An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Becoming Spiritually Literate

In Education, metaphysics & cosmology, Religion on February 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm

On the mawlid today, the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday pbuh, I couldn’t help reflect on the first revelation he received while meditating, emptying himself, in the cave of Hira. He was met with the words

“Iqra”  (Read/Recite)

The Prophet was illiterate and so replied by saying he can not read/recite. Gabriel embraced him, as though imparting something to him, squeezed him and on releasing him commanded him again with the same word. This continued until on the third occasion five verses (signs) were revealed

Iqra bismi rabikalzi khalaq…

Read in the name of your Sustainer , Who created-

Created man, out of a germ cell!

Read! And thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One,-

who has taught (man) the use of the pen

Taught man what he did not know!

(96:1-5 Trans. M Asad)

What if the word ‘iqra’ was an invitation to become spiritually literate in a cosmos surrounded by signs (ayaats) and to discover the Sacred in everyday life as the Qur’an reminds us “We will show them Our signs in the horizons, and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is witness over all things?” (41:53)

What if we’re a macrocosm inwardly and reciting the signs would be a process in which we come to know ourselves and thereby know the Divine, as Iqbal suggests in a verse “kaafir ki yeh pehchaan kay aafaq meih ghum, aur mo’min ki yeh pehchan kay uskay khudi meih hay ghum afaaq’ “The signs of the faithless (kafir) is that he is lost in the horizons. The sign of the one with faith (mu’min) is the horizons are lost within him.” (Knowing Heart, K Helminski)

What if Rabb-Lord, which also means Sustainer and Educator implies the Universal Intelligence as well as sustaining the universe also actually educates us “And remain conscious of God, since it is God who teaches you…” (2:282)

What if we as human beings had within us the capacity to be stripped of our false selves in the light of al-Haqq (Truth) as Mevlana Rumi reminds us: “mard e khuda neest faqeeh az kitaab, mard e khuda aalam az Haq bood” The man of God isn’t a scholar from a book, The man of God is a gnostic from al-Haqq (Truth)”

These ideas aren’t new. The mystics and saints have said them all along. The Garden of Mystery by Mahmud Shabistari is a beautiful book on this theme. What turns ideas from mere concepts to something more meaningful for my soul’s journey is to discover how they apply to me. As I take one area of my life, parenting, and make it a reflective process with the help of blogging, I become more conscious and in that process I begin to see how everything seems to be set up to show us, teach us and educate us. Sometimes, as I realised today, it may not be the major issues that needs addressing, but even something very small, seemingly basic and insignificant such as using a bag regularly to keep all the library books in one place and putting them back in the bag after we finish reading them at night. Could such a small habit touch generations to come?

May be we can see the subtle as apparent and find greater meaning in Love’s universe by:

Learning to be still,
in the midst if the story
and seeing the false self with a light more Real,
cultivating an appreciation of the paradoxical mysteries of Life
without trying to solve or explain anything
but holding it as it is
with all its beauty
in our hearts
with love

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