Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Station of no-station

Wisdom of Prophet Muhammad, Peace be Upon Him, according to Ibn Arabi

Is it possible to discover a point of view that comprehends the truth in all points of view? Is it possible to state one’s “worldview” or vision that could resist any conceivable criticism or deconstruction? To these questions there is a positive answer. And that is a vision that unconditionally submits to Truth or totality of all truths, a vision of radical innocence that is open to all experience, a humility to qualify all one’s assertions or claims of access regarding anything including such ideals as Beauty, Truth, Justice and Goodness or revelations of Being or pursuit of Perfection and thus not claim absoluteness for any immanent thing or idea. And one who embodies the great Station that is not a particular station or ideological viewpoint and thus embraces the reality or truth of all stations,  is Muhammad (SAW). This is how “the Greatest Master” – as he is called by a vast majority of Ulama and Saints – presents the “supremely successful person” of secular-cum-spiritual history. Let us meditate a passage from Ibn Arabi’s Naqsh al-Fusûs that sums up contents of larger work Fusûs -al-Hikm, in Chittick’s translation:
  • “God does not become determined for him according to …various fields of knowledge, modes of perception, beliefs, visions, traditions or descriptions, because of his awareness of the Majesty of God and of the fact that He is not limited to all or any of these things…. He has shown them that He encompasses them from all of their hidden and manifest directions and that He reveals Himself to them in them, not in any one thing, direction, name or level. So they enter the Trackless Desert in His contemplation, and their bewilderment is from Him, through Him and in Him.”
      For Ibn ‘Arabî , Muhammedan is, as one Ibn Arabi scholar puts it,
  • “not a designation of a particular historical community but the very name of universality and perfection. It is the name of a station, theoretically available to everyone, attainable to the select few who travel on and on, perfectly realizing all stations until he arrives at the station of no station in which one has nothing of one’s own and therefore mirrors the Real most perfectly and is not defined by any particular divine name or attribute but brings together all standpoints or stations.” 
      Can we ever say we have seen enough of beauty, now no more? Can we ever assert we are perfectly good and need no more movement towards the Good? Imagine a person whom nothing can satisfy, whom no belief binds, who is perfectly open to experience, who has nothing to fear, no anxiety to reach to apprehension of losing. Move on and keep deconstructing any signpost or ideology or interpretation or form offered as an absolute and then we can have some idea of the grandeur and comprehensiveness of the Muhammedan Station of no-station.
      Imitating the Prophet (SAW) whom he primarily conceives in metaphysical terms is the way to perfection and “an ideal of inclusion rather than exclusion, an ideal of integral culture, not an attitude of purity in peril, not xenophobia disguised as piety, not totalitarianism, not reaction.”  Itibayi sunnat, in this sense, isn’t known by those who can’t connect jurisprudence to ontology or metaphysics.
      All endeavours are for realizing the station of Muhammad (SAW), all seeking is seeking of Muhammad (SAW), all roads lead to the abode of Muhammad (SAW) as we find, in all cases, ceaseless movement for reaching the unreachable Beyond rather than some resting place. Deep down, we are  never satisfied with any given state or achievement or object though, as frail  creatures, we are often content with our little seeking and adventures and familiar relations. Muhammad (SAW) is the life and fire in every experience as all experience requires the Light of Muhammad (SAW) as an ontological ground. For those who can see, it is Muhammad’s (SAW) flag everywhere. Great na’t such as Iqbal’s na’t (“Nigahe ishq-o masti main wahi awwal, wahi  aakhir” or Zoaq-o-Shoaq etc.) is best understood in light of Ibn Arabi’s understanding of the phenomenon of Muhammad (SAW).
      Muhammedan saints give “each created thing exactly what is due to it on the basis of seeing it as a unique self-disclosure (tajallî) of the absolute Haqq.” For Ibn Arabi a Muhammedan is one who realizes the perfections of all the prophets (these perfections can’t be enumerated as their archetypes number 124000, in keeping with the number of prophets from the time of Adam) – an ideal worthy of emulating for every man and who can assert that he is truly a Muhammedan and who can be more inclusivist than a Muhammedan in this sense? The highest station of no-station demands disengaging oneself from all qualities, bonds, limitations, and constrictions and standing Non-delimited Wujūd i.e., to be absolutely open to the Real with no imposition or will of one’s own. Ibn ‘Arabî thus demands nothing less than Universal Compassion and encountering the other with infinite humility and care – an ideal which Levinas attempts to appropriate.
      It is in light of the Muhammedan Station of no-station that one can critique all Fascistic, Totalitarian or Fundamentalist or Class/Gender/Identity centric exclusivist ideological projects that claim access to absolute truth or privileged position. As beliefs limit or circumscribe the Formless Freedom that constitutes the Heaven/Void we finally seek, a perfect man needs to transcend all beliefs according to Ibn Arabi. This also follows from recognizing the implications of Divine Majesty – ceaselessly move on, go on wondering and questioning. Those who reduce Islam to a creedal system or a religion among other religions (for Ibn Arabi Islam is not an ideology but submission to Truth – The Real  – that has infinite faces denoted by potentially infinite Names and Attributes grounding all possibilities that constitute the world/life) or reduce Muhammad (SAW) to a postman  (for the Master the Quran is the Prophet’s self) or fail to understand the significance of the Prophet’s love of such “worldly” things as women and perfume (along with prayer) according to the tradition he comments upon in this chapter need to read Ibn Arabi in whom we find such profundity that the likes of Heidegger and Derrida and modern sages from various cultures could only stand in deep awe. Ours is indeed turning out to be an the age of Ibn Arabi who is being rediscovered everywhere for articulating the vision of Love and Justice that can’t be deconstructed. This vision would require not resting content with any given form of these ideals. It is perpetual cautioning against absolutization of humanly interpreted or conceived ideas or posing as God’s spokespersons. When you see anyone too anxious to label, judge and exclude in any name, on any pretext, impatient to live in uncertainties and aspiring to impose his view on others, recall the understanding of bewilderment according to Ibn Arabi and seek to question. All men are united in their adoration for beauty, in their thirst for joy and love, in their endeavour to pursue perfection or the Good and respect for truth; they aren’t and can’t be united in any particular formulation of these ideals because the highest station we all seek is no particular station. We can afford to lose ourselves or break free in bewilderment or hairah  (because Being can never cease to intoxicate or we can never finish see it lifting all its veils) and not in any object “…terae samnae aasman aur bi haen.” It is on the Muhammedan axis of wonder that philosophy, science, mysticism and faith meet. Wonder implies eternal youth and freshness of life Milad is all about.
http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/opinion/story/205039.html

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