Posted by: samandal | November 12, 2010

Zikr’u’lláh, V: The Qiblih of the Heart

Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

In both Islám and the Bahá’í Faith, zikr constitutes the very essence of communion with God, seen as the heart of worship by Muslim mystics.

“Alláh’u’Alláh” is the in-breath, and “Alláh’u’Abhá” the out-breath. These syllables are regarded as onomatopoeias for breath, an association facilitated by the phonological system of Arabic, in which “Alláh” is articulated at the back of the throat, and “Abhá” toward the front of the mouth, at the teeth. These syllables are naturally chanted by all creatures with every breath.

Light a joss-stick (or even a scented candle) with the aspiration to burn with its fire and fragrance, and whisper the words:

“Alláh is veiled by the Light of Abhá.”

Hold your hands in prayer with the aspiration to live from your heart, and whisper the words:

“By the Light of Abhá, I see Alláh.”

Sit or kneel in front of the lit joss-stick or scented candle and contemplate, if you like, an image of Bahá’u’lláh or any other major Manifestation of God: Sábí, Krsna, Músá, Zartosht, Kóngzí, Siddhártha, ‘Ísá, Muhammad, Nának, Táhirih, the Báb. Now offer the supplication of the sálik:

“May God empty my very self of all except his own presence. May the Holy Shekhínáh shed her light upon us all.”

To practice this sacred zikr, sit still and calm your body and your breath. Sit in a chair or cross-legged on the floor, with your head, neck and trunk straight; let your tongue rest gently against your palate just behind your teeth. Now place your hands on your knees, and hold your subha (prayer beads) with your fingers. Hold the subha so that your fingers, palms, hands, arms, and shoulders are free of tension while you move the beads. The pace at which you remember the zikr and move the beads should be fully coordinated. After a few days or weeks of zikr your fingers become adjusted to the beads and move them effortlessly.

Center in your heart and breathe; permit your breath to flow normally, despite the closure of your mouth. Feel your heart as a container, bounded only by the sensation of your heartbeat and the rhythm of your breath. Feel your own breath as part of the breath that surrounds the whole planet; a vast, boundless ocean of infinite light which pervades, penetrates and interpenetrates all.

To recite the zikr of “Alláh’u’Abhá,” bring your awareness to your breath. With each exhalation, feel your breath as it flows from your heart into the ocean of light that surrounds you; mentally listen to the sound of the syllables “Alláh’u’Abhá.” With each inhalation, feel your breath as it flows from the ocean of light that surrounds you into your heart; mentally listen to the sound of the syllables “Alláh’u’Alláh.” Adore the presence of the Beloved within the core of your soul, within the hollow of your heart. When your thoughts stray, gently but firmly return your attention to your breath and the sacred syllables of the zikr.

Alláh’u’Akbar! Alláh’u’A‘zam! Alláh’u’Abhá!