THE SUFI APPROACH TO ISLAM -
Finding Spiritual Healing and World Peace in these Troubled Times
 
EDUCATING MUSLIMS, THE WAY TO WORLD PEACE

Islam is a religion of conversion. 

Islam is a religion of conversion, not domination, and without understanding, it will never succeed as a way of peace on earth. The growth of Islam is dependent upon conversion, not upon world domination. You cannot force the world into submission, as you yourself were forced. Qur`an states clearly the impossibility of this. "La iqraha fi-d-Din". "There is no compulsion in religion". 

Conversion has got to be a healing, or it is not acceptable to a mature reasoning human being. It must be a healing that results from one's coming out of the darkness (of anything), into the light of understanding. So the success of Islam, and therefore of world peace, is dependent upon proper understanding. Proper understanding leads to a reasoned acceptance. How can we expect the rest of the world to understand Islam if we ourselves do not, and cannot, therefore, explain it in an "acceptable" manner? 

An overwhelming number of us prefer to see Islam as a simple ultimatum, in an "accept it or suffer the consequences" sort of way, which is exactly how it was presented by many of our fathers.  There is never an argument that it is the truth, but there was also never a possibility of choice. It was simply a matter of fact. Accept it or suffer the consequences. And many fathers believed, and still do, that God will punish them in the hereafter if they do not punish their children for acts of disobedience, rejection or rebellion, many of which are simply the questioning of an innocent mind. 

It is the over-simplicity of this "matter-of-fact-ness" that needs to be investigated in the light of Qur`an and Revelation. If you, as a Muslim reader, find yourself believing that this is simply "the way it is", then I ask you to please re-evaluate your estimation of a Kind, Loving and Merciful God, and compare it to how grateful you are that you were 'made' a Muslim. Did you really have a choice? Do you understand that unless you have accepted Islam with "All" your heart, that you are not really yet a 'whole' or 'healed" Muslim? How well did your parents manifested that to you? Are you really so sure that you are not in need of further help in understanding the depths of your religion? Well, the western world is certainly in need of such help, wouldn't you agree? And how are you going to assist them in understanding it? The same way your father did? "Believe it if you need it and leave it if you dare? 

One thing is certain. Most people nowadays won't even consider looking at Islam as a viable alternative because of how it is portrayed by the rising dominance of the fundamentalist movement. These fundamentalists are not liberated, joyous people. They are hell-bent for world domination and this is the simplest understanding of psychological terror and terrorism. If their faith has been taught to them by being terrorized of eternal damnation, not from Allah but from their fathers, how else are they going to try to perpetuate it. Fearful people are a potential threat to everyone, and yet they are not an enemy, but fear is. How is it that the Arabic word "taqwa", which means "loving reverence and respect", has become translated into "fear"? 

"Translation" of Qur`an, has become the new means of influencing people to the way of fear, war, dominance and "submission", from the way of love, peace, cooperation and Surrender. What it "means", in English, is what the people will understand. And for the most part, the behavior of fundamentalist propagators and the meanings that they convey are unacceptable to the western investigative minds. Yet they should not be. Qur`an is a revelation to "all the worlds". So something is missing, and it's the higher understanding of the great Masters of Islam who understood the message in all its depth and glory, and followed the path to its extreme goal of perfect understanding and therefore perfect teaching. And investigation proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is they who are  the most responsibility for spreading the civilization and teachings of the real message of Islam to "all the worlds". 

It is in hopes of giving greater exposure to the higher truths of the Islamic Faith that I feel it necessary to preliminarily explain the fundamentalist mindset in the language of the emerging Western spiritual psychology. The development of Western (Spiritual) Psychology is increasingly coinciding (not coincidentally) with the teachings of Spiritual Realization of the Eastern peoples from earlier times. This also includes, for those who have completed their investigation, the mature and functional system of Spiritual Purification developed and cherished by the Muslims themselves, in spite of, for reasons to be explained later, the adamant disavowal of the fundamentalists. This system is called Tasawwuf, or Sufism. 

Understanding Unity (Tawhid).

The typical Wahhabi definition of tawhid is based on (the) fear (of polytheism) and does not, in point of fact, originate with or maintain consistency with, the teaching of the true Islam or the practices of the Prophet. The only way to real world peace is for the west to understanding itself and the problem of ego and put Islam in that perspective, and thereby attain to the true peace and the goal of all religion. And then using Western Media power with Muslim Scholars to enlighten the world as to the problem, its consequences of self and world destruction, and its solution in the proper understand of Islam. It does not require 'becoming' a Muslim in the older and fearful sense of "submission" to a "Higher" authority. It requires only a proper understanding of the nature of the problem and its solution. All that is required is that people understand the true meaning of the word! They will then recognize that quality within themselves and realize it as the source of their health and well being. From that light all understandings will be recognized and the resolution to all problems available. Western media has the resources to re-teach the true meaning of Islam to the World and the Muslim educators may be able to reach their children in time to save their lives from the self-inflicted holocaust of misguided warfare.

It has become an important part of the responsibility of world media to explain that the "war" is not against Islam, showing, to our advantage, that Islam is religion of peace and that terrorism has no place in any religion. President Bush himself has stated this and made it plain that he does not want to be misconstrued as waging a war on Islam. This "war" is, in his view and in mine, an unfortunate, tragic and inevitable punitive reprisal for outrageously unacceptable behavior. 

It is a shame that so many of the children of the materialist, and avidly "non-spiritual" "Islam" that is being taught today are so frustrated with their lives that they are lining up to choose suicide, but the children of the West seem to be doing it also.  It leads one to remark upon the similarity and wonder why. And it certainly explains why the American populace chooses not to accept Islam as a way of live, even though many of them are in a very deep and reverent state of Surrender. But materialist Islam seems to lead only to further material conquest and death, and they have that already. If Muslims live their lives as westerners, why would westerners want to live their lives as Muslims? 

So just as the setting aright of the western misunderstanding of Islam is, and has become, a responsibility and the work of western governmental, media and educational institutions, setting aright the misunderstandings of the fearful, fanatical and psychologically immature Muslims is the responsibility of the worldwide Muslim Community. And it can be done. There are enough worldwide resources to bring peace and satisfaction to everyone. If these corrections in education and religious understanding are not done, as they should be, from within and by the Muslim community themselves, then the Muslim community is, as a whole, remiss in its obligation to bring peace and the true meaning of Islam to the rest of the world. The community in then responsible for, and must then endure as a whole, the consequential reprisal of ignorant attacks, along with the true perpetrators of the crimes. 

So to all Muslims I say, "Teach peace, not war". 

The purpose of struggle is to end struggle. 

By definition, the Greater Holy War, or "Jihad al Akbar", is the personal struggle for the sake of God against the reactive nature of the lower worldly and revenge-seeking self. All people of Surrender (the true Muslims) must teach to their children of all ages that the world is a safe place, and that it, the world, is not at war with Islam. It is therefore not the religious responsibility of the holy warriors to be waging their war with the world in general, and teaching their children the same. If we teach war, we will get war. If we teach peace, we will get peace. Similarly, if we teach hatred, we will get hatred, and if we teach love, we will get love. The world is and will always be a reflection of how we see ourselves in it. 

Karen Armstrong states in one place in her emailed "letter to the world" that Muslims "must reclaim their faith from those who have so violently hijacked it".

What this amounts to is the challenge upon the Muslim Community to get our religion (the religion of Unity - the one-ness of humanity) unified and right, once and for all. 

If we do not accept this challenge, and choose instead to insist upon remaining divided among ourselves in our petty differences, personally choosing to continue to ignore the central and unifying and life-transforming principle that Divine revelation espouses so accurately, we will not be successful in our mission to bring personal and social reform through teaching and exemplifying the Peace, Light and Love of God that is Islam to the minds and consciousness of humanity.

It is in the true spirit of Surrender (Islam) to reach out toward others with intelligence and understanding. Muslims must now revisit the inner significance of their religion in the light of current events. We must by now understand that war is not the way, and begin the laborious process of re-learning and re-teaching the Divine truth, the "Haqaa-iq", the psychology of spirit and creation, and the joy of converting from war to peace, in the Divine way, which is the true meaning and real message of Islam and all religions. And, we must re-teach it to our angry and now grownup children, who are ravaging the world and committing atrocities of revenge against humanity, themselves, their people, their families and their religion. And, as a result of this, it is on the rest of us to be defending the real Islam without them because we cannot justify their outrageous and childish behavior and must spend most of our time decrying it by saying, "This is not Islam." We are so diverted by "putting out the fires" that we cannot focus upon what it really is. 

Peace is not enough. The war is against our own ignorance of the true nature of God, Self and Love. And the knowledge that will cure this ignorance is the insistence of all religions upon a willful surrender to a very possible, necessary and inevitable inner personal transformation and realization. The fundamental and real purpose of Islam (and religion in general) is the conversion of self first, and then others, from fear to love, and the meaning of life from war to peace, through surrendering to the manifest Love, Mercy and Forgiveness of God unto and in us all. Then we will all be following the true example of all the holy prophet Muhammad, upon whom be God's Peace and Blessing, who was sent to us (as stated in Qur`an) as no less than "Rahmatun lil `Alameen", A Mercy unto ALL the Worlds. 

I ask you, how is the world going to believe this if we Muslims cannot be a demonstration of it?

When we carry the Heart-Healing medicine of Peace, Love, Mercy and Forgiveness, which is the true Islam, we have the Sacred Knowledge of how to heal the wounds and open the gates of paradise (heaven on earth) for all to enter. And it is for all the worlds and for every living being in it. Then we are ready to teach the true Islam. And until that time we should seek out, support and learn from the true teachers, the authentic spokespeople for the Prophet, who are the peaceful ones from his family and their learned and authorized representatives. It is these who are committed to the true Islam through the spread of peace and healing to the thirsting people of the world. For when these gates are closed, there is no longer any meaning to life. 

If ever the world were ripe for a spiritual turning away from war into peace it is now, that the entire world media attention is turned to Islam and asking the questions and being prepared to receive the real answers.

Dear Muslims, and people of Unity of all faiths, call yourselves and your people vigorously to the Peace and the Love of God, not to anger and the love of war. Show the world the true Islam and surround yourselves in paradise with the millions of thankful souls you will save. That is the true way of the Prophets, and the true Peace. Love, Mercy and Forgiveness from Allah, and this is what He wants from you. So stay in the Peace, my Brothers and Sisters, and keep the faith, for Allah is Wise and All-knowing in what He makes. Preach love and forgiveness, not war and hatred, for you shall surely preach what is in your heart. And remember, "Allah will not change the state of a people until they change what is in their hearts."

We're all looking for something and for the most part we're looking for a mirror in which to see ourselves.

The Quest: Groundwork for A Healthy Civilization

Not only in psychotherapy but also in health sciences, a solid understanding of the realities of life is considered to be the Groundwork for a Healthy Civilization. 

What is the groundwork for health? The groundwork for health is Reality and the quest for Reality. If we do not have both feet planted firmly on the ground, we cannot connect with the physically healing energy of wholeness. And by "our feet" I mean our spiritual, or 'real' feet', not the imaginary ones we think we have at the ends of our ankles. Understanding reality and how it works is the absolute basis for health, and since God is the universal common denominator and the only reliable reality we must then have an understanding of God.

Throughout the ages of Islamic Civilization on the earth (a portion of history which is thoroughly excluded from most modern education), there were no signs of the myriad diseases and diagnoses that are considered to be 'natural' today. So much is the 'naturalness' of death by disease accepted that we spend our lives preparing to be able to afford it. 'Cure' or 'healing' is considered to be the 'miracle' of 'spontaneous remission', a quite 'unnatural' and 'miraculous' phenomenon. But it is only the Real nature peaking through and somehow finding it's way into the enforced illusion. Health is "Divine", isn't it?

Disease and death are un-dealt-with realities, and yet they are illusions based upon illusions. 

Disease is the natural consequence of an unnatural lifestyle. But if we insist on insisting upon the unnatural lifestyle as preferable, then disease will continue to insist also, persisting in its resistance to our unnatural lifestyle. So to the degree that we continue to waste our life energy pursuing the transitory fantasy of our dreams, our life energy (and its source) will resist being ignored. And this resistance will eventually wear us down and manifest as what we call disease, i.e. that which is contrary to our will. For we surely do not will ourselves to be ill, or do we? We will then label it as 'unnatural' and try to find a cure, rather than accepting that the disease is the cure. 

Islam offers the solution to this dilemma by offering a completely new explanation of Reality, which we are then invited to step into. Islam purports to be not only the explanation but also the solution to the human situation. Purporting itself to be FROM the God who created this situation exactly for the very purpose of manifesting Himself, His Power, Light, Mercy and Might, it claims to be a revelation from Him Who is the Lord, Master and Creator of All the worlds. And thereby the Knower of our situation, and the way out of it.

People are OK 

People are OK because their lives are long and their search for satisfaction motivates them. They are all looking for something and for the most part are pretty sure they know what they want and how to go about getting it. 

People are motivated by their desire for satisfaction. Motivation causes discovery, and discovery brings new information about self, the ultimate discovery. The prime desire is for the cessation of desire but the concept of the cessation of desire is fearful because it is felt that desire is life, and without it there is no life. Desirelessness is death to the desire-motivated thinking, but it might be considered Peace to the wise, and a basis for the beginning of a whole new life. 

In the transformational psychology of Islam, Surrender to Peace, we would substitute worship, gratitude and charity for desire. And substituting worship, gratitude and charity for desire is the foundation of spiritual health, which is the foundation of physical health. When the "Heart" (or core) is healthy, the rest of the will be, too. And in the remembrance of Allah, the hearts find peace. So come to Surrender. Learn the worship form and celebrate the praises of God.

Happiness and its many opposites, Sobriety and its many masks

In common thought, happiness has many opposites, sadness and most of the other 'negative' emotions and personal associations come to mind. But in the Sufi way happiness, joy and ecstasy have only one opposite, by which they are both attained and anchored, and a very difficult one indeed. That is Sobriety. In the Sufi way, sobriety is a very deep state of being in which all mental concerns are absent, yet the mind is totally present, dissolved and awestruck in the calm quietude of a deeply peaceful and soulful knowing. It is the preferred state of manifestation because from the standpoint of unmoved perception all choices are possible and all things are done. 

The sober perceptive state exists within us but is for the most part unrecognized due to the mental disturbances created by our willingness to surrender to desire in all its myriad manifestations. And even when it is finally distinguished and recognized, after much deliberation and discipline, it is just as easily ignored, for its value is highly underrated. But for the deep explorers and true gnostics, it is referred to as the "pearl without price", for by it all things are done, all healings are accomplished and all successes are achieved. 

Yet we choose to obscure this part of our reality, preferring instead to pursue the desire of our minds. And indeed we will credit ourselves and our pursuit with the successes that we encounter, when it is more real to understand that the real successes are those that are in keeping with our soul intent and that the failures that occur happened also because we wanted them to. 

Balance - the Integration of Opposites. 

We are in balance - discovering our integration of opposites. Aspiration is from separation. The ego aspires for greatness because the greatness is already there. Aspiration is for recognition, but it is also a manifestation of separation. It is a constructed, artificial and ersatz 'pseudo' self, searching for it's reality, and then dissolving itself into its reality and allowing its reality, truth, to manifest through it in place of its desires and imaginings. 

Ego is based upon aspiration. "I'll show (you/me) i.e. prove, or manifest, who I really am." 
Discontent with the quality of recognition it is receiving, it seeks a higher quality of recognition, eventually discovering that the highest quality of recognition can only be provided by Self. But who is Self and how do we discover it? This is the question addressed by the Sufi Path.

How can we help others if we have not helped ourselves?

Fortunately this principle applies process by process, so it works out that we can help others to process that which we have gone through in ourselves, but it becomes more difficult to help others see their way through stuff that we have not found our own way through. And it's denial to simply say that what exists or may exist as a problem or block in one person, possibly does not exist as a problem in the other. A problem is a problem. 


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