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What Divine Wisdom Teaches Us through Polarity

Happy New Year!  We hope you had a blessed holiday weekend and rang in 2017 with love, joy and hope.

The new year brings with it rapid change and interesting times, where uncertainty and chaos can threaten to overwhelm us.  Many are speculating and questioning whether what we are seeing are prominent signs of the end times.

In the last year that Sidi was with us, he spoke to us about the signs of the end times.  Amany followed with classes to give us more information about what those signs might be.  Yet, there are so many ways to interpret the messages and events.  And who is to say how time on earth relates to the time of Allah, swta, or the time of those who write about Allah’s timing.

What is clear is that divine wisdom teaches us through contrast and polarity.  Seemingly irreconcilable differences can lead us to search more deeply for what Allah is making with our world, how we relate to it, what Allah is teaching us, and what Allah is asking from each of us at this time.

Many questions arise:

  • As seekers, healers, peacemakers and lovers of God, how can we help our families, communities and clients to live in a way that supports peace and unity, inside our hearts and outside in our interactions and relationships?

 

  • How can we live with open hearts, in love and acceptance for each other, and know when to set boundaries that create safety for ourselves and our families?

 

  • What is required, individually and collectively, for us to step into greater responsibility and become all that we are capable of becoming?

 

Dr. John Abd al-Qadr Davies is offering a webinar series to help us discern how to be with the uncertainty around what is happening now, and what is to come with 2017.  It’s called “Living Peace: Riding the Waves in Turbulent Times.”

This course is for all who feel called to help their clients, communities, students or families by developing their understanding, inner foundation and applied skills for reconciling divided communities and creating a sustainable peace that supports and expands the lives of all.

This series offers support for staying aligned with and surrendered to divine wisdom through the dynamic evolutions coming in the new year.  We hope you can join us.

CLICK HERE for more information and to register.

 

In Allah’s wisdom, we cannot know with certainty what the future holds.  But Allah has sent many prophets and messengers and left us with the holy books to guide us through the challenges we face.

The prophets all traversed tumultuous trials.  They showed us examples of how to be with adversity, turmoil and conflict and still be in service to God and the people of love.

We have an opportunity to study their ways and receive guidance for our lives today.  We are blessed to have the experience, knowledge and wisdom of Dr. John Abd al-Qadr Davies to help us navigate what is happening politically, socially and environmentally in our world and understand how to apply the ancient teachings of the prophets to the current events.

To learn more about “Living Peace: Riding the Waves in Turbulent Times,” click here.

 

We wish for you a peaceful and prosperous new year!

With love and gratitude,

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

The Love of Allah Transcends Space and Time

It’s hard to believe, but this is our last blog communication of 2016. Only one more day left in this year. This is a time of completion – an ending to what has been, in many ways, a challenging year. And it is also a time of transition. Following are a few poems and quotes about finale and evolution to ponder as we say goodbye to 2016 and the many who have left us this year, and welcome in what awaits us in the new year.   The quality of completion is Al-Akhir. From Sidi Shaykh Muhammad’s book, The Meaning of the Names of Our Lord:

“Al-Akhir, the Last, is the One Who subsists in everlasting subsistence after the annihilation of His creation in His everlasting subsistence. He is the Enricher of all subsistence, both present and in all time because nothing is after Him. You should know that your belief is in bearing witness that Allah is the Eternal Subsister Who is the basis of all surrendered belief.” In case that runs circles around your mental field before it makes its way into your heart, Sidi also writes, “This name is always accompanied by [Al-Awwal, the First], and he who repeats this name six hundred times frequently will not only lead a happy life in this world, but will also have a happy ending.”

  From Neil Douglas-Klotz’s book, The Sufi Book of Life:

“The Sufis sometimes compare life to singing a musical note. Both the beginning and the end are very important. An audience can feel the intention and emotion we have at the instant we begin to sing. Likewise, the way we release each note can either set it off clearly or slur one note into the next. Depending upon the acoustics of the room and how long the note is held, each sound eventually returns to the silence from which it began. One of the lessons of life, according to the Sufis, is how to consciously pursue something from its beginning, through its middle, and to its end.”

  The following poem by Rumi was translated by Dr. Iraj Anvar and shared with us in the Poetry of the Sufi Mystics webinar class last night.

D 911

On the day of my death, when my coffin passes by,

Do not think that my heart aches for this world.

Do not weep for me and don’t say, “Alas, alas.”

If you fall in the trap of the Demon’s deceit, that calls for alas.

When you see my corpse, do not say: “Separation, separation.”

For me, that will be the time of gathering and union.

When you entrust me to the grave, do not say: “Farewell, farewell.”

Because, the grave is the last veil to the tranquility of heaven.

When you see me going down, see me rising.

There is no loss in the setting of the moon and the sun.

It appears like sunset to you, but it is sunrise.

The grave appears like a prison, but it is freedom for the soul.

What seed went in the ground that did not grow?

Why do you think otherwise about the seed of Man?

What bucket went down into the well that did not come up full?

Why should Joseph complain of being in the well?

When your mouth closes on this side, open it on the other side.

Because, you will sing and revel in infinity.

~Jalal id-din Rumi, translated by Iraj Anvar

  And I can’t resist this one more. It’s not from a Sufi mystic of ancient times, but from a soulful musician who transitioned just last month, written in the early 1970’s:

“I love you in a place where there’s no space in time.

I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine.

And when my life is over, remember when we were together.

We were alone and I was singing this song to you.”

from “A Song for You” by Leon Russell

  True love exists and subsists forever in a place where there is no space and time. In this life, we have moments and memories. Words, sounds and senses evoke waves of emotions that guide us through their undulations to remember what is steady. May all your memories guide you to certainty and trust in The One Who is always here and remains no matter what happens in the material world. Have a blessed end to your 2016 year, and may you welcome what is to come in the new year with an open heart and complete rest in your Beloved, Whose love transcends all space and time. With love and gratitude, Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS   P.S. Watch for a notice coming soon about support for staying aligned with and surrendered to divine wisdom through the dynamic evolutions coming in the new year. Happy New Year!  

Photo credits: © Mykyta Starychenko | Dreamstime.com – New Year 2017 is coming concept – inscription 2017 and 2016 on a beach sand, the wave is covering digits 2016. New Year 2017 celeb

 

The story of the essence of your soul…

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If Allah created us in His image to know Him, do you ever wonder how our world could get to where it is now?  This world is not always easy, and it is certainly uncertain.

Our guide, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal, gave us many jewels to help us through these times.  The following from his book, Music of the Soul gives us a good outline.  It’s from the chapter of Adam – the Caliph of Allah.

 

When Allah (swta) said to the angels, “I want to make a caliph on earth,” the angels said, “Why? If you bring Your light down into the density of the earth, they will kill each other and abandon Your holy way.”  Allah said, “I am the Knowing and the Wise.”

 

Sidi writes in this chapter that Adam’s story is our story.  So, Allah (swta) created us in His image, put in us His light and the fragrance of all His qualities, and wrote everything in our hearts.  Then Allah put in the nafs (ego self) to turn us toward the world.

 

[Allah] put His image in [Adam], His light in him, the fragrance of all His attributes, and He taught him everything from the beginning to the end.  He wrote everything in his heart.

The pure Adam, the original Adam lived only to remember.  He had no body, only Allah.  He had no beginning nor end, only light from Allah; no shadow of presence apart from Allah.

After that, Allah, in His wisdom, wanted the creation of the world(s).  If He had not put nafs in Adam, there would be no world, because Adam was turned only to Him and Allah had to turn him toward the creation of the world in order for mankind to be born through him.

So He put in Adam the self, and this self was in three parts:

  1. The desire to eat the fruit and then to eliminate.

  2. The desire to sleep with the woman and make children.

  3. Desire to become king of the creation.

 

 

Sidi writes of Iblis, the darkness:

When the creation of Adam was complete, Allah commanded the angels to bow down, to prostrate before him.  All the angels obeyed the order except Iblis, who seemed to refuse.  Allah asked him, “Why do you not bow down?”  Iblis said, “Why should I bow down to Adam when fire is greater than clay?”

It would appear that Iblis refused the order of Allah, but in truth he realized the divine plan.  Iblis is a complete presence.  He is fire.  And Allah in His Wisdom puts everything in its place.

If fire and water were gathered together, one would destroy the other.  In His wisdom, Allah put Iblis outside the door to the garden of His presence. Iblis is the guardian, the fire at the gate of the garden through which none but the purified may enter.

 

 

Allah, swta, put all His qualities within us, and these qualities are buried within us under veils of darkness and light.  Allah wants us to travel through the veils to know Him, to clean every quality to be the clear mirror.

You cannot clean this quality without walking through it and removing the veils from it because He put Himself in you, deep inside, and to find Him you must strike through all of the attributes.

 

 

The task of Adam and us, the sons and daughters of Adam, is to preserve the deep secret light of the garden in the midst of the veils and darkness of the created world.   Allah sent every prophet to remind us and help us.

 

My holy beloved, listen to me to the story of the first world.  “Know My beloved, that I am a hidden treasure that longed to be known.  So I have drawn forth all of the creation out of Myself in order to know Myself.

But how can My creatures know Me?  I planted all My qualities in the ground of creation.  When any creature comes to know on what ground he stands, he discovers all My attributes in the ground of his existence.  In the mirror of My attributes, he comes to see himself.

 

 

This is a long chapter, too long to include the whole thing here.  I’ll conclude with these poetic words, and suggest you read the entire chapter if you have the book.  (If not, you can read the full teaching online at http://sufimaster.org/teachings/adam.htm)

Although you may not remember, you are from the first of my children.  I gave birth to you in pre-eternity.  Please be with me in everything, and hold everything, and give everything to see everything in the light of your holy origin, in the essence of that which you are.

You are the key and you are the door.  Why do you stay in the ante-room?  Follow me, my beloved, as I pass through every doorway to the truthroom of the innermost secret.  Then you will see your Iblis lay down his life beneath your feet, and you will find me sitting in the deep knowing on the throne of your heart.

I am the mirror of your Master and you are the mirror of Him in me.  There is no difference between you and me and Him, if you want to understand what I mean.

 

Remember that Allah has sent us the prophets and guides and left us with the holy books to help us during these times.  As we move into this weekend, if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus – or all or none of the above – we wish you the peace and beauty that comes from knowing the truth of the essence of your soul.

With love and gratitude,

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

Photo credit: © Keren Segev | Dreamstime.com – Man walking into a keyhole

 

Only 16 days left in 2016! What?

new year clock before midnight

Wow!  You may have been hearing that time is speeding up.  Seems entirely true when you realize there are only 16 days left in this year – counting today!  Where did it go?

At the beginning of 2016, we offered a class on Setting Foundations for a Meaningful Life – a formula for living a life aligned with your spiritual beliefs.  We spent some time looking at the heart’s yearning and setting some intentions for 2016.

As the year comes to a close, it’s a good time for review, reflection, introspection and gratitude.

 

If you have a minute, grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions…

REVIEW:  Do you remember the intentions you set for this year?  What were they?

Nothing that hits you could have missed you,
and nothing that misses you could have hit you.
~Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal

 

 

REFLECTION:  How did you do?  Did you maintain focus, or drop off as life got busy?  Were there events that led your goals to shift?

Do not belittle any good deed,
even meeting your brother with a cheerful face.
~Prophet Muhammad, pbuh

 

 

INTROSPECTION:  How is your heart feeling about the year you’ve lived?  Please be loving, honest, merciful and gracious with yourself.

Allah looks neither at your pictures or your actions,
but He looks into your heart.
~Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal

 

 

CELEBRATE SUCCESSES:  Small or large, acknowledge Allah and give thanks to Allah for working His miracles through you.

If a man finds himself in the morning: tranquil in his heart, healthy in his body,
and with food for the day, it is as if all of this world has been chosen for him.
~Prophet Muhammad, pbuh

 

 

GRATITUDE:  List as many gratitudes as you can think of.  Even if it wasn’t your best year ever, there are always things to be grateful for.

If you are grateful, I shall certainly increase you in favor.
Qur’an 14:7

 

 

Care to share your insights?  We’d love to hear from you.  Join us on the USHS Facebook page, and enter your comments under the post of this article.

 

With love and gratitude,

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

Photo credits: Adobe Stock Photo (c) lily #90597168

“Let a word mature inside yourself”

The poetry webinar began last night with Shaikh Kabir Helminski teaching on 5 of his favorite poems from Rumi, Hafiz and Yunus Emre.  It was a spectacular class!

Bunch of unripe grapes

I don’t share this to make you feel bad if you weren’t there.  There was a particular nugget that stood out for me, and I want to share it with you.

The following is an excerpt from a poem by Yunus Emre:

“Let a word mature inside yourself.

Withhold the unripened thought.

Come and understand the kind of word

that reduces money and riches into dust.”

 

The discussion that followed this poem reminded me of how the meanings from Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal’s book, Music of the Soul, have matured and ripened inside of me over the years.

I often think to myself when I see all of Sidi’s books on my shelf, “but Sidi, I’m still on Music of the Soul.”  And then I laugh to myself.

There is so much wisdom in Music of the Soul and all of these teachings.  Each time I open any of them, I receive gifts I hadn’t noticed before.

Here’s a gift for you, if you choose to accept it:

  • First, say “bismi’llah ir-rahman ir-rahim,” “in the Name of the One, the Most Merciful, the Ever Compassionate.”
  • Then open your favorite inspirational book, preferably one of Sidi’s books or a book of poetry from the mystics. Scan until a line pops out at you.
  • Read this line, and if it feels like a good one for you, place it inside your heart.
  • Spend a few minutes in Remembrance meditation, speaking a Name for God or the phrase “la illaha illa ‘llah” into your heart. Ask the Beloved to feed your heart with the wisdom He has for you.
  • Sit in silence and withhold the unripened thought. Let the words mature inside yourself.
  • When you are ready, come to the Facebook page and share your insights. We’d love to hear from you.

 

Just tried this myself, with Music of the Soul.  Here’s the line I got, from “An Explanation of Al-Wazifa”:

“Know my beloved, and may Allah expand your heart,
that when the believers are ordered to send their prayers and greeting
to the generous Prophet through the words of Allah, Exalted is He,
then Allah and His angels send their blessings upon the Prophet.”

 

I’ll let this mature for a while, however, it does remind me that this coming Monday is the birthday of the Prophet, peace be upon him.  If you feel so called, please join me in sending prayers and greetings for the Prophet on his special day.

 

Wishing you a blessed weekend.  Come share with us on the Facebook page.

With love and gratitude,

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

 

Photo credits: Adobe Stock Photo © Rostislav Sedlacek #118830497

 

 

Healing is not just about struggle…

 
The poet Rumi said, “If you get irritated by every rub, how can your mirror ever be polished?”

When you embark on a path of healing and transformation, sometimes the mirror gets rubbed pretty hard. You might be thinking, “Shouldn’t it be shining pretty bright by now? We’ve been polishing steadily for quite some time!”

scrubbing-mirror-800x450

Fortunately, the mirror can also be polished by washing with the pure water of love, by resting in the arms of the Beloved, by swimming in an ocean of bliss!

If you had your choice of which way to walk the path, which would you choose?

As long as we’re in these dense human bodies, we continue to face challenges, and the challenges of 2016 have been plenty!

So, as we’re nearing the end of this year, remember to take time out for a swim in the ocean – the warm ocean inside your heart, that is. Take time to wash with the pure water and to rest in the arms of Love. Share your heart, your love and your joy with those who uplift your spirit.

The healing doesn’t have to come only through struggle. Allah wants us all to be happy. He wants us all to know his Love.
It’s up to us to take the time and say “YES!”

 

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If you feel called to swim in the ocean of bliss with beloveds, you are invited to join us for the new webinar, “Poetry of the Sufi Mystics: Awaken Your Heart through the Language of Love!”

This event is so special! I don’t know if there’s ever been anything like this.

The emails we’ve been sending out don’t really do it justice. I put together a video with an introduction to the instructors and a little bit about what you will receive.

 
If you have questions about this event, you are welcome to email me or call me. To email, just reply to this email. Or call me at 301-514-0113.

The webinar series begins this coming Wednesday, December 7th, so act now if you want in. Register online or contact me with questions.
For financial questions, contact Maryam Reimer at customercare@sufiuniversity.org. Partial scholarships are available.

Wishing you a blissful swim in the ocean of Love!
With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

NEW WEBINAR! Poetry of the Sufi Mystics: Awaken Your Heart thru the Language of Love!

Do you love the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz?

Their words are more than feel-good poems, they carry secrets to living a life of divine guidance and for healing the heart and soul.

This unique webinar offers you the chance to study with translators and scholars to learn the hidden meanings and transform your life.

Begins this coming Wednesday, December 7th. You’re invited to join us!!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

For more info and registration, CLICK HERE.

 

Gratitude, Abundance, & Sufficiency

We’re in the season of gratitude and giving.   This is a strong community. I believe you are practicing gratitude every day, and perhaps this is a time to spend more time to allow your heart to be expanded by the feelings of gratitude, to turn to Allah in awe for the many gifts we’ve been given.   This time of year can also mean a lot of pressure to over-consume – eating, drinking, buying, gift-giving. It can be a little crazy-making.   I want to offer a perspective on our American culture that might help relieve some of this pressure and also strengthen your trust in Allah, swta.

If you are from another culture and this applies to you, please receive. If this does not apply to you, then insha’llah (God willing) it offers an opportunity for understanding.   The American culture has ingrained in us a mentality of abundance. It carries with it cultural expectations based in material possessions and comforts. If you have children or grandchildren, you see how the television commercials target their sweet little minds and inspire them to want, want, want. And, let’s be honest, there are a few shiny objects that catch our eyes, too, right?   But, let’s take a breath and pan out to gain a broader perspective.   The abundance mindset encourages behaviors of overconsumption that are unhealthy for the body and overtax the planet. This mentality has had a snowball effect on our planet, and most of us have come to depend on the very systems that we aspire to change.   The food systems, the financial systems, the transportation systems – we support them with the demands of our lifestyles, and we abhor them for the imbalances and inequalities they bring among people and the harm they bring to the earth.   What if we could shift to a mentality of sufficiency, which really means trust?   Every human has come to this physical life with certain purposes, and we are each given everything we need to fulfill those purposes. In fact, our teachings tell us that provision is guaranteed – written for us before we are born.   When we aspire to have what our neighbors have or what the culture and advertisements tell us we need to have, we risk getting out of alignment with our purpose. Is this what Allah, swta, wants for us?   When we strive for more than we need, it creates an imbalance that shakes our trust in provision. And we take more from the planet without respect for her resources, which contributes to all the man-made systems that harm the planet in order to provide for our ever-growing needs.   If we want harmony, balance, health and a sustainable future, we have to trust that we will be sufficiently provided for to do what we’ve come here to do.   This holiday season, you might want to think about the consequences of over-consumption. What do you need to spread joy? What do you need to share love? Can you keep your needs – your eating habits and buying habits – in line with the needs of the planet?   Can you bring every action into conscious alignment of your love and service for God?   I encourage you to keep this in mind as you celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend and move into the holiday shopping season.   May your heart be opened to receive all the gifts Allah wants to give you, with gratitude and reverence for His Generosity. With love and gratitude, Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

Your Faith is Your Faith

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Over the past week, several beloveds from the US and around the world attended a memorial gathering in Jerusalem in honor of the one-year anniversary of the passing of our guide, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal.  The event was hosted by Sidi’s son Mahmoud.

Thanks to the work of our beloved Salih Kent and the Shadduli Center and Mahmoud and many others, those who did not attend live could watch a live broadcast each day.

The beloveds shared their photos and videos of their excursions to the holy sites.  They invited us to participate live with them in dhikrs, to participate remotely in a khalwa, an all-night prayer retreat, at the tomb of Musa (Moses), and even to watch the Sufi dervishes whirl with live music, singing, chanting and drumming.

Al-humduli’llah!  Praise Allah!  It was a glorious event, and the broadcast brought many blessings to our hearts!

 

At the same time, here in the US, a number of beloveds continue to express uncertainty and fear about what our future holds since last week’s election.  On one of the broadcasts, someone asked Mahmoud what he thought Sidi would say to us as Americans in light of the election’s outcome.

Though we do not take a stand on politics, I thought you might find his response helpful.  Mahmoud replied, “Politicians are not in any way of a position to affect our faith, our hearts, our stand on matters.”

Your faith is your faith, no matter what happens in the world.  Nothing outside of you has the power to change your faith in God.

It’s helpful to have this reminder.

As long as we are in a human body, it is natural to experience wavering in our love and trust for Allah.  Some days we may feel ecstasy, other days yearning, other days questioning, and other days we may not feel much of anything.

Yet, Allah’s loves for us is eternal and ever-present and does not change.

When matters of the world bring up uncertainty and fear, or shake our trust, this is a time to turn to Allah, praise be to Him, and ask Him to help strengthen our trust and solidify our faith.  We can ask for help to see God’s hand in everything that moves.

If you notice your faith in Allah begin to falter and fear begin to creep in, let it be a reminder to turn to Allah for help.  Let it be an opportunity to strengthen your certainty and trust in Allah.

 

May the peace and blessings of Allah by upon you.

With love and gratitude,

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

A Poem for Today from the Guide

 

One year has passed since the passing of our beloved guide, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal.

His spirit lives on in our hearts.  His teachings live on in our lives.  His words live on in his books.  And his reminder to take the books off the shelf and read and write them lives on in my ears!  :-)

Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal at his desk

Here’s a poem you might enjoy today from his book, The Meadow of Poetic Truths.

 

The Revelation
al-wahee: the angel

The revelation of Love is the revelation of the Prophets,

It is clear like the color of the sky,

It is the exquisite flute expressing mercy.

His being is totally immersed in witnessing divine splendor,

He is the secret of the secrets in the way of love,

Those who are ignorant of this way,

mistake this for inspiration,

Prophecies are his glory.

Allah puts kohl around the eyes of the saints, his friends

The friend of the time expresses the rank of the messenger,

Bringing to light the forgotten books.

This is known only to the people of Love

designated by their Lord as the people of knowledge,

They inherit this way

It is encoded in their bodies,

They recognize the name Allah in all its manifestations,

a gift from the Lord of wisdom.

I am the most loyal of your friends,

Has your gaze not struck me in my heart?

Yet when I see what is around me in this world,

my body grows weary and my heart is in pain,

But this inspires me to increase my surrender to You,

to keep to the covenants,

and to look forward to my release in You.

 

from The Meadow of Poetic Truths,
Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad Said al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i as-Shadhuli

 

When the events of the world cause your body to grow weary and your heart to feel pain, may you be inspired to increase your surrender to Allah, to keep to the covenants, and to look forward to release in Him.

May the peace and blessings of Allah by upon you.

With love and gratitude,

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS