Hijab again

If only they understood what “hijab” really means in the Divine Schemata of the Qur’an. We’ve forgotten so much. I’m near my last sigh with this forgetful people. I’m in despair: this wretched city and its false teachers, the ubiquitous silent consent to their banal blasphemy. Someone’s been at work here: after all, the best strategy to wipe all memory of her Wonder is to render ordinary the pages of Her Beauty within the minds of the citizens.

Hijab has nothing to do with women’s fashion or consumerism. Or even “modesty” in the commonplace sense.

Hijab is the nature of our relationship to Reality and Truth (al Haq). It is perception because all perception of Truth is through a veil.

Hijab is prescribed because we perceive always through a veil and we cannot escape perception. But to wear a hijab tailored according to the principles of the Deen of True Islam — protected under a sky-veil fashioned according to the sunnah of Prophetic perception — to see with Muhammed’s eyes and hear with Muhammed’s ears … That’s the hijab Allah gifts us, if we choose the straight path.

A roadmap to Victory

Transcript of a recent hutba from Sheikh Tu Complex, Imam of the 12th Secret Tailorite Mosque, Medina.

1.

Y’know, a lot of folk are wondering what’s to become of the ummah: where the hope lies, how the body of our deen might be arise from the ashes of past indignities, external colonization, internal failures. Thinking that recent events might even signal a victorious vector of acceleration toward our greater renaissance, an epiphany of the Caliphate’s return.

Soon we will become emptied, ourselves outwards from this Blessed Makom and go forth and perform works, inshallah, that will become components of a vector of Victory. Soon jummah will be over and the week will commence again. But while we stand upright at this Makom, my friends, space filled with Love, our selfhood about to extend, angels smiting the backs like dough, kneaded, as we stand reciting in, directed out absolutely in Sanctified and Supported Salat — speaking from beneath the laden boughs of Tranquility, that vector is frozen and may be apprehended in apprehension of Her Most Fearful Knowledge, and our temporal revolutions are perceived by our Godspell as a crack, traced in a living ice, a crystal’s molecular pre-destiny, crystalized according to the Grace of His Glorious Mercy.

And so, at this moment, at this fixed point of our worship’s recursion, I ask you a series of questions. A renaissance of what, exactly? A victory? But what is victory? What constitutes our renaissance here? What is the Caliphate? What is a King? What is indignity? For that matter, what, friends, is Islam?

I may ask you these questions, and grant you a flock of answers, if you have ears to hear and eyes to see … and the crook to shepherd.

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Communication links

Hey fellow space cadets, this is your friendly neighbourhood T. here, with a couple of methodology/experiential notes I thought I might share with you:

– Think that the teacher’s just “you” at a later date, metaphorically.
– Turns out it was the case, no metaphor, in reality. But what’s reality?
– I asked her a broader question relating to the language, missing the point, he asked me a broader question relating to my language, missing the point.
– Think that the student’s just “you” at an earlier date.
– Turns out it was metaphoric, not reality.
– Yes, it’s one line, but it became seven just then in my mind.
– I played it out just then like a Hajaric to-and-fro.

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Solar flares

1. The 7 fold circuit of Shams

By the Sun and her brightness
And the Moon when he follows her
And the Day when he displays her
And the Night when he covers her (Qur’an 91:1-4)

Surah 91, Al Shams (“The Sun”), like the Qur’an itself, is grounded in tension with polytheism: because it asserts the unity of the One Love but, in asserting, is voiced according to a process of emanation dictated by entities that, in other cultures and times, have been called gods.

The Unity of Love expresses itself by means of a vow made over a multiplicity of primordial deities. (Historically we know that the ancient religions of the Middle East took the Sun and the Moon for gods.) It’s a typically Qur’anic paradox and constitutes Allah’s delight, His graceful smile.

In contemporary times, these gods might be called archetypes or governing psycho-physical principles. All these terms carry a kind of baggage of assumptions with them, different forms of baggage across different times. And this baggage obscures our gaining anything from reading of the surah. A a Sufi, I ought to argue that we must discard our assumptions first before even opening the page on this surah. Quite right, but then you might ask me “How?”.

Thankfully, the “How” is encoded within the surah itself: in a sense it short-circuits our assumptions on what the Sun is by presenting us with the Sun as it is, inspiring us with its light. For the surah itself is the light of that Sun: it is the inspiration of Absolute Knowledge, transmitted down into the bioliterary subsystems that constitute the multicore processor that is humanity’s cyclical circuitry of self-contemplation/calculation.

The Qur’an (as the felt effect of Absolute Knowledge) corrects our assumptions in its recitation, not by deconstructing them (as we often do in Sufism) but by presenting us with the real deal: the sun’s light as a metaphotonic inspirational functor.

Light is Divine Love and Truth and Knowledge in transmission to the lover: “Her brightness”. It is therefore wrong to think of the Sun as a fixed object of worship, a privileged archetype that is fixed in its psychological or astrological influence. Rather, the Sun is called a source of inspiration inasmuch as She is subject to the Her “proportion”, the “proportion” of the nafs, human psychology/representation, the map of the human psyche within which She is defined as a source. But this map is one of signs in transmission, not in stasis. The proportion is transmissive, the proportion is the circuitry by which the Sun’s Truth is felt.

And the transmission takes the form of metaphotonic data transfer, an exchange whose mythopoetic description both houses and yields the result.

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The movements of the nafs

I’ve found the following “view” of the nafs and its seven levels personally helpful. It’s an action, actually, one of reflection.

The nafs is not something we hold or possess, to be eliminated (like, say, a suite of base drives and desires).

The nafs is ultimately about the owner, rather than anything owned. But it’s only useful to speak about the nafs when that speech moves through the reflective action I am trying to put voice right now.

And that speech, viewed from an “external” perspective, has the appearance of a categorization of types of being, modes of comportment towards others (e.g., the “Commanding Nafs” is a mode of being heavy towards others, the “Self-Accusing Nafs” is a kind of conscience, etc).

But that’s an external morality, and Sufism is not a moral science. These movements of the nafs are not to be viewed as subdivisions or ranks of a spiritual progress. They’re not personality types nor are they boy scout badges to be earned.

The movements of the nafs are not so much modes of comportment towards others but, in essence, movements of a symphony of transmission, a symphony that is sometimes called Gnosis or Wisdom. These movements run through any kind of relationship to anything and everything (yes, relationships with others, but also with mathematics, biology, the study of Hamlet, contemplation of a single word, speech acts, sex acts, acts of war, generations, reincarnation … ).

Most importantly, these movements of the nafs are modes of comportment toward understanding what the thing called the nafs is in the first place! To know who the “individual” is (because the “individual” is the nafs). That is, they are movements of self-study, first and foremost.

And here we come to a problem with the whole equation of “nafs” and “individual”. To say “movements of nafs are self-study of the nafs” has a connotation of an individual engaged in some kind of self-reflection. And that connotation has its basis in an idea about what an individual is: so to say “self-reflection” here already has an idea of what the conclusion of that action will be, built in. For example, an individual that is separate from others. Or more mystically, an individual that is part of a sum, a unity, or perhaps an illusion of ego. For the philosophers out there, it’s a Cartesian Meditation that begs the question. (Descartes already thinks he has the cogito when doubts his own existence.)

And overcoming/release of that problem is initiated in the very first movement, what is called the Nafs of Commandment. From the perspective of study, this movement is one through what Sufis call scattered forms of information, a scattered, infinity of broken mirror shards. This scattered information are the closest thing we get to a Cartesian cogito (“Information is scattered, therefore there exists a commandment/creation”). Each other movement is, in essence, a gathering of that which was scattered. Until we gather enough to grok what it was we meant by the Nafs in the first place.

Mathematically, we’re talking about this kind of self-reflective “fixed-point”
X = 7Movements(X)
where X is a marker, the “Nafs”.

That’s going in one direction though. Like Bach’s “A Musical Offering”, the movements run backwards and forwards. If we were to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow so to speak, we have a characterisation of how the fact of the matter (of the nafs) gets back to “us”, and how we can in fact even be studying this stuff, hearing this music in its fantastic entirety, even though we’re just standing there at the cosmic hi-fi, still holding the CD in our hands, having not yet even put it in the machine.

Mathematically,
7Movements = X(7Movements)

Iqra y’all.

You are about to return from the little Egypt to the greater Egypt

I went and bought myself a ticket and I sat down in the very first row
They pulled the curtain but then when they turned the spotlight way down low
Little Egypt came out a-struttin’ wearin’ nothin’ but a button and a bow
Singing, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying

She had a ruby on her tummy and a diamond big as Texas on her toe
She let her hair down and she did the hoochie-coochie real slow
When she did her special number on the zebra skin I thought she’d stop the show
Singing, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying

She did her triple somersault and when she hit the ground
She winked at the audience and then she turned around
She had a picture of a cowboy tatooed on her spine
Said, Phoenix, Arizona 1949

Yeh, let me tell you people Little Egypt doesn’t dance there anymore
She’s too busy mopping and a-takin’ care of shopping at the store
‘Cos we’ve got seven kids and all day long they crawl around the floor
Singing ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying

A planning dispute

My neighbour would have put up barbed wire
along the fence demarcating his yard from mine
to make his home a compound,
protection from invisible thieves and murderers:
but if he only knew, those sharp and twisted lines of paranoia
themselves mark out the actual map of crime.

I protested and said: “My brother, please take down this wire:
for my family and I love our our garden, and my daughters will play,
my wife and I will rest and speak here, and that summer joy will be
marred by the ugliness you have laid down out of cold fear.”

My demand was comprehended, but only partially:
he took down the wire, yet laid it, still, further below his fence.
Now out of our view, so
my family and I enjoy our our garden, my daughters to play,
my wife and I to rest and speak. That happiness is.
Yet his garden continues to be protected thus by the invisible map of crime.

You see, this is a cultural affair,
and his people are a dumb and unsympathetic culture.
An English defense is what he would be, but his purity is far from pure,
and his lineage is as mongrel as mine.
While, though my purity is far from pure,
and my lineage as mongrel as his,
a guardian of Albion’s one True Faith is
what I have been, what I will become, what I AM.