All that I have said is as nothing compared to what I feel within, the witnessed correspondence of love between God and the Soul; for when God sees the Soul pure as it was in its origins, He tugs at it with a glance, draws it and binds it to Himself with a fiery love that by itself could annihilate the immortal soul. In so acting, God so transforms the soul in Him that it knows nothing other than God; and He continues to draw it up into His fiery love until He restores it to that pure state from which it first issued. As it is being drawn upwards, the soul feels itself melting in the fire of that love of its sweet God, for He will not cease until He has brought the soul to its perfection.
— Catherine of Genoa
“What is ‘love’ at the outset will appear finally as ‘Knowledge’; and what is ‘knowledge’ at the outset will appear finally as ‘Love’.
Perfect Love is ‘luminous’, and perfect knowledge is ‘warm’, or rather it implies ‘warmth’ without being identified with it.”
“The spiritual man of an affective temperament knows God because he loves Him.
The spiritual man of an intellective temperament loves God because he knows Him, and in knowing Him.
The love of the affective man is that he loves God.
The love of the intellective man is that God loves him; that is, he realizes intellectively—not simply in a theoretical way—that God is Love.
The intellective man sees beauty in truth whereas the affective man does not see this a priori. The affective man leans upon truth; the intellective man lives in it.”
“‘God is Light’ (1 John 1:5)—hence Knowledge—even as He is ‘Love’ (1 John 4:8). To love God is also to love the knowledge of God. Man cannot love God in His Essence, which is humanly unknowable, but only in what God ‘makes known’ to him.
In a certain indirect sense God answers knowledge with Love and love with knowledge, although in another respect—in this case direct—God reveals Himself as Wise to the wise and as Lover to the lover.”
“In God Love is Light, and Light is Love. It is irrelevant in this case to object that one divine quality is not another, for here is is not a question of qualities—or ‘names’—but of the divine Essence itself.
God is Love, for by His Essence He is ‘union’ and ‘gift of Self’.”
Source: Frithjof Schuon, Spiritual Perspectives & Human Facts, pp. 158-60
- One who regards pleasure as the highest good believes that the ultimate goal of existence is reward or punishment.
- One who regards service as the highest good, thereby seeing beyond the self with a gaze of sacrifice, knows that the purpose of reward and punishment is for the ultimate goal of God.
- Service is to act freely out of no other desire than that of love for Other.
- Love is a fire that is noble because of its luminosity. The truthful know the flame by its light. The deceitful are burned by its heat.
- “There are two kinds of light: the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.”
- “Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
- “Abide in my love.” (John, 15:9)
Rumi’s poetry is widely considered one of the great masterpieces of Islamic literatures, and Rumi is now the best-selling poet in America. This talk will serve as a deep introduction to Rumi’s masterpiece, by taking the audience inside the main teachings and structure of the Masnavi. No background or language is necessary.
Dr. Omid Safi is a leading public Muslim intellectual in America. He is a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam and the current Chair for the Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study of religion.
Omid is an award-winning teacher and speaker, and was nominated six times at Colgate University for the “Professor of the Year” award, and before that twice at Duke University for the Distinguished Lecturer award. At the University of North Carolina, he received the award for mentoring minority students in 2009, and the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010.
He is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003). His work Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, was published by UNC Press in 2006. His Voices of Islam: Voices of Change, was published by Praeger in 2006. His last book was published by HarperCollins, titled Memories of Muhammad, and deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has a forthcoming volume from Princeton University Press on the famed mystic Rumi. The Carnegie Foundation recognized Omid as a leading Scholar of Islam in 2007-2008 for studying contemporary Islamic debates in Iran. That topic will be the topic of his next book from Harvard University Press. His volume on American Islam is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
This Kaaba of Mine is the Heart of being, and My Throne (the whole universe) is a limited body for this Heart. Neither of them encompasses Me… but My House which does encompass Me is your heart, which is the sought-for Goal (al-maqsûd), deposited in your visible body. So those circling around your heart are the mysteries/secrets (of the divine Names), who resemble your (human) bodies circumambulating these rocks (of the earthly Kaaba)….
So just as one who knows the Secrets—who are circling about the Heart which encompasses Me—is in the loftiest and most resplendent of stations, so you (human beings) have precedence over those (angels) circling the all-encompassing Throne. For you-all are circling the Heart of the Being of the world: you are in the station of the secrets of those who know…. For none but you (human beings) encompass Me, and I have not revealed Myself in the Form of Perfection to any but your inner Realities. So realize the full extent of what I have freely bestowed on you from the supernal Dignity….
You are the receptacle (anta al-inâ’) and I am I (wa anâ anâ). So do not seek Me in yourself, lest you suffer and toil; and do not seek Me outside yourself, or you will have no pleasure. Never stop seeking Me, or you will suffer torment. So do seek Me until you find Me, and then ascend! But follow the right adab (manners) in your seeking, and be ever-present (with Me) as you set out on your way of going….
Source: Ibn Arabi, Al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya (“The Meccan Openings”), Chapter (I, 226-27). Title of this post taken from the same book, Chapter (I, 215).
“To illustrate the multiple structure of the heart, the protective function of each layer, and the need to keep all of them intact, the author (Hakim at-Tirmidhi) suggests several analogies. Here are a few abridged passages culled from this treatise (The Difference Between the Chest, the Heart, the Inner Heart, and the Kernel of the Heart):
The name ‘heart’ is a general name which refers to its inner stations. There are spaces within and without that [which is commonly known as] heart. [In this respect] the name ‘heart’ resembles the name ‘eye’, since ‘eye’ refers to all that is included within the rim of the eyelids: the white of the eye, the black [of the eye], the pupil, and the light in the pupil. What is external is the container for the inner which lies within it.
The name ‘house’ too is general, since it refers to all that is included within its walls: the rooms, the hall, the courtyard surrounding the rooms, the bedchamber, the store-house. Each of these spaces has a specific function which sets it apart from the rest.
The name ‘almond’ too is general. It includes the outer shell which covers the husk, the kernel, and the oil within the kernel.
The author then comments on the esoteric aspect of this layered physiology:
Know that the higher the knowledge, the more concealed, the more gauarded, the more hidden it is. Laymen, however, use the name ‘heart’ to refer to all its inner spaces.
Then the analogies between the heart, the eye, the house, the holy city of Mecca, the lamp, and the almond are drawn in more detail. Here are some of the statements the author makes:
The chest in relation to the heart is like the white of the eye in relation to the eye, or like the courtyard in relation to the house, or like the container of water in relation to the lamp, or like the outer shell in relation to the almond.
The chest (sadr) is the space into which desires and inclinations enter. This is the domain of the lower self (nafs).
The heart (qalb) lies within the chest, and is like the black of the eye within the white of the eye. This is the abode of the light of faith, humility, piety, love, fear, hope, and content.
The inner heart (fu’ad) is the third station. It is like the pupil of the eye within the black of the eye, or like the kernel within the almond. The fu’ad is the place of Divine knowledge and visions. The inner heart is in the center of the heart, just as the heart is in the center of the chest, like a pearl within a shell.
The kernel of the heart (lubb) is like the light of seeing within the eye, like the light of the lamp within the wick, like the oil concealed within the kernel of the almond.
The external parts protect and cover that which lies within them.
Beyond these there are ever-finer stations, loftier spaces, and more exquisite subtleties. The root of all of this is the light of Unity.
Source: Sara Sviri, The Taste of Hidden Things, Chapter 1 “The Niche of Lights”, pp. 6-7