Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a happy New Year from Anab, Bilquees Press, and the Interrogative Imperative Institute. Thank you for helping us to make 2009 a wonderful year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rizq or Divine Apportionment

There is a concept of rizq in Islam which, usually, is rendered as referring to the Divine apportionment for Creation - both collectively and individually. Often times, when people speak about rizq, they do so in terms of permissible and impermissible means of striving for what is fated for one.

Rizq does not refer to just material goods. It encompasses everything, on every level, in every realm within Creation.

The rizq of spirituality transpires at the same time as the rizq of material gain and losses. In fact, Creation gives expression to a multi-dimensional set of rizq transactions ... everything which occurs is the manifestation of the principles of rizq at work, and rizq is but a simple term which is underwritten by the Divine play of Names and Attributes in accordance with Divine purpose.

The profits, the losses, the blessings, the Divine gifts, expansion, contraction, illness, well-being, family, talents, birth, death, spiritual progress, sin, repentance, wisdom, understanding, learning, forgetting, insight, faith, unbelief, redepmption, food, comforts, difficulties, poverty, and wealth are all manifestations of the principles of rizq transactions at work. Human beings stand at the heart of such transactions and, unlike the rest of creation (with the exception of the species of being known as jinn) have a unique role to play with respect to rizq transactions.

More specifically, through our choices, through the degrees of freedom which are extended to us, we align ourselves or oppose ourselves to the rizq transactions which take place. The choices we make will not affect the rizq transactions which take place one way or the other, but the intentions with which we engage those transactions matter - to us and to God.

To engage rizq transactions with the right intention is what forms the basis of, among other things, right livelihood. When the right intention is present, then, work becomes a form of ibadat and zikr, for one realizes that whatever happens this is a manifestation of the Divine Himma in the form of a rizq transaction of which one is a part.

All rizq transactions have a right over us because such transactions constitute the way in which God wishes events to unfold. We can work with such wishes or we can seek to treat them with kufr and shirk - that is, we can cover up/deny the truth of what is transpiring or we can propose alternative ways of accounting for what is going on that give explanations which are dependent on something other than Divinity as the causal principle for what takes place.

Everything in existence is unique - even if it shares some similarities with other beings of its class of Creation. The nature of Divine creation is such that nothing is repeated - everything manifests ever different modalities of Divine beauty and majesty in infinite combinations of possibility.

Each human being is unique. Each human being has a unique role to play with respect to the realm of rizq transactions. God uses each of us differently to serve as loci of manifestation for rizq transactions.

Our souls have a right over us in this respect for each of must seek to find what is uniquely inherent in the fitra which is our spiritual potential and, then, we must strive to, God willing, give expression to this. There is a beauty, harmony and spiritual quality which arises from rizq transactions which are engaged through the right niyat or intention ... a niyat which is rooted in awareness, understanding, faith, integrity, submission, dependence, love, and character ... such beauty, harmony and spiritual quality are, themselves, part of the rizq transactions which God ordains.

The lives of the prophets and saints bear witness to the foregoing. There is the aura of beauty, harmony, and spiritual quality emanating from their lives as they engage in the dance of rizq transactions which is utterly captivating.

One’s heart and mind are drawn to the purity and sincerity of intention by means of which rizq transactions are manifested through their lives. We seek to follow their example as best we can, according to the rizq of spiritual potential we have been apportioned.

To do what is right for oneself and, simultaneously, right for the world is to enter into rizq transactions with the quality of intention which is most pleasing to God. To achieve this level of quality is a very difficult thing to do for it consists of, God willing, purifying, calibrating, and bringing into active form all of the different dimensions of the human being - including mind, heart, sirr, spirit, kafi, and aqfah - which give expression to the ‘so-called’ perfect human being - which is not really perfection per se (for only God is perfect) but rather the expression of capacity to its fullest extent ... something which varies from person to person.

No matter what one does for an occupation, there should be a vocation or calling which underwrites it. The vocational aspect is the spiritual quality with which one seeks to embrace all of life, including the means through which God uses to provide one with the material rizq of day-to-day living.

There are many people who earn their livelihood through permissible means. There are very few people who do this with the sort of spiritual balance, beauty, wisdom, and quality which transforms such means of livelihood into the acts of worship and zikr which human beings have been given the capacity to achieve if God wishes.