Thursday, July 03, 2014

Number 66 and some random Ramadhan thoughts by Rahal Eks

Digital art by Rahal Eks - 
Allah Abjad mandala with light tile pattern

If you add up the horizontal lines of the Abjad field in my digital artwork above you always get the sum of 66 in each line!

21 + 26 + 19 = 66  / 20 + 22 + 24 = 66 / 25 + 18 + 23 = 66

The same sum is achieved if you happen to add up both diagonal options:

21 + 22 + 23 = 66 / 25 + 22 + 19 = 66

And even when you add up the vertical columns the sum in each also remains 66:

21 + 20 + 25 = 66 / 26 + 22 + 18 = 66 / 19 + 24 + 23 = 66

In the Arabic Abjad system of numerology we get from the letters of the word ALLAH the sum 66! Sixty-six is not to be confused with the number 666 of the Great Beast of the Apocalypse and other more or less esoteric writings of diverse traditions or schools of thought. Let’s please not mix oil and water or get lost in spiritual tourism. 

It is said that Allah is the sum of all the 99 Most Beautiful Names / Qualities / Attributes, and in the Sufi view per se the only Absolute Being, the Source of Existence, the Divinity, the Friend who is at the same time transcendent and immanent, a fact hard to comprehend for the intellect trapped in the 3-D world of duality.

But if we leave the intellect behind at the doorstep of the “Tavern of Ruin”, as announced by Sufi poets of the past, we might get access to taste a special wine that in the school of the followers of Ibn ‘Arabi and Co. has been coined wahdat al-wujud, the unicity of being. Or call it: hameh ust, all is He. Hu! Whatever you choose to name it, it boils down to the same thing.

So in reality there is only one Real Being and that’s Allah!  All else is relative existence, al-khalq, creation, and thus the shadow of the Real, the Truth Al-Haqq!  Note that wujud is also related to the meaning “finding”. And by coincidence Name number 66 on the list of Allah’s Most Beautiful 99 Names is Al-Wahid, the Unique, whose quality is balanced and the related Abjad numerology is 19.

Some people say that the world is sound, others reduce the universe to numbers. Funnily enough, it seems to be both at the same time, and yet so much more. Yet others from a more modern scientific quantum physics background came up with the conclusion that the universe is just like a hologram, we are getting very cuddly with mystic talk here because catch this: when a holographic photo is cut into half, the image is not cut in half, instead we get two smaller versions of the entire and complete original image. Please note that “just” should not mean less in this case using the label and idea of a hologram – it is neither more nor less and also not making our lives more or less real – it just is. It is what it is, and in it is what is in it – fihi ma fihi! That sounds almost as cute and bewildering as some Zen koan, doesn’t it?

“The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth,” said Rumi.

Allah, Khuda, Brahman, Dios, Tanrı, Gott, Bhagavana, Mungu, Ram, Ilaah, Dieu, te Atua, Deus, uNkulunku, Isten, Duw, Jumala, Dio, Gud, Jainkoaren, Astvats, Bog, Zot, Burkhan, Theós, Dumnezeu, Bondye, or God – the Divine is called by many different names. But these names are not labels or brands with a copyright – therefore I felt very bewildered and quite upset when I recently read that in a certain country the Highest Court confirmed a ban on the word Allah for all non-Muslims, even though this word is an Arabic loan word in their language and I thought: What’s the big deal about this, what’s their problem? And for example, what should Christian Arabs say when calling upon God in Arabic? Evidently it would be Allah, which was in use way before the Qur’an came down and before any Muslims peopled the neighborhood. There is only One God, but many names and different religions and spiritual traditions and that is good that way for the healthy sake of cultural and spiritual diversity.

Do I have a problem when someone uses the word God or Allah? I actually don’t, regardless of the speaker or writer’s religion or his or her lack of it. I find it very painful when certain folks in a narrow-minded, hateful, and excluding spirit try to present Islam with an air of presumed superiority while oozing with unbearable intolerance and self-righteousness. To forbid the use of the word Allah by any court is absurd and ridiculous. We may as well say good-bye to common sense and reason.

The Australian Aborigines have a wonderful proverb: “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.”

Rumi conceived of the universe as the body of Allah and all the elements it contains, the stars, the sun, the moon, the mountains, forests, oceans, humans and animals as the organs of the Divine Body. We should love and respect the universe, the transcendent and immanent Divine Being, the Friend who is closer to us than our jugular vein and try and live in harmony with nature and all those who are labeled “the other”, regardless if they are from our same tribe or another one, regardless if they are of our religion or another one or none, regardless if they hold the same gender identity and sexual orientation or another one or both, regardless if they are of the same Tariqa or none or another type of tradition – it is time to extend our limiting identity borders and think and feel in more global, more all-inclusive terms and practice loving kindness, acceptance and tolerance of creation’s diversity manifestations without feeling threatened by the foreigner, the stranger, the asylum seeker, the refugee, the unemployed, the sick, the unfortunate,  the successful, the needy, the rich, the poor, the aged or the young.

It happens to be Ramadhan, the month of the Greater Jihad, or Holy War with the Nafs. Ramadhan Mubarak! Ramadhan Karim!

If you observe the fast please remember Qur’an 2:256: “Let there be no compulsion in religion…” – and try not to judge those who don’t fast because they are traveling, are ill, or have their very personal reasons. Ya Rahman! Ya Rahim! Allah Karim!

Some people fast out of engrained conditioning, even if they should rather NOT fast because they need to take their HIV medication and thus drink and eat. Nobody is required to drop his or her medication and ruin one’s health and get ill or die. We have a responsibility towards our physical wellbeing, even during Ramadhan! It is vital to say yes or no at the right time and for the right cause.

We are also living during an extreme time with the threat of climate change where we actually need a revolution in consciousness and increased awareness for a collaborative spiritual and ethical ecology in harmony with the environment, not to forget to say a loud and clear no to all forms of fanaticism, extremism and negativity and all those who try to gain power via terror, murder and intimidation. No to fear!

“Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition…” Qur’an 13:11.

While Hazrat Amir Khusraw asks two mystical questions: “Teshna raa che mibaayad? Melaap ko kyaa chaahiye?...” (What is required for the thirsty person? What is required for union?”)… These lines can be heard refrain-like in entrancing and uplifting Qawwali songs. Perhaps you’ll find the answer for your personal path to reach the goal? They say “Uwaysis” are rare and it is best to find a friend, guide and teacher in order to not get lost on dangerous sidetracks or in the wilderness. He or she has done the trip and knows the terrain of life’s theater stage.

In his book THE WAY OF THE SUFI Idries Shah quoted Abu Said: To be a Sufi is to put away what is in your head: imagined truth, preconceptions, conditionings – and to face what may happen to you…”

Bon voyage! Ishq bashad wa Baraka bashad, saludos Rahal

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Slightly wet - by Rahal Eks

Photo by Rahal Eks - a touch of color in gloomy water

It was not exactly a colorful day, the crowd was plagued by rather gray gloom with showers, and for my taste a quite cold temperature for this time of the year. Somehow it didn't fit the official beginning of summer date, not in feeling or matching with the out-of-season weather-wise fact. In German there is a saying "ins Wasser gefallen" - literally and symbolically meaning: it fell into the water. And this is how it sums up the gist of the event or rather non-event. Even though all in all there were three CSD Pride events scheduled in Berlin this year. It sounds like the holy trinity and one wonders: "Why three and not one?" Well, the answer is not very orthodox-religious as you can guess when reading one of my raps. 

CSD Pride event number 1 was the commercial mainstream gig, the one that has very little to do with the original spirit of the Christopher Street protest for LGBTI rights when things started way back in another era and another place with different people and some honest umph. 

CSD Pride event number 2 was a one-shot rattle-the-cage-intention gig with an urgent political message, protesting in front of the Ugandan Embassy and then in front of the Russian Embassy - and we all know why, due to their respective recent anti-LGBTI laws. 

CSD Pride event number 3 was the one in Berlin Kreuzberg, formerly known as the alternative "transgenial CSD" - but this year the name was gone, the route minimalised, and in short one could call it a mini-gig. Rumors of why things didn't happen as in the previous years were numerous and I don't need to get into any of that in this context here. At least this event still took place at all - Al-Hamdulillah - considering other cities on this planet where any Pride March is forbidden to begin with, or being attacked by retrograde forces of the united phobia-tribes of Gloomistan. 

So I had opted to attend the event in Kreuzberg. It started late but hopeful, and as time went by more and more people showed up. The speech contributions in German, Turkish, French and English were all spot on and addressing vital issues for all queers and Co. including asylum seekers and to drum up solidarity on a wider scope. 

Slowly the march began to move - the route was only two and a half blocks - and by the time the destination was reached where further speeches and performances on a stage were planned it suddenly began to rain and I got slightly wet, jumping quickly for shelter into one of the bars of Oranienstrasse. 

Today is another day, but the weather still sucks. I know, this too shall pass - "inam migsare" - so I try to focus on the blessings and get some more writing done...

Ishq bashad, saludos Rahal

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

THE ALIF by Rahal Eks

The Alif 

White on black background:
The Alif illuminates the inner vision,
reminding relative being of the uniqueness
of the first letter's absolute existence.

From the Alif we came,
like the rest of the letters of the alphabet -
to the Alif we shall return,
after completing the cyclic journey
through the world of duality -
from the One towards the One,
although there is really nothing but the One - 
yet the many are manifestations of the Unique...
Unity within diversity - a reality rarely perceived
by the veiled illusionary self
focusing on the temporary delights
of the outer world.

Equally veiled and asleep is he or she
who exclusively gets hypnotized
by the endlessly changing stream of inner visions.

When the inner and the outer vision merge
and only the Alif remains
have we woken up to
"There is no reality but the reality" -

'Ishq bashad wa Baraka bashad, saludos Rahal

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Archaeologists might have found the tomb of Alexander the Great

Polish archaeologists have found a mausoleum of marble and gold which might be the tomb of Alexander the Great. The place is located in a zone of Alexandria, Egypt, known as Kom El-Dikka.

Below a link to an article that came out in Spanish:

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Museum of Islam planned in N.Y.

A three-story museum "dedicated to exploring the faith of Islam and its arts and culture" is planned in New York. Check the article at the link below.