Fiṭrah is the "natural and basic disposition" of humankind and is derived from faṭara, to split or break apart, hence Ifṭār, "breaking of the fast". Faṭara also means "to create". Non-creation cracked and split open to reveal its opposite, creation. Basic knowledge is Fiṭrī, connected with the pre-creational crack. Access to Basic knowledge is through diving deep into the well to reach the source of the spring where the original crack is. The Safīh, the foolish, ignorant one whose life is cluttered and whose well is filled up with the debris of illusions, desires, attachments and covetousness, has no access to that original crack, that fiṭrah.
Rūḥ means “spirit, soul.” It is related to rīḥ, which means “wind.” Rāḥah, which means “comfort, contentment, or ease,” also comes from the same root, as does the word rā’iḥah, which means “perfume” and mirwaḥah, which means “fan.” The implication here is that the spirit is like a wind; it is as subtle as a summer breeze. The spirit is blown into the body and later blown out of it. Like the wind, its subtlety is balanced by its forcefulness. It says in the Qur’an:
“They ask you about the soul. Say: the soul is one of the commands of my Lord” (17:85).
On that Night of Power the All-Mighty, All-Powerful Lord extends His mercy of knowledge and opens up the skies, and the angelic powers and forces fulfill their merciful duty of bringing forth clearly the message and knowledge of tawḥīd and the command and control of the Lord.
Closeness to Allah is by sajdah, by prostration, which is the outer proof of inner abandonment. Outer prostration is the manifestation of an inner state; if it is not, it becomes an empty ritual. Sajada, the root of sajdah, also means “to obey,” meaning to obey the purpose of existence. The purpose of existence is merciful and benign.
Another meaning of sajada is “to submit,” and through that submission comes freedom. The only freedom is the recognition of no freedom. The only freedom is the direct inner recognition that there is absolutely no possibility of freedom. From that comes the ultimate freedom and release which is the real and infinite freedom, freedom that is beyond our creation and after our end. Our purpose is to be in that state of inward drunkenness and outward sobriety, inward abandonment and outward courtesy and correctness. In this state we become awareness itself, not aware of something. This then is the outer manifestation of sajdah, of prostration, which is spontaneous. It is the only human position and it is the final as well as the first human position.
Fajr means “dawn, the first light of the morning.” Fajara, the root of fajr, means “to crack, to break out, to explode.” The state of the heart of the knower is hidden in the darkness of the night but is illumined inwardly. It is outwardly in darkness yet bright with inner light, outwardly quiet but inwardly active and dynamic in the sea of knowledge. Most spiritual work is done from late at night until the dawn, when outwardly there is the least physical action and therefore a maximum possibility for inner action. The root of everything lies in its opposite. The root of the most beautiful, soft, white, ravishing lily lies in mud just as the root of maximal inner action lies in outer quietude.
From the knowledge that all creation exists according to a measure and is moving toward a destiny according to that measure, comes the peace of certainty. This inner certainty, which illumines all possible outer manifestations, brings about an equilibrium and balance that renders the awakened being in a state full of harmony and unity. The meaning of that peace, which is the result of knowledge, resides inherently in every heart. For the seed to be unearthed, the heart must be purified and made open. The seeker of the knowledge of Allah spends his days of darkness and nights of vigil awaiting the descent of the opening, and when that occurs it is like the crack of dawn.
The Arabic word for remembrance is dhikr. Remembrance is of several types or levels. There is the remembrance of physical things, which are in front of us, and there is the remembrance of one’s desires, anxieties, and so on. Along the spiritual path, remembrance relates to that which is in one’s innate nature. It is the remembrance of the Essence of Allah the Almighty, of the Source of all manifestations and attributes. That source is within everybody. On the Sufi path, one is required to dis-remember everything else that is discernible, everything that is other than Allah, in order to return to the original remembrance. The Arabic word for remembrance of Allah is dhikru’llah.
So the original remembrance of Allah is already in every heart, whether one is aware of it or not. Through the guidance of a spiritual master, the seeker is led beyond, to a level where there is no remembrance of anything that is mentionable. Then that which has always been there, encompassing everything, is eventually experienced and witnessed. The purpose of Sufi practices is to be spontaneously aware of the absolute or central reality as well as remaining aware of the physical and material limitations of the phenomenal world which surrounds us. One is an inner awareness beyond the senses and the other is an outer awareness which is based on senses.
Qadr and Qaḍā’¶
"Certainly, We sent it down on the Night of the Decree."
The Power that created all the creational systems made them according to a measure, the Decree or qadr, by which all creational manifestations are brought to their destiny, qaḍā’, and final judgment. In the above ayat we are given a glimpse into an aspect of the meaning of qaḍā’ wa qadr (destiny and decree).
Qaḍā’ means “fate, destiny, judgment, justice, decree,” and “that which has passed,” and while qadr means “measure, decree,” it also means “destiny” because it is according to a measure that things unfold and develop. The judgment, or the final destiny, of any created thing follows according to its measure, its qadr, for if it did not, there would be chaos. These measures may fluctuate and interweave within definite bounds, but there must be a measure in order for man to know the limits and to gain knowledge of the world.
Laylat al-qadr is the Night of Power, or the Night of the Decree. The knowledge of what is written descended on the night of power and was made known to the Prophet Muhammad, ṣalla-llāhu ‘alayhi wa ālihi wa salaam. Thus it is the night when he was empowered with knowledge, the night when the hidden tablet was unveiled to him.
The night of qadr occurs according to each person’s capacity. “The Night of the Decree” is that night of revelation when the heart opens, when the tablet within man’s heart is unveiled, when the direct recognition that there is only Allah, and that everything which comes into creation comes through that single power, is experienced. This tablet does not contain encyclopedic information: it contains direct knowledge.
The word Eid appears only once in the Qur’an, in Surah Ma´idah. It is the story of the sincere followers of the Prophet Isa. They ask him: "Can’t you bring upon us from the unseen a banquet or a meal, or some nourishment? We want to taste of it so that our hearts become completely certain that all of it is from Allah." So Isa asks his Lord to bring down a heavenly banquet – an Eid, not only for those who came first but also for those of later time. We always quest the proof of the connection between the seen and the unseen, as our soul is heavenly but living on earth.
This is the meaning of Eid. The Arabic root is aada, ‘to have returned’. Return to what? All of us, who have fasted, tend to return once more towards over indulgence. This is not an interesting return. What is worthwhile to return to is the original condition of Adam in the Garden. We need to move towards that Eid.
Ṣadr (plural ṣudūr) is the chest or breast, that part of one which faces what confronts one. It is where the battles and dramas take place. It must be remembered that every drama is self-created. Every imaginable human role stirs in the breast of man: the king, the despot, the afflicted, the jealous, the strong, the doubter, and the complainer. We have to take refuge from these, take refuge in the Lord Whose mercy brings us to the recognition that everything which occurs, visible and invisible, occurs according to a just system, according to perfect laws which govern this passage, this journey through the creation.