/ The Spiritual Quest of Iran ~

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The Spiritual Quest of Iran is the Spiritual Quest of the Imamiyya. It is the Spiritual Quest of the Muslims and the Spiritual Quest of Individuals. It is the World Quest for Universal Guidance. It is available through our expectation of it and our preparation for it.

The Spiritual Quest of Iran IS the Spiritual Quest of the Imamiyya and IS the Spiritual Quest for Just World Governance. For all of us who are seekers, the Quest for the Hidden Guide is the Spiritual Quest. Our quest is not solely the quest to know God, which is the healing of wounds and the search for and establishment of certainty. It is also the quest for a living guidance. For without this guidance or the search for guidance we are left only with the self-evidence of the existence of God, the "wahdat ul wujud", or the "oneness of existence", which is the realized basis of all spiritual teaching. From the standpoint of that self-evident truth we are still left with the question of universal truth and world governance. This need is made obvious. So the question remains whether to be left alone to be guided by our desires for increased material well-being - which in itself is not a bad thing but without community involvement suffers the risk of leading eventually to loneliness and individual ruin - or to choose a path to follow with a community and a leader, as do the Buddhists, Christians and Sufis, to mention only a few. 

The Spiritual Quest and obligation of the Muslims is to solve the riddle of World Unity and resolve the differences among themselves and with the supposed 'other' religions, organizations and spiritual paths.

Disagreement with this need is a sign of sectarianism and the creation of separation. Part of that quest must lead to a contemporary, not emotional, study of Islamic history and the true intent of the revelation as opposed to the intent of the people who received it and obviously interpreted it to suit their personal desires at the time. 

It has been accepted over and over again by learned Sunni scholars at all major universities, such as Al-Azhar and other places of scholarship throughout history that the Shi`a people are justified in their understanding and should and must be accepted by the Sunni majority as people who have preserved the truth of their message and its true intent. There are innumerable books written on this very subject by irrefutable Sunni scholars. 

Unfortunate it is that these people were so persecuted and under attack that they had to fall back into a life of defensiveness and literary argumentation and were not afforded the opportunity to promulgate the true intent of the message. So their hearts too, got buried, and we now witness the final manifestation of that in a clerical rulership of Iran, where the rule tries to be by the letter but not by the heart. But it is incumbent upon us to try once again, in the spirit of Universal Peace, to be accepting of all peoples and their creeds, and especially investigate the claims of the esotericists among the Shi`a, most of whom refer to themselves as the Imamiyya. For it is with them that the concept of an Awaited Universal Guide, not just for Muslims but for the whole world, resides. 

It is understood by the Imamiyya and a great Muslim majority that the Awaited Universal Guide will not appear until the environment of the world has been made, by the people, secure for him. This is in keeping with the spiritual law of human personal development also. A child born in an insecure environment will be forced by parental interpretation of circumstance to conform to the needs of that environment. He will naturally and eventually give up and lose contact with his original intent and set about in a semi-cooperative way to help in the establishment of a peaceful environment, sacrificing by force his own truth and spiritual agenda until such time as he is secure enough to pay attention to the rediscovery of his own true nature and personal intent. 

Unfortunate again, that many of these lives remain so embroiled in the putting out of endless fires, even to the extent of creating them because they have gotten so good at putting them out, that it never occurs to them there might be something better to do, another, or a better, way. 

Enter at this point the "spiritual' teachings of a mythic and "mystic" quest, and the necessary decision that everyone faces at one point or another in their lives, to pay attention to it, or not. The acceptors of the challenge become the believers and enter into the pathway of self-investigation and spiritual reform, leading to the transformation of self and others, and this is how the true Islam of genuine Surrender to Peace is promulgated. The rejecters of it choose of their own accord to remain in denial, and for the most part out of fear of meeting their Lord. These people can and should be helped to understand the Mercy of God by the example and teachings of the others who have genuinely surrendered and who truly see the right way. 

The guides to this Surrender and the pathway in it are, for the most part in Islam, the Sufis and the enlightened among the rightly guided populace. They have in common that they have received their truth and authority from the family of the prophet (Ahli-bait) themselves. For the general knowledge of all it must be accepted that all faiths have within them the concept of leadership and the principles of guidance and harmonious cooperation in peace. 

The concept of an Awaited Universal Guide is not exclusive to the Muslims. Christians also await the return of the Messiah, and the Jewish people are still awaiting theirs. There is, however, a lot of confusion within the Islamic world concerning him, his identity, time of arrival, conditions for emergence, and his intent. All agree that his emergence will be the certain end of unbelief, but it is said that his criterion for judgment will be different from that of the people, and that he will know the truthful by their hearts and not by their outward profession. This necessitates a preparation on the part of the Muslims in their hearts which we accept. This is literally the creation of a welcoming and safe place in our hearts and in our environment, the world, for a just administration by the arriving messengers of the truth of the times. 

Many spiritual organizations in the West and the East are unified in the same opinion, that the world must be brought by personal, individual, group, national and worldwide effort to the place where it is safe for a true world leadership to emerge. This means that personal prejudices must be investigated and cleared away. These are, in any case, the imperatives for salvation, both personal and worldwide. 

The obligations of the Muslims are many, but paramount among them is to love the family of Muhammad (pbuh) and to practice the Sunnah (spiritual practice) of "Rahmatun-lil `Alameen", being nothing but a "Mercy unto all the worlds". Each person on the planet, by God's leave and Mercy, lives in one of these worlds, so it is then obvious that it is the duty of Muslims to practice compassion to all and to speak to each according to their needs and understanding. The understanding and practice of compassion (Rahmah) is also the point and purpose of the Buddhist teachings as well as the Christian. 

Religion is only rejected for two reasons. One is its abuse by its holder upon the rejecters, causing them to flee from its oppressive abuse, which is their right and duty, and God is with the oppressed; and the other is simply that 'other things', i.e. personal concerns, are taking priority in the mind. If true religion can be shown to be not just the understanding of these 'other things', but their actual resolution, then the mercy and understanding is demonstrated and the path of the real solution is opened. 

Oppression is discrimination against any person or group of people. Discrimination is always a result of ignorance. If we really knew the plight and circumstances of people, our hearts of mercy would open to them. But it is our lack of understanding of the human situation that causes us to discriminate against, and thereby oppress, others. Qur`an says, "They seek to destroy that which they do not understand".

It is often said that we become what we hate. Thus the rich eventually taste poverty and the oppressors eventually become oppressed. Because by fleeing from it they are affirming it, not resolving it. And it is from oppression that the oppressors are fleeing in the first place, and, in an attempt to guarantee their own safety, they feel it necessary to oppress others. 

In the case of Iran, it is inevitable that the youth, after fleeing the oppression of their very defensive/offensive fathers, will turn, on their own, to the spiritual quest for real truth, based on non-violence, non-oppression, true freedom and the search for the truth of their reality. But they must, and I say must, discover their own reality first. They cannot and will not accept it hearsay. This is the case for any child. 

After studying the myriad of spiritual paths open to them by the West, they will come to some conclusions. One of these conclusions is that there is truth in all of them. After exhaustively investigating the truth in all paths they will necessarily have to investigate and realize that which is true in Islam, and then in their own particular history, that of the Shi'a and the `Ithna- l `Ashari, or Imamiyya. 

It is at that point that they will discover the reality of the Hidden Imam and his particular parallel to their own lives. He is the "Hidden Guide". He went undercover as a result of the intense oppression that ruled the 'Islamic' world at the time. Like all "inner children" he hid out and took on the colors of the environment so as to not be discovered and persecuted. And likewise, he waits for us to create a safe environment for his eventual emergence. 

In an oppressive world, we are all doing the same. Yet nevertheless, this creates in our hearts a yearning for truth, safety and true self-expression that results in what is known as a 'spiritual' quest for our 'true' self. It is kept for the most part secret and shared only cautiously with those who might be of like mind. Hence we have the 'punk' generation in the USA. 

When they realize the desperate need for world peace and a truly universal, humanitarian government, which they will and do, they will realize the universal value of the true teachings of Islam. They will also realize the point and purpose of the occultation of the Twelfth Iman, the "hidden" guide, who exists, in part, in all of us.