|Section 5 : Spiritual Food|
These examples inform us that Alla-h’s (SwT) special invitation does not always concern material satisfaction. The food that Alla-h (SwT) serves in the aforementioned specific invitations are spiritual. In fact in some traditions the word ‘ta’a-m’ is translated as spiritual food. Consider the following:
In chapter ‘Abasa [80:24], Almighty Alla-h says:
έσαϊνσδϊΩυΡφ ΗαΕφδϊΣσΗδυ Εφαάμ ΨσΪσΗγφεφ
“Then let man look at his food.”
Under this holy verse, the Shi’ite exegete Sayyid Ha-shim Bahra-ni-, in his Tafsi-r al-Burha-n quotes a tradition narrated by Thiqat al-Islam al-Kulayni- in al-Ka-fi [v.1, p.39, tr.8] from Ima-m al-Sa-diq (‘a) as follows:
Zayd al-Shahha-m asks Ima-m (‘a) what “man’s food” stands for in the verse above. The Ima-m (‘a) responds saying:
Ϊφαϊγυευ ΗαψσΠφν νΓϊΞυΠυευ Ϊσγψσδϊ νσΓϊΞυΠυευ.
“It refers to the knowledge that he acquires, and its source.”
The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said:
ΓσΘφνΚυ ΪφδϊΟσ ΡσΘψφν΅ νυΨϊΪφγυδφν ζσνσΣϊάήφνάδφν.
“I spend the night near my Lord, and He feeds me and quenches my thirst.”
Commenting on this prophetic tradition, Sayyid ‘Ali- Kha-n al-Madani- in his magnum opus, Riya-d al-Sa-liki-n says:
ζγΪαζγ Γδψ ΨΪΗγε (Υαψμ Ηααψε Ϊανε ζΒαε) ΪδΟ ΡΘψε ανΣ γδ ΜδΣ ΓΨΪγΙ ΗαΝνζΗδΗΚ ΗααΝγνψΙ΅ ζαΗ ΤΡΗΘε γδ ΜδΣ εΠε ΗαΓΤΡΘΙ΅ ζΕδψγΗ ΗαγΡΗΟ ΨΪΗγ ΗαΪαγ ζΤΡΗΘ ΗαγΪΡέΙ
“And it is known that the Prophet’s food near his Lord is not of the kind of animal food, nor is his drink like the drinks that we see before us. Indeed what is meant here is only the ta’a-m (food) of knowledge and the shara-b (drink) of gnosis (ma’rifah).”
‘Alla-mah Majlisi- also, commenting on this tradition says in his Oceans of Lights:
...ζαΗ Τί Γδ Παί ΗαΤΡΗΘ ανΣ ΕαΗ ΪΘΗΡΙ Ϊδ ΗαγΪΡέΙ ζ ΗαγΝΘΙ ζΗαΕΣΚδΗΡΙ ΘΓδζΗΡ ΪΗαγ ΗαΫνΘ...
“…and undoubtedly that drink is nothing but Divine gnosis, love, and seeking illumination through the lights of the hidden realm…”
The infinitive noun ‘shurb’ also, which is commonly translated as ‘drinking’ does not literally mean ‘to drink’. Drinking is only a material extension of ‘shurb’- which literally denotes “to convey to one’s inside” be that by drinking or otherwise.
The Holy Qur’a-n for example, uses shurb for the polytheists who inclined to the worship of a cow after Prophet Mu-sa- (‘a) went to be the special guest of Alla-h (SwT), in the following way:
ζσΓυΤϊΡφΘυζΗ έφν ήυαυζΘφεφγυ ΗαϊΪφΜϊασ ΘφίυέϊΡφεφγϊ
“…and their hearts had been imbued with [the love of] the Calf, due to their faithlessness.”
Observe that the word ‘ushribu-’ is employed which does not connote any kind of material intake of drink.
Ima-m al-Sajja-d (‘a) in his supplication against Satan says:
Γσααψρευγψσ ζσ ΓσΤϊΡφΘϊ ήυαυζΘσδσΗ ΕφδϊίσΗΡσ Ϊσγσαφεφ ζσΗαϊΨυέϊ ασδσΗ έφν δσήϊΦφ Νφνσαφεφ
“O Alla-h, saturate our hearts with the rejection of his works and be gentle to us by destroying his stratagems!”
And in his supplication of ‘Arafah he (‘a) says:
ζσΓσΤϊΡφΘϊ ήσαϊΘφν ΪφδϊΟσ Πυευζαφ ΗαϊΪυήυζαφ ΨσΗΪσΚσίσ
“Drench my heart with Your obedience when intellects are distracted…”
And Ima-m ‘Ali- (‘a) is reported to have said:
Εφδψσ αφαψρεφ ΚσΪσΗαάμ ΤσΡσΗΘπΗ αΓσζϊαφνσΗΖφεφ ΕφΠσΗ ΤσΡφΘυζΗ (γφδϊευ) ΣσίφΡυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΣσίφΡυζΗ ΨσΡφΘυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΨσΡφΘυζΗ ΨσΗΘυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΨσΗΘυζΗ ΠσΗΘυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΠσΗΘυζΗ ΞσασΥυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΞσασΥυζΗ ΨσασΘυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΨσασΘυζΗ ζσΜσΟυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ζσΜσΟυζΗ ζσΥσαυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ζσΥσαυζΗ ΗΚψσΥσαυζΗ΅ ζσΕφΠσΗ ΗΚψσΥσαυζΗ αΗσ έσΡϊήσ Θσνϊδσευγϊ ζσΘσνϊδσ ΝσΘφνάΘφεφγϊ.
“Indeed Alla-h has a wine for His friends, which if they drink, they get intoxicated, and when they get intoxicated, they get overjoyed, and when they get overjoyed they get pleasant, and when they get pleasant, they melt down, and when they melt down, they get pure, and when they get pure, they seek, and when they seek, they find, and when they find they reach, and when they reach, they unite, and when they unite there is no difference between them and their lover.”
 The verb ta‘ima literally stands for ‘he tasted’.
 Holy Qur’a-n, 80:124.
 Riya-d al-Sa-liki-n, vol. 1, pg. 280.
 Biha- r al-Anwa-r, vol. 6, pg. 208.
 al-Tahqi-q fi- Kalima-t al-Qur’a-n al-Kari-m, vol. 6, pg. 30.
 EW Lane, EW Lane Arabic-English Lexicon, see under the root word shi-n ra- ba-.
 Holy Qur’a-n, 2:93.
 Ima-m al-Sajja-d (‘a), Sahi-fat al-Sajja-diyyah (Eng. Edition), sup. 17, pg. 63.
 Ima-m al-Sajja-d (‘a), Sahi-fat al-Sajja-diyyah (Eng. Edition), sup. 47, pg. 185.
 This tradition has been narrated by many authorities in mysticism such as Mulla- Ha-di- Sabzawa-ri- in his Sharh al-Asma-’ (pg. 534), Ayatulla-h Hasan Zadeh Amuli- in his Nu-r ‘ala- Nu-r (pg. 89), Mawla- Nara-qi- in his Ja-mi‘ al-Sa‘a-da-t (vol. 3, pg. 152).