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Contemplation Themes

Sheikh Abdul Aziz periodically collates themes for contemplation, which come from a variety of sources including the writings of Hazreti Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and other Sufi masters, as well as the Hadith or sayings of the Prophet Mohammed and the Holy Qur’an. They are a focus for reflection and a source of inspiration and both spiritual and practical nourishment.


Current contemplation themes

The themes below are collated from gatherings of the Sufi Circle.

Sufi Circle 21 March 2017

“This is the Book of the Mathnawi, which is the roots of the roots of the roots of the Faith in respect of its unveiling the mysteries of attainment (to the Reality) and of certainty; and which is the greatest science of God and the clearest way of God and the most manifest evidence of God. The likeness of the light thereof is as a niche in which is a lamp shining with a radiance brighter than the dawn.”(i)

Mathnawi Book 1, opening lines of the Preface


Listen to the reed how it tells a tale, complaining of separations…….
None that is raw understands the state of the ripe: therefore my words must be brief. Farewell!(ii)

Mathnawi Book 1, vv.1;18



The Quranic reference here is to the famous ‘Light’ verse, Surah 24 An-Nur (Light), v.35 which begins:
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. This lamp is kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth of itself though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is knower of all things.”
This is a deeply mystical verse, much loved by the Sufi mystics, and the Surah continues on in the next verse to make reference to ‘dhikr Allah’ (remembrance of Allah), so central to Sufi practice, as in “men whom neither merchandise nor sale beguileth from remembrance of Allah and constancy in prayer and paying to the poor their due…”
The ‘Light’ verse is often referred to and commented on, including in a work devoted to it by the great Mevlevi Sheikh Ismail Ankaravi (d.1631), the Sheikh of the Galata Mevlevihane, in his commentary on the ‘Light’ verse entitled Misbah al-Asrar (translated as The Lamp of Mysteries by Bilal Kuspinar, published by Anqa Publishing). Sheikh Ismail Ankaravi also wrote a large Commentary on the Mathnawi.

(ii) The reed is the ‘ney’, the reed flute, used in Mevlevi ceremonies.
These first words of the inspired verses of the Mathnawi are famous. The reed is the human soul torn from its Source and sent down into the world to make its painful journey of knowledge and consciousness to its return whence it came.

The transformative experience of the pain of separations is moulded and developed by Love-desire - the mystical ‘ishq’ (love) of the soul experience which is beyond intellectual grasp. Just as music acts on us beyond the intellect but in the world of feeling, so too does the mystical Love-desire, like a pain and an ecstasy, transport us into proximity and return. There is ‘blood’ to be spilled on this journey, and the realization of the Divine comes in to the heart emptied and cleansed of all attachment and personality.

When the reed is empty, devoid of its own desires, then the fire of Love is breathed into it and the music of our life is played through the channel of our being.

Rumi says, we must become an empty vessel, and the music, which plays from us as the breath of the Divine plays through us, is full of the pain and the ecstasy of the mystical journey. The raw cannot understand the state of the ripe, he says, but the music resonates in us nevertheless, calling us, reminding us, of our own longing, our own separation.

The journey it speaks of, lies ahead for each one of us, the mystery unfolds, and each of us has to make our own journey. The Mathnawi is our guide.

Alhamdullilah wa shukrulillah
Praise be to God and thanks be to God.