Ramadan(Fasting) and Sufi Principles

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Ramadan(Fasting) and Sufi Principles
« on: July 02, 2015, 09:12:35 AM »
Fasting, during the holy month of Ramadan (Ramzan) is the third pillar and religious obligation of Islam. Muslims throughout the world consider Ramadan as the time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah (God) and seek forgiveness. However, Sufis over the centuries have treated Ramadan from a different perspective as well. To them, Ramadan is a good friend and deserves rousing welcome as an honored guest. Historical accounts reveal that Great Sufi masters loved to see this guest arrive but also wished to see him go. In the process, they propounded the two principles for their disciples to follow “Love Ramadan, for it purifies sins of the ego and abstain from feasting when it goes”. For ordinary Muslims, the end of fasting is followed by feasting. It simply means that means that you can eat and drink. But Sufis interpret the meaning of feasting also differently. In their terminology, feast implies the meeting with the Beloved. The Beloved is referred to as the ‘cupbearer’ who pours out the wine of gnosis and love.
Jami has beautifully captured the concept in one of his couplets. He writes:

“Helal-e ‘id jostan kaar-e ‘aam ast
Helal-e ‘id-e khaasaan daur-e jaam ast “

The search of the crescent of the feast
Is the work of the common people.

The crescent of the feast
Is for the elite the circling movement of the goblet.
Because of this reason, Sufis of Chishti order are heard often saying “May every day be a day of festival to you!' Another mystic has written a beautiful poem about the day of festival being in the presence of the Allah (Beloved). It says:

Yak ruz bud ‘id be-yak saal be-yak baar
Hamvaare maraa ‘id ze didaar-e to hamvaar.

We celebrate the day of festival but once a year,
A constant feast day is the seeing of You, dear!

This is one way of defining the goal of fasting. Another Sufi poet Kalimi has also clarified the Ramadan subdues lust. He says:

Thanks to fasting,
The children lust and sensual passion were in school.

Now the feast has come,
And the children are free from school!

 ‘Once a dervish arrived at the hospice of Sheikh Junaid Baghdadi on the eve of Ramadan. He requested the Sheikh to allow him to lead the prayers. Upon getting the permission from Sheikh, he not only led the prayers but also recited every evening entire Qur'an. The Sheikh also ordered his disciples to make available one loaf of bread and one jug of water to the cell of that dervish every day'.

When the blessed month ended and Eid arrived, Sheikh bid dervish farewell. After his departure, all thirty loaves of bread were found untouched in his cell. Dervish had consumed only one jug of water and nothing else during Ramadan. Hazrat Nizamuddin used to frequently tell this story to convey the message that little eating is next to silence, solitude and vigils- the three virtues of  great importance on the Sufi path. The story also highlights the Sufi doctrine that hunger Mehboob-E-Ilahi Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya used to tell a story to his disciples: can be self-chosen. Sheikh Ibn al-‘Arabi in his accounts has given an elaborate explanation of the concept of hunger. He says “Hunger has a spiritual state (haal) and a spiritual station (maqaam). In his ‘Hilyat-al-Abdaal', he has defined  ‘haal' as the spiritual state originating from hunger  for the followers of  Sufi path  characterized by: Humility, Submission, Modesty, Softness, The spirit of poverty, The absence of vanity. Calm Behavior, Absence of ignoble thoughts.
 Sheikh Arabi has likewise described spiritual station belonging to hunger as ‘maqam as-samadaani.  Samad means next to ‘God' and ‘Eternal' .The word also refers to the one who offers support within regard to hunger and thirst. Sheikh’s hunger is different from the ordinary hunger. While Arabi’s hunger is generates  spiritual energy, ordinary hunger reestablishes the organic balance and nothing else. Sheikh has also stated that  hunger produces knowledge of Satan seeks the intervention of Allah for protection against evil forces. Khwaja Gharib Nawaz of Ajmer also emphasized the role of hunger in spirituality. He himself used to keep fast and broke it with the dried barley bread only.
Even in Kashf al-Mahjub (The Unveiling of the Veiled)  is stated by that hunger afflicts the body, purifies the heart, bless the soul with love, and leads the mind to long for the meeting with Beloved.

the heart finds purity
the soul love
and the mind meeting,
A prominent Sufi Hazrat Badi Uddin Zinda Shah Madar also used to tell his followers that the world was like a fast and believers should live their lives like a rozedar (the one who fasts).Similarly another Sufi has observed: “This world is but a day in duration, and what is difficult about fasting for one day?” Yet another mystic has also expressed similar views. He says: “Make a fast from this world and break it with death!”
Great Sufis have also repeatedly cautioned those treading on the path of Sufism that their fasting is quite difficult from that of ordinary believers, for it requires more commitment in the wake of doctrines introduced by the masters of different orders. A Chishti Sufi’s poem has covered the aspect and it also offers the encouragement to those willing to observe Sufi principles while fasting in Ramadan. Poem runs as under:

I asked the true God to guide me,
Because of His knowledge of me and of Himself,
So once again He gave me life.
When I am hungry, God feeds me
And when I am thirsty, He pours for me
And when I am weak, He helps me
And when I am ill, He cures me.
(References available on request)
Dr. Mazhar Naqvi

Al Dukhan

Re: Ramadan(Fasting) and Sufi Principles
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2015, 11:31:42 PM »
MashaAllah @heritageman. So you are interested in sufism ! Sufism is a method which is practiced by ahl al'sunnah, to control/balance nafs, and to focus on Ibadah of Allah and to gain qurbAllah by zikrAllah ! Sufism is a method of riyazah not a seperate sect or offshoot ! So congrats you are getting towards Ahl al'sunnah.
Again welcome try your best, may Allah ease bro.


Re: Ramadan(Fasting) and Sufi Principles
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2015, 10:21:53 AM »
Thanks for your comments.I respect all sects who believe in non- violence and treat each human being on equal terms.You know Masheeat seeks azmaish and zamana looks for asaish.Sufis always highlighted the azmaish for peaceful existence of all human beings in the world and for Ramadan also they adopted a different view.Hence,the article was written.
Dr. Mazhar Naqvi


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