Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

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To Quench the Thirst of the Gnostics…

Repeat to me the mention of His Names,
And polish hearts with His light and brilliance,
And fill the glasses for the souls,
For they are yearning to drink.
A Name from which the universe took its light,
On earth, sea and sky;
The minds of men are dazzled by its qualities,
The hearts of men are brightened by its light.
When its majesty is revealed to hearts,
They sense the mystery of its glory and brilliance.
The hearts of the righteous are glad to be near it;
It takes them up to its highest heights.
The repetition of His Name,
Is the dearest of His blessings to the gnostics.

Found in: Ibn ‘Aṭā’ Allāh al-Iskandarī, (trans. Khalid Williams), The Pure Intention: On Knowledge of the Unique Name, (The Islamic Texts Society: Cambrdige, 2018), 59.

Misunderstanding the Nature of the World

From the point of view of the Divine Reality, there is no evil because there is nothing to be separated from the Source of the Good, but for human beings living in the domain of relativity, evil is as real as that domain, although creation in its ontological reality is good since it comes from God. This is demonstrated by the overwhelming beauty of the natural order. That is why both the Bible and the Quran assert the goodness of His creation and the fact that goodness always predominates ultimately over evil. Furthermore, the infernal, purgatorial, and paradisal states are real although located in the domain of relativity but each with very different characteristics. The problem of evil becomes intractable when we absolutize the relative and fail to distinguish between the existential reality of a thing, which comes from the Act of Being, and its ” apparent” separative existence. To speak of a world without evil is to fail to understand what the world is and to confuse the Absolute and the relative, the Essence and it’s veils, or to use the language of Hinduism, Atman and māyā

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition, 55

Key to Salvation

Shaykh Abu’l ‘Abbas al-Mursi, a master of the Shadhili path, said to the young Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah – who then also became a realised master – on their second encounter:

There are four states of the servant, not five: blessings, trials, obedience, and disobedience. If you are blessed, then what God requires of you is thankfulness. If you are tried, then what God requires of you is patience. If you are obedient, then what God requires of you is the witnessing of His blessings upon you. If you are disobedient, then what God requires of you is asking forgiveness.

May we learn to appropriately act in relation to all of God’s Self-disclosure upon us, in every dimension of manifestation.



This is most definitely worth reading, and to savour.

Barzakh: the living realm of the dead

From, “A Mercy Case” and an excellent summary.

A Mercy Case

An important Islamic belief is believing in the Barzakh, the realm where everyone who has ever died is currently existing.

It is mentioned in the Qur’an:

When death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord! Take me back, that I may act righteously in what I have left behind.’ ‘By no means! These are mere words that he says.’ And ahead of them is a barrier (barzakh) until the day they will be resurrected.

Commenting on the Barzakh in his book entitled Sabīl al-Iddikār, a widely respected Sunni scholar Shaykh Abdullah al-Haddad رحمة الله عليه remarks:

The Intermediate Realm is the abode which lies between the world and the life-to-come. It has more affinity with the latter, and is in fact a part of it. It is a place where spirits and spiritual things are predominant, which physical bodies are secondary but share with the spirits in their…

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Hope to move…

This past month has been absolutely treacherous in terms of my health; a scare about a damaged liver, not being able to eat food, and something strange happening neuro-chemically that amounted to night-terrors, severe panic attacks to the point I couldn’t be left alone – apparently due to my liver not detoxifying sufficiently –  and of course, pain.

Now, in the midst of this, I receive a letter. I had more or less forgotten about sending a thank-you note to an ER doctor last year who kept an eye on me as I was struggling to breathe due to pain, and I not long ago received his reply. I truly don’t feel I wield any kind of power as such, nor the ability to transform a life. But, in this state of profound difficulty as I’ve been panicking over worse news, or contemplating my mortality, I receive a response from that kind doctor. He wasn’t able to do much for me that day, but he patiently listened, empathised, and treated me with a profound degree of respect.

If I’ve learnt anything… it’s that if possible, spread a kind word when you can. I didn’t think I’d share this letter, but I think it found me at a time when I needed to read it as much as mine did my doctor. So I transcribe parts of it to serve as an example.

“Dear Imraan,

“Your letter brought tears to my eyes. It reached me at a time that I was losing faith in people and this career.

“You have motivated me to not give up, and that I can make a difference in people’s lives.

“I have never received such a heartfelt message from my patients.

“I was on holiday with my now fiancé when I received your letter, it made it an even more special moment.

“…I do remember you. I hope you’re doing well and I’m sorry for all the difficulties you are going through. Hang in there.

“Thank you Imraan.

“I cannot put into words how much your kind words have impacted me.

“Your message will always stay with me and keep me going.

“Best wishes, “

Subsistence in God

“The final point of the Tarīq (Path) is that your own being, and even your Nafs, reminds you more of Allāh than it reminds you of itself. In other words, al-baqā’ billāh (Subsistence through Allāh). You find your true identity. You are not just some human being that lives at such-and-such an address, but you find your true identity as an Aya (sign) of the Ayāt (signs) of Allāh. An ‘aya’ means something that signifies something beyond itself, it ‘tells’ something. What does it tell, what does it direct you too? Allāh.” –

Sh. Nūh Keller.

London Review of Books – Shared Article ‘Ella George: Purges and Paranoia’

I’m reading Ella George: Purges and Paranoia via the London Review of Books app https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n10/contents

NYTimes: The Boys Are Not All Right

Sometimes I wonder if these gendered roles are there for some evolutionary purpose, or if they have intrinsic psychological imperatives, and that we ought not let French post-structuralists completely decimate them! Here you have someone on the Left talking about the full expression of the masculine gender, and all I can hear in my mind are attacks from more SJW-inclined friends who will scream that he seeks to perpetuate the Patriarchy. In truth, we as men should be able to live in harmony with ourselves, with women generally. But whilst feminism can serve as an inspiration to a discourse on masculinity, the reduction of male-ness to nothing more than a series of power games is perhaps what is most destructive. Their contributions are rendered meaningless especially if they’re straight and white, because their ability to ‘see’ the other side is somehow impaired by aspect blindness. I love Foucault as much as the next guy, but this is nuts.

I think enough is indeed enough. I’m all for a particular brand of feminism that does not reduce our sisters to the sum-total of their sexual organs – but male-ness shouldn’t be so reduced that the male psyche is emptied of its intrinsic nature. We too, can be loving, nurturing, productive, protective. I suspect it’s that latter one with which many of my sisters will have a problem. But else, if testosterone isn’t channeled towards healthier ends, then the psyche is damaged (I suspect) and we will see more carnage in America.

MIB has done us a service. We need more progressive voices speaking out for men, for the sake of their mental-health issues, their self-worth, for the safety of the women around them.

If they might tackle violent films, video-games, pornography and so on at the same time, it might help re-orient the discourse. Jordan Peterson has such sway precisely because he gives the male back his inherent worth – but I can’t follow him purely because I do not believe in his kind individualism except in the moral life. But he has men reading Dostoyevski, Nietzsche and the Bible. That’s something.

NYTimes: My Year of No Shopping

My Year of No Shopping https://nyti.ms/2k1AuLR

Definitely worth a read, as we descend into further materialism still. Sickness and chronic difficulties make this endeavour that much harder – Lord knows how many supplements, health foods and creature comforts I need to make it through the hour, but this (whilst a little superficial) might tap into a religious impulse that society has so-quickly lost, a rage against rampant Capital and value-materialism. Even if it’s not as radical as I’d like! 

“Are Christians Supposed to be Communists?” By David Bentley Hart in the same newspaper 

Perhaps a little more theological, but an intriguing (and perhaps not all-too-controversial) reading of the Gospel

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