A Special Gathering with Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi
Traversing the Spiritual Journey
5 November 2011
Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi
This warm spring evening was infused with the spirit of learning and enquiry as Dr Reza
Shah-Kazemi delivered his talk about the ever-present reality of God and our journey towards seeing this reality in daily life.
Dr Shah-Kazemi said:
“What is incumbent upon all of us who believe is that it is God telling us that His face is everywhere when He says to us in
Surah Baqarah 115:
“Unto God belong the east and the west, wherever you turn there is the face of God”.
If we believe that this verse is coming from God, we have to somehow make the effort to see His face everywhere.”
Of course Dr Shah-Kazemi soon reminded us that the vision of God is only given by means of God, and to explain this he refers to a particular line in the well-known Hadith Qudsi concerning navafil (supererogatory - going beyond what is required), where God says from the tongue of the Prophet (pbuh):
“…and My slave continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.…”.
It is to those Saints and Sufis, who have not only performed their religious duties, but gone beyond them, and by doing so have attracted God’s love, who are then given the vision of God through God.
“There is something divine within the human that is capable of assimilating and perceiving the divine beyond the human…the means by which it is given is through the love, which is attracted by the totality of one's devotion to the Absolute.”
The journey to develop such devotion was set out in terms of several Qur'anic 'ayat' (verses) and Hadith (traditions)
and by drawing upon the work of many famous Sufis.
Dr Shah-Kazemi's talk pointed to the link between God referring to His own attributes as beautiful, and the Hadith Qudsi
“God is beautiful and He loves beauty”
as well as the work of Roozbehan Baqli, the revered Persian Sufi saint, who said that the path to seeing God lies in seeing His beauty.
Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi Audio
Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi
“The mystery of reality lies in the theophany of beauty ... for as long as you have not understood this, then continue to repeat: 'takhallogho bi akhlagh Allah‘ (assume the character traits of God).”
Roozbehan here refers to the Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) about assuming God's character traits which God in the Qur'an calls 'asma al husna', the most beautiful names.
Then Roozbehan says, through negating our vices, and assuming His attributes we gradually become the same ‘colour’ but not the same thing as God.
Dr Shah-Kazemi pointed to the perennial practice of zikr Allah, the remembrance of God as the principal means for this transformation.
Dr Shah Kazemi concluded with a reminder that there is a battle in the soul of man, between the 'aql' (purified intellect) on one side and 'hawa' (caprice, egotism) on the other, and that we can eliminate the rust of vice from our hearts through the remembrance of God,
critical discernment of our own soul and contemplative assimilation of the beauty in the world.
The evening was brought to a finale with Sufi music from the group Huzur (‘tranquillity’ in Turkish).
They played a mixture of traditional and contemporary Sufi music for violin, bendir (frame drum) and kanun (zither).