Tuesday, July 3, 2012

“He who knows himself, knows his Lord”

The truth of the attributes, the beautiful names of God, is infinite, and manifests in different ways at different times. The proof of Truth is in the realization of the oneness of all creation. Yet multiplicity is a part of the one. Unity manifests itself in multiplicity. With all their differences, and in the infinity of manifestation, the parts interconnect and add up to a whole. Whoever can find this in himself, knows his Lord. God has created the perfect human being in His own image – in the image of His attributes. Many Sufis believe that to be able to realize this unity of the self, one must obliterate the manifestation of many “I”s in oneself – in fact, one must deny them existence. Through intensive worship, fasting, meditation, and refusing the desires of the flesh, they attempt to submit their wills to the will of God, and to purify their behavior and habits. All of this discipline and effort is built on the assumption that these many “I”s that one is trying to give up actually exist. Yet there is no “I” other than God. There is nothing but He. How can one manage to give up something that never was? The only way to know your Lord is by knowing your nonexistence. Man is nothing but a mirror where God’s attributes are reflected. He is the one who sees Himself in that mirror. He is the only one who knows Himself. Neither the prophets, nor the angels, nor a perfect human being can know Him. When we recognize our nothingness and God’s totality, we attain the full scope of our knowledge of Him. (The Tree of Being:Shajarat al-kawn. An Ode to the Perfect Man. Interpreted by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti. Archetype Pub. London, 2005)

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