Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Mirror of the Heart

To understand reality as it truly is.

(Imaam Al-Ghazzali)

Sometimes we want to understand things the way we want to understand it and not as it truly is. And sometimes we want to understand things as they truely are and try to reach a higher state of spirituality to be amongst the pious, but can’t, why is this so?

The Heart is like a mirror, it has the ability to reflects the true nature of things.

As with the mirror, a true reflection will not be shown for the following 5 reasons:
1)      A defect in the iron of the mirror – the mirror is still just a lump of iron, it has not yet been formed and moulded into a mirror. So the entity (or potential) is there but has not yet been shaped or formed yet. (This is the state of the Hearts of children or the youth).

2)      Because of the dirt, rust and dullness. Even if it has been formed perfectly but it cannot reflect because of the dullness and dirt on the surface. (Due to the filth from disobedience and dirt from excessive desires which heap up onto the surface of the Heart causing it to be dull).

3)      Because it is turned away from the direction of the object towards something else. (Perhaps the attention is directed towards outward acts – making wudu/how to pray etc…one does not realise the internal needs to be worked on aswell).

4)      Because of a veil placed before the mirror and the object. (Because one is stuck to certain beliefs, or may even deny the higher states of spirituality).

5)      Because of not knowing how to position the mirror in the desired direction of the object. (Simply one has no knowledge of reaching this state of understanding).

Thus too is the Heart a mirror. Ready to have reflected in it the true nature of reality and all things.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Pig, The Dog, The Demon and The Wise Man

There are elements of the inner being, which are the traits of Mans nature. Success lies in keeping these elements in balance.
Imaam Al-Ghazzali says:
Know, that there are 4 factors intermixed elements that dwell in a man’s nature that are united against him, the qualities of:
1)      The predatory beast (animalistic)
2)      Demonic (deceitful, cunningness, evil intention)
3)      lordly (God-given wisdom/knowledge - which may lead to good or may lead to arrogance, i.e. to claim lordship – like Pharaoh, notice we use this word with lower case letter “L”)
4)      Brutish qualities (greed)
Every man has a mix of these four qualities, these all gather within a man’s skin as if they were a pig (Brutish), a dog (Predatory beast), a demon (Demonic) and a Wise Man (lordly).
The Pig = appetence, desire, lust, internal greed
The Dog = Anger, enmity, as it is in the nature of this animal to be savage, to slaughter, to be wild
The Demon, it continues to stir up the appetence of the Pig and the enmity of the Wild beast.
And within Man there also lies a “wise man” (akl), who, wards off the Demon, and kills off the gluttony of the Pig by setting the enmity of the Dog onto it. And if he is successful in doing so and maintains the balance then the kingdom is safe. However if he is weak and he fails, then he is constantly searching out new ways to satisfy the Pig and please his Dog. And thus the scary reality of it is that most of mankind are not serving their Lord, but are serving a Dog and a Pig, because their primary concern is their bellies, sexual indulgence and getting even with the enemy.
And so the irony comes, as Imaam Al-Ghazzali says, he whom disapproves of idolatry to a stone, if the veil were surely to be removed, he would actually find himself in prostration to a Pig, serving his appetite and that which he lusts. Or he would find himself in prostration to a Dog, by planning and scheming to become obedient to it. And as it is the Demon that arouses the Pig and the Dog, in effect, Man is worshipping the Demon.
If Man is able to bring all of these elements under the lordly rule of the wise man, then he is able to gain more knowledge, wisdom, understand the real nature of things. By bringing the appetence of the Pig back within limits, he is able to gain so much more honourable qualities, such as chasteness, contentment, happiness, modesty and such. By holding back the anger of the Dog he is able to gain courage, generosity, self-control, patience, gentleness, nobility, dignity and such.