Mystical Self-Annihilation: Fana and Baqa




Sufi Mystical 'Self-Annihilation' and 'Eternal Abiding in God' Concepts: Fana and Baqa





هیچ کس راتا نگردداوفنا-
 نیست ره در بارگاه کبریا
گر چه آن وصلت بقا اندر بقا ست-
 لیک در اول فنا اندر فنا ست
چیست معراج فلک؟این«نیستی» -
 عاشقان را مذهب و دین«نیستی»
نیستی هستت کند،ای مرد راه-
 نیست شو، تا هست گردی، از اله


_________

مردت تن در ریاضت زندگی است-
 رنج این تن روح را پایندگی است
این ریاضت های درویشان چراست-
 کان بلا بر تن، بقای جان ماست

_________


تعین بود که از هستی جدا شد-
 نه حق بنده، نه بنده با خدا شد
تا تو پیدایی خدا باشد نهان تو-
 نهان شو تا که حق گردد عیان
چون بر افتد از جمال اونقاب-
 از پس هر ذره تابد آفتاب

مولانا


Mystical Self-Annihilation: Fana and Baqa


For the mystics, the spiritual and mystical journey that they must undertake in quest of eternal union with The Real, God or Al-Haq is divided into two parts, Fana-state of annihilation of the self, and Baqa-state of eternal union with God. Fana means one's complete removal from the personal sense of 'Oneself', and Baqa is one's finding total integration in God. In Sufism methodology and practices, Fana and Baqa form the most essential methods of profound meditations.

For the Sufi Mystics, there are seven stages to the "Ultimate union with Beloved": Repentance, Abstinence, Renunciation, Poverty, Patience,Trust in Love, and Satisfaction. A Salik (Seeker) who seeks the goal of union with Ultimate Reality (Fana'l-Haq) must advance by slow Stages (Maqamat) along a Path (Tariqat), with the guidance of a Shaykh or Pir-O-Murshid (Sufi Teacher or Guide) to reach his/her final union with God.

To achieve the state of Fana (annihilation), a Sufi seeker must follow the spiritual path of Sulook [Spiritual path to Divine Love], by starting with the purification of the soul.The great 11th century Persian Sufi poet, Sanaii explains the Fana and Baqa mystical concepts in a seeker's quest for union with God as following: “Real Fana is to forget the “not Divine”, to free oneself from the love of this world, and to purify the soul and heart from all desires and wishes as it is required of a servant... And real “Baqa” is to fulfill the wishes of the Beloved, to make His Will one’s own, without losing one’s self identity..”


The great Sufi, Al-Arabi explains the four spiritual steps to attain Fana in his philosophical treatise, Wahdat-ul-Wujood or Transcendental Unity of Being: "The first step is in moral transformation of the soul through the extinction of all passions and desires. The second step is a mental abstraction or passing away of the mind from all objects of perception.The third step is cessation of all conscious thought. The highest stage of Fana is reached when even the consciousness of having attained Fana disappears, "The passing away of the passing away" (Fana-al-Fana). The final stage of Fana, the complete passing away from self, forms the prelude to the ultimate goal: Baqa which is the continuance or abiding in Love.."

Rumi teaches us that " Man may be the lover of man or the lover of God; after his perfection in either he is taken before the King of love. There are three ways in Man's journey towards Love. The first is the way of ignorance, through which each must travel. It is like a person walking for miles in the sun while carrying a heavy load on his shoulder, who, when fatigued, throws away the load and falls asleep under the shade of a tree. Such is the condition of the average person, who spends his life blindly under the influence of his senses and gathers the load of his evil actions; the agonies of his earthly longings creating a hell through which he must pass to reach the destination of his journey. The next way is that of devotion, which is for true lovers. Devotion is the heavenly wine, which intoxicates the devotee until his heart becomes purified from all infirmities and there remains the happy vision of the Beloved, which lasts to the end of the journey.The third is the way of wisdom, accomplished only by the few. Those who disregards life's momentary comforts, untie themselves from all earthly bondage and turns their eyes toward Love, are inspired with divine wisdom. He gains command over his body, his thoughts and feelings, and is thereby enabled to create his own heaven within himself, that he may rejoice until merged into the eternal goal..."





ای شهان کشتیم ما خصم برون- ماند خصمی زان بتر در اندرون
کشتن این کار عقل و هوش نیست- شیر باطن سخره خرگوش نیست
دوزخ است این نفس ودوزخ اژدهاست- کو به دریاها نگردد کم کاست
هفت دریا را در آشامد هنوز- کم نگردد سوزش آن خلق سوز
عالمی را لقمه کرد و درکشید- معده اش نعره زنان، هل من مزید
چون که وا گشتم ز پیکار برون- روی آوردم به پیکار درون
قوتی خواهم ز حق دریا شکاف- تا به سوزن برکنم این کوه قاف
سهل شیری دان که صفها بشکند- شیر آن است آنکه خود را بشکند
تا شود شیر خدا از عون او- وا رهد ازنفس و از فرعون او
مولانا

The great scholar of Sufism, R.A.Nicholson explains the Fana and Baqa concepts in his par excellence book, The Mystics of Islam "For some Sufis, absorption in the ecstasy of fana is the end of their pilgrimage. Thenceforth no relation exists between them and the world. Nothing of themselves is left in them; as individuals, they are dead. Immersed in Unity, they know neither law nor religion nor any form of phenomenal being. But those God-intoxicated devotees who never return to sobriety have fallen short of the highest perfection. The full circle of deification must comprehend both the inward and outward aspects of Deity--the One and the Many, the Truth and the Law. It is not enough to escape from all that is creaturely, without entering into the eternal life of God the Creator as manifested in His works. To abide in God (baqa) after having passed-away from self-hood (fana) is the mark of the Perfect Man, who not only journeys to God, i.e. passes from plurality to unity, but in and with God, i.e. continuing in the unitive state, he returns with God to the phenomenal world from which he set out, and manifests unity in plurality. In this descent
"He makes the Law his upper garment
And the mystic Path his inner garment,"

for he brings down and displays the Truth to mankind while fulfilling the duties of the religious law. Of him it may be said, in the words of a great Christian mystic: "He goes towards God by inward love, in eternal work, and he goes in God by his fruitive inclination, in eternal rest. And he dwells in God; and yet he goes out towards created things in a spirit of love towards all things, in the virtues and in works of righteousness. And this is the most exalted summit of the inner life."

Afifuddin Tilimsani, in his commentary on Niffari, describes four mystical journeys: The first begins with gnosis and ends with complete passing-away (fana). The second begins at the moment when passing-away is succeeded by 'abiding' (baqa). He who has attained to this station journeys in the Real, by the Real, to the Real, and he then is a reality (haqq) . Thus travelling onward, he arrives at the station of the Qutb, which is the station of Perfect Manhood. He becomes the centre of the spiritual universe, so that every point and limit reached by individual human beings is equally distant from his station, whether they be near or far; since all stations revolve round his, and in relation to the Qutb there is no difference between nearness and farness.

To one who has gained this supreme position, knowledge and gnosis and passing-away are as rivers of his ocean, whereby he replenishes whomsoever he will. He has the right to guide others to God, and seeks permission to do so from none but himself. Before the gate of Apostleship was closed {I.e. before the time of Mohammed, who is the Seal of the Prophets.}, he would have deserved the title of Apostle, but in our day his due title is Director of Souls, and he is a blessing to those who invoke his aid, because he comprehends the innate capacities of all mankind and, like a camel-driver, speeds everyone to his home.

In the third journey this Perfect Man turns his attention to God's creatures, either as an Apostle or as a Spiritual Director (Sheykh), and reveals himself to those who would fain be released from their faculties, to each according to his degree: to the adherent of positive religion as a theologian; to the contemplative, who has not yet enjoyed full contemplation, as a gnostic; to the gnostic as one who has entirely passed-away from individuality (waqif); to the waqif as a Qutb. He is the horizon of every mystical station and transcends the furthest range of experience known to each grade of seekers.

The fourth journey is usually associated with physical death. The Prophet was referring to it when he cried on his deathbed, "I choose the highest companions." In this journey, to judge from the obscure verses in which Afifuddin describes it, the Perfect Man, having been invested with all the divine attributes, becomes, so to speak, the mirror which displays God to Himself.
"When my Beloved appears,

With what eye do I see Him?
With His eye, not with mine,
For none sees Him except Himself."
(IBN AL-ARABI.)

The light in the soul, the eye by which it sees, and the object of its vision, all are One.
We have followed the Sufi in his quest of Reality to a point where language fails. His progress will seldom be so smooth and unbroken as it appears in these pages. The proverbial headache after intoxication supplies a parallel to the periods of intense aridity and acute suffering that sometimes fill the interval between lower and higher states of ecstasy. Descriptions of this experience--the Dark Night of the Soul, as it is called by Christian authors--may be found in almost any biography of Mohammedan saints.

Thus Jami relates in his Nafahat al-Uns that a certain dervish, a disciple of the famous Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, "Was endowed with a great ecstasy in the contemplation of Unity and in the station of passing-away (fana). One day he began to weep and lament. On being asked by the Sheykh Shihabuddin what ailed him, he answered, 'Lo, I am debarred by plurality from the vision of Unity. I am rejected, and my former state--I cannot find it!' The Sheykh remarked that this was the prelude to the station of 'abiding' (baqa), and that his present state was higher and more sublime than the one which he was in before..."

Fana, or the total annihilation of a seeker's self, is in fact one's dissolution, nothingness, and non-being. And it's precisely through this nothingness and non-being that the traveler of mystical Sufi Path will ultimately attain the Union with Love.

I conclude this brief explanation of Fana and Baqa concepts with a profound poem by Rumi who alludes with the following mystical verses to his stage of Baqa or ultimate mystical union with God:




 Happy the moment when we are seated in the Palace, you and I,
With two forms and with two figures but with one soul,
you and I.
The colors of the grove and the voice of the birds will bestow
immortality
At the time when we come into the garden,
you and I.
The stars of heaven will come to gaze upon us;
We shall show them the Moon itself,
you and I.
you and I, individuals no more, shall be mingled in ecstasy,
Joyful and secure from foolish babble,
you and I.
All the bright-plumed birds of heaven will devour their hearts
with envy
In the place where we shall laugh in such a fashion,
you and I...
Rumi.

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Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!








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