Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sufism and the Shahada Interpreted

Question: How does Sufism interpret the Shahada? How can one on the Sufi path use the Shahada to progress?

The Shahada is the greatest mystery ever. Over a billion people on earth have said the Shahada (the Muslim testimony of faith that “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet”). Yet, amazingly, outside of small Sufi circles few individuals understand its deeper meanings and implications.

According to the Rose Crescent tradition the best way to understand the Shahada is to meditate on its meanings through the chakra system and the Stations of the Soul.

Let’s look at the first clause of the declaration: The First Station of the Ego and Chakras 1-3 (tailbone to solar plexus). At first the False Ego wrongly declares:

“There is no god but my God!”

At the lowest level of the first chakra the Shahada is a tribal testimony of the supremacy of our own individual God. We often find this in the Old Testament and the ancient pagan religions. Whose god is the greatest? Jehovah versus Baal in a battle to prove which religion, tribe or nation is the best and right.

However, when the First Chakra is filled with divine light we transcend the tribalism of the above and discover that, in fact, because there is no god but God (divine Light) All of the gods are in fact Allah. At the higher level of the Station of the Ego we give up our individual gods to embrace the One. The Shahada now becomes:

"There is no god but Light (Allah)"

As we advance into the Second Station, though, this new declaration continues to spiral upwards, transforming.

The Second Station of the Heart and Chakra 4 (heart):

At the level of the heart the Shahada transforms into:

“There is no god but Love (Allah).”

Then as we move upwards to the Third Station of the Pure Spirit and Chakra 5 (throat) we declare:

“There is no will (god) but Divine Will (Allah).”

Continuing on into the Fourth Station of the Divine Secrets and Consciousness and Chakra 6 (middle of the forehead) we testify:

“There is no mind (god) but Divine Mind and Universal Consciousness (Allah).”

As we approach the Throne of the Divine at The Fifth Station of the Proximity or Nearness to Allah and Chakra 7 (top of the skull) we declare:

“There is no me (god) but God (Allah).”

Moving into the Sixth Station of the Divine Wedding and Chakra 8 (located at the top of the energy egg) we sigh:

“There is no existence (god) but the Universal Divine Existence (Allah).”

In summary, the Shahada is considered as the “first pillar” of Islam. The Shahada is a two-part testimony. The first part of the Shahada formula states that La ilaha illa’ Allah (“There is no god but God”). The second part of the Shahada is: Muhammadun rasul Allah (“Muhammad is the Messenger of God). The Shahada is a powerful formula that should be repeated frequently and, used as part of dhikr, will aid the Sufi in recollecting his/her station with the Spirit. By meditating upon the Shahada at each level of the chakra system the Sufi progresses from the limitations of the Ego to loss of Self and union with the Divine.

A three part chant used by Rose Crescent Sufis to achieve transformation is:

La ilaha illa’ Allah ("There is no god but God")
La ilaha ill'a ishq ("There is no god but Love")
La ilaha ill'a Hu (None exists but God, God alone is")


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