Maulana Sheikh NazimThe Heavenly Homeland

The homeland of the soul is the heavenly realm, just as the homeland of our human personalities is wherever we were born and raised. People have tried to describe the goal of the Sufi Path in so many ways, but the best description is to say that it is the way by which the soul may return to its homeland. Our souls long for that heavenly homeland, just as we may dream of returning to the scenes of fond childhood memories. That attachment to our childhood homes is a reflection of the soul’s longing for its original homeland; therefore, its existence is a sign of faith, and the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, in a tradition, is to have said: ”Love of one’s homeland is of faith”.

Therefore, you may come to spend Ramadan here in London, and you may feel by the end of your time here a longing for your homelands. The same holds true for pilgrims to Mecca and Medina: Allah plants in people’s hearts a love that enables them to bear all of the hardships of the journey and the pilgrimage, so that people may do their duty to their Lord: then He changes that longing for the Holy Places to a longing to return quickly home.

It is normal that a person should long for his homeland. We have a saying: ”You may put the nightingale in a golden cage but it won’t be happy, and will lament: ”Oh that I were back in the nest I made from sticks and straw”. One may see this in the community of our Cypriot immigrants here in London, or with other groups, that have come seeking ”streets lined with gold”. You may hear them moaning: "Oh our village, our mountains, our rivers, our seas, our old friends!"

That longing is only the longing of the personality and the physical body for a place it associates with good memories; but the longing of the soul goes much deeper. And just as it may sadden a person who returns to the home of his youth, and finds not there the people he loved, so, for the soul Heaven is empty without the Countenace of the Lord. Foreign dignitaries don’t go to Buckingham Palace unless the Queen is there - for what should they go, otherwise, for sightseeing?

And yourselves; you would not come to London to this humble place (we are staying in*) unless the person you love is here. Would you come from Canada to London for at least the fifth time to take a sightseeing tour? London is empty for you if that person is not here. But now London is full for you, and even if that person were to be sitting in a cave, London would be full for you because you have found that person. The longing of the soul is for its Lord: what is the Divine Realm without Him?


BookInTheMysticFootstepsOfSaintsVolume1, CategorySufism

Fussnote: This talk was given at a time when the Sheikh stayed in an average sized house in London with only a few followers.
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