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The Reality of the ‘Self’

Here’s an excerpt from the Perfect Man by Abdulkareem al-Jili:

“Allah also created the self (nafs) of Rasulullah (saw) from His Self.

‘Nafs’ is the self of something. He formed the Muhammadan realities from His own reality… After creating the self of the Rasul (saw), He created the self of Adam as a form, from the self of Rasulullah (saw). As a result of this fine mystery, despite Adam was forbidden from eating the fruit in paradise, he ate it! For he was made from the substance of Rububiyyah and Rububiyyah cannot be restricted. This principle remains applicable on earth and the afterlife.

Based on this fine mystery, whatever the self was forbidden from doing, it was drawn to, whether the forbidden thing was for his bliss or suffering.

When the self does something, it does not consider whether it will give him happiness or harm. It simply does it as the necessary functioning of its existence due to the principle derived from Rububiyyah…

Do you not see how he ate the fruit in paradise? He did it without any heed. Even though he knew through divine warning that it was going to cause suffering for him. As Allah warned:

“…do not approach this tree lest you suffer…[1]

That fruit was nothing other than the misery of the bodily life! Allah had created the fruit of the tree as an example of the bodily life. Hence, He made it forbidden. For He knew that it will cause him to be rebellious and deserving of being reduced to the miserable level of the bodily life and thus to a mode of complaint and suffering!

That tree is described in the Quran as “the accursed tree (bodily life).[2]

When he went to that tree he left the vicinity of the spiritual and the divine and became distant. This is what ‘descension’ means. Being forbidden from eating the fruit went against the unrestrained nature of the self; this was confusing. The self was stuck between actualizing the ‘Bliss of Rububiyyah’ that it had acquired and taking heed of the ‘divine warning’ that eating the fruit will cause his demise. 

This being the case, it relied on its own knowledge and because he was drawn to eating the fruit he didn’t heed the divine warning at all. 

This confusing situation applies to all who has knowledge. Those who fall into complaint and suffering do so because of this confusion.

They abandon the clear warnings confirmed by the Nabi’s and Rasul’s.

Man is always in a situation of either having faith in the divine warnings and abandoning his own desires or succumbing to his bodily nature and rebelling against the divine warnings.”

As can be seen the behavior of a person is either shaped and driven by the divine names in his composition and we call these the things we wanted to do, chose to do, willed to do, because we felt like doing it! Or, they are things we do, despite not wanting to, just because they are divine warnings.

We had previously discussed what divine laws mean; actions that enable one to overcome their composition and observe his absolute service to Allah…

Hence the things we “feel” like doing because we enjoy them, are the very things that veil us from Allah.

“I’m so used to doing this!” “But I like it!” “But this is how I’ve been created!” This is my make-up!” “I enjoy it, I love it…” etc… all such statements are driven by one’s composition.

And since the composition is made of the divine names and in essence comprises one’s Rabb, when one becomes aware of this, he easily falls into a form of carelessness. Knowing that the essential reality of his self is the One makes him complacent and careless, he begins to think he can do whatever he likes, however he likes. 

He accepts no restriction, which further pulls him into the prison of the bodily life, thus he inadvertently creates his prison with his own hands. 

If he continues to comply with the divine laws even after this realization, then he will eventually overcome his composition and unite with Allah reaching eternal bliss. The name as-Salam will manifest in his life.

Complying with these laws despite the contrary desires of one’s composition can be achieved via the expression of the name as-Sabur. He must show patience, undeterred by the Rububiyyah principle in his make-up. And he must do this with a strength he gains from his ‘self’, otherwise it is not possible.

And when this is not possible, he will live in compliance with his ‘nature’ and hence create his hell!

Actions are based either on cognition, or fear and illusion. Cognition brings submission, fear also brings some form of submission…

In the end, both will submit, but what is in their foundation? Did he submit because he cognized why it is such and this knowledge made him submit, or was it out of fear?

Similarly, people submit to Allah in two ways... a Nabi or a Saint submit to the divine laws out of their cognition.

What matters is that you submit not out of fear and illusion, but with cognition and discernment. The purpose is to reach this cognition, even if one temporarily falls into fear, he must eventually overcome it.

For some, their make-up is suitable and they can directly cognize, but in general the majority begin at more primitive states and work their way up.

The point is to submit to Allah through cognition and discernment. Remember the words of the Rasul of Allah (saw):

“O Allah, I seek refuge in YOU from YOU…”

What does this mean?

To seek refuge in Allah from His administration over you…

Say (recognize, realize, comprehend, experience): “I seek refuge in the Rabb (the reality of the Names comprising the essence) of the Nas (mankind).”

“The Sovereign of man,” (The Malik, the One whose sovereignty and administration is absolute over Nas, mankind.)

“The God of man,” (The reality of Uluhiyya that resides within the essence of every human, with which he subsists his existence, and mistakenly thinks this state pertains to a god outside of himself!)[3]

Three states are being highlighted here:

The Rabb of the people: Seeking refuge in the Rabb of the people at the level of acts in which the operation of Rububiyyah is in force.

The Sovereign of man: This points to the Domain of Names and their meanings.

The God of man: This is the recognition and observation of the station of Uluhiyyah, formed after the previously mentioned observations.

The second station, the recognition of the Domain of Names is described as grasping the mechanics of creation (mubdi marifah).  This is the understanding of how the various qualities of Allah take form to create compositional meanings.

And last but not least, the third station is the ascension towards Allah through ‘Death before dying’ (mutu kable en temutu). 

It is not possible to experience ‘death before dying’ prior to grasping the mechanics of creation!

First you must unite with your Rabb, then the observation of the meanings of the divine laws will take place, and you will reach the station of the Names, resultantly, you will observe what “Sovereignty” is…

After this, as a result of observing sovereignty, you will become free from the conditions of the names, and will become one with them through death before dying.

This is another way of expressing the state of uniting with Allah… 

[1] Quran 2:35

[2] Quran 17:60

[3] Quran 114:1-3

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