Today, the fifth day of Ramadan, I, in an effort to catch up with my initial plan to discuss the 99 Beautiful Names over the course of the month, will briefly explore four Names, names 7-10: Muhaimin, ‘Aziz, Jabbar, and Mutakabbir.
Sharing the same root (‘amana) Mu’min, the sixth of the Beautiful Names, Muhaimin shares with it the notion of protection, but whereas Mu’min is that which fosters trust and faith, Muhaimin “is the divine quality that preserves the essence of a think from corruption” (Meyer, Hyde, Muqaddam, and Kahn. Physicians of the Heart 40). A thing’s essence, in other words, does not “rust,” for lack of a better term. That which changes through time is transient and thus passes away. Therefore, conclude the authors, it “never truly had existence” (40).
As discussed in my previous post, the root ‘amana suggests security, safety, and other Arabic words derived from this root may be translated as “nurse” and “caregiver” (172). Furthermore, “an exact physical-plane meaning is to put oneself in front of other people to protect them” (172) and much like Mu’min (and other words invoking notions of Divine Protetction), Muhaimin relates to “issues of being wounded…in relation to the quality of protection” (172).
When we feel lost, or do not “trust the world is a safe place,” we develop the ego-personality’s defenses and boundaries (172-3). Those who walk the Sufi path walk the path toward fana, or annihilation of such ego-structures, an event by which one is “able to feel held by the most sustaining of presences, and there is no more fear. There is a feeling of safety, ‘amman” (172). In other words, one feels one is protected. This protection is the divine quality embodied in the name Muhaimin.
Carrying “an inner meaning of sweetness” as well as meaning “precious and rare” ‘Aziz, the eighth Beautiful Name, “is the strength that naturally flows from intrinsic, essential worth” (41). This strength “is the power of God itself. It is the true worth, utmost dignity, and strength that manifest directly from God” (41) and, in terms of its healing capacity, ‘Aziz “brings freedom without limitations…a remedy for our experience of being powerless…undervalued and worthless” (41).
Suggested by the Name’s sound code, the power that is embodied in ‘Aziz is the kind of power that “God gives to each and every atom in the universe, without distinction, without preference” (140). Moreover, the double meaning of the Name–strength and sweetness/preciousness/rare–implies that the experience of such power is something sweet, precious, and rare. Such relates, then, to the healing capacity of the Name, as ‘Aziz “is the ability of the power of God to take us from a sense of guilt, powerlessness, and shame to an experience of genuine self-worth” (140).
Many, if not most of us, deal with issues of shame, of low self-worth and we tend to form defenses to protect us from that wound of shame. Such defense then becomes a lens through which we view our lives in relation to others. As “medicine” ‘Aziz, the strength that has always existed, is “the strength that gives each one of us a real inner sense of value…an inner sense of value that gives us strength” (141) and it is through the marriage of self-worth and strength that once comes to “know that the human soul is divine essence,” thereby being freed from the ego-personality constructed, in part, through woundedness which may then manifest in “a kind of posturing, a fake strength” (141).
‘Aziz breaks the ego’s rigidity. Identification with the ego and its fixedness produces a false sense of self. ‘Aziz is the strength that breaks through such rigidity as “the ego releases its grasping and comes into a continual influx with true being” (141).
The result is fluidity.
And in letting go, in becoming “fluid,” “the ego can become an image of God.”
That is the power of ‘Aziz.
A healing strength, Jabbar is that by which one can accomplish things: it is the power by which we can act in the world (41). Based on its sound code, the doubling of the middle consonant, this is a continuous process “with no beginning, no end, and no breaks in between” (30). Jabbar, that which “sets things straight” (143), “carries the root meaning of setting a broken bone to heal it” (41) and much like the healing capacity of ‘Aziz, Jabbar to is a strength: a strength “to act on the world…with a specific purpose and effect, which is to heal” (144).
The power to mend what is broken. As suggested above, we all experience woundedness, brokenness. Jabbar embodies the divine quality of mending that which is broken: us.
Perhaps we try and try and try again to fix ourselves, to fix what is broken. How often do we fail? And when we fail, then what? Do we feel weak? Do we get depressed? Do we fall into despair to the point that our condition becomes chronic?
In its capacity to make us act in the world, Jabbar is not a “compelling force in the sense of forcing you to move in a particular direction. It is compelling in the sense of stabilizing you in the direction of your focus” (144). Herein we find the relation to the mending of bones. Bones are strong; bones give us our structure, our stability. When we are wounded, when we are broken, so too is that stability, that strength. And when we are broken, we “resort to splitting life into many pieces; good/bad; high/low; God/humanity” (144). Our brokenness, in other words, produces a sense of world consisting of separate, discrete parts rather than perceiving the essential unity of existence.
Thus in its healing capacity as in mending bones, Jabbar is that which heals the sense of fracturedness, of disconnection, alienation, for when “this healing substance comes, you experience body, mind, and heart as one unified whole. A complete integration takes place” (144).
A common theme in today’s explorations of the Divine Names is the ego: its rigidity, its formation in relation to experiences of woundedness, its boundaries. Mutakabbir, “the path to vastness,” is “an ever-expanding cosmic wave” that removes all boundaries (41). Based on the Name’s grammatical form, this “wave” continuously moves and is “continually moving beyond the present understanding or experience” and, as such, is “about as transcendental as one can imagine” since it constantly exceeds limitations (41).
Mutakabbir is related Kabir, the 37th Divine Name, and both share the root kabura which, while carrying a “meaning of magnitude in both space and time,” also means “to grow old” as well as “to grow big” (156). Mutakabbir is the going beyond present experience–beyond all limits. Such is why Mutakabbir is as transcendent as one can get–it is “always beyond, always transcends our understanding” (156). Whatever we know (or think we know), Mutakabbir is beyond that. As one of the Divine Names, the implication is clear: God is infinitely greater than anything we, in our limited consciousness, can possibly conceive. Moreover, it might be said that a consciousness attached to ego is that which imposes the limitations and as the source of such limitations, the ego, in turn, is prone to inflation, to pride.
As such, Mutakabbir, in its healing capacity, is the means of popping the ego-balloon, of putting ego in its proper place, as well as “undertaking the continual action of dissolution of the boundaries” (158) and I close today’s post with a quote at length:
“Whenever we reach a boundary, an irresistible wave will gently erase that boundary. And then comes another expansion and another boundary. So the continual action through al-Mutakabbir is that it will not stop at any boundaries or any comfort zone…Whatever we think, in doing so we have set a boundary. So if we expand it, then we keep breaking down all the limitations that are within our mind, and that can enable our mind to be free” (158)