Science and New Physics
by Professor Arthur Kane Scott
from Vol. 7, No. 1

The Meaning of Time,
Part One

by Arife Ellen Hammerle
from Vol. 8, No. 1

The Meaning of Time,
Part Two

by Arife Ellen Hammerle
from Vol. 8, No. 2

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The Hidden Treasure
that Loved
to Be Known

by Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid

Why was this universe created? According to tradition, Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that the essence of creation was a "hidden treasure" that loved to be known. Allah (subhanallah wa ta'ala) created the means for that knowing by setting in motion an evolutionary pattern that reached its pinnacle in human beings, or, more precisely, in the human capacity for knowledge. Humans alone can develop

the insight necessary to see beyond the shadows and symbols, the images and apparencies, and the limits of time and space. Only by transcending these limitations can human beings achieve true freedom, happiness, and peace. The path to transcendence lies in developing an understanding of how to withdraw from the material illusion through applying scientific means of purifying the heart and mind. This science is Sufism.

Life is the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual training ground for seeing the perfection of Allah's creation. It evokes from us a sense of curiosity, a desire to seek the Reality or Unity that is Allah (subhanallah wa ta'ala). We are created with an intention, and born with the inner urge, to turn toward our singular origin. Our purpose is to discover our real self and to praise its (our) Creator. We will find serenity only when this spiritual potential and role is fulfilled.

Nothing in the material world will fully satisfy us. No matter what we attain here, we will sense that there is a greater satisfaction.

Life is a journey of constantly unfolding miracles and events of such magnitude and meaning that we miss much of its relevancy due to sleepiness and self-absorption. However, if we come to realize our self-through gaining inner and outer knowledge--we will follow an evolutionary process that eventually will lead to our unity in the Divine.

Knowledge accompanies us in our journey to life. It takes on familiar patterns in infancy with the dawning awareness of the world around us. Gradually, our emotional, mental, intellectual, and spiritual capacities emerge, to a greater or lesser degree depending on our environment (including the place, social factors, and parental influences). We expand our sphere of action hierarchically. At the earliest stages, we use physical means to address our physical needs. Next we learn to apply mental capabilities to both physical and mental challenges. Then we start to apply intellectual capabilities to physical, mental, and intellectual issues; and so on.

As Sufis, we consciously revisit this maturation process, reconditioning and further developing each aspect of self as we strive to fulfill our destiny and role. Every realm--physical, emotional, mental, intellectual, and spiritual--offers significant possibilities for the journey towards awakening. By refining our awareness of the different facets and their relationships to one another, we build a repository of methods and abilities.

Consider, for example, the realm of emotions. When emotions are captive to conditioned, automatic survival instincts, they express fears, desires, prejudices, hates, doubts. Yet, Allah (subhanallah wa ta'ala) has given each of us seeds of the Divine Attributes: Compassion, Mercy, Forgiveness, Peace. All else is illusion. Completion of the self, in union with Allah, lies in experiencing the efficacy of the Names and mastering the knowledge of how and when to apply them. We must cleanse the self of all that stands in the way, including self-protective tendencies that dominate our emotions. This cleansing is accomplished through the power of the emotions themselves: through yearning (himma), attraction (jethb), love (eshq) for the Divine. As effective intention (niyya) and deep sincerity (ikhlas) propel us along the path, our emotions become focussed on the journey. A more profound experience of patience, serenity, tolerance, forgiveness emerges from the core of the heart. We are accompanied by a sense of fulfillment and an awareness of the effect of our developing state and stations on others. Allah (subhanallah wa ta'ala) tells us in a Hadith Qudsi: ...My servants continue to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love them. When I love them, I am the ears with which they hear, the eyes with which they see, the hands with which they strike, and the feet with which they walk. As we develop the appropriate tools to address the emotional, physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of the self, our view of life changes. We no longer confuse different stages and expressions of the self. Opportunities that lead toward realizing our fullest health, mental balance, intellectual and spiritual potential are recognized. We act with a sense of urgency to address each stage as and when needed. Moreover, the possibilities for positively integrating our body, emotions, mind, intellect, and soul increase. We discover within us, as part of our built-in "design," a complete system to facilitate our development as spiritual beings. We find that we have all that is needed to free ourselves at each step of our evolution toward the Divine Presence.

Physical suffering, emotional and mental confusion, and intellectual questioning are constructive experiences. . .


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