Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Nature of the Spirit (Sufistic)

The Nature of the Spirit

If asked to define the Spirit, we would say that it is a Divine secret which gives life to matter, or the will of Allah Almighty that we live. When Allah removes this will, life in its worldly form comes to an end. Death is not the end of the journey of life, it is the end of one stage during the journey and the beginning of a new one which has its own laws and life-form which Allah knows.

We have already seen, in the example of sleep, how man can move from one dimension to another in a single instant. When one lies on his bed and puts his head on his pillow, the instant he falls asleep he moves from a dimension where one set of laws apply to another dimension with different laws. When he wakes up again, he moves in that instant back from the law of sleep to the law of wakefulness, each completely different from the other.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, explained to us that the life of this world is only a short period within the greater journey of life as a whole. In order to give us a precise picture of how short the time of our life in this world is in relation to the greater journey of life, he likened it to a traveller spending some time in the shade of a tree and then travelling on. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

"What have I to do with this world? There is no comparison between me and this world, except to a rider who stops for shade under a tree and then goes on leaving it behind."

Man knows nothing about the Spirit. The Jews asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the Spirit and how it gives life to the body. They believed that the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, would tell them things from himself which they could use to attack the veracity of his Message, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. So Allah Almighty revealed:

"They will ask you about the Spirit. Say: 'The Spirit is my Lord's concern. You have only been given a little knowledge.'" (17:85)

This means that the Spirit is one of the secrets of Allah Almighty which will remain hidden from us until the Day of Rising. But Allah made the Spirit, which is invisible to us, a guide to faith and a force which directs us to the power of Allah Almighty. It teaches us how to proceed on the Path of Faith while having complete certainty of the existence of Allah, Who caused existence to exist and created the universe and human life. Even though the Spirit is in the body of man, the person whose body it is in does not know anything about it and does not know how it came into his body or how it will leave. Nor does he know where in his body it is located.

Is it consciousness, which sends signals to the entire body so that life penetrates every part? Is it located in the heart, which beats when a human being is still a foetus in his mother's womb and continues to beat without any volition on our part until life comes to an end? Is it in the hand which strikes? Or in the foot which walks? Or in the eye which sees? Or in the ear which hears? Or the tongue which speaks? Where is the Spirit located?

- Shaykh Muhammad Mitwalli al-Sha'rawi, The End of the World


  1. Enjoyed reading your posts.

  2. Jazakum Allahu khayr...I tried clicking on your link, but it's out of service!

  3. Anonymous4:39 AM

    This truly came from someone who understands how life operates. Very few people know and understand this.

    Question is what is "little" that we have been given? Answer is out there but discussing it is a taboo.:)

    Thanks and keep sharing