Sunday, July 10, 2011

What is eternal is within


Dunya is not too bad if one quietly sneaks in and just pick up what's good. Our regular adventure of that nature includes trips to Kinokuniya KLCC. God bless the Japanese for we simply love their skills in book retailing and food too.

There, we discovered a brilliant piece by Seyyed Hossein Nasr called 'The Garden of Truth'. Sadly, this according to the author, is his last book. He began by throwing at us questions which are too familiar to all, questions like 'who are we' and 'what are we doing here.'

He said in reference to the issue of understanding who we are - the I, is beyond male or female. There is another aspect of our existence, one at a higher level. He said, consider then why we sometimes say 'I must control my temper' as though the 'I' is at a more commanding level than the temperamental 'me'. After debating the ego-challenging questions, he then discussed the features of the 'garden' (if you will), such as truth, love & beauty and goodness & human action. 

Obviously, as a Muslim he stressed the fact that Sufi tradition stems from the Qur'an and hadith - "It has preserved over many centuries going back to the Prophet, a regular chain of transmission of initiatic power (walayah/wilayah) and the grace (al-barakah) necessary for the spiritual journey. And above all, it can enable men and women to reach a state of sanctity."

The 'state of sanctity', I gather, is the 'Garden of Truth' where the true self could emerge after having won the battle of  forgetfulness, whose enemy is distractions of dunya, among others. The 'Garden of Truth' as we understand it, is surely internal. That which is eternal is within. Allah is eternal and the eternal, as stated in a hadith qudsi, is neither contained in the heavens nor the earth but the heart of His believer. 

I imagine, a heart that contains Allah has got to be the most beautiful garden there could ever be.

Wallahu a'lam.
'The Garden of Truth' is published by HarperOne.
Read proper reviews of this book here and here.
Top poster is by Amir Hessam Ranjbari.

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