The following is a rough translation of most of Wasif Ali Wasif’s essay called Firaq o Wisal (Separation and Union). These are technical terms of sufism denoting states of being well known to all students of sufi literature. Wasif sahib did not discuss terminology but used it in his own way to bring out fundamental facts of both life and the Path.

Union and Separation

As long as man was in the moolight he desired to reach the moon…there was bliss in the moonlight but the moon itself was distant. Moonlight was near but man longed for the moon…man reached the moon but there he was without the moonlight. If one reaches the moon one does not find moonlight any longer and if one is in moonlight one does not find the moon. Tis a strange fact that one is only because of the other…one is a sign of the other yet both are forever separate.

If the Beloved is the Moon, moonlight is His remembrance. When the Beloved is present His remembrance is not and when His remembrance is present the Beloved is not. Proximity to one is distance from the other, Union with one is separation from the other. Thus union is hidden in every separation and separation in every union.

If love is the longing for the Habib (pbuh), then separation will be essential. Longing (shawq) lasts till vision but vision further nurtures longing. That which is beheld once is longed after again and again and this is Love. Love will always pass through separation; it matures and is cooked on the fire of longing whereas union is like the solidifying of ice…….

Something not said but worth thinking about is this: the angels are always in union, always near but what they lack is love. That why they are only angels…..man is in separation but he is also in love and has the remembrance of the Beloved.

This is the difference between the Dunya (this world) and the Akhira (next world). Here man has remembrance, there he will have vision. Man is honored above all creation and the cause of this is separation which gives rise to love, remembrance and the longing for the Beloved. The angels are in worship but not in love….love is warmth and silence, love is melody and song. The gratest secret of Beauty is found in love, namely, that separation is the fruit of union.

(part 2 to follow)

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