Thursday, 17 May 2012
The Reality of the Adzan
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from the waridat of Shaykh Badruddin Simaveni (q.s.) and the ma‘rifah of Shaykh Ibrahim Hakki Erzurumi (q.s.).
Following the example of our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), it is the practise to recite the adzan before the five daily swalah. Five times a day, at specific times, the adzan is recited to call the Muslims to prayer, but its other purpose is to remind us of the continuous Manifestation of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Existence at every moment.
Allah (s.w.t.) Manifests Himself in three ways. First, He Manifests His Jamal through the Beauty of His Creation. Secondly, He Manifests His Jalal through the Infinite Greatness of His Attributes. Thirdly, He Manifests the Perfection of His Essence.
The mu'adzin stands on an elevated place and turns towards the qiblah. The Ka‘bah is one of the expressions of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Essence. This is a tradition of our Prophet (s.a.w.).
First, he recites twice, “Allahu akbar,” which means “Allah is greater.” The meaning of the first declaration is that Allah (s.w.t.) is Greater and Absolutely Independent of all His Manifestations in the beauty of His Creation. The second declaration means that Allah (s.w.t.) is Greater and Above all the Manifestations of His attributes. All is from Him, but not Him.
Allah (s.w.t.) Manifests Himself every moment with a new Manifestation. There are no two Manifestations in one moment nor is one manifestation in two moments. In the visible existences as well, Allah (s.w.t.) Manifests Himself at each moment anew. No two creations are alike, nor are two moments of any creation alike. Yet He is Other than all these Manifestations, for He is the Absolute. The proof is in the Qur’an:
Were We then weary with the first Creation, that they should be in confused doubt about a new Creation? (Surah Qaf:15)
Every moment the creation becomes and disappears; at every moment Allah’s (s.w.t.) Manifestation is Renewed.
Next, the mu'adzin chants twice, “ashhadu an la ilaha il allah” – "I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah." This sacred phrase is the first part of the declaration of faith, which is the first of the five pillars of Islam. It means all that we are able to see and to know is Allah’s (s.w.t.) Creation and all values and actions within and around us are Allah’s (s.w.t.) Attributes. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
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)
Then the second part of the declaration of faith is recited twice: “ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah” – "I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." The first time this declaration is made, it means that Allah’s (s.w.t.) Works, all visible and invisible creations, can only be seen with the Light of Muhammad (s.a.w.). When the declaration is repeated, it means that Allah’s (s.w.t.) Attributes can only be understood with the wisdom of the Light of Muhammad (s.a.w.).
The first Creation of Allah was a Light, the Light of Muhammad (s.a.w.), as he himself has said: Awwala ma khalaqallahi nuri – "The first thing Allah (s.w.t.) Created was my light." And he said, "With my light Allah has Created my soul, my intelligence, and the Pen." The total of the light, the soul, the intelligence and the Pen is rolled into one and is known as Haqiqah Muhammadiyyah – the Reality of Muhammad (s.a.w.).
Next, is recited twice. “hayya ‘ala swalah” – "Hurry to good things." The first declaration calls those believers who know Allah (s.w.t.) only in His Works to see His Attributes. The second calls those believers who know Allah in the Manifestation of His Attributes within themselves and around them to see His Essence. Swalah is the mi’raj of the mu’min.
Swalah, in Arabic means to come behind those ahead of one, as proven in the words of our Prophet (s.a.w.), innallaha fi qiblat il-muswalli – "Allah is in the direction towards which the believer turns to pray." That is why, as one goes into sujud during the swalah, the mu’min is neither prostrating to the wall nor to the Ka‘bah, but to Allah (s.w.t.). The sujud is the time and place where the believer is closest to Allah (s.w.t.). This is why one should keep one’s eyes open during the sujud.
At each cycle there are two sujud. When we say subhana Rabbi al-‘Ala - "My Rabbi, I praise you during the first sujud, it should mean, "My body, my attributes, my actions, my whole being, all Belong to You." When we rise and sujud a second time and repeat subhana Rabbi al-‘Ala, we should feel in our hearts, "Take all that Belongs to You so that I no longer exist."
Next he recites, hayya ‘ala al-falah – "Come to salvation and success." The first declaration calls the believer to leave the world and the troubles of the worldly life to come to felicity, safety and peace. The second recitation is a call to leave the tyranny of one’s own nafs.
Then, the mu'adzin recites twice Allahu akbar - "Allah is greater" – a reminder to one that Allah (s.w.t.) is Other and Free from all one sees. All His creation, and the Manifestation of His Attributes in great multiplicity, ever increasing and being renewed, are but signs of His Oneness.
The final declaration of the adzan, recited once: la ilaha ilallah – "There is none other than Allah, the One and Only Existence" which excludes even the one who witnesses.
To understand the deeper meaning of the things we do, of the worship we perform, is difficult. For at best we hope to be a zahid, a good person. The worship of the zahid is through obedience, but the one who knows, the ‘arif, worships with pleasure. The zahid hopes for the Garden; the ‘arif for Allah (s.w.t.). The zahid is with his ego; the ‘arif is with his Rabb. The zahid remembers Allah (s.w.t.) with his tongue, while the ‘arif remembers Him with his heart, with his life. The zahid’s heart is with the causes, the ‘arif’s soul is with Allah (s.w.t.).
The mu’min, sees, at best, with the Light of Allah (s.w.t.). The ‘arif Sees with the Eye of Allah (s.w.t.). The mu’min holds onto the Rope of Allah, the Qur’an; the ‘arif holds onto Allah (s.w.t.) Himself.
We are attached to this world, to our desires, to our nafs, and the nafs is bars behind which is the divine door. The good person looks at the creation and people with the eyes of his nafs and is disillusioned, angry, and becomes the enemy of the creation. The ‘arif sees the creation with the Creator and looks upon it with love and compassion and is at peace.
The zahid walks; while the ‘arif flies. The ‘alim, is below what he says, while the ‘arif is above knowledge. The ‘arif does not divulge his wisdom except to the ones who know. His best words are silence. As he comes closer to Allah (s.w.t.), he becomes more distant from people. He only needs from Allah (s.w.t.), therefore he does not ask from anyone else. Because he is lowly in front of his Rabb, he is loved and respected by the creation. He is far from desire, he wishes nothing, his hands are empty so he is free and at peace.
The Path to Allah (s.w.t.) certainly passes through the life of this world, then through the life of the Hereafter. The ‘arif has passed through both this world and the Hereafter. The strength of the good man comes through eating and drinking. The strength of the ‘arif comes from remembering Allah (s.w.t.) and from being with Him. The qiblah of the heedless is gold and worldly glory; the qiblah of the ‘arif is Allah’s (s.w.t.) Rahmah.