Are we in spiritual crisis?

Published: March 27, 2012

In a world ravaged by religious conflict and sectarianism it is necessary to revive the old traditions of wisdom and knowledge within each of the great religions in the world. PHOTO: BANARAS KHAN/EXPRESS

In a world where there is so much profanity, we are losing our sense of spirituality. Even in our art and poetry, the animating themes of spiritual experience are undergoing a sort of transcendent ecstasy and are giving way to the darker expressions of the human psyche.

Introspective poetry tends to border on the nihilistic and pessimistic; reflections on a broken world that seems beyond deliverance. Probing the side of human nature that is all too often splashed across our television screens – tragedy has become a form of art in the modern world. This exploration is critical, but we must not lose other poetic voices that represent a vision for justice and beauty.

The problem here is that within Islam this crisis of spirituality is most acute. Tariq Ramadan recently wrote that there is a serious deficit of spirituality in Islamic societies urging that we:

Rediscover and reclaim spirituality that permeates Eastern cultures, and that lies at the heart of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions, a consideration that today’s social and political uprisings can ill afford to neglect. For there can be no viable democracy, no pluralism in any society without the well-being of individuals, the citizens and the religious communities.

What Ramadan describes rings true – globally speaking, Muslim citizens both in the West and the wider Islamic world have forgotten the art of spiritual experience and are articulating it through transformational art such as ecstatic poetry.

In a world ravaged by religious conflict and sectarianism it is necessary to revive the old traditions of wisdom and knowledge within each of the great religions in the world. Wisdom itself, the powerful liberating truth of upright conduct and steely resolve cannot be the monopoly of any one religion. In this spirit, we should put the great sages, poets and philosophers of each of our religious traditions in direct conversation with each other; because the true substance of the spiritual experience is one of blissful reconciliation.

This reconciliation takes place on many levels – with the Divine, with others and most importantly your own self.

However, there has always been contradiction within all the great religious traditions of the world – every single teacher has urged us to withdraw from the world, to abandon its ways and to truly experience the presence of the One, but at the same time every great teacher also urged their followers to be in devoted service of mankind.

This friction of spiritual withdrawal and engaging with the world to transform it for the better is a false one, because these are different aspects of the same journey to the same destination – to get closer to the One. Conformity was discouraged and creativity in the form of spiritual struggle was encouraged – and what better way to harness this creativity than to be in the service of justice?

We all have an impulse to search for meaning in this world and we all face the same questions, some of which Allama Iqbal asked with great eloquence:

What is the character and general structure of the universe in which we live? Is there a permanent element in the constitution of this universe? How are we related to it? What place do we occupy in it, and what is the kind of conduct that befits the place we occupy? These questions are common to religion, philosophy and higher poetry.

It is this idea of higher poetry that is intriguing because every significant religious tradition has produced some of the most beautiful poetry and art the world has ever seen. In these amazing works of poetry lays unbridled wisdom that can provide profound inspiration and provoke serious contemplation.

Whether it is Attar from Islam, St Francis of Assisi from the Catholic tradition or the sages of Hinduism what is present in all of these traditions, whether you believe they are theologically correct or not, is a creative impulse that seeks transcendence. We must recognise that although one may hold on to their conviction that their path is right, it does not mean that we ignore the other paths that surround us and depreciate or denigrate the other spiritual traditions in the world – because after all difference and diversity is mandated by the Holy Quran itself:

We have assigned a law and a path to each of you. If God had so willed, He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good: you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about. (Quran 5:48)

And elsewhere the Quran urges the reader to deal with diversity with knowledge not hatred or exclusive self-righteousness:

Oh mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (Not that you may despise each other). Quran (49:13)

Every conversation with the ‘’Other’’ must start with humility  with open sincerity to truly learn. Within contemporary Islam the ‘’perennialist/ traditionalist movement’’ with Seyyed Nasr Hossein, Martin Lings (author of the most eloquent biography of the Prophet PBUH written in modern times: Muhammad – His Life Based on the Earliest Sources), Titus Burckhardt and Frithjof Schuon have articulated a beautiful response to the problem of diversity. Elsewhere more mainstream scholars such as Tariq Ramadan (author of Quest for Meaning) and Hamza Yusuf have given mature responses that although may lack the spiritual elegance of the perennialist tradition still foster a healthy ethic of tolerance and respect.

We need to reconcile ourselves with history by breaking down false narratives driven by xenophobic nationalism and ideological greed. And to reconcile ourselves with the true majesty of not only the Islamic tradition but other religious traditions – because as Hans Kung the prominent Catholic theologian has noted:

No peace among the nations
without peace among the religions.

No peace among the religions
without dialogue between the religions

No dialogue between the religions
without investigation of the foundation of the religions.

Read more by Ahmad here. Follow him on Twitter @AhmadAliKhalid

 

ali.ahmad

Ahmad Ali

A medical student and freelance writer who tweets @AhmadAliKhalid

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • nadeem khan

    Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.One doesn’t need to believe in organised religion to be spiritual.Recommend

  • zafar hammad

    Being religious is not a necessity for being spiritual,atheists & agnostics can be spiritual too.
    This self-righteousness of religious people that they believe only they are good and pious is disturbing.People without religion are good,honest people too.Recommend

  • babar aziz

    Performing repititive religious rituals doesn’t make one spiritual.There are millions of atheists and agnostics in the world and they are leading good,satisfied lives without following any religion.Religion is not a pre-requisite for spirituality.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    The assumption that the path to greater spirituality lies in entering deeper into the suffocating embrace of organized and rigid religion is debatable – spirituality should be the outcome of inquiry into the self, and through that finding the divine. On a separate note, the dichotomy in being able to separate oneself from the pell-mell of life while also being of service to mankind is reasonably well explained in the Gita through Karma yoga – in that renunciation in itself does not result in liberation/ salvation; one must do one’s duty without expectation of reward – you may have heard of it condensed as work is worship. (No intention of extolling the virtues of my religion – merely making a relevant point in the given context).Recommend

  • Mazhar

    @zafar hammad:
    Then what do you mean by religion??Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Spiritualism is a much higher calling, Religion is a man made concept. The number of lives that have been claimed in the process of propagation of most Religions is a shame and blot on them all. Just look around you and observe how many want to impose their view on others and are willing to kill and maim. Today many believe they can wash their Souls from the inhumanity of their actions by indulging in Religious rituals.
    Escapism in its worst form !Recommend

  • Talat Haque

    How hard is it to be good? ……… to be kind, caring and considerate …………. to be honest and sincere ………… to be generous and helpful?Recommend

  • Critical

    I dont know why everyone is harping about religion and spirituality….My entire family is religious,but I pray only when I feel like praying….I go to a Hanuman temple in the outskirts of my city because the place is very calm and no disturbance when I pray….

    I drink,party with friends,watch movies…These are all my personal choices and I dont smoke because I dont like the smell of it not because its a bad habit…As long as I dont create a problem to others or burn a hole in my pocket,noone has the right to question me and made sure the ones who did regret it…

    I dont believe in the concept of life after death in heaven or hell,but my view is that life after death is the way others talk of me…I want my parents,friends and relatives to remember me when I die and talk about me proudly….

    I sometimes volunteer in a orphanage.I never do that to wash my sins.On a chance encounter,I visited there to cover for my friend and liked being with those kids,that I regularly donate to them…

    I pay my taxes correctly and make sure I dont give or accept bribe.I live life the way I want….Why should I do things mandated by religion and few religious teachers if I dont like doing them just to prove that I’m a spiritual person?? Why should one wear their spirituality up their sleeve and display it to everyone proudly?? Its a matter between you and god,whats the need to advertise it???

    Could someone tell me whether living life like me is correct ?? or should I follow the religious mandates in order to reach that “fictional heaven or hell”??Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    To me ,diving deep down into your heart and finding and connecting whatever good you find there is spirituality.Religion stems from spirituality, not the other way round.
    Also love of self and self related things is instinctive,when it transcends self to become impersonal it is spirituality;Moving from “Ishq-e-Majazi to Ishq-Haqiqi” as our Sufi Poets put it.
    “Mandir dhaa de masjid dhaa de : dhaa de jo kuj dhainda .
    Ik banday da dil na dhain Rab dilaan wich rainda”(Baba Bullhay shah).My crude translation is:
    “Demolish masjid mandir or whatever else you want: but demolish not the heart of anyone; as God lives in hearts”. Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Mazhar: Religion is that iron set of rules and beliefs that are mostly based on dogmas which imprison you ,spirituality is that inherent goodness of heart that sets you free.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Islam provides the shortest, the clearest, the surest path to pleasing Allah. All other good things may follow from that, but they are secondary. Islam and the Quran do not exist to, nor do they promote philosophy or spiritualism. Looking for spiritualism and philosophy in Islam or the Quran is unfair to spiritualism and philosophy and to the Islam and the Quran.

    Iqbal was a great Muslim. As a philosopher, he was positively third rate – stealing pre-existing ideas and simply Islamizing or Quranizing them. And nobody sane would mistake the man for a humanist or a ‘reconciler’.

    If one follows neither Islam nor spirtualism or humanism, merely makes unexamined hegemonic claims about one subsuming all others, the outcome can only be to keep people going in circles.

    That is not a dishonorable goal. An argument can be made that the highest human ideal is to faithfully preserve and reproduce the truths as we have already known them in the past.Recommend

  • Abdullah

    You need to read ‘Milestones’ of Syed Qutb and ‘Emaan ka Sabaq’ of Hamid KamaluddinRecommend

  • BlackJack

    @kaalchakra:
    And why please Allah? (The question sounds frivolous but isn’t – I would really like to know). Doesn’t the tendency to be pleased/ displeased/ angered/ jealous/ upset appear in humans as a weakness? Why would the all-powerful/ all-seeing/ all-knowing God feel this way when he has designed us to be imperfect? It sounds more like a child building beautiful sand castles out on the beach only to see how much of a battering they can take before they crumble and disappear (he/ she doesn’t really care about the way the castle feels in the long run, right)? I guess you may not reply (to my question, I mean), but I will check if there is an answer.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The problem does not lie in religion / spirituality but in the minds of small men with little understanding and an in-doctored fear of using common sense to judge right from wrong.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    “In a world ravaged by religious conflict and sectarianism it is necessary to revive the old traditions..”

    You lost me at “revive the old”.

    The problem is our ideological stubbornness, and our persistence to look for solutions to 21st century problems in 8th century cultures. Our pathetic fixation with the bygone era and its ways – you know, the good ol’ times when we used to stone each other to death; wage wars over land and petty tribal disputes; kill the homosexuals; and yes, even keep slaves.

    Yes, let’s rely on their infinite wisdom and wonderful traditions to fix the modern-day problems. Or perhaps it would be smarter to let the ways and ideas of the past stay in the past, while we focus on what’s best now. In this new, entirely different paradigm we exist in.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    BlackJack

    You are anthromorphizing Allah. Allah is not another human being.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @BlackJack

    That’s a tough one even for @kaalchakra.I am waiting for a response from him with bated breath.Recommend

  • faraz

    All those who believe that there existed some golden era should study about the battle of Jamal and Saffin. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Kaalchakra,

    I believe it’s religion that anthropomorphizes God. Firstly by depicting Him with emotions of jealousy, anger and love not unlike human beings. A being that is pleased when one praises Him, and becomes enraged on one’s refusal to do so. Rewards people who do what He says, and punishes those who defy. All very human attributes.

    People who believe in God but not in organized religion (like deists) don’t anthropomorphize God this way. They believe that humans and their frivolous issues are too insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe to merit any special consideration from the Master of All and Everything. According to them, one cannot even begin to psychoanalyze God and predict what he feels/doesnt feel, wants/doesn’t want in any given circumstance.Recommend

  • Exmuslim

    Religion is damaging to human healthRecommend

  • Pravin

    There is no place for belief in true spirituality. In fact ‘belief’ is a cover for insecurity.
    The seeker unfolds his own ego and relies on revealing the truth. ‘No belief’ does not mean disrespecting the scriptures. But seeker knows that knowledge from scriptures is not my knowledge and does not take any stand of right and wrong on merely intellectually understood words.Recommend

  • Shambhu Nath Upadhyay

    Good to be spiritual than a dogmatic religiousRecommend

  • yousaf

    @author:–I wish the things were that simple as you have tried to put.By saying such words as “peace among nations” and “dialogue between religions” you have created more questions than the solutions to the problems among nations and religions.Instead of writing this article it would have been better if you had asked God why He created Satan in the first place.Had Satan been not there none of the above mentioned problems would have risen.As long as Satan is there no peace is possible among the people of different faiths and beliefs,and he unfortunately has come to stay till the end Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack: you said
    “On a separate note, the dichotomy in being able to separate oneself from the pell-mell of life while also being of service to mankind is reasonably well explained in the Gita through Karma yoga – in that renunciation in itself does not result in liberation/ salvation; one must do one’s duty without expectation of reward – you may have heard of it condensed as work is worship. (No intention of extolling the virtues of my religion – merely making a relevant point in the given context)”

    This is exactly what Islam says, so dont worry you are not extolling your own religion.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack: regarding your “frivolous” question. In your religion are you not asked to worship and please your gods, why not put same question to your own religious scholars.Recommend

  • socialist

    The question is how important it is to revive spiritualism and how conducive every religion is of this concept but it never reached how to revive it nevertheless religion can work only for few in terms of making them good human beings.Basically it is a just economic system which can induce sufficient goodness into us not a survival of the fittest kind of capitalismRecommend

  • kaalchakra

    Loneliberal PK

    Allah can be happy, angry, jealous – just as the jinns and the angels can. None of them are humans. None of them must be expected to behave like humans, or to follow human values – unless they themselves choose to, for their own or Allah’s pleasure.

    In Islam, Muslims (and I refer to Muslims alone, not to unbelievers who have Muslim identity) don’t ever make the mistake of setting up human criteria, human expectations for Allah. They accept what Allah tells them. If Allah tells them he would be happy to see them do X, they do X, or try to do X. If Allah says he would be angry they did Y, they don’t do Y – or try not to do Y. Therefore, the very first thing anybody hoping to become an intelligent Muslim must learn to say is – Allah knows best. No Muslim hopes to or can get inside Allah’s head. They follow Islam because they know it is the best thing for them and for the world. Their understanding is focused on understanding why Islam is the best thing for them and for the world. This is where not treating Allah as a human being becomes so absolutely paramount in Islam.

    Elementary

    Actually, their Hindu/Indian concept of “God” is completely different from that of Islam or Muslims. Trying to understand that will probably be a waste of your time. :)Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    By the way, Loneliberal, agree with you regarding the deists. What I sketched in my last post was strictly the Islamic view of not treating Allah as a hunan being. As someone who could be expected to follow any kind of humanly conceived morality, except of his or her own choosing at any time for his own pleasure at that time.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @elementary:
    In your religion are you not asked to worship and please your gods, why not put same question to your own religious scholars.
    I will answer your question, my friend – in Hinduism, there is no expectation of reward for praying to or praising God, and no punishment for ignoring him or completely denying his existence; you can be Hindu and still refuse to believe in God – it has no effect on your future, which is only linked to the nature and intent behind actions during this life (the cycle of karma); devotion is but one means of liberating oneself from the material world, right knowledge and right action will work equally well. While you may believe that Hinduism is polytheistic and largely revolves around worshipping many colorful Gods and Goddesses around whom millions of stories have been created, these are but representations of the one primordial force, Brahman (pl do not confuse with the brahmin caste); the hindu faith is monistic in construct, with the belief that all Gods are one – even ones that you don’t read about in the Puranas – like Allah, Ahura Mazda and YHWH. And finally, our religious scholars do not have the authority to tell us what to do or to believe – they have knowledge of the scriptures which they are free to share, and we are free to enjoy, reject or accept in part depending on our inclination.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The author, Mr Ali does choose complicated subjects, but writes well and encourages brain storming. What confused me the most is his use of ‘the word ‘WE’ which the Indian born little man continualy uses on CNN? Who are the ‘WE’S'?

    Philosophy, science and mathematics are imbedded in the divine scriptures, namely the Hebrew Bible(old testaments) and arabic Quraan suras. The word philosophy is from the old greek words Philo and sophos; Philo the jew was a hellenistic jewish biblical philosopher born in Alexandria, and the word sophos simply means wise or wisdom in Greek language. .

    Philosophy today equals Epistemologgy(nature, scope of knowledge such as relationship between truth, belief and theories of justification), logic, metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics..Philo was of the opinion that the philosophy from the the hebrew bible could stifle the reader if it was to be presented in original form..

    My own view is that the philosophy in the scriptures is intertwined and related to spiritualism and as such is probably coarse for a nonbeiever, but very refreshing if once a believer meditates and witnesses the ocean of knowledge spurts out from otherwise simpal arabic phrases! The author coming from the East appears to be relating spiritualism with poetic expressions. The art of sufism in today’s world is relatively striaghtforward then in ancient times.

    Kalchakra, sorry, contrary to your comments, the above explanation should tell you how much philosophy and spitualism are related with Bible and Quraan. By the way, Iqbal did attend the Heidelberg University and studied Kannt philosophy!I

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack:
    Correct me if i am wrong :As i understood ,you don’t worship to please God or expecting a reward or because you think it is right thing to do:you just optionally/randomly do it.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @Critical:
    You wrote from your heart then did something I did not expect from person of your caliber, and intellect,why any one tell you if it is right or wrong?,my friend, self actualization,and self realization and listen to your inner voice,which you seem to be doing adequately,don’t get confused.Stay on your chosen path ,it will lead you to your goal and ‘Manjil’, you said a lot,how long have been on earth? If possible,.Wisdom walks into self when you least expect it. Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @kaalchakra: It is gigantic pity that you are wasting your immense potential,in rigid dogmas and one track mind,absolutely no malice.There is wide world out side the ‘Well “you have selected to live and swim.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack: He won’t,he can not,read my rejoinder to him,may give you an insight.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @Loneliberal PK: Just for the sake of you,however old and risky and expensive,I must reconsider my resolve not to visit Pakistan.You,Sir,are some original thinker,alas!Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @elementary: Once upon a time ,in the past ,when I was a hung-ho,so called religious scholar,I would have answered that and felt very proud to have removed cow webs, from ‘Budhi HEEN, and “ANDAKAR MAI NIRBUDHI” person ,but I no longer feel that way.Just want to tell you very briefly,Hinduism means different thing to different level of intelligence,no standard text, no set of rules,no one a founder or a pontiff,not even one holy place for all the followers to congregate.Vedas tell that God is shapeless,Formless,neither man/ Female,neither awake nor sleeping, neither visible nor invisible, indifferent to petty things of day or day to day events of human.It is neither Kind or Cruel,neither rewards or punishes,so than What?When I got that understanding I stopped being a follower of Organised Religion.A change happened and I see Him in Natural Law and in Perfect Harmony,in compassion,and in tune with Visible Universe,and I’m at Peace at last,My search for God has ended,God is every where in you,in me mostly.Have rein in ANGER(KRODH,LOBH(GREED),Mooh(Attachment)and Kama,and you will pretty much have be very spiritual full filled Life.Can I tell any body any thing when I myself do not have all the answer?You can not find God in books ,majid or church or Mandir.It is futile search.Take it for whatever worth.Good dayRecommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @kaalchakra: It really is gigantic waste time for you,don’t even go there.It is not for you,please I beg of you.Devote your time to Allah,He alone can help you,I mean it.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack: Very well articulated,you are good.Wish Indian publication can get us to blog like this,why are we bogged down in Bollywood and mindless Cricket?,beats me.Mean while we have to do with TRIBUNE EXPRESS.Thanks.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @Rex Minor: I don’t think Kaalckara is interested in Emmanuel Kant. and his philosophy.He has his Quran and Islam,everything for him is there..Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @elementary: WE worship,we go to temple,do what so ever,it is for our peace of mind,God,in Hinduism is indifferent,it is very deep concept,can not be explained in few words.Many years ago,I was visiting some famous temple in Chennai (INDIA),I saw an old infirm woman praying very sincerely,with tears,I could not help but ask her why was she praying so much fervour,that woman gave me profound answer,I was dumb founded to hear her say,you know what she said’” Appa,nan,Bhagwan ney vendi ka ren,mun shanti ki”.It roughly means in English’My son,I pray and worship for my peace of mind’Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Rex

    You are absolutely right in that as Allah’s Word, the Holy Quran does have everything in it – along with all philosophy, epistemology, and science. But what non-believers call philosophy tends to be quite different – that is a man-made enterprise, judged according to man-made unIslamic standards. Just imagine Rex, an unbeliever who does not believe in the Quran, how ridiculous Iqbal’s claims would sound to him or her? That does NOT mean that Iqbal is wrong. It just means that philosophy is not all that important in the overall scheme of things. Iqbal was a great Muslim. That is enough for us. We must judge him by the quality and amount of his faith in Islam (most excellent), and not by the quality of his human philosophy (quite poor).

    Rex, don’t be too impressed with PhDs! They are a dime a dozen and of every imaginable kind and quality. :) Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Elementary

    Indians are indeed quite weird that way! :) Prayers are just one of the things they may individually choose to do, or not do. Even when they do pray, they just make up or choose whatever way they fancy. Very little collective guidance.

    Completely different from Islam, and IMHO, not suited for anyone who wants to make sure they are right or that somebody (say, Allah) is actually listening to his or her prayers.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack:
    @hariharmani:
    You are presenting the spiritual aspect of Hinduism,which is not too different from Islam or any other religion for that matter.Black jack talked about balance between complete renunciation and engagement with the world, exactly something which Islam advocates.

    what Hariharmani said ,Islamic sufi’s in india have been preaching that for hundreds of years
    “if you are looking for God look no furthur than the depths of your own heart”.I quoted Baba bullhay shah’s verses in my previous entry with similar meaning.”Concentrate on the world around you and in the beauty,rythm and harmony of it you will find the reflections of God”. I can quote tens of Quranic verses to support this.I can show you hundreds of women on Khawja ijmeer sharif’s Mazar ,crying with passion and fervour for “man ki shanti”.

    My point is,spiritualism is good, religion is not.

    Islam as religion is riddled with rigid beliefs,dogmas and hegemonic political views,and mullahs use it to spread hatred ,violence and bigotry.However ALL religions are based on fear and therefore Hinduism has its fair share of rituals,dogmas and fears such as if you don.t do good in this life you will be turned into something bad(animal) in your next life.

    “God likes spiritual fruits not religious nuts”.I read it somewhere on the internet and liked it. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Kalchakra,

    I know and I feel the presence of strong energy in certain commentaries than that from the original article. Yours are one of those and it simply means to me that the path you are following is the most ambitious one to say the least.

    Quraan is not meant for non-believers, nor it is meant to be a reference book for quotations by muslims. The knowledge which it contains is for the eternity and meant to be decyphered and decoded by the one and all when the time comes. For most muslims it is a holy book and they revere it without fully understanding it and this is how it is meant to be. For me Phd title simply means that the guy is now qualified to be able to reasearch further in the subject of his choice.. No more or no less.I do not know much about Iqbal and could very well go along with what you said, though Indian and Pakistani muslims regard him as a contemporary for Pakistan.

    I agree with Immanuel Kant that a human is not born as an empty container, merely to collect knowledge and experience only, but each of us is gifted with a geist( mind and soul) which predetrmnes and directs our life!! God, freedom and immortality are insoluble by speculative thought. Their existance can be neither affirmed nor denied on theoratical grounds, nor can they be scientificay demonstrated, but kant shows the necessity of a belief in their existance in his moral philosophy.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Talat Haque

    Interesting views on God , religion……….. spiritual and orthodox stance …………. the comment section is what people are all about! :)Recommend

  • Critical

    @hariharmani:
    Well,friend…My answer is universal..These spiritual-advertisers are not confined to Islam alone…I’ve seen many bigots in Hinduism also…Few examples
    Those carnatic lovers who make us listen to those nasal singing and argue that this is the pure form of music and if I dont appreciate,I’m an unevolved Homo Erectus…

    Those lifeless dudes who preach that the money spent on liqor and movies could be given to orphanages and temples,indirectly telling others that they do social work…I never advertise my social work because I dont want to be judged based on that

    Those who wear obvious religious symbols like painting their entire forehead..The same guy stopped doing it when he came to US…

    Actually,there is a competition among us to show others how spiritual we are…Most of them do just because others do or others say this is the way we should do and shouldnt do…

    I believe that I’m a homosapien with the 1.7kg brain and we came several thousand years before the first religion was formed.So I know how to be a social animal where I can live on my own and not be a nuisance to others…I’m spiritual in my own sense and never felt the need to advertise it by going early morning on a saturday and sit throught the bajans.

    Or to the Pakistanis who read my reply…
    Who would u give ur sister or daughter to??
    A person who does namaz 5 times a day without fail,but does corruption,nepotism and believes that man has every right to beat a woman to keep her submissive

    or a person who is not very spiritual ,but does honest work and takes care of his family??Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @elementary: I have no bone to pick with people who are extremely religious or pious,who are Namaji or who go to temple or church or sengaue daily.I get mad only when they start mouthing their religion as the only answer to the exclusiveness of all other.Their one track mind,intolerance and preaching gets my goat.They have no understanding in the concept of free will,freedom of thought and sacredness of liberty,just parroting submission to fiction and a deity some where up,God knows how up,or below.Yet I find for all of Pakistan’s short coming,I find it very refreshing,some of you guys are very open,smart,pragmatic and interesting folks.I will not find enough courage to pontificate on any subject even Engineering where I have some expertise,long years of training,I’m not simply,used to do.How they are saying out landish things,is beyond my understanding,I’m sure,Kant,Espinoza,or even Sir I. Newton would dare like some religious nut do.I guess that is why we call them unbalanced,off the kilt or even a nut.I trust some day our part of the world become progressive,and enjoy the fruits of modern prosperity the nations of the West enjoy,it is high time we as unfortunate suffering masses at last taste to some measure,I’m afraid, I may not get to live and see it.Some of us, out ignorance,down play,the importance of material well being,but I have come to understand how much it has bearing on our general out look on how we look at our world at large,empty stomach can not pray.Spritualism,religion can not be built on the backs of the starving masses.That is why we lag with respect to West.Good day.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Rex,

    Your idea of Quran as something to be deciphered contradicts its own claim of universality, as the universe does not exclusively belong to dedicated scholars. If they are the only ones who may “decipher” and fully comprehend it, then it is esoteric. Furthermore, the Quran itself makes it abundantly clear that is has been revealed in simple language so the readers may take heed.

    Also, things that can be neither denied nor confirmed by scientific evidence are always considered to be “non-existent” until proven otherwise. That is the scientific way. Thus far, nobody has disproved the non-existence of dragons in the centre of the earth, as nobody has ever directly observed the core. But this doesn’t serve as a convenient excuse for us to believe in dragons.

    Freedom, by the way, is neither an entity nor a force that has to be proven. It’s a general term humans have invented themselves to describe a state of being unrestrained in some way.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Loneliberal,

    Did I state that you need to be a scholar to decipher the divine book? The rest of your rhetoric has therefore no base. Neither science nor human anatomy nor philosophy are foreign for me. Quraan has been revealed in simple arabic language, but humans can only understand it with the capacity of their individual brains and science tells us that humans of the 21st century have not yet been able to utilize more than 20 percent of the potential brain capacity. Much less ofcourse during the times of Moses?

    Descartes was of the view that since no body complains about the common sense that they possess simply proves that everone was given equal Verstand(common sense) by the creator. He was wrong in his assumption since how can a person with less common sense than others would know it? God almighty is all knowing! Democracy, freedom, liberty, solidarity and justice are all interlinked and one without another is just an illusion! Human geist controls science and has the potential to control the universe, not the other way around. Leave your mama stories of dragons for children!

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    Hariharmani,

    Well said, religion is a faith and appreciation of the individual for the creator. It is strictly personal and has no business in todays western world. All European constitutions reflect the values derived from the scriptures and the Govts are secular in nature. The Govts. have no business to inturude in people’s faith and the clergy has no business to intrude into the administration. People and people alone are the wealth and the stregnth of the communities.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    I just read the entire text of “WHY I”M AN ATHEIST”BY SARDAR BHAGAT SINGH,He answered in full measure who is really spiritual and who is empty suit.He was crystal clear what is real thing and what is phony.There is so much now available,for free,if we remain bogged down,it is all our doing.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Hariharmani

    Please understand that from the point of view of a Muslim believer, Kant, Espinoza, Newton (to the extent that their theories have not yet been invalidated) were all saying exactly what the Quran already contains. In fact, although none of them knew, they were all Muslims (if they said anything right).

    It’s a matter of Islamic faith. Just because you find that absurd, that is a matter between you and your lack of faith.

    Rex,

    Hopefully, that energy is a productive one, my friend. :)

    It’s like food being cooked. Not always pretty, but one hopes and prays it does some of us good.

    Rex, kant is one of my favorite thinkers. Will write about his relationship to faith, particularly to Islam, one day. I do suspect that Islam’s path is Ghazali’s path, not Kant’s. Best.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @Loneliberal PK: & REX M I do not know why Rex Minor keep saying Qurran and riddle of deciphering,it is so simple,I do not know Arabic,but read many good translation by eminent people and I have no reason to believe their work,to be any less authentic.It is very straight forward Do and Don’t.May be I’m missing something in discussion?First he said Arabic must be made compulsory in Pakistan,to which ,I remember saying,not necessary,I still feel that way,for ordinary common people on street a good authentic translation would do.Good day.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Rex Minor:
    I could convincingly argue that the concept of Maya (illusion) relating to Brahman (the ultimate truth/ reality/ realization) being clouded by experience in the material world fits rather neatly with what Kant actually argued – that experience is an illusion without the benefit of pure reason; but I know that this is an exercise in futility. Both you and Kaalchakra are no fools, but unfortunately that which you argue for cannot be supported with logic or reason. (Anything related to enlightenment/ peace/ self-enquiry that you point to in the Quran can be found in other older scriptures – but the dogmatic parts are all pretty original). You (RM) argue that understanding the Quran in entirety is beyond human capacity to fathom in our times and will need to deciphered over many lifetimes by Arabic scholars; Kaalchakra believes that the religion needs to no arguments to buttress it, and logic and philosophy merely weaken an edifice founded upon blind faith. I respect faith and believe that being closer to God should also make one realize that temporal differences are impermanent and artificial. Unfortunately, your belief requires you to deride those who do not agree with you, and this is a sign of weakness; and as muslims nations gradually become more free, liberal and educated, you will find the same difficult questions coming from within. All the best to both of you!Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @elementary:
    The reason that hardcore Islamists oppose Sufism and blow up shrines is because it is Islam tempered with the Hindu faith – in fact apart from faith in Allah, most aspects of Sufism are far closer to Hinduism than Islam – which is why you find so many Hindus praying at dargahs (so the complaints are justified in a way). The point being, it is rather disingenous to point out aspects of Sufism is prove that Islam sees the world in the same way as Hinduism. In Islam, if you are not of the faith, you are doomed – that is the bottom line (the fine line between renunciation and doing one’s duty is pointless for the infidels). In Hinduism, there is no bottom line – as you sow, so you reap, the ‘kaalchakra’ spins on.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack: Your last sentence observation,’as they become gradually become free————from within’,The world and we have been waiting since 7th century has not happened yet,don’t bet your house on that,you have good shot of losing your house.Bet safely on Cricket might get lucky there.Good day.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack: Yes,the other Kaalchara from East of the border spins on,pun intended,but so does the metaphorical Wheel .It needs no mechanical motive force,which the other Kaalchara provides,hope you get my drift.I could not let it pass without a dig.It is so much fun to Ri**cule.Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack :Seeing Your blog,suddenly opened flood gates of my memory when I lived in India,I was raised in Hyderabad(daccan),I had several Shia, and some Sunni Muslim friends.India in south is more shia.Whenever we discussed religion,both the group ganged up on me.Even when I was right,I was never right,I realized ,others are always wrong against unified shia/sunni group,when they are up against so called Kaffir.I lost all my empathy for Shias from then on,when Sunnis went after them with hammer,and when their violence against them became routine in Pakistan,even then I could not bring myself to empatise with them ,as I remembered how they had ganged up against the poor Ahmedaias during the worst days of Buttoo,senior .You are right,you reap what you sow,but The philosophy of “Karma” is not valid here for them,you are wasting time,even Westerners who do not understand the complex nature of doctrine of karma,do understand,when you use simple words such as”WHAT GOES AROUND,COME AROUND”,you sow the wind,you reap the whirl wind.They see the validity,but then you talking reason,logic and rationality,not FAITH.Good day.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham. elementary

    @BlackJack:
    I was never trying to prove that Islam sees the world in same way as Hinduism.
    Islam originated in Arab,where Hinduism was not even known,fourteen hundred years ago,so if you are insinuating that Islamic sufism was influenced by Hinduism,I would beg to disagree.
    Sufism/spiritualism is inherent in all religions, including Islam, I was merely pointing out the similarity as far as spititualism goes.
    .Seeking social and political hegemony is one of many dogmas of Islam as religion, which I completely disagree with ,bringing me to my original point : spiritualism is good religion is not.

    Every religion has it’s own set of dogmas and fairy tale stories,invokes fear as a means to desired morality,stunts mental growth by promoting faith as opposed to free enquiry and therefore has an over all negative influence on the society. Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack: Further to my remark,two of my opposers one sunni and one shia are now my countrymen here ,the most ardent,almost fanatic sunni is a hardened more radical atheist than me(if this is even possible,why I say this,he does not want to be reminded of his old faith,at least I do not begrudge my old faith),other Shia sheds tear every time ,there is attack on shia mosque or some one bombs or shoots passengers of buses.I just watch the transformation in amazement,so where we live,who our friends are and the environment has profound bearing.Some of us capable of rethinking,under right conditions,as I always believed so also in chance encounters with rt people.I’m not against rt ,kind Buddhist and Jain Saints,Dalai Lama is one such person,I would have loved to talk with both the Enlightened One and Mahavira.Jesus of Nazarath an interesting too.No Gandhi as he was one track mind,Non-violence as creed I’m opposed to,the option of self- defence as option is must,knowing how flawed we are as human.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham. elementary

    @BlackJack:
    I was not trying to prove that Islam sees the world in the same way as Hinduism.And why would I want to do that?.Islam originated in Arab,where Hinduism was not even known,so if you are insinuating that Hinduism had any influence on Islamic sufism ,I would beg to disagree.
    Spiritualism is inherent in all religions including Islam,I was merely pointing out the coincidental similarity.
    Seeking social and political hegemony is one of several dogmas which mullahs promote,and with which I completely disagree.
    Every religion has it’s own set of dogmas, invoking fear as a means to achieving desired morality , stunting mental growth by stifling and often distorting spirit of free enquiry,and therefore have a a negative overall influence on the society. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Blackjack,

    O’h no, my belief does not require me to scorn at those who do not agree with me. No sir, on the contrary, I have the greatest respect for the entire humanity since they are the creation of God the creator. I am pretty sure that all ancient cultures and customs which came about by the teachings of the wise and good people.
    I believe in the God of Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad, besides many others (Peace be upon them), and accept without question the holy scriptures.
    Can we fully understand the structure of a human specie, the capcity and the intellect of the human brain, the geist(mind and the soul), the extent its ability in science, medicine and technology? The straight answer would be a simple NO. We have come a long way and have still a longer way to go. Remember we were born as the citizen of two worlds, one before and the other after death. It is all a matter of belief and all the question of individual’s capacity for understanding. Why do you people think therefore that we should be able to fully understand the devine words of Quraan and Bibl(old testament)?

    Communication and the existance of numerous languages, as well as multiple cultures and traditions , most carried over from the time before the enlightenment, are the causual factors of wars and conflicts of our times!
    Have a nice weekend.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • kaalchakra

    elementary

    Brother, to the extent that you have established similarity with Hindus over whatever they may say Islam lacks, that is a good thing. So no point focusing on Islamic dogmas since everyone has dogmas, or fear as the basic element underlying islam since all religions promote fear; and if spiritualism is good then Islam has spiritualism as well.

    Just a small point of correction. Rulership over others and all lands is promised to Muslims by the Most Gracious Allah himself. There is not much Mullahs can or need to do about it. Similarly five prayers a day, in a predefined, uniform manner, are not unnecessary ritual – they are basic to what Islam is. Hopefully, no sufi that you and I even remotely respect will ever annul those publicly. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Hariharmani,

    Your story about the so called Karma, the words of wisdom, ia simply a Motherhood! They are apparently not practiced by children. The scriptures could be very well repeating some of those wise words known to the mankind from the teachers, philosophers and whatever, but scriptures are now mandatory for the believers.
    Let me explain what I mean by decoding of scriptures;

    Though shall not lie or give false testimony, is the sixth God’s commandment to Moses!!

    Like a good soldier I believe in this and follow it. Though I have always wondered as to why God places such an emphasis on humans not telling lies, particularly when it makes them feel good. Here is my thesis now; as a Constructure of a human, the specific instructions provided by God are to assure the smooth function of the Human body.
    In other words, those who do not observe these instructions are going to have a malfunction in their system.
    I have observed several instances, though a clinical study has not yet been made, my conclusion is that the person who breaks this rule is either suffering or going to suffer a very serious desease. Being a skeptic, you want an evidence and I could refer you to the speech of Colin Powel in the UNO on Iraq; he could tell you wheather the decease he is suffering from was diagnosed at the time of the speech or after the speech at a later stage?

    A good thought and a very good weekend.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • BlackJack

    @elementary:
    I apologize if I have been presumptuous – there was no intention to indicate a lack of originality in Sufism. When I mean that Sufism is Islam tempered with Hinduism, it was a reference to the dargah culture in the sub-continent. Naturally the larger Sufi history has no reference point in Indian history, and there are possibly no learnings either. However, you will also notice that Sufism in the sub-continent is rather different from Sufi culture in the Middle East and Africa (much more shrine worship, regard for saints, use of amulets, acknowledgement of magic, some regard for astrology etc and several other aspects that seem closer to Hinduism). Further, the fact that Sufism is considered Shirk by many muslims indicates the growing desire to ‘purify’ the religion and its practice by obliterating many aspects that are more compatible (and form a bridge) with other faiths.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    @BlackJack:
    I do not scorn those who disagree with me. How coud I, a human which has not yet been able to use more than even 10 % of my brain potential. Kant discovered that human is not born as an empty container to collect experience per say, each of us is born with a geist(mind and soul), and is designed individualy to follow a pre-determined path—-, I am not going to spell out the Quraan verse which confirms this or the limitations of human ability which is stated to be resricted. In times we shall know the total picture or the coming generations in the future shall know. For God is the all knowing.Most brilliant scientists of the world are presently trying to undo the mystery about God’s particle, not very far from us and once this is confirmed, we the skeptics shall explore further.

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Rex Minor:
    I appreciate the open mindedness – but your point about unrealized brain potential leading to inability to fully appreciate divine mysteries brings up yet another question; if we do not understand something fully, then our interpretation is just that – a version that can change when we gain the capacity to know and understand more. If we look at Islam, its unique aspect is a lack of change in its view (of the world and of other religions) in the last 1400 years (see Kaalchakra’s post on rulership by Muslims over all lands as guaranteed by the Quran – clearly a medieval approach); contrast this with say Christianity, which has been evolving its paradigm to match development in the social and cultural outlook of the West. Hinduism does not seek to be an exclusive guidebook to one’s way of life – it only describes a set of approaches that can be adopted to realize the truth (no eternal harm done if this is not achieved within this lifetime, and no need to be a Hindu). So the point is, how do you assume that what you believe in is the immutable truth when you don’t yet have the capacity to fully understand it? (I know that one possible answer is that you are not meant to think, but to submit, and Allah will explain the full story when you move to the next world – but this contradicts your approach as well as the provision of intelligence and self-inquiry).Recommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @BlackJack: &Rex Minor.You both are good curious people,one anchored on immutable,unchanging,
    God and scripture(Qurran and ALL Knowing,all Powerful Allah to whom a Believer must fully submit),and you, Black jack free wheeling open ended almost Agnostic in thinking,yet some how a rational,logical reasoned person.As I have often said in my blog before,there never will be common ground between you,unlike Kaalchara,Rex is very well mannered but not less of a Believer,that is where you part company.As I have said several times Islam and Hinduism are opposite in everything,and contradicting,only if you go into the realm of Advitya philosophy,there can be something common,like God being NirGUN and Niraakar,but even that comes with several detailed caveats.You should have mutual respect and agree to disagree,that’s what I have done with both Rex and Kaalckara,their Islamic theology and one track approach has no impact on me,and mine on them neither. I some time try to tell Rex,there is nothing mystery about either Qurran or old Testiment,how much more knowledge you need to understand ‘Eye for an Eye”,stone sinner of adultary to death with medium size stone good for holding in palm of your hand,stand at reasonable distance, aim good at head and throw?same with command to Oh! Believer kill all Jews,and Chiristians(did not mention Hindus small mercy);and do not be friends with them,and many other injunction,please give me a break Rex,pl,don’t take me for an idiot.I have no problem with that,all we have to do is understand,Islam,I know ,it, does not mean well & good for my health and well being,all I have to make sure I have my health insurance valid and premium paid for.If possible avoid Saudi Arabia,Iran and Pakistan.You can debate all you want,how,hard,or mild,with open palm or with stick on the back or front,I do not plan to beat my wife in future neither I fear she is going to run away(in fact she will be doing a big favor,but she got a sucker for husband who will take care of her),nor I have money burning hole in my pocket to wrap her up in thick head to toe thick uncomfortable garment with slits to see .You guys have your ways,I do not plan to reform you ,It will be big help if you will just leave our 2 legs 2 hands in harmony and not separate head from our torso/can you do that?,that is what lot of Pakistani daily fear,not how best to read scipture.I’m sure this rather very strong dose,but sometime it has to be said in all honesty .No malice,still friends?Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Rex Minor,

    For heaven’s sake, are we still clinging on to that nonsense about humans using 10% of their brains?

    As I said some place earlier, all of the brain is fully usable, and used whenever it is required.

    It’s true that only a fraction of the brain is used for active thought process, memorization, voluntary movements etc, the rest of the brain is used for subconscious and involuntary functions like thought incubation, hormonal regulation etc. This idea that the smarter or more enlightened you become, you start using a greater proportion of your brain is just a myth (the brain’s capacity increases by micro-anatomical remodelling).

    Not all of the brain areas may be fully active at the same time. But they become active when the tasks they’re required to perform, are carried out (like the pituitary gland will not secrete hormones until stimulated by the hypothalamus to do so).

    And this isn’t something I just checked out on Wikipedia. I’m a doctor. It’s part of my job to know these things.Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @Rex Minor:
    @kaalchakra:
    A case of putting cart before the horse.
    Your argument is effectively this.
    “I have reached a conclusion:Only those evidences,proofs and logics are permissible,which support my conclusion ,otherwise they are invalid/ imperfect”.
    This is ultimate form of intellectual treachery.
    No court of law can ever deliver justice if it follows this thinking method.
    No knowledge can ever progress.
    Basic scientific methods and elementary logic principles are where you start of with evidence and let it take you to a conclusion,or in case of deductive logical methods you start of with several possibilities eliminate one by one until you reach conclusion,with your thinking method starting of with more than one possibility is out of question,as there is only one possibility which you already know.

    Even if I were to accept your stance that all knowledge and science is contained in Quran,You as a nation will never be the one to find it ,if you continue the way you think.

    Others will keep finding it only for you to shout out later ” O it was already in Quran”.
    You will always be the followers never leaders.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Rex,

    You are grossly misinformed about the way the human brain works. You may need to take some time off from studying religion and philosophy (you’ve used the same argument by Kant twice), and consider a more detailed study of science…especially human physiology.

    The dragon analogy was simply a way to demonstrate the logical fallacy that is argumentum ad ignorantiam, which you used in your earlier comment. Your emotional response to being proven wrong was..interesting.

    There’s an infinite list of things that we can neither confirm nor disprove. Like Bertrand Russell’s famous teapot that, he jokingly claimed, maintains an elliptical orbit around the sun between the Earth and Mars. And that it is small enough to avoid being visualized through our telescopes. Would you believe that this teapot actually exists, just because you cannot technically disprove it? Or would you simply brush off this sensational claim until you’re given some solid evidence in its favour?Recommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @hariharmani: Concept of Karma is imperfect unless you bring dogma of reincarnation to support it.
    Life is full of injustices ,people who have been evil all their lives get away with it,and people who have been honest live miserable lives.
    It’s a good honest useful concept but nonetheless an imperfect one.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Blackjack

    One point: as far as I know, there was no common worshiping and singing at the graves, widespread and constant use of amulets, magic as integral and necessary part of sainthood before the arrival of sufis into India. Do we find significant evidence of these things in India from before the sufis showed up?Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    BlackJack,

    O’h no, Allah is not to explain anything to mankind. Those who are not to think are not gifted with the mind and those who do not have the common sense are not able to make sense out of any acttivity in the nature and those who do not have the intellect are not able to research to seek truth. When a desciple repeatedly asked Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) of God’s commandments on certain social issues, his reply was very curt, Use your ‘brain’ is the commandment of God. In most of my post I follow the same logo, USE YOUR BRAIN: It is a pity that the majority of mankind are just reluctant to make use of their bain but skepticism they showed before the scriptures were sent from the heave and thereafter as well.

    Muslims, jews and christians practice only one religion, that of Ibrahim and Noah……..Adam the father of the entire mankind. They differ based on politics, the jews refused to accept Jesus as the prophet and the christians later raised he status of Jesus to son of God and hence Prophet Mohammad was choosen to undertake the Aufklarung. Islam came to the mankind whereas hard core jews and christians remained to this date. Christianity went through the process of Aufklarung in modern europe, how the Aufklarung of Islam is overdue and hopefully with the spring revolution the process has just begun.

    Hinduism,budhism and some others also continued to live along the lines of their wise communitity leaders in one form or the other and made strides in civilisationthose who did not consider to change are now moving towards atheism and agnostic culture.
    Religion of God which demands obedience and worship is not meant for change. What we have witnessed in the past two thousands years of history is the history of time the followers of these religions lived in. There were several christian crusades against the so called barbarian muslims and there were intrusions of the muslim armies into Europe and Asia and rid its population of ignorance and enriched it with technological advances, architecture, scienc and medicine. The oldest European universities today stand as the witness, and the richness of the meditrenian culture as well as in most parts of Spain, france and eastern Europe are the places which remind us to be thankful to the rich culture the muslims brought with them. This is not to deny that there have been setbacks and regressions in muslim lmajority countries particularly during the period of their occupation by the colonialists and this is not yet at end and the jury is still out.

    In the end the Deeds and deeds alone are the measure of progress and the reflection of
    peoples culture and the religion.

    Have a good day.

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @kaalchakra:
    Worship at shrines, respect for saints/ sages/ seers and bhajans (devotional songs) have long been part of Hindu ethos; there is also a willing suspension of disbelief in Hindu culture – the ingrained idea that anything is possible from a certain point of view (this is more cultural than religious); thus several ‘God men’ have also convinced people over centuries of their supernatural gifts and ability to intercede in one’s favor with God – many came before Islam and some after. I am not claiming that Sufi saints of the sub-continent copied existing Hindu practices, but a certain correlation can be observed. Again, bhakti (devotion) is but one form of realizing God.
    @hariharmani:
    Thank you for your kind words. Agnosticism is inherent in several astika (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya) and nastika (Buddhism, Jainism, Charvaka) philosophies that emerged after the proto-Vedic period, and even Rig vedic hymns such as the Nasadeeya sukta openly question the role and the reasons for Creation (it also says that the Gods came into being after the world was created – which lends credence to the existence of a greater force without such characteristics, which, as you indicated, can be interpreted as Nirguna Parabrahman). The way I see it, mine is just another way of humbly accepting that I do not know everything – but would prefer to accept only after understanding more. Thus the Jnana marga (liberation/ salvation through right knowledge) is likely to traverse through unfamiliar/ uncertain terrain, while the bhakti marga is easier to follow – one of prayer, ritual and devotion (in some ways like our muslim friends). As long as all roads lead to the truth, the path taken is immaterial.Recommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack:
    Dargah culture is actually pollution of the essence of Sufism.Sufism is an abstract concept of love of mankind( yes mankind not muslimkind),peace of heart and mind,and oneness with God. It puts humanity way above any other concepts.
    There is no desire to overpower others,no Hegemonic complex of being the most superior creed, just the message of love and peace for everyone,no exception.

    Objectification (amulets,Magic written papers, Graves etc) or personifcations (Peer,fakir ,Babas,sinyaasis) of these abstract concepts turns it into a dogma which is as harmful as any of the other religious dogmas.

    At the expense of repeating myself here is Bullhay shah’s verse again.

    Demolish masjid,mandir or anything else you need to: But hurt not a human heart , as God lives in hearts.
    here is another one:

    Going to Makkah is not the answer
    Even if hundreds of prayers are offered
    Neither is going to River Ganges
    Even if hundreds of cleansing are done.
    Bullay shah the answer is
    removing the ego from one’s heart.Recommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack:
    Dargah culture is actually pollution of the essence of Sufism.Sufism is an abstract concept of love of mankind( yes mankind not muslimkind),peace of heart and mind. It puts humanity way above any other concepts.
    There is no desire to overpower others,no Hegemonic complex of being the most superior creed, just the message of love and peace for everyone,no exceptions.

    Objectification (amulets,Magic written papers, Graves/mazars etc) or personifcation (Peer,fakir ,Babas,sinyaasis) of these abstract concepts turns it into a dogma which is as harmful as any of the other religious dogmas.

    At the expense of repeating myself here is Bullhay shah’s verse again.

    Demolish masjid,mandir or anything else you need to: But hurt not a human heart , as God lives in hearts.
    here is another one:

    Going to Makkah is not the salvation
    Even if hundreds of prayers are offered
    Neither is going to River Ganges
    Even if hundreds of cleansing are done.
    Bullay shah the salvation is
    removing the ego from one’s heart. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Blackjack, Elemantry, Kaalchakra

    There is nothing myterious about sufism. Sufis follow a certain procedure, a route to come closer to God almghty, and once the devotee has his PhD, he goes into the state of ecstasy a total love for God’s creation. I fully agree this route was always available to God’s men on a personal basis before the appearance of scriptures, and attracted many followers more commonly after their death. Mind you most sufis were not benevolent and docile and as God’s men committed atrocities agains other humans in the name of God, and later after gruesome experiance were later enlightened. I visited the shrine of a Sufi in Budapest by the name of Gul Baba, who was upfront in the Ottomans army and overran the enemy . He later became a poet and was very popular with hungarians.He is supposed to have brought a Rose plant to Europe from his home town in today’s Turkey and was therefore named Gul Baba.
    Those who seek truth are going to experience truth if they are enlightened. Not to forget that Moses was a soldier, a military commander involved in several military campaigns before he was choosen as a Prophet of God. One has to be able to read the hieroglyphic language to read about his early military life.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @Rex Minor: Gul baba and Moses may have fought battles , Islamic sufis in india didn’t., neither did they want to or intend to.
    Their attitudes towards other human beings is non judgmental, you only fight when you Judge other person wrong and yourself right,this is against spirit of Sufism.
    They are non judgmntal.
    Dil darya sumandron doongay: kon dilan diya jaanay hoo (Sultan Bahoo)
    Hearts are deeper than Oceans ,who can fathom what lies at their depths.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @elementary:
    My limited understanding of Sufism on an overall level is closer to Rex’s explanation (based on what I have read of Al-Ghazali’s attempt to provide structure and credibility to it) – while Bulleh Shah clearly fits in with the Sufi’s of the sub-continent, who had a far more humanist approach. It is this approach of self-inquiry (Bulla ki jaana main kaun) and acceptance that I say is very close to Hindu philosophy strains (I am not saying Hinduism to avoid representing it merely as a religion) which also influenced other sub-continental religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc. What Bulleh Shah wrote is not vastly different from what Kabir said, which was later a great influence on Guru Nanak – all of which arose around the time of the bhakti movement; this period saw a shift from a strong philosophical and esoteric concept (driven by the Vedantic revival from Adi Sankara’s time) towards a more accessible, humane and devotional religion that required no special knowledge or caste. Bulleh Shah also came in towards the end of this period, and can be seen as part of the same flow – that all Gods are one, and you need to see yourself as a human being first before dividing yourselves by religion, caste and nationality. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Elemantry,
    Please do not challenge my statement. let me explain further, Sufis are not born as sufis, they turn sufis and become eager to seek nearness to God almighty. I do not want to name Indian sufis who were up front with the invading mughal armies, trying to spread the religion of Islam. Those who were willing to convert were spared and those who resisted were cut down.

    It reminds me of Jesus words, let that one be the first to throw stone,who has not sinned in his life: We are all sinners!

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  • Rex Minor

    Hey fellows, I have no intention to hold regular classes here on this blog. I have no conclusions yet, but please do not challenge my statements on science or humans. I do not mean to be rude but let each of you look at my statements, evaluate them and ignore them if you have a different view. Those of you who have specific professions simply indicates to me that they have to learn a little more.

    Neither science nor medicine is conclusive at a given time. More clinical studies and more research work is needed to unfold the human myster. Science until now has been dealing with the present throughout history, for the first time experiments on the beginning of the world are being undertaken by the most famous scientists. Once it reaches a conclusion, future scientists are going to prioratise future projects what is stated in scriptures. No more wild goose chase.

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  • kaalchakra

    Bulleh Shah as the reigning Sufi saint of India is a complete novelty to me and probably to all Muslims everywhere.

    Is that how Hindus view Sufism? May Allah forgive such people. They clearly can’t tell Sufism – Indian or non-Indian – from a lamp post.

    Bulleh Shah was just a humanist Punjabi poet, gentlemen. Comparing him to Sufi giants who have operated on the Indian subcontinent is like — words fail me…this is just too absurd a thought.Recommend

  • http://birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack:
    Whilst I fully agree with you, spiritualism is inherent in all religions and similarities are inevitable,whether it’s Bullay shah or Das Kabir ,they were all great Humanist and thanks for introducing me to Bhakti movement about which I will make effort to know more.I can’t resist giving you example from non indian Islamic sufis.

    Ibrahim bin adham wrote; I was visited by God’s angel who was making a top ten list of people who loved God. I eagerly asked is my name in them. angel replied ” sadly No”. I asked the angel to include my name in the list of people who loved Allah’s creation the most..
    Next day Angel returned this time he was making the list of people whom God loved the most and my name was top of the list!!.
    of course story is not true ,just underscores the importance of loving God’s creation in ibrahim bin adham’s Philosophy. Recommend

  • Bilal

    Religion is all about to make us better human with strong characters with living a life under some principles for the betterment of humanity. If someone is living such a life without performing specific rituals, it is spirituality. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Blackjack

    You mentioned something very pertinent which reminded me that India has always been regarded as the land of spirtualists and a shangri la for meditation. Is it the Himalaya, its rivers, the countryside or the nature, it is hard for someone to tell if he has not visited the land. It is said that Steve job got his inspiration in India for his gadgets.

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • elementary

    @Rex Minor: If you make a statement on public forum then be prepared to be challenged and or criticized.
    You can tell proffessionals that their knowledge is imperfect,but they cant’t inform you on your ignorance of scientific facts, very interesting way of holding a debate.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    elementary

    In my friend Rex’s favor, it must be said that he is German (the capital G is important to highlight that he just does not live there, but as a Pushtoon, thinks German thoughts). Therefore he is not limited by the silliness of Indian-Pakistani thoughts. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not yet abandoned its Hinduness because Pakistanis have not yet learnt Arabic. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    elemantry
    Sorry, the page was taken off the scene so I could not respond. You challenged my statement about sufis? Then be kind enough and try to read about the early life of Indian Sufis and that should confirm my statement. I am still not prepared to name the Indian Sufis who were no different than Gul Baba, the Turkish ex warrior. Also when a blogger claims to be a doctor associated with neuro anatomy of brain and has a different level of knowledge then that of mine, should I start a debate with him on the so called public forum? You are ofcourse not serious?

    Rex MinorRecommend