Category Archives: Ibn Arabi

Saint Gregory dari Nyssa: Sebuah paparan Edward Hallinan

Paparan ini pertama kali saya dengar ketika dibacakan oleh penulisnya, Edward Hallinan, saat saya mengikuti program enam bulan pertama di Beshara School, Skotlandia. Dari awal dibacakan hingga akhir, saya luruh.

Edward membawakan paparan tersebut layaknya seorang pecinta yang tengah membacakan surat cinta tentang dan untuk sang kekasih, dengan segala keberadaan dan kerinduan yang teramat sangat.

Hingga sekarang pun, setiap saya merindu untuk bisa ‘mendengar’, saya memutar ulang rekaman paparan tersebut.

Sekitar satu minggu yang lalu, saya tergerak untuk menerjemahkan paparan yang demikian indah ini. Entah kenapa dan entah dari mana ide tersebut muncul. Mungkin bukan saat dan tempatnya bagi saya bertanya kenapa. Rasanya ada pesan yang ingin, perlu, dan mendesak untuk didengar — oleh saya; oleh kita semua.

Tentu, apa yang saya tulis ini masih bisa terus disempurnakan.

Semoga dapat didengar dan dinikmati sebagaimana mestinya.


185840_10150977689717379_360543478_n-1I have been supporting Nila Tanzil Petersen in her amazing initiative to set up community libraries in the remote areas in eastern Indonesia, named, Rainbow Reading Garden (Taman Bacaan Pelangi) since its inception.

But it wasn’t until two years ago, when I went with her and another friend, Metta, to Flores to visit the libraries, that I realised what she was doing. The one in this picture is the library about an hour from Labuan Bajo town, which is an hour by smaller plane from Bali.
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A place of repose – I am here

Poem from the chapter on
‘The Wisdom of Elevation and Prophecy in the Word of Jesus’
From Ibn ‘Arabi’s Fusus al-hikam

As for the spiritual bringing to life through knowledge, this is luminous, sublime, eternal, divine life about which God said, “Or whoever was dead and we brought him to life and we made for him a light with which he walks among the people”( Q. 6:122). Anyone who revives a dead soul through the life of knowledge, with regard to a particular question relating to the knowledge of God, has brought him to life by it, so it is for him a light with which he walks among the people, that is among those resembling him in form.
Were it not for Him and were it not for us
that which is would not have been.
We are truly servants
and God is our master;
And we are the same as Him. Know this
when you say ‘human being’
And do not be veiled by human being.
He has given you proof,
So be the Real ( haqq) and be creation (khalq)!
You will be, through God, All-compassionate.
Nourish His creation through Him,
You will be a “refreshing repose and reviving scent.” (Q.56:89)
We give Him that by which He appears in us,
and He gives to us.
The affair becomes shared
between Him and us.
He gives life to the one who knows my heart
when He gives us life.
In Him, we were beings
and potentialities and moments.
In us, it is not always so,
but only so at times.

Translated from the Arabic by Cecilia Twinch

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The Knowledge of the feet

20140207-130406.jpgHave you ever looked back in life and been in awe of how you’ve gotten to where you are? Isn’t it amazing how life turns out to be how it is? We wonder how we can meet so and so, arrive at certain places, and end up doing such and such.

We call it by numerous names: Luck, intuition, gifts, chances, blessings, serendipities, coincidences, etc. But I’d like to think that life is what it is meant to be. There is something that has purposefully led us to be where we are.

Recently, I was told, it is our feet.
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Fasting: an exercise of non-action

[Bahasa Indonesia]

One question I had before the first day of Ramadhan this year was: what does the word mean, Ramadhan? Well, other questions followed: Why do we (read: I) fast during Ramadhan? What is the meaning behind the fast? So I started to Google.

Understandably, there were a lot of hits on the word. Too complicated. Rather puzzling, I must admit. I read on. Let what sink in me sinks.

And what sinks was the word “fast” itself. The Arabic word for “fasting” is siyam, which means, to leave something or to avoid it. The obvious was abstinence of appetite (eating and drinking) and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk.

A second level, the fasting for the select few, as Al Ghazzali puts it, is that of keeping the ears, eyes, tongue, hands, feet, together with all the other sense free from sin. (“sin”, now that’s another interesting word to contemplate on.)

Even ‘higher’, is the fast of the elite, which is the fast of the heart from bad thoughts, worldly worries and anything else that may divert from anything but thoughts of Allah.

At this point, I thought, “wow, now how do I do that?” An ironic question, as the answer seems to be the exact opposite: The reality of fasting, according to Ibn ‘Arabi, is non-action, rather than action. It consists of abandoning things that break it. I suppose the word “siyam” gives the obvious clue: to refrain.

That is a word that has been so attractive to me for some time: to refrain. Perhaps because I have been moving so much most of my life. And I feel that somehow there is a better way. Non-action is far more attractive to me than action. Not in a lethargic sense, but more on a stillness meaning, to simply be and to allow whatever wants to arise arises. To me, this means allowing Him to express Himself fully through me and through things around me. To fill this heart with the Light of God.

How wonderful it would be if we (read: I) could achieve this: To empty our heart from other than Him. And that is the only thing we need to do: to refrain, to empty ourselves. To refrain from everything that may divert our focus from Him. When it is empty, then God obliges Himself to fill our heart with Light.

And when that happens … I bet you, one cannot help but being grateful and praise Him (whoever Him means to you).

No wonder the Koran gives such a high value to fasting in Ramadhan, the month when the Koran was first brought down to the Prophet Muhammad as “guidance for all” (QS 2:185) and that fasting may raise our spirituality, bring us ‘closer to God’ (here’s another contemplation, what does “closer” mean?)

I am a long way from there. But I do find what Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani says about this refraining exercise as practical tip, “Everything except Allah Almighty and His Pleasure must be put out of your heart. Every time you are by yourself, you can look into your heart to see if you are with your Lord or with someone or something else.”

It is indeed a good tip/exercise, every time I look into my heart, what do I find there?

All of my notes are more my notes for myself. And this one is no different. It is a beautiful reminder and invitation for me. As Bulent Rauf, the consultant of Beshara School, put it, an honest appraisal of self, which will lead to humility and realization of our place in this world and how to be.

To find that place in the middle and stay there, stay very still. To return.

Picture was taken from here.