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A Call to Honesty

Alive, in reality, are those who live with God!

وَلَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا لِمَنۡ يُّقۡتَلُ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ اَمۡوَاتٌ ؕ بَلۡ اَحۡيَآءٌ وَّلٰـكِنۡ لَّا تَشۡعُرُوۡنَ‏ 

Say not of those who are slain in the path of God, “They are dead.” No, they are alive, but you are unaware. (2:154)

The life of this world has left them behind, but they have reached endless life. What have they lost by being released from this world’s abasement? They have reached union with the exaltedness of the Patron.

If I die, don’t say about me, “He’s dead.” Say, “The dead man came to life in the Friend who took him.”

Alive is the one who lives through Him, not through the spirit. Whoever comes to life in the Friend lives forever.

“O Lord, if someone is occupied with You, how could his occupa­tion come to an end? When someone lives through You, how could he ever die? If the spirit in the body is deprived of You, it is like an imprisoned corpse. Alive, in reality, is he who lives with You. God’s praise is on that slain concerning whom the King says that they are alive.”

No, they are alive, but you are unaware. The cloak of awe is on the shoulders of their exalted­ness, the shadow of the Tremendous Throne is their resting-place of closeness, and the Presence of the Real’s majesty is the place of their spirit’s repose, in a seat of truthfulness, at an Omnipotent King [54:55].

2:155 And We will indeed try you with something of fear and hunger, and decrease of wealth, souls, and fruits; and give good news to the patient.

The custom of the Lord is that whenever He threatens the servant and shows harshness in a verse, then, right after that or before it, He caresses the servant and gives him hope. Thus, in this verse, He breaks the servant by mentioning those harsh things and varieties of trial. Then He gives good news, He caresses, and He says, “and give good news to the patient.” And, at the beginning of these verses, He says, “Surely God is with the patient” [2:153]. Glory be to Him! How gentle and how merciful He is to His servants!

And We will indeed try you. He says, “We will test you, sometimes with fear, sometimes with dread, sometimes with poverty, sometimes with hunger, sometimes with outward affliction, sometimes with inward sorrow.” The outward trial and evident affliction are in fact easy work, for sometimes they are there and sometimes not, like the trial of Abraham and the trial of Job. The complete trial is inward sorrow, which does not leave its place for a moment. When someone is closer, more worthy of friendship, and more suitable for union, his sorrow is more. Such was Muṣṭafā’s sorrow. He had no capacity for it on the highest horizon, nor did he have any rest from it on the expanse of the earth. He was like a moth before a lamp: It does not have the capacity to stay with the lamp, nor the remedy of staying away from the lamp. With the tongue of his state, he was saying,

“Yes, everyone who seeks union with Me and wants proximity with Me has no escape from taking on the burden of tribulation and tasting the drink of sorrow.”

Āsiya, the wife of Pharaoh, sought for the Real’s neighborhood and asked for His proximity. She said, “My Lord, build for me a house with Thee in the Garden [66:11].”

“Yes, it is beautiful, but its price is very expensive. Everything is sold for gold and silver, but this is sold for spirit and heart.”

Āsiya said, “That’s nothing to fear. And if its price were a thousand spirits instead of one, there would be no holding back.”

Bishr Ḥāfī said, “I was passing through the bazaar in Baghdad. They were whipping someone with one thousand strokes, but he did not let out a sigh. Then they took him to prison. I went in his tracks and asked him, ‘Why all those blows?’ He said, ‘Because I am entranced by passion.’

“I said, ‘Why did you not weep so that they might lighten them?’ He said, ‘Because my beloved was watching. I was so drowned in the contemplation of my beloved that I had no concern for weeping.’

“I said, ‘If you had been gazing on the Greatest Beloved, how would that have been?’ He cried out once, then he died.”

Yes, when passion is truly there, the trial takes on the color of blessing. This is great good fortune: the beauty of the Beloved gives you access to itself so that in contemplating Him, you will take all severity as gentleness. But,

Not just any piece of straw comes near You— to suffer grief for You it needs a man.

And your God is one God. There is no god but He, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said “The soul of martyrs lives in the bodies of green birds who have their nests in chandeliers hung from the throne of the Almighty. They eat the fruits of Paradise from wherever they like.”

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