By Khawaja shamusddin Azeemi
When any branch of knowledge is taken into consideration, two things, because of their significance, immediately become important. The first one is theoretical knowledge, which we possess about that particular branch of knowledge and in its final stage practical demonstration and implementation of that branch of knowledge is observed. In other words, knowledge is the name given to the combination of theory and practice. Like any other branch of knowledge, the spiritual sciences, too, are no exception to this rule, that is, after learning and Rules, Laws, Principle and Formulae Theoretically; they are tested, analyzed and examined practically. There are two possible ways of learning and acquiring knowledge. One method is to learn the theory first and then to use the learnt formulae, principles and laws practically. The other method is to start learning through practical experiments directly.
Example: – There is a person who learns carpentry under the guidance and supervision of a teacher and makes a chair successfully. There is another person who first acquaints himself with the preliminary and elementary principles of carpentry by studying books and other materials and then attempts to make a chair. Now this person might not be able to know, which wood of a particular tree would be most suitable for making various items of furniture, whether the wood, he intends to use, is seasoned enough or not? What is the ratio of water in that wood? What is the pattern of tissues and fibers in that wood? How heavy is a cubic foot of a particular wood, how much shine will be there if that wood is polished, if it is painted what would be its final shape? How long would it last, how much would be its average age, whether termites would eat it or not?
Many a things like these are automatically known by the one who starts learning directly through experiences and handling of tools and the wood practically. One who enjoys the fundamental knowledge of a particular field can be called an engineer but he might not be able to make a chair but the engineer has its own importance. One form of the knowledge is to know something only theoretically and the other form is to know it through direct involvement in its practical use. In such a case one who has practical experience would very naturally be preferred to the one who has only theoretical knowledge of something. And, the third form of knowledge is when one has theoretical knowledge as well as knowledge of its practical implementation.
The universe created by the most exalted God is based and established upon an organized and systematical scheme. To acquire and acquaint ourselves with the knowledge of the cosmos and its structure, in spiritualism, there are two ways. In the first instance, a spiritual master, by exercising his spiritual influence enable his disciple to become a person with practical knowledge. But there is a flaw in this method. If the attempted experience fails, goes wrong or the constructive aspect of the knowledge takes a destructive turn then he finds himself in a helpless situation and is unable to rectify the wrong. But someone who besides having practical knowledge has theoretical knowledge is not only capable of commanding control over any adverse situation but contributes and modifies new discoveries and inventions in that particular science.
Gist of this whole discussion is that only that knowledge is reliable and authentic which is learnt gradually, stage by stage, just as one learns ABC and then the same is practically experienced and exercised. According to the teaching of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Holy Quran, spiritual science also has two distinct sections of theory and practical. During the course of learning through practical experimentation, the teacher or mentor advises his disciple to recite something or suggests a particular exercise, the student or the disciple to comply with the instructions of his teacher obediently starts practicing the suggested exercise or what he is told to recite. As his pupil’s learning ability and capacity increases to absorb knowledge, the teacher by exercising his spiritual influences makes him witness one or the other thing. That is, the spiritual mentor called ‘Shaikh’ conducts his spiritual influence which enables the disciple to behold angels, start communicating with the soul or start peregrinating the gardens of paradise and if the progress of the disciple is considered adequate enough he is made the cognizor of the Attributes of God. According to the other method the laws serving as foundation of a branch of knowledge and the formulae governing the cosmos are taught by the mentor. With the increasing understanding of laws and formulae of this remarkable body of knowledge the ability to enact and operate these formulae and laws is produced in the disciple.
Allah, the most merciful, proclaims that we have subjugated the moon and the sun for you and all that is there in the earth and the heaven is also put in your domain. In the Holy Quran, the phenomenon of conquest and ruling the universe has been presented in two different ways. One approach is self-centered i.e. good or bad is interpreted and understood with reference to one’s self the other approach is when the self is negated and is no longer given any preference. Things are comprehended and grasped in the light of that law of God, which is called ‘Destiny’.
This thing has been discussed in the story of Moses where he encounters with one of God’s servants who were bestowed with a special knowledge out of mercy. That knowledge in terms of Sufism is called ‘Insinuated Knowledge’ (Ilm-Ladduni). As we all know that according to that story Moses and that man both sailed in a boat in which the man made a hole. They stayed in a house as guests. That man killed the lad of the housekeeper. In the last stage of their journey they repaired a wall that was about to collapse without any expectation of reward in a critical state of thirst and hunger. Moses objected on all these three occasions. That man separated himself from Moses by saying that all he did was done in accordance with the command of his Lord. Moses admitted that he couldn’t keep his words regarding not questioning him and they both separated after that. The knowledge possessed by Moses is related to that approach which is based upon the concept of good and bad, evil and virtue. And the knowledge of that man is associated with that approach in which there is nothing except God. Purpose of this discussion is not to suggest that Moses enjoyed a lower position than that man but this thing is required to be taken into careful consideration that Moses went in search of that man. That man never came in search of Moses.
God the most exalted is the greatest of all law-makers. One who manages to establish his relationship with Allah and his mind is tuned with the destiny appointed but Allah he himself becomes the law. And, getting the law enacted is the duty of every individual of the universe. That man during the course of his conversation with Moses told him that it is very much according to the policy of God that he has bestowed this Administrating Knowledge upon him and indoctrinated Moses with doctrines to be preached.
When this event which is related in the Holy Quran is taken into deliberate consideration, it is revealed that law governs in every situation and circumstances. And since that man was a representative of administrative laws operative in the universe whatsoever he was doing was done according to the Elohistic destiny planned by God, the wisest. Moses, for this very reason, undertook the journey in search of that man and after undergoing the hardships of traveling, found that man and did not enforce the laws of his religion upon that man.