Fate & the asking of Hearts: Ibn Arabi reveals…

Ask your Heart

Many recent conversations I had with people I’ve known for a month or two, spoke to one time or more, or met for the first time, were about general info: how come you decided to do this or that? or change this? or be here…?

Many questions are answered this way: “It’s Fate. It just happened and I don’t know how. I was planning on going one direction and God steered me into another and here I am.”

When you give an answer like that people think you’re avoiding the “real” answer and stare at you blankly as they wait for the real answer to come. What you just said simply doesn’t register; it’s like when people don’t really listen when they ask you: how are you today? And you say, “good, it’s been busy, but all is well.” If you ask them next day about the answer they got, odds are they’ll stare at you blankly because they weren’t supposed to remember in the first place!

Back to the Fate remark. So you say it was Fate, you get the blank stare and the usual, “yes, buss, ya3ni, how come you did so and so?” Meaning, “we live in a world of cause-and-effect and each one of us has a life that is more or less steered by someone else who has got a plan lain out for him/her – like parents, family, siblings, fears, society, restrictions, social codes, relatives – so how come you are making decisions on your own, and what made you make those decisions, and based on what?”

Their “buss ya3ni” also implies, “don’t talk to me about Fate, that’s philosophy, come down to earth and talk to me in simple cause-and-effect terms and don’t stuff the conversation with the unknown, or the beyond… let’s touch upon the external shell of things and let’s not delve into things unfashionable like talking about our lives from complicated spiritual viewpoints & contexts.”

You pick up on the underlying message, you revert back to your subconscious for more answers and you find out that the answer is: “It’s Fate. I didn’t really plan it, although I wanted it, I didn’t work for it although I sent that application or made that call, I didn’t pursue it, in fact I was pursuing something else when Fate steered me into taking those actions, those decisions… how did Fate do so? By planting in my heart the true desire for them.” Well, gladly those words never came out of my mouth; I think this would be a great departure from coolness if I ever did – lol.

Follow your Heart

Someone recently said to me, “follow your heart.” I wanted to say, “I am following my heart,” but it sounded too lame so I didn’t utter those words. Fate & Heart are very close brothers. Heart is where destiny leaves its messages, if we listen carefully and follow the Heart’s true calling, we fulfill destiny’s call, if we don’t, we suffer. One learns this the hard way. Every single time one ignores the Heart, one ends up hurting oneself. Every time one follows one’s Heart, one is relieved from the fires of not living within integrity, true spiritual integrity.

Living within integrity seems to be more than just living within the ethical codes one believes in. There is the spiritual integrity that comes from one living in perfect harmony with one’s Heart and inner calling. That’s the integrity that brings about the thing people look for in magazines, jobs, trips, romances, love stories and friendships: Peace.

Peace becomes a frequent visitor when one is living within spiritual, Heart-grown integrity. Nights become sleep-ful when one is waking every day to a life lived within what Heart wants and truly desires. And this is not some theory about mastering one’s life, their are experience-rs who have tried it, tasted it and known it.

Ask your Heart – “Istaftee Qalbak”

In Sufism, Ibn Arabi (Qaddasa Allahu Sirroh Al Kareem) says that what God throws in the Heart is what one must revert back to, listen to and follow. He writes in one of his two books, “The Meccan Revelations” and “Rasa2el (Letters of) Ibn Arabi,” that the Heart is the place where God plants His Will. Therefore Ibn Arabi advises souls, “Istaftee Qalbak,” (ask your Heart).

Do you have any idea how hard it is to ask your Heart? Your Heart; not ask yourself, or ego, or thoughts. Ask your Heart. You Heart does not include mom’s opinion, nor what Opra says, nor what media in general agrees on, nor what most marketing books say is true, nor what your peers believe is what is best for you, nor is it your own perception about your own destiny and occupation, nor is it about your great desire for that man/woman that comes from somewhere other than the Heart, nor is it about what history has proven to be the promise of those who look and live like you, me, us.

Asking one’s Heart is about putting aside all paradigms, taking off all cloaks, all hatred, all desires, all thoughts, all anticipations, all plans, all pressures, all pasts, presents and futures. Asking Heart is about not knowing, not controlling, not demanding, not steering… it’s about total surrender to that message in the Heart, which might be totally out of this world (if one happens to have a narrow view on life).

Asking Heart (Istiftaa2 al Qlab) is about being free from everything, everyone, every “reality” (for realities are not Truths), it’s about reaching a level of consciousness where there is La Ilaha Illa Allah (there’s no god but Allah). Expectations, desires, ego chatter, plans, opinions (etc) are gods. In one’s Heart, when all of those “aghyaar” (Sufi term meaning “others”) are left outside the sacred room of the Heart, the Truth reveals itself, and Fate unfolds, one’s true calling is vividly heard and you start following your path.

Hats off to those who follow the Heart, who are brave enough to do so, who don’t fear anyone, who boldly step into the unknown with great faith in their Heart’s calling and greater faith in the source of that calling, Allah, the Most Beautiful, the Most Generous, the Most Merciful who’s set up on His Throne (Al Ra7man 3ala al 3arsh iStawa…).


About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
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