Ramadan and the stations of guidance
Ramadan and ma’qamat alhuda
“Month of Ramadan, in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance unto mankind and clear proofs, of the guidance and of the differentiator (by which to discern the true from the false). 2:185” ….. (3)
Shahru ramadana allathee onzila feehi alquranu hudan lilnnasi wabayyinatin mina alhuda waalfurqani
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ
In these sets of divine words the true dimensions of fasting is revealed to all God’s creation. Such dimensions are manifested, through different ranking of realities which varies according to the intensity of the established connections of all seekers of the Absolute. Seekers of the truth can connect to such realities in accordance to the level of their inner universal consciousness and willingness to draw near to the Beloved.
The divine predisposition guidance “alhidaya alfi’triya” is destined to be revived in the Month of Ramadan because the entire cosmological hidden realities was sent down from the higher realm of the mysterious vicinity of the Beloved to the lower realm of God’s manifested glory of existence; such hidden realities are represented by His final words of the Quran.
This divine predisposition guidance “alhidaya alfi’triya” is also destined to be enabled in establishing a real connection, with the ideal principles of the cosmos, which is offered to all mankind in its purest form during the days of Ramadan, and it is presented in a basket of love to all God’s creation, as it is beautifully stated in the following words of love from the Beloved:
“Month of Ramadhan, in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance unto mankind”
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ
Shahru ramadana allathee onzila feehi alquranu hudan lilnnasi 2:185
It is only through this month the Beloved is offering His mercy and love to all mankind in the most merciful way unmatched with any other months or days. But this special offered mercy and love, from the depths of the hidden worlds of realities of everything “’alam almalakoot”, is attainable and awarded to us only if we present ourselves alone to be with the Alone; in entering His divine vicinity “ladunhi” by taking off our garment of ego and all of the corporeal veils of false realities of this world and to put on the garment of ta’qwa-the garment of the cosmological love; the garment of the universal consciousness, for it is the best garment which possess the mystical secrets to the state of ecstasy of the soul. The Beloved have given this divine gift, the garment of ta’qwa, to Man upon his creation, as a symbol of love and of remembrance of the Beloved, as He stated in His diary of love, in 7:26:
“..the garment of ta’qwa is the best of all … 7:26”
walibasu alttaqwa thalika khayrun
وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىَ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ 7:26
This divine garment is sublime and it is within the core of man “fee lubbihi” and it is for him to acquire this gift through spiritual rehabilitation “mu’hasaba” and constant reproach “mura’qaba“
We are required, in the month of Ramadan, to leave every worldly definition during a limited segment of time; from sunrise to sunset. In other words, such type of fasting is constraint between two points of time. This limited soul rehabilitation process that is fasting, is designed to ultimately enable the soul to acquire a higher level of spiritual type of fasting; that is fasting of the soul, without being constraint by two points of time rather such higher level of fasting is performed in a constant value of time or in reference to only one point of time that is only the divine Sunrise of the beloved within the heart of a truth seeker.
Seekers of the truth are invited to explore the mysterious codes of love from the Beloved which is embedded in the alphabets of the Quran. But through this month, the Beloved makes it possible for the hearts of His lovers to unravel these codes of love and to connect with the realities of such codes. The beloved enables their pure conscious or pure fi’tra to realize itself and to look at itself from within where realities are in the purest forms. According to our Holy prophet’s hadeeth, in this Month the gates of God’s mercy are opened. In other words the realms of God’s mercy are manifested to the hearts of His lovers. This special mercy is being shed upon all of God’s creation in accordance to everyone’s acquired ranking of knowledge, should they attempt to seek Him through merging and connecting to the realities of His manifestations of existence- “alwujood”.
In this month of Ramadan, where evil doings, sins, mishaps of Man are given the chance to be annihilated by the burning fire of His presence and be purged by the divine winds of His mercy, as the word “Ramadan” implies (1) in the Arabic. Also such bad deeds are burned away by His command and the inner soul of man is offered a new beginning. This is a true representation of the first station of guidance- alma’qam al’awwal.
The manifestations of this, first station of-alma’qam al’awwal, guidance has shed its beauty and benefits to all mankind since the divine revelation of the holy Quran, and the wisdom and divine knowledge of the holy prophet of Islam. Such divine knowledge has been sent down from the Absolute as guidance to all mankind in the Month of Ramadan, as it is stated in this verse:
“..the Qur’an was sent down as guidance unto mankind ..”2:185
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ
And this divine knowledge is everlasting and accessible to all truth seekers. And the gates to this divine knowledge are wide open during the Month of Ramadan. So during the Month of Ramadan the beloved truly facilitate to all of His creatures in establishing a real connection to the true realities of existence and to have an easy access to His divine knowledge and not through climbing mountains of difficulties; as He clearly announced His gesture and His desire to mankind in enjoying His divine reservoir of knowledge, as He states in 2:185:“Allah wants the easiness for you and He does not want the uneasiness. yureedu Allahu bikumu alyusra wala yureedu bikumu alAAusra
يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
And that is how we could relate to the general guidance; the first station-alma’qam al’awwal, which was revealed through the Quran to mankind. And in realizing such sublime hidden realities of the Quran and connection to the universal guidance of God’s word, then this station will lead to deeper station of reality represented by the “clear proofs-bayyinat” of two divine definitions of the ultimate guidance “alhuda” of which Allah the most high refer to it 2:185 which may represent the next or the second station-alma’qam althani, of His divine realms of glory. Such realms are buried within man’s Nafs which they will become clear and manifest to God’s true seekers. As it is stated in 2:185“and clear proofs-wabayyinatin, of the guidance-mina alhuda and of the divine differentiator-waalfurqani ( by which to discern the true from the false)”-2:185
وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ
wabayyinatin mina alhuda waalfur’qani
Looking into this part of the verse it may appear that there is a repetition of the first part of the same verse through the Arabic text. For the word “huda-guidance” was mentioned twice. The first time mentioned as “huda” without the article “al or the” as in “as guidance unto mankind” and the second time is mention as “alhuda” with the article “the” as in the second part of the verse, as in “and clear proofs of the ultimate guidance”. But looking deeply into this verse we find that this is not a repetition, God forbid, rather it represent the glory of God’s words and its authenticity and the truthfulness of our beloved prophet. This follows that the first reference of “huda-guidance” is in relationship to all mankind as it is clearly indicated in the first part of the verse “guidance unto mankind” where as the second reference as “alhuda-the ultimate guidance” is in relationship to a specific group of people who have attained the first ranking of realities of guidance and have understood the true meaning of this universal guidance to all mankind.
In this higher station of reality, the second station of guidance, the heart is able to feel and sense the divine station of the Beloved and it develops a longing to the Ultimate reality of the cosmos. According to Ibn ‘arabi, great Sufi master, the Nafs’ or souls of the true seekers of the truth get burned by the divine light –noor of the Beloved (2) during the days of Ramadan.
So in this station of reality the heart is awarded two true sets of divine principles which ultimately would lead it to the realm of transcendent Reality of the cosmos. Those sets of principles or clear proofs are referred to in the above Quranic segment of 2:185 as follows:
1- Clear proofs of the Absolute guidance- wabayyinatin mina alhuda
2- Clear proofs of the divine differentiator-alfur’qan (by which to discern the true from the false)
Accordingly, as in the first set of principles, the heart is given a divine sight “ba’sira” by which the divine signs towards the Beloved are very clear and perceived as such in its true form. Such clear evidence and proofs “bayyinat” of the Absolute guidance “wabayyinatin mina alhuda” towards God are so pure and immutable-thabita so that only the pure aspect of the heart, of the Nafs, that is the aspect of “ta’qwa-piety” is present or active where as the immoral aspect of the heart, of the Nafs, that is the aspect of “fujoor” is inactive and poses no challenge in this divine journey, for in this pure station of self-realization the pure conscience is able to sever its accidental relationship to the false realities of the corporeal world, for it is being led by those clear proofs “bayyinat” in its purest form.
And as for the second sets of principles which is awarded to the heart in the second inner definition of the Absolute guidance “alhuda” the heart, through its given “ba’sira” is enabled to truly discern the truth from falsehood of which is called in this verse as “alfur’qan” or “the differentiator” . Such ability or divine differentiator is capable in recognizing all the true definitions of the ultimate truth from that of the false definitions of the truth which is perceived by man’s distorted vision of the world. Ultimately, this stage represents the Nafs’ attainment of the highest station of the ultimate truth that is the station of the certitude truth- ‘ha’qq-ul-ya’qeen”
So those two transcendent inner definitions of the Absolute guidance are parallel to each other and they are two divine notions of the same definition. And they necessarily accompany the inner reality of the truth’s seeker towards the pleasure of the Absolute, for those two divine inner definitions are another representation of the “straight path” or “al’sira’tulmusta’qeem”
May Allah guide us to such path.
Photo credit: sakkal design
(1) According to Zamakhshari; Ramadhan literally means to burn and its root word is “ram’th” which means very hot and burning. It is derived from “ram’tha’a” which is reference to the scorching heat of desert or very dry and hot desert.
(2) Ibn ‘arabi, great Sufi master, 1165-1240
(3) This translation was produced from collaborating Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Assad English translations to render it closer to its original form of Arabic. Please refer to these translations for comparison.