Monday, July 23, 2007

The World Has Been Gentled

On some Saturdays, a group of Quakers and Sufi students meet at my house to study the 99 Names of Allah. These are the qualities or attributes of God that are listed within the Koran, and they have long traditions of study associated with them.

Yesterday we studied Al Halim, a subtle quality of perserverance, forbearance in the sense that God "is forebearing in the punishment of the guilty." (The Name and the Named, Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti)

We talked about this kind of patience and gentle waiting, and the nature of evil (is evil confined to human-generated action or is there an extra-human agent of evil?). We talked about the distinction between forebearing from witness verses the idea of witness by standing up to stop evil. When does one intervene in affairs to promote justice and protect life, and when does one forebear?

My opinion was that this distinction is a matter of discerning the heart of the person in question, and that it is pretty clear when a "bad heart" is performing actions that are evil as opposed to a situation in which people are acting badly through simple ignorance, fear, laziness, or greed. One just knows when to stand up to evil and when not to.

Even I do not fully understand this, a couple of days later, but I am still convinced that it is the case.

At some point during these meetings, we chant/meditate on the quality under study. This week, during the chant, I seemed to be moved into a separate universe. I saw a vision of a celebration taking place in India somewhere, in a village square. People were holding up a large model of a city or something which had many golden spires which sparkled in the sunlight. People were singing and dancing happily. They were celebrating because "the world has been gentled."

The vision left quickly, but the sentiment remained. In the future, the world will be gentled, and people will live to experience this.

Inshallah. God willing.

No comments: