Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is Islam


The Arabian Peninsula the birthplace of Islam is one of the hottest and driest regions in the world, consisting mainly of deserts. Since ancient times tribes of the nomadic race had populated the region. Considered the descendents of Noah’s third son Shem they are called Semites. Over the centuries theses Semitic people have migrated into the Fertile Crescent and were assimilated to into existing civilizations.

What is Islaam

The w ord "Islam" is an Arabic word which means "submission to the will of God". This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word "salam", which means "peace". As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law. The most important truth that God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, thus all human beings should submit to Him…

The literal meaning of Islam is peace; surrender of one’s will i.e. losing oneself for the sake of God and surrendering one’s own pleasure for the pleasure of God. The message of Islam was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) 1, 400 years ago. It was revealed through angel Gabriel (on whom be peace) and was thus preserved in the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran carries a Divine guarantee of safeguard from interpolation and it claims that it combines the best features of the earlier scriptures.

Islam believes that each person is born pure. The Holy Quran tells us that God has given human beings a choice between good and evil and to seek God’s pleasure through faith, prayer and charity. Islam believes that God created mankind in His image and by imbuing the attributes of God on a human level mankind can attain His nearness. Islam’s main message is to worship God and to treat all God’s creation with kindness and compassion. Rights of parents in old age, orphans and the needy are clearly stated. Women’s rights were safeguarded 1,400 years ago when the rest of the world was in total darkness about emancipation. Islamic teachings encompass every imaginable situation and its rules and principles are truly universal and have stood the test of time.

Islam teaches that the path to spiritual development is open to all. Any individual who searches the One Creator can seek nearness to God through sincere and earnest worship; it is central to establishing a relationship with the Almighty. This positive message for humanity fills hearts with hope and courage.

"One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (the Angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is Faith?" Allah's apostle replied, "Faith is to believe in Allah, his angels, (the) meeting with him, his apostles, and to believe in The Resurrection." Then he further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's apostle replied, "To worship Allah alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." Then he further asked, "What is Ihsan?" Allah's apostle replied, "To worship Allah as if you see him, and if you cannot achieve this stage of devotion then you must consider that he is looking at you.

There are three major parts and parcels of the teaching of Islam, the teaching of Qur'an and Sunnah. In the above tradition of the Holy prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) reported by his companion Hadrat Abu Hurrairah, He reported that one day the Holy Prophet was sitting with his companions and (the angel) Gabriel came to him. He sat near to the Prophet and asked, "What is Islam?" This was the first question. The Holy Prophet replied that Iman is to believe in Allah, his angels, the meeting with him, his apostles, to believe in Resurrection and in His books. So the Holy Prophet prescribed the faith as the reply of the question of Iman

Then he asked the second question, "What is Islam?"
The Holy Prophet Replied, "To worship Allah without any Participation, to offer prayers perfectly and to pay compulsory Charity (Zakat) and you should observe the fast during the month of Ramadan and the performance of Haj as well."

Then he asked the third question," What is Ihsan?"
The Holy Prophet did not say that Din is complete by Iman and Islam. Had been there no third stage then Gabriel would have never asked the third question. He asked the first question about Iman, second about Islam and third about Ihsan.

Now the question is "What is Ihsan?" Cardinal

The Holy Prophet replied that Ihsan is Cardial and Spiritual condition. How that you should worship Allah in such a condition as if you see him, and if you cannot see him, then at least you should achieve this condition that he is seeing you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

About Sufism

When it is said that Islam is the religion of 'nature', or is a natural religion, it means that Islam suits human nature and can meet all its requirements. But what is human nature and how can the tenets of Islam satisfy it?

We all know that man is a combination of body and soul (or spirit). The existence of man's soul has now been scientifically proven, with evidences taken from experiences of telepathy, levitation, clairvoyance, and other 'extra sensory perception'. Photographs of the soul's aura have also been recorded by scientific means.

Since the human body belongs to the material world, it has the tendency to pull us downward to its low earthly origin. The soul, however, is of Divine nature and has the tendency to pull us upwards to its spiritual origin.

Human life is thus the name of the constant tug of war between the lower bodily and higher spiritual forces. If the former gets stronger, man succumbs to greed, anger, arrogance, and is ruined. If, however, the latter gains the upper hand, he gets exalted to Divine nearness, presence and union, and wins the battle of life.

All the prophets of God and heavenly books came to warn and help mankind to keep a happy balance between the body and soul and to reach the final destination of God without difficulty.

Another characteristic of human nature is that both the body and soul need food to survive. The body is material and its food is material, while the soul is spiritual and gets restless without its spiritual food.

The relationship between body and soul is similar to that of a horse and rider; both are needed to complete the journey: the horse to bear the rider, and the rider to guide the horse to the proper destination.

In fact, the present day restlessness, worries, conflicts and confrontation in the whole world in general and in the West in particular, are due to the fact that while everything is being done to feed the body (the horse), pretty nothing is done to feed the soul (the rider) who in the end really matters.

It is hoped that the collection of books on Sufism presented here will provide guidance to readers in feeding their souls with spiritual food that will lead to the tranquility, contentment and happiness that has been long sought after.

Everything has two sides, the exterior and the interior. Its value depends, not so much upon its exterior, as upon its interior side. A box full of diamonds and precious stones is certainly more valuable than a similar, or even better looking box, full of ordinary stones and dust.A human being has likewise two sides, the external and the internal. He is a combination of body and soul.

There is the visible and the invisible blended together in him and though, in his case, one is as necessary as the other, at least so far as the initial stages of his progress are concerned, his ultimate superiority over the rest of creation depends more upon his inner merits, his intellectual capabilities, his spiritual attainments and the polish and the brilliance of his soul, than upon his exterior form and appearance and qualities of his body.

A man's success in life depends upon the amount of knowledge he acquires of the universe and upon the proper use of that knowledge. The wider his knowledge, the greater are his chances of success. Knowledge of creation can never be complete without a sufficient knowledge of the Creator and the principles and policy upon which the universe is created and run. This is what science is searching for. The goal of Sufism and science is, therefore, the same.

To be able to control and regulate the various conflicting forces in nature, the guiding-force ought to be stronger and more intelligent than everything else in the world, for a weak and blind force cannot function properly. It is therefore, a supernatural-force in the sense that it is superior to every other force in nature and cannot be completely comprehended by less intelligent and weaker, subordinate forces.

Islam is no exception to the rule. It professes to be a revealed religion and corroborates all the Divine Truths revealed by all the preceding religions. Its only other claim is that it is cosmopolitan and its methods of approaching

the Ultimate Object are simpler and more up-to-date. However, in common with other religions, it is made up of two sides, the outer and the inner. The outer side is called the shariat and the inner side, the tariqat.

The shariat is subdivided into two parts:

  1. Ibadat
  2. Mu'amilat

Ibadat concerns fundamental belief and forms of worship and regulates man's relation with God.

Mu'amilat pertain to man's relations with man and covers the social, economic and political fields of human activity.

Tariqat deals with the purification of the inner self and keeps in view the spiritual emancipation of mankind. Since body and soul are intertwined, as it were, tariqat cannot remain independent of shariat and the two work in cooperation.

There is a third thing called Haqiqat which refers to the realities of this life as well as the life to come. It is a realisation and not a science. In other words haqiqat is what you actually see, feel and realise in the light furnished to you by the tariqat.

The knowledge necessary for a beginner is supplied by the shariat and administered by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and after the passing away of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to the higher regions, by his deputies who are called Shaikhs, Murshids, Pirs or teachers. They are the Ulama-i-Rashikin, that is the learned people firm in their knowledge and they have the distinction of being recognised as Heirs to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).

The duties of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.)

Accordingly the duties of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) consist of the following four things:


1. To recite the Qur'an to his people (i.e. to communicate to them the message of God).

2. To purify their souls, which is quite a different thing from merely conveying to the people the word of God. Without such purification they would not be able even to understand properly the message of God.

1. To teach them the Holy Book. It is a different thing altogether from announcing to them the message of God. The 'teaching' here means explaining to the people the meaning and the real significance of the passages of the Qur'an and training them in the proper method of observance of Qur'anic Ordinances. Such teaching can only be effective when the process of purification of the soul has been gone through properly.

2. Finally to bring them face to face with the wisdom which follows the knowledge and action stated above.

The importance of a personal element in affairs relating to the amelioration of mankind can hardly be disputed. Fortunately this personal element has been handed down to us in the form of the Shaikh.

Muhammad, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) combined in himself the leadership of all the various functions at his time. He was a religious teacher, spiritual guide, social reformer, commander-in-chief and political head of the Muslims. In short, he combined in his person all the functions of a temporal and spiritual leader.

He was at once a king and a prophet. His four successors, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (peace be upon them all), inherited this leadership in toto. The temporal power and the spiritual lead were centred in the same personality.

Aimma Ahlul Bayt are the leaders from the Holy Prophet's Family. Aimma is a plural of imam which means 'leader' and ahli bayt means 'members of the family'. These imams or leaders belonging to the Prophet's family, occupy the foremost rank as regards spirituality and other aspects of religion. All classes of Sufis, Dervishes and Faqirs owe their origin to them. Go to any Sufi in the world today and he will trace his pedigree to them and through them to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). The Holy Prophet is like an ocean; Ali an outlet; and Aimma Ahlul Bayt are as canals that have carried the waters to the thirsty.

The difference in Sufi Orders is in form only and not in spirit

The various Sufistic Orders, or "Dynasties" as they are sometimes called, are a later development but such development is in form only, and not in spirit. It is like this: Suppose, a teacher of very high spiritual attainments and extraordinary internal powers makes his appearance or, say, comes out to India and spreads spirituality there.

His pupils, adherents, and followers are distinguished from others by being called after his name. Another teacher of similar attainments comes and

does likewise; a different name is assumed by the followers of his school. They differ merely in their mode of teaching. Chishtis, Nizamis, Qadris, Naqshabandis, Mujaddidis, Abul Ulais, Suhrawardis, Madaris, Qalandaris, Maulwites, Shadhilis, Rifais, Badawis, Sanusis and others are different Sufistic Orders spread over the world.