Musa: The Heights and The Cave

Friday sermon (jum'ah khutba) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 24th February 2012 - 27mins 16secs

When Moses came to the place appointed by Us and his Lord addressed him, He said: "O my Lord! show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon Thee." Allah said: "By no means canst thou see Me (direct); but look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me." When his Lord manifested Himself to the Mount, He made it as dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe."

In this sermon the Sheikh chose to focus on aspects of the Mosaic story, elegantly using them to outline some of the possibilities of the inner and outer aspects of the soul. Much of Moses' experiences are related to the rigorous majesty of Allah, His Jalal. At the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai when he famously asked to see something of God, he was met with the dazzling sight of the mountain crumbling as outlined in the verses above. Musa is also known by the Laws that he brought forth to the Jews, again another side of Allah's religion that is said to be 'jalil'.

However there is another side of the story. In Surah al-Kahf there is the rather mysterious encounter between Musa and Khidr. The events outlined in al-Kahf centre not on the outward but rather on the 'Ilm ladunni'. This 'knowledge from within Us' refers to the inward knowledge that cannot be explained through words alone but need ishara, indications, sometimes through poetry, sometimes through art, sometimes through an encounter with beauty itself. After all what is art if not the act of "seeking Ultimates that mere words can't reach"?

The Sheikh ends with Prophet Muhammad's own Sinai moment, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The words of Surah an-Najm are mysterious themselves, but they indicate that there was something in his heart that transcended even the Mosaic, that somehow combined both the experiences of Musa but also of his companion Khidr, Allah's peace be upon them all.

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