Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Monday, September 19, 2016

"Choosing self-worship in contrast to embracing Divine Love" - Professor Alan Godlas

Alan Godlas | Department of Religion
"Choosing self-worship in contrast to embracing Divine Love"
"Self-worship" (or attachment to self) occurs whenever we mistake for God a particular condition/form/picture/object/person/thought/feeling/perception (or even a teaching that we habitually associate with well-being, fulfillment, love, or God, etc.). In other words, self-worship occurs whenver we mistake an "ilah" for God (and for God's theophanic Self-Manifestations).
This doesn't cause us problems unless our desire for such a condition is triggered and we are unable to achieve such a condition. Then we have a challenge or opportunity TO RESPOND to the feelings that occur to us when we have not achieved or fulfilled such a condition (of our self-worship), a challenge to respond to our uncomfortable feelings of unfufillment by sipping such feelings and thoughts with a drop of unconditional gratitude to God.
Although we do not initially recognize such challenges as the surface or outer form of a Divine name/quality that is becoming manifest (inviting us to actualize the fullness of the name by responding to it with gratitude), in fact such a challenge (beneath its surface) is an aspect or theophany (tajalli) of God's face (i.e. a Divine quality or attribute), giving us a golden opportunity to actualize the fullness of a Divine quality, rather than continuing to exist simply at its surface.
To whatever degree we respond with gratitude to this surface of such a Divine quality that is becoming manifest, to that degree the infinite mercy, love, and oceanic unity beneath the surface will become open to us, since we will not be turning away, ungratefully, from it.
In other words, at each moment God is inviting us to choose between self-worship or worship of God by showing us the surface of Divine name or quality, which appears to us as our sadness or whatever we happen to feel, think, and perceive.
Beneath the surface masks of such experiences, God is asking us (in Qur'anic terms), "Am I not your Lord-Sustainer?!" Namely, it is as if God is saying "Are you going to embrace a drop of this bitter wine of disappointment with a sip of gratitude (for the possibility that God's infinite Mercy and all-inclusive love is sustaining me and whatever I'm thinking, feeling, and perceiving), or not?! If you do attempt to embrace gratefully a drop of this better wine, you will need to take this sip on faith, the faith (or hypothesis or gamble) that beneath the surface is the infinitely merciful sweetness of God's Oceanic and All-Inclusive Love."
If you choose to attempt to take this sip, there is an increased likelihood that you will actually taste and discover this Ocean. If you choose not to attempt to take this sip, you condemn yourself to a moment of self-worship, a hell-like experience of not having a condition that you believe you need, of not having a form, thought, person, object or feeling that you worship.


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