Spring in Vancouver

There are those who are said to *know* God, who we call ‘a’rifeen-billah’ (=those who *know* God). Of course it is not possible to ever *know* God according to Muslim theology, at least not in this realm (what will happen in the next realm Muslim theologians prefer not to talk about as it delves into the area of speculative knowledge. It is preferable to stay within the bounds of logical and revealed knowledge). Because to say one knows means one has encompassed a complete meaning and if something can be encompassed that would logically imply that something has been bounded or a limited. Now if something were bound or limited it would not be completely able, for its ability would be limited. And that whose ability is limited cannot be Divine. Because the definition of Divine naturally implies no limitation. The Divine is not limited or bound in anyway, the power of the Divine is not limited or encompassed by anything. Completely able, the unsustained sustainer of all…the uncaused cause, the Divine is not like the creation, for, in whatever way you like to ponder upon whatever part of the creation, you will come across a limit in it. So we say, the Creator is not like the creation. Things are often ‘known’ by their opposites… so pondering upon the creation gives us a *glimpse* in to the Creator. So when I say *know* I say it with these caveats in place.

The ‘knowledge’ the a’rifeen-billah have is yet only a minutae of knowledge, that too a gift from the Divine, and an atom in comparison to infinity…

So it is said by the a’rifeen-billah that were the human heart to be unveiled to the true nature of Divine beauty, it would burst out of sheer ecstasy! These beautiful spring days in Vancouver, it is easy to understand why it is so said…for surely the beauty we are blessed to witness all around us takes our breath away. If so much can be unveiled in such a short time that is so breathtaking, then who can even imagine the Divine, who is ‘Al-Jamal’!

Al-Jamal means ‘The Beautiful’, it is one of the *names* or attributes of God, and the attributes of Allah (=God, Allah is preferred by Muslims to use as a term as it is devoid of gender-connotations, exalted be God from such) are of the same nature as Allah’s essence – meaning they are unlimited and unsustained but sustain all. So then imagine that Beauty! The Beautiful! Subhahanallah (=Glory be to God)

20150414_192209

 

20150416_191819

Peace be with you my dear readers, and may you also be blessed to witness great beauty in your lives

The Sustainer – Ar-Razzaq

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you)!

Copyright http://www.joymanifest.com (c) 2012

MashaAllah (by God’s grace) almost a year since I began it, today I finished a painting that is rather special to me. After days and days of carefully controlled hours with not much free time, finally today it was a day of nothing scheduled to do and therefore the luxury of being able to paint. This piece is special because I began it at a time I needed to be reminded that God indeed is in control of everything. It was a time when much I had built my hopes on was falling apart around me, a lot of it due to my own wrong doing or that my own best efforts were not enough. I felt like a bird, adrift over an angry sea, trying to keep my wings held high and keep going without the waves washing over me, trying to ride the storm.
I was reminded of the Albatross, that amazing bird, the true master of the seas… a bird some say once airborne over the oceans does not come back to land for over a year if not many years. And I was reminded of one of the names of God, what we Muslims call the ‘asma-ul-husna’ (the names of beauty or goodness). We say God has 99 names. Actually what is meant by names is more like ‘attribute’. For each of the attributes, God is the ultimate, the absolute sense of it. For example, one of the names is ‘al-wadud’ which means ‘The Love’. So God is THE love, all love come from Him, His love is the purest and truest sense of love. One of the things I love the most about the Asma-ul Husna, is that half are considered names of ‘Majesty’ or ‘Jalal’ and the other half are names of ‘Beauty’ or ‘Jamal’. You can see the first half are essentially masculine in quality and the second half are essentially feminine in quality. To illustrate, ‘Al-Lateef’ meaning ‘The Subtle or near’ would be a name of Jamal (beauty = feminine) while ‘Al-Jabbar’ meaning ‘The Compeller’ would be a name of Jalal (majesty= masculine). Without going in to too much detail, let me end by saying that many Muslims have these 99 names memorized and sing them or chant them as a form of worship or remembrance. We say we must try to live our lives embodying as many of these names as we can and in the best way, not many of us can do all, but it is a good to pick a few we want to focus on building in to our character and manifest that 🙂

The name I was reminded of during my time of difficulty is ‘ar-Razzaq’ meaning ‘The Provider’ or ‘The Sustainer’. We say all provision is from Allah. Indeed it is true, for we cannot create energy. All that we need and we take is already made. The source is the One. And on the less metaphysical but more everyday sense, we say every animal and tree has it’s provision assigned by God. Same for us, whatever we need, has been assigned. There is a beautiful article on this majestic name here. Do read it, It is much more descriptive than I can manage.

So the painting is about that. That for every bird out there in the ocean, each albatross on its solitary journey for miles and miles and months and months, ar-Razzaq, The Provider, is watching over and will sustain and nourish as needed. This reminded me of a beautiful ayah (verse) in the Quran, which mashaAllah I put at the end of the painting. It is ayah 19 of one chapter 67. A chapter that is considered to have many healing properties in its recitation.

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الطَّيْرِ فَوْقَهُمْ صَافَّاتٍ وَيَقْبِضْنَ ۚ مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلَّا الرَّحْمَٰنُ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ بَصِيرٌ
Yusuf Ali Interpretation
Do they not observe the birds above them, spreading their wings and folding them in? None can uphold them except (Allah) Most Gracious: Truly (Allah) Most Gracious: Truly it is He that watches over all things.
Quran (67:19)

I will end with a link of a version of the recitation of the 99 names so you can listen to what it sounds like. And to end as always, to acknowledge that any good in me is from God and God alone.

Peace to all!

Allah Kareem

Allah Kareem, ‘ God is the Most Generous’. Remembering the generosity of our Lord, and inspired by the generosity of a very beautiful sister…one of many beautiful people I am blessed to know. How indeed the qualities of Allah azza wa’jal are manifested by His creation! Imagine then the felicity of acquiring the reflection of even one of them! Allah forgive my sins and be generous with me and with us all!
Peace to you.

ar-Rahman!

MashaAllah just completed this for a dear Auntie… who looked after me through many years of study. Not knowing much English, she’d say ‘eat eat’ as she served a hot plate of food for me when I got home from school/work. Never a requirement, just being generous. Now she is abroad and hopefully she will like this. May it will get to her safe inshaAllah!
How much there is to learn from those giving souls around us. Somehow this gets me to thinking about the immense generosity of our Creator…and indeed all good qualities we have are but a poor reflection of the divine. For example how much an act of pure generosity the creation of flowers is! I can never have my fill of contemplating the beauties of this world, flowers, birds…Subhahanallah the sheer range of colour, texture, shape, fragrance is mind-blowing. And this too by the limits set upon our senses by which we understand them. So God is ar-Rahman. The compassionate, also meaning loving, kind, eternally merciful, nurturing. Taken from the root word ‘r-h-m’ which means ‘womb’, symbolizing all the love, protection, nurturing, care and cherishing that sacred place we all sojourned in holds. Subhahanallah! Glory be to God!
This painting is a pretty poor capturing for all the above. In all truth it can hardly be called anything close to that. But mashaAllah it is done finally (months after doing the background, did the foreground tonight…I think the background was literally done about a year ago?!) and thought to post a picture up here. InshaAllah you will like it.

Allah Kareem! (God is the Generous or God is most generous)

Peace be to all