noviembre 24, 2014

SHATAHAT AND SHAVUOT

SHATH

A Sufi (Muslim mystic term for the divinely inspired statements that Sufis utter in their mystical state of fana (annihilation of the self).

The Sufis claim that there are moments of ecstatic fervour when they are overwhelmed by the divine presence to such a degree that they lose touch with worldly realities.

In such moments they utter statements that may seen incoherent or blasphemous if taken literally but are perfectly understood by fellow Sufis who have shared the same experiences.

The shatahat (plural of shath), Sufis warn, must be interpreted allegorically and one must always keep in mind that no language, no matter how rich and sophisticated is capable of enabling the Sufi to adequately describe that which fills his heart at the moment of spiritual ecstasy.

In such moments Sufi utterances are nothing more than vague shadows of what they stribe to convey and for this reason it is held unjust to pass judgment on them on the basis of the usual meaning of words they then utter.

Muslim orthodox branded as heresy all Sufi shatahat that did not seemingly conform to Islamic teaching and many Sufis suffered persecution on this account.
The mystic al-Hallaj, for example, was persecuted and finally crucified for his famous cry "I am the Truth". According to the Sufi the orthodox interpreted these words as a flagrant claim of divinity on al-Hallaj´s part and did not understand the mystical meaning of the phrase namely that al-Hallaj in his state of trance saw himself and God as one.

Since the state of mystical trance is normally of short duration shatahat rarely exceed six or seven words. The Sufis regard al their writings and particularly their poetry as possessing an element of shath. For this reason it also must be interpreted allegorically.

Among often quoted shatahat are:
"For the perfect lover, prayer becomes impiety" (al-Hallaj)
"Praise be to me. How great is my majesty!" (Bayazid ol-Bestami, died 874)
"I am the proof of God.""Divine omnipotence has a secret; if it is revealed there is an end of the prophetic mission". (Ibn Sahi at-Tusturi, died 896)
"Ritual acts are only impurities" (ash-Shibli, died 945)
"Under my robe there is only God" (Inb Abi al-Khayr, died 1048)
"The slave is the Lord and the Lord is the slave; how can one tell which of the two is the the debtor? (ibn al-Arabi, died 1240)


SHAVUOT

In full HAG SHAVUOT (Festival od Weekes).
Also called PENTECOST second of the three Pilgrim Festivals of the Jewish religious calendar.
It was originally an agricultural festival making the beginning of the wheat havest.
During the Temple period the first fruits of the harvest were brought to the Temple and two loaves of bread made from the new wheat were offered.
This aspect of the holiday is reflected in the custom of decorating the synagogue with fruits and flowers and in the names Yom ha-Bikkurim (Day of the First Fruits) and Hag ha-Qazir (Harvest Feast).
During rabbinic times the festival became associated with the giving of the Law at Sinai which is recounted in the Torah readings for the holiday. It became customary during Shavuot to study the Torah and to read the Book of Ruth.
Celebration of Shavout occurs on the 50th day, or seven weeks, after the sheaf offering of the harvest celebrated durin Passover.
The holidays is therefore also called Pentecost from the Greek pentekoste (50th).
It falls on Sivan 6 (and Sivan 7 outside Israel).

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