‘The One we are searching for beyond ourselves wishes to awaken within us.’
Shaykh Arif Abdul-Hussain focused his arbaeen lecture series on how we can find God through ourselves by ridding ourselves of the delusion that God is ‘the other’, a belief that prevents us from discovering God at an intimate, personal level. Our situation is analogous to the parable of the fish who search for water, knowing it to be the source of all life, but are unable to find it despite being enveloped by it. Similarly, we have to realise that what we are looking for, the God we seek, has always been present. There was never a distance between us and God as the Quran says, ‘He is with you wherever you may be.’
There are three stages in a journey of discovering God. The first stage is where we look to God to fulfil our worldly needs because we are in a state of insecurity and lack, for example we need God to provide us with sustenance or to cure illnesses. Once we advance enough to meet our own needs, we look to God for refinement of character and morality, which is the second stage. At this point we no longer worship God for material gain but for self-improvement; nonetheless, God is still viewed as ‘the other’. In the final stage we seek an intimate bond with God where we are able to acknowledge our own shortcomings and faults and let go of the false persona we keep up for the world. When we are ready to be true to ourselves and grow through our mistakes God begins to complete us through His perfection. The abundant remembrance of God penetrates the soul and we catch a glimpse of the truth and through our devotion to Him we fall in love and begin to mirror Him. The final awakening is the realization that the seeker and the sought after are the same, and the veil that prevents this understating is the ego, the notion of ‘I’, which must be removed. Ultimately, discovering God is a personal and individual endeavor where each person forms their own unique relationship with God.
The videos can be viewed here: