Thursday, December 1, 2022

Envisage Your Supreme Being As Boundless Compassion; Don't Personify Him

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 1 December 2022 This I read years ago but the impact is still verdant and intact: My religious life has been taken over by professionals. To learn to pray, I need a Spiritual Director; to find god's will for me, I consult an Expert in Discernment; to understand the Bible, I consult a Scripture Scholar; to know if I've sinned or not, I need the Moral Theologian; and to have my sins forgiven, I kneel before the Priest. A native king in the South Sea Islands was hosting a banquet for a distinguished Western guest. When the time came to praise the guest, His Majesty remained seated on the floor while a professional orator, engaged for the occasion, eulogized the visitor. After the panegyric, the guest stood up to speak. His Majesty gently held him back. " No, no," he said, " I've hired an orator for you too. In our island, we don't leave public speaking to amateurs." I wonder, would god appreciate it if I became more amateur in my relationship with him? Namazein Padheen, Roze Rakhe, Darta Raha Khuda Se Main Kaash Ke Ibadat Mein Meri Zara Betakallufi Hoti (I offered Namaz, observed Rozas and remained fearful of Khuda / Wish I were a tad less formal with him). Urdu poet Nooh Narvi's lamentation is indeed very honest and almost everyone's rueful acceptance towards the fag-end of life. Our rapport with the god is usually that of a slave and his master. A slave is forever flattened before his draconian master. But your god/Allah or Bhagwan is not a martinet. "Khuda Se Bhi Chuhal Karna Seekh" (Learn to banter with god). A famous Misra (line) penned by Urdu poet Naubatrai 'Nazar' comes to mind. Intimacy dwindles and finally disappears when a relation becomes too professional. In Bhakti Marg of Hinduism and Mysticism of Islam, the bond with the Supreme Being is not just friendly, it's brotherly (Sakhya Bhaav). There's not much place for unnecessary scruples and qualms. Rumi's Allah says, " Your one rose of pure love for the beloved is more than the whole garden you try to offer without being able to afford. " Let your prayers be untimely, even unstructured. Let your worship be erratic, even flippant. Don't worry, because god knows your intent. If there's any god and if at all there's this imaginary, Last Day of Judgement, rest assured, your god or Allah will not ask how many times did you offer Namaz on earth? He'll ask you, " Did you do things according to your conscience? " Because, to quote Allama Iqbal, " Apne Man Mein Doob Kar Paa Ja Suraagh-e-Zindagi / Tu Agar Mera Nahin Banta, Na Ban, Apna Toh Ban " (Dive into the depths of your heart and find the key to existence / I've no problem If you cannot be mine, at least, be true to yourself). Envisage your Supreme Being as boundless compassion and don't personify him / it as Daavar-e-Hashra (The judge on the Last Day). ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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