Allah's (s.w.t.) Countenance

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from “In the Meadows of Tafsir for the Noble Qur’an” by Shaykh Ibrahim Niyas (q.s.).  This is an exegesis of the following ayah:

To Allah Belongs the East and the West; whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Countenance.  For Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (Surah al-Baqarah:115)

When the Qur’an Says whichever way we turn, then there is the Face of Allah (s.w.t.), this means His Qiblah.  That is the explanation of those who took to the method of ta’wil, interpretation.  Another possible interpretation is that this is direction of His Being, His Dzat.  The Dzat of Allah (s.w.t.) has no direction, neither does it have a fixed place; wherever the servant may turn, he is facing the Dzat.

Complete ma’rifah dictates to the servant that he performs swalah towards any direction he wishes.  The fact that we perform swalah towards a single direction is out of etiquette and to be in compliance with the command of Allah (s.w.t.).  It is also to discipline the nafs, so it may become accustomed to adopting a single orientation.  If whenever the servant wishes to worship, supplicate or perform the dzikr, he turns towards a single direction, then that is better, because the servant is outwardly adopting a single orientation that affects the internal spiritual state, the bathin; one continues to do so to the point that Allah (s.w.t.) Grants him a single inward orientation.

The true qiblah is the Sublime Being, adz-Dzat al-‘Aliyyah, and what is required from the servant is for his heart to be constantly and permanently turned towards this Qiblah.  The repeated turning towards this physical qiblah can discipline the servant's interior until he reaches the state of turning towards the true Qiblah.  If it was not for this, it would be difficult for the ‘arif to turn towards a fixed direction; the directions are all the same.


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