Khalq and Khulq

Imam Ghazali (rah) explains in the following passage the spiritual impossibility of adequately overseeing our ‘self’ by oneself alone:

“The words khalq (creation) and khulq (morality) are derived from the same root. One is about the external world and the other is about the internal world.

Khalq is the form that can be known by the senses.

Khulq is hidden and cannot be known by looking at our external existence. The real identity of a person rests in his character, way of life, and his nature. Regardless of how much one hides himself in outer appearances, one day his inner identity will be disclosed.”

As we need a mirror to see our outer appearance, so too we need a mirror for our heart: the help of a friend of Allah who will diagnose and cure our inner world, our character, and our inclinations.

sufi meditation

If one wishes to know whether he is someone loved by Allah or not, he should closely evaluate his inner world: to the extent, he feels Allah in his heart and witnesses his power and kingdom with amazement he is close to Him.

For this reason, one should always be concerned with purifying his soul so that the manifestations of divine light, which will destroy the passions and the desires, can appear in the heart.

The Almighty Creator has said, “Truly, the one who purifies his soul succeeds” (Shams, 9).

Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad 􏰀(may peace and blessing be upon him) also said: “The believer is a mirror of the believer.” According to this hadith, the perfect humans serve as clear mirrors, with no stain on them, for our souls. In other words, seekers may observe the reality of their condition and their essence in the face of these individuals. This is not a material observation. The mirror of the heart goes well beyond the material dimension. In it one may explore the mysteries of the hidden inner worlds. This mirror is not a mirror of the outer world but rather a mirror of the inner world and there are no forms there save the reflections of Allah’s lights. Therefore, those who spiritually seek out and reap rewards from this mirror carry a different kind of beauty and joy in their hearts. They grow to sacrifice themselves. They wish farewell to their ego and consequently reach to the blessing of Allah aiming to become completely absorbed in Him. For this reason, it is necessary to be under the guidance of a perfect master and to internalize his morality. Yunus Emre has said:

“Shariah (religious law) and tariqah (mysticism) are paths for sincere seekers, Yet the Truth and divine knowledge are beyond them.”

One can only reach to the secret mentioned in this couplet by Yunus Emre under the guidance of a perfect master.

-An excerpt from the book, “From the mirror of the heart”

Advertisements

Theology and Mysticism

A man who had just returned from the pilgrimage came to Imam Junayd al Baghdadi Radi Allahu ta’ala anhu. Junayd Radi Allahu ta’ala anhu said:

“From the hour when you first journeyed from your home have you also been journeying away from all sins?” He said “No.” “Then,” said Junayd, “you have made no journey. At every stage where you halted for the night did you traverse a station on the way to God?” ” No,” he replied. “Then,” said Junayd, “you have not trodden the road, stage by stage. When you put on the pilgrim’s garb at the proper place, did you discard the qualities of human nature as you cast off your clothes?” “No.” “Then you have not put on the pilgrim’s garb. When you stood at ‘Arafat, did you stand one moment in contemplation of God?” “No.” “Then you have not stood at ‘Arafat. When you went to Muzdalifa and achieved your desire, did you renounce all sensual desires?” “No.” “Then you have not gone to Muzdalifa. When you circumambulated the Ka‘ba, did you behold the immaterial beauty of God in the abode of purification?” “No.” “Then you have not circumambulated the Ka‘ba. When you ran between Safa and Marwa, did you attain to purity (safa) and virtue (muruwwat)?” “No.” “Then you have not run. When you came to Mina, did all your wishes (muna) cease?” “No.” “Then you have not yet visited Mina. When you reached the slaughter-place and offered sacrifice, did you sacrifice the objects of worldly desire?” “No.” “Then you have not sacrificed. When you threw the pebbles, did you throw away whatever sensual thoughts were accompanying you?” “No.” “Then you have not yet thrown the pebbles, and you have not yet performed the pilgrimage.”

This anecdote contrasts the outer religious law of theology with the inner spiritual truth of mysticism, and shows that they should not be divorced from each other.