Thursday, March 4, 2010

Understanding 'Hawaa'


O son, be ready to be mesmerized and challenged mentally by Ibn al-Arabi's expounding of hawaa (divine passion). Empty your cup, free your mind and entertain al-Arabi's thought provoking explanations as recorded in The Bezels of Wisdom.

The translator of Bezels of Wisdom, RWJ Austin described it as Ibn Arabi's most daring and profound concept.  He said the word hawaa "is usually used to denote blind passion, impulse, whim, infatuation, and desire of a most earthly kind. Looking more closely, however, at the various meanings of the Arabic root, one realizes how subtle a concept we are here presented with. Among the meanings of the root hawaa are to fall headlong, to die, to be wide and deep, wind, air, to blow, space and abyss. The whole sense, therefore, of the word as intended here, is that of spontaneously falling passionately in love, hurling oneself, like a rushing gust of wind, into the deep emptiness of the abyss. This experience is, says ibn al-Arabi, universal and necessary to the whole notion of worship, since without this desperate urge by the whole to intergrate its part and by the part to merge with the whole there would be no love, worship, or affirmation, the consummation of which is in the Oneness of Being.

For Ibn al-Arabi, this concept is undoubtedly related to his concept of divine Love (mahabbah), which is itself another way of describing the Breath of the Merciful, which acts in response to the divine inner yearning for Self consciousness and thus produces the headlong, outgoing, 'blowing' radiation of the Spirit in its urgent desire (hawaa) to inform and enliven the all-receptive abyss of the matrix of all becoming. In other words, the passionate love-worship that impels man to affirm the real and eternal in his object of worship is nothing but a reflection of the divine desire of the omnipresent Reality to know Itself as Object and having known Itself, to love Itself to the point of reconsummation, since the worshiper, who is essentially nothing other than He, is only worshipping what is also nothing other than He.

Ibn al-Arabi could not have picked a more suitable word combining as it does both the notion of active content and that of receptive container, since every object of love or worship is, in a sense, an assimilating abyss, and every worshiper or lover is a a "headlong faller", whether it be the Breath of the divine Mercy releasing the treasure of its essence into the abyss of cosmic existence or the human worshipper pouring out his heart into his deity."

O son, I know how you would feel reading Ibn al-Arabi. It is difficult. He is well known for complex and superb rendition of gnosis (makrifah) which is really a field of knowledge that requires tasting. So all I will say to you is that to understand hawaa and its relation to love on a higher level, and yearning, you must go out there and fall in love. Only then you could better relate to a deeper meaning of love between man and His Creator. He has created us and He desires to be known.

This subject reminds me of Abu Yazid Bistami's saying:
I thought that I remember Him and I know Him and I love Him and I seek Him, but when I reached Him, I saw that His remembering of me preceded my remembrance of Him, and His knowledge about me preceded my knowledge of Him and His love towards me was more ancient than my love towards Him, and He sought me in order that I would begin to seek Him.

O son, know that He desires to be known and He yearns for His Creation as much as we yearn for Him. So seek Him.

FROM: Ibn al'Arabi The Bezels of Wisdom
Publisher credit: Paulist Press

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