Posts with category - Personal

A New Year Reflection

I do not believe in conforming to the cookie-cutter paradigm
of what it means to be successful and accomplished by a certain age.

I am a striver of witnessing the blessing within the present moment,
which is the goal of every spiritual path, regardless of your theology or religion.

I enjoy diving into the unlimited depths of ecstatic poetry and wisdom that effuses through the books that I read.
I enjoy traveling and visiting the sacred cities and homes of our spiritual sages throughout time.
I feel utter bliss when I teach and see the glimmer of awe and wonder in the eyes of my students.
I feel soul tranquility when I meditate, and contemplate the signs of the Divine in the outward world
and within my own self.
I feel soul satisfaction when I march and actively speak to protect our beloved home, earth, and the oppressed inhabitants within it.

And most of all…
I revel in the bliss of sitting at the feet of my teachers, feeling more and more enlightened as they guide and radiate their experienced knowledge to the world.

We are so, extraordinarily, blessed.
Thank You, O Source and Light of the Universe!
For your phenomenal, endless gifts.

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Movement and Remembrance: A Reflection on the Hadra

A reflection piece and poem that I wrote recently and was published in the Newsletter of the Perennial Foundation after the July 2019 Retreat:

Movement and Remembrance: A Reflection on the Hadra

Swaying from left to right and chanting “La ilaha il Allah”, and bowing downward and rising again to the chant “La ilaha il Allah” – both are powerfully rejuvenating mediums of remembrance that will hardly allow the one remembering to finish without feeling energetically transformed – on all three levels of body, heart, and mind. The hadra is a compelling reminder of the impact that occurs when there is a beautiful integration of the three dimensions of religion: sound activity (body realm), sound beliefs/thinking (mind realm), and sound intentions (heart realm). The hadra helps me to focus (meditatively) on the Divine with all three faculties which culminates in a tremendously gratifying experience. In addition, the use of drumming and melodious singing impacts my heart directly: the drum as a solidifying form and the singing as an expansion of the heart. During the hadra I feel at complete ease, and have a greater understanding of what “stillness” means. All of the distracting emotions and thoughts that inundate my heart disperse during the hadra. The movement of my body also helps me to “physically” dispel my thoughts and emotions. The hadra was also one of the components of the Majlis program that immediately caught my heart’s attention when I visited the Baltimore Zawiyah for the first time. It was magical.

The directionality of the specific motions of the hadra are also an aid in increasing my presence and concentration. As I sway to the left (while saying ‘La ilaha’), I focus on negating all false thoughts, ideologies, experiences, and objects that distract me from the Real. When I sway to the right (while saying ‘il Allah’), I focus on affirming the existence of the Real, the Source. As I bow (while saying ‘la ilaha’), I aim to submit myself helplessly before His illuminating Presence and acknowledge that there is nothing comparable to Him. When I stand up and slightly bend my knees (while saying ‘il Allah’), I focus on affirmation again, and acknowledging His Holy Perfection. The entire process makes one feel like they have just had a “spiritual shower” in which all impurities and negative thoughts have been washed away. Imagine, then, the one whose heart is in a perennial state of ‘hadra’.

Freedom through Observation

My feeling is an object.
One among thousands
A fluctuating and transient
Coming and going
Piercing and fading

That which observes my feeling
Is the Subject.
Real and Permanent
Subsisting and Remaining
Discerning and Illuminating.
The Source.

When I taste this realization
I will surely master
The art of knowing my emotion
Without being enslaved to it.

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Ramadan Reflection # 1: alone with the Alone

What great comfort there is
in being alone with the Alone.

Whether we’re in the company of others or not,
the state of alone-ness, will leave us feeling soul full-ness. Connected to Being in every mode of being.

“When He alienates you from His creatures, know that He wants to open for you the doors of intimacy with Himself.”
-Shaykh Ibn ata illah

Please find me on Instagram @haseena.reflects, where you can find more of my micropoetry and reflections.

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call me irrational
call me a fool
i am proud
to be unbound
by the superficial
created my men
and instead
try to submit
to the bounds of
the Uncreated One

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Art & Spirituality (Wise Words from Sidi Ali Hussain)

“The coming of prophets to open countless unique paths for people to journey to God, aside from just becoming seekers of religious knowledge and its scholars, has to do with connecting all of creation with the spiritual realm and transcending their attachment to material meanings.

One reason the Muslim community seems to obsess over disciplines such as law and theology is precisely because they pertain to this body and mind, even the spiritual reality of these sciences is neglected.

Consider, for instance, that shaykh al Akbar Ibn Arabi included an entire section in the Meccan Openings on the inward reality of shari’a where he discussed, among many others, the reason for permissibility to wear shoes during prayer as being that prayer is a journey.

It is worthwhile noting that the word shari’a itself, linguistically, comes from shaari’ (road), and thus refers to ones path to the water of spiritual life. This necessarily includes a constant awareness of the spiritual reality of our bodily worship.

Like metaphors in a poem, our bodily existence is a metaphor of our spiritual reality … we are a spirit first and foremost and a body second. The body is auxiliary and perishes, while the spirit is essential and remains.

Therefore, any discussion of law or theology that focuses solely on the bodily dimension, leaving out the spiritual reality is steering us away from our objective, God.

Even any attempt to rectify injustices in the world by resorting to social criticism without rooting the sickness and medicine in the spirit first and foremost is steering away from our objective, God.

Those Muslims who seek to fix the world whilst criticising abundant divine remembrance and singing of divine or prophetic praises as being a nice individual activity but irrelevant or inefficient at fixing the world’s problems, quite frankly, are exactly the ones who wrongly believe that our power lies in our bodies and minds, not spirit.

The simple fact is that the closer any activity we perform is to the spiritual world, the more powerful and efficient it is at changing both our spiritual and bodily reality. Anything else is in vain … all our institutions and conferences perish without this spiritual reality.

From this perspective of reality, art has more power to change a villains heart than all institutions, conferences and lectures combined… art works on hearts and all else works on the mind. And who are saints but perfected divine art works turned artists!”

Sidi Ali Hussain

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Conversation between an Indian mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik and Alexander the Great:

The world conqueror apparently met what he called a ‘gymnosophist’ – a naked, wise man, possibly a yogi – sitting on a rock and staring at the sky, and asked him, “What are you doing?”

“I’m experiencing nothingness. What are you doing?” the gymnosophist replied.

“I am conquering the world,” Alexander said.

They both laughed; each one thought the other was a fool, and was wasting their life.

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The Passing of Shaykh Murabit Al Hajj

There are those who do not seek to be known while they are alive. When they die, God makes them become known world over.

Shaykh Murabit is the teacher of many of our teachers, including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Our world has lost a great and beautiful soul.

“May God reward him for his service to this deen and his love and concern for the Muslims. He was never known to speak ill of anyone. Once when a student was studying Khalil with him and asked what a certain word meant in the text, he explained to him that it was a slow and clumsy horse. The student then said, ‘like so-and-so’s horse?’ At this Murabit al-Hajj suddenly became upset and said, ‘I don’t spend much time with people because they backbite, so if you want to study with me, you must never speak ill of anyone in my presence.’ It is not well known by Muslims that to speak ill of someone’s animals falls under the ruling of backbiting.”
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

“My eyes fell upon the most noble and majestic person I have ever seen in my life. He called me over, put his hand on my shoulder, welcomed me warmly, and then asked me, “Is it like the dream?” I burst into a flood of tears. I had indeed experienced a dream with him that was very similar to our actual meeting. He then went back to teaching. I was given a drink, and some of the students began to massage me, which I most appreciated, as my entire body ached from the difficult journey.”
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

“People speak of the evil eye
But they overlook the good eye.
The good eye exists.
Just as the one who possessed the evil eye can cause illness with a glance,
The one possessed of the good eye can heal with a glance.”
-Habib Ahmed Mashhur Al Haddad
From ‘Signs on the Horizons’ by Michael Sugich

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“Saints are like the circumference of a circle”

“Saints are like the circumference of a circle. The circle is composed of points. On its circumference there are countless points. Yet the circle’s center consists of but a single point, and from that point each saint receives light and power. The radii of the circle extend to every point on the circumference but the distance from the center to each point on the circumference is identical. Each point on the circumference is one saint, one here and another there.

Each saint takes from the center. All on the circumference are brothers and sisters there is no difference between them. When they reach this level, each knows and recognizes the other. But outside this level, humans do not know each other. That is why 124,000 great saints know each other, for all of them swimming in the same orbit. That is the meaning of the verse from God’s Holy Words:

Each one is swimming in his orbit.

The illustrious saints swim in the orbit of the 124,000, taking from the Center of everything, God most High. If you hold the hand of any one of them it is as if you are holding the hand of all. When you reach one it is as if you have reached them all. At that time the light they all possess will be bestowed on you and illuminate your heart.”

-Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

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When the light of hope is dying
And the soul’s energy is bleak
And the eyelids heavy
Struggling to open
Amidst the weight of the heart’s
despondent calls

A small, hidden, and tiny voice,
From the core of my being whispers
‘I know You can make miracles happen.’

Nothing is difficult for Him who
Evolves and sustains the multitudes
Of lives
Each traveling its own
specific course of mysteries unfolding

More than a trillion souls, traversing the worlds
Some on earth, and many in the barzakh
He is aware of all
Every inch of movement and thought

Is not He, who is capable
of feats so great and wondrous
and with magnitudes unable to be counted
able to create and sustain this miracle?

He, whose mercy is more vast
than the oceans of space between the galaxies
Whose power and wisdom so grand,
beyond our capacity to understand.

Whose nature of giving
Whose readiness of bestowing
Whose eagerness of providing
Is beyond human enumeration
and comprehension.

I beg Thee, Thou who are so great
that my existence becomes a shadow
fading into non-existence.

I beg thee, Thou who are so capable
that places me at utter reliance
submission, and brokenness.

To grant this undeserving soul,
this wretched heart,
this struggling and rusted mirror,
This miracle.

I know You can make miracles happen.

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That impenetrable heart

What does it take
To penetrate that heart?
How do I unlock
The doors
To the secret core?

What must I do
To tap into
that mysterious well
of unending love?

How do I request
a meeting with that heart
Guarded in its fortress
Of steel walls
and knights in armor?

Oh God! I rely entirely on You.
To blanket the path ahead
With Your mercy,
Love and harmony.
For only You
Can pierce through
The walls of our hearts
And allow us to feel and taste
That wondrous
That irresistible

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Shaykh Rumi

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