Rafed English

A Commentary on the Hamd Surah - Part 14

An illuminative notice

The point of changing from the third person to the second has become clear from the statements of this thesis. Although in itself it is one of the ornaments of speech and the characteristics of rhetoric, frequently seen in the speeches of the eloquent orators, and is a decoration to the speeches, and, at the same time, by changing from one mood to another, one removes the addressee’s boredom and gives a fresh vividness to his spirit, yet, as the salat is the ascension for reaching the presence of Holiness, and the ladder to the state of intimacy, this noble Surah gives the order to start the spiritual ascension and the Gnostic journey. The servant, at the beginning of the travel to Allah, is imprisoned and wrapped in the dark veils of the world of nature and in the luminous ones of the invisible world, while the travel to Allah is getting out of these veils by the steps of spiritual conduct. Actually, migration of Allah is turning away from the house of self and from the house of creation to Allah, leaving multiplicities, rejecting the dust of otherness and attaining the Unities. It is absence from creation and presence before the Lord. When in the noble verse “Owner of the Day of Judgment”‌ he finds that multiplicity disappears under the shining light of the Ownership  and  Omnipotence,  he  experiences  a  state  of effacement from multiplicity and being present before Allah, the Exalted,  and,  by  personally  conversing  and  witnessing  the Beauty and Majesty, he offers himself to servitude, and present his quest for Allah and his piety to the Sacred Presence and the meeting of intimacy.

The fact that the pronoun iyyaka is used for this purpose is because this pronoun returns to the Essence in which multiplicity is vanished. So, the salik in this situation may have a mood of Unity of Essence, turning away from the multiplicity of names and attributes, and the heart turns towards the Essence that is free from the veils of multiplicity.

 This is the perfect monotheism which was referred to by the Imam of the monotheists, the head of the Gnostics, the leader of the lovers, the pioneer of the attracted and the beloved, Amir al-Mu’minin [‘Ali], may Allah bless him and his infallible offspring, who said: “The perfect monotheism is the negation of ascribing to Him”‌1 as an attribute denotes otherness and plurality, while this inclination, though to the plurality of Names, is far from the secrets of monotheism and the facts of abstraction. Thus, probably, the secret of Adam’s sin was inclination towards the plurality of Names, which was the spirit of the forbidden tree.

A gnostic inquiry

Be informed that the literalists show some opinions in respect of “na‘budu”‌ (we worship) and “nasta‘in”‌ (we seek help), concerning their being in the first person plural number, whereas the speaker is actually a single person.

They say that, in this connection, a lawful trick has occurred to the worshipper in order to have his worship accepted by Allah, the Exalted. By using a plural pronoun he places his worship among the worshipping of other creatures, among whom, of course, are the perfect ones of Allah’s friends whose is accepted by Allah, the Exalted, and presents it to the threshold of Holiness and the Court of Mercy, making sure that his worship will, implicitly, be accepted, since it is not of the custom of the Generous to discriminate in the deal.

They  also  say  that  as  the  salat  was  imposed  first  in congregation, so it came in the plural.

Talking about the general secret of the adhan and the iqamah we stated a point from which this secret can be recognized to some extent. That is, the adhan is proclaiming that the visible and invisible powers of the salik are ready to be present in His Presence, and the iqamah is to have them stand upright before Him. When the salik prepared his visible and invisible powers to be present in the Presence, and the heart, which is their leader, stood upright as their Imam, then the slat has been started and: The believer alone is a congregation.”‌1 So, “na‘budu, nasta‘in and ihdina”‌ (“We worship,”‌ “we seek help”‌ and “guide us”‌), all would be performed by this congregation in the Holy Presence. In the narrations and the invocations of the pure infallible Ahl al-Bayt (A.S) who are the source of gnosticism and divine vision, there is a reference to this concept.

Another opinion which occurs to the writer is that the salik regards all the praises and thanks from every praiser and thanker, in the visible and invisible worlds, to be exclusively confined to the Holy Essence of Allah. It is also clearly proved in the proofs of the Imams of proofs, and in the hearts of the Gnostics that all the beings in the circle of the existence””wordly and heavenly, big and small” have the life of sensibility and understanding of animalism, or rather of humanity, and they praise and glorify Allah, the Exalted, rationally and consciously. It is fixed in the nature of all beings, the human species in particular, to submit to the Holy Presence of the Perfect and the Absolute Beautiful, and their foreheads are on the dust of His Holy Threshold, as is stated in the Glorious Qur’an: “… and there is not a single thing but glorifies Him, but you do not understand their glorification.”‌ Other noble verse, and narratives of the infallibles, which are full of this divine grace, support this fixed judging proof. So, if the traveler to Allah could find this truth through argumentative reasoning, faithful taste or Gnostic vision, he would realize, whatever position he is in, that all particles of the existence and the dwellers of the invisible and visible worlds, worship the Absolute Worshipped and seek their Creator. Thus, the plural form [of the pronoun] is used because all beings, in all their movements and stillness, worship the Sacred Essence of Allah, the Exalted, and seek His help.

A notice and a point

Know that the reason for giving priority to iyyaka na‘budu over iyyaka nasta‘in” despite the usual custom that seeking help for worship comes before worship””is that “worship”‌ is prior to “seeking help,”‌ not to “helping.”‌ Sometimes “helping”‌ happens without “seeking help.”‌ Also they say that, as these two are related to each other, advancing or retarding can make no difference, as it is said: “You did observe my due, so, you did me good.”‌ Or “You did me good, so you did observe my due.”‌ Furthermore, seeking help is for future worship, not for present worship. The dullness of these opinions is not concealed from the people of taste.

Maybe the point is that confining “seeking help”‌ to Allah, the Exalted, comes, according to the state of the travel to Allah, later than confining “worship”‌ to Him. It is quite obvious that a good  number  of  the  monotheists  in  worship,  who  confine “worship”‌ to Allah, are polytheists in “seeking help”‌ and do not confine it to Allah, as we have already quoted some exegetes who believe that confining “seeking help”‌ to Allah is not real. So, confining “worship”‌ to Allah, in its conventional concept, is of the first states of the monotheists, and con fining “seeking help”‌ is an absolute rejection of other than Allah. It should not be hidden, however, that “seeking help”‌ does not mean to “seek help”‌ only in worshipping, but in all affairs, and this is after rejecting the means and neglecting multiplicities, and completely turning to Allah. In other words, confining “worship”‌ is seeking Allah, wanting Him and giving up turning to other than Him. And confining “seeking help”‌ is seeing Him, and giving up seeing other than Him This “giving up seeing other than Him”‌ comes, according to the station of the Gnostics and the stages of the spiritual wayfarer, later than “giving up seeking other than Him.”‌

A gnostic advantage

O traveling servant, know that confining “worship”‌ and “seeking  help”‌  to  Allah  is  also  not  of  the  states  of  the monotheists and perfect stages of the spiritual wayfarer, because it implies a claim contrary to monotheism and abstraction. They even believe that seeing worship, worshipper, worshipped, help-seeker, the one whose help is sought, and seeking help are contrary to monotheism. In the real monotheism, which appears in the heart of the spiritual wayfarer, such multiplicities vanish, and seeing such affairs is effaced. Yes, those who have come to themselves  from  the  invisible  attraction  and  have  attained sobriety, multiplicity does not form a veil for them, because people are of many groups:

A group consists of the veiled, such as we, the helpless, who are wrapped in the dark veils of nature. Another group consists of the saliks, the travelers to Allah, the emigrants to the Court of Holiness.

A third group consists of the united, who have come out of the veils of multiplicity and have been engaged with Allah, neglecting all creatures and veiled against them, as they have undergone a complete swoon and an absolute annihilation. Another group consists of those who have come back to the creatures, and who have the post of completers and guides, such as the great prophets and their successors (A.S). Although they are among  multiplicity  and  in  charge  of  guiding  the  people, multiplicity does not veil them, but it forms an isthmus-like state for them.

Consequently, “iyyaka na‘budu wa iyyaka nasta‘in”‌ has different  implications  in  respect  of  the  different  groups mentioned above. To us, the veiled, it is a mere allegation and an image. But if we become aware of our veil and recognize our shortcoming, our worship becomes more luminous in proportion to the degree of our awareness of our shortcoming, and becomes, accordingly, accepted by Allah, the Exalted. To the spiritual wayfarer, it is nearer to the truth in proportion to the traveling step. To the united, in respect of seeing Allah, it is the truth, and, in respect of seeing multiplicity, it is a mere image and a customary act. To the perfect ones, it is mere truth, and so, they have veil neither against Allah nor against the creatures.

Adapted from: "A Commentary on the Chapter of ‘Praise’" by: "Ayatullah Khomeini (R.A)"

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