New Age Islam
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Islam and Spiritualism ( 11 Oct 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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New Age: A Bridge to Islam?


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Name of Questioner:        Marie

Reply date:   2011/11/10

Question:       I have read about Islam for about a year now, and I have a question about metaphysics. I was always interested in New Age subjects, spirits, ghosts, tarot, etc... I am carefully considering to convert to Islam. God is very important to me, and I love Him with all my heart. Since I was a child to the present, I have seen spirits, I have been proven to be psychic, and I know that angels have come to me in my dreams. My question to you is, can you be into New Age AND a Muslim? Does it contradict the Quran or Hadiths? Through these means of divination and visions, I feel as if God is ever present. I feel such a closeness, but I am unsure what it means. Islam makes the most sense to me, but I need guidance. Thank you so much.

Consultant:   Jasser Auda


Salam, Marie.

Thank you for a highly important question

First, let me start by saying that I personally know a number of people who converted to Islam after going through a 'phase' of New Age. New Age, as some of them mentioned to me, was 'the bridge' they had to take to 'cross from Christianity to Islam.'

 know, as a matter of fact, that many of these individuals are still quite involved in New Age practices, beliefs, and research, especially matters related to energy, healing, auras, fasting, dreams, and so on.

So, a short answer to your question is: Yes, you could be 'into New Age AND a Muslim', as you put it. However, 'New Age' is a general term that includes so many things, as you are aware. Thus, you should be careful not to compromise your Islamic beliefs or principles along your journey with New Age research and experiences.

Please allow me to elaborate. First, I will talk about the overlap between certain common New Age topics and the Islamic scripts and principles. Then, I will briefly outline some areas of non-reconcilable differences that a Muslim should be aware of.

Where New Age and Islam Meet

Contrary to common beliefs, there is so much in common between Islam, as far as the Islamic scripts are concerned, and New Age popular concepts. I personally consider this to be an area of research that I wish that God allows me to pursue and write about extensively.

For the sake of the limited space here, the following are quick references to a selection of ten of these New Age popular concepts/topics, bearing in mind that the term 'New Age' could mean different things to different people:

Human life has a purpose: This is a New Age concept that is identical to an Islamic concept. In Islam, however, the purpose of human life is defined; to worship God. We read in the Qur'an what means:

 *{And [tell them that] I have not created the invisible beings [Jinn] and humans to any end or purpose other than that they may worship Me.}* (Adh-Dhariyat 51: 56)

But 'worship' in Islam is a concept that is much wider than mere praying. It includes morality, justice, charity, knowledge, good social dealings, and every other virtue or good deed, in addition to prayers.

Healing and holistic health: There are amazing common interests in this area between Islam and New Age. To give one example, the different forms of 'ruqyah'(reciting certain verses of the Qur'an and certain supplications over the sick person) that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his Companions are forms of 'Therapeutic Touch' or 'TT,' in New Age terms.

In Islam, too, the 'energy' of the healer defines the effectiveness of the healing. That is why when Aishah, the Prophet's wife, tried to heal him with a 'ruqyah' that he taught her, she used the Prophet's own hand because she thought that it would have a better healing touch. To cite only one of the well-known narrations, Aishah reports:

"Whenever one of us used to complain to the Prophet (peace be upon him) from pain in some place, he used to rub that place with his right hand and say: 'Heal this illness! O Lord of the people, and give cure. Yours is the only cure. Give a cure that is definitive and final!' And when the Prophet himself got very sick in his final days, I took his hand and tried to copy what he used to do." (Muslim)

Stones and energy: It is not 'un-Islamic' to believe that certain stones have a special status or a useful effect. However, it is important for a sound Islamic faith to know that it is ONLY God who has the ability to benefit people, and NOT the stone; otherwise, we allow ourselves to be in some sort of 'stone-worshipping' ritual.

The Black Stone in the Kabah in Makkah is one example, about which the Prophet says: 'The black stone descended from paradise. It was brighter than snow, but the sins of the children of Adam changed its color.' (At-Tirmidhi) So, in this hadith, the Black Stone even feels and gets affected by what people do.

Ibn Abbas also narrates about the same stone: Umar said that he saw the Prophet kissing the Black Stone and then putting his forehead on it during his prayer. (Ibn Khuzaymah).

New Age gives special attention and research to stone collections such as the Pyramids or Stonehenge. This is coherent with the Islamic spirit of seeking knowledge and looking for answers.

In fact, the Companions of the Prophet who migrated to Egypt after his death, lead the earliest known scientific research on the Pyramids and their secrets.

Water and energy: Water plays a very important role in Islam.

        Every living thing was 'made out of water.'

*{Are, then, they who are bent on denying the truth not aware that the heavens and the earth were [once] one single entity, which We then parted asunder? – and [that] We made out of water every living thing?}* (Al-Anbiya' 21:30)

        Pure water is a source of life.

*{And He it is who sends forth the winds as a glad tiding of His coming grace; and [thus, too,] We cause pure water to descend from the skies, so that We may bring dead land to life thereby, and give to drink thereof to many [beings] of Our creation, beasts as well as humans.}* (Al-Furqan 25:48-49)

In addition, the whole obligation of ablution before praying is not only for cleansing but it is also for a spiritual preparation for the prayers.

Similar to some New Age beliefs, water could have a 'healing power', such the water from the well of Zamzam in Makkah, which the Prophet said about: "The Angel Gabriel once descended through the ceiling of my house when I was in Makkah and washed the inside of my chest with Zamzam water and then poured faith and wisdom in it …" (Al-Bukhari)

And he also said, according to Jabir: "Zamzam water has whatever effect you intend for it to have when you drink it!" (Ibn Majah).

Auras: The concept of visualization of auras is not alien to Islam. The following are but a few examples:

Aishah narrates how she experienced a visualization of the white color of the Prophet's aura, which is a 'basic' visualization of auras, in New Age terms. However, the Prophet's aura was strong enough to literally lighten up a dark room.

Aishah narrates I borrowed a needle from Hafsah the daughter of Rawahah to sew the Messenger's robe. One night, the needle fell on the ground and I could not find it. As I was searching for it, the Messenger of Allah entered the room and the rays of light emerging from his face showed me where the needle was. I laughed and when he asked me about the reason I was laughing, I told him the story. (Al-Hindi, Kanz Al-Ummal, vol.12, p.193)

The aura of Jesus (peace be upon him) was also obvious to his disciples. According to Muslim sources on the story of Jesus, 'Mary, the disciple,' gave up her wealth and followed Jesus after 'she saw the aura around his face' and witnessed his healing powers. (Ibn Hibatullah, Tarikh Dimashq, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1995, vol. 68, p.57)

The intensity of auras increases with spirituality and prayers. For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned how God praised those believers who are sincere in their prayers and how God said that the 'light of theirfaces is brighter than the light of the sun.' (As-Suyuti, Al-Jami Al-Kabeer, vol.5, p.326)

Spirits and extra-terrestrial beings: The concept of invisible 'living beings' who live outside the domain of earth and who have a nature that is different from humans is mentioned in numerous places in the Islamic scripts.

The Arabic term that is used is 'jinn', which I admire Mohammad Asad for its translation as 'invisible beings.' Refer to Chapter 72 of the Qur'an, which is titled 'Al-Jinn' and dedicated to this topic.

As Muslims, however we should also be aware not to attribute any characteristic of divinity to these beings. God says what means:

*{And yet, some [people] have come to attribute to all manner of invisible beings a place side by side with God - although it is He who has created them [all]; and in their ignorance they have invented for Him sons and daughters! Limitless is He is His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything that men may devise by way of definition.}* (Al-Anam 6:100)

We should also be aware that jinn could whisper evil to human beings.

*{And thus it is that against every prophet We have set up as enemies the evil forces from among humans as well as from among invisible beings that whisper unto one another glittering half-truths meant to delude the mind. But they could not do this unless thy Sustainer had so willed: stand, therefore, aloof from them and from all their false imagery.}* (Al-Anam 6:112)

Spiritual connection of all humans: This is another popular New Age concept. In Islam, however, this connection between all human beings is not an un-explained mystery. It is 'through God,' since it is God who 'breathed His spirit' into all humans.

*{Who makes most excellent everything that He creates. Thus, He begins the creation of man out of clay; then He causes him to be begotten out of the essence of a humble fluid; and then He forms him in accordance with what he is meant to be, and breathes into him of His spirit: and [thus, O men,] He endows you with hearing, and sight, and feelings as well as minds: [yet] how seldom are you grateful.}* (As-Sajdah 32:7-9)

Fasting: This is a New Age practice that was obviously inspired by religious fasting, including Muslim fasting.

Synchronicity: It is the 'special meaning of coincidences.' I have noticed that the Prophet has found coincidences, especially with names, meaningful. For example,

The Prophet used to feel good if he, by accident, hears somebody calling a name such as 'O Rashid' (which literally means the guided one) or 'O Nujaih' (which literally means the successful one).

The names of two tribes Ghifar and Aslam were mentioned to the Prophet. (The names, literally, mean 'forgiveness' and 'more safety', respectively). So, the Prophet then said: 'May God forgive Ghifar and give safety to Aslam.'

On the other hand, the Prophet taught his Companions that he only considers the good side of coincident and not 'bad omens.' He declared: "there is no such thing as bad omens."

Interpretation of dreams: The significance of the dreams in the Qur'anic Chapter on Yusuf (Joseph) and Prophet Yusuf's interpretation for them is a fact.

It is related that the Prophet said: "There are three types of dreams: good news from God Almighty, the dream from Satan, and a dream through which a man talks to himself." (Al-Bukhari)

To illustrate the significance of dreams and their interpretations in Islam, the following are some examples of dreams that the Prophet saw and/or interpreted.

        One of the Companions, Ibn Umar, once said: I heard God's Apostle saying: "While I was asleep I was given a bowl full of milk (in a dream), and I drank of it to my fill until I noticed its wetness coming out of my nails, and then I gave the rest of it to Umar." They (the people) asked: "What have you interpreted (about the dream)? O God's Apostle?" He said: "It is knowledge." (Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet once said: "While I was asleep some people were displayed before me (in a dream). They were wearing shirts, some of which were merely covering their breasts, and some a bit longer. Then there passed before me Umar Ibn Al-Khattab wearing a shirt (so long that) he was dragging it (on the ground behind him.)" They (the people) asked: "What have you interpreted (about the dream) O God's Apostle?" He said: "Religion."(Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet once said to Aishah: "You were shown to me twice in (my) dream. Behold, a man was carrying you in a silken piece of cloth and said to me: She is your wife, so uncover her," and behold, it was you. I would then say (to myself): "If this is from God, then it must happen." (Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet said: "(I saw in a dream that) while I was standing at a well and drawing water there from, suddenly Abu Bakr and Umar came to me. Abu Bakr took the bucket and drew one or two buckets (full of water), but there was weakness in his pulling, but God forgave him. Then Ibn Al-Khattab took the bucket from Abu Bakr's hand and the bucket turned into a very large one in his hand. I have never seen any strong man among the people doing such a hard job as Umar did. He pulled out so much water that the people (drank to their satisfaction) and watered their camels to their fill, (and then after quenching their thirst) they sat beside the water." (Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet Muhammad very often used to ask his Companions: "Did anyone of you see a dream?" So dreams would be narrated to him. (Al-Bukhari)

        The Prophet said: "I saw in a dream that I was migrating from Makkah to a land where there were date palm trees. I thought that it might be the land of Al-Yamama or Hajar, but behold, it turned out to be Yathrib (i.e., Madinah). And I saw cows (being slaughtered) there, but the reward given by God is better (than worldly benefits). Behold, those cows proved to symbolize the believers (who were killed) on the day (of the battle) of Uhud, and the good (which I saw in the dream) was the good and the reward and the truth which God bestowed upon us after the battle of Badr, and that was the victory bestowed by God in the battle of Khaibar and the conquest of Makkah." (Al-Bukhari)

        A man came to the Prophet and said: "I saw in a dream, a cloud having shade. Butter and honey were dropping from it and I saw the people gathering it in their hands, some gathering much and some a little. And behold, there was a rope extending from the earth to the sky, and I saw that you (the Prophet) held it and went up, and then another man held it and went up and (after that) another (third) held it and went up, and then after another (fourth) man held it, but it broke and then got connected again." Abu Bakr said: "O God's Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! Allow me to interpret this dream." The Prophet said to him: "Interpret it." Abu Bakr said: "The cloud with shade symbolizes Islam, and the butter and honey dropping from it, symbolizes the Qur'an, its sweetness dropping and some people learning much of the Qur'an and some a little. The rope which is extended from the sky to the earth is the Truth which you (the Prophet) are following. You follow it and God will raise you high with it, and then another man will follow it and will rise up with it and another person will follow it and then another man will follow it but it will break and then it will be connected for him and he will rise up with it. O God's Apostle! Let my father be sacrificed for you! Am I right or wrong?" The Prophet replied:"You are right in some of it and wrong in some." Abu Bakr said: "O God's Prophet! By God, you must tell me in what I was wrong." The Prophet said, "Do not swear." (Al-Bukhari)

Points of Disagreement

Finally, and briefly, the following are areas of principle differences between Islam and some popular New Age ideas, which cannot be reconciled:

1. The irrelevance of religious identity or relativism of the truth about God.

2. The 'femininity of the divine', because in Islam, God is neither male or female and his Divine attributes are nothing like our limited human attributes.

3. Reincarnation, because in Islam, each soul will die, only to be resurrected in the afterlife to face an accounting of its deeds in this life.

4. Mediums or Channeling: Although it is 'possible', it is prohibited.

5. Predicting the future. There is truth in one's 'natural orientations' perhaps due to the place and time of his/her birth, and the environment, etc.

However, to build a roadmap for one's future based on these orientations is forbidden and unfounded.

*{Verily, with God alone rests the knowledge of when the Last Hour will come: and He [it is who] sends down rain; and He [alone] knows what is in the wombs: whereas no one knows what he will reap tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die, Verily. God [alone] is all-knowing, all-aware.}* (Luqman 31:34)

I hope that in the space available I was able to shed some light on this very important topic. Thank you again for your question, sister. God bless.

Please keep in touch.

Useful Links:

What Is Islam?

The Purpose of Life

How Islam Sees Visualization

The Black Stone… an Idol?

The Spiritual Aspects of Islam

Spiritually Satisfied, What Else Matters?

The Valuable Fruit of Fasting

First Aid and Healing in Islam