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1st way of love
Traits: originates from love, not from fear.
Goals: more connected through knowledge of God until equipped enough to be called by God; exist in purity and freedom in God’s image
Methods: fully engage, guard against and shun what prevents progress, constant searching and demanding
Ways it satisfies: God allows us to serve forever without impediment from the past, with a free consciousness and clear mind
Ways it doesn’t satisfy: the heart never rests or subsides from searching
2nd way of love
Traits: wants nothing in return, not even God’s mercy or bliss, burning desire to give God pleasure
Goals: being allowed to serve God
Methods: servitude beyond human idea and reason
Ways it satisfies: finding pleasure in being able to do something/to help God
Ways it doesn’t satisfy:
3rd way of love
Traits: connected to pain and misery, sometimes violent desire, firm intent, superhuman impossible desires, inable to be moderated or quieted
Goals: be completely committed to love and feel satiated
Methods: determination to bear everything and suffer, thanks, praises, works and drudges for love
Ways it satisfies: it often doesn’t at all
Ways it doesn’t satisfy: constantly disappointed because you cannot do enough for love, and that so much is being kept from us
4th way of love
Traits: strong domination, sweetness, associated with strength and heights
Goals: a strong bond with God, clear spirit, noble freedom, unity of sensory experience
Methods: without any help of human effort, love is awakened in the heart and soul; the body escapes, the mind plunges and the heart melts
Ways it satisfies: the greatness of love absorbs us
Ways it doesn’t satisfy: little to no dissatisfaction
5th way of love
Traits: associated with being strongly overpowered, impetuosity and passion
Goals: complete alliance with love
Methods: ardent desire and search for love, being constantly busy on the search
Ways it satisfies: soul is strengthened and mind is kept in suspense
Ways it doesn’t satisfy: often strong sadness inside, great tensed expectation, anguished soul, heart feels painfully wounded repeatedly, feeling of an arrow going through the heart, strength is nullified; constantly striving for more. ‘The more she is given from above, the more she asks…nothing contents or excites her”
6th way of love
Traits: associated with heights or climbing, purity and clearness, “climbed up to greater salvation”
Goals: to be closely connected with higher knowledge, sweetness of heart, and purity of morals and heart, and nobility of the soul, and sublimity of the mind and principle of eternal life.
Methods: conquer all internal resistance and master oneself
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"Beatice of Nazareth: Seven Ways To Love." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Feb 2020
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Ways it doesn’t satisfy: those who want to know love cannot save themselves any labor, must undergo inconveniences
7th way of love
Traits: associated with great heights, “higher than everything.. above the human measure.. noble highness.. above the human forms.. desire to live above.. stay up among the spirits..” an ethereal feeling; no earthly pleasure “what belongs to the earth cannot satisfy” strong desire to be freed from the body
Goals: a sublime love that is higher than anything humanly achievable with the highest spirits, “become totally in one with him” and deserving the heavenly kingdom
Methods: no quiet living; constantly searching and never calming down; being put to the test then recuperate; being hurt then made healthy again.
Ways it satisfies: staying among the spirits, above temporality and to eternity of love
Ways it doesn’t satisfy: material things and the earth cannot satisfy, earth is a great misery. The desire for love can be torturous, and the thought of loving the lord can become unbearable.
Mysticism, simply, is the pursuit of achieving unity with God, also called the Other, dvinity, or the spiritual truth. This is done through direct experience, intution or insight. By achieving communion with God, one will become part of something larger than themselves, re-identifying with a large identity, who is part of all that is.
Mysticism is largely connected to more mainstream religious denominations. However, it usually reinterptes sacred texts or develop new texts altogether. Mysticism has been said to require “a more committed intellectucal, psychological and physical approach” from its followers.
The Seven Ways to Love is a piece of mystic literature describing seven stages of love, as it is purified and transformed, before it can return to God. It has a simple and balanced prose style. Because of the author’s word choice and translation, we can easily understand what it means.
The text employs a via positiva sort of mysticism- that is one that involves joy, awe, and wonder. Via positiva is the path of expansion, a growing capacity to lose boundaries and temporality until one becomes the Whole.
What does the text assume about human nature? The Divine? What are its goals/purposes? Who might the intended audience have been?
Ernst Reader p -14
• The study of Sufism is a pretty recent event, starting with people from the East India Company
• Called Sufi’s either from the Greek word for a sage or from their woolen mantle, which they used to wear in some provinces.
• Fundamental tenets are, that nothing exists absolutely but god: that the human soul is a emanation from his essence, and, though divided for a time from it’s heavenly source, will be finally re-united with it; that the highest possible happiness will arise from its re-union, and that the chief good of man kind, in its transitory world, consists in as perfect a union with the eternal spirit as the encumbrance of a mortal frame will allow, that for this purpose, they should break all connection, with extrinsic objects, and pass through life without attachments.
• Not looked upon with respect, last part of this reading bashes it as not being a real religion.
Book Of Flashes: Abu Nasr as-Sarraj p 65-105
The Book of Flashes was written by Abu Nasr as-Sarraj and is an explanation of what Sufism is and how it is practiced. The Book is broken up into shorter chapters which hep the reader understand as-Sarraj’s words.
To fully understand what Au Masr as-Sarraj means in his work, The Book of Flashes, we must understand what the Sufi movement is and also know the meanings of Sufi words.
Sufism is a mystical movement branching off of Islam. Sufism’s main goal is “the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God.” What distinguishes Sufism from other religions with similar goals is the means to achieve that end.
Sufism believes that action takes two forms: internal action involving the heart and external action involving the body. Through these will we receive the “esoteric knowledge of God.” Essential to Sufism is finding a good teacher or mentor to show you the ways, because Sufis agree that Sufism cannot be learned through book; it must be practiced.
Sufi words used in the Book of Flashes:
Chapter 1: Explanatinon of the discipline of Sufism and the methods
Sufis are one of three recognized scholarly groups of followers.
Sufis must be ‘learned’, not read. (We must experience, not learn from books)
Chapter 2: Chracteristics of traditionists
Traditionists say the meaning of religion is understanding and transmitting God’s message by electing knowledgeable scholars to speak the word.
Traditionists beliefs have been preserved in wrtiing; they are more passive in that they think instead of act
Chapter 3: classifications of legal scholars
Legal scholars are superior to the tradionists because they truly understand the Hadith
Legal schols are valued for their ability to explain obscurities in texts, to “illuminate paths, unravel the densely packed and evaluate” judiciously.
Chapter 4: classifications of Sufis
When there is a disagreement among Sufis, traditionists and scholars, Sufis relegate to the other groups because they value agreemetn and affirmation
Sufis do not: live a life of ease, act licentiously, hold questionable views
Sufis do: hold fast to what is fundamental and concrete in religion
Chapter 6: special qualities of Sufis
Sufis live by the verses in the Book of God Most High, which call for high morals and noble deeds
A DISTINGUISHING FACTOR OF SUFIS: They have ma’rifa, or direct knowledge of God. This gives them insight into almost anything.
Chapter 7: Defense of the Sufis
Many have caled Sufis dirvishes, dirty, poor
The Book of God Most High says that Sufis are united in faith yet are no different than any other human, needing food, sleep and ordinary cares. They have ultimate insight and Godly knowledge, though.
Chapter 8: Defending Sufis against Legal Scholars
Legal scholars know about divorce, slavery, abstinence and laws
However, Sufis have experiential knowledge of uprightness, sincerety, avoidance of negative qualities. This is “necessarily greater than knowledge of the legal scholars” because there is no end to Sufi knowledge, but we can exhaust knowledge of the earth.
Chapter 9: The importance of different types of knowledge
God has sanctioned all types of knowledge to be communicated on the earth.
Each type is significant because it deals wth different issues.
However, we must remember to not criticize or drone on about someone’s spiritual state we don’t understand. Ignorance leads ‘to a bad end’.
Chapter 12: Inward Knowledge
Acts of the heart are the highest experiential knowledge. To obtain complete knowledge, though, we must have both inward and outward knowledge, which are completely independent of the other.
Chapter 16: Experiential Knowledge
Every person has their own unique path of experiential knowledge
The author likens the different faces of experiential knowledge to water in different colored translucent containers: the water appears to be different colors, but this is just because of its containers.
Though we have bodily limits, we can understand God, who has no limits, through experience, because we cannot have direct encounter as humans.
Chapter 17: What Sufis say about those with experiential knowledge
With experiential knowledge comes the truly enlightened ability to choose freely.
We should not make choices until we have attained experiential knowledge, because those will be educated decisions.
Chapter 18: How does one come to know God intimately? Be a mystic!
A believer is one who sees with the light of God. The believer can only recognize God.
One endowned with experiential knowledge is one who sees through the light of God. The mystic can not only see God but finds peace in nothing but God.
Chapter 51: How do we develop deep understandings of religious text?
Anyone can read and translate the texts; God assists those ‘specialists’ with deep understanding. Those who are not worthy have ocks on their hearts. If you want to truly understand religion, be a Sufi.
Chapter 52: What is ultimate reality?
Everone who speaks of utlimate reality differes in their interpretation of it due to the nature of their personal experiences. This enriches the defintion of reality.
Chapter 122: There are four objectives of mystical knowledge
There are three types of ilm: legal knowledge that is attainable to all, knowledge that is just for companions of God, and knowledge reserved for God’s one prophet
Four obejctives for living on earth through God:
Firstly, we must know how to translate and transmit God’s message
The second part is understanding earthly matters
The third prt is the science of reasonign and defending a view
The fourth part is the science of spirital and mystical realities
Bottom line: “Allah knows best what is correct” (Renard, p 99)