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THE JOURNEY BEYOND BEING

O God, Most High:

We behold the spectacle that You have laid out before us, Your most original and striking works made in the most perfect form, to which You invite our gaze. We behold things and events that, in their interrelation, are the most brilliant and well-proportioned of Your dazzling pictures. The manifestation of all Your beauties draws out from the bosom of nature a variety of colors unfolding as if in a book of art. Bearing witness to You by the writing of Your Pen, and in accordance with Your Book which You have written with that Pen, our spirits have taken wing, and we have gained sight of the source of all things in the light of Your Names. Voices and music of celestial harmonies are heard everywhere, and our hearts are ravished by the mystery of the sacred archetypes, which are the fountain of all things.

Through the eye of the heart we have grasped the essential identity between the kernel of belief and the touba tree in Paradise, (into which that kernel will grow). We have risen to make a journey extending far into the realms beyond being. On this journey Your holy Book has guided our spirits, setting out a vision of Your Names and Attributes, and leading to eternity. You have described to us the journey to Yourself, mapped it out in the minutest detail, and pictured it in the mi‘raj (Ascension) of Your holy Servant, peace and Your blessings be upon him, his miraculous ascent through the Seven Heavens to Your Presence. That journey is possible to any man or woman who has knowledge of You through his or her spirit. If we have gone too far in touching the latch of the gates of Your mysteries, we ask forgiveness for the discourtesies of our coarse, immature souls that are ignorant of rules and proprieties.

O Creator, Most High and Most Beautiful, Who brought us into this existence and allowed us to feel the infinite pleasure thereof. You have opened to us vast worlds as a book. You have made our consciousness the shore at which Your Divine mysteries lap, and so enabled us to have a sense of those mysteries. If You had not unfolded to us as in a book these magnificent worlds, if You had not disclosed Yourself to us, according to our capacity to understand, by sending Prophets, we would not have known You at all.

If You had not established connections between nature and our inner experiences, and endowed us with an innate perception by means of which we might arrive at true knowledge and true gnosis, we could never hope to know Your Divine Essence or anything sure about You. How, then, could we have felt admiration for Your Path? We are Your bonded servants, and the recurrent flashes reflected in our consciousness are rays from Your Existence. Whatever we own is entirely by Your gift and favor. We declare this once more, confessing that we are Your obedient slaves, who never look for release, but rather long to renew our bonds.

O Ruler of hearts, on the remembrance and meditation of Whom hearts are fixed, we strive to determine the ways leading to Your Presence and the windows opening upon Your Existence. Sometimes we seek by delving into the reality of things and events, and sometimes by relying upon our intuition. Our goal is to communicate what we receive from You to those whose hearts are sick and whose minds are barren, and to remain faithful to the sublime truths that have been shown there in the clearest possible way.

No doubt we have committed errors and indulged our fancies and whims, for we have not been able to offer the most manifest truths in their essential purity.

If we have made mistakes, we made them while seeking You and trying to guide others. If we have made mistakes, we have made them on the way to You. But a mistake is still a mistake. With broken hearts, spirits doubled up, and necks in chains, we appeal to Your generous judgment. We make this confession, knowing that Your unbounded Mercy always overcomes Your Wrath. It is not becoming for Your humble slaves, especially those You have favored, to commit mistakes. Yet since they do, graciously permit me to remark that mercy and forgiveness are becoming most of all to You.

O Ruler of my heart. To the Ruler belongs the Royal manner that befits Him, just as servitude befits a slave. If You forgive us, we should wish to study the book of Your universe anew so as to pay attention to the voices that tell of You. We should wish to witness the signs of Your Existence, and to be enraptured by the songs about You, so that we may reach Your holy realm. By Your Graciousness, assist those who are in need!

Last Updated on April 6, 2002

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