So maybe an interesting place to begin would be with the subject of “shar’iah,” which is understood and misunderstood in so many ways. From the point of view of a spiritual seeker and from the point of view of a spiritual community what should we understand about the term “shar’iah”? What can it contribute to our spiritual journey and our spiritual life and what are the elements that are worth mentioning concerning establishing the optimal conditions for human dignity in this life, and for our souls in everyday life?
The First Gathering: Praise be to God, maker of the world without a tool -- every movement, every drop, every sound, every state. He is exalted above any possible or impossible description that can be made. He is the Sovereign whose judgment none can contradict. He makes His Divinity felt and clearly known . The [...]
Published by Threshold Books Excerpted from Rumi's Sun In the Name of Our Most Compassionate and Most Merciful Source Open Your Eyes It is as if the Resurrection has opened now, and the Unseen universe has been revealed. Yes, I swear that the Unseen is apparent, the veil has been removed, but for those whose [...]
By Kabir Helminski One of the earliest teachings on Sufism that I received more than thirty years ago was about "polishing the mirrror of the heart." The understanding of this idea continues to unfold with new and deeper implications. We continually polish the mirror of the heart in order that the heart might reflect the [...]
A Talk given at the UNESCO International Rumi Symposium, Istanbul O you who study the world, you’re just a hired worker. And you who desire paradise, you’re far from the Truth. And you who are satisfied with the two world, but unaware Because you have not tasted the happiness of His sorrow, You’re simply excused [...]
The recognition is beginning to dawn that we are on the threshold (there's that word again) of a major change in human life. It's even being talked about on the evening news. Thirty years ago we might have thought that this change would come about through a revolution in consciousness. People would begin to wake up! To some extent we have woken up. At the beginning of this millenium we -- and I mean the population of this whole world -- are more conscious of and sensitive to issues of gender, race, human rights, and ecology. At the same time, we seem to have created a frantic pace of life for ourselves and sometimes it seems that the developed world has slipped into the trance of materialism. The purpose of life is to have fun, right?
A spirituality adequate to the times we live in must first of all be centered in the reality of human completion itself. If it is based instead on any partial version of humanness, it will be insufficient. No matter what is sought to supplement this insufficiency, if the starting point is less than human wholeness, the result will only be distorted version of humanness. Sufism can be considered a path of completion in two important senses: First, it is a way that proceeds from and leads to human completion, the Completed Human Being (Insani Kamil). Second, it is a complete way that uses every possible effective means to orchestrate the transformation of a human being. Both of these facts--the completeness of the method and the completeness of the result--are of the highest significance.
Anyone who has probed the inner life to a certain extent, who has sat in silence long enough to experience the stillness of the mind behind its apparent noise, is faced with a mystery. Apart from all the outer attractions of life in the world, there exists at the heart of human consciousness something else, something quite satisfying and beautiful in itself, a beauty without features. The mystery is not so much that these two dimensions exist--an outer world and the mystery of the inner world--but that the human being is suspended between them--as a space in which both meet. It is as if the human being is the meeting point, the threshold between two worlds. Anyone who has explored this inwardness to a certain degree will know that it holds a great beauty and power. In fact, to be unaware of this mystery of inwardness is to be incomplete.
When the archangel Gabriel asked our master the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "What is divine benevolence?" the Last of the Prophets answered, "To pray and glorify Allah as if you are in His presence, as if you see Him." Reverence reflects in the heart of a believer who has reached the level of praying as if he sees Allah. Then our master the Prophet continued, "For if you are unable to see Him, He certainly sees you." The one who has reached that level of realization of divine benevolence will have conscience. He will feel that gaze of Allah upon him and will be ashamed to sin. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Conscience is total good." If a believer has conscience, he is aware of what he is doing and he cannot do wrong; when a heart is filled with conscience, the possessor of that heart encounters no harm either in this world or in the hereafter.
An excerpt from Happiness Without Death, by Assad Ali (Threshold Books, 1991)