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Spiritual Meditations (27 Feb 2013 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Say ‘No’ To Religion, and Say ‘Yes’ To Spirituality



Searching For the Secular Sufi

By Aruna Jethwani

Feb 27, 2013

A British author has described Jesus as a Sufi. Jesus was pure; he was love personified. Love is the motif of Sufism. Perhaps that is the reason why the author is calling Jesus a Sufi. In the same way, scholar Sheikh Saleem Ahmed has described Guru Nanak, Buddha and Kabir as Sufis. Their purpose was to unite and not to divide. They came to quench the burning flames of hate and terror, torture and persecution with the waters of the spirit.

Spiritually speaking, the Prophets Jesus, Mohammad, Guru Nanak and Buddha were Messengers of Peace. But religion is a culture of self-identity; instead of uniting it has led to wars between self-proclaimed sects of the same religion or between the followers of different faiths. Regions across the world bear sufficient witness to this.

Religion has been hemmed in by boundaries. Boundaries are the cause of hate and war. Boundaries are the cause of persecution and oppression. Religious dogmas are practised as superiority challenges. How can one religion or faith be inferior or superior to another? In fact, religion is a way of life or is a faith that comes from the pure consciousness of prophets or avatars. They bear the same Light, the same Divinity that is within.

For this very reason, saints like Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa internalised the experience of all religions of the world. They came to the conclusion that Ram and Rahim, Krishna and Christ are the same divine light of the Infinite One. Yet we have imprisoned God; we have drawn boundaries around the Divine, and in the process created bloodshed. I think that is reason enough to say ‘no’ to religion, and say ‘yes’ to spirituality.

Once in London, taking shelter under a tree during rain, an Englishman asked Sadhu Vaswani, “India is supposed to be ‘the ancestral home of the world’s religious consciousness. Will you tell me in three words, what is the essence of religion?” Smiling softly, Sadhu Vaswani said: “The essence of religion in three words! The first word is Love. The second word is Love. The third word is Love.”

Love is the spiritual quality of every religion, be it Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Zoroastrian. Love is not an attribute of God, love is God. It is this love which makes thorns blossom; it is this love which brings peace. It is this love which makes life the wonderful journey that it is.

Spirituality as expressed in love, forgiveness and compassion has no caste, no creed, no sects and no divisions. Spirituality has no boundaries. Those of us, Sindhis and Kashmiris or whoever, who have grown in composite cultures, knows this. During the partition of the country, all that my family brought with them was a wooden cut-out of an angel with the words ‘Abide With Me, Fast Falls The Eventide’ inscribed on it; my mother brought her sacred Sukhmani — The Jewel of Peace, and my grandmother had the picture of her guru, a Muslim Pir of Rohiri. My father, a Sikh, practised Vedanta; my mother’s family worshipped a Muslim Pir, but practised Sikhism.

“Spirituality is synthesis,” said Sadhu Vaswani. In other words it is Oneness. It is oneness of love; it is oneness of infinite divinity. And therefore my heart cries out:

I hope, I pray, for the mandala of love,

For the return

Of our true Sufi Fakirs,

Sai to Shirdi, Lal Ded to Kashmir,

And Buddha to his own,

To make this earth

A peaceful home!

Source: http://timesofindia.speakingtree.in/spiritual-articles/science-of-spirituality/searching-for-the-secular-sufi

URL: http://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/aruna-jethwani/say-‘no’-to-religion,-and-say-‘yes’-to-spirituality/d/10570



  • Dear Siddiqi Sahab, The ‘loopholes’ or imperfections and inherent injustice that one can readily see in God’s creative scheme for humanity that you have pointed out are undeniable. Any perceptive person can see it in day to day life: run of the mill crimes – rape, murder, shooting spree; occasional outburst of riots, genocide, and more grievously though less frequently the tyranny of war (Muslims bearing the brunt in recent times). The latter has literally been taken for granted and collectively described as collateral damage and champions of human rights totally ignore the agony of hundreds of thousands of Muslim children, women and men watching in horror bombs and missiles falling upon their roofs, turning their abode into rubles above their crumpled bodies, flames of hell dancing erupting all around them, smell of phosphorus, chemicals and human flesh suffocating those surviving the destruction. Ironically the prolonged suffering of these people do not feature at all in human rights violation reports – but this is my personal agony, probably not shared by all.
    Reverting to the theme of divine obliviousness, reflect on the holocaust - Hitler’s most barbaric atrocities against the Jews – how they were gathered by the SS, locked and sealed in train bogies like lifeless goods and left without food, water, toilet facility, any contact with the outside world in trauma and anxiety that defy description for days (10-15); this human cargo reaching concentration camps – part dead, part living dead, part insane and few in sound health ... the rest you will know. Where was God? You don’t have to be a historian to know how a girl is kidnapped and installed into the kotha or sucked up in flesh trade this very day, living in agony for the rest of her life. Where is her God? There are so many examples of human sufferings at the hands of fellow men, as part of human culture (slavery, female infanticide, FGM, sati) that any rational person will question the truth of God. No, any person with the most primitive cognitive ability will be skeptical. When the Qur’an asked the pagan Arabs to feed the poor, they said, why they should feed them when God could have fed them if He wished (36:47). So this debate is part of normal argument of all unbelievers and cannot be answered in a convincing manner. The believers will say that you need a comprehensive moral paradigm – an all embracing notion of taqwa/ dharma and ultimate accountability to God to prevent man from committing excesses. The intellectuals will laugh their head off. 
    But what about the wrath of God: killer earthquake, hurricane, tsunami and what have you. The Most kind and the Most Merciful God stands bye. Every woman/ mother goes through the anguish and pains of her biological chore, and in historical perspective a child playing in the village field is carried off by a man-eating tiger. These arguments are very ancient and convincing enough to anyone shaky in believe to apostate.
    Now let me answer your specific questions:
    Ostracizing the chronically sick and the mendicant and lepers.
    Ans: The Qur’an gives civil rights to the physically challenged:
     “There is no blame on the blind, there is no blame on the lame, there is no blame on the sick, nor on yourselves in eating (kulu) at your own homes, or those of* your fathers, or mothers, or brothers, or sisters, or father’s brothers, or father’s sisters, or mother’s brothers, or mother’s sisters, or those whose keys are in your possession, or that of a sincere friend of yours…” (24:61).[The Qur’anic word kulu rendered as eating also connotes availing of the provisions of life (2:168, 2:172). Thus, the use of this generic word allows for extending the scope of the verse (24:61) to cover shelter as well.
    Distributing zakat among non-Muslims
    My Comment: The institutional Zakat is based on the Qur’anic verse 9:60. My jointly authored duly approved and authenticated book differentiates between the two words, fuqara and masakin appearing in the opening of the verse as follows:
    “According to a written clarification of Caliph Umar to the Custodian of the Zakat fund,3 the words fuqara’ and masakin in the opening part of the verse, rendered as ‘the poor and the needy’, represent the poor and needy from Muslims (fuqara’), and non-Muslims (masakin) respectively. Thus the rendering of the verse should ideally read:“Charity is (meant) for the poor (Muslims,) and the poor (of any other religion)…” 
    The creation of eunuchs and hermaphrodites and their omission from the Qur’an as part of humanity having and the inheritance laws.
    My Comment.
    While the Qur’an does not expressly refer to them in its composition of a family as tabled in the inheritance laws (4:7-12, 4:176), it does not exempt anyone of his share in the wealth of the parents (4:33).
    The Qur’an repeatedly asks humanity to use reason (aql) think rationally (faqh), uphold justice (adl), and show kindness to all humanity (4:36) that obviously includes the category you mentioned.
    The Qur’an DOES NOT expect humanity to stop dead in the track of civilization. Despite its expressed mode of punishment by amputation, Caliph Umar introduced imprisonment for minor punishments.
    Conceivably the Qur’an obliquely refers to eunuchs in the verse 24:32 in the expression, ‘oolil irbate’- but I am not sure. ry
    The Qur’an’s expressed role has been to lift the burden and shackle from humanity that was upon it from before (7:157). While its all embracing social, moral and ethical paradigms are beyond debate, its specific omission of the eunuchs in the inheritance law leaves the doctors of law to raise this and incorporate it in their civil code.
    Siddiqi Sahab, I am really grateful to you for your detailed comment. I will very much appreciate if you critique my article re Gay rights under the article. Challenge it please.
    By muhammad yunus - 3/13/2013 7:33:38 AM

  • Dear Yunus Sb
    As per your advice I read some of your articles on this site posted in September and October of the last year.The article on gay rights leaves some questions begging for satisfactory answers. Darwin once said :Nature is very cruel:we on the contrary have been given to believe thatAllah is the most merciful and the most benevolent.After seeing many anomalies and innate disfigurement in the creation of men and animals one finds it very embarrassing to recite such Godglorifying statements. The creation of eunuchs and hermaphrodites
    Is historically responsible for homosexuality.Such people
    were usually ostracised by religious authorities and made fun of their existence.Mostly they were considered as a result of the sins committed by their parents.
    In the whole of my student life I have never come across with any mention of these abnormal creatures neither in the Quran nor in any hadith. This shows that their existence was never acknowledged as any thing in the human society by Allah or his messengers. I am not talking of the abnormal  or perverse  sexual  inclination of men towards men or young boys as it was even found in time of prophet Abraham.It has been mentioned in detail in the bible and repeated in the Quran as an unforgivable act of
    sin. Homosexuality is definitely an act which is treated as  sinful and highly disgusting and abhorrent whether it is done in a club or in a hideout.Psychologist call it a perversion of sexual drive and believe that it can be treated if the subject agrees to be treated. In the case of homosexuals they do not suffer from any genetic defect where as the transgenders are totally a different creature
    created by none but the almighty Allah Rabaul Izard who takes full responsibility when he says  "summa anshnahu  khalaqan akhar" . No other person or agent of any power can create any thing in the universe except God . We can not say that some creatures are born without any rights on this earth. D o eunuch have no rights or share in the property or wealth of their parents? Since societies refuse to put them either in the male or female class they are bound to walk in a no man's world. The can not go to school; they they can not go Madarsas and mosques; the are not given any job by the states or private industry owners. So they exist as the most unwanted creatures on this earth. Therefore they did not worship the  God of any religion so thay created a Deity for themselves to whom they can pray for their happiness.Through Internet one can see that lords of  adult entertainment business have provided jobs to many trasnsgenders which is highly sinful in the eyes of the holy  church. No one provides any alternative source for these most unfortunate creatures. Christianity do care for the lepers but notfor these heathy people.And Muslims even do not care for the lepers.They send their own victims of leprosy to the Christians shelter for the victims of leprosy. When I was in Nigeria  living in a Christian dominated town  in the month of Ramadan there was a problem of giving Fitrah to the poor and the destitute.I suggested that we should collect the money and take to the lepers rehabilitation centre. Then my Pakistani colleagues objected to my proposal.They said they could not give the money to the Christians because their Islam did not allow them to do so.But I told them I would go there
    and hand over my money to cashier of the centre. Only one Pakistani out five  gave his share to me which I carried to the Shelter where I was given a very respectful reception.It was a wonderful experience for me to visit such alsace where every job was done by cured lepers.They had never seen a Muslim in their Shelter who was there to contribute to their welfare.The doctor incharge of the Shelter took me to rooms of the
    sufferers and told each of them to thank very gratefully as Iwas the first Muslim in the history of the shelter to visited it.All of them were very pleased with my brothery gesture.
    I narrated this unique experience of mine just to tell the Muslim world that if we show such compassionate gestures to those who think we damn care for them then we will not ask Americans to come to our help and bring peace for us either in Palestine or In Iraq or in Syria.
    Your article  entitled The twin growing menace" is an eye opener for the Muslims who are worried for the future of the Muslim world.
    Finally I must say that all your efforts will not go waste.
    I pray my Allah to guide and help those who are working for the betterment of humanity in any way and anywhere.

    By Afaq Siddiqi - 3/12/2013 7:38:48 AM

  • Dear Mr Yunus, You are the proverbial one swallow that does not a summer make. Metaphorically speaking about Islam, of course.
    I was amused by your endorsement because I see that all liberal interpretors of Islam at some point insist that it is the perfect religion, but in the comment being referred to, you have implicitly admitted that it can be perfect only depending upon the facets that one chooses to pick and emphasise.  But it is a small matter, I was only teasing you. :)
    By secular logic - 3/12/2013 4:33:58 AM

  • Dear Secular Logic. By endorsing Gholam Hossain Sahab's statement "Whatever one's belief system may be, the task must be to humanize it, liberalize it, make it more inclusive and more rational," what I meant was to seek the best meaning in a given belief system. This is one of the fundamental commandments of the Qur'an. I commands humanity to seek the best meaning in it (39:18, 39:55). Thus, I liberalized my belief system to have the following statement in an article by Mike Ghous on Hyderabad Bomb blast, which you can readily locate on 3rd or 4th page of this web-journal:
    "Muhammad Yunus, an Indian Muslim intellectual, suggests Muslims to offer special prayers for Hindu victims of the senseless bombing of fellow Indians, and adds, "Let this be a clarion call to both Muslims and Hindus of India to shun religious bigotry. They are racially the same lot as any genetic profiling can demonstrate and have paid very heavily in flesh and blood and possessions in riots, exodus, wars, migrations and forced evictions dating from the unholy partition of India. The peddlers of hatred must therefore be resisted by all sensible people to avoid merciless retaliatory killing of a community of innocent people be it in terror attack or communal violence."
    The Qur'an asks us to use reason (aql), to think rationally (faqh) and follow the middle course (wasata). You will better appreciate the statement I endorsed if you read it with a mindset imbued with Qur'anic liberating paradigms. But if you seek a different or opposite meaning in my statement, I am helpless. In one word, your last comment purports to contradict the letter and spirit of the statement I endorsed. Thank you.
    By muhammad yunus - 3/12/2013 1:38:04 AM

  • Dear afaqsiddiqi - 3/9/2013 9:22:41 AM  "On the emulation of Sunnah is nothing but total arabization of the world."
    Kuuje men saagar bhar diya hai aapne. Simply excellent!
    By rational - 3/10/2013 10:07:30 PM

  • Mr Ghulam and Mr Yunus have just admitted that all belief systems ( including Islam, I suppose), are inhuman, illiberal, exclusive, and irrational.
    Best of luck to them with trying to turn them around.
    By secular logic - 3/10/2013 9:28:40 PM

  • Ghulam Muhiyuddin Sahab,

    I fully agree with you that "Whatever one's belief system may be, the task must be to humanize it, liberalize it, make it more inclusive and more rational."

    By muhammad yunus - 3/10/2013 9:30:20 AM

  • Whatever one's belief system may be, the task must be to humanize it, liberalize it, make it more inclusive and more rational.
    Trying to tear down the belief systems of others and force one's belief system on others is the pursuit of hate-crazed morons.Apostates are the new Wahhabis.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/9/2013 1:07:57 PM

  • Dear Rational, The insistence of ulemas and Sufis
    On the emulation of Sunnah is nothing but total arabization of the world. This obviouslyis a cultural assault in the name of  getting closer to Allalh and his messenger. The Arabs say with all force in their lungs that Allah doesnot like any language other than the language of his beloved prophet. So by inference Allah does not like any culture other  than the Arab's.
    You are aware that Muslims of non Arab states have been advised even by their own imams to pray Allah always in Arabic if they want an early response from Him.people do listen to them as they want His immediate support.The mindless  never raise their interrogative hands before their leaders in faith.

    By afaqsiddiqi - 3/9/2013 9:22:41 AM

  • Hamza Saheb. I suppose you know Urdu.
    Ek baar Isaai missionary Afriqui qabail men tablighi kaam kar rahi thee. Jab kafi din ho gaye to headquarter ne report maangi ki afriqui qabail men kitna badlao aa gaya hai. kya unhone aadam khori tark kar di hai. to paadri ne report bheji ki AADAMKHORI TO NAHI CHHODI HAI, BAS CHHURI AUR KAANTE SE KHHANA SHURU KAR DIYA HAI.

    By rational - 3/9/2013 9:09:59 AM

  • Dear hats off  Non Arabs will always be second grade Muslims. Why?
    There is only one or few Ahadith to condemn the racism but plenty in the favor.
    What is Sunna? It is to emulate the prophet in every manner, way of dressing, eating, talking, smiling (laughing is not good), sneezing even urinating and defecating. Prophet was Arab so his way of life was Arabian. Muslims have to emulate him. Sunna is just next to the Quran. How can anyone suggest that Islam can be free from Arabian hues?

    By rational - 3/9/2013 8:30:00 AM

  • Dear Hamza
    If you ask a Muslim Alim why so many prophets for the Jews and only two for Arabs, what do you think what his answer will be?
    Long after the Prophet Ismail Allah sent the prophet Hz Mohammed as mercy to whole mankind(it can be debated). Allah didn't care about what the Arabs were doing in this long period.
    Suddenly He came to his senses and felt very angry. His all sensitivities became acute. He decided to send a prophet( Md Yunus And Naseer, Sadaf  version, he was prophet before his birth Sufi version).
    In Meccan period he got little success but in Medinian period a phenomenal success. Other prophets except Moses, David and Soloman were not so successful in their mission.
    We can safely conclude creation of mankind and Allah's prophetic plan of guidance achieved but a little success.
    Belirevers and non-believers are good and bad with and without religion.
    For weak there is a hereafter and for strong this world is. Do you find a Mullah bearded or not skinny due to agony of plight of the Ummah.

    By rational - 3/9/2013 8:14:38 AM

  • blind faith breeds in the fear of uncertainity and doubt. fables of after life breed in the fear of certain death.
    on that count it is only the lame who need crutches. not the able bodied. for stoics and cynics, neither religion holds fancy nor does god threaten into good behavior.
    a persistence of infantile magical thinking drives the flourishing prayer industry. very unintuitively, votaries of prayer will quote double blind studies in support of its efficacy.
    to a man dying of thirst, water is god. to a man drowning in it water it is not
    By hats off! - 3/9/2013 5:29:28 AM

  • Dear Hamza & Naseer Ahmed Saheban
    Please go through this link also:

    By rational - 3/9/2013 5:11:13 AM

  • Dear Hamza & Naseer Ahmed Saheban
    Please go through this link also:

    By rational - 3/9/2013 5:03:45 AM

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