Friday, July 8, 2011

It's all about taste


We have often times heard many shuyukh spoke about taste. One of the often repeated phrases is man lan yazuk la yadri - 'he who tastes not, knows not'. We have not heard any scholars spoke so clearly on this somewhat vague aspect of spirituality until we heard Shaykh Mokhtar's lecture posted on Al Madina Institute MashaAllah he's such a brilliant guide!

Shaykh Mokhtar Al Maghraoui spoke on attaining nearness to Allah by reorienting our minds and hearts towards Allah on the basis of tawhid - tawhidullahi azza wajala. He said, unfortunately many of us who enter Islam, proclaim the shahadah and recognize the message of Muhammad, do so intellectually or even academically. This is tawhidul ilmi.

We learn about the affirmation of the oneness of Allah (tawhid) through His asma (names) and sifat (attributes). We learn about the oneness of Allah in His Lordship - tawhid rububiyati; in His Godship or His uluhiyah and our ubudiyah (servanthood). All these are tawhidul ilmi which is good but only basic. We need to go deeper.

We need to make our understanding of tawhid sink from the head/intellect into our hearts (qullub) so that we not only know about tawhid but more importantly experience it, thus achieve what Shaykh Mokhtar termed as 'experiential tawhid'. This is the tawhid that could change a person because his tawhid now becomes cultivated from the mind into the heart, emotions and spiritual realities.

He said: "It is like the difference between I see something, I know it, I describe it, versus I touch it, I hold it. I see a sweet drink from far and I know how to describe it and talk about it, versus I go and hold the jar and drink from the jar. The drinking of the sweet drink is relative to knowing about the drink is the experiential station of my knowledge. My tawhid needs to become experiential. That is the tawhid that changes the person."

Shaykh Mokhtar then talked about getting near or taqarrub to Allah and attaining His hubb (love) through obligatory worships and then the extras/supererogatory worships (nawafil) until the person becomes the mahbub of Allah or the beloved of Allah. But take note that love has many levels of meaning in the Arabic language. A mother's 'love' is described as rahmah (mercy) in Islam as mentioned in a hadith by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w and it is not the same as hubb love.

He also said that we should understand that "there is a difference between 'being loved' and 'loving'. You could 'love' but without 'being loved'. Does God has hubb for me? His rahmah is always there but do I have hubb from Allah?"

One who has hubb from Allah will experience a spiritual transformation that Allah will become the person's eyesight, hearing, hand and foot as stated in a hadith. He will begin to know and understand things the way they really are, and not the way he thinks they are. It can then be said Allah is in the person's qalb and he will have experiential tawhid or tawhidul wijdani. He will begin to feel it.

"Every khair virtue in the life of a mukmin comes from this experiential tawhid. Every vice in a human being is due to the degree of absence of experiential tawhid. I could have intellectual tawhid but I am unkind, rude, restless, unforbearing, unjust, uncaring, ostentatious (riak), deluded because tawhid al wijdan is not in my heart."

Therefore, Shaykh Mokhtar said we should strive for experiential tawhid - "That I taste the sweet drink and not just know or read about it. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said wajada halawatil iman, 'find in you the sweetness of iman.' So, go find it and taste it with the tastebud of your heart..."

Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui
Al Madina Institute

May Allah grant you the time to listen to the full recordings of Shaykh Mokhtar's lecture at
Poster credit: Mohammad Imanirad
p/s Kak Anisah, semoga perjalanan kita mencari 'rasa' dipermudahkan Allah.

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