God's Defiant Lovers
14th century Turkish folk poet of Alevi tradition (in the Balkans also known as Bektashi), Kaygusuz Abdal, wrote a poem in which he challenges, teases, even insults God. He says: "High above the high ones, I have seen Thou art the skillful Creator, Great God The world reads with words Thou readest the syllable, God. Thou hast created rebellious slaves, Saying, Let it ever be thus: Thou hast placed them there, Thou hast gone to the border, God. Thou has created a bridge of hair Saying, let the slaves come and pass over. Rather, let us stand here. If thou art hero, pass thou over, o God. Those who are heroes are known As so and so, the son of so and so. Thou hast no mother and no father Thou resemblest a bastard child, God. I am Kaygusuz, from the door of the Friend. From the three hundred thousand cups in a day. Lift up the curtain, from between Let us look within, God." If any orthodox jurist was to place his eyes on those verses, the mad dervish would have ceased to live. Such fate was known to Imadaddin Nasimi, a 14th century Turkic (Azerbaijani or Turkmen) poet of Hurufi tradition, who was skinned alive in Aleppo, for claiming that human can become a God. Hurufis, just like Alevis and Bektashis are a heterodox school which reject much of the Islamic orthodoxy - they drink alcohol, eat pork, men and women don't have to be separated in prayer, and women do not have to veil. They often reject the fiqh, that is, Islamic jurisprudence and focus entirely on the batin, inner, hidden dimension of the Truth.
For many of these "mad mystics", challenging, insulting God like in the poem above was not foreign. In other poems, the same mystics may express complete enamourment with God. A materialist may simply call it schizophrenic but for a mystic this is the usual dance between polarities - one polarity which is the feeling of God's distance and the rejection of the demiurge, and the other, which is the feeling of God's closeness and the death within the Absolute.
There is No God
Muslim confession of faith begins with a negation, not affirmation. It says: "There is no God" first, and then continues with: "except Allah". Allah is not a deity, Allah is, as Ibn Arabi says "The Real", the supreme Reality, the True Essence of everything. Every existence is His existence, for He is The Sustainer (Ar - Razzaq), The Vast (Al - Wasi), The Unique / The One and Only (Al - Wahid), The First (Al - Awwal), The Last (Al Akhir), The Manifest (Az - Zahir), The Unmanifest (Al - Batin) and there is nothing in existence that is not sustained by His existence, the ultimate existence is only His, or Hers, as many mystics have claimed the feminine essence of the innermost aspect of Divine, since God is "The Unifier" (Al - Jami) who at the end of the Times, will unify everything into own existence. God is also is the only who unifies all the Names into One, pointing to the receptive and expansive, which corresponds with the metaphysical feminine.
The myth of original sin, which exists in Islam as well as in other Abrahamic traditions, is not taken as "sin". The whole event was also the act of God's Will, for "I was a hidden treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created a creation (mankind), then made Myself known to them, and they recognised Me" (Hadith Qudsi). Separation, that is creation, was itself act of God's self-manifestation. The One, the Unity, wanted to be known through Multiplicity and has created everything for no other reason but own "self satisfaction". This is where the mad mystic who challenges God appears. A mystic thinks: "You have created everything for Yourself. I am nothing but another mirror You have placed for You to marvel at Your own reflection & majesty. How cruel You are!". Dervish is the One who sees the both hands, the right through which God is The Exalter (Ar - Rafi), The Giver of Honor (Al - Mu'izz), The Giver of Life (Al - Muhyi), and left hand through which God is the The Humiliator (Al - Khafid), The Giver of Dishonor (Al - Muzill) and The Bringer of Death (Al - Mumeet). It is not only good that comes from God, it is the bad as well.
I was said once by a Sufi, that to be a good believer, one must be a good non-believer, only so, will the believer be able to see beyond one's expectations of the Divine, only so a human can see without projecting. Often people will name the existence of evil or bad as a reason for rejecting God. The mystic knows that it is not the Absolute they are rejecting, they are rejecting their mental concept of the Absolute. They may reject the demiurge but not the Absolute. For the Absolute cannot be rejected, because everything relative exists simply by being supported by the Absolute existence. The breath, or nefes, or prana as they call it in dharmic religions, is the Sustainer of existence, once the breath stops, existence stops. Their minds may reject the God who won't show the face, but every beat of their hearts, every move of their fingers are in submission.
When the Final Unity comes, it is said, God's Mercy will prevail over God's Wrath: "My mercy prevails over my wrath" (Muslim), and the "right hand" qualities will be shown to be the more essential and fundamental to God than those of the "left hand", but in manifestation, both are needed. To be The Bringer of Life, God must be The Bringer of Death, and from the perspective of Divine Eternity, what does it matter if the death occurs at age of seven or seventy-seven? Both are but a drop in the eternity. There is no deity, there is only the Truth.
Beyond Good and Evil
Once I was told by another mystic, that looking at a beautiful face was "ibadat" (devotion, submission to God). I wondered, was not looking at a woman's beauty a distraction from spiritual pursuits? The response was: "Yes, if one gazes with a human eye, but if one looks with the the eye of the heart (Ayn Ul Qalb), there is only devotion."
Whole my adult life I have felt the same. When it comes to human body - I am a pagan, I can't see sin or prison. And yet, despite my great love for gazing at a beautiful body, I never want it as a tool for satisfying my need - I want to pray, I want the body to be my prayer mat.
While I was studying traditional Tantra, I found a Vajrayana Buddhist text called: "The Tantra of Canḍạmahārosạna", in this text, there are details and sadhanas on the worship of the Vajradhātvīśvarī, a dakini. As dakini or the feminine is seen as embodiment of Emptiness & Wisdom (masculine is Compassion and Skillful Means), the women are greatly regarded in the whole text. What text also describes however, is the sexual sadhana and yoga. It says: "For a woman, the man is a deity; For a man, the woman is a deity. They should honor each other By uniting the vajra and the lotus."
The offerings that are mentioned in the text include meat and wine, things usually forbidden in the dharma practice: “Then the sādhaka, visualizing himself in the form of Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa and visualizing the wisdom consort in the form of Hatred Vajrī, should make love and note the four joys. When this is completed, he should offer the gaṇacakra feast with wine and meat, with the teacher as the guest of honor" and it also includes the consumation of her impurities: "One should always eat from her dish of leftovers. One should drink the water with which she washes her mouth and the water with which she washes her lotus. (...) exactly the same way, by partaking of these impurities, people will obtain the genuine fruit of pleasure. For such people, there is neither old age, nor disease, nor death."
In Tantra, one does not seek to simply transcend certain modes of consciousness or being, rather one seeks to transform passions, emotions, even impurities into virtues. That which once created the illusion has become the tool of liberation. There is a reason why these teachings have remained highly esoteric and hidden from the general world and why these practices were allowed only to those who were at the highest levels of the Journey. The consciousness, the soul that is not ready to receive those teachings will pervert them. It has happened with Neo - Tantra. Also the absolute non-existence of duality is possible only in the Esoteric realm, in the realm of Exoteric, laws and rules are needed in order to navigate life. The highest form of freedom is found in the Esoteric and when humans forget it and try to destroy all boundaries, all hierarchies of the Exoteric realm, it creates an external chaos that must be managed, so there is no time nor desire for the Esoteric freedom which is the only freedom there is. Sachiko Murata, in her "Tao of Islam", explains it beautifully: "Sufism is concerned with "maintaining the secret" (hifz al-sirr) for more reasons than one. The secret of God's mercy threatens the plain fact of His wrath. If "She" came out of the closet, "He" would be overthrown. But then She could not be found, for it is He who shows the way to Her door." One day, when all is over, a human shall all go back to "She", or there where "She" and "He" are in Union and one cannot tell which is which, but until then, a soul ought to dance with both.
The Defiant Lover
My prayers to God were never the prayers of asking or begging. I found that the merchant's approach did not fit my soul. Neither was it the one of the warrior, I did not make report of my daily deeds and gave them to the Commander to examine. They were the prayers of a lover. The lover often feels the separation, sometimes so strongly that it becomes a physical pain or a fatigue. But I am not of compliant nature, so instead of begging for the Beloved to come and look at me, I defy, I insult. "I hate you" is what I often say during these moments. It all ends, and I am finally defeated, I cry, but even then I do not beg. That's when the Beloved comes, I need not beg. I cry before no human being and I hate defeat - the biggest parts of my ego and pride are sacrificed to Him. Then I fall in love with my own defeat. I forget the promises of being a person, I become nobody, and I am free. During these moments, my prayers are like this: "You are not worthy of my worship. I don't care for what You like. You don't deserve to be done as You like. I don't fear Your Wrath, I don't fear Your fire. Put the burning chains on my skin & let them melt me, if it means I melt into You. Your slaves fear Your fire, but Your lover fears nothing if it comes from You."
Not always is He distant and separate, more often He is present. Everything is as if seen, and experienced for the first time, everything is a source of bliss and everything is His face. During these times, the prayers are like this: "Tonight you were Yusuf, I was Zuleikha, slave to Your beauty. I took the opium from your breath. I forgot the cruelty of your distance. There is Mercy even in Your distance, if our meetings are made sweeter because of it."
Beloved, have Mercy on Your Defiant Lover. Dharma protector, I hope you forgive my transgression for showing parts of the secret Tantra.