Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to Find God

The Creator can only be found through His creation. Everything is a witness to His existence. Without knowing the reality of reality, it is impossible to know God. Avicenna, a contemporary of Ibn ‘Arabi, claims that God can be found through rational thinking apart from the knowledge of His creation. Ibn ‘Arabi says that the manifestation of God is in His creation and it is impossible to know Him otherwise. Creation is continuous in the universe. Each event of creation is different: they are not repeated. The endless procession of uniqueness is a proof of infinite divine power. Every new action is a mirror where divine attributes are manifest, and in everyone of them there is a new and special knowledge. This is the only source of divine knowledge. If we look at the heavens, we see a sign of the manifestation of God’s attribute “The All-Covering Vastness.” The seemingly immeasurable ocean suggests the divine attribute of “The All-Comprehending.” We were to contemplate our own life, and the living things around us, we would understand the meaning of “The Ever-Living God” Should we look upon a person of knowledge, we would remember “The All-Knowing God.” In a doctor we would see the signs of “The All-Healing God.” And if we considered the human being, we would see the evidence of “The All-Uniting God.” The human wish to find our Lord can draw us to see His manifestations in everything around us and within us. Then the whole life and the universe becomes a book that teaches of the Lord, because every created being is nothing less than a manifestation of the beautiful names of the One who created it. We will also be aware of things opposite to each other, contradicting each other: the manifestation of the divine attribute of “The Guide” versus the manifestation of “The One Who Hinders”; “The Beneficial One” versus “The One Who Prevents.” In some moments of creation, one of these attributes overcomes; and in others, the other. Whenever “The Guide” and “The Beneficial One” are superior in quantity and quality, peace and prosperity are dominant. When that state decreases, difficulty and hindrance manifest themselves, and pain and poverty become dominant. This can occur within a single human being or in the whole of the world. In this way a creation where good is manifest exists in opposition to a creation where bad is manifest. That is why the people who are bound for Paradise do not like the people who are bound for Hell, and vice versa. There are animals also in which beneficial attributes predominate, other animals in which harmful attributes are manifest. Both of these animal qualities are in every human being. Those who are overwhelmed by the nature of wild animals are much worse than the worst of the actual animals, while those in whom beneficence prevails are raised to the level of angels. The saint Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi says, “O man, you side with the animal in you, and you side with the angel in you. Leave your animal nature behind so that you can rise above the angels!” Thus humanity must know the manifestation of divine attributes in the continuous creation around is, and find its equivalent in our own nature – for God has taught us all His names. If we do this, we will know our Lord in His infinite qualities. But at the same time that we see the immensity and perfection of the Creator, we will see the minuteness and imperfection of the qualities manifested in us. Then we will realize our nothingness and our total need of Him. That is the beginning of the realization of the human being as the servant and God as the Lord, which is the purpose of the creation. (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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