How human beings pass from one stage of life to another is a matter that is both hidden and manifest.
And it is both simple and complex.
Call them, if you will, the Manaazil and Maqwaamaat of passage through life: Sulook.
Rights of Passage.
Or simply Pathways to Allah.
If, following 17th Century Christian Allegorist John Bunyan, you want to call it Pilgrim’s Progress, be my guest.
How is that for a spot of Interfaith Camaraderie and Bonhomie toward Christians on the part of this Muslim?
So, if you are a human being, you start out by looking at the world, investigating it, studying it and, somehow, falling in love with parts of it.
You then discover the Hadith.
Or, more appropriately, you are guided and led to it – to the Hadith of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
You fall in love with Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – the man, the messenger and his most glorious and all-conquering message.
And then along comes the Qur’an, at its own sweet, deliberate pace, and claims those who are tagged “blessed.”
You then navigate the Qur’an – as the Qur’an permits you to enter, tarry and proceed, all according to its most precise calculus.
And then, if you are of those who are called, you are smitten by the Qur’an. You end up falling in love with the Qur’an.
And then, if your name is on the list, you are invited to talk to the Qur’an. And the Qur’an then begins to talk to you, if it is your place, Maqwaam.
The Qur’an then lifts the veil. And you are allowed to behold the beauties and wonders that lie hidden behind every word and letter of the Qur’an.
The Qur’an now turns, right before your eyes, into the light, sheer radiance, that it is, and that was hidden from you all this time.
And if you can somehow survive this stage – consider the expression “Maqwaam” again or Manzil – and if you manage to navigate it successfully, then the unthinkable happens – provided of course your name comes up on the list.
You fall in love with God.
Thereafter, what happens to you, or, stated differently, what God does to you or with you, is a matter entirely between the two of you.
No third entity comes between you.
Na mee daanam chi manzil bood shab jaa-yee-ki man boodam;
Khuda khud meer-i mahfil bood andar laa makaan Khosroe.
Does any of this make any sense? I don’t know.
Maybe it does, maybe it does not.