November 2019

The unveiling of the universe with the sound of ‘Kun’ conveys that life is sustained on sound. When God wished to display the programme of the universe, He commanded, ” Kun,” and with the voice of God, the universe with all its details came into being. As life begins from sound, it is therefore the basis of life.

Kun means ‘to be’. That is, ‘ become ‘, for whatever is embedded in the command. Kun has two aspects. One of them is sound itself, and the other are the features within it. Sound is a material aspect of an object, and it acts as a cover for the features enclosed in it. Whereas these features are non-physical facets of sound. This is how, with the proclamation of Kun, both material and immaterial facets of life came into form.

Life traverses on the direction of the inner voice, and people interact with each other through it. However, if one wishes to measure the time and space of sound between two people , two species or two solar systems, it is impossible.

We hear sound in both material and immaterial forms, that is, with words and without words. The material form of a sound is synonymous to a casing that holds meanings and images within it. A message in both material and immaterial form, is established upon waves, and waves are light. Light encapsulates the features, and these features exist due to the will of God.

So, the casing or the outer layer of a sound is a covering on an object and becomes a veil for the restricted senses. Due to this, one restricts themselves to the sounds and does not contemplate on how messages display on to their minds through the medium of sound.

The exterior of sound appears as words, but its interior comprises of images and features. However, in both cases, the sound is one. The distinction arises due to the casing over it.

Read this article attentively in silence. Because, when one is engrossed in reading, the words begin to speak for themselves and acquaint us with their meanings. For instance, those who enjoy gardening take pleasure in talking to flowers and plants, and the plants and flowers reciprocate with a sound that is beyond words. The arrival of ideas while musing over any thing is in fact an interaction between an object and an individual.

There is a mechanism within everyone that communicates about good and evil. It talks to us at all times, directs us to do or not do things, informs us about the state of peace and restlessness, introduces us to fiction and reality, and draws our attention towards itself to help us find God. It continues to function even when an individual is asleep. This mechanism is the conscience of a person.

The following account ascertains that during sleep or after one’s passing, the hearing frequency of an individual increases.

After the Battle of Badr, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) visited the burial ground of the tribal heads of Quraish, and called their names. Having seen this, the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) asked him, “Do they listen?” He replied, “You do not hear more than them. They are indeed listening to what I am saying.”

Our body drifts off into a peaceful state when we sleep or dream. This is because, at this point in time, the inner voice and the subject who is asleep are both in harmony with each other. During this time, contrary to the state of wakefulness, the individual does not ignore the voice of his conscience, rather he follows it. This elucidates that when one is aligned with their inner voice, they step into the “mould of lnsan (Human)”.

We all observe dreams. What we see in a dream is a reflection of life that we spend in wakefulness. If the feelings of fear, anger, thanklessness, greed, injustice, discontentment or disobedience are prevalent in wakefulness, the same frame of mind is resounded in one’s dream. A person with a defective pattern of thinking sees complex dreams, and at times, wakes up shivering with racing heartbeats as they experience nightmares. On the contrary, when one follows the footsteps of prophets and messengers of God, they meet revered personalities, and witness divine lights during their sleep.

A dream is a realm where one is aligned with the inner voice at all times, whereas the life in wakefulness is contrary to it. Therefore, when one wakes up, it means that they have travelled back from the realm of obedience to disobedience. To simplify it further, when one commits disobedience in the realm of obedience, they are expelled instantly from that realm, and as a result, they wake up in this world. Upon reading this, a question may surface, why do tranquil people who are in harmony with their inner self wake up from sleep?

Life is lived with a particular set of habits and strengths. When a person exhausts their energy, they drift off to sleep. Similarly, in the state of sleep, when the anwaar (divine lights) go beyond the capacity of a tranquil person, they wake up. Waking up in Aalam-e-Nasoot (the material world) is the same as sleeping in the realm of dreams; and this applies the other way around too. There is a third scenario however, that relates to people who are spiritually illumined, such that their subconscious mind takes the place of their consciousness. For these men and women, the state of dream and wakefulness become alike.

What is a dream? It is wakefulness during sleep. Despite this fact that one has the ability to wake up in both realms, they cannot use this faculty as per their will, because the layer of sleep becomes a veil for them due to their confined senses. However, there do exist people, and they are present at all times, who in sleep and wakefulness, are blessed with the sight of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They meet other revered souls as well because the layer of sleep does not become veil for them. This brings us to a question; how can one enter the subconscious while in the state of wakefulness?

The beloved of God, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says, “Whosoever knows himself knows his Lord.” Huzoor Qalandar Baba Auliya (RA) explains this Hadith with the following:

“The Lord of the universe is connected to Insan’s faculty of speech. It may arise in a reader’s mind that God is the creator of both good and evil. This is correct as Islam gives testimony to this fact. However, despite being the Creator of good and evil, the responsibility of one’s actions does not fall upon God  as God has entitled Aadmi (man) to adopt good or evil. The first example of this was the restriction imposed by God on Adam from going close to the forbidden tree. Before this restriction, Adam was given the right to both visit or abstain from going to the tree. Therefore, being the Creator of good and evil is an attribute of God, and to commit evil or refrain from it is the prerogative of Insan.”

What is Nafs (self)? Nafs in tasawwuf (spirituality) is referred to as Ana which is free from ‘I’. Since this Ana is free from self-references, the spatiotemporal limits do not exist for it. The accounts of prophets explain the phenomenon of the Ana in detail. When Prophet Abraham (PBUH) became curious as to who and where his Lord is, his mind turned attentive towards the heavenly bodies.

“When he saw the moon, the sun and the stars vanishing from his sight, he said, ‘I don’t keep friends with those  who hide.’  This refers to the fact that God cannot be negated; because He is the one who cannot in any way be detached from the conscience of Insan. And whoever detaches, can be anyone, but not God.

These words of Prophet Abraham (PBUH) shed light on the Ana. The same Ana has been attributed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as Nafs, and God has called it Hablil Wareed (Jugular vein). God cannot be estranged from Ana (conscience) or Nafs, and this very Ana is the first step in the cognition of God.” (Loh o Qalam)

Dear readers! the saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the cognition of God is through the cognition of self is the code of life. Every action of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) negates trust in mortal beings. He kept his expectations only from God and had firm belief in Him. He went through extreme circumstances in his life, but nothing could falter his conviction in God.

Ana is the voice of the conscience. One of the levels of Ana is mentioned in the account of mairaj (the night of ascension). The Lord of the universe states, “Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says only what God ordains him to say.”

“By the Star when it setteth, your comrade erreth not, nor is deceived; Nor doth he speak of desire. It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired, which one of mighty powers hath taught him, One vigorous; and he grew clear to view. When he was on the uppermost horizon, then he drew nigh and came down till he was two bows length or even nearer, And He revealed unto His servant that which He revealed. The heart lied not (in seeing) what it saw.” (Quran, 53:1-11)

Being in harmony with the will of God, obliging to the voice of the conscience, and dependency on the Lord are attributes that dominated the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He endured ordeals and hard­ ships with patience, faced heart-wrenching incidents resolutely and stood victorious against all odds by reposing trust in God.

When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would go out of his home, children and other people on the streets would pelt stones at him at the behest of Umm Jamil. When he would reach home drenched in blood, Hazrat Khadija (RA) would ask him sadly, “Did you go through a lot of torment today?”

His reply expounds the resoluteness and centredness of his mind. He said,

“O Khadija , when an insan (human) realises for whom and why they are undergoing pain, the feeling of pain and discomfort ceases to exist.”

It requires profound contemplation as to why it is imperative to know oneself (Nafs) before one can know God. This is because, Nafs or Zameer (conscience) are the Noor (a stage of divine light) of the inner self, and Noor is the attribute of God upon which the earth and  skies are established.

Listening to the voice of the Noor or one’s conscience negates illusory senses. To negate means to fulfil one’s responsibilities, but leave the result of their efforts on God, and then be content with what God decides for them. One should be grateful at all times, and should spend life in service of people, while holding the thought in mind that God is a witness to all their actions. When the thought of being witnessed  by God turns into observation, the grip of the illusory senses loses its strength and one is then acquainted with the soul.

The lives of prophets convey that one cannot step into the ocean of marifat (cognition) unless they follow the voice of the conscience. A friend of God, Hazrat Zauqi Shah (RA) puts it as,

“Consider the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a magnifying glass that enlarges the details of Oneness. If you strengthen your relation with him, the cognition of Oneness will reveal itself to you.” (Tarbiyat al-usshaq)

Dear readers, when one follows the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is immersed in his thoughts, they are guided to the secrets of God. The friends of God advise their disciples that in order to attain the cognition of God, they should see Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with the eyes of the heart.

God has given zenith to the zikr (remembrance) of his beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and has advised believers in the following manner:

“Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. 0 ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.” (Quran, 33:56)

May God protect you.

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Spiritual Teachings of Hazrat Khawaja Shamsuddin Azeemi

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