The Wisdom of Seven Matrixes In Chinese and Islamic Tradition
The Chinese people rarely give the number Seven (7) or CHI’ any significant meanings. But in many Islamic texts in Quranic tafsir, Prophetic hadiths and narrations from the Companions and great scholars, the secrets and wisdom connected to the figure Seven in existential and spiritual realms are beyond our limited grasp. Here we try to put some illumination of what this lofty number mean to this humble seeker life.
The Night of Power-Lailatul Qadar is better than one thousand month in rewards of worship and spiritual gifts. It is hidden in the last 7 nights of fasting month of Ramadhan (or 83.3 years). This Chinese seeker was born seven years ahead of the formation of Malaysia in 1963 where Sabah and Sarawak of British Borneo opted to join the Federation of Malaya then.
In term of creational events, most of its originated from One source, then branching or split into dual pairings of opposites. Then , the myriad numbers which only Allah know best its secrets and matrixes of existence unfolded beyond numbers. From One if we add seven, then became the 8- square numbers of 2 and 4 very powerful numbers.
Tao –One/Unity/Totality/Reality, then Yin-Yang or duality, double pairing of opposites. Kufr-iman, day-night, rich-poor, knowledge-ignirance, unveiling-covering up. Sun- shadow. Fire-Garden, good-evil, People of Right hand and people of Left hand. Fana wa Baqa. Tahalli wal-Takhalli. Jamal wal-Jalal. Life-Death. Salat-individual and zakat-community. Iktikaf wal-Jihad. Retreat and later go out to jihad. Common-elite. Sensory-meaning. Separation-gatheredness. Ascending- descending. Israk wal-mi’raj. Horinzontal- vertical. Light and darkness. Antumul fuqara wa Allahu Ghaniyul-Hamid.
The surah of Fatihah (Opening-Victory) Is called the Mother of Quran and Sabaul-Mathani- Seven oft repeated recitation. It was send down from the Arasy-Throne of Allah and never revealed to any other earlier Prophets and Messengers. Like a summary of Zabur, Injil, Torah and Ancient Revelations. No muslim prayer is valid without Fatihah and consist of 7 verse. Three for Allah, three for the slave and one-shared between the slave and the Lord.
In one hadith related by Abu Huraira and Abu Said alKhurdi, the Prophet said :
“ Seven people whom Allah shaded under His Throne on the Day of Gathering are-
First , a just ruler/king.
Second, one who loved be at the mosque.
Third, a youngman growing up in ibadah.
Fourth, a man who fear Allah and stopped when seduced by a noble beautiful woman.
Fifth, a man/woman who shed tears at night when remembering Allah.
Sixth, one who give sadaqa by right hand not known by the left hand (meaning in secret).
Seventh, two men who travel and meet his friend and depart just for the sake/love of Allah.”
On the wisdom of the Seven, we shall take from tafsir/commentary from Hilyatul Awlya wa Tabaqatul-Asfiya (The Adorments of Awliya and Ranks of the Sufis of Imam al-Hafiz Abu Nuaim al- Asfani d.1038 - translated by Shaykh Muhammad al-Akili @ copyright Pearl House Publication 1995. ISBN 1-8-879405-11-3. Cover photo: Dunes, first print April 1996. published in USA and printed in Canada. Bought by this seeker circa about 22.2. 2002 ) from Ibnu Abbas, the great Companion and savant of Quran, may Allah be pleased with him related (in page 347) that :
‘One day Umar r.a was sitting with some of the elder Muhajirun Meccan Companions of Messenger sallaLlahu alaihi wasallam, and a discussion of the Night of Power took place. Umar listened as some of them debated and gave opinions and interpretations of this miraculous night. Umar turned to Ibnu Abbas and said, ‘ What happened to you O ibn Abbas ? why are you silent ? Say something. Do not let your youth-age and respect for the old ones prevent you from sharing your understanding and wisdom’.
Ibn Abbas who was dearly loved and prayed over by the Prophet: “ Oh Allah, endow him with wisdom-hikmah’ and ‘ O Allah bless him and further increase Your baraka upon him through his progeny-off springs’. And Jabir related from the Messenger said,’ In times yet to come (future), my followers will be ruled by kings (sultanates) who will descend from al-Abbas (Prophet’s uncle), and through them Allah will further exalt and strengthen this Deen of Islam’.
To prove this Hadith is a living reality, please read the hot book – AHLU BAYT dan Kesultanan Melayu by Suzana Othman & Hj.Muhammad Muzaffar, Crescent 2006. RM45.Penulis berkata, ’Alam melayu ini redup dengan jaringan ulama, sufi, pemimpin, raja dan sultan dari keturunan sayyid dan syarif sejak beratus tahun dahulu. Hanya kita yang lupa dan perlu dibangkitkan semula ’.
Hadith From Ibn Abbas said :
‘Oh Amirul muminin, surely Allah is One and Unique, and He likes odd numbers. In this respect, He blessed be His Name, also chose a series of septets (7s). He make the week revolved around 7 days. He created human being in 7 stages. He made our livelihood depend on 7 types of elements; He created 7 heavens above us; beneath He created two earths, each one consists of 7 layers.
He revealed the Opening Chapter-Fatiha of 7 verses; He forbade 7 type of marriages involving close family members; He allotted the faraid divisional inheritance into 7 categories of relatives; we prostate on 7 part of our body;
Rasul do the tawaf 7 times around Kaaba, running 7 times between Safa and Marwa and pelting stones 7 times at Jamrah while proclaiming Allah’s glory (Allahu akbar)..there fore I think (Ibn Abbas conclkuded) the Laylatul qadar must be at one the last 7 nights of Ramadhan”.
Question : why do you take extra pains to trace your source of this hadith/information ? Woe to you, some ulama as-salaf prohibited ordinary muslims/public from teaching or relating various hadiths without isnad-transmission from which sources or Companion/Tabiin they took from.
This sickness and corruption of the deen already happen in Imam Ghazali time when he castigated the populist preachers telling stories of Islam in the mosques to the masses. This tablighi self styled imams and ustazs and amirs and qarquns are not real fuqaha or muhadithin or mufassirin or learned ulama. Imam Malik learned and take his knowledge with ijazas/isnad from Seven prominent Fuqaha of Madinah before he compiled the Kitab al-Muwatta and taught it.
In I Ching hexagram 7 :
In observing the sign, the superior man should be generous to the people
and embrace the masses.
Hexagram 17 (Sui-Alignment):
Travellers will have success. Sincerity and virtue bring good fortune.
Capture his heart and strengthen the bonds.
The Years of 7 In My Family
My age now is 49 ( 7 x 7) years. Shaykh Abdal Qadir as-sufi wrote his first book- The Book of Stranger in 1972 and seven years later this seeker fascinated by its kufic blue silver colors bought it from a shop in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1979. By the blessing and guidance of Allah the Exalted, Majestic in year of 1400 Hijriah ( 7 x 200 / 70 x 20 / 700 x 2 ), Islam embraced this seeker.
Seven islands footprinted by this seeker : Singapore, Penang, Tioman, Langkawi, Labuan, Bintan and Batam . In my ATM Defence College Strategic Studies tour in 1994 together with about 35 officers rank from Colonels, Captains and Generals, we flew to New Delhi Military airport by TUDM C-130 Hercules aircraft covering about 7,000 km and took about 7 hours from TUDM Subang. We visited and were giving briefing by Indian War College officer in a very old Mughal Fort at outskirt of Delhi. Probably about 700 years old. Correct me if my judgement and measurement is not exact and nobody busy to check either.
Seven Days In India
We spend 7 days of beauty, torture, diahorea, spicy food, Taj Mahal, Red Fort, quite near to Nizamudin Awliya tomb/mosque, intelligence gatherings, defence briefings, almost crossed over to Pakistan, fainted at Goa Naval base, missed the trip to Hindustani Aerospace center which produce missiles and rockets at Bangalore and lost 2 kg, played my highest poker game at 30,000 feets and shivering. Climbed up to pilot cockpit and almost drive the C-130 !
Only madness make us enslaved by magic numbers. Yet, your money grow by 7.0% annually if the Bank Negara or Federal Reserve fixed it so. Money is not a tree or plant or animals which can reproduce itself. So in the end game, who going to LAUGH and CRY. People get dehumanize and morality/religion destroyed just like a dropping numbers or indexes at NASDAQ or NIKKEI . An US aircraft carrier cost a cool USD27 billion ? A Boeing 747 just USD170 ? An Airbus 380 for USD210 ?
Our Lord of Universe, Allah Taala created in man many pairs of seven organs and limbs both outward and inward such as:
Two eyes + two ears + two nose holes and one mouth opening = seven outward senses.
Two lungs + two kidneys + two zakar and one heart/qalb = seven inward organs.
Seven parts of a mumin touched the ground during sajdah in prayer :
Two hands + two feets + two knees and one’s forehead.
The Secret of Seven Rites of Islamic Hajj Pilgirmage
During the Hajj-pilgrimage, the seeker must purify himself by bathing, then wudu-washing with water over seven limbs (2 hands, 2 feet, 2 ears and the whole face). Then he must circumbulates going round the Kaaba which symbolise the House of Allah or doing the Tawaff seven times anti-clockwise. He stop for rest, drink the Zamzam Water and pray the extra sunna prayer two rakaats at the Station of Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him during or after tawaf if he is tired.
The next rite of Hajj is to do Seven Times of half running and walking between two small Hills called SaFa and Marwa about 200 meters distance beside the Kaaba within the precint of Noble Mosque Sanctuary. All this Divinely ordain of patterned rites in the Hajj are designed with deep wisdom to exhaust, clean, weakened, make the slave surrender and submit to the Majesty, Beauty and Mercy of Allah tabaraka wa taala. He is totally alone in the midst of one-two million other muslim doing the same ancient worship.
Heidegger said- ‘Language is the House of Being’ and ‘Thinking is really thanking the Being’.
For us as Muslim, the highest speech function and human language is to praise (hamd), glorify (tasbih), exalt (takbir), witnessing (shahada), unification (tawhid) and endless zikr-remembrance of the Divine Creator mainly through His 99 Beautiful Names (Asmaul-husna). This language belongs to and exclusively only addressed to Him. So the Angels unable to know names/languages for the myriad of physical existence submit and prostrate to the inner superiority of Adam as the khalifa-outward representative of the King.
‘Subhanaka la ilma-lana illa ma allam-tana.
Innaka Anta Alimul-Hakim’
.( All glory to You, Oh Allah. We have no knowledge
except what You taught us. Verily You are most Knowing,
Possesor of Wisdom ).
The Breaking Up To 73 Sect/Deviations
A Hadith related that the umat-followers of Jew and Christian will break up and split into 71 and 72 groups-firqah. But the later muslims will break up/split into 73 groups. Only one group of people of Sunna and Jamaa will be guided and on the correct Path of Islam.
Confucius said of himself, “ At the age of seventy, I stood firm, understood the Heaven command and did not overstep the boundary’.
The Seven Years of Drought and Prosperity
Prophet Yusuf alaihi salam were honored by Allah Taala by being conferred the revelation as a Prophet while being thrown into a dry well, found by a caravan and sold as a slave and then jailed and released after he correctly intrepreted the dreams of the Egyptian king- Seven thin cows eat up seven fat cows. It means this country will experience seven years of good harvests/prosperity and succeeded by 7 years of drought and hardships. So the ruler appointed him as Wazir/Minister to prepare facing this coming crisis.
In 1997, hedge fund speculators led by George Soros and elite bankers , jewish cohorts attacked the overheated economy and overvalued Asian Currency and Stock Markets where Indonesia, Thai and S.Korean currency tumbled like ten pins and forced to take IMF loans. Dr. M was openly attacked and his DPM nearly succeeded in toppling him, applied the high interest rate/tight credit regime that saw many millionaires declared bankrupt, big companies collapsed and stock prices fall from RM7.00 to almost 70 sen. Daim gone, Amin Omar bursted, Tajuddin Ramli sold MAS and sued the Government. Rashid Hussain RHB taken over by CIMB. Zaitun Industries sued by banks unable to repay debts. Suharto oversee by Camdessus signed letter of surrender and disposed. Clinton embroiled by sex scandal and Alan Greenpeace the Fed chairman in total control although Continental Bank had collapsed and saved by a consortium.
Only an unorthodox, brave, suicidal and iron heart of Dr.M being a muslim, totally in trust and submitting on Allah’s power and Decree, supported by sincere and pure prayers from the people loved by Allah- we cannot admit defeat to the outside kuffar forces. Allah is the One that decide our fate, crisis or success. Bang ! Fixed excange rate of USD1.00 to RM3.80. No more speculative trading/attack on Malaysian Ringgit (RM), no hot money/capital can enter/go out of the country except compliance.
We did not sink but rise up again after seven worst years in 2005. Power over to you Pak Lah. May Allah, strengthen and illuminate your leadership as He blessed your forefathers as ulama, imam and leaders.
The Seven good years was over and the Seven Ronin Masterless Samurai
of Rashomon film in the 1970s unveiled a substantive lesson to all truth seekers:
First, never trust and take a kafirun, fasiqun or munafiqun in your life transaction. What more to buy up our stocks, companies, property and lands. This edict was issued by Sultan of Muhammad II in Kelantan after advice by Sheikh Ahmad Zain al-Fatani, his teacher and sufi alim based in Makkah. He got the blessing, authority and appointment over certain Islamic muamalats, publication/distribution of malay kitabs and connection to malay sultanate affairs by the late Osmani ruler sultan abdal hamid khan II. No kafir can buy or own land in Kelantan unless approved by the Sultan.
Second, only seek out ,test and engage the service of Ronin samurais who still practice the Bushido code of honor. No cheating, hiding personal and material interests, womanizing and robbing the poors by force of sword and kills when only when attacked and exposed.
Third, always honor fellow true and genuine samurais. Their feets don’t waver and they always lower their face and speak softly in public arena. They sleep little but meditate deep into the night. Sensitive to all sounds and movements bcos he is so still like water mirroring the moon light.
Fourth, no greedy and egoistic landowner or towkays can buy their service of eliminating their adversaries but they must repay with kindness to the people.
Fifth, this ronin wanderers don’t stay too long in one village or city lest they are being recognized by corrupt officials.
Sixth, this samurai can adapt, work, travel like monks and scholars if they choose to. Or to serve at tea houses and became garden keepers. They rarely rely on books and moneys in order to survive another day.
Seventh, when this samurais choose and led by a genuine leader, they sacrifice their life and blood to serve the community. The farmers, artisan and traders must not let the samurai without hospitality when travellng through their villages. Robbers and gangsters will not dare to disturb a village known to be a temporary sanctuary and retreat for old samurais.
Many modernist and nihilists try to find meanings and capture the secret powers of this magic number such as :
Seven Eleven chain stores.
Mild Seven ciggarates branding.
Seven wonders of the world
The Seven seas cod liver oils.
James Bond 007 film thriller.
Boeing aircrafts series – 727, 737, 777,747
BMW 720 series
Sabbath in Hebrew means seven. Rest day.
But they are as Maulana Rumi, Yunus Emre of Anatolia or Hafiz 700 years ago pointed out , they are not singers of this sensory-lower-media hyped world, but the strangers, fuqara , dervishes and muridun who sang the jalals, salawat, zikir, burdah, qasidas and syairs in secretive circles and to draw out the bird of meanings/spirit from the caged prison of bodies to soar to another level of being/realm /existence/station. They had sold their riches and wealth and freedom just to taste a drop from the Ocean. A gleam of ruh from the Unseen. A light from the arrogant corner of the nafs al-ammara self. A moment of coolness in the Fire of the Friend.
An triple isolation of the self-people, ship-ocean and
night raging storms–tranquil darkness/safety in the Fish Belly.
Subhanaka la ilaha illa Anta, inni kuntu minaz-zalimin.
An escape from Magic of Firaun court of power, death and slavery.
Throw away your Staff, Oh Musa.
Put off your two Sandals, Oh Musa.
Draw out your shining Hand from your shirt.
Climb and put your foot in the Burning Bush.
I am Allah, the Lord of all Worlds
The Time, Place, Body and Language of humanity has been folded up in a jalali moment. Look the Mountain had melted away, gone, annihilated and became dusts, nothingness. That is your adamic reality. What are we to claim and acquire this dreamlike malakut realm ? How can any sufi or wali or pretenders make claims they can fly, enter, ascend or withdraw inwardly to this Presence of Nearness ? Witnessing the malakut wonders that make them a slave to miracles and karamat. They talked about it because they yearn, desire and greedy for this special station/maqam.
They had not tasted it like the Tea of Ecstasy. Drink the Nectar of Arrival. From the Cup of Ihsan. Except by the mercy, gift and overflowing of the Real. Not at the time/place they choose/boasted but only after total stripping away (tajrid/tafrid) and being BROKEN HEARTED. STAND at the DOOR.
Hot but not fire, wet but not water, dry but not air and hard but not stone/wood, this Jewel belongs to the Seeker who had SEEN, SPOKEN, EMBRACED, KISSED, LEAD the prayer and followed BEHIND, send OUT, put FORWARD, taken ABACK, spoken AGAINST, CRUSHED,
TRAVELLED much and covered SHORT distance, being COOKED, flung to the EAST, unknown and trampled in the WEST, he brew TEA but fools say it was COFFEE. People call it TAO, hide the CHI, spell it QING and painted it ZHEN. Recite it KE’LAN CHING.
ENTER the empire of MING. Journey to DESERT and ARRIVE at DRAGON INN. BLOWN away the next DAY. RAMADHAN soon over. NIGHT of POWER is with MY MASTER. You are still RAW. Learn ADAB from the YOUNGEST FAQIR and SERVE the OLDEST. HONOR your WIFE and treat the WOMEN with LOVE and CARE. They help PURIFY your NAFS and smell the PERFUME of sincerity. KICK OUT the bad guys and put them in KITCHEN.
Enter the CAVE of sidi FUDUL. READ from the Library of al-QARAWYN. Compare your STATUS with BLIND man of Bahlil. STAY at the tiny hamlet of AGHLAB until you DIE. Dance with MOZART. SOAR with Ninth Symphony. Get ANNIHILATED by just A GLANCE.
This PRICELESS ….ONE DOT beneath the BA. Alif Lam Lam Ha……
.no more voice. No sound, no seeing, no meeting, no teaching, no books, no inks and paper to WRITE ON. No computer to PLUG ON. Just a TINY VISION SOME WHERE. KEEP IT. LOST IT ?
Just about to stop writing, a flash of Suratul Kahfi made us remember the Seven Cave Sleepers and the faithful dog where Allah Taala preserved (out-time) and honored them with guidance.
Famous doa : Rabbana atina min ladunka rahmatan,
wa hayyi’lana min amrina rasyada.