Books and Documents
Books and Documents

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On the Multiplicity of Conceptions of God – 17
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The human heart is an accommodation, which conceives the idea of God and pictures Him according to man's own mentality. The Buddha of China has Chinese features, and that of Japan has the eyes of Japan; the Buddha of India resembles an Indian. Man cannot conceive of an angel being different from a human being, except that he attaches two wings to the angel in order to make it a little different. If the angel were not pictured as a man, it would not attract a human being; therefore it is natural that in every period people have conceived of the Personality of God as a human personality……


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On God and the Longing of the Soul – 16
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The pursuit of the impossible is inherent in man's nature. What man has he does not care for; what he has not he wishes to obtain. Certain things may have a greater or a lesser value, but man attaches most value to something which he cannot get. And of what he can get, however valuable it may be, the value becomes less. Since that is the nature of man, the wise have called the ideal of his pursuit, which can never be attained, God, by which they meant the Source………..


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 15:  A Balance of Virtues Hold the Key
Ziauddin Sardar

These verses (Al-Baqura 153-177) ask people who have attained to faith to seek aid in patience and prayer when faced with adversity. There are many people in this world who are tested by adversity, just as the Muslims in Medina were. And in our time, the world is only too familiar with refugees who have been driven from their homes, leaving behind their possessions and consequently know danger, hunger and the loss of the fruits of their labour. A large proportion of such refugees today are Muslims....


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: More On The Multiple Views Of The God-Ideal – 15
Hazrat Inayat Khan

If I were asked how many conceptions there are of God, I would say, as many as there are souls; for all, whether wise or foolish have some conception of God. Everyone knows God in some way and has his own picture of Him, either as a man, as the absolute, as goodness, or as something beautiful or illuminating. Everyone has some conception, and even for the one who does not believe in God, the name of God exists…….


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 14: A Middle Community: Part Two
Ziauddin Sardar

Muslims have generally seen the notion of the "middle community" in geographical terms: conventionally, Muslim societies have occupied the global middle belt stretching from Morocco to Indonesia. But that, I think, is incidental. Anyway, Muslims now live all over the planet. Some commentators, like Sayyid Qutb have suggested that the notion of the "middle community" is a device for judging others: "the middle-of-the-road community", he writes, "stands witness against other nations", "it weighs up their values, standards, traditions, concepts and objectives, judging them either true or false" (In the Shade of the Qur'an, p175)……


The Book That Heals and Unites
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

Guests would be invited, and those of you who would be in London on that day and wish to attend the ceremony please let me know. I would be greatly honoured by your presence on that historic occasion. Security check and other procedures would apply and only a limited number of guests can be invited....


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  Points of View about the God-Ideal – 14
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There are two points of view from which one sees the God-ideal. One is the point of view of the imaginative person, and the other the point of view of the God-conscious. […] One person thinks that there is a God, and the other sees God. The believer, who adorns his God with all that imagination can supply, sees God as all beauty, all goodness, and as the most merciful and compassionate God, and recognizes Him as the Almighty, the Supreme Being. He sees in God the true Judge, and he expects one day to receive justice from Him. He knows that in God he will find at last the perfect love on which he can rely entirely….


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: On the God-Ideal – 13
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The great personalities who have descended on earth from time to time to awaken in man that love which is his divine inheritance, have always found an echo in innocent souls rather than in great intellects. Man often confuses wisdom with cleverness, but a man can be clever and not wise, and by cleverness a person may strive and strive, and yet not reach God. It is a stream, the stream of love, which leads towards God......


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 13: A Middle Community: Part One
Ziauddin Sardar

Up to the point of the revelation of this verse, the Muslims faced towards Jerusalem during prayer. When in Mecca, and during the first 16 months of his stay in Medina the Prophet too prayed facing Jerusalem. Now, he is instructed to turn towards the Kaaba, the "inviolable place of worship", the house whose foundations were laid and purified by Abraham together with Ishmael. This change in direction unites the Muslims by providing them with a common focus and gives Islam a unique feature, distinguishing it from other monotheistic faiths.

The "foolish" among the Jews and Christians of Medina mock this change. The prophet has to explain this change in direction, known as Quibla, from Jerusalem to Mecca not just to the Jews and Christians but also to his own community....


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 12: Diversity and Difference: Part Two
Ziauddin Sardar

In this passage (al-Baqura 40-141) we find the clear presumption that Jewish and Christian communities will continue to exist. The Qur'an is pointing to the basis on which Muslims should understand and come to terms with the existence of these other religious communities and not fall into the all too human traps of responding as Jews and Christians in Medina did to the arrival of Muslims and the revelation of Islam….

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On the Stages of Belief – 12
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Now the difficulty with the belief of a reasoning person is this, that if reason leads and belief follows, belief will never have a chance to take root. Reason will always crush it. But if belief leads and reason follows, the belief will be purified and carried very far because reason supports it. Thus reason can either crush belief or support it, and if reason supports belief it becomes a great belief; no one can change it. But if reason crushes it then belief cannot exist. This is why it is the custom among the Arabs to give belief to a child even before it knows how to speak. Then later reason springs up and crushes undesirable elements in the belief and raises it to a higher grade of knowledge.….

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 11: Diversity And Difference: Part One
Ziauddin Sardar

This long section (al-Baqura v40-141) seems to me to be essential to understanding the Qur'anic conception of religion and is vital for coming to terms with the plurality of religion in history and the present day. If Muslims are to play their part in making multi-faith, multicultural societies a lived reality in the fullest and best sense of the term, as this passage and others throughout the Qur'an insist they must, then here is where we begin to wrestle with the very human obstacles that must be overcome....

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Belief – 11
Hazrat Inayat Khan

But when a person is grown-up, then he has preconceived ideas; he has learned something by reason, logic or experience. And if he meets someone who has more knowledge, and he cannot reach him through his own way of looking at things, he says, 'I do not believe it.' This means that although he was born with belief, he has now arrived at a point where he cannot believe, because his belief clashes with that reason which he has made for himself....


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On A Higher Kind of Prayer – 10
Hazrat Inayat Khan

By this prayer he tries to get near to God, to become one with God, and to forget his false personality, in other words to deny his false identity and to establish the identity of God in its place. This prayer is a miracle. It can turn a bubble into a sea; it is this prayer which brings perfection to the imperfect one. It is the work of the teacher, the guide on the spiritual path, to give people a certain prayer to repeat....


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 10: Heading for The Fall
Ziauddin Sardar

From the parable of paradise we move to the story of the fall from grace. Here (30-39) we learn why we have to return to the innocence in which we were created; and a great deal about ourselves as human beings. But this is not the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. To begin with Adam is not the first man - but the first prophet…..


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  Adoring God in Nature – 9
Hazrat Inayat Khan

That prayer is the adoration of the immanence of God in the sublimity of nature. If we read the lives of the prophets and teachers from Krishna to Buddha, Moses to Muhammad, Abraham to Christ, we see how they dwelt in the jungles, and went into the forests, sat beneath trees and there recognized the divine immanence in all around them. It is a prayer, not to a God in heaven, but to a God living both in heaven and on earth. What does praise of God, praise of His creation, praise of His nature, develop in man?....


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 9: The Pursuit of Paradise
Ziauddin Sardar

We encounter the idea of paradise for the first time in these verses (21-29). Now, nothing excites me more than the notion of Jannah ("the garden") "graced with flowing streams": like you, Madeleine, I am excited by the language here. My whole life has been devoted to the pursuit of this garden as suggested by the title of my intellectual autobiography, Desperately Seeking Paradise....


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 8:  Belief and Action
Ziauddin Sardar

The function of any revelation, in my opinion, is not just to make you feel good but also to agitate you and to take you through the full gamut of human emotions. How else can a sacred text, to use your own words Madeleine, persuade "us lazy, stubborn, egocentric creatures into the true, daily practice of what we believe" and think and rethink about our faith? So, the anger expressed in these verses has a purpose. Its purpose is to direct your gaze at the action of certain believers….


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Turning to God in Prayer in Times of Need – 8
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Another kind of prayer is to ask for help in need. This is a delicate thing, and yet it is a great virtue. What a beautiful nature it is that will refrain from asking relief from trouble, from difficulty and suffering, except from the one Friend! This is a virtue and not pride. The door of faith is kept open for that Friend whom we can call upon and ask and obtain ease from. 'There is One to whom I can go in my trouble and distress and despair. Thou art the One, the only One. Thou art He from whom nothing is hidden. If I desire to unburden myself of this trouble, Thou, O Lord, art He to whom I will go.'....


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Thankfulness, Forgiveness and Humility as Cardinal Religious Values – 7
Hazrat Inayat Khan

With all our education and learning, with all our claims to civilization, we are not as good as this. We retain the bitterness in our hearts. We never consider what a poison it is. The very person who would shudder at the idea of having something in his body that is decayed and offensive, something that should not be there but should be cut out or removed, will tolerate that poison of bitterness in his mind. He will not remove it; he will foster it. Had he not lacked the sense of forgiveness, and had he not neglected to cultivate the habit of asking forgiveness, he would have become ready to forgive and forget....

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 7: The Qur'an and Doubt, Part Two
Ziauddin Sardar

All people, not merely the God-conscious (see taqwa), will be resurrected and face God's judgment in the hereafter. As the Qur'an tells us elsewhere, in the hereafter the differences and distinctions about matters of religion will then be made clear to everyone. But God's judgment will concern not only what we believed but what we did, how we lived. All who lived well, who conducted their lives to the best of their ability consistent with consciousness of God's guidance, will be rewarded…..


Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 6: The Qur'an and Doubt
Ziauddin Sardar

Al-Fatiha ended with a request for guidance; al-Baqura begins with a discourse on the nature of guidance. This chapter, The Cow, the longest chapter of the Qur'an, takes its name from the familiar Biblical story of the "golden calf" narrated in verses 67-73. However, the cow itself is not the subject of the chapter. In keeping with the general style of the Qur'an this Surah deals with a number of themes, including the nature of belief, the temptation of evil, the wonders of paradise, and the articles and everyday practice of faith......


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: On the Universal Essence of Prayer – 6
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Humility has several forms, and these are observed according to the customs of different peoples. There exist all kinds of forms of respect, towards parents, teachers or masters; but after examining and studying life keenly, one finds that it is to God alone that all forms of respect are addressed. It is this lesson that the various religions have taught to different peoples according to their needs....


The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: The Coming World Religion – 5
Hazrat Inayat Khan

This is the religion which has been the religion of the past and will be the religion of the future. All religion taught by Christ or any other of the great ones, was intended to awaken in man that sense which is awakened when religion is living. It does not matter then into which building one goes to pray, for every moment of one's life has become religion – not a religion in which one believes, but a religion which one lives.....

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 5: Twists and Turns on the Straight Path
Ziauddin Sardar

It is quite easy for this common understanding to become, in religious terms, the equivalent of just keep on doing what people have always done. Follow in the footsteps of tradition, do what custom authorises, that's what the straight path has always been so why should you argue or question? But I am less and less convinced this can be the appropriate way to understand the straight path......

Get New Age Islam in Your Inbox

Global Terrorism and Islam; M J Akbar provides The Indian PerspectivePLAY 

Shaukat Kashmiri speaks to New Age Islam TV on forced conversions to Islam in PakistanPLAY 

Petrodollar Islam, Salafi Islam, Wahhabi Islam in Pakistani SocietyPLAY 

Dr. Muhammad Hanif Khan Shastri Speaks on Unity of God in Islam and HinduismPLAY