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Adding to : The True Nature of Islam

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Submitted by Shazia Khanum (Canada), Sep 15, 2005 at 08:58

A few additional points:

1. Osama bin Laden is a thug and an evil person. The Muslim scholars need to declare him a kaafir (a conscious rejector of the truth), an apostate, in an unambiguous language, and publicize it, so that those naive Muslims who are in a state of denial and delusion about him get their faces slapped and wake up to the truth about him. But most of the scholars are cowards and are themselves in a state of denial and believe in conspiracy theories regarding the evil acts of 9/11 and others.

2. If some Sufis did anything bad in India, I personally apologize to my Hindu brothers and sisters for their evil actions. I wasn't there when they committed those alleged acts, but I personally feel bad about them and consider anything that is done to harm another soul to be evil. I believe in "Do not do to others what you don't want done to yourself."

3. Just like Islam, Sufism is also not monolithic as there are many expressions of it in practice.

4. Stereotyping of a people or a faith and painting them all the same is not rational and does not reflect the reality, nor is it just. If someone does that, it merely reflects their own inner state.

5. There is a methodology to interpreting and applying the Qur`an in one's life. The Qur`an forms an integral whole with parts of it explaining the others. Moreover, many of the verses in it must be taken symbolically and for their inner meanings and not their outer forms. This is done by examining the root words in Arabic and expounding on them.

6. It is, however, possible to interpret the Qur`an, or any other scripture for that matter, that merely reflects one's own lower self.

7. Dr. Pipes makes a distinction between "Radical Islam" and a form of Islam that is just the opposite; "Islamism" and "Islam". He endorses the Center for Islamic Pluralism and has good relations with the movement of a Turkish Sufi, Fethullah Gulen, which he has stated in another article. So if he is intelligent and fair enough to make these distinctions, then why this onslaught by the commentators of his articles on ALL Muslims and our faith, without any recognition of the fact that the Muslims and Islam are not monolithic? While all Muslims may examine the Qur`an and the supporting Prophetic Traditions, our interpretations and derivations are many and are quite different from each other?

8. A lot of Sufis see symbolism and allegories in many of the verses of the Qur`an, which we do not take literally. Islamists, Wahhabis, Salafis, and many traditionists, view them literal and derive judicial rulings from them, which many of us don't. Many of the verses regarding the non-believers (conscious and deliberate rejectors of the truth) describe their inner states -- which they themselves are responsible for. And this inner state continues as impressions on their "selves" when they transition from this realm of existence to next. Does one not taste and experience hell when one is in a state of severe anger and arrogance? The inner state of a person who is full of love and the one who is full of hatred is not the same, and both of these opposite states have an impact on the heart (spiritually speaking). So we experience "hell" and "heaven" right here in this realm of existence. And this state is experienced in a different form when one's self leaves one's physical body.

9. A non-believer to many of us is someone who deliberately, consciously and knowingly -- after recognizing something to be the truth -- rejects it solely by succumbing to his/her lower patterns of the self (e.g., arrogance, pride, revenge, anger, etc.). This is quite different from rejecting something without recognizing it to be the truth, and sincerely following a different path than others'.

10. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and every one else, follow what they consider to be the truth for themselves. It is based upon their individual levels of consciousness, awareness, knowledge, circumstances they live in, their upbringing, books they read, and a whole lot of other factors. What matters is one's intentions and inner state. It is possible for a person to reach higher levels of consciousness through any outer form and path they have chosen for themselves. Therefore, one must never judge another person. If the Qur`an judges someone, it is God who is judging that person and not even the Prophet or any other Muslim for that matter. Moreover, this judgement is exclusive for those who were contemporaries of the Prophet, or any other Prophet for that matter, while God's signs were being revealed to them, and who deliberately and knowingly rejected their message(s). Once a Prophet dies, we can no longer judge anyone nor God reveals to us His judgment, which will take place on the Day of Judgment, and not in this life. If something negative is said about those who came to this realm of existence after the Prophet, it is in general terms and to highlight one's inner state that one is responsible for creating for one's own self.

11. To me -- and it doesn't matter what anyone else identifying themselves as a Muslim thinks -- the path of Islam is about denying the lower tendencies of the self: attachments, arrogance, sense of superiority, pride, anger, revenge, etc. This is something that is not well-known because we don't make as much noise as the evildoers make. There is a difference between "Islam" as a cultural and historical phenomenon, and "islam" as an inner state.
It's not the outer form, and label, that matters, it's the inner reality. In a state of devotion to the Reality, the outer form one has utlized to get to that inner state becomes meaningless. I have learned as much from the Dali Lhama and the Buddhist teachings as I have learned from some of the Sufis and Jewish, Christian and Hindu spiritual teachers.

I can even relate to what a Sikh spiritual master said when he was laying near the Ka'bah in Mecca with his feet facing it, and someone criticized him for it by saying that he should be more respectful to it as it was the House of God. To which he said, "Tell me where God isn't!". The Truth is everywhere. One will find it in any situation and from any source, so long as one's intentions are pure and one's heart is empty of prejudice, anger, arrogance, self-ego, and other qualities of the lower self.

So my friends, stereotyping and generalizations and painting everyone the same is not correct. There is no single "Islam" being practiced today. Rather, there are many "islams" in existence. Moreover, "islam" simply means that one is in harmony with one's reality, which is known only to the Reality that encompasses all other realities. Therefore, there are "muslims" amongst those who outwardly identify themselves as Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc., and even amongst those who may not have given an outer label to their paths.

The truth is within us; it's built into our nature. An Eskimo who lived hundreds of years ago also had access to that truth withing him. And if he/she aligned his/her inner self to their inner reality, then they were also "muslims".

Reflect upon what I have stated above with an open mind.

We must work together against those who wreak havoc on this planet and cause misery and suffering to others, regardless of the outer labels we have given to our paths.

But it is only possible through interactions and building of bridges and mutual trust. It's much easier to demolish a bridge than it is to build one. Think about it!

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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