Presence, Elias Returning, and a Shared Saint

Our first library addition this month is an article by William C. Chittick on a Sufi understanding of “Presence with God”, and how “being” is an aware and conscious “finding”.

Each part of the cosmos must find an intimacy with something, whether constantly, or by way of transferral to an intimacy that it finds with something else… A thing’s intimacy can only be with God, even if it does not know this.

• In his influential article “The Eliatic Function”, Leo Schaya opens up the very relevant symbolic associations of a passage from Malachi (3:22-24) regarding the presence and return of Elijah, Elias or Ilyas, one of the most exalted prophetic figures of the Abrahamic faiths.

When the terrestrial globe begins to crack, fissures occur not only “below”, but also “above”. Through the upper fissures, which represent openings of Good and of Grace in the face of the evil arising from the abysses, there penetrates a spiritual light which can enlighten the “hearts of the children” of Adam and bring them back to the “hearts of the fathers”, to the spirituality of the traditions.

• Lastly, we present a doctoral study on the history and repercussion of the tomb of a Muslim saint in the heart of the Punjab, as a centre of religious harmony not only between Muslims, Hindus and Sikh, but also between Shia and Sunni Muslims. “Sharing Saints, Shrines, and Stories” shows Haider Shaikh as a founder, protector, integrator, and exemplar of his community across religious boundaries and over the centuries.

He came to see that the world’s law was jutha (untrue) and that the Lord’s law was true. To adopt the rules of God, he did whatever Allah, Ishvar, Prabhu, Bhagwan, Paramatma, he did whatever pleased Allah Most High, and when God was happy then he was God’s and God was his.