Simmering your breath

 

What is this pang that stirs in the breast of man that he covets from the world in fear, without ever showing a vulnerable shade of himself?

There is this longing that persists, in spite of the notoriety one rises to in this world, in spite of the gain in wealth and status, this ache continues in the inner most core of the inner most core, this Lub and indeed as Allah teaches us, ‘none will understand except (ulil-albab) the people of the inner most core of the inner most core.’

That is, the brutality by which you must live your life, that you must confirm and decommission your existence, it requires a special refusal to be satisfied with the mundane and meagre answers of this world, but to be utterly devoted to uncovering truths about yourself.

It was this curiosity, this vehement devotion to wanting to know more that was hovering over my heart like a heavy iron that would not relent for the whole week before I had a small insight to help me connect some of my ideas towards this point.

It culminated on a Friday sermon, whereby Allah inspired a friend, a man who’s path Allah allowed to cross mine for a reason, whom I shared a room, food and breathed the same air as he for the whole month of pilgrimage last year, to invite me to a sermon he was giving. In his words, he thought that I may enjoy it.

The moment the sermon commenced felt like a gushing stream in my heart.

He began by speaking about the primordial nature of man and his attraction to material, to basely and worldly things, in Arabic and Muslim nomenclature, what we refer to as dunya. Dunya, can be colloquially and very loosely translated as world or worldly. It can also mean earth, but more importantly, linguistically it means lowly or base. It is that which subdues one and pulls one down.

It becomes interesting to note as my friend explained in the sermon that as men and women, all that we are attracted to in this world, comes from the earth, that is, comes from elements we were created from anyway. It is no secret that the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths share the same idea about the creation of Adam, the first human, that is God fashioning Adam from clay, from dirt, from dust of the earth depending on how you want to translate the Quranic and Biblical accounts.

The Muslim concept of creation states that Allah (God in Arabic) ‘fashioned’ man from this clay, that the Angels collected from the earth, from vast corners, mountains and valleys, arid lands and moist mud, sands of deserts, fields and more. All types, from all over and this represents why our father Adam carried the genetic code for all mankind everywhere, all races, nationalities and tribes.

Allah fashioned Adam himself, by his own hand and in the continuation of the verse states, “blew or breathed (Nafakhtu) , into him his soul from Himself.”

It is at this point, although I have heard the verse a thousand times and have heard the story an equal amount that I became an uncontrollable river streaming with thoughts.

What on earth had I missed all this time, this extraordinary nugget of gold that Allah has shared with us, much to our neglect and ignorance?

That whole week, I was deprived of something that I take for granted. That is, I enjoy an abundance of health and wellness, but I had breathing trouble for a week, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and an overwhelming feeling of a tight chest.

I wasn’t my usual self and signs of my heart defect were summoning me to pay attention. I wonder sometimes, what the medical professionals class as a birth defect may in fact be the opposite, a birth blessing, in that it has made me perceive and be utterly conscious of things others ignore.

Strangely that morning, before the sermon, I was trying to explain to another dear brother the importance of breathing deeply, knowledge I had gained in my years of exposure to high level training. Mostly, I was trying to advise the young brother to quit smoking altogether and to instead understand what his inert nature was requesting from him when he felt like a cigarette.

There is no doubt that nicotine is an addictive agent, but I have a firm conviction that the nicotine is not as addictive as the habit and longing of the subconscious to ‘breathe’. Deep articulate breathing, breath that reverberates from your diaphragm, deep below, from your core. The shallowness and mundaneness of life and the world has stopped most of us in our tracks and taught us to breathe just as shallow.

I asked him instead to not only breathe deeper, but to also recite the grand name, the supreme name, the ultimate of ultimate names, that is Allah, the way our masters have taught us, the way they have termed ‘Zayn al Anfas’, the beautifying of breath. Breathing deeply the name Allah, drawn out to a six second count. The Al (Alif, Lam) drawn to three seconds and the Lah (Lam, Ha) drawn to three seconds, with the Ha a deep heave from the sternum, diaphragmatic, vibrating and vibrant pulsating up the airway to the opening of the mouth.

I advised him to do this, rather mindful of my masters teaching, but after hearing the opening first few sentences of the sermon later that day, it sent me into a spiralling and dizzying flurry of meditative thought.

How could I have missed this important piece of the puzzle? Allah Himself breathed into Adam his soul. Why? To bring him to life! Here Adam was, fashioned by the best fashioner, in perfect form, but otherwise lifeless, dead until Allah allowed his soul to enter, suddenly alive and in total awareness that Allah is his source of life.

If a man engineers a vehicle, builds a building, designs a city, creates something, then the knowledge of that thing, its intricacies, nuances, inner most realities, secrets, weaknesses and strengths are all known to him. If that is what we know of creation of material, then it suffices to deduce that Allah also knows His creation and what He has fashioned. In His generosity, with this knowledge in mind, Allah also provides us the whole manual for living and if that wasn’t enough, created the most noble of creation to guide us in the most experiential manner possible. That is, he blesses us with the Quran and His beloved Messenger and Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him and his noble family.

It is this breath that bounces between our sides, which dances in our cavities and ends up flowing through our veins to every cell in our bodies to keep us alive. Stop breathing and see what happens to you.

What is it about this breath that can become euphoric in a sensation of exertion, perhaps why those addicted to exertion through exercise, through rigours of pushing their bodies to the limit unwittingly participate over and over again, subconsciously, their souls, their ability to stay alive is bound by this sacred entrusting. The breath Allah provided us, a constant revitalisation, and rejuvenation of that pact.

My friend’s sermon also mentioned man’s attraction to that which he was made from. That is, all this worldly material is really an attraction to basely and lowly things (dunya). Whether it is gold or jewels, they’re earthly. Whether it is a car or house, both steel and brick derived and extracted from the earth. Whether it is food and attraction or addiction to it, they are sourced from the earth. Everything you can conceive of, its origin, the earth.

This also reminded me of an earlier idea I proposed to someone that week, that no different, humankind is from the earth. Men and women, in essence are also nothing more than material, this over obsession with one’s spouse, children, parents or friends is nothing more than obsession with material, with things that are finite and disposable. It is not befitting of a man or woman of sound nature and discerning mind to be overwhelmed by this intoxicating obsession for another being.

Beings are not for possession, they are on loan to the world, coming from the earth, returning to the earth, allowed existence only by the mere fact they are allowed a breath to pass their lips, no second of breathing guaranteed more than the next, the source of all of that Allah, God.

What then is this near heathen approach and bestiality in being infatuated beyond reason to humans, again as aforementioned to a material thing, to a perishing thing?

That sermon and mere reminder of ‘breath’ and the origins of human kind, our lowly and base nature, became in moments a revelation of sorts for me, this lowly and base creature who has always thought there is more to his existence than mere trivial pursuits.

Perhaps with this pulsating heart, that chooses to skip a beat or two every now and then, that has been blessed enough to enlarge and function beyond the capacity of laymen at least in a physical capacity, perhaps with this thirsty soul, perhaps with this stubborn mind that searches for more, is why I have chosen the path of extremes, pushing my physical limits, to extend my breath’s capacity, to stretch it far beyond my lungs fill capacity. Perhaps why I want to heave a little harder, breathe a little deeper, be deprived a breath or two to be reminded, to be discarded and re-invited by His majesty to be at least in His company, through if only a physiological exchange, that may one day transform into the spiritual exchange.

What I do know is that this contraction (Qabd) and expansion (Bast) of heart and lungs, of chest and diaphragm is not to be taken for granted. Allah is Al Qabid, Al Basit. He is The Contractor and The Expander and what I do receive of both remains my invitation and calling, if only I decorate that pathway, if only I beautify its passage with mention of His name, indeed, as the great Imam Ali RA, said, ‘The hour will not come, until the people stop reciting Allah, Allah, Allah’.

Oh Allah, perfume my breath with Your name,
do not ever leave me in vain,
do not expose me in shame,
do not keep me the same,
O turner of hearts,
turn me in whatever manner you see fit,
and breathing,
in your remembrance,
leave me no other utterance to proclaim,
but Your name, Your Name.

‘And they ask you about the soul. Say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little.’

– Quran, Author; Allah

W.E.

Adhan


Oh Bilal,
I wonder,
if that stone placed upon your chest,
an act of barbarity,
to stifle your tongue,
from mentioning The One, The One,
to suffocate your breath,
didn’t in fact give you lungs,
didn’t in fact expand your breast.

No stone, nor mountain,
would in future find more peace,
and tremble with love and awe,
than by hearing your voice,
And have your breath between them soar.

God made that stone and every stone, subservient to your Ruh,
your Reeh,
your zephyr that passes between your teeth,
from the well within,
far too deep,
for the materialist minds,
for the societal sheep,
to do anything but misunderstand,
but a thousand years and a thousand more,
still makes every believer weep.

W.E.

Bilal Ibn Rabah, was the first African to become a Muslim.
He suffered tremendously for his pronouncement of faith.
At a time where the Meccan dignitaries were oppressing anyone, be they of nobility or a layman, the punishment endured by Bilal was nothing short of an extension and proof of the putridness that lay within them, the barbarity and hostility they had towards anyone who professed to believe in One God.

Bilal’s would go on to become one of the most infamous rebellion stories.
A slave to wealthy Meccans, upon hearing the call to believe in one God, the equality of men and women before God that Islam espoused, Bilal defied his owners and would not whip Ammar bin Yassir when asked to make an example out of him. So instead, his owner and the rest of Mecca decided to make an example out of Bilal.

They whipped and punished him, dragged him around town with rope around his neck, even dipped him in boiling water, and still, Bilal could only echo ‘Ahadun, Ahad’, – The One, The One. Two syllables that would enrage the Meccans who wanted him to denounce one God and instead worship and acknowledge their many gods.

Umayyah ibn Khalaf, became enraged, being the owner of Bilal, he set about from the start to orchestrate all the punishment. Finally he had a stone brought forward which took four men to lift and placed it upon Bilals chest. Defiantly, Bilal would not succumb, ‘Ahadun, Ahad’, The One, The One.

It was at this time Abu Bakr, paid for Bilals freedom, when Ummayy had realised he could no longer have any use for him, he thought, being the materialist oppressor he was, that the money is better than a ‘useless’ slave.

Bilal was bought off and set free by Abu Bakr.

Upon hearing his story, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) became extremely fond of Bilal.

Bilal would go on to be the official Mu’adhen (caller) to prayer. The Prophet Muhammad preferred him over anyone else because of his sincerity and piercing voice.

So here we have a man, thought of as nothing, a former slave who was persecuted and tortured by the Meccans, now calling the prayer for all Muslims.
His call, which he saw in a dream, has become the only call to be recited by all Muslims around the world 1430 years later.

Bilal lived out his life alongside the Prophet Muhammad and the companions until the day came when the Prophet (peace be upon him), passed from this world.
Bilal was making the call to prayer and upon reaching the part mentioning the Prophet, broke down inconsolably. He finally finished the call but couldn’t bare to be around the place where the Prophet’s scent still lingered, and joined the convoy of Muslims heading to Damascus and settled there.

One night, he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him), in his dreams who asked him ‘Oh Bilal, why is it that you don’t visit me?’ Upon waking, Bilal immediately packed his belongings and set for Madinah.

Upon arriving, he was greeted by Al Hassan and Al Hussayn (God be well pleased with them), the noble grand children of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Bilal had a deep fondness for them, because they were so dear to the Prophet. So when they requested he make adhan for prayer, he could not refuse their wish.

Upon initiating the call, suddenly Madinah and all its inhabitants fell into shock. For a moment, they reminisced, they were all taken and thought that the Prophet Muhammad had returned and began crying and coming out into the streets, rushing to the central prayer mosque. Upon arriving the joy was apparent on everyone’s faces, it wasn’t the Prophet, but it was his beloved companion and preferred caller to prayer, Bilal. This was the last time Bilal would call the prayer in Madinah.

Bilal would eventually return to Damascus where he passed away.

His story reminds us today that no matter the persecution, God always has a plan far grander than any punishment oppressors can dish out.

From the chains of slavery, Bilal became the echo on every Muslims lips, five times a day at the minimum, reminding them of God, calling them to prayer, calling them to success, calling them to establishment and rectitude of their affairs, reminding them to reconcile, admit error, improve ones affairs and repent from evil or wrong doing. To ask for forgiveness, and to beg pardon. To have thanks and gratitude for fortune and misfortune, knowing well, whatever lay in stall for them, is of the wisdom and knowledge of their maker.

W.E.

*Ruh – Soul
*Reeh – Subtle breeze or zephyr

when huwa huwa takes over

tumblr_mm1bkqteeb1r91dumo1_1280
-when huwa huwa takes over

be, as though you never were
be, because He never wasnt
be as though you never have
be, because He never hasn’t
i, am not what i think i am
i am, what i think i am not
i’ll be, as though it always is
because He never isn’t

-W.E.

strange vultures of longing hover over what?
burst open you stubborn seed
so that i may spread in the belly of the bee
and rather than a vulture waiting for a carcass
i can be soil waiting for pollen.

maybe it is the season
of life that inspires this.

virgin awakenings to what is fragrant and beautiful
bashful stirrings of butterfly’s
anxious innocence of a love that is too grand for one.

i’ve felt these pangs since I could breathe
and they visit me over and over
two
seven
twelve
thirteen
fifteen, fifteen and fifteen
perpetually until forty.

and now they haunt me
daily reminders of how i am meant to be
jolts of lightening igniting ignorance
exchanging it for remembrance.

forgive me my Love,
I long for thee down to the pits of me
but why, did You create this world
and keep You from me
except it spurts of sporadity
coming when i am lured by the stench
of pungent mortality.

This world is not for us
it cannot be,
when He is He,
huwa, huwa,
huwa hu
hu!

W.E.

Art source: https://www.tumblr.com/dashboard/blog/yibnawi/49202177588

-responsibility

responsibility
-responsibility

how do you unsee
once you have been shown
how do you unknow
once you know
like a seed that has sprouted
wanting to ungrow.
-W.E.

Once you have met the conditions, you are obligated, anything else is treachery and concealment.
The purpose of covering a seed is not to keep it buried, unlike humans, unlike a lie, a seed longs to sprout and it will grow wild if it is shown light. There is no return for the seed once it has sprouted and been touched by light. It cannot return to being concealed. But all it’s nature asks for is to maintain it, prune it, water and keep it’s soil pure so it can bare it’s fruit.

The human being is no different. Lying to yourself, knowing the truth, witnessing it with your spiritual eye, in the depths of you, aware of it’s reality carries with it the weight of acting upon that truth and waiting for the fruits to bare. Like the seasonal changes, so too will you vary, become dry, weak and may even break a few times, or parts of you may fall, but when the environment suits, you will again grow, larger and stronger.

This, you owe to yourself.

-W.E.

 

Art in background: Huwa by samirmalik on DeviantArt

-Of nearness afar

of neartness afar
-of nearness afar

I needed to find you
Or did you need to find me
Or did you show Him you
Waiting for me to see

Or is this all just triviality
Atoms scattered randomly
Perhaps this artistry just
Be, and it shall Be

Your voice is a breath of mystic allure
Of a beggars longing and hidden grandeur
If only for a moment brings to conjure
It is enough for brokenness a mend, a cure

What do you keep close to your heart
What returns you when you’ve fallen apart
When you miss His push and pull alike
Contraction, expansion, subdue and flight

When His light is not merely enough
When you seek more than angelic touch
When sombre you remain in absence of He
Content in presence though be it deaths clutch

Welcome I’d say to the angel of Death
I’ve been waiting for you since first suckle of breast
This separation from Him is far too much
Take me, don’t wait, even for my last breath

Bury this carcass, it’s naught but a home
Take my riches, and take my throne
Give to the poor and destitute all
My soul has to move, upward roam

To Him to travel to find restitute
To arrive at the original forbidden fruit
To bow and dwell amongst His elite
And find the source of this haunting flute

-W.E.

Inspiration for today…. and probably a few more months.

Patience and Gratitude

omar

If patience were a camel
And gratitude were a camel
I would not care which one
I ride on
– Omar Ibn Al-Khattab

I wish people truly internalised the significance of this saying. I wish it didn’t need explanation for the majority of people. Some will take the superficial beauty and run with it. But it is so much more. I wont explain my internalisation of it, that’s mine alone but I encourage you to spend more than a minute. Spend an hour with this quote and read it over and over again until you find it.
-W.E.

My teacher

gods wine

She drank from love’s wine
so that God was on her breath.
-W.E.

In turn, men became intoxicated from her words.
All they had to do was sit in her gathering
And they would stumble home like drunkards
Dizzy with what they had just experienced.

She had a knack for pulling in the wildest of men,
The strongest of them,
The gentlest of them,
The sincerest of them,
The most loving,
And making them love her.
They loved her as a spiritual mother,
Because she showed them love of Him.
She was braver than a thousand men,
And that is why men didn’t fear her,
But admired her, awestruck and rubbled in front of her.
Small in stature, but a Lioness,
Amongst the jungle of impostors.
I was never one for lies,
So I took to her like a moth to a flame.
There she consumed me,
And I was never to return to humanity the same.

May God sanctify your secret and raise your rank in paradise,
Were it not for you, I would have been hunted down by hyenas.

-W.E