around us things come and things go, some things increase and others decrease. So is the strength in man in some it increases and in some it decreases. On the face of this world there are grave yards and graves. If we see the grave as a hole in the ground, in reality there are two holes, one goes to Paradise and the other to Hell. The Messenger of Allah (saws) says:
“The grave is either a garden of Paradise, or a hole of Hell.”
The nose on the face of man is like that, one hole goes to the head, the other to the throat.
In this world both the faithful and the infidel live. In man wisdom is like the faithful and vain imagination is like an infidel. In this world there are enemies and conflict and war. The ego is the enemy and to resist the desires of the flesh is the war. There are idol worshippers in this world. To turn ones back to truth is idol worship. There are lies and liars in this world. Greediness in man is the mother of lies.
There are animals in this world. Man’s anger turns him into a panther, his frigidity turns him into a pig, his lust turns him into a donkey. his irritability turns him into a snake, his peevishness turns him into an elephant, his boorishness turns him into a bear.
The one who does not know thankfulness and indebtedness does not know anything. The Messenger of Allah says:
“Everything is something, but someone who is ignorant is nothing.”
There is a tyranny and there is normalcy and leadership in this world. Allah says:
“. . . some amongst them tyrannize themselves. Some
whose deeds equal their misdeeds and some excel in
good with the leave of Allah.”
In man his ego is the tyrant, his life follows standards and his heart is his leader.
In the world there are just rulers at war with the tyrants. In man there is reason and also lust and ambition. They are like two armies fighting each other. The commander of the armies of reason is divine inspiration; the commander of ambition is imagination. The commander of intellect follows a strategy of order, discipline and precaution advancing by good deeds and retreating against evil. The strategy of imagination is erratic destruction. If reason overcomes passion and ambition, there is peace and order in the realm of the human being and he is praised by Allah.
As the Messenger of Allah (saws) says:
“There is a piece of meat inside man’s chest. When it is in
good health, all of the being is well, if it is ill, all the body is ill.
That piece of meat is the heart.”
And, if the armies of lust and ambition overwhelm the armies of reason, Allah says:
“. . . indeed, when their king occupies the city they destroy it
and chase the ones who were honored beforehand . . . “
In the world, there are kings with crowns on their heads and necklaces of kingship around their necks and fur-lined capes and thrones and imperial edicts in their hands and land and servants and slaves in their possession. In man unity of being is his crown, his worship is his neckband, religion is his robe, his edict is his faith, his throne is his wisdom, his land is Allah's blessings, his servant is his service to Islam.
Those are the ones who know, whose service is Islam, whose property is his lot, the law which he obeys is his faith, his throne is his intellect where he sits and faces his Lord and worships Him. Once someone asked ‘Ali, the Lion of Allah, may He be pleased with him: “Oh Ali, do you see the One you pray to?” Ali said: “Indeed, if I couldn’t see Him, I wouldn’t worship Him.” Thus it is incumbent on all believers that they think that their Lord is ever present everywhere, for He, Himself, says:
“Now surely they are in doubt as to meeting with their
Lord. Lo! He surely encompasses all things. “ (41:54)
Apart from the rivers of this world, there are rivers in the gardens of Paradise. Allah promises:
“A parable of the garden which the believer is promised:
There in are rivers of water not altering for the worse and rivers
of milk whereof the taste changes not and rivers of wine
delicious to the drinkers and rivers of honey clarified . . . “
So there is in the human body white milk and red blood and thick phlegm and yellow bile.
Man’s very heart is itself like Paradise. Yahya ibn Muaz, may Allah be pleased with him says, “My heart is more worthy than both this world and the Hereafter. Because this world is a house of both trouble and comfort, but by heart is where all is realized. And realization is better than this world and the Hereafter.”
There are things in this universe whose names we know but they themselves are invisible like Paradise and Hell, the Throne of God, His Foot-stool, the Hidden Tablet where God’s decrees are preserved, the Divine Pen which wrote them, the Angels and Spirits.
In man’s being are also concepts like intelligence, memory, inspirations, salvation, thought, doubt, etc., which are invisible.
In this world there are huge trees, their roots inside the earth but their tops reaching the skies. So is knowledge of man, whose roots are in man’s heart, but it grows into infinity. As Allah describes the transmission of knowledge:
“Seest thou not how Allah sets forth a parable of a good
word as a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches
are high.” (14:24)
Know that the top of the tree of knowledge is unity, its branches are faith, its leaves are Islam, its trunk is the love of Allah, its roots are trust in Allah, dried branches fallen of it are forgiven sins, the water which feeds it is fear and hope, its fruits are knowledge, where it is planted is the heart of the believer,its highest branches reach the Throne of God. That tree of knowledge has five branches, the first is the wish, wish to be as Allah meant us to be, wish to please Him. The second is love, love for the Creator and all He has created. The third is grace, kindness, gentleness, beneficence in His name. The fourth, the will, is the greatest gift of Allah, to be used only in accordance with His will. And the fifth and highest branch is closeness to Allah.
The tree of knowledge is like the tree of Tuba, the tree of Allah's favor which grows in Paradise and a branch of which will enter the palace of each inhabitant of the garden bearing flowers and ripe fruit of every kind. Like the divine light of faith in man, it enters every single vein in his body.
In Paradise there are all the food and drink your heart may desire, but none is excreted. So is the babe in the mothers womb fed all he needs but does not excrete.
In this world there are men of knowledge who are eloquent, experts in theology, philosophy, law, Arabic, Persian and other languages and physics and chemistry, calculus and astronomy who even claim to know the truth.
In man his mouth knows taste and to distinguish what is sweet from what is bitter. His ears know what he hears, his tongue knows what it says, his nose knows how to smell, the hand to hold, the feet to walk, his heart knows what is right and what is wrong and makes the tongue speak.
Man is like a walled city, skin and flesh are its walls, inside its chest is a large market place, the heart, lungs, stomach and liver and all the other organs are like shops. Sincerity, will, thought, understanding, confirmation, love and hope, fear and trust and all the concepts and emotions are like merchandise in these shops. Faith is the treasury of this city, full of diamonds, the mind is the mosque, all lighted up and knowledge are the lamps, the light of the mosque of the mind sheds light upon all of the earth and heavens above and upon all that is in between.
In this world there is business, capital, gain and loss and bankruptcy. Faith is the capital, obedience to Allah is profit and revolt against Him is bankruptcy. The pair of eyes are like the pair of scales of a balance, one weighs the image of things and the other the meaning behind the image. But on the scale of the day of Judgement, the weight of the exterior impressions of things are too light compared to the inner meaning of things which weigh much heavier. The Eternal happiness is due to the ones who see the essence of things with the eyes of the heart. Allah says:
“On that day, those whose lives were heavy are the ones
who are successful. And those whose lives were light those
are they who have lost their souls, abiding in Hell.” (23:102-103)
On the center of this world is the Qaaba. Right above it in the seventh Heaven is the Truth of the Qaaba. But man’s heart is greater than both. The Angels circumambulate the Truth of the Qaaba at the highest Heaven. But man’s heart is where Allah looks upon. The heart is always at flight like a bird. And a bird, when it flies, sometimes is lost, out of sight. But the heart is always under the scrutiny of Allah for there is no distance or veil between Allah and man’s heart. Abdullah ibn Abbas says:
“I heard the Prophet (saws) say that every created thing has
a veil between it and its Creator with the exception of man’s heart.”
There are no veils between man’s heart and its Lord. The heart of the faithful is like the Qaaba except the pilgrim walks to the Qaaba, but the lover who wishes to reach the heart of the beloved crawls on his face to it. The pilgrim who voyages to the Qaaba needs a guide, the Holy Qur’an is his guide. But when man’s heart wonders, its companion is its Lord. The pilgrims wear their shrouds when they visit the Qaaba, the one who can differentiate the Truth from falsity is likewise wearing his ihram and has shed his cloths of insincerity. The one who can sacrifice the desires of his flesh is like the pilgrims obligation to sacrifice a ram. The pilgrim runs between Safa and Marwa seven times. Safa is like your life past and Marwa is like what is left for you to live. To repent for your past sins and the resolution to obey Allah in the future is like pilgrims running between Safa and Marwa. The remembrance of Allah during your daily life is like the pilgrims circumambulation of the Qaaba, to pass your days in peace and devotion is like pilgrims progress up Mount Arafat. The Qaaba has four sides, so does the human heart. On the right of the heart is the fear of Allah, on the left is hope, at its front is love and at its back is the wish. The one who intends to perform the pilgrimage, takes off his cloths and wraps himself in his shroud. The faithful has to distance himself from his worldly goods, friends, family and even his own physical bod, that is, when he is ready to go to Paradise.
The heart exists, but its essence no one knows. Its essence has seven names in Islamic tradition: Qalb: the heart, Janan: the beloved, Rooh: the spirit, Ba’l: the Lord, Halet: the state, Dzamir: the inner consciousness and Fuad: the inner intellect. Each of these names have 72 different meanings and no one is able to know them all.
No one knows the Essence of Allah. He has 99 Beautiful Names mentioned in the Qur’an and it is said that in reality He has 1001 Beautiful Names. Some men of knowledge know them by hear-say. But no one knows the real meaning of them.
There are signs in the human being as proofs of the reality of the Angel Gabriel, of the Prophet Muhammed, (saws), of his guidance and traditions, of the last day of the Worlds and the reincarnation on the Day of Last Judgement and of the existence of Allah and that He is the Creator of all and everything.
Every man has an exterior and an interior, The tongue is the symbol of the exterior as the heart is the center of the interior. The tongue represents the Messenger of Allah (saws) as the heart is like the Angel Gabriel. The Prophet showed us how to pray. In man, childhood is like the morning worship, youth is like the noon prayer, adulthood is like the midday prayer, maturity is like the sunset prayer and old age is like the night worship. To sleep is like death and to wake up is like the raising from the grave on the Day of Last Judgement. The fingers of the hand are like the Prophet (saws) and his four blessed companions: Hadrat Ebu Bekr, Omar, othman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
The hand is to hold, to work, to feed oneself, when there is a Sustainer who feeds you in the mouth. You can live without your five fingers. When Allah loves you, He does not need a messenger or an angel to talk to you. Then Allah creates a pretext to pour His favors upon you and then you don’t even need to do deed anymore.
But to be worthy of His love you have to realize that whatever He has created is in you, maybe more-- maybe more because there are secrets in man’s heart and mind, which have no name. No one can tell their meaning, yet they are there.
Allah most high, Himself, has two aspects. His exterior manifestation and His inner Essence. His manifestation of His Attributes are here in this world and in this life. His Essence is in the Hereafter. This world is temporal and will end. Allah says:
“On the day when the world will be changed into a different
world, and the Heavens as well . . . “ (14:48)
And this life will end as well:
“Every one will taste death . . . “ (29:57)
Look! Allah has lifted the skies over our heads like a dome, decorated it with the Sun, the Moon, and stars and filled the skies with sweet air, and the air with birds and stretched the earth under our feet like a carpet, filled the fields with wheat, the mountains with forests and fauna and waters with fish, and although our bodies are soft and weak, He strengthened us with intellect and love in our hearts and joins us together with love and compassion.
He strengthened our face with a pair of eyes, our hands with our palms, our feet with our heels. And He made what is visible meaningful with what is hidden. In the hidden realm, He filled His Paradise with infinite gifts and His Hell with pain and the memory of this life with affliction and the promise of the Hereafter with peace and freedom. And the Lord manifested Himself in you, and all that is in you is from Him.
Allah promises and delivers His Love and compassion to His servants who serve Him out of love. Addressing them He says:
“Be heedful, and take lesson from what you see.”
If you wish to see Me, look around you at nature which is a beautiful picture, the skies, azure blue with puffs of clouds, rain, to give life, the Sun to warm, and at night, decorated with stars, other worlds and universes such as yours, far, far away from you. Let high mountains remind you of My greatness, the seas of My vastness, thunder and earthquakes, of My power. And think of My angels, My secrets hidden in unseen realms, the Day of Last Judgement, My Paradise, which I prepared for you . . . Look at the Qur’an where I tell you what to do. Befriend My servants if you wish to know your Lord. And look at the ones who love Me and whom I love. There you will see the best blessings and riches from Me.
“And surely I have honored the children of Adam and I
carry them in the land and the sea and I provide them with
good things, and I have made them to excel highly over most
of those I have created.” (17:70)
I gave you all these and more, but above all, I gave you the ability to see and understand as a sign of My love and closeness to you.
You have to see that He has given all that He has created to you and He has even given Himself to you.
Look, the world is your bed, the skies,your soft blanket, the Sun and the Moon are your lamps, the trees are your servants,the flowers and green fields are your carpets,the fruits and wheat they bear are offerings to you, all the animal kingdom is there to carry you, to be your sacrifice, or to amuse you, Paradise is your house, the huris are your companions, the angels are at your service. Redwan is your doorman. The Qaaba is where your face is turned, the Qur’an is what you believe, Adam is your father, Eve is your mother, Muhammed Mustafa (saws) is your helper and advocate. You are all brothers and sisters and a single family. Your everyday is an ‘Aid, a holy day and your every day is a Friday, a free day. Our Lord says, you are all Mine and I am yours, I created all for you and your for Myself.
Whenever you want Me, ask for Me from yourselves. As I am closer to you than what your eyes see, what your ears hear, what your tongues say, closer to you than what your hand holds, where your feet take you, I am closer to you than your very life.
“I know what is in your mind as I created you and
I am closer to you than your jugular-vein” (50:16)
“And I am nearer to you than you, but you see not.(56:85)
Know that the truth of knowledge is whatever you learn is knowledge of yourself. Whatever you find outside has a corresponding equal in you. “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.”
He knows that his Lord exists; he knows the Truth of his Lord. But no one knows the essence of the Lord. He says:
“I am closer to you than your life-vein . . . “
There is nothing closer to man than his life. And there is nothing closer to the Lord than His living servant. As your life is within the body, the Lord is everywhere.
“Don’t you see that Allah knows whatever is in the
Heavens and whatever is in the Earth? There is no secret
counsel between three, but He is the fourth of them, nor
between five, but He is the sixth of them, nor between less
than that nor more, but He is with them wheresoever they are . . . “
Life is manifest thanks to the body, and Allah says that He is as His servants think of Him, and He is manifest in His creation. The body is alive because it has a soul, and the universe is alive because of Allah. Thus all is from Him but is not Him. Like the human spirit, you are alive because of it, but no one knows who or where it is. Allah says:
“They will ask you about the spirit. Say: the spirit is by
the commandment of my Lord and of knowledge of it you
are given but little . . . “ (17:85)
That is where self-knowledge ends. Allah knows best and may He bless the soul the Saint Haji Bektash wali from whom these words are adapted.