I’ve been meaning to say some words on religion. Sometimes I think we have a toss the baby out with the bath water mentality. We have seen without a doubt the abuses of religion. I think human history in a large part has been shaped by conflicted expressed through ideology especially religious ideology. But nowadays, the rhetoric has become from what I have heard that only backwards people, or those who need a crutch to get through life gravitate towards religion.
Yet so many people we quote and revere and study for their wisdom were quite religious – Rumi, Hafiz, Jami, Maghrebi, Ibn Arabi, St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila, St Catherine of Sienna, Meister Eckhart, St francis of Assisi, St Thomas Aquinas and the list goes on. I feel that there is a hypocrisy in that the same person who can want to do away with religion is very likely to quote and “love” a person known for their religious fervor and practice.
I would like to further talk about this in a more structured way The examples I will be using will come from Sufism the tradition that I am most associated and involved with.
Sufism and the way of Blame and the Unknown Rumi
In his book Sufism and the Way of Blame Dr. Toussulis asserts that spiritual consumerism has greatly distorted the message of Sufism. For westerners he asserts A sufi must be someone who is a traditionalist that is follows the shariah and practices of Islam , or a universalist – someone above and beyond the trappings of religion. I will quote from His book:
The first part of this book is devoted to addressing certain biases that affect Sufi studies contributing to what I will call a Sufi Mystique, which is based upon a series of questionable assumption found both inside and outside of academia. Foremost among them is the assumption that Sufis have to be either Islamic (in a parochial sense ) or universality who exist outside of any particular religio -cultural context. if Sufis are universalist, goes the assumption, then they can’t be mired in any one particular tradition. The distinction lost in this formulation of course, is that one can be grounded in a particular tradition without become rigid of doctrinaire.
I feel from my observations, and reading the headlines that being religious is synonymous with extremism.Case an point I refer you to an article published online by Mother Jones magazine named: FBI Training Materials Treat “Islam” As The Enemy :
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
I quote these only to give an example of what I see when I go online or read the newspapers. It is of course up to you to make you own judgement but I do feel that there are some very anti-religious sentiments that continue to do the work of distorting religious and mystical traditions. I feel that conflict and identity are always an element of social cultural national interaction. But I feel there is something deeper a different issue at least in the west on how we approach religion.Stay tuned for part 2
What are your thoughts?
- To Become a Sufi: Do I Need to Join a Sufi Order? by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Recommending Sufism and the Way of Blame by Dr. Toussulis (2) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- How Many Sufis Are There in Islam? by Stephen Schwartz (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Recommending Sufism and the Way of Blame by Dr. Toussulis with a small excerpt. (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- A Comparison Between Sufism and Psychoanalysis (4) by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Camille Adams Helminski: Women & Sufism (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- A Comparison Between Sufism and Psychoanalysis (2) by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Two poignant Line from The Sufis of Afganistan Film (Roughy translated) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Traveling and Social Conduct on the Path by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- What is Sufism? _|_ Sufism Today by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- A Comparison Between Sufism and Psychoanalysis (3) by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Bayazidian Sufism: Annihilation Without Ritual (1) by Dr. Alireza Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- LIFE IS A JOURNEY. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Do I have to convert to Islam to be a sufi? Answer by Dr.Javad Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Ibn Arabi’s “What the Seeker Needs” (1) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Ibn Arabi’s “What the Seeker Needs” (3) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Ibn Arabi’s “What the Seeker Needs” (2) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- The Inheritance of the Prophets and the Transference of Energy (2) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Bayazidian Sufism: Annihilation Without Ritual (3) by Dr. Alireza Nurbakhsh (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Brief Biogrpahy of Ibn Arabi Shaykh al-Akbar (1) (mycaravanofdreams.com)