Monday, April 26, 2010

Being nothing


O son, our much respected guide Mawlana Shaykh Nazim's often repeated phrase is: "I am nothing." What does it mean to be nothing?

"The word 'nothing' indicates freedom from the ego. This is because the first step in realizing a share of the divine secrets begins with rising above egotistical behavior and animal desires. Therefore, a preliminary point in the process of spiritual growth is when one attains to the degree of being "nothing".

One of the purposes of tasawwuf is to prepare a disciple for witnessing his "nothingness" before the glory, kingdom and omnipotence of the divine. Allah occasionally reminds His servants of this truth through various trials. For instance, He left one of His great prophets, Sulaiman (a.s) dead on his throne for a period of time in order to remind him of his powerlessness.

Allah speaks to humans in the following verses:
"I created you when you were nothing..." (Quran, Maryam, 9)
"Every blessing that reaches you is from Allah. Then when harm reaches you, you pray to Allah alone." (Quran an-Nahl, 53)

'Nothingness' pertains to contemplating the meaning of those verses. Otherwise, one will be unable to protect oneself from heedlessly claiming to be a god as has been witnessed in the course of the lives of the Pharaohs and the Nimrods.

The great Sufi, Bayazid Bistami, quddisa sirruh, illustrated the state of nothingness in the following prayer:
"O my Lord! Put aside my self between us so that my self gets lost in You, and I become nothing! This is because, if I am with you, I am with all. Yet if I am wayward and lost in all, I cannot be with you. This would be the greatest shame for me to commit in witnessing your path."

FROM: Tears of the Heart - Rumi Selections
Publisher credit: Ekram Publications
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