Friday, September 18, 2009

EID MUBARAK! Joyfully Meeting GOD/ALLAH in the Yusuf Narrative

This is the blogger here Connie with my wildly "novice" attempt once again to reflect on this Surah. Below are some notes and below that some "teachings" from my teacher of the Quran. I was asked by this mentor in the Quran to do my own "fresh" coming to the text before any real study of explanations. This is my 2nd.

Tsunamic Dreams and with them specific "job descriptions for humanity at large" from on High come to visionaries often early in their lives - and help shape their entire life and purpose. Perhaps they would come more often to anyone who was ready to listen to God intently on a more or less full-time basis? Truthfulness about one's own vulnerabilities and need for God's help does not seem to hinder this call. In fact in some cases - including Yusuf's - such transparency before the divine and cries for help may enhance Divine presence - yet not always the way and or with the timing the seeker is pleading.

There is a huge lesson regarding true faith from Joseph's father who due to circumstances was tried severely as well as Joseph - perhaps even more so. I think of all the fathers and family who are feel so helpless and afraid for their missing children in this cataclysmic and especially unjust time in history. Many innocents or those who make youthful mistakes end up with consequences way out of proportion to their "crime". And what father would not be afraid for his missing children? The lesson is that great courage combined with great faith overcomes great fear. Even when there is no way to live without the fear - we can still choose to trust God.

When people of the Abramic faiths over-spiritualize scripture for their children -these children may more easily abandon their faith because they perceive their normal or understandable fears as a lack of God's presence or a lack of their own abilities to perceive and believe in God. Sometimes we teach our children that fearlessness is courage and courage is fearlessness. Yet here is the father of this story ever so human and often passionate with his own emotion for Joseph and yet he did not hide his fears NOR his faith. How often do we do both and then wonder why we can't live up to our surreal and plastic replicas of human?

Sometimes we may imagine that we can or should hide all our passion and emotion from those around us and others. And of course often we must. Nor can we live by the same or depend on these alone. Yet perhaps we are seeing that faith in the One might come through as strongly through our honest expressions as through our stoicism. Not always--yet sometimes -- transparency may be better for our loved ones and our young than to be superficially unflappable in all situations.

Yusuf seems less fearful than his father yet in like manner he recognizes that were it not for God his actions would lead to ruin - it is not so much a matter of his OWN strength at all - yet his faith in the ONE is what keeps him strong. Implicit throughout is his recognition of his limitations given the testing surrounding him. I have imagined him also to be self-forgiving yet this is probably my own projection and not easily apparent.

Nevertheless, how closely the reader is able to FEEL with Yusuf throughout the story and to grow with him - to learn confidence not only in self yet also in God and in the interpretations given to him through God, dreams and many other ways. Thus, even for the reader, trust and confidence in both self AND God grows even through the retelling - like transmission of the unexplainable powers built solidly on faith through experience which in this case seem to be coming from JOSEPH's actual experience with the Divine to this student's weekend study!

"Sophisticated" analysts of literature tend to throw out the real possibility that the Tsunamic (personal or/and world-shaking) dreams as well as the gentler, healing ones could come from an actual God who is all in All. Yet reading the Yusef story over and over throughout a significant period of time - and with prayer - helps shake that kind of doubting.

Here in Joseph's prayer of gratitude is a perfect model for our own similar prayers and a reminder from where such beneficial power and knowledge comes - this is a fitting ending to my personal reflection of the Yusef story in the Quran.

"Lord, You have given me authority and taught me to interpret dreams. Creator of the heavens and the earth, my Guardian of the heavens and the earth, my Guardian in this world and in the world to come! Allow me to die in submission, and admit me among the righteous."

There is a visceral knowing - this is God for Good a deeper recognition that He needs people for specific purposes such as telling of revelations in new, fresh and alive ways keeping with the many innovative "languages" and modes of expression in our time. He needed poets, story-tellers, scribes and musicians then and He still needs such proclaimers now - and perhaps He will forever. All around the globe.


Connie L. Nash said...

Corrections and disagreements are welcome if tasteful as I am such a beginner in these studies.

Connie L. Nash said...

Please see the next blogposts as well since they are a kind of "re-framing" of Khurram Ali Shafique Sahib's work and I am willing to correct or delete if these are not fitting to any regular student or teacher here. :)

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

This is extremely powerful and thoughtful reflections from a beautiful mind and a generous soul. Highly intelligent analysis on spiritual classifications. On dreams I have personal experiences, one such which I also narrated to a friend back in 1989 and that was also published in his Book about FUTURE, where a dream I repeated had in span of two years which was becoming a burden as it was about a dear one. Eventually things happened exactly the way I saw in dream.

Connie, the way you have read and then tried to state in your very expressive way has reminded me to have another and deeper look into the story of YUSUF, the most evocative and beautiful one from Quran.

Connie L. Nash said...

Akhtar Sahib,

This study of Yusuf energised me spiritually in a way most surprising to me. I plan to keep returning to chapter 12 of the Quran and to compare to other stories on Yusuf (Joseph).

Perhaps the next bit of work I want to do is to reflect on his experience in prison and what he and his life might have to say to us today about that.

If you know any references to prison which you find to be appropos to our time - in the Quran - you or any reader here? Do let me know.

Your encouraging words are among the top 10 reasons I want to keep writing a posting! Thank You for reading these posts and letting me know you do.