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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Discovering God on Every Occasion

The fourth caliph of Islam, Ali ibn Abi Talib, said, ‘I recognized my Lord by failing to execute my will.’ This is a simple formula of ma‘arifah or God realization.

All men and women undergo such experiences daily when they realize that whatever they desired was not achieved. Sometimes this is a small experience and, sometimes a bigger one. Every such experience reminds a person of his limitations. Such experience tells man that he can desire, but the achievement of his desire is not in his control. Whenever any of a man’s plans is unaccomplished, it reminds him of the reality that he has his limits.

Whenever man reaches his boundary, he should realize that immediately after this, the boundary of God starts; whether it is a small experience, for example, letting something fall from one’s hand, or a bigger experience, like a plan or an idea not being fulfilled according to one’s own desire. If a person is intellectually awakened, he will discover God on every such occasion, and it will become a source of ma‘arifah for him.

This is the simple way in which one can derive food for God-realization on all occasions. Whether one is educated or uneducated, rich or poor, a degree-holder or a non-degree holder, one undergoes such experiences everyday.

If a person awakens his mind and has the potential for contemplation, he will derive provision for ma‘arifah or God-realization from every moment in his daily life. The fountain of ma‘arifah will flow continuously in his heart and mind.

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