Rijal Al-Ghaib or Awliy’Ulah are always praying for the ummah and the world , imama gazali rehmatuallah “said if somebody prays for their help allah will show them their help ” ” , Rijal Al-Qeyb pray for the whole Umah of prophet Muhammed .
Online Article There are at any given time 124000 or over (Allah knows best ) Awliy Ulah living on earth.They are not known and recognized by the general public.
You should know O the beloved of Allah All these are hidden from them and the general public too , only Allah is the one who knows them all .
In the Hadith
1) The Prophet (SCW) said: “The Substitutes (Abdaal) in this Community are thirty like Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful. Every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another one in his place.” [Musnad Ahmad 5:322]
2) The Prophet (SCW) said: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes (Abdaal) another in his place.” Qatada said: “We do not doubt that al-Hasan [al-Basri] is one of them.” [Mu’jam al-Awsat, by Tabarani]
3 )“If one of you loses his animal or his camel in a deserted land where there is no-one in sight, let him say: “O servants of Allah, help me! (ya `ibad Allah a`iynunee), for verily he will be helped.” (Ibn Abi Shayba’sMusannaf (7:103) from Aban ibn Salih)
4) Abu Hurayrah (RA) said “The earth will never lack forty men similar to Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain.” [Tarikh, by Ibn Hibban]
Wahb ibn Munabbih said: I saw the Prophet in my sleep, so I said: “Ya Rasulallah, where are the Substitutes (budala’) of your Community?” So he gestured with his hand towards Syria. I said: “Ya Rasulallah, aren’t there any in Iraq?” He said: “Yes, Muhammad ibn Wasi`, Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time.”
[Kitab al-Zuhd by Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Nu’aym, Bayhaqi, Ibn Abi Dunya, Abu Nu’aym and others]
Imam Al-Hakim and Imam Thahabi narrated [and graded it as Sahih]:
The vast majority of Scholars from the Ahlu sunnah waljama’h hold the view that Abdaals do exist. In fact, Hafidh Ibn as Salah has declared that there is consensus on this view. Hereunder follows the names of just a few illustrious Scholars who explicitly mentioned their views [Also refer to the introduction of Allamah Suyuti’s ‘Al Khabr ad daal’(Dar al usool) and many more Scholars you can read their books.
.In the Quran:
Among the Believers are men (rijal) who have been true to their covenant with Allah. of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least.} (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:23)
Rijal al-ghayb are Budala (sing. Badal) that are a group of awliyaullah of Allah mentioned by the Prophet (s) in many hadith, including where the Prophet (saws) said:
Rijal Al-Qeyb can be found, along with a detailed explanation of their lives and their true spiritual status. The instances relating to Hazrat Musa (ra) and Hazrat Khizr , Khizr or Khadar is one of them (ra) as found in the holy Quran .
Ranking of Awliy’Ulaah :
1)Three hundred(300) from this group are statemen involved in the administration of this world.They control all transaction in this Duniyah.They are the leaders of all Pious people in the Divine Court of Allah Ta’Ala.They are known as Al- Akhyar.
2).Amongst these 300,there are 40 who are known as Abdaal or Budala
4.Amongst these 40,seven(7) are Abrar
5.Amongst these 7,four(4) are Awtad
6.Amongst these 4,three(3) are Nu’qabah
7.Amongst these 3,one(1) is known as the Q’awth or Qu’tub He is the most senior of them all and the Head and Chairperson of the spiritual assembly.
Let us read more about them :
1.Akhyar – (The Pious ones ) The Hierarchy of Pious Saints.
2.Abdal-Budala (The Exchange Ones,or Alternates). They are seven.Whoever of the People(of sufism))has journeyed from a place,having lefted a body in such shape that no one knows he is messing-this,and no other,is the Exchanged One.They belong to the heart of Nabi Ibraheem alayhis ‘salam
3.Abrar-The senior Saints who are always in Divine Presence of the Almighty Allah.
4.Awtad (The Pillars) An expression for four(4)men whose stations are the four (4) corners of the world:East,West,North and South.
5.Nu’qabah (The Examiners) Al-Nuqaba are those who draw the hidden things out of people’s selves(Nufus)They are three(3).
6.Qa’wath or Al Qu’tub Al-Qadab Ghawth or Al-Ghawth– (The Pole ) or Help or the Cardinal Pole of noble Saints.The one(1) person who forms the focus of Allah Ta’Ala supervision of the world in every age.He belongs to the heart of Israfil (the angels of the resurrection and of form) and he is entrusted with the high station of Sainthood.
A book on the mysterious people called Rijaal-ul-Ghaib, those hidden saints (Awliya) who wander around and help those in distress.
The Arabic reports about irrigation, dams and water-powered machines form a cultural construction which could be called hydraulic imagery. The term imagery is related to the perception patterns concerning hydraulic constructions inasmuch these patterns are reproduced in documental genres in the specific geographical, historical and cultural context of the sources. Thus the references on water-power range from reports about milling output in terms of day-production of meal or flour up to impressive accounts about marvellous machines with the features of a perpetuum mobile. These references are embedded in various textual sources which belong to a quite heterogeneous spectre of literary genres including geographical and cosmographical works (like those of al-Dimashq), technological treatises (like the compendia of ingenious devices presented by Bana Musa and al-Jazari) as well as administration documents. Undoubtedly such reports are inspired by the historical reality of hydraulic constructions scattered from al-Andalus and the Maghreb in the Muslim West to Mesopotamia and Transoxania in the East. However, the specific reporting forms as well as several features attributed textually to the constructions under discussion reflect narrative conventions of the specific literary genre rather than realistic representation modes of technological artefacts. The present study develops a typology of such patterns and proposes interpretation models for their emerging on the basis of the specific socio-economic context and the features of the dominant literary traditions in which the narrative patterns concerning the hydraulic imagery are encountered.
Hydraulic engineering in the medieval Arab world: the historical background
The use of water-power for operating machines has a long tradition in the several regions which came under the dominion of Islam in the medieval times. This heritage includes scientific traditions in the Greco-Roman world, as well as the numerous aspects and technological features of water-powered machines all over the Mediterranean, as well as the Near East and the Middle East.
The expansion of the Muslim state in the Mediterranean, the Mesopota-mia and the Iranian territory during the 7th century AD enabled contacts and interactions of several scientific and engineering cultures under the Muslim rule. In the case of water-powered machines and hydraulic technology in general different geomorphological landscapes and climatic conditions acted as a polymorphic background for know-how transfer and further development. Novel techniques for crop irrigation were substantial for the transfer of species like cotton, sugar cane and oranges from East up to the Iberian Peninsula. On the other hand using water-power for milling cereals, oil seeds and sugar cane became increasingly important for the food supply of the rural and urban populations in the several Muslim states which resulted from the Arab expansion. Crucial importance obtained the several types of water-raising machines for both fresh-water supply and irrigation in the Arab-ruled regions which in many cases were characterised by shortage of surface water. Beside their role in every-day technological applications (mostly in rural context as well as in procedures of food processing) water-powered machines were engaged in many marvellous devices conceived and, to a certain extent, presumably realised in environments maintained and supported by princes, rulers and distinguished persons.
The importance of hydraulic science and engineering in the Muslim states and the Arab contribution to the transmission of previous know-how and to further development have been worked out and analysed by several authors. The purpose of the present study is to demonstrate characteristic patterns of presenting water-power plants in Arabic historical sources and to interpret these perception patterns in the specific political and cultural context.
(Left) A manuscript shows Al-Jazari’s reciprocating pump. This was the ﬁrst time an illustration of a crank appeared in a manuscript* – (Right) 3D animated image of reciprocating pump
Historical references and archaeological evidence concerning water-powered machines in the Greek, Roman and Islamic world are given in the works on history of technology by Forbes (1957), Schioler (1973), Oleson (1984), Hill (1984/1996; 1986), Schnitter (1994), El Faiz (2005). In his monumental work on Science and Civilisation in China J. Needham (1965 & 1966) extended the comparative study by considering Chinese evidence.
If we focus our study upon Arabic primary sources, we encounter mentioning of such machines in travel reports as well as in works of cosmography (i.e. combination of geographical data with cosmological and philosophical doctrines) describing Islamic and non-Islamic countries. Further genres are treatises on agriculture, on the rural projects of the State, and finally special treatises concerned with the description of ingenious devices, a kind of marvellous machines conceived on the basis of mechanics and hydraulics.
In the following we shall present first some typical references in Arabic geographic texts of the 10th century AD. We shall then proceed by considering a treatise of the beginning of the 11th century on hydraulic projects of the Muslim state and several texts on agricultural engineering. We shall conclude by referring to several texts concerned with imagery and visions of hydraulic technology as well as with the typical Arabic tradition of hydraulic marvellous machines.
(Left) Third page of the section devoted to the six-cylinder pump in the Chester Beatty MS (p. 38) of Al-Turuq al-Saniya. – (Right) 3D animated image of six-cylinder pump (Source)
Arab geographers often refer to agricultural production of the countries they describe. A special aspect in such descriptions is the dependency of agriculture on water management. Irrigation systems, darns, as well as water-mills belong to large-scale technology which becomes a positively connoted sign of the landscapes described.
Al-Muctaddasi (d. 1000 AD) describes several dams in Iran, among which a pre-Islamic dam which provided hydraulic power in Khuzistan, and a dam built in the 10th century AD on the river Ki1r, in the Iranian province Fars, by the Buyid emir eAcIrtd al-Dawla:
Adud al-Dawla closed the river between Shiraz and Istakhr by a great wall, strengthened with lead. And the water behind it rose and formed a lake. Upon it the two sides were ten water-wheels like those mentioned in Khuzistan, and below each wheel was a mill, and it is today one of the wonders of Fars.” (Al-Muqaddasi, Arabic text p. 344; Engl. translation quoted from Hill, 1984, p. 137)
The positive attitude of Arab and Persian writers towards water power and milling is expressed in the way they estimate water stream according its capacity in powering mills. Referring to Upper Mesopotamia, the granary of Baghdad, Ibn klawqal (10th century AD) underlines the use of Tigris stream for powering ship-mills:
The ship-mills on the Tigris at Mosul have no equal anywhere, be-cause they are in very fast current, moored to the bank by iron chains. Each [mill] has four stones and each pair of stones grinds in the day and night 50 donkey-loads. They are made of wood —sometimes of teak.” (Ibn klawqal, Arabic text p. 219; Engl. translation quoted from Hill, 1984, p. 137)
In 1184 AD Ibn Jubayr (1145-1217 AD) describes the ship mills across the river Khabur in Upper Mesopotamia with the exalting expression “fonning, as it were, a dam” (Ibn Jubayr, Arabic text p. 243; Engl. translation quoted from Hill, 1984, p. 137).
Even tidal mills are mentioned, e.g. by al-Muqaddasi:
The ebb-tide is also useful for operating the mills, because they are at the mouths of the rivers, and when the water comes out it turns them.” (Engl. translation quoted from Hill, 1984, p. 138)
What is characteristic in all above references is the narrative scheme of the Arab geographers according to which the utilitarian use of water-powered rural machines appears as an indicator for improving the prosperity of the regions described (Hill, 1991, p. 184). Only few technical details of functioning or construction are mentioned, which implies that the authors had poor knowledge of or no interest in such details. Their main goal was to present these human constructions as something exceptional, as “wonders” which contributed to the image and the prestige of the regions.
A different utilitarian perspective can be traced in treatises concerned with agriculture. Already in the Nabatean Agriculture, a treatise translated from the Syriac into Arabic in the 10th century AD (El Faiz, 2005, p. 30) we get a detailed description of water-raising machines, such as sciqiya, a perpendicular potgarland driven by an animal which rotates a horizontal beam fixed to the perpendicular axis with a gearing to the potgarland. The sources we will refer to come from al-Andalus. Most probably the *rya was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Arabs. In the treatises of the AndalusT agronomists Ibn al-‘Awwam and Abu l-Khayr several water-raising machines used in agriculture are not only described in their outlook and functioning but also with respect to their construction specifications and the possibilities of improving thief efficiency —perhaps a rational option of prestige writing (El Faaz, 2005, pp. 219-220; Glick, 1992, p. 981).
These norias, which raise water from the Orontes River, are in Hama, Syria* (Source)
Patterns of prestige and political legitimacy
Prestige issues are conventionally associated to persons of the political stage (or, more generally, of the public sphere). It is, therefore, understan-dable that important works related to water —whether providing drinking water, establishing adequate irrigation of fields or constructing water-powered machines— have been honourably attributed to distinguished Muslims. A well-known example is the project to provide the pilgrimage mute from Baghdad to Mecca with drinking water. The idea was inherent to the religious duties of the Muslim caliph. It is Zubayda (d. 831 AD), one of the wives of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809 AD), who has associated her name with the project of a canal supposed to carry water from Baghdad all the way down to Mecca. The idea and some financial details of the project are mentioned in the biographical dictionary of Ibn Khallikan(1211-1282 AD) (lbn Khallikan, vol. I, p. 337). However, no precise information concerning any realised parts is provided, except of the plant for supplying Mecca with water from a spring some 25 miles away. In his journey description Ibn Jubayr (1145-1217 AD) gives some aspects of the water supply along the route from Baghdad to Mecca (El Faiz, 2005, pp. 111-114). However, this hydraulic infrastructure is commonly attributed to the caliph al-Ma’mfm (813-833 AD) (El Faiz, 2005, p. 113). The imprecise and often contradictory information about the ambitious water-supply projects concerning the Islamic Holy Place (Hitti, 1970, p. 302; El Faiz, 2005, p. 111-114) underlines the symbolic value of the subject and renders the several versions of the narrative a pattern of prestige and political legitimacy rather than a puzzle of historical evidence.
Similar narratives of political prestige and power concern prestigious regional rulers or public persons, e.g. the “superintendent of irrigation” of Mery in the 10th century, who was said to have more power than the prefect of the city since he commanded some 10000 workers to build and maintain irrigation canals and dams, and a series of 10 norias and attached mills (Ibn 1;lawqal, pp. 635-636; Hill, 1984/1996, p. 25). With reference to the same dam of the river Kur in Fars mentioned by al-Muqaddasi (al-Muqaddasi, p. 344), Ibn al-Balkhi underlines 150 years later (12th cent. AD) the labour organised and the money spent by ‘Adud al-Dawla for constructing the dam (Lambton, p. 867).
A report combining description and admiration of administrating irrigation services is included in the Kitab al-Hawi dating to the 2nd quarter of the 11th century AD (Cahen, 1949-1951, pp. 117-143). Among fiscal regulations we find detailed data concerning the output of the various water-driven plants: mills, water-raising machines, etc. Written at the end of the Buyid era it is a typical demonstration of political legitimacy through a discourse based on the hydraulic network.
(Left) Page from a 13th-century manuscript depict a water-raising machine designed by Al-Jazari. (Source)
Hydraulic imagery and marvellous machines: cosmographies, hiyal
The Arabic reports about irrigation plants, dams and water-powered ma-chines formed a cultural construction which could be called hydraulic imagery. Quite often patterns of this imagery were associated with individual biographies. The Egyptian historian Ibn al-Qifti (1172-1248 AD) reports about the audacious project of the Basrian scientist Ibn al-Haytham (965-1039 AD) who considered to erect a dam on the river Nile near the first cataract in the south of Aswan. The aim of this vision was the effective regulation of the annual overflow of the Nile (Ibn al-Qifti, pp. 114-116). After having been officially invited by the Fatimid caliph al-Ijakim, Ibn al-Haytham surveyed the region, but apparently gave up his plan. It is reported that he then “simulated” madness in order to escape the wrath of the Fatimid caliph. It is not easy to exclude exaggerations and gigantomany with respect to the biographies of the Fatimid caliph or Ibn al-Haytham; this could be the contribution of the historiography to the formation of hydraulic imagery in the service of glorifying or colouring individuals. On the other hand the subject itself is the prototype of an incredible gigantesque project. The name of the Basrian scientist remained inherently associated with his hydraulic utopia and his “collateral madness” as embodied exaltation (El Faiz, 2005, pp. 129-137).
Exaltations in reports concerning agricultural technology, particularly hydraulic machines, as well as affinity to the Arabic literary form of the “wonders” (‘aja’ib) (Dubler, pp. 203-204; Institut du Monde arabe, 1978) are typical characteristics of textual sources on travelling and geography of the 12th to the 14th centuries AD. These aspects are especially prominent in treatises which present both geographical evidence and cosmological models explaining the data on a philosophical and theological basis. In modern terms such treatises are usually called cosmographies. This is not to say that information on prestigious and highly estimated hydraulic constructions that is provided in such treatises is generally exaggerated. Many references of technological devices constitute today valuable information on medieval technology, i.e. the mention that we find in al-Qazwini’s cosmography (1203-1283 AD) about the water-mill with horizontal wheel in Malaga. In the cosmography of al-Dimashqi (1256-1327 AD) such descriptions mostly refer to extraordinary ways of using natural resources (matter, wind or water).
In the description of the land of Azerbaijan al-Dimashqi presents the fortified town of Merend (Mehren, 1884, pp. 254-255, French translation; Mehren, 1866, p. 188, Arabic text). The information he gives about this place is concentrated on its remarkable water-mill: “In the place named Merend there is a mill which is put in rotation by a still water; and this belongs to the marvels of the world. It is built in the following way:
The mill house comprises two stone mills with two water wheels. Each water wheel is put in rotation by its own water [stream]. The upper [mill] stone rotates and grinds the grain. The two water wheels are fixed at the lateral parts of a vault in which the water remains stored with a depth of a man’s body and a breadth as well as a length of 6 cubits [e.g. ca. 4 m]. In the middle of this vault there is a pillar stretched like a bridge [horizontally] over the breadth of the vault and fixed on both side walls. This pillar bears two reinforced leaden water pipes which hold on each other tightly [unified] and hang over the pillar up to the surface of the water. Both water pipes are open. Inside there is a structure [device?] by means of which the water is sucked up towards a height of half a cubit [e.g. ca. 34 cm]. It is elevated in it [i.e. in the pipes] and kept on in stream until it flows down powerfully through the other pipe, which rises over the surface of the water in a certain distance. Thus the water flows out from this pipe and, as it falls on the water wheel, it revolves the wheel and moves the mill stone. After falling on the wheel scoops the flowing water reaches the same water [of the storing basin], then it is raised up in the other pipe turned to the other side and flows down from there. This pipe is of the same height and breadth [as the first one]. Thus each pipe sucks alternatively the water ejected by the other, so that the water mass neither decreases nor increases nor moves except at the openings of the two pipes where they suck up and pour out again the water.”
It is not the purpose of the present study to smooth or modernise the text in order to make it understandable as far as the functioning of the twin water-pipes is concerned. The details provided by the text are not enough to reconstruct the outline of the plant; they do not even elucidate the several possible functions. Even the illustration embedded in the manuscript and referring to the water-mill does not just illustrate the text (Canavas, 2005, pp. 291-297). Moreover, it underlines the apparent goal of the presentation of the water-mill of Merend by al-Dimashqi: the marvel described here is a perpetuum mobile. Work (i.e. turning the mill stones) is done without any visible input of external power!
The textual treatment of hydraulic machines as marvels finds its most remarkable expression in the compendia of ingenious machines (Arabic: hiyal) composed by Banu Musa in Abbasid Baghdad (9th century AD) and by al-Jazari in Diyarbakir (1206 AD). The Book of Ingenious Devices of the brothers Banu Musa contains descriptions and illustrations of 100 devices. Al-Jazari’s compedium yields descriptions and construction de-tails for 50 elaborate devices which combine mechanics, pneumatics and hydraulics (Hill 1984/1996, p. 199 ff.). Both treatises refer to design and construction for palace environments —”utilitarian” purposes similar to those of the rural machines described above are not mentioned in the biyal treatises.
The Self Changing Fountain of Banu Musa bin Shakir (Source)
In our study we analysed several Arabic textual sources concerning hydraulic machines. The various patterns traced are strongly related to the specific literary forms and the historical-cultural context of the texts. Whereas travellers and geographers of the 10th century AD underline utilitarian aspects and insert the hydraulic machines into the specific political and economic landscape, later historians and biographers introduce similar utility patterns as prestige criteria in assessing persons of the public sphere: dealing with hydraulic artefacts enables exalting and distinguishing (in case of failure: discrediting) individual persons. The hydraulic imagery finds a prominent position in the literary form of the “wonders” (`aja’ib), the Arabic mirabilia, and in the category of “tricky” devices in palaces and gardens.
The above patterns are expressed through specific narrative forms. As a consequence, these forms standardised the manners in which hydraulic know-how and technology are reported. Such reports were undoubtedly inspired by the practical reality; however, it would be an over-interpretation of poor reliability to assert that they depicted social and technological practice. Even if the textual sources in many cases allow the assumption of theoretical scientific insight in the period considered, this is not enough to conclude that “practical realisation of the theory” was just a question of logistics. Technology in the era considered here was not “applied science”. The social conditions of technology development might have been quite different from those of literary production, and the motives for using certain narrative forms are not to be found in the literal content of these narratives. In order to trace the paths of know-how transmission from the Nabateans up to the Muslim Arabs additional historical sources and archaeological evidence are still required.
The Albolafia noria, or waterwheel, is the last vestige of an array of mills and dams built on the Guadalquivir River in Cordoba between the 8th and 10th centuries as it appears in its present condition. (Source)
La ilaha illa ‘llah, Muhammadun-Rasulullah
The Verbal Essence of Truth and Knowledge
According to modern scholar William Chittick, Sufi beliefs about the difference between what is Unreal and what is Real stem from an interpretation of the standard Muslim testification of faith, the Shahada.
In the statement “There is no god but God,” there is a judgment about something that is and something that is not—about an unreality and a reality. From this, according to the logic of this argument, God exists in a manner that is unique and totally exclusive. Sufis came to define that unique type of existence as Absolute Reality. The quality of existing in an Absolute, namely unique and solitary way, belongs only to the One God. Since God alone has Absolute Reality, everything else in the universe belongs to the realm of the Unreal, the non-absolute, or relative world.
One of the most oft-cited texts for this theory of God’s Absolute and therefore unique manner of existing is the Quranic verse “Everything is perishing except His (God’s) face” (Quran 28:88). This verse is taken as proof that the world as we know it is not eternal, not absolute, and therefore not ultimately Real.
The only thing that is Real is God (here embodied by the phrase “God’s face”) and therefore He is the only Reality that will endure when all Unreality has passed away. This theoretical dualism, oscillating between the Real and the Unreal, is also reflected in the poetry of the mystic and poet Rumi, who wrote “God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.”
Also based on the language of the Quran is the belief that what the world can provide for believers are signs. The verses of the Quran are referred to, in the text itself, as ayat, which means signs.
Therefore, even though the world is only relatively real, within it the believer can seek to discern differences among the various phenomena in the world, any of which may be a sign, ayah, sent by God. Different phenomena reflect different aspects and levels of God’s communication with human beings. Thus a prophet, for example, reflects and conveys divine reality more significantly than the average person. The principle of discerning which signs are significant is therefore part of what practitioners of this mystical expression of Islam call “walking the Sufi path.”
Similarly, the second half of the Shahada, “Muhammad is the Messenger of God,” reflects the value of beings in the world while ultimately acknowledging that only God is Absolute. In singling out Muhammad and staking a claim in belief in his status as a Messenger, one acknowledges that God uses people in the world to reflect and communicate about Himself. The revelation communicated by Muhammad is therefore coming from God, and is a manifestation of God’s uniquely Real Being. Once the Sufi, applying this mystical interpretation of the Shahada, initially discerns between the Unreal and the Real, she/he can then discern between the human and Divine aspects of all objects and people in the world.
Through rigorous practice and perfection of the soul (called tazkiyat al-nafs), the Sufi practitioner seeks to achieve a proper understanding of the universe, at which point she/he will discern the only Ultimate Reality, God. These practices include invocations, prayers, and communal gatherings, and may also include superogatory (i.e., beyond the month of Ramadan) fasting. By becoming inured to the bodily or merely physical demands of earthly existence, this training aids the Sufi in banishing a preoccupation with the material self, the nafs, after which it will cease to exist and in this way, allow the Sufi to turn solely to God.
It is important to stress that the broader cosmological framework within which Sufism operates is not different from general Islam. This is because Sufism is not a denomination or a sectarian affiliation, such as Sunnism or Shiism. Rather, Sufism is the mystical expression of the Islamic ethos, which is not strictly Sunni or Shii. Thus, Sufis also believe, like all Muslims do, that God created the world, that he sent messengers and prophets such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad with messages and scriptures to guide humankind. All of this is consistent with mainstream Muslim belief.
Sufis do not so much differ from as add to that tradition, accompanying what is seen as traditionally orthodox practice with an additional layer of personal and inwardly-directed spiritual attention. The purpose of this additional dimension is to develop a personal relationship with God that happens to follow specifically Sufi principles of renunciation and spiritual training. As stated above, however, Sufism is not exclusive or generally prescriptive: that is, every Sufi is a Muslim, but not every Muslim must be a Sufi.
- La ilaha illa ‘llah, Muhammadun-Rasulullah
The Verbal Essence of Truth and Knowledge
For the Sufi, the most meaningful words in creation are “La ilaha illa ‘llah, Muhammadun-Rasulullah.” We claim unequivocally that this phrase is the Origin of all Knowledge, the Sun of all Meaning, the Source of all Truth, and Health, Warmth and Healing to the heart.
Let’s examine the phrase in its two components, “La ilaha illa ‘llah“, and “Muhammadun-Rasulullah“.
Part 1. La ilaha illa ‘llah
“La ilaha illa ‘llah” is the essence of the matter, a simple but profound summary of the “Knowledge of God”. It is the essence (and practice) of the annihilation of falsehood. It is both a statement of Divine Truth, and a lesson on how to know it. It means that there IS ONLY Allah, and demonstrates that the quickest way to “know” the Unity is to deny all else.
“La” means no, nothing, negating of what follows, indicating the negation of and implying the illusory nature of the seeming existence of whatever it is referring to, (which, paradoxically, must first “exist” (in the mind) in order to be negated, denied, refused, diminished to zero relative significance).
“Ilaha” is an intensely interesting word, worthy of deep consideration. It means god (little ‘g’ intended), deity, worthy of worship, deification, edification, respect, subordination, following, service, attendance, consideration. In a word, just about anything that comes from our (individual) minds (mindset, way of thinking), and anything we might care about (our cares), or believe “exists”.
“La ilaha” can therefore mean “nothing exists“, i. e. nothing is worthy of consideration except that which stands by itself and is not in need of consideration. And how do we isolate that Being? By eliminating from our consciousness (mind) all that can be eliminated, even and including all mental concepts (of God), until there is only pure existence itself, pulsing through our bodies and flowing through our veins.
The indication is that the “Knowing” of God is based on the negation of all else. In practice, that negation is based on an exclusive affirmation of The Only Possible Permanent Reality, God Alone. Once the “Knowing” is known, it stands alone and sufficient. There is no more negation necessary or even possible, and everything becomes an affirmation of the Truth in Reality.
In Sufism, the word “annihilation” refers to the mind (giving no credence to). There is no denial of the outward existence, only the negation of any reality other than the Only True Reality (That which is left when all else is gone). Look how even the basest tyrants act according to this law, seeking to physically destroy their enemies and succeeding only at self-ruin. Nevertheless the principle is the same – arriving at the truth by a process of elimination.
“Illa” means only, but, if not, except.
“‘llah” means Allah, Al-lah! (Arabic) The One. The Conscious Oneness. The Unity. The Divine, The Beyond-Comprehension. The Self-Aware, Who Comprehends All. Existing, Knowing, Seeing, Hearing, Speaking, Willing, The Source of Power. Perfection in and of Itself. Greater than which there is none. Who remains when all else is gone.
This Existence must be both intellectually grasped and physically realized. The Divine “Does” Itself. The full embodiment of the Reality of this Truth is the object in “Quest”. Knowing it in our minds may be easy but convincing our bodies takes practice, including verbal affirmations and physical negations. This practice transforms this knowing from a concept to a reality.
Part 2. Muhammadun-Rasulullah
Muhammadun-Rasulullah is a profound summary of the knowledge of creation.
“Muhammad” is the most complex and meaningful word, requiring the study of long eulogies for initial comprehension, so let us summarize. He was indeed the full embodiment of Truth and The Reality, and therefore the way for us to attain this also.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Divinity being in and of Itself perfect, should not the first of Its creation be perfection?
In the beginning, and there was no beginning, there was Allah Alone – pure, unmitigated, undifferentiated Oneness. The Divine, The Self-Aware, The Source of Power. And He is now as He was. With no change in His Oneness, He created. His Will and its manifestation are one and the same, and He willed to be known – so that Will manifested in the first of His Creation, a perfect Self-Knowing. But Knowing then did not exist alone, without a knower, so the knower, the perfect self-knowledge, was the first of His Creation. But the knower did not exist without entity, a name and a suitable environment, so the Name was Muhammad (Arabic: The most highly praised one), and the environment was Creation in the four realms.
And why should it not be that way? Creating to be known, should He not create Knowing first? Humans have that knowing innate within them, so, as potential ‘knowers’, are we not the “Crown of Creation”? Should there not be a perfect one, a prototype, a role model, if you will, that we may seek out to follow and emulate in our own individual search for perfection (read perfect annihilation)?
Rasul means messenger. Messenger implies way. Message is the teaching, Messenger is the way. What the messenger can do, the receiver of the message can do. Implying coming from and returning to the Source of the message. In this case, Allah. ‘ullah means to confirm that – (messenger) from Allah.
Evidence from Hadith Qudsi (traditions spoken by Allah Himself).
“I created to be known”
“I was Alone and wished to be known so I created Creation“.
“The first of my creations was Muhammad”
“The best of my creations is `Aql” (Intelligence, consciousness, reasoning, intellect, awareness, comprehension. All of these words are related to the Arabic `Aql:)
- A sufi tale | dhikr of la ilaha illa Allah
Once a Sheikh (sufi master) came to Istanbul and went to the governing authority to ask permission to open a tekke or sufi lodge. The Sheikh was asked how many dervish members he has and the reply was only one dervish, and the master himself.
The authority found it odd, yet an old rundown building was available and given to them. The Sheikh with one dervish accepted it with open heart.
Very soon there was enormous light coming from within the building, sound of dhikr could be heard every night and crowds would attend.
The governing authorities wanted to know what this man was doing to draw so many people to him and what was this light that was reported coming from the old building. So the Sheikh was summoned.
The officials said, “We are the educated ones and we want to question you to make sure you are doing things correctly.”
– “All right”, was the humble answer.
“What is the meaning of la ilaha illa Allah?” they asked.
– “Do you want the meaning as you understand it, or do you want the meaning as I understand it?”
“We know how we understand it. Tell us how you understand it.”
– “For this I need my one dervish, the one I brought with me first time I came to this building.”
They agreed and sat down as he and his dervish begin to make the dhikr. When he said, “la ilaha“, his dervish disappeared. When he said, “illa Allah”, he appeared. When he said, “la ilaha” again, they both disappeared. With “illa Allah” they reappeared.
The last time he said, “la ilaha”, the entire room disappeared. And when he said, “illa Allah”, everyone appeared.
He turned to face the officials and said, “This is how I understand the dhikr.”
- La ilaha illa-Allah and Advaita | Supreme Oneness
The most profoundly revered sacred formula: La ilaha illa-Allah (also can be written as La ilaha illallah) in exoteric interpretation means: there is no god but One God.
That is for bringing the whole of humanity into oneness and to remove all differences. Differences in the name of God has to be removed, that was the goal of this message in all ages. an expression to say to all of humanity that whatever name and form you are calling God, the Essence is One.
In esoteric meaning, the sacred formula contains the Secret of Secrets. Then it reveals something truly surreal, something which by the very nature of phenomenal world makes it very hard to realize. it’s something which endless sages after sages came to realisation; some after spending a whole life time, some after forty years of retreat, some after very diligent spiritual practice and scholarship. yet they all understood this.
There is no duality but Supreme Unity
There exists no duality but Oneness.
This is the ultimate teaching of all sacred path and faith, including that of great teaching of Advaita (not two or many but One, non-Dual) of Vedanta in Hinduism. you look at the teachings of Buddha, you will find all he was working on the ‘nothing’ part of it. you look at the christian cross and you will find the cancelling out of the little ‘i’, the self. That’s cancelling out the exact root of duality. Only after the supreme realization of this secret Jesus could proclaim, ‘i and father are One’.
In Quran even after so much emphasis on Oneness, God calls Himself We, why?!
Esotericaly this is because everything is His Essence. This ‘everything’ and ‘We’ is His, is nothing but He.
Wheversoever you turn you see the Face of God.
The sacred formula holds this Ultimate Secret, that is why Prophet Muhammad said that on one side of the Divine scale if you put this sacred formula and on the other side everything that is in the creation, yet La ilaha illaAllah will weigh more in terms of what it beholds inside of it.
What is Nonduality?
Nonduality means “not two” or “non-separation.” It is the sense that all things are interconnected and not separate, while at the same time all things retain their individuality.
We tend to view the world as made up of separated, pretty much isolated “entities.” By entities is meant everything: people, political parties, beliefs, nations, objects in nature, and most importantly one’s very own individual self.
The experience of nonduality:
Yet one may know any number of instances in which you — your individual self — fades into an experience. You realize you are not separate from your experience, nor are the apparent entities making up the experience separate from the experience or from you, and that all of it — the experience, you, the players making up the experience — are all essentially one thing . . . much like a dream.
Such an instance may happen from being in nature, from enjoying music or art, or from being deeply involved in a hobby or work. It may be known during sex. It may occur while walking in the park, while dancing, surfing, or having a few beers with some awesome people.
The experience of nonduality may be realized during meditation, yoga, or from reading something that blows your mind.
The nondual moment may happen for no reason at all: maybe you’re sitting on your deck and geese fly by, or maybe you’re driving your car and suddenly everything is different, or perhaps you just woke up from a sleep.
You have almost certainly had at least one such nondual experience in your life, and probably several.
Arising out of this experience might be an uncommonly genuine happiness. However, the experience may also rock your world such that it is never again the same, for now you see the world not as separate entities struggling for survival, but as a single experience of non-separation . . . again, much like a dream.
The Pursuit of Nonduality:
If the experience of nonduality is important to you — and no law says it has to be — you may have the need to find out more. If the experience has altered your life, you may have no choice but to understand what happened.
Your pursuit may take you to various websites and online groups, books, and people who might provide guidance and clarity. You may engage spiritual practices, attend meetings with nondual teachers, go on retreats. Whatever you do, whatever happens to you in this pursuit, will be unique for you.
This pursuit could begin at any time. Even if you had a powerful nondual experience decades ago, but never investigated it deeply, you could start today. However, don’t waste your time trying to “bring back” a past experience. Rather, focus on what it awakened.
How do you initiate the pursuit of nonduality? Lots of advice could be given. However, there is endless information online. More essentially, there is you, your existence. You could begin right there, right here, by attending to the fact that you are aware. “I am aware.” . . . “I am.”