Explorer kits at the Natural History Museum

The other day I brought my daughter and her cousin (visiting us from Kazakhstan) to the Natural History Museum. They hire out “Junior Explorer packs” for children under 7, fun backpacks full of activities to encourage investigation of the museum, spot the object games, colouring in booklets and so on. They come with a cute little safari helmet. We hadn’t been for a while, but she remembered the packs from last time so asked me to collect one for her. “The ones with the explorer hat, Daddy”

But when I asked the man at the desk, he looked the children over and suggested that both are probably old enough now for the 7+ activity set, a more serious and studious collection of scientific facts, museum routes, experiments and research activities. Minus the safari helmet. They accepted this new set happily.

And I became filled with that peculiarly parental combination of deep melancholy and overwhelming anticipation, at what beautiful innocent forms her sweet soul has passed through, forms that I have been blessed to witness beside her, and at what she moves into presently, into such glorious grown up worlds: she shall enter them brilliantly and, soon enough, alone.

No longer a little explorer, but forever the explorer, inshallah.

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Seven questions for the Tailor

Isra and Mi'raj
Seven questions make for a mini-Mi'raj.
1) Do you believe in a concept of heaven & hell?

Yes, you might be surprised to hear that I believe in these concepts in the literal sense of an afterlife that you head off to as an individual self — in contrast to some mystics who will insist these things are merely states of being one-with-God/far-from-God that we can enter into right now. That said, of course I take all mysticism seriously.

2) Do you believe atheists will go to hell?

Only the ones that are unrepentant pedophiles, mass murderers etc. Richard Dawkins is presumably going to heaven because I suppose he truly loves both Darwin and Lilla Ward (his wife and former Doctor Who companion). If you love in the right kind of way — let’s call it “True Love” — even if you end up manifesting that Love through a temporary idol, no problem. Idolatry is only a problem when it becomes fixated and manifests a fascism of the soul, whose expression is Hatred.

3) Do you believe Allah is omnipotent and omnicient?

Probably not in the conventional sense meant by either of these two things.

4) Why did Allah bother creating us?

Because Allah is Time (see the hadiths) and Time requires a subject to move through it to an End: hence there are subjects that move forward in Time (that is, Life).

Another way of saying the same thing for me: because God is Love (see the Gospels) and Love requires a love story in which a lover to moves through ups and downs and eventually meets a happy ending: hence there are subjects that move forward in the Love Story (that is, Life).

Note that this is not a proper “reason”, but an equation that you can either take in faith or leave.

5) Have you ever experienced a paranormal event?

If you mean something that can be empirically validated to have violated the known laws of physics, then no. After all, “empirical violation of physics” is an oxymoron, no?

On the other hand, I have spoken directly to Elvis, and often find the Divine peeping out at me in the strangest of places (e.g., a perfume advertisement, a carton of milk, a piece of pop music, reading the “difficult” hadiths posted in anti-Islamic forums, listening to nutcase sheikhs on the occasions when I attend mosque and of course the things around me that I really, truly madly and deeply Adore). When this occurs, I write the result down in my blog and then proselytize to the world.

6) On a fundamental level, do you accept that you could be reading too much into things?

Yes. On a fundamental level, my idea of spirituality is as surplus or excess of meaning within all things, from chairs, to milk, to the good that is done, to the bad that is done, to warfare, to family, to the solar system, higher order type theory and to the Qur’an.

When one truly Loves another person, they perceive an excess, an overflow of meaning from their lover. To Love the world is to read it until its meaning overflows. To Love the Qur’an is to locate the source of this overflow.

This means I might well be deluded, but happily so. Unlike some sheikhs who attempt to restrict all overflow of meaning by definition. Their shariah restricts and binds all meaning, a sacrificed child of the Mind to the idol of objective reality. In contrast, my shariah derives from over-consumption of wine, though (in paradox) this is forbidden by itself.

7) Are you an extremely romantic person?
Yes, extremely.

Four wives

Four wives
Four wives

And if your love is only sufficient to maintain one wife alone, then may
your knowledge be from a river of purest water,
The river of life, from which every living thing is formed,
Whose tributaries form proof trees,
Whose waves our ships negotiate,
Whose games we play,
Whose flow marks our Time.

Here is life.

Fish of different species argue about their colours,
but their colours only add to water’s proof.
And a Wife of Water is sufficient for you to find your Lord.

Continue reading “Four wives”

A Tailor’s methodology

Salaam Hala,
> Salam. Let me first say that i really appreciate your kind reply and you not
> getting upset with my answer…for of course you guessed i was responding to
> your post! My respect for your peaceful equanimity, measured reaction, and
> openess to accept criticism.
And my utmost respect for your questioning and allowing us to share in your search!
I presume you are talking about my blog piece on prophecy and madness?
Let me respond with a few clarifications to my intent, which probably won’t help much,
but I should give, because you were kind enough to read my piece.
> And, while i really like and admire the interpretation you have for this
> verse of the Quran, applying it to the feminine and the masculine part of
> any human being, my soul is having a bit of a problem following you this
> far. It is said that every single verse of the Quran has seventy different
> meanings, but your genial and elaborated interpretation of this verse is a
> bit too intellectual for me.
In which case, you are talking about the interpretation given by the Professor character
to this verse. Which, as you say, is an “intellectual” interpretation.
Note, however, that by the end of the piece, the Builder attempts to show that,
strictly speaking, there are no interpretations of the Qur’an. Including this intellectual interpretation
and any “literalist” interpretation. They are both inauthentic. Salafi sheikhs often say that metaphor
is the brother of lying. I say that interpretation — which is basically metaphoric equations — is the brother of lying.
So, let me make it clear. The “intellectual” interpretation given by the Professor is inauthentic,
up to the point where we take it as an interpretation along the lines of the equation
“the wife = Creativity”
Similarly, the “literalist” interpretation given by, for instance, a Salafi, is also inauthentic, up to the
point where it is taken as an equation
“the wife = a physical wife within a social family unit”
Yes? So perhaps your next point is actually not far from the Builder’s conclusion at the end of the piece:
> Furthermore, my personal belief is that verses
> of the Quran first flow in one’s heart, are first experienced in the heart
> and find their natural meaning there,a meaning individually revealed in each
> heart just like the Quran was originally individually revealed to our
> Beloved Prophet, probably with a slightly different meaning in each heart
> depending on that heart’s specific inclination ( this might answer your
> question of why some verses are left ambiguous enough, just to accomodate
> different meanings in different hearts). Then, and only then, after passing
> through the Light and Insight of the heart, the Quran verses are channeled
> to the mind and complete/refine their interpretation there.
>
> However, to give the verse about the Beating of Wives only the profound
> interpretation you give it, i am forced to first analyse it with my brain,
> give it an intellectual meaning, then channel it retrograde into the heart,
> and my own heart is not good at accepting philosophical discussions when it
> comes to matters of God.
I think I agree with you. But perhaps we differ on my methodology, my hermeneutics.
How can we achieve this Insight of the heart, as you call it?
Provided you remain silent and do not think about the verses in the way we are thinking about them,
then you are cool, basically.
But the Insight is lost the moment you think about the verses in an interpretive fashion
(for example, the moment you get angry at someone
who uses them to justify domestic violence — and indeed I HAVE got vocally angry with a Sheikh for
precisely this, and make no apologies for it). I am a guardian of the Faith, so this is
the position I personally find myself in, hence the methodology is probably quite tailored to my own
life.
The achieving of Insight is complicated, because the moment you talk about a “meaning” of a verse, you are in interpretation
land, and are inauthentic. The Insight of the heart is essentially a Prophetic gnosis. I certainly
cannot achieve this constantly. But I have a means of attempting this and it always involves
the Professor and Builder.
Let me sketch it: (If you are interested, I can explain further.)
1) The approach takes the form of an initial privileged interpretation (the one the Professor gave actually).
It is intellectual, as you say. But it is self referential, because it opens up the entire cosmos of perception
through its interpretation. For example, here my entire field of perception is equated with the Wife. Still inauthentic,
still intellectual, as you say.
2) But through this reading, I attempt to get a “lock” on the sparks of Light that are within the signs. Call them the Names
if you want. Whatever, these sparks are in deferral to the Beloved and they are precisely what is embedded within every
sign of life around us. In particular, the Qur’an is a set of Bricks that, if “locked onto” in this way, intimate the Light and
thus guide us on the path. At this point I become the Builder, because I can see the pure structure of the verses microscopically —
not in interpretation — but in pure deferral to the Beloved. So my structure — the reading I create for myself — the reading
the Professor gave me — becomes a masjid (a structure that defers to God).
3) When I get a “lock” on these sparks, building my Masjid, I know that I my reading is no longer an “interpretation”
(neither intellectual nor literal nor anything else). And I know that this has been achieved because the Daughter/Wife has
descended upon/emerged from me. This physical feeling is what I would call the Insight of the Heart. And, for a
while at least, the Daughter/Wife is present within that particular Masjid.
That’s the point I make. The garden abides within speech. And, while we can obtain insight through avoiding the Qur’an directly,
and fleeing from jihad, through living within the Big Fish as Jonah did, it is also possible to obtain this Insight through direct reading.
The garden abides within speech.
The Builder is building a house of prayer. And my garments are worn within it.
Now stand back (and perhaps stop reading if you are of a sensitive disposition), because I will now tie this up to the recent discussion regarding planes of the Mi’raj.
Later, offline, I will attempt to be the Builder — you can try this at home too, if you wish — but ask your parents’ permission first!
The Wife is the Insight that emerges within the Real: whose self-representation for us (as meta-signifiers and totalizing symbolic
functions) is governed by Adam and Jesus. She is Eve, but reoriented to become Mary (both of them).
(If you are following this at home: The Wife should descend/emerge between Adam’s intention and John’s proclamation that God is Great.)
Through marriage to this Wife (through turning his back, not sleeping with the disobedient wife — Potiphar’s wife —
she is transmuted into the reformed pagan Asenath), the becoming of Joseph is facilitated.
(If you are following this at home: stand beautifully because the upright are beautiful, finding freedom in imprisonment,
always avoiding the seduction from below.)
And this becoming is  the sunnah, which is inscribed in the Reality of the Quran by the agency of Idris the Tailor,
internalized and rendered as a heavenly scribe. (Without this agency, no inscription would hold  this Divine Insight).
(If you are following this at home: do not be afraid, emerge from that sea and READ the verses!)
As the hadiths tell us, the Father and Uncle of the Daughter/Wife are Aaron and Moses, respectively. In my personal journey, they are the Professor
and the Builder. They travel together in diamond dialectic. In isolation, the Professor’s “intellectual” interpretation (including the one I am
writing right now) will become a golden calf for the tribe. The Daughter could in fact become equated with a
Daughter of God, rather than of Man. (See the other discussion we have been having regarding that verse).
And so that’s why the two necessarily travel together.
Aaron’s “intellectual” interpretation, when given in tandem with his brother the Moses, ceases to be
an interpretation in fact. Its self-referential character — the fact that it is indeed a Father of the Daughter (again
I am self-referential here because I speak as the Professor myself at the 5th heaven) — renders it a receptacle, a container,
a question. This is then answered, filled by the the Mosaic channel.
The perfect question/answer session: the perfect way of reading.
(If you are following this at home: you have read, so now make ruku in question and become a receptacle to the channel of Light obtained through raising yourself up again in itidal)
All this happens in the recitation — through reading — and recitation itself is rendered possible by these agencies. By virtue of everything that
came before, particularly our gendered nature and in particular through this Wife of Man, this Daughter of Aaron this Niece of Moses.
But of course the nature of this channel is one that derives from Abraham’s position: with this we build a Masjid at the 7th heaven.
The Professor and the Builder are matyred here. And I am left alone, my reading led me to this place, I arranged the signs and,
ascended the ladder and threw it away. I am face down at the feet of my Lord.
(If you are following this at home: you have passed through the diamond dialectic, and now it becomes serious.)
> breathed in, not reached through analytical thinking. So are His language
> and all other types of communications with Him. There is this hadith about
> our Beloved Prophet saying: “Whatever was put in my heart i poured in the
> heart of Abu Bakr”, quite reinforced by the Uwayssi tradition. The Prophet
> (saws) was “ummi”, of which one of the meanings is “illiterate”, meaning it
> is God who gave him his insights and understanding, more through revelation
> (in the heart) than analytical thinking (in the mind). Hence your beautiful
> translation of this verse is very possible, and you definitely showed genius
> (an intense synonym of inspiration), in reaching it, but it is an additional
> interpretation, and not the basic one meant.
Ah, I said I wouldn’t speak of my silsilah. But you mentioned it. Ooohwhatagiveaway!
> Brother Musa, and you also react to criticism beautifully. Thank you again
> for not getting upset with my response. We pray fervently that the true
> meaning of women verses in the Quran be revealed to sufi males and females
> of the 21st century. And that, despite the humility and lack of recognition
> most women carry their role of bringing up and educating future generations,
> the hand that rocks the cradle, the feet that open Heaven, and and one of
> the three most beloved manifestations to the Chieftain of existence retain
> the inherent respect and worth they were given by the AllMighty, His Book,
> His Beloved, and the Sunna of His Beloved.
If you have read to the bottom of this response, thank YOU!
I should also point out that I really would not mind if all the sheikhs in the world —
and in particular — all the Muslim men of the world — simply adopted the Professor’s
intellectual interpretation regarding the verses. Most of them already have an interpretation
in mind — so why not one which is not harmful?
But of course I would not follow such a sheikh myself. The True Reading s
not within interpretation — it is within the dialectic dialectic.
Love and Light,
Musa the TailorI presume you are talking about my blog piece on prophecy and madness?

heartA sister on the path had read his narration of the Professor and Builder and the verses concerning the treatment of wives in a marriage dispute.

She said: “Your interpretation of the verses (as always) is appealing. Your Professor character says that, whenever ‘wives’ are mentioned in the Qur’an, something deeper is going on — that it is the Feminine aspect of the human psyche that is at question, not biological women as such. And that the Feminine aspect is present in men and women, biologically. And that this aspect can also be seen in some sense as a form of Sakina: the Divine presence that permeates our world (and is Feminine because our world is engendered). I totally get it.”

“And yet — it is still an interpretation: a very clever, scholarly, well-researched interpretation … and somehow I feel that this interpretation — as an interpretation — is one of the intellect, while the Truth of the Qur’an transcends human intellect. The Truth of God’s verses must surely appear to us as an Insight of the heart, not the mind.”

He replied thus:

Continue reading “A Tailor’s methodology”

The Mi’raj, the Real and the Symbolic

Here is a talk given in London by a couple of academics. It coincides with our understanding of the Mi’raj (in the post below) via pop culture, continuous mathematics, psychoanalysis and constructive logic.

Continue reading “The Mi’raj, the Real and the Symbolic”

The Mi’raj

The Isra and Mi'raj
The Isra and Mi'raj

The seven heavens are regulating meta-curvatures of the Real. The seven heavens regulate all journeys through the space of differentiation we call life.

At a molar level, they are experienced as symbolic functions that predicate over everything we say, think, act, perceive. While at the molecular level, they are indeed aspects of the Real that can be felt, just as much as I feel the pain of a stubbed toe or the delight of a lover’s kiss.

All of us experience the modalities of these heavens as regulating symbolic functions. We all experience them symbolically because they govern our journey through the Symbolic (our life as signification). Also, from time to time, we encounter their molecular aspect in a physical sensation of the Truth given by their Aeon in the Real. Prophecy of course maintained this pure physical engagement successfully during the event of Miraj itself.

Nothing I tailor has not been fashioned already by the Final Son of Seth. I merely weave according to fashion, need and style, these things determined by the game I was born into.

But here is a little addendum:

1. Adam

Whenever I talk about the Real, the basis of my Truth lies in the Symbolic Function of Adam, predicating over all my talk of the Real, all philosophy I speak.

The function’s totalizing nature derives from its effect as the Aeon of Adam in his original form, the Body that was Taught the Names and became sublimated so that our journey to return to his perfection in absolute proximity to the Divine might become our exhalted mode of Love above all other creation.

Sublimated, this Body becomes the psychological impossibility of the Real. The Real is known to us — and can be spoken about — only through a function of impossibility, within our state of loss at least. The Aeon of Adam is property of the Real whose effects are felt in our lives as its own impossibility. This property arose through consuming the Fruit of Knowledge. It thus generates space of difference and judgement that our Symbolic lives are played out upon and, at the same time, constitutes both the psychological, human Real and the human subject’s desire to be undifferentiated Real breath once more.

Continue reading “The Mi’raj”