How To | Quests | Ritual

The Night of Power. Sufi p3

September 3, 2012

Only in writing these posts does it seem that events have led up to here. Whilst they were occurring I had no idea of course. At the outset I talked about signs and omens and how we have to take time out of the busy-ness of life to be able to recognise them, let alone understand what they mean (and the direction they are pointing) and create the courage to follow them. In the next post I spoke of how I danced with the Genius of Synchronicity whilst on a mini quest to bring my siblings and their children together. That was a truly remarkable event. A guest at that event was a teacher from my youth who loves to tell tales of the ancient fakirs, dervishes and wali.

So the tale moves on to the point when my distinguished teacher and his equally well spoken 3 sons where departing. I knew all three of them very well since we grew up together and still occasionally met. As we shook hands in farewell one of them said quietly to me that they were holding a ceremony throughout the night going in search of Laylat al Qadr and would I like to join them.Who am I to say no to such a sojourn, even though I was due to start work at new job the following day.

  • When adventure calls one must take up the gauntlet no matter what the cost.

Note on Advice: May I point you to our disclaimer wherein we quite clearly say, you must not take anything said on this site as advice, guidance or scripture. This site and all therein is informational only. Good, now we have that out-of-the-way let’s get on.

It was still early (the ceremony was starting at midnight) and I was lounging around waiting with anticipation when I got a call from a friend that I have occasionally mentioned in passing. Ahmed, is an exorcist that has to be reckoned with and when my phone blipped with his number I was a bit wary (I don’t do exorcism anymore, they’re too scary). fortunately that wasn’t what he wanted. He had heard that I was going to the gathering that evening and that he had been asked to go too. He had had a better offer but obligation had meant that he would have to attend the gathering instead of where he had wanted to go. However he was calling me to offer his place to me.

What is this event I asked and to my amazement he told me that several Sufi Dervish were visiting nearby and that they were spending the night in discourse and Zikr. Now I have a confession I love Zikr, it is the quickest way to an altered state without any chemicals and the fact that they were Sufi Dervishes wasn’t not lost on me one iota. This night was indeed coming together in a powerful way! Here is a good interpretation of Zikr or as wiki spells it Dhikr

Dhikr is the means by which Stations yield their fruit, until the seeker reaches the Divine Presence. On the journey to the Divine Presence the seed of remembrance is planted in the heart and nourished with the water of praise and the food of glorification, until the tree of dhikr becomes deeply rooted and bears its fruit. It is the power of all journeying and the foundation of all success. It is the reviver from the sleep of heedlessness, the bridge to the One remembered.

Interesting don’t you think? The reviver from the sleep of heedlessness, isn’t that what I was talking about when I say stepping out of the busy-ness of life?  Sounds the same to me. Anyway with no hesitation did I accept his exchange and within minutes I was off to visit with these travelling Sufi Dervishes.

I love the way that western translations of institutions loses its flavour for me. consider the wiki entry on Dervishes. In the tales of Dervishes that I have heard they have often left material trappings behind in favour of the wealth of the love of Allah. In my humble opinion a life led in complete materialistic pursuits is just as bad as a life led in completely spiritual pursuits. Balance is what I seek on my path. (please see above note in regards to advice).

In short order I had arrived at the address given and was led un-questioned I might add, to the back of the home and into a wonderfully large garden. The hour was around 11pm and the stars where shining bright in the sky. There were about 20 people in attendance, all sat in circle with candles in a glass, open, dome in the center.

With the traditional Islamic greeting, As-Salamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you) I sat down in the circle and listened. I had arrived in the midst of discussion and question. The topic being the potential of this very night, Laylat al Qadr. One of the seven dervishes (they had similar clothing on) was speaking…

Of course the word Qadr means power or strength but this night is also known as the night of destiny, when angels come to earth to mark those whose life will continue for another year and those whom will leave and not see another night like this…

Then another added…

It is also the night of commune, where we become closer to our maker and from Allah we can ask what ever boons we desire…

A third added that…

This night must be caught, like a hunter goes out to seek his prey so we must seek out this fabled night. fortune favours but the lucky few that find it and of course – he laughed – this may not be the night at all and so our hunting is in vain to begin…

One of the guests asked, “How can we hunt this night?” The answer was to simply close our eyes to this world and look in upon another. No not the world of death and spirit he responded to another question and with that he told a fascinating tale that I had never heard before…

A wise man of ancient times, perhaps the great Solomon himself once sat upon the earth in deep meditation. As his mind closed to this world he was elevated to the first heaven. He looked around and marveled at the wonders of heaven and yet with a certainty he knew his rump (bottom) was still planted firmly upon the earth.

How can this be? The dervish asked the rhetorical question. To which my mind answered, because it was a different but parallel dimension. Still I am wise enough to know my silent place in august company. The doorway,” the dervish continued, “through which we will enter that other world is Zikr” and so it was that we became immersed in movement and word.

Zikar-e-Qalbi (remembrance of Allah by Heartbeats) is one of my favourite ones and one that I resonate most with. It is the silent Zikar in which we hum the phrases (essentially the 99 names of Allah) whilst moving ones head in a left-right motion with chin down. The movement is not equally rhythmic but rather it more like swinging a hand towards the heart, so one moves away from the heart in a circular motion and then speeds up (as if striking the heart). It is said that this motion and Zikar awakens the heart to the word of Allah.

I have done this on other occasions using the word love to equal effect so I think that a perceived word of power will work in any case. It is difficult to describe the altered state that is reached through Zikar. For a start you have to find someone who knows how to lead the group. I have been to many meetings where zikar has been practiced woefully shambolically. The leader must know when the group is harmonised, when to stop for breath and when to change the intonation or the words spoken. alas too many haven’t a clue and just do the motions quite literally.

Fortunately these guys were amazing! No wonder my friend hadn’t wanted to give up his space. Within about 15 minutes I was lost to this world and in the strange in-between place. Not the other world but a rather hypno-gogic place where this world and that was enmeshed. In my thoughts I speculated as to whether I could indeed find the night of power and what it would mean for me.

Certainly all the synchronicity that had led me to this place were a compelling reason. But that is what they were, a reason. My intuition wasn’t telling me anything and quite the contrary within the space of worlds my intuition seemed to have switched off completely.

Every twenty minutes or so we would come up for breath and water before submerging again. This went on for about an hour and half and I was drenched to the skin in sweat. The night seemed to have grown hotter beyond possible. After the said 1.5 hrs had passed we came out for a much longer break where people wandered throughout the garden in quiet contemplation and prayer.

I got into a conversation with one of the Dervishes. I told him of my studies and he listened attentively I have to say. Occasionally he would smile and nod at my reasoning and intuitive leaps. Finally he stopped me and asked a rather profound question…

  • When do we die?

I was puzzled and began to answer when he stopped me. No, don’t answer, he said. Ask your self the question again and again until the answer comes to greet you. He walked away, only to return a few seconds later. “Oh, I don’t mean ask it tonight.” He smiled. “Ask it in the weeks to come.”

Why are these wise types so Zen Koan’ie? Fortunately since I have other quests in progress I put that on a todo shelf in my mind and continued with the search for Laylat al Qadr. Surely I would find it, was my continuous thought. Synchronicities had almost but promised it. The night was still young and more revelations where to be had before it was done.

Kal Malik

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