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Islam & Sufism

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Al-Ihrām

This is considered the first of the four spiritual Pillars of the Pilgrimage. It is the act of entering the process of the Pilgrimage. It is thus called because the person making the pilgrimage abstains from shaving, cutting fingernails, hunting, and having sexual relations.

It also refers to the donning of a garment, usually of white cotton, wool or linen, worn during the performance of the Pilgrimage. Its significance is that all things which are permitted (halāl) are forbidden (harām), in addition to what is already forbidden, to the person of this station while he is wearing the white garment, out of reverence for the sanctity of Allah.

The people of gnosis consider it to mean the exodus from every circumstance, whether it be exalted or lowly or whether it be related to time or space. This is often referred to as ‘Freedom from Surroundings’. If the person of this station does not exit from the limitations of time and space and from the external world of phenomena he will not arrive at his destination. All human experiences occur within the realm of phenomena. Outside of it there is no time or space, because Allah existed when there was no time and no space, and He remains unchanged. This entire realm of existence, with respect to His Magnitude and Glory, is no more than a mustard seed or smaller.

Read more: Hajj- Excerpt 2 of 8

The word hajj literally means ‘endeavor, aspiration, intention, destination, object, goal, aim’. In Islam it means: ‘to intend to go to the House of Allah to carry out specific rituals which are to be executed within a certain time frame.’

In a spiritual sense hajj is endeavoring to reach a station whose meaning, magnitude and true essence cannot be expressed or explained because of the lack of words to describe it. For this reason there are few who speak of it. In ‘The Lantern of the Path,’ Imam Ja`far al‑Sadiq said:

~ If you want to make the Pilgrimage then empty your heart before your departure of every distraction and concealing veil and turn all your affairs over to your Creator and trust in Him…

~ …then wash your sins away with the water of sincere repentance and don the garments of truth, purity and humility.

Read more: Hajj- Excerpt 1 of 8

The following is an extract from an Eid Talk given by Shaykh Fadhalla Haeri.

“May every instant of our lives be full of joyful optimism so we progress from one level of understanding and inner light to a higher one, until such time there is nothing left for us to do in this world other than to remain in the ecstasy of truly saying, knowing, singing la ilaha illallah! I would like to share with you the origin of this Eid celebration.

We love to celebrate, to be in a state of positive expectation, to be generous, intelligent and courageous. So we celebrate the Eid in order for us to return to the original condition of our father Adam in the Garden. This state of consciousness is within our soul and needs to be recalled by transcending our earth bound identity.

Read more: Eid ul Fitr Talk by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri "Eid- The Return"

Ayah-05: Peace! Until the break of dawn.

From the knowledge that all creation exists according to a measure and is moving toward a destiny according to that measure, comes the peace of certainty. This inner certainty, which illumines all possible outer manifestations, brings about an equilibrium and balance that renders the awakened being in a state full of harmony and unity. The meaning of that peace, which is the result of knowledge, resides inherently in every heart. For the seed to be unearthed, the heart must be purified and made open. The seeker of the knowledge of Allah spends his days of darkness and nights of vigil awaiting the descent of the opening, and when that occurs it is like the crack of dawn.

Read more: Night of Power (Part 5 of 5)

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