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Paths 2/5

If we follow a path of initiation and fulfilment, or we believe in God the Creator, then that path or God is an expression of the universal that grants human beings truths, values, ethics and rules for behaviour. Idealist or rationalist philosophies use the human faculties, sense-data, intuition and sometimes even the image-stock common to archetypes, symbols and signs to elaborate constructs whose universality is, to a greater or lesser extent, either abstract or concrete. As we have seen, these are not the only ways of elaborating the universal. We can do so also by relying upon human faculties, and spiritualities and religions insist on doing this because their goal is to reveal the correspondence between the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm of our innermost being. The universal of meanings, of consciousness, of the heart and the ego, for example, is present in mysticisms and rituals that relate to our relationship with knowledge, the gnosis, truth and liberation. We can thus understand that the universal, which reveals the transcendent cause of All, also reveals common qualities and values that are immanent in everything, or identifies the similar essence of the human faculties of all human beings, and that, as we were saying, the universality of what we have in common, and which is expressed in the name of a faith or postulate, actually expresses the undisputed truth of the plurality, of the multiplicity and diversity of the ways that lead to it and its representation. There can be no universal without diversity: the quest for the ultimate commonality would be pointless if we did not recognize the initial differences that explain just why we have to go in search of the universal. We often tend to forget that when we set out on our quest because we are already convinced of the certainties or doubts we have come to accept.

Ancient traditions and contemporary spiritualities, like religions, have a similar relationship with the real on to which they project meanings, directions, destinations or teachings. The Spirit or universal spirits, and the paths to liberation or God give birth to truths that are meant to be shared by all and to be true for all men. They are universal in a primary sense. The essence of each of these traditions or religious is that they call upon our consciousness to find a way, to make choices and to act accordingly. The universal that calls upon us to choose a path should, for example, never, by definition, deny either the reality of the essential necessity – which is quasi-ontological – of other paths. I must experience other truths if my responsibility for having chosen my truth in all conscience is to be meaningful. Without the truth – or errors – of others, my truth is no longer my choice or my responsibility. If it were forced upon me in its uniqueness, it would lose its meaning, and there would be no justification for its existence. That is the profound intuition we find in the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, but it is also central to the most profound messages of the monotheisms. The mystical and Sufi traditions constantly remind us that there are many ways, just as there are many paths up the mountainsides that their initiates scale to reach the same summit, ideal or truth. That there are many ways does not detract from the nature of the essential truth, just as the fact that there are different paths up the mountain does not mean that the peak is not transcendent –quite the contrary. The absolute is not relative to the paths that lead to it. Not everything is relative.

When we set out to look for the universal or affirm its existence, it is, then, important to remember that we are on a quest, progressing along a path, and to recall that our hearts and our reasons aspire to something. We have to remember that we are on the side of a mountain and remain aware that the absolute of the peak is a goal, an ideal and a hope. That should be our original state of mind, no matter whether we are believers or unbelievers, rationalist, idealist, materialist or mystical philosophers. And even if we prefer the symbol of the desert of immanence to that of the mountain of elevation and transcendence, the perspective does not change: the infinity of the desert also reveals the many paths along which we can go in search of ourselves or lose ourselves. The desert appears to have no summit and no centre, but it too can unveil the essence of its absolute thanks to its infinity, which stretches as far as the eye can see. A hint of the universal is present everywhere, which means that we must not be too self-confident and must be suspicious of our tendency to think that our road – or lack of one – is the only road there is. That is why we must rise in spiritual and intellectual terms to a third level of doubt when we are talking about the universal: what does my summit or my desert, my truth or my Way, say about the truth of others? What does my path say about paths, and what does my singular universal say about diversity? What, for instance, does this Quranic assertion-revelation say to the Muslim consciousness and to believers in general: ‘Had God so willed, He would have made you a single community’ (The Table Spread 5: 48). This implicit recognition of diversity seems to echo the essence of the ancient teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Knowing that we are on a quest, recognizing the existence of many different ways, and doubting the essence of our way, as opposed to that of others: these are the three basic elements of humility. If we discover them on our path, they will transform and reshape our being; if they are lacking at both the beginning of the journey and its destination, it is because they have deserted a reason and a heart that are imprisoned in arrogance and blindness.

7 commentaires - “Paths 2/5”

  1. Let there be direction – When it happens to be that religion these days is only an expression of self-romanticism for self-exaltation which manifests itself as a “holier-than-thou” and authoritative attitude which is acutely limited to only “Do’s and Don’t’s” attitude via a pompous, and mostly fake orthodox behavioral syndrome, then I pray that God sends another directional message and tactical approach to life so we all can salvage our humanities sinking ship. I’ll beseech, whoever’s blood is chosen to carry forward a change, atleast let there be a change. The world surely needs it.

    Religion is now an expression of Self-Love and Self-Exaltation, and not an expression of love for God – When we observe the people around us, it’s so clear that they express a self love, more than they express a love of God and His creation. Male or Female, there is a ugly need to express themselves as the saviors of “righteousness” by pointing out whose doing wrong, or whose mislead, whose doomed, whose in command, in a most stuffy, crass, merciless and inhumane approach; physically, emotionally and mentally. If we truly love God, then we will love His creation, mix around with His creation, learn about His creation and improve His creation through the best possible compassionate means. We will adopt His ways of mercy, compassion and forgiveness to work with His creation. However, most of the males and females in the religious institutions and society are slaves to their self-love, to their self-righteousness which manifests in their arrogance and blindness. Only by pushing others down, demeaning others, arrogantly pointing out what is wrong or by pointing out what is different, which escapes their iota of intelligence and understanding, this is the only way they know how to make a name for themselves, how to establish themselves as power or authoritative figures. And the religious institutions are infested with these kinds. Some even carry the khitaab of Sheikh or Imam etc etc. The local community time and again makes a fool of themselves by putting their foots into their incoherent mouths which doesn’t uplift the universal truth and universal dignity of humanity, but rather contaminates it and infects it for generations to come.

    Evolution – What does it take for our cultures to wake up and evolve? When will these patriarchal, misogynistic, and intolerant societies evolve? It is sickening to hear some of the folks from these cultures open their idiotic mouths and talk nonsense. Don’t they have a sense of shame? How do they relate to Allah sa? He is perfect, and to present themselves in such ludicrious and ridiculous fashion infront of Perfection is absolutely idiotic and crass. Example: Imagine standing infront of a King in a court, we will put on our best behavior in conduct, spoken word and dress. Then when we know that every living breath is conducted infront of Allah SA, then instead of impressing Him and honoring Him with Perfection, best to our abilities, why do we willfully incite His anger or His distaste? When He himself has mentioned that He created diversity for us to get to know one another, then who the hell are we to look down upon one section of his creation or tout one section to be the best?

    The problem – is that religion is now limited to the length of the bloody beard, the Arabic language spoken or the scarf and abaya. The beauty and embodiment of Iman are lost inside and outside. We need a 360 degree revival.

    How to love God? – When we truly love God, we will identify His slaves for their love for Him, we bond with them for their love of Him, whatever form of worship they may have, we will allow them to worship God for who are we to keep a slave from loving God, who are we on imposing sanctions or bans on the way to worship God. It is indeed clear that real God lovers and worshipers will have a common thread that binds them together, in thought and deed. Instead of identifying and celebrating these loves, we become power, control hungry and slaves to our egos and try to inhibit everything around us to bow to our will, than His. Love of God should bind us to each other, celebrate one another and allow one another to worship Him. We should be pleased that someone is actually worshiping Him.

    So many paths – Thus there could be an uphill mountainous path or a desert path, but these are all paths that lead to the universal truth.

    Solution – Share a smile, an encouragement, a pat on the back, a compliment, express curiosity & question, learn, give constructive opinions with huge dosages of decency, civility and amicability.

    How do we relate to God? – Haya, dignity and respect of ourselves, others and our Iman, is our connection to God. It is the arm with which we hold onto Allah sa. Flout this, and we are flouting our connection or bond with Allah sa. These are the most valuable, priceless assets each individual is born with, which cannot be compromised, publically or privately. Thus the reason why there is strong punishment in Islam for flouting haya publically or privately. Where there is one, the second is Allah sa, where there are two, the third is Allah sa and so on. The problem is we forget He is there.

    Reality – On more real terms, our interaction is also guided by the understandings we share together, the comfort levels established in various dimensions, the spirit of the communication established, the platforms we interact on, the ramifications of expressions, the examples set for others and standards defined. There could be tastefully expressed thoughts in privacy, with God as witness, as clinically expressed in the spirit of advice or understanding. However, it is beautiful to express ourselves in a manner that pleases Him and us.

    Power of Language & Hijab – Our words and actions need hijab more than our bodies. The spoken word can dress or undress an individual with just one word. That’s the power of language. Hijab and haya has taken a different form in today’s times, from what it was intended to be. Females wearing hijab, talk candidly about their body and privacy, negating the purpose of hijab, while a non-hijabi won’t even say the word “sex”. Their words undress themselves and paint a picture of nudity and activities that are better left unsaid. Similarly, long bearded brothers with and thobs, will be lecherous and harass sisters, their eyes, facial expressions and body language, flouting every standard of human decency, while the non-bearded or bearded cool brothers will respect the sisters and work with them as fellow humans.

    Alarming – aspect is that this malady is rampant and not just restricted to few geographies or a few number or cultures. How to we curtail this? How do we uplift ourselves?

    Religion has become a farce, a fashion label these days that recognizes an empty outward identification, which is not a truly reflection of ideals of God. Saudi Arabia is a fore runner in this. Is there an Arab or Asian or European or African or North or South American or Australian Muslim community that can serve as an example of God’s creation to the rest of the world? I cannot think of one. A shame. On the contrary, we have ISIS. Such a shame. It is indeed time to build a muslim community with the foundations of ideals that Muhammad AS championed, as directed by God.

  2. Perhaps UAE, USA, Canada, Turkey and some South East Asian countries come to my mind that have potential. And just so my fondness is noted, short-smart-beardy cool brothers across the globe are fun and respectful to work with )) can only attest to the ones i know lol ))

  3. And expressing clinical methods of conversation in the spirit of advise or understanding in comfort of privacy, is not an acknowledgement of any fitnah rumors or trash. Just an expression of general guidelines ))

    Also, in contemporary times, there is a constant quest to identify what is my purpose, what is my goal, what is my reason of existence…all this within the context of i me & myself or my family. its a rather narrow, small and unexciting mundane view of our life. we all should think of including thoughts in terms of what purpose will serve God and His creation, and not just me. Then life gets a truly beneficial meaning, larger than ourselves, larger than life ))

    It is clear that there is a larger purpose in life. I dint know about the designation or that these were prophetic gifts, i thought my life was chosen to be an example of an Islamic message, and I was just doing my spiritual job through the years. which is what I had told Him. So there is a sense of deep gratitude and hopeful purpose now with the identification of individual, what is to come and future generation ))

  4. If there are many paths towards a Universal Being, then why do some authoritative doctors with their imposed “treatment” have the right to alter the activities of the neural pathways in my mind? As a result of this “treatment” I am forced-dragged through an underground tunnel. I should be following the living mind’s path given to me by Allah (S.B.T.), flying high, and at the same time being on a concrete path. From my pure active mind’s view I should see the desert as being full of adventure, challenges, mysteries and also full of life to be a part of. However, from the altered state of mind’s view, being in a medicinal prison, I see the desert as one blanket of tranquility, just like how my own mind is “flattened” out to feel hollow enough to let the desert breezes flow through it. And my eyes are only just being allowed to see the sea of sand, for dreams that may come. (Dreams that may come if my mind is not too much reduced to a pulp and twisted as a result of the adverse effects of “medicine”.) Reaching the summit/goal with a passive state of being/not much of a life and then also having to go through a dark underground path, is a very hard task. However, Allah (S.B.T.), The One, The All-Knowing, knows what is happening to me and He is Most Merciful to let me have an overview from the summit, once-in-a-while, even though I am restrained from climbing.

  5. Assalamualaikum Shireen Obaidullah, I pray you are doing well. After reading several of your comments for the past couple months, and understanding their meaning, I just wanted to extend my good wishes to you. I embrace you as my sister in humanity, and urge you to talk to your parents or someone trusted in family or friends about the discomfort you feel regarding treatment and activities. My apologies to intrude or offer you unsolicited advise, however, noting that you are appealing for help in most of your comments, I couldn’t help but write to you to ask you to swiftly seek help from the folks you trust the most, who are close to you, accessible to you, in a discrete fashion to ensure you do not encounter interruptions or ill-attention. And the sooner you raise your concerns with the folks you trust, who have your back, who have your best interest, health and well being at heart, the better for you. I pray Allah blesses you with peace, comfort and ease soon, ameen.

  6. and lets focus on what really matters and why this started. what is coming is perhaps an all-time amalgamation/cocktail of all three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Perhaps it will unite religions and more…whether Jerusalem, Vatican or Saudi likes it or not. So far this is the only understanding one has. taking a shot here with the many realizations. Too bad we are all stuck as a team together, but have a job to do and Boss picked the team, so lets just do our spiritual jobs to earn our respective tickets )) and get on with it.

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