Wednesday, May 25, 2005

That post again.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Now that I have calmed down a bit,here is that post again ..
24th May 2005. Orgiva.Spain.

I guess this is going to be quite hard to express clearly,so I’ve come in here to a Word document so I can take my time and neither feel under pressure from having to write ‘today’s post’ for a blog,nor feel that at any moment what I am writing may be lost through the vagaries of blogger.com or the internet.(I’ll have the document on my hard disc and copy and paste it as and when I like..assuming that the computer doesn’t let me down.)
It’s not terribly clear in terms of a cogent step by step argument,so I am just going to do what I have discovered works best with so many things..stop thinking about it and just start.
Recently I have been very upset by what I can’t help coming up against all the time as someone interested in and trying to practice,Sufism.Sufism is intimately connected with Islam historically down to the present day.What I am coming up against is the public face of Islam as percieved by and promulgated by,the press and the media,and the public reaction to it as lead by the fairly blatant anti-Islamic stance of the United States.
First I must write a few words about what Sufism is and how that too is percieved by the general public.Some,perhaps most, would say that it doesn’t really exist apart from Islam..it is certainly something that grew out of Islam but,as has often been pointed out, “ Sufism was a reality without a name and now has become a name without a reality.” It is that reality which can be seen in all religious paths who’s manifestation is normally expressed through mysticism…There is a marked similarity between the expressions of mysticism in all spiritual paths and this is what can lead people to say, “Sufism is the essence of all religions.”..I would tend to say that there is an essence of all religions which in Islam is known as Sufism.
It is extremely difficult to pin down in words a reality which is precisely beyond the dualistic field that words are normally used to express.However I think one way of indicating it is to say that those men and women who have practiced their religion/spiritual path with intensity and devotion and sincerity get to a stage where the one-pointed consciousness of their Divinity or spiritual reality pervades their dualistic consciousness and it becomes unitary. The Bhuddist becomes aware that everything is ‘emptiness’ and can say along with the first followers to understand the Buddha “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” The Hindu can say “Thou art That.” or “Seer,seeing and seen are one.” (In other words,everything is Brahman including oneself.) The Sufi Muslim lives the reality of the Koranic verse “Everywhere you look,there is His Face.” .. to the extent that at last there is no differentiation between Allah and himself and,as one famous Sufi,Al Hallaj,was heard to cry “Anna al Haq.” (I am the Truth.) and was executed for it by the exotericists of his time.
It seems maybe I had some taste of this reality when I was a teenager .. or at least an intellectual understanding of it … and I became sure that this unitary reality which ‘transcends’ our everday dualistic consciousness,was and is, the key to the relief from what the Buddha called ‘Dhukka’ or existential suffering.The suffering ,which as he pointed out,is common to all human beings and famously became his first Noble Truth. No: 1) “ There is Suffering.” After studying as much as I could about all the paths to ‘unlock the mystery’.. I decided that Sufism was the one for me..At the time there were many books around..which claimed to be explaining and communicating sufism but,without mentioning Islam.
This is not the place to go into the story of how I became initiated into sufism,but,suffice it to say that I eventually became convinced that there was no real sufism without Islam and duly became Muslim by repeating the Shahada ,or testimony of faith,in front of witnesses in the Albaicin in Granada by pronouncing the words “Ashadu an la illaha ila ‘llah wa ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulallah.” Three times.Which means “I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
That was twenty three years ago now and, two and a half years later, after becoming Muslim with a group whose connection with real sufism was somewhat tenuous,I found a real Sufi Sheikh and made ‘bayat’ with him. This is a pledge of fealty the forerunner of which is to be found in an example between the Prophet (PBUH)* and a group of his companions.
I am not normally a politically minded person but,as Islam is a way of life known as the ‘Deen’, rather than being a religious compartment separated from everyday worldly life ,worldly life is a part of it.Islam is perhaps different from some other religions,notably Buddhism which is outright pacifist,but also Hinduism with its ‘ahimsa’ or non-hurting and Christianity with its original doctrine of ‘turn the other cheek’ (even though we have perhaps seen little of that politically and historically).
In Islam at a certain point, when there was enough of a threat from its enemies to actually put its continued survival at risk,the Divine order came for permission to take up the sword in protection of the Deen. In any other circumstances it is forbidden to hurt or to kill except if there is physical threat such as from an insect or reptile/wild animal etc.
I have been at pains elsewhere to explain the distorting influence of Wahabi teachings upon Islam,effectively destroying it from within and aided and abetted by the British and later by the Americans,and how this pernicious teaching has been spread throughout the Islamic world with the aid of the Saudi regime and petro dollars.
There are theories which strongly suggest that it is convenient to the enemies of Islam that acts of terrorism should be seen to be perpetrated so as to enable a ‘justified’ retaliation to finish off from the outside what has been perpetrated on the inside.Some of these theories even go so far as to say that the present government of America not only knew of what was going to happen to the twin towers in advance but actively aided and abetted the events including those of the plane at the Pentagon and the one which blew up in mid air after the passengers had wrested control from the hijackers.Many examples are given to back up the claims to show that the damage was not congruous with the nature of kerosene in the planes and that pieces of evidence used to incriminate the terrorists look trumped up and rather ridiculous.
There is a lawyer who is representing four hundred families of people killed in the towers who is following this line of argument that says he was at school with some of the people implicated and that even in those days they were talking about what a powerful tool of power over the American people it would be if they could find something to really frighten them.
Well,this is where I came in and began to get fired up about it all. A friend of mine, who has not that long been Muslim and eventually came to our Sheikh as a follower,but who doesn’t fully understand our Sheikh’s politics and still has some former socialist angst fuelled by experiences with the darker side of Masonsic activity,began to feed me information of the type cited above and,together with what can be seen going on in the world not only in Iraq but also recently in Afghanistan and now in Azerbaijan,lent credence to another theory about American designs on huge oil deposits around the Caspian sea and a plan to get it out through a pipeline to the Indian ocean.
The more I got involved in these theories and arguing with those that say it is all invention and try to hold up the status quo as promulgated by the mass media,the more angry and frustrated I became and..what is worse..the more a feeling of outrage at injustice began to convert into a realisation of my own and others’ impotence …in the face of the unstoppable American war machine and colonisation by democratisation and incurrence of debt.
At the boiling point of all this bubbling stew of information and outrage I bumped into another follower of my Sheikh and mentioned to him that I had been getting somewhat worked up about American foreign policy as it affects the Muslims.
“Well you shouldn’t,” he replied “ the Sheikh says it is all part of the Divine Plan,and we shouldn’t argue with what Allah has decreed…and anyway ” he added, “ the Sheikh says they (the Americans) are going to go into ten countries..not necessarily militarily.. but they are going in to do,you know, what they do.”
Somehow that simple commentary deflated the balloon of anger and frustration and feelings of outrage and impotence that had been growing inside me.Once again I could return to the real work of remembering Allah and worshipping Him Almighty as much as possible and try to accept that even though so many things are happening in the ‘big bad world out there’ as well as in my own personal story,which I do not like .. they are mainly things which ..not only can I not change but,possibly probably or definitely have a deep and superior wisdom within a Divine Plan that was prophesied 1500 years ago ..when the prophet said that in the last times Islam would have seventy three different sects and only one of them would be the correct one…and when he said that Islam “ came as a stranger and would end as a stranger” ..and in another hadith (authenticated saying) said there would come a time when it would be better for the one on a horse to get down on two feet and for the one who was standing to sit down.
This is not a defeatist attitude but ,unfortunately,wisdom in accord with the times.
That is one of the reasons why one has a sufi sheikh so that he can apply real living Islamic wisdom in the appropriate way in the right place at the right time. Thank God for sheikh Nazim and a timely encounter with one of his followers.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005 3:22:00 AM  

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