Oct 16, 2000

There is No God but Allah

  • Author: Ola Bahgat Badawi
I was hesitant to write about my personal experience of this spiritual Path because I know it is very insignificant compared with other people’s experiences. Nevertheless I eventually decided to write it down in the hope that it may be useful to someone.

I have been following this path for about ten months. Although this period is very short, it looks as if many years have passed since I first started. This path has given me comfort as well as knowledge. This comfort comes as a result of a concinnity between some of the concepts I already had and what I was taught on the path. I was criticized by many people for believing that what matters is not a person’s religious affiliation but the fact that he believes in the Oneness of God and he acts accordingly. I also have been used to caring for the essence of things and not to their appearance. The most important lesson I learned on this path is the true meaning of the saying: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Since our age is an age of materialism I have always believed that idolatry exists in material things such as money and anything related to wealth in all its manifestations. Because I was brought up in a family which looked upon material things as a means and not as an end, this attitude has become my way of looking at things in life. I used to think that I was really living the meaning of “There is no God but Allah”, but suddenly in the last few months I realized how naïve I was because my idols were unfortunately so many, starting with my husband and children. My love for them had made me believe that destroying anything that might harm them was a great deed of which I should be proud. Worse than this, I was convinced that that was what God wanted me to do. But with my very first step on the path I learned to face “myself” honestly and realized the dangers inherent in man’s deluding himself by believing that his wrong actions are the right ones.
Destroying My Inner Idols has become a necessary step towards self-liberation. I started by breaking the biggest of my idols and it cost me more effort to do so than if it were made of iron. However, with God’s help it gradually dwindled and became less strenuous, though it has not completely vanished, as I still feel that a tiny idol no bigger than a grain is trying to affect my life. I am confident that as long as I ask God to help me to break my idols, even this tiny deceiving one will disappear forever.
When I discovered the real meaning of “There is no god but Allah” La Ilaha Ila Allah I also discovered the meaning of “God is the Greatest”. Suddenly I realized that anything, which I valued in this world, was inferior to God. Only at that moment did I start to repeat the words ”Allah is the Greatest” Allahu Akbar; the meaning of which filled me with light and this light helped me to destroy my idols.
Then I understood the second phrase; ”Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” Muhammad Rasulu Allah. The difficulty here was even greater because I had never assigned any meaning to this phrase. I had always believed that I was establishing a direct relationship with Allah. I was not aware that that was wrong because I was as if trying to put limits to what is Absolute, which was impossible to do. At the outset I resisted the concept of “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” as a link between God and me. Seyedna Prophet Muhammad is the guide who witnessed and manifested the true meaning of “There is no god but Allah”. He is the" Inner Light."
I also rejected the idea of having a spiritual teacher; perhaps because all thoughts were mixed up in my head. I thought that the concept of having a teacher would put barriers to my direct relationship with God with Whom I had established a life-long relationship. Actually I did not understand the true meaning of the Messenger. But gradually I came to understand the importance of having a spiritual teacher.
I knelt in prayer and thanked God for having given me this opportunity of setting my footsteps on the right path and I prayed that He would help me to keep my faith firm and to move forward.

The Messenger of Allah

A year passed since I joined this path, a year full of inner reactions and contemplation. I thought that I had moved a few steps in the right direction. But a few weeks ago I found myself in a state of complete and horrifying darkness the like of which I had never experienced before. I panicked! I wondered how this could happen to me now that I was on the path when nothing so horrifying had ever happened to me before joining it. Where have all the meanings that I have enjoyed heretofore gone, meanings which have always found an echo in my soul?!
I spent three hours talking to myself calling on God and calling on my spiritual teacher for help. After three hours of strenuous effort I grew calmer and started to see a glimmer of light. However, I was not the same person I used to be, as a feeling of increasing loneliness stayed with me. Since my childhood I have always felt some inner loneliness, but this time the feeling of loneliness was excessive although I was among members of family and friends who reciprocated my feeling of love. I started again looking for the reason for all these feelings that I have been going through.
I felt that this darkness that surrounded me and this loneliness which I experienced were a necessary stage on the road towards finding the meaning of “The Messenger of God” within me. Without this inner journey, man’s life will always be peripheral and will be devoid of any meaning. ”The Messenger” is the light within.
I know that my journey is going to be very hard. I feel that I am exposed to tests, which are harder than the previous ones. But I am full of confidence that God’s hands will always be extended to me through my spiritual teacher to help me and however slow my steps are I will see the light within me. I am confident that I will realize the dream that I have always had of capturing within me one day and then forever the true meaning of "The Messenger of Allah". As it states in the Holy Koran:
‘‘He who obeys the Messenger has Indeed obeyed Allah…” (HQ:4:80)

Self- Domination Spoiled My Meditation

I had heard a lot about meditation sessions, which many people enjoyed and felt comfortable when they attended. Therefore I went to some of these sessions with English and Indian people. Each session that I attended yielded the same result. I felt compelled to sit motionless throughout the session, a physical condition that worsened my bodily discomfort and aggravated my irritability, which grew into a miserable psychological state. I tried to analyze this situation in order to understand the reason why everybody went back home in a calm and serene state of mind while I was the only one to leave in an awful state of mind. I thought that was due to health reasons because
I suffered from some problems in my vertebral column.
I was talking about this problem with a friend on the spiritual path and she told me that the reason for my being unable to stand still in one place for a period of time was due to the influence of the “self” which was trying to control my actions. She said this without realizing that she had given me a clue for finding a solution to my dilemma, a clue that was like the light at the end of the tunnel. I started to analyze what happened to me from a different perspective and I realized that I had failed to take into consideration this aspect of self-domination. All my concern had previously been with the external life and I had forgotten that to control my body and its ability to be still depended on my inner life. Absence of control over my bodily reactions meant that I lacked inner serenity. How limited was my view about “myself”. And how deluded was I when I thought that I understood “it"!
I have decided to struggle with this particular aspect of “myself’. I started with a very small step calling on God for help and using what I have learned on this spiritual path as guidance. I cannot say that I have reached a high degree of self-control, but I have taken some steps that have made me happy.
Spiritual healing always starts with comprehension then is followed by prayers and then by work. I am confident that God will help me to continue in the right direction until the end. Although I know that I still have many discoveries to make in understanding my “real self”, yet every new discovery fills me with happiness even though it brings with it the necessity of strenuous effort. Each discovery also makes me realize that God’s Hand is extended to me throughout the path and I hope that God’s Help will never stop.