Discourse on Tawhîd

Discourse on Tawhid

By Shaykh abd al-Qadir as Sufi
Taken from Nuradeen Magazine

“But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,
– full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.”
(Quran 55:27)

Excerpts from a discourse by Shaykh Abd al-Qadir, one of a series of talks on Tawhid given by the Shaykh at the Granada conference.

‘Everything perishes except the Face of Allah.’ Everything perishes. Every¬thing is in annihilation. The word in Arabic, properly speaking, is annihilation, fana. Everything is in fana, except the Face of Allah, and It continues.

To understand this deeply, you must have a certain experience but modern man wants to arrive without first taking the journey. Because he is trapped in materialism, because he is a rebel, a revolutionary, if you told him to take the path of the great men of knowledge of the past, he would refuse. So you have to show him something at the end, you must talk to him about the goal. Now people do not understand it, but it is exciting, it is ravishing, it is intoxicating, and so they say, ‘Yes, this is what I want.’ If they are sincere, they set out on the path and as they go on the path they realize that they do not have this doctrine as experience – so they have to go back to the beginnings of the matter. What are the beginnings of the matter? They are what is visible with the outer eye – prayer, fasting, zakat (tax, giving from your property), and the Hajj (pilgrimage). So what they had dismissed before as religion and in the way of divine knowledge, they now realize is the vehicle to take them to discovery.

So what we want to do now is to put the goods in the window, in the win¬dow of the shop. We want to leave the diamonds on the table, hoping that among you there is a thief who will want this wonderful thing. But, because we do not want to tell you things that you do not understand, because our Prophet has said, peace and blessings be upon him, ‘Speak to the people according to their knowledge,’ part of this will sound like a story to you, but a story you can understand. Because the path is a journey, people talk of it as travellers who return, and they give a description of the land they have visited that awakes in the people a yearning to visit this sublime country. In her words, we bring news of the Beloved and news of the Beloved creates excitement in the heart, and the creature longs to escape and reach this domain. But what a strange domain. We are not talking about a hidden world over against a visible world in opposition. We are talking about what lies between the visible world and the hidden world which makes the divisions between the shadows of the objects and the lights in the unseen world. We are talking about light upon light.

Because you have this idea that the world is under your feet, that there is the world and that you are on it, that there is a cosmos and you are in it, because you have this false duality, it is very difficult to understand the doctrine of unity. Let us look for a minute at this cosmos, still imagining for the moment that it is this thing we stand on, that we are like moon colonizers, that we have landed on this alien planet. Let us pretend it is an outside us, before we confront this difficult fact that we are just a tuft of the carpet that has been pulled out, separate from the design only a little. So we look up and we see the stars, we look down and we see the dust, the dust of the atoms. If we look up, we see the stars streaming through the sky. They are like cosmic dust, so what is above us and what is below us is basically the same. Now we do not know one thing at this stage, unless there is unveiling. But the opposites are such that if you go from one thing to its opposite, you will at the extreme of that opposite arrive back to what you left. So the materialists in their relentless search to prove the solidity of the stones beneath their feet, in this relentless search have come back and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we are very sorry. We are afraid it is nothing but space.’
Nothing but space. The materialists have said it. Properly speaking, the materialists are nearer tawhid (unity) than some muslim ulama (scholars). And what the scientists have discovered with their instruments, which cost a fortune and leave them stupid before their knowledge, Ibn al-‘Arabi and the Andalusian Sufis, without spending a penny, already know. Written in the great book of
Ibn al-‘Arabi is everything that you find in high energy physics, in other words, atomic physics. Now, when you go in, as you already know from school, if you go into a square inch of your flesh, you will find a living population the size of the city of Madras. When you go deeper, that city begins to open out and, as you go in, it opens out more until, when you enter the subatomic world, you are basically in empty space. So when you go into you, there is nothing there.

But I do not want to frighten you, so we will forget about you and look at the stones. You know the atoms, the structure of the atoms, from school, and you know that basically the principle is of binding. There is active energy around a nucleus so there is a kind of basic dust which by its polar energy holds itself together so that round it the protons and neutrons can revolve. So what you have is an agitation in a kind of ball and that, if looked into of course, all begins to disappear in more and more subtle forms. And, according to the structure of these atoms, this binding becomes closer and more powerful and more ‘solid’, until this in fact agitating mass takes on the character, when stood back from, of solidity. So the stones under your feet seem solid, but in fact you are standing on this rock and it is also bound by a series of inner energy processes, all of which are movement, all of which are whirling, all of which involve massive, tremendous speed, and this tremendous speed becomes the stillness of the stone,

of the rock, beneath you. Equally, the planet made up of all these becomes like a great stone, when in fact if stood back from, as you would look at a planet in the sky, is spinning, is in an orbit, and that orbit in turn is galactically whirling in an enormous motion, so the speed is what solidifies in our experience – but I am not prepared to say, in Reality. So that something that seems to be there, in place, is not in place in any way that you can say, but place exists. So we are in a very unusual situation, cosmically, we are in a very odd situation.

Now we look at the creature on the rock. What is happening beneath his feet is happening in his own body. ‘There is not only the streaming energy of the electric currents of his body, there are rivers running through his body, there is a whole inner geography in motion, his body is a processing system taking in energy and putting out energy, putting out waste and taking in raw energy powered by oxygen. And if you look with your eyes at the air you see space – but remember that the oxygen you depend on is itself a solidity. So nothing is what it seems to be.

Now we are going to take a step. Everything so far is basically your school education, about physics and cosmology. But look at the strange reality we find ourselves in, which is that you are in this cosmic sea. It is streaming, streaming, you are streaming, and you perceive it as below you and you are on it. This basic myth is the foundation of history, events, suffering and ignorance. The Reality is not like this, but how it is, is very strange. All existence is here and at the same instant it is not here. It is not that everything is going in and out like a light blinking. Do you understand what I am saying? That if you blink a light very fast, there is a point where it seems constant, the point at which it becomes con¬stant is the point when it is at the speed of light, when the light is changing at the speed of light. Because then it is travelling and getting to you in a constant. The truth of the matter is that things that are here are “not-here. They are here and not-here

They are/are-not. They are/are-not at the same time, because the point that they are/are-not is itself the frontier which makes time, the somethingness of the is-moment is time, and the frontier of the not-there is before-timeness, after¬timeness, endless-timeness. So this barrier is the secret of the Divine Power of the Creator, and beyond this we cannot go with words. This is the truth of every living thing. What is the truth is the smallest grain of sand, is the truth of the greatest star, is the truth of the whole cosmos. The truth of one thing is the truth of everything. Someone said to one of the great shaykh’s of the Darqawi tariq, ‘Tell me the greatest Great Name of Allah.’ And he said to him, ‘Show me the least thing in the whole universe and I will show you the greatest Great Name of Allah.’

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~ by The Murabit Blog on 04/15/2010.

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