Archive for December, 2008

The Father of Jesus

Posted by Pelgrim on 16th December 2008

Indubitaly no man is born fatherless;
Only one Jesus exists in the world.

- Shabestari

The Sufis believe that Jesus was born of Mary through the breath of the Holy Spirit, and had no physical father.
The Qoran describes the Divine animation of man as a breathing of God’s Spirit unto the human frame, using the the same expression for the generation of Jesus as for the creation of Adam, that is, by a blowing of the Divine Breath, respectively, into the womb of Mary and into the clay of Adam’s body - a breath which is none other than the Grace of the Holy Spirit.

What the Sufis understand by a reference to the concept of ‘Father’ with respect to Jesus, such as when the Gospel quotes Jesus as saying, “I go to the Father” (John 16:16), is that the saints are the spiritual children of the Divine, so that Jesus as a saint, can be regarded as just such a ’spiritual offspring’.

As Rumi puts it,

My boy,
All the saints are sons of God:
Whether here or there, present or absent,
Always aware, vigilant and awake.

Shaikh Shabestari provides a lyrical rendering of this concept in his Golshan-e raz:

First the suckling infant,
Bound to a cradle, is sustained on milk,
Then, when mature, becomes a wayfarer;
If a man, he travels with his father.

The elements of nature for you
Resemble an earthborn mother,
You, a son whose father
Is a patriarch from on high.

So Jesus proclaimed upon ascension:
“I go to my Father (Abba) above.”
You too, favorite of your father,
Set forth for your Father!

Your fellow-travelers went on;
you too pass on!
If you wish to be a bird in flight,
Leave the world’s carcass to vultures.

In his commentary on the Golshan-e ráz, Shaikh Làhiji explains the concepts of the Holy Spirit (ruh al-qodos) and the ‘Spirit of God’ (ruho’lláh), which appear in another part of Shabestari’s work, verse by verse in the following manner:

Within the inner court of holy Oneness
Lies the soul’s monastery.
Perch of the Simorgh of Subsistence.

(The commentator, Làhiji): That is to say, the inner court of sanctum of holy Oneness (wahdat) of the Divine Essence, which transcends and is hallowed from all blemish of multiplicity (katharat), is the soul’s monastery (dair-e jan), and the temple (ma’bad) of the Christians, that is to say, the community of the prophet Jesus. Hence, the holy monastery of Divine Unity is the house of worship for the soul, the human spirit (ruh-e ensani), the origin of which is the World of Supra-Formal Entities (‘alam-e tajarrod). This sanctum of Divine Oneness is the soul’s temple and the roost of the Simorgh of true Subsistence (baqa) because the wellspring and reality of Subsistence is Divine Oneness, unblemished and consecrated from all contrariness and disparity generated through mortal annihilation (fana).
By realisation of this station (maqam), Jesus was graced with life and immortality. Since pure freedom from the bondage of custom, convention, blind imitation, and habit, which Christianity (tarsa’i) exemplifies, was manifested by Jesus, the poet further comments:
From the Spirit of God sprang this attainment,
Brought forth by the Holy Spirit.

The ‘attainment’ here implied is that of dispassion, detachment and emancipation from the bondage of multiplicity and habit, all of which Christianity represents, and consequent at-one-ment with the spiritual level and monastery of the Divine Essence in its sacred Oneness. Such labour was manifested by Jesus (as the ‘Spirit of God’). No previous prophet, however graced with the virtues of perfection, ever quite attained his degree.

Nurbakhsh, Dr. Javad. Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis.Terry Graham, et al. Trans.
London: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1983.

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