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Cihan Okuyucu
Destiny and Will
29 Haziran 2009 Pazartesi

Destiny and Will

 

 

One who sees not the hand in the writing thinks (that) the act (of writing proceeds) from the pen by means of movement. [Mathnawi Book 1, verse 394]

 

The bird is flying on high, and its shadow is speeding on the earth, flying like a bird:

Some fool begins to chase the shadow, running (after it) so far that he becomes powerless (exhausted),

 

Not knowing that it is the reflexion of that bird in the air, not knowing where is the origin of the shadow. [Mathnawi Book 1,  verses 417-418-419]

 

From reason to causator” (musebbib)

 

The totality of existence (all forms of existence in all parts of the universe) was programmed by its owner. In the universe nothing happens without the Will of Allah, not even a leaf can move without His will. Everything in the universe, the seen and the unseen, is completely subject to the overriding power of Allah. Nothing can happen outside His Will. This providence of Allah about His creations is called “Divine Decree or destiny — qadar in Arabic”. However the eye that catches the light of reason, at first does not see the Divine Will but rather as the leaf flutters in the wind it sees the wind as the probable cause. Action and reaction, cause and effect creates a long chain of reasons. In the world of existence, everything is a reason for another thing. Everything that depends on another thing also depends on the thing that caused it. Thus, everything that comes into being is also brought into being by something else that already exists and creates the regression of causes. In other words, it is in a state where it is a cause yet it is also affected.  Only Janab-i Haqq is absolute (mutlaq) and unbound by a reason. He affects causes, yet He is uneffected by them. Hazrat Mawlana (k.s) explains this situation through the following metaphors:

 

A little bird was hunting a grass-hoper: a hungry falcon (hawk) found its opportunity and seized it. It (the bird) was a devourer and a thing devoured, and (being engrossed) in its hunting was ignorant of another hunter. Although the thief is (engaged) in hunting articles of property, (yet) the prefect of police with (the thief's) enemies is behind him (on his track). His mind is occupied with chattels and lock and door: he is heedless of the prefect and of the outcry (that will arise) at dawn. He is so absorbed in his passion (for gain) he gives no heed to his seekers and pursuers. If the herbage is drinking pure water, (yet) afterwards an animal's belly will feed on it That grass is devouring and devoured: even so (is) everything that exists except God. Since He is (the subject of the text) and He feedeth you and is not fed, God is not devouring and devoured, (like) flesh and skin. How should that which is devouring and devoured be secure from a devourer who dwells in a (secret) hiding-place? The security of those who are (liable to be) devoured brings mourning in its train: go to the Portal of Him who is not fed. Every phantasy is devouring another phantasy: (one) thought feeds on another thought. [Mathnawi Book V verses 719,729] Be not (one of those described in the Verse) before and behind them (We will set) a barrier, so that thou canst not see the enemy, though the enemy is manifest. The greed of hunting makes (one) oblivious of being a prey: he (the hunter) tries to win hearts (though) he has lost his own. [Mathnawi Book 5, verses 751-752]

 

In this long chain of reasons, each and every existence could see the previous existence which propelled them into being but they cannot see the original cause back at the start of the chain. In the following excerpt Hazrat Mawlana (k.s) explains the aforementioned notion in a story about ants:

 

The Mind of the Ants

 

An ant, walking on a piece of paper, saw the pen writing and began to praise the pen. Another ant, which was more keen-sighted, said, “Praise the fingers, for I deem this accomplishment to proceed from them.” Another ant, more clear-sighted than either, said, “I praise the arm, for the fingers are a branch of the arm,” et cetera.  In this fashion it (the argument) was carried upward till a chief of the ants, (who) was a little bit sagacious, said, “Do not regard this accomplishment as proceeding from the (material) form, which becomes unconscious in sleep and death. Form is like a garment or a staff: (bodily) figures do not move except by means of intellect and spirit.” He (the wise ant) was unaware that without the controlling influence of God that intellect and heart (mind) would be inert. If He withdraw His favour from it for a single moment, the acute intellect will commit (many) follies. [Mathnawi Book 4,verses 3721-3729] 

 

Because there is an unseen cause behind each and every action, a person should evaluate those actions with that perspective in mind and therefore show consent:

 

The horse is under the (rider's) thigh, and the rider is seeking the horse. (When asked), “What is this?” he says, “A horse, but where is the horse?” “Eh, is not this a horse under thee, plain to see?” “Yes,” says he, “but who ever saw a horse?” (Mathnawi Book 5,verses 1077-1078) Do not break the arrow, for it is the arrow of a King; it is not shot at long range (at random), it is from the thumb-stall of One who knows (how to hit the target). [Mathnawi Book 2, verse 1305]

 

Everything happens according to the absolute Knowledge (Will) of Allah (Taqdeer)

Besides, in this universe there is a universal order ( nizam-ı khair-ı kulli). Within this order a role is given to everything.  With or without this knowledge we all serve this order. Hazrat Mawlana gives the following examples in regards to this:

The ass that turns the mill is running along: its aim is (to obtain) release, so that it may gain refuge from blows at that moment. Its aim is not to draw some water or thereby (by turning the mill) to make sesame into oil. The ox hurries for fear of (receiving) hard blows, not for the purpose of taking the cart and baggage (to their destination); But God put such fear of pain in him, to the end that good results might be achieved in consequence (of his fear). Similarly, every shopkeeper works for himself, not for the improvement of the world. Every one seeks a plaster for his pain, and in consequence of this a whole world is set in order. God made of fear the pillar (support) of this world: because of fear every one has devoted himself to work. Praise be to God that on this wise He has made a fear to be the architect and (means for the) improvement of the world. [Mathnawi Book 6, verses 2195- 2202]

Hazrat Mawlana (k.s) applies this same logic to the notion of good and evil and comes to the following deduction:

The heavenly artist paints His pictures of two sorts, fair pictures and pictures the reverse of fair. Joseph he painted fair and made him beautiful. He also painted ugly pictures of demons and 'afrits. Both sorts of pictures are of His workmanship. They proceed not from His imperfection but His skill, that the perfection of His wisdom may be shown and the gainsayers of His art be put to shame. Could He not paint ugly things He would lack art, and therefore He creates Guebers as well as Moslems. Thus, both infidelity and faith bear witness to Him. Both alike bow down before His almighty sway. [God the author of good and evil, Mathnawi volume II story X-Bayazid and the Saint- E.H. Whinfield 1898]

 

 

You can't escape your destiny

 

In the following verses, Hazrat Mawlana (k.s) explains with tangible evidence that it is fruitless to try and shelter one's self against their destiny and any efforts to avoid one's destiny will be powerless against Taqdeer (destiny), and so as a result Hz. Mawlana finds comfort in submission to taqdeer.

 

If (all) the atoms of the world contrive expedients, they are naught, naught, against the ordinance of Heaven. How shall this earth flee from Heaven, how shall it conceal itself from it? Whatsoever may come from Heaven to the earth, it (the earth) has no refuge or device or hiding-place. Is fire from the sun raining upon it, it has laid its face (low) before his fire; and if the rain is making a flood upon it and devastating the cities upon it, It (the earth) has become resigned to it (Heaven), like Job, saying, “I am captive: bring (on me) whatever thou wilt.” O thou who art a part of this earth, do not lift up thy head (in rebellion); when thou seest the decree of God, do not withdraw (from it disobediently). Since thou hast heard “We created thee of dust,” (know that) He (God) hath required thee to be (humble and submissive as) dust: do not avert thy face (from Him). [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 447- 454]

 

Now let us summarize the story which shows how useless it is to try to escape from the taqdeer (destiny):

 

 

Command the wind

 

One forenoon a freeborn (noble) man arrived and ran into Solomon's hall of justice,

 

His countenance pale with anguish and both lips blue. Then Solomon said, “Good sir, what is the matter?”

 

He replied, “Azrael cast on me such a look, so full of wrath and hate.”

 

“Come,” said the king, “what (boon) do you desire now? Ask (it)!” “O protector of my life,” said he, “command the wind,

 

To bear me from here to India. Maybe, when thy slave is come thither he will save his life.”

 

Lo, the people are fleeing from poverty: hence are they a mouthful for (a prey to) covetousness and expectation.

 

The fear of poverty is like that (man's) terror: know thou that covetousness and striving are (like) India (in this tale).

 

He (Solomon) commanded the wind to bear him quickly over the water to the uttermost part of India.

 

Next day, at the time of conference and meeting, Solomon said to Azrael:

 

“Didst thou look with anger on that Moslem in order that he might wander (as an exile) far from his home?”

 

Azrael said, “When did I look (on him) angrily? I saw him as I passed by, (and looked at him) in astonishment,

 

For God had commanded me, saying, 'Hark, to-day do thou take his spirit in India.'

 

From wonder I said (to myself), '(Even) if he has a hundred wings, 'tis a far journey for him to be in India (to-day).'”

 

In like manner judge of all the affairs of this world and open your eye and see! [Mathnawi Book 1, verses 956-969]

 

One of the best examples of sheltering one's self against their destiny (Taqdeer) is the story of “Moses and the Pharaoh”. In the following anecdote Hazrat Mawlana (k.s) tells the story of Moses who was under Allah's protection and thus all provisions against him were useless:

 

Moses and the Pharaoh

 

Inasmuch as Pharaoh's toil was unblest (by God), whatsoever he would stitch, that (stitching) was (in effect an act of) ripping asunder. He had a thousand astrologers at his beck, and also a countless multitude of dream-interpreters and magicians. There was shown to him in a dream the coming of Moses, who would destroy Pharaoh and his kingdom. He said to the interpreters and astrologers, “How may (the fulfillment of) the ill-boding phantasm and dream be warded off?” They all said to him, “We will contrive something, we will waylay the birth (of Moses), like brigands.” (They waited) till the night arrived on which the begetting (of Moses) took place;  those Pharaoh's men deemed it advisable, Early on that day, to bring forth the King's banquet and throne towards the maydán (public arena outside of the city), (Proclaiming), “Welcome, O all ye Israelites! The King calls you from that place (where ye are), That he may show unto you his face unveiled, and do kindness unto you for the sake of the (Divine) recompense”; For to those captives there was naught but farness (from Pharaoh's presence):  the sight of Pharaoh was not permitted (to them). [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 840- 849]

 

 “O captives, go ye to the maydán, for there is hope (for you) of seeing (Pharaoh) and (experiencing) munificence from the King of kings.” When the Israelites heard the glad news, they were thirsting and longing exceedingly for that (spectacle). They swallowed the trick and hastened in that direction and made themselves ready for the (promised) unveiling. [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 855-857]

 

The Israelites, then, bestirred themselves mightily, running betimes towards the maydán. When he (Pharaoh) by cunning had brought them into the maydán, he displayed his face to them, looking very fresh (cheerful and gay). He showed fondness and gave presents: that Emperor bestowed both gifts and promises. After that, he said: “For your lives' sake, do ye all sleep in the maydán tonight!” They answered him, saying, “We will do service (to thee): if thou desire, we will dwell here a month.” [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 867- 871]

 

Pharaoh returned from the maydán to the city, glad at having parted the Israelites from their wives on the night of the conception (of Moses).

 

At nightfall the King came back (to the city), rejoicing and saying (to himself), “The conception is to-night, and they are far from their wives.” 'Imrán, his treasurer, also came to the city in attendance upon him as his companion. He said, “O 'Imrán, do thou sleep at this door. Beware! Go not to thy wife or seek to lie with her.”

 

The King departed, and he ('Imrán) slept at the door; at midnight his wife came to see him. [Mathnawi Book 3, verse 879] 'Imrán said, “How didst thou come at this time?” She said, “From desire (of thee) and from the Divine ordinance.” [Mathnawi Book 3, verse 881]. 'Imrán charged his wife to pretend that she had not visited him.   Do not reveal aught of these things, do not breathe a word, lest there come upon me and thee a hundred sorrows. In the end the effects of this will be made manifest, forasmuch as the signs have (already) appeared, O beloved.” [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 887-889]

 

The star of Moses appeared in the sky, to the confusion of Pharaoh and his plots and devices. Day broke: he (Pharaoh) said to him ('Imrán), “O 'Imrán, go, inform thyself concerning that uproar and noise.” 'Imrán rode to the maydán and said, “What uproar was this? The King of kings has not slept.” [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 901-903]

 

Every astrologer, with head bare and garment rent, kissed the earth (before him), like mourners. Their voices were choked with lamentation, like mourners, and their guise (dishevelled). They had plucked out their beards and hair; their faces were torn; they had cast earth on their heads, and their eyes were filled with blood. [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 905-907]. Imrán feigned to be ignorant and pushed forward and addressed to the company (of astrologers) words exceeding rough. He made himself out to be bitterly annoyed and grieved, he played (with) reversed dice. [Mathnawi Book 3,verses 915- 916]

 

The King too heard (how the astrologers excused themselves) and said, “O traitors, I will hang you up without quarter. I exposed myself to derision, I squandered riches on my enemies [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 920-921] Astrologers prostrated themselves and said, “O Khedive, if (this) one time the Devil has prevailed against us, (Yet) for years we have warded off afflictions: the imagination is dumbfounded by that which we have done. (Now) it (the prevention of this calamity) has eluded us, and his conception has occurred: semen ejus exsiliit et in uterum irrepsit; But (we crave) pardon for this, (and) we shall watch the day of birth, O King and Sovereign. We shall observe (by the stars) the day of his nativity, that this event may not escape and evade us. If we do not keep watch for this, kill us, O thou to whose judgement (our) thoughts and intelligence are slaves.” [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 928- 933]

 

After nine months the King brought out his throne to the maydán and made a strict proclamation. “O women, go with your babes to the maydán; go forth, all ye of Israel. Just as last year robes of honour were bestowed on the men, and every one of them bore away gold, Hark, O women, this year it is your fortune, so that each one (of you) may obtain the thing she desires. He will give the women robes of honour and donations; on the children too he will put mitres of gold. Take heed! Every one of you that has borne a child during this month shall receive treasures from the mighty King.” The women went forth with their babes: they came joyfully to the King's tent. Every woman that had newly given birth went forth from the city to the maydán, unsuspicious of guile and vengeance. When all the women were gathered around him, they (the King's officers) took away from the mothers whatever was male, And cut off its head, saying, “This is a precaution, that the (King's) enemy may not grow up and that disorder may not increase.” How Moses was born and how the officers came to 'Imrán's house and how it was divinely revealed to the mother of Moses that she should cast Moses into the fire. 'Imrán's wife herself, who had brought Moses (with her), kept aloof from that turmoil and fume. [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 938-949]

 

Then the officers came: she, by the command of God, cast the child into the stove. From that omniscient One revelation came to the woman that this boy is of the stock of the Friend (of God), (And that) through the protection of (the Divine word), “O fire, be cool,” the fire will not be hot and untamed. In consequence of the revelation the woman cast him amidst the sparks: the fire produced no effect on the body of Moses. [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 952-955]

 

Once more the revelation came: “Throw him into the water; keep thy face in hope and do not tear thy hair. Throw him into the Nile and put trust (in Me): I will bring thee to him happily.” This discourse hath no end. All his (Pharaoh's) plots (only) entangled his (own) legs and feet. He was killing hundreds of thousands of children outside, (whilst) Moses (remained) indoors in the upper part of the house. [Mathnawi Book 3, verses 959-962]

 

The lesson of the story is this:  There can be no escape from taqdeer (destiny)

 

 

Who should we fear?

 

In this world along with our hopes and expectations we also have fears and worries. As talked about previously is told in the upper sections sometimes people might misunderstand or be confused as to who it is that they should fear.

 

However, “Know that both the trouble that comes from an enemy, and the favor or mercy that comes from a friend actually happen because of Allah alone.” We should listen the words of the poet and we shouldn't allow ourselves to be trapped into the position of the fool described in the following verses:

 

Do not foolishly beg the spear for mercy: beg (mercy) of the King in whose hand it (the spear) is (held). How shouldst thou supplicate the spear and sword which are captives in the hand of that Exalted One? [Mathnawi Book 5, verse 1684]

 

 

Now let us read another story from the Mathnawi which illustrates this point:

 

 

Being “Umar” among the Shias

 

If your name is 'Umar, nobody in the town of Kásh will sell you a roll of bread (even) for a hundred dángs.When you say at one shop, “I am 'Umar: kindly sell bread to this 'Umar,” He (the baker) will say, “Go to that other shop: one loaf from that (shop) is better than fifty from this.” [Mathnawi Book 6, verses 3220-3223]

 

This (baker) says, (speaking) from this place (shop) to that (other) baker, “O baker, sell bread to this 'Umar”; And he too, on hearing (the name) 'Umar, withholds bread (from you) and sends (you) to a shop some way off, Saying, “Give bread to this 'Umar, O my partner,” i.e. “apprehend the secret (my real meaning) from (the tone of) my voice.” He also will pass you on from there (to another baker), (saying to him), “Hark, 'Umar is come to get some bread.” When you have been 'Umar in one shop, go (your way) and do not expect to obtain bread in all Káshán. But if you have said in one shop, “(I am) 'Alí,” (then you may) obtain bread from this place (shop) without being passed on (to another shop) and without trouble. Since the squinter who sees two (instead of one) is deprived of the enjoyment of delicious food, (your case is worse, for) you are seeing ten, O you who would sell your mother! Because of seeing double, wander (to and fro) like 'Umar in this Káshán of earth, since you are not 'Alí. In this ruined monastery the man who sees double is (continually) removing from one nook to another, O (you who say to yourself), “The good (which I seek) is (to be found) there.” But if you get two eyes that can recognise God, (you will) see (that) the (entire) expanse of both worlds (is) full of the Beloved [Mathnawi Book 6,verses 3225-3234]

 

So why does Allah, who is the owner of all bakeries, use mediators for all of His tasks and conceal Himself? Hazrat Mawlana tells the following story in regards to this question:

 

Allah's mediators of Destiny

 

He replied, “O Lord, Thy creatures will regard me as their enemy when I strangle them at death. Dost Thou deem it right, O exalted Lord, to make me hated and like a foe in appearance?”

 

He (God) said, “I will bring into clear view certain causes, (such as) fever and dysentery and phrenitis and spear(-wounds); For (so) I will turn their attention from thee to the diseases and threefold causes (of death).” [Mathnawi 5, verses 1695-1698] For every one of these diseases has its cure: when it becomes incurable, that is the act of the (Divine) Decree. Know for certain that every disease has its cure, as (for example) a fur is the cure for the pain of cold; (Yet), when God wills that a man shall be frozen, the cold penetrates even a hundred furs And puts into his body a tremor that will not be made better by (wrapping himself in) clothes or by (snuggling in) the house. [Mathnawi 5,verses 1703-1706]. When the eye is quite perfect, it sees the root (origin); when a man is squinteyed, it sees the branch (derivative). [Mathnawi 5, verse 1709] (The (Divine) answer, (namely), “One who does not regard causes and diseases and sword-wounds will likewise pay no regard to thy action, O Azrael, for thou too art a (secondary) cause, although thou art more concealed than those (other) causes.” And maybe it (the real nature of Azrael) is not concealed from the sick (dying) man, for He (God) is nigher to him than ye are, but ye do not see.)

 

He (Azrael) replied, “O Lord, there are also servants (of Thine) who rend (shatter the illusion of) causes, O Almighty.” Their eye pierces through the cause: by the grace of the Lord, it has passed beyond (all) veils. It has obtained the collyrium of Unity from the oculist of ecstasy and has been delivered from ailment and infirmity. [Mathnawi 5, verses 1609-1701]

 

 

The source of Ni'mat (Grace of Allah)

 

As explained in the previous descriptions, the main source of all grace is Allah. The causes or “mediators” are in the position of serving Allah in conveying His ni'mat (grace) to us. The eye of the ignorant (unenlightened) presumes that the cause alone is the reason. To see the reality, one must have the eye of the Suleiman. For the ones who cannot see the real cause, it is as if they are serving like their own servers. Hazrat Mawlana (k.s) (explaining with the voice of Hazrat Suleiman) shows this point in the following story going back to the old folkloric belief that the rich minerals of the earth were “cooked” by the sun and he warns against the tribe's worshipping of the stars:

 

Ye worship the star (planet) that makes gold: turn your faces towards Him that makes the star. Ye worship the sun in heaven, having despised the Spirit (which is) of high price. The sun, by command of God, is our cook: 'twere folly that we should say it is God. If thy sun be eclipsed, what wilt thou do? How wilt thou expel that blackness from it? [Mathnawi 4, verses 576-579] If they would kill thee at midnight, where is the sun, that thou shouldst wail (in supplication) and beg protection of it? Calamities, for the most part, happen in the night; and at that time the object of thy worship is absent. [Mathnawi 4, verses 581-582] Thou wilt deem it base and lowly and impermanent, (when) strength has come to thine (inward) eye from the Creator.” (The Divine Light is) the Philosophers' Stone from which a single impression fell on the (primal) vapour, and it (the vapour) became a star; The unique elixir of which half a gleam struck upon a (region of) darkness and made it the sun; The marvellous alchemist who by a single operation fastened all these properties on Saturn. Know, O seeker, that the remaining planets and the spiritual substances are (to be judged) according to the same standard. The sensuous eye is subject to the sun: seek and find a divine eye, In order that the beams of the flaming sun may become subject (abased) before that vision [Mathnawi 4, verses 590-596]

 

If we tie all of these points back into human relationships then we come to this conclusion: With all good fortune it does not matter whose hands are in between, because in the end it all comes back to one source; and so all of our gratitude and appreciation, thankfulness should be directed at “the Great door”. Although it is the duty of all mankind to offer gratitude to Allah for their good fortune, they must remember also to share this gratitude with the mediators of Allah's will.

 

It is good up to know, human who shows gratitude to other for a little favor that is done to them, what should we say that they are ungrattitude to the owner of countless all gratitudes? That's why Hazrat Mawlana (k.s), shows us that the difference what a human can offer and Allah offers with an great story and invites us to show our gratitude to the real owner of the ni'mat. People show gratitude for those who offer them favors, but how should one show their gratitude for the owner of endless favors, Allah?  How is it that people can be so ungrateful of Him for all of His endless offerings and their good fortune?  This is why Hazrat Mawlana(k.s) teaches us in the following story the difference between what a human can offer us and what Allah offers us, and invites us to show our gratitude to the real owner of all ni'mat (Grace of Allah). 

 

All praise and gratitude be to Allah (Gratitude belongs to Allah Alone- The Obligation of Gratitude to Allah)

 

How the poor stranger was informed of the Inspector's death and begged God to pardon him for having relied upon a created being and having rested his hopes upon the bounty of a created being; and how he remembered the blessings he had received from God, and turned to God and repented of his sin: “then those who disbelieve equal (Him with others).”

 

When he came to his senses, he said, “O Maker, I am a sinner: I was setting my hopes on (Thy) creatures.

 

Though the Khwája had shown great generosity, (yet) that was never a match for Thy bounty. He gave the cap, but Thou the head filled with intelligence; he gave the coat, but Thou the tall figure and stature (of its wearer). He gave me gold, but Thou the hand that counts gold; he gave me the beast for riding, but Thou the mind that rides it. The Khwája gave me the candle, but Thou the cool (bright and cheerful) eye; the Khwája gave me the dessert, but Thou the food-receiving (stomach). He gave me the stipend, but Thou life and animate existence; his promise was gold, but Thy promise the pure things (of the spirit). He gave me a house, but Thou the sky and the earth: in Thy house he and a hundred like him (grow) fat. Gold is Thine: he did not create gold. Bread is Thine: bread came to him from Thee. Thou also gavest him generosity and pity, and his joy was increased by (showing) that generosity. I made him my qibla (object of desire): I let the original qibla-Maker fall (into neglect).” [Mathnawi Book 6, verses 3125- 3133]

 

 

Cihan Okuyucu

okuyucu@fatih.edu.tr

 

Translated by: www.semazen.net

 

 

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