Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ecstasy and “finding” (wajd)

Literally, the word wajd means “finding,” but for the Sufis it also means a moment of ecstasy in which one experiences an unveiling – and hence a “finding” - of some aspect of God’s reality. Ruzbihan (d. 606/1209) defined wajd as, “The heart’s perceiving the sweetness of contact with the light of “eternality before time” (azaliyat), the purity of witnessing, and the delight of the [Divine] address. Wajd is often portrayed as the intermediary stage of a three-stage process consisting oftawajudwajd, and wujud. Qushayri defines tawajud as “willfully seeking to have wajd; one in this state does not actually possess true wajd.” Concerning wajd itself, Qushayri wrote, “Wajd is that which encounters your heart, entering [it and coming] over you, without will or effort on your part.” Abu al-Husayn al-Nuri stated, “For twenty years I have gone between wajd (ecstatic finding) and faqd (loss). Namely, when I find my Lord, I lose my heart; and when I find my heart, I lose my Lord.” Qushayri defined the third stage, wujud, as being that which occurs “after one progresses beyond wajd;” [it is truly realized only] “after the cessation of human qualities (khumud al-bashariya), because human qualities cannot remain present during the manifestation of the sovereignty of the Truth (sultan al-haqiqa).” A succinct summary of each of these three stages was expressed by Qushayri’s shaykh and father-in-law, Abu ‘Ali al-Daqqaq: “Tawajud necessitates the rebuking of the servant; wajd necessitates the drowning of the servant; and wujud necessitates the annihilation of the servant.” Hence, as one advances from tawajud to wajd and wujud, one experiences a progressive dissolution of one’s egocentricity and a surrendering of one’s identification with one’s self.

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