Wednesday, January 31, 2007

99 Divinely Sublime Attributes of God | an introduction to the series

Attaining spirituality without practice is not possible. In all faith and paths it is the practice that enables one to reach the desired station. This new series of post titled '99 Divinely Sublime Attributes of God' as an idea has been put forward and inspired by Sister Seema. Also Brother Hafeez has kindly given permission to use his beautiful graphics (original oil paintings) on the same theme. Together we will be trying to bring the practice on remembrance and reflection of 99 Beautiful Names of Allah, taught and recommended by the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, to enable our inner transformation.

He said, "Verily, Allah has Ninety-Nine Names which if a person safeguards them, he will enter the Blissful Station (Paradise)." (Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn 'Asakir)

The idea of this series of post is simple. There will be one particular name (or attribute) of God with original Arabic, its transliteration, meaning and reference of Quranic verses. It may be posted 1 in per two days approximately.

on the deeper meanings of the 99 attributes | God manifests Himself in infinite ways in His creation. The creation is like a mirror. His attributes are infinite and only God fully knows God. Yet for our limited mental faculty, to realize and reflect back God's qualities, His image inside of us we are given His qualities in finite number to grasp. Prophet Muhammad was inspired and taught 99 names or qualities of God which he passed down to his companions and faithfuls. (in Jewish tradition 72 names of God were revealed as well, and interestingly from numerological point of view both 72 and 99 both represent number 9, which is the highest and symbolic archetypal number).

Remembrance of God itself is a powerful tool to bring back the Divine consciousness inside us. The remembrance of the Divine through His qualities is recommended and practiced as a spiritual exercise to enable inner transformation. It also holds the secret key to blissful state.

"Those who believe, and those whose hearts find bliss in the remembrance of God. for without doubt, in the remembrance of God do hearts find bliss." (The Quran, 13:28)

To facilitate the remembrance, 99 names / qualities / attributes are used as guide. 99 names here are symbolic representation of God's infinite names and qualities. Quran affirms that all the beautiful names / qualities / perfection belongs to God and we are commanded to invoke Him by such names. It says, 'The most beautiful names belong to God, so call on Him thereby" (7:180).

the series | Apart from simply posting on the 99 names, the series is also brought with a noble intention that you may focus on that particular name during that day and following days. This name can be repeated for the whole day, whenever possible as you breath or do you tasks. Focusing can be by recitation or meditation in the day-to-day simple activities.

We are God's instrument and through us He wills to express Himself to the external world in this material plane. Sidi Shaykh Muhammad in 'meanings of the Name of our Lord' says, "You can not reach the secret of this Love if you do not change every quality to be like that of your Beloved".

Ponder here and now on His qualities
that tomorrow you may behold Him.
- Mahmud Shabistari, the Secret Rose Garden.

Read more about the practice from Wahiduddin's inspiring and resourceful site that in depth talks about this particular practice, here.

So, finally the goal of this series of post, God accepting, will be to develop an intimate connection to these Divine Qualities and to allow the Qualities to be reflected openly and freely in in our lives.

a Prayer | O Allah, in no way do we take any credit for this humble effort we have put forth. Truly all inspirations and efforts are through you. All praise is for You Alone. may this benefit all those who participate in Your Remembrance. may Your Perfect Light manifest inside us, into our lives in the form of Your unique attributes. Ameen.

:: The beautiful names
:: Origins and Lists of Beautiful Names
:: Using The Beautiful Names as meditation - Wazifa practice
:: Graphics Design credit Pin It Now!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Murshid by Mansur Johnson | a unique adventure of spiritual discovery

Otis B. Johnson was a young college professor of English in the 1960s when he joined the exodus of hippies to California to meet someone his friend said could taken them where they wanted to go fastest. Where did they want to go? - They wanted to meet the divinity, obtain God-consciousness, get enlightened, find love, experience samadhi, in short- they didn't know for sure.

What happened? - Otis B. Johnson became Mansur Johnson during a three year encounter with the world's first Guru-Roshi-Murshid, Samuel L. Lewis.

God wanted to put his vicegerance on earth, such was the Divine plan. He planned to establish Kingdom of God here, through His own image impressed upon Adam. But not all men can realize inside of them this image of God. Only on rare occasions such blessed persons are found on earth visiting time to time. American Sufi Samuel L. Lewis (October 18, 1896–January 15, 1971) is one of such rare soul that reflected the divine image so beautifully. (read more about Samuel L. Lewis via wikipedia, also via marinsufis site, via ruhaniyat.)

The Book Murshid by Mansur Johnson is a personal memoir of life with American Sufi Samuel L. Lewis. Samuel, who founded the Dances of Universal Peace movement. He was also known under his Sufi name Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti and was addressed by his mureeds and others as Murshid. This is an arabic word that means, "Exalted Teacher." In the popular press he was sometimes known as Sufi Sam.

Murshid in intimate detail shows how Samuel L. Lewis, the first western born Sufi Teacher, Zen master and practitioner of Indian cosmic metaphysics, accomplished his life's purpose. Its a PeaceWorks Publications. Read details about the book here.

The author, Mansur Johnson prays that: "May the message of God reach far and wide!" In order for this to happen, he needs your help to reach a wider audience. Apart from sharing and spreading the news about this book, another thing you can do (if you have time and are motivated to help), is to ask your local library to carry the book. Most libraries are glad to receive recommendations from their patrons.

Click here to order this brilliant book. You can contact with the author through this address: mansurjohnson (at) hotmail (dot) com

Dear Reader: Prepare for a unique adventure of spiritual discovery and transformation ... you have before you a wild, bucking-bronco of a ride. Hold on! - from the forward by Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of The Sufi Book of Life.

Credit: Mansur Johsnon's site
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Does Quran talks about friendship with God? or is it heresy?

In orthodox point of view, religious doctors always try to put the relationship between man and God as just a very distant one. the mainstream islam often come in clash with sufi stream of islam which interestedly emphasize a lot on the inner dimension whereas the orthodox school in most of the cases moves around the periphery of rituals, religious laws etc. the very reason sufi school of thought started as a separate stream and identified as a different name is simply because the actual message of islam was over shadowed by materialism and only outer ritual devoid of inner understanding. so the return to the emphasis on inner dimension (which was part of islam from Prophet's original teachings) needed a new name. hence came the terms sufi and tasawwuf.

Now while in sufistic school the relationship between the creation and Creator is like a friend, which the orthodox school doesn't look at them very happily. infact orthodox school often try to publicize the sufistic thoughts as heresy. this close relationship which sufis talks about to develop with God has been branded as unislamic by religious doctors in many islamic countries in different times and even in these days. in islam, to prove something islamic or unislamic, the Quran has been the central and most powerful testimony.

Does Quran talks about friendship with God? or is it heresy?

on the question, whether creation, specially man can claim friendship with God or should he/she should consider the relationship a very remote one; perhaps the following Quranic verse is one of the best that talks for Sufistic inner dimension and philosophy. it says about the attitude of submission to God and also about the Mighty Prophet Abraham, the father of all monotheistic faith. interestingly the verses starts with betterment in faith, give example of Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, and ends with the very relationship, Friendship with God, which is the central theme of sufi school of thought.

Who is of better faith than he who submits himself to God while doing good and following the creed of Abraham, the true in faith?
For God chose Abraham as a friend.

- The Quran (4:125) Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Returning to home country

Among many inherent human qualities, love for motherland or one's own birth place or even hometown - is a primal and common one shared from the prehistoric cavemen to modern day city dwelers. i am back in my home country Bangladesh now for a month lasting trip and i could feel how dearly i missed this place, the near and dear ones. when one is away from home, the longing is amplified greatly.

When the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad was forced to migrate and leave his beloved city of birth, Mecca, his heart was utterly sad to leave. This was the city where he was born, where he grew up as a marginal orphan, spending youthful days and where in an adjacent mountain cave he received his divine awakening experience. Looking back at the city from distant for the last time, with tearful eyes he said, "O my beloved city Mecca, if your people didn't force me, I would have never leave you". here manifests the very human quality even in a personality like the prophet. his heart was crying for the birthland that he was about to leave.

When the plane touched my country's land at Dhaka International Airport i discovered tears in my eyes. i was praying for my country which has seen very unrest (political and other) time in recent history. once this land was one of the most rich in the world, a fertile delta, growing in abundance many crops including fine rice, spices, tea, jute and many. it attracted visitors, businessmen from ancient men to colonial super powers such as the French, the British East India company, the Portuguese, the Dutch etc. it still remains an agriculture driven country which is over burned with a huge disproportionate population, illiteracy and lack of industry. in the media, Bangladesh is most often associated with natural disaster and floods, since those kind of news attract more focus. but this great nation has a lot of brilliance to share.

once this land was a flourishing aryan, hindu and buddhist civilization. hindus and muslims lived side by side for hundreds of years in harmony. the mystic bauls of bengal composed and sang hymns of unity. this land gave birth to sage poet like Rabindranath Tagore and so many. here was born great saints such as Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Atish Deepankar, Paramhansa Yogananda and more. i was praying while the plane landing that our country again sore to realize its unending possibilities and turn into a country of great minds. from an under-developed country, may this country transform into a modern nation.

while i was reading the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, i came across this beautiful prayer by Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
where knowledge is free;
where the world has not been broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls;
where words come out from the depth of truth;
where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
where the mind is lead forward by Thee
into ever-widening thought and action;

Into that heaven of freedom,
my Father,
let my country awake! Pin It Now!

toward healing what divides us

Monotheistic religions that lay claim to the one and only possible truth are doomed by their very nature to end up in conflict. The only way out is to free ourselves from these ancient divisive creeds and thus extinguish their fires of righteousness.

A little more humility about the human condition and our relation to a higher power would go a long way toward healing what divides us.

Ocean View, Del.

Recently i read this letter in Time Magazine which speaks something very profound and contains bold food for thought. indeed the fire of righteousness, the superiority complex, the proud arrogance on part of the each religious camp, no matter what religion - is itself a very unreligious attitude. most of the people on earth goes on with the religion of their parents (except a few exceptional soul who may seek and find a path close to his or her heart and covert to other religion than their forefather).
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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Master of the Jinn | the E-Book edition is available now

"Foolish boy! by the wisdom of God we are ordained to love, even as the particles of the world are attracted one to the other, like to like.
But know you assuredly that love is not gained by wickedness. It is lost."

- from Master of the Jinn by Irving Karchmar
a sufistic and profoundly spiritual novel unlike anything you read before in English literature.

You can order the original book from the official site here.

E-book | the author Irving Karchmar is offering the Master of the Jinn to anyone who wants it as an E-book. it will be emailed in pdf (portable document format) to your e-mailbox. the same book as in paperback, with all the interior illustrations intact, taken from the originals.

the lovely things is: after you read it, and only if you like the book, you can pay your money. read pricing and other details here. now the book is unbelievably accessible with a price close to nothing. and guess what! if you don't like the book, you are granted the freedom by the author not to pay anything.

:: Read press reviews and readers comments on Master of the Jinn
Among many other praises, Amazon has reviewed the novel as, "A Masterpiece of Modern Islamic Mysticism", "Awe Inspiring Mystical Adventure". Bay Street Press has termed the American publication of the novel as a mystical adventure and eloquent portrayal of the Sufi path of Love.
:: Official site
:: About the author and his Blog
:: MysticSaint's review of the novel
:: Good news for Singaporeans! Master of the Jinn is available @ Wardah Books now. Pin It Now!

Earthly Mirabai | by Kaaren Kitchell

There are many ways
to be in the world.

My way is mad
with love.

A yellow butterfly
meanders past my house.

Wherever you go
I will follow.

:: Published in Poetry in the Windows series.

Posted with kind permission from the author, Kaaren Kitchell.
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Peaceful Warrior and Jihad in Islam

Its sad how the true meaning of a particular concept is so badly put into another context to mean something totally opposite, full of negative connotation and misleading from its original theme.

In present day, because of some literalist (those who interpret religion in dry, literal way denying any intellectual engagement), misleading people by hijacking the peaceful religion of Islam - we are in this position of seeing totally negative and wrong meanings introduced to a number of purely peaceful religious terms. Sadly enough, following the same footstep, the media has also hijacked the word 'Jihad' from islamic terminology.

Just today when i came up the word, Peaceful Warrior, the thought just occured to me that a Jihadist can most suitably called a Peaceful Warrior.

How?!! - you wonder with disbelief perhaps. Be assured, i don't blame you for your disbelief, given the current world reality, relentless propaganda and media stunt.

Well check the true meaning of Jihad. It purely means inner struggle. And ask any realized person 'what is the most tough and difficult war to engage with', and you will get the answer that its against our very illusory self (nafs, ego: our 'i').

I quote from USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts: "Jihad is an Arabic word the root of which is Jahada, which means to strive for a better way of life. The nouns are Juhd, Mujahid, Jihad, and Ijtihad. The other meanings are: endeavor, strain, exertion, effort, diligence, fighting to defend one's life, land, and religion.

Jihad should NOT be confused with Holy War; the latter does not exist in Islam nor will Islam allow its followers to be involved in a Holy War. The latter refers to the Holy War of the Crusaders.

Not only in peace but also in war Islam prohibits terrorism, kidnapping, and hijacking, when carried against civilians. Whoever commits such violations is considered a murderer in Islam, and is to be punished by the Islamic state. during wars, Islam prohibits Muslim soldiers from harming civilians, women, children, elderly, and the religious men like priests and rabies. It also prohibits cutting down trees and destroying civilian constructions."

Since Jihad truly and foremostly means this inner struggle, the effort - so a Jihadist or the person who engage in Jihad is definitely a warrior. Infact a warrior of higher rank. Also there is recorded tradition by Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who mentions internal Jihad or inner struggle as the foremost struggle or al-Jihad-al-Akbar.

Now why the other word, peaceful?

Because the inner struggle itself leads to purification of self. and surely, the person who purifies himself or herself is the abode of peace. Once we are at peace with ourself, we can be peace with others, with world. Unless one have something within, one can not give it back to others. So peace within is a pre-requisite to share it.

Remember the beautiful words of Jesus Christ, blessed be his soul, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

Now inner struggle, the Jihad transforms one to achieve this inner peace. and one of the meaning of Islam is also peace. Thus a Jihadist in its true essence and meaning is the Peaceful Warrior.

I hope soon the terms Jihad and Jihadist regain back its true essence of meaning, coming out of the dark shadow of this obsessed so called terrorist and terrorism terms. And for that its the Muslims who have to work hard to demonstrate in their life this Jihad, this inner struggle and by raising words of awareness about those people who try to hijack the religion and distort its meanings as they wish.

May we all become a Peaceful Warrior and overcome our illusory self or ego before we cry and lament unto Lord on the Day of Judgement by uttering, Ya nafs! Ya nafs! and accuse our illusory ego for our sorrowful state. May that Peace Divine reside in us at the end of our struggle. Amen!

November 2006| Singapore
The post's title, peaceful warrior is inspired from an inspirational movie by the same name Peaceful Warrior.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Meditative Quranic Verse 10 | receive God's baptism

Sibghata Allahi waman ahsanu mina Allahi sibghatan wanahnu lahu AAabidoona

(Receive) the baptism of God, and who is better than God in baptising?
and Him do we worship.

The Quran 2:138

:: Previous posts on this series
+ Meditative Quranic Verse 1: God and Human heart (with an intro to this series)
+ Read other posts Pin It Now!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Swami Atmachaithanya | sayings of inspiration

The way to feel light, free and cheerful is to know
that the burden you speak of is ever upon the shoulders of the Lord.
Be aware of the fact that you are a mere instrument in Divine hands
and it is He who inspires you from within in all your activities.

See to your own needs first,
This will enable you to give service to others.
Service and righteousness will benefit you.

Start your day with love
Spend your day with love
Love everyone you meet
Show love and compassion to all
Love is the sole purpose of your being
And is the key to the inner vision of God.

God is always with us
But we are not always with God
That is why we suffer.

All the senses are bound by desires.
Greed has completely enveloped man and he is wandering like a person who is deaf and blind.
Evil thoughts and circumstances lead him away from his goal.

Reference: Swami Atmachaithanya - Love is the key to the inner vision of God Pin It Now!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Do you dare dreaming God?

Do you dare dreaming God?
by God's grace alone
those who dared,
'friends of God'
they are affectionately known.

in theophany they are
blessed with the vision
of Immortal Bliss.

unlike Moses on Mount Sinai
they didn't faint
but were intoxicated
with the All Encompassing Light.

Light upon Light
the Endless Bliss.

may with the vision of your soul
you have the honor
to witness the vision of
Beloved, the Most High.

Do you dare dreaming God?

your Beloved so dearly
wish that you do.

21 Jan, 2007

(c) Sadiq M. Alam
Commonwealth Drive, Singapore

Dedicated to dear dear Carolyn, whom may i affectionately call a friend of God, inshallah (God Willing). May she be accepted in this world and beyond among the blessed friends of the Most High.

Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. (Psalms 105:4)

O Lord, listen to my cry. Show loving-kindness to me and answer me.
You have said, "Look for My face."
My heart said to You, "O Lord, Your face will I look for." (Psalms 27:7-8)

To Allah belong the East and the West;
whithersoever ye turn there is the Face of Allah.
For Allah is All-Pervading All-Knowing. (Qur'an 2:115)

... where there is one, that one is Me,
where there are many, all are Me. (The Bhagavad-Gita 9:15)

Prophet's reply to the question of how he saw his Lord, "I see a Light".

Reference: Seeking His Face Pin It Now!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Lulando

One fine morning i was surprised to discover that i am tagged by Lulando on '5 things you didn't know about' thing which has been going around in blogsphere for sometime now. before i could think 5 things about me, i read and liked what Lulando wrote about him. so to honor him, i decided to share his 5 secrets in my blog. so here it goes:

5 (very interesting) Things You Didn’t Know About Lulando

1. I was born a Catholic Christian. My parents were not at all religious, so I didn’t see much of the ‘Church’ and developed a very personal relationship to the ‘Son’ of the Catholic Trinity.

2. I am a communist. But I was a communist before I ever knew, there were guys like Karl Marx or Friedrich Engels around. In my childhood and youth I read the Bible and was very interested in the life style of early Christians. They lived in a community, sharing everything as Brothers and Sisters. They had no possession at all apart from their very private things. So communism was nothing new to me…

3. When at the age of 14 I found out, that there was no historic proof of the existence of Jesus I became an atheist immediately. I stuck with that religion for a long while developing my second passion: politics.

4. There’s only one thing I have pursued constantly in my life: meditation. I started at the age of 14 (as a method for relaxing, no “God” in mind then…) and made my way through different flavours on a constantly daily basis.

5. In 1995 I met my revered teacher who happens to be a Sufi. For me Sufism always was a Path above and beyond all religions - as is Zen - and I along with others cannot see that you have to become a Muslim to be a dervish. Or to become a Buddhist to practice Zen. To be a Muslim in my humble opinion is to acknowledge and accept you are but a swivel in an endless river and you’re not running the show so you better get along with it…The Ever Repeating Message is: We are all one!

visit: Lulando Blog here

About my (Sadiq's) 5 five things, well, may be anothing time. 'knowing me is knowing nothingness, knowing the Truth is knowing the Real', as says my profile. and i am quite shy specially when it comes to talking about me. :)
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Monday, January 22, 2007

Temple of Zeus | Zeus worshippers demand access

A tiny group of worshippers plans a rare ceremony Sunday (21st January, 2007) to honor the ancient Greek gods, at Athens' 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greece's Culture Ministry has declared the central Athens site off-limits, but worshippers say they will defy the decision.

"These are our temples and they should be used by followers of our religion," said Doreta Peppa, head of the Athens-based Ellinais, a group campaigning to revive the ancient religion. "Of course we will go ahead with the event ... we will enter the site legally," said Peppa, who calls herself a high priestess of the revived faith. "We will issue a call for peace, who can be opposed to that?"

Peppa said the ceremony will be held in honor of Zeus, king of the ancient gods, but did not give other details. The daily Ethnos newspaper, citing the group's application to the Culture Ministry to use the site, said the 90-minute event would include hymns, dancers, torchbearers, and worshippers in ancient costumes.

Greece's archaic religion is believed to have several hundred official followers, mainly middle-aged and elderly academics, lawyers and other professionals. Ancient rituals are re-enacted every two years at Olympia, in southern Greece, where the flame lighting ceremony is held for the summer and winter Olympic games. But the event is not regarded as a religious ceremony and actresses are used to pose as high priestesses. Peppa's group, dedicated to reviving worship of the 12 ancient gods, was founded last year and won a court battle for official state recognition of the ancient Greek religion.

Those who seek to revive the ancient Greek religion are split into rival organizations which trade insults over the Internet. Peppa's group is at odds with ultra-nationalists who view a revival as a way to protect Greek identity from foreign influences.

On naming the religion: One camp calls it Ancient-Religion, another Hellenic Religion. The worshippers also face another obstacle: Greece's powerful Orthodox Church. About 97 percent of native born Greeks are baptized Orthodox Christian, and the church regards ancient religious practices as pagan. Representatives of the church in the past have not attended flame ceremonies at Olympia because reference is made to Apollo, the ancient god of music and light.

Christianity took hold in Greece in the 4th century after Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion. Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in 394 A.D. The modern revival of the Olympiad maintains a slender link to ancient ceremonies.

"Christianity did not prevail without bloodshed," said Peppa, a novelist and historical writer. "After 16 centuries of negativity toward us, we've gotten something in our favor." Ellinais is demanding government approval for its downtown offices to be registered as a place of worship - a move that could allow the group to perform weddings and other ceremonies. They threaten further court action unless that permission is granted.

"There should be respect for people who want to express their religious feelings in a different way, that is not the typical Orthodox or Christian way," Peppa said. "We should not be stopped or denied our rights."

via: kutv, salt lake city Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

EcstaticXchange with Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore (born 1940) is one of the best sufi poet in contemporary time. His poetry are praised among many as: "Daniel Moore is that rarity among his contemporaries – a surrealist of the sacred", "Daniel Moore’s poetry is the exercise of the divine, an open gate to the wilderness of the eternal", "Daniel Moore’s poem soar long after the ink has dried and the pen lifted". (credit)

The celebrated poet has recently started his poetry blog EcstaticXchange in wordpress. Do visit to dive into his beautiful poetry and inspiring vision that celebrate the divine. In the blog EcstaticXchange, the author expressed his enlightening thoughts on poetry which is worth sharing. Following is selected part from the article: Some thoughts on poetry/essay::

Poetry is the original language of mankind. Or, with a little imagination, it might even be said to be the original language of animals, those emotive creatures, who must choose resemblances and learn to decode the meanings of things in order to survive - or even bees, those most poetic of insects, scanning the flowery countryside for nectar and pollen the way a good student might scan the lines of a great poem, metrically buzzing in heart and head.

I could even go so far as to say poetry is the language of cells, who split and join, search and avoid, the way words fall into place to describe or evoke, emerging from silence. Or the DNA language, that scans, has recognizable meter, a certain grammar or prosody of associations, markers, signs… But that might be going a bit too far, though only Allah knows how far we might go in the mysterious workings of the imagination, that enters dimensions unreachable by reason alone, before we exceed or betray the truth.

Poetry is also the language of feeling, of spiritual states often and most purely beyond the reach of simple reason. In fact, in many cases symbolic or oblique language might be the best to connect with the raw reality of things, of how things are, as well as of states of intuition and realization that can’t be spoken of directly.

... poetry is the probing and expansive imagination living in the sounds and meanings of words, or an act of heightened speech to make the world more transparent, and its more intimate meanings to emerge, even if evanescent, or emotive. To get down to a core, or see more deeply into the flame before flying in. Or better, to see the Names of Allah behind every manifestation, by virtue of verbal corrective lenses, and then to go through the manifest names to He Who manifests them, Allah, the unified single Name Who contains all names. And this gets close to what shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib of Fez, may Allah protect his secret, says in his Diwan,

“Truly created beings are meanings projected in images” (The Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib). And the Prophet himself, peace be upon him, said that “In poetry is wisdom” (Bukhari).

The purpose, for me, of poetry, then, is illumination, a form of dhikr with transformative capabilities. (selection only) read the full article here.

Visit: EcstaticXchange - Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore Poetry

:: Also visit Daniel Moore's official poetry website danielmoorepoetry
:: Poem Simple sainthood - dedicated to Abdal-Hayy Moore
:: Biography of Daniel Moore
image credit: Philadelphia stories Pin It Now!

Wisdom for Today

Originally uploaded by imapix.
The World is three days:
As for yesterday,
it has vanished,
along with all that was in it.

As for tomorrow,
you may never see it.

As for today,
it is yours,
so work in it.

: Hassan al-Basri
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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Podcast | Spiritual Health

Spiritual Health website on regular and irregular basis broadcast special podcasts on spirituality. Dr. Bill Whitehouse is the author of these podcasts.

The latest Podcast (Program 16) is made available and is for all to listen.

The current edition of Podcast includes stories (on spiritual struggle), commentaries, music and analysis (Temple Mount Issue) ... all from a spiritual perspective. Although the podcasts are made taking inspirations from Quranic wisdom and Islamic traditions, they have great depth, message and inspirations for all those who seek the truth, regardless of denomination and faith.

Click here to visit the Podcast page to listen to it.

Spiritual Health
All previous podcast archieve
Previous post on Podcast

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Psalm inspiration

O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

Psalm : 97:10-12 Pin It Now!

Kumbha Mela | the hindu pilgrimage

Kumbh Mela (the Urn Festival) is a Hindu pilgrimage that occurs four times every twelve years and rotates among four locations in India: Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Each twelve-year cycle includes one Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela) at Prayag, which is attended by millions of people, making it one of the largest gatherings anywhere in the world (the other being the Muslim sacred pligrim Hajj).

The major event of this festival is a ritual bath at the banks of the rivers in each town. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbh Mela (especially the Maha Kumbh Mela) is the most sacred of all the Hindu pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men and women (monks, saints and sadhus) attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this.

In Picture: Here are some amazing pictures from Kumbha Mela via BBC and TimeAsia
:: Hindus take dip at holy festival
:: Pilgrims gather for Indian Mela
:: Festival of color, movement and sound

More Resources:
Official Kumbha Mela site
Kumbha Mela via Wikipedia
Millions of Hindus take holy bath
Spiritual cleansing at Ardh Mela
A day at the Ardh Kumbh festival Pin It Now!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Buddha Never Bowed Before a Statue, and Jesus Never Kneeled Before a Cross | talking about simple truths

Far to many people have become “followers” rather than BEING and living the messages they hold dear. True spiritual enlightenment comes from one Source; it is the same source that Jesus, Allah, Buddha, and You are connected to. It is Divine Source, and ALL beings of Light are connected to the same Divine Source energy ...

Jesus was a Jewish man that sought to bring humanity messages from Divine Source. He was murdered for that. He gave compassion because he learned the ultimate truth, and that is that ALL people, from every land are all Divine spiritual beings and have the same abilities that Jesus had.

Buddha was also a man that sought to attain enlightenment from Divine Source. He told people to only take what he had to say into their hearts if it felt true for them. He never said to follow him, or create a statue to bow to in his image. So why are there so many people bowing, rather than just being and living the messages?

Look at the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland that literally KILL each other – all in the name of Jesus Christ. Is THIS what Jesus taught? I would wager to say that the answer is absolutely not!

When people start to create rules, regulations and restrictions all in the name of one person that they believe “must” be worshipped, they have taken all of the teachings and made a huge business out of it.

The Catholic Church has millions of dollars. Why are there so many homeless people? Why are priests given the money for legal counsel when they sexually molested young boys? Why is that money not poured into helping the homeless children in this world?

The teachings of the man Buddha are fantastic. Why are there certain doctrines that seek to encourage people to worship a man, and not each person’s Divine essence, and simply live the teachings of Buddha? Why is there not allowed freedom of expression? Why is everyone bowing before man made plastic statues, when each person can simply be grateful for being an equal part of Divine Source?

You see, it is important for people to feel a sense of belonging, such as in a community where they can gather together and engage in prayer. There is nothing wrong with this at all. It is all of the OTHER rules and regulations that ostracize others if they do not “follow” the “rules” that were made by PEOPLE and not by the one whose teachings they are following to begin with.

The teachings are so simple; they are that hard to follow for so much of humanity. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Give compassion for others, as you would like them to have compassion for you. Share from your heart, and have pure motives and deeds.

Jesus didn’t belong to a church, and Buddha never prayed before a statue in his image. Additionally, the deity’s of Light are ALL a part of the same Divine source. All of the Angels, the Saints, all people are part of the same Divine Source.

Who exactly crated the Vows that so many people take? Did Jesus create them? No. Did Buddha create them? No. So it was man that created them, along with the statues.

ANY Divine Being of Light will come to your aid when you call on them. However, as an enlightened being, I am sure you will attest that if a person lived on Earth, such as our dearly missed Saint (Mother) Teresa, SHE did not ask for statues to be made in her image, and she did not require certain prayers to be said to her. She is as much of a Saint as Paul, or any of the others. What Saint (Mother) Teresa probably would have requested is to take that money and feed the hungry children.

So many religious organizations have great plans to build large structures for worshipping before statues, and yet are they really doing anything to help the little ones in dire need? This is where the “organized” part of religion needs to be re-organized. There must be a budget to help the children that are sick, hungry and homeless, BEFORE the money is spent on more statues, decorations, and items to create a structure of worship.

There is only one place from where you can truly worship and get connected to whomever you wish to pray to, and that place is your heart.

That is ALL you need is your heart, and your mind. You NEVER need to FOLLOW anyone. Just be who you are – exactly as Jesus and Buddha were – they were themselves, and they attained spiritual enlightenment without all of the decorations. They helped so many people. Now, it’s your turn.

Take this message and create a NEW way – humanity for humanity. Uplift others lives rather than try to be or create a follower. Live the messages from your heart – there is no need to bow before anything that the ascended masters never bowed before. That was all created by man AFTER they passed over.

Realize that you are a spark of the same Divine essence as those you worship. Live their messages, and become yet another example of spiritual enlightenment. It only requires your heart – that is where your essence dwells. Use your mind to co-crate, and do so with love, pure motives, and positive actions.

You will then be living the messages. No statues are required.

Article by Barbara Rose, Ph.D. Selection only. Read the full article here. Published with permission from the BorntoInspire team.

Barbara Rose, Ph.D. is the best selling author of nine books including If God Hears Me, I Want an Answer! and Know Yourself. She is an internationally recognized expert in personal transformation, relationships, consciousness and spiritual awakening, and a pioneering force in incorporating Higher Self Communication, the nondenominational study and integration of humanity's God Nature into modern personal growth and spiritual evolution. Learn more from her website:
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no greater magic

rockin roll
Originally uploaded by aNNa Munandar.
there is no greater magic
than faith and love.
transcends both
the reality temporal.

from mystery they arrive
in mystery they remain.
would you be so fool
to look logic from; in vain.

o my friend,
have faith and be a sweet lover.
breath-in the true fragrance,
now that you're love's gardener.

(c) Sadiq M. Alam

Dedicated to one of my most adored persons on this planet earth: Priya

"Won't you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you."
- R. B Sheridan Pin It Now!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Buddha and Nur Muhammad | Light of Prophet

There’s a story of the Buddha after he was enlightened. He was walking down a path and he was completely glowing. He was shining. He was effulgent. He was “munawwara”.

A man came up to him and was so taken by the light, he asked, “Are you a celestial being, or a god”? He answered, “No”. And then he said, “Well, then you must be a magician”. “No”.
“Are you a man”? “No”.
“What are you”?
I am awake. I am pure light.”

It’s this light, this “nouri Muhammad”, that we begin to show through ourselves by adhering to the Five Pillars of Islam, performing dhikrullah (remembrace of God, the Most High), invoking the Name of Allah continuously.

:: from “Dust on the Path of Muhammad” interview with Shems Friedlander in Islamica Magazine

The primordal perfect light that manifested in the heart of Prophet Muhammad, termed as Nur Muhammad is the very same light that manifested in other great teachers of humanity - Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Christ and so many. This light is from the same Source: the Light of Light, God Himself - manifesting with different level of reality in different personalities.

In Islamic cosmology, Prophet's Light or Nur Muhammad was the first thing that God made manifest from His own Light and deposited in the being of the Prophet. God said: "Let there be light!" And there was light (Genesis 1:3). God, speaking through His Prophet, says: ‘I have created the light of Muhammad from the light of My own existence’. May God's mercy, peace and blessings be upon the Prophet.

More on Light of Muhammad:
:: The Light of the Prophet [with concerning ahadith, prophetic sayings, traditions] - compiled by GF Haddad
:: The Light of the Prophet by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi
:: Nur Muhammad : Naqshbandi site on deeper mystical dimension
:: The Muhammadan Reality Pin It Now!

Swastika | spiritual symbology and banning issue

European Union is planning to ban the symbol of Swastika, infamously used by the Nazi. But hindus are opposing the move because despite its being adopted as symbol of Nazism, it is one of the most ancient and sacred symbol in Dharmic religion such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Read details news on the ban and protest from Hindus here via googlenews.

The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, facing to the right. The Hindu version is often decorated with a dot in each quadrant. Archaeological evidence of swastika shaped ornaments goes back to the Neolithic.

In the 20th century, the Swastika was used in the flag of Nazi Germany and has become a controversial symbol as a consequence. In the Western world, it is thus most widely known and used as a symbol of Nazism and this political association has partly eclipsed its historical status.

Reclaim the Swastika is a website that is opposing the ban of Swastika as a symbol. the site is dedicated to "reclaiming the swastika" - to sharing information that reveals its long and varied history and the spiritually deep meaning that underlies it.

Symbology The swastika is an ancient symbol present in numerous and diverse cultures around the world, including the cultures of India, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America. In India, the swastika has thousands of years of history and still retains today its place of pre-eminence among the sub-continent's spiritual symbols.

The swastika has been seen as a symbol for good luck by people in both ancient and modern times. A closer look at the etymology of this Sanskrit word, however, reveals a deeper meaning. When the Sanskrit scholar and spiritual teacher, P.R. Sarkar visited Germany in 1979 he gave the following interpretation of the word:
* su - means "good"
* asti - means "to be, to exist"
* ik - means "what is in existence, and will continue to exist"
* a - denotes feminine gender

So "Swastika" means a 'good existence' that is not to be destroyed and that remains in a good condition. In the context of the cultural origins of the swastika, this means the victory of dharma - the fundamental spiritual nature of humanity. Apart from Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism; Swastika has also been used in Abrahamic religions as well. Wikipedia article give the details about Religious and Mythological use.

Banning issue and opposition Hindus opposing EU swastika ban (via bbcnews) Hindus in Europe have joined forces against a German proposal to ban the display of the swastika across the European Union.

Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum of Britain said the swastika had been a symbol of peace for thousands of years before the Nazis adopted it. He said a ban on the symbol would discriminate against Hindus. Germany, holder of the EU presidency, wants to make Holocaust denial and the display of Nazi symbols a crime.

"The swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace," he said. "This is exactly the opposite of how it was used by Hitler."

He said that while the Nazi implications of the symbol should be condemned, people should respect the Hindu use of the swastika. "Just because Hitler misused the symbol, abused it and used it to propagate a reign of terror and racism and discrimination, it does not mean that its peaceful use should be banned." The group said banning the swastika was equivalent to banning the cross simply because the Ku Klux Klan had used burning crosses.

The swastika is already banned in Germany.

Personal Opinion i personally feel banning the symbol is not a proper gesture when its already an ancient symbol of a particular religious group. Just because someone or some party used it as their symbol doesn't make that negative impression universal. If Neo-Nazi movement or Nazi influence is the prime concern, there are many more ways to tackle that (legally and politically), than just attacking a religiously sacred symbol. i find it an over-reaction specially in this 21st century.

Details about Swastika via Wikipedia
Legend of Swastika
Call for Europewide Swastika ban via bbcnews
Reclaim the Swastika
News of Swastika Ban
Religious Symbolism [audio] - Beyond Belief BBC Radio 4, 26/09/05 Pin It Now!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kabbalah Consciousness | Look in the Mirror

The Zohar says the best years of Jacob's (Yakob or Yakub) life were those spent living in exile in Egypt for 17 years. The name of Egypt in Hebrew is mitzrayim. It also means narrow or problem. The Zohar is teaching us that Jacob was most alive when he was facing his problems and his garbage head on.

Our tendency is to want to get rid of problems, to solve them on the spot. But as Jacob is teaching us, our garbage is also our blessing. Pain and struggle lead us to seek more, to give more, and to reveal more. In fact, this is how most people take their first step onto the spiritual path.

The Zohar is not saying wallow in depression and feel sorry for yourself. That comes when we don't face our problems. But it is teaching us that when we confront our deepest fears and negative beliefs and behaviors, we uncover the spark of Light hiding beneath the harsh exterior of the circumstance. Kabbalists refer to it as revealing the concealed.

The longer we look at ourselves in the mirror, the faster our ugliness becomes beautiful.

It reminds me of a story my mother (and teacher) Karen Berg tells. It is of a man sitting in a field enjoying the sun when suddenly he is bitten on the hand by a lizard. As his hand starts to throb with pain, he walks to a nearby river and sticks his hand in to soak it. While sitting there, he notices a man drowning. He dives in, grabs hold of the man, and pulls him to shore.

"Thank you. You saved my life!" the man exclaims. "You should thank the lizard that bit my hand," the bitten man replied.

Many times chaos/challenges occur, and we should see them as opportunities to express the Light. So when we help others and they thank us, we can think, "Don't thank me. Thank the Light that I was allowed to reveal."

A problem is only a problem because we think it is. It's all how we look at it.

from: Weekly Kabbalah Consciousness Tune Up by Yehuda Berg

Related post: I asked and He gave
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Flames and Angels
Originally uploaded by Sushma Sabnis.
with my inner eye
i saw You first.
with my inner eye
i saw You last.

in ignorance
when i searched You,
You were hidden.

when i searched You,
from the depth of my heart
You became open.

- sheela haider
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

False indoctrinization in Religion

When it comes to organized religion (no matter which religion we are talking about), there are cases of false indoctrinizations. Sincere study into the history of any organized religion will expose a lot of unoriginal doctrinization which were never part of teachings intended by the central figure who shaped the faith. The biggest problem of such indoctrinization is that they pollute the pure message of the Prophet or the Messenger. And in todays world the implication is deep. People turn away from faiths simply by discovering the irrationality, falsehood of such doctrines, although they have nothing to do with the original teachings. Result is: the actual messages are ignored, forgotten and over shadowed by few of such imported false doctrines.

In the previous post i posted about the influence of Mithraism on Christian faith. Now thats not the end of the story when it comes to false indoctrinization of Christianity. There are many independent scholarly attempts to search for the originality of the historical Jesus Christ and at the same time historical roots of many of the myths that are baselessly attached to him borrowing from earlier times.

The God Who Wasn't There is a DVD released which seek to uncover part of such issues. What is interesting in this video is the exposure of the many of the myths, folklore that are added as doctrines of Christianity (the exclusive doctrine such as only begotten son or literal sonship or Divinity) which Jesus himself never taught. They were simply imported.

Here are few of the clips from the movie that are very interesting:
Must watch: Clip 1 - Christs before Christ (click to view)
Clip 2 - Did Jesus begin as a myth? (click to view)
>> more clips here.

Flase indoctrinization in organized religion is a major challenge for our time and future. Because most of such doctrines are motivated by power, politics and exclusivism. An example would be Catholic declaration Dominus Jesus 2000, that insisted that non-Catholic churches "are not churches in the proper sense" and implied that non-Catholics are naturally destined to hellfire. Even without the sacraments of the Catholic Church, all is implicitly a form of wickedness. Such decision penned by religious doctors runs very opposite to the mereciful, love bearing message of Christ. And such doctrines are what can be termed as dangerous indoctrinization.

To a person who is not willing to be blinded by faith, who is not willing to be a fanatic - this is unacceptable. To be blind by faith is not what faiths are all about. Rather, knowing and realizing the truth is what faith is all about.

As Jesus said in his own blessed speech: You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

False indoctrinization only create mental block and make people blind. Thats not the spirit what Jesus Christ was talking about. Rather he was talking about the truth, which does quite the opposite. The truth makes the mind and spirit free, rather than blind. While knowing the truth makes one free, false indoctrinization create fanatics.

About such false indoctrinization, conjectures and import of false teachings in religion it is warned in the most clear of expression in the Final Testament, the Quran - that might offer some insight into the whole problem:

And there are among them ignorants, who know not the Scripture, but only lies, and they do nothing but conjecture. Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, "This is from God," that they may purchase a small gain therewith.

Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby.
The Quran 2:78-79

Related Post: Evolution from Mitraism to Christianity - Comparative Religion
Other Reading: Mithra: The Pagan Christ by Acharya S. (author of Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled)
Biggest coverup - only begotten son?
Jesus - the unauthorised version
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Monday, January 15, 2007

Evolution from Mithraism to Christianity | Comparative Religion

Mithraism was practised from as early as 4000 B.C. The Persians, who were Zoroastrians, infused Mithraism into their own religion in the Babylonian period in the 7th century B.C. The Jews who were in captivity in Babylon were exposed to Mithraism.

Tenets | Amazingly, seven centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ, the belief system of Mithraism, according to the Book of Mithra which influenced the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, was based on the following tenets:

Mithra was the son of Azura - Mazda, the divine God of the Heavens;
He was sent by the Father God to Earth to confirm His contract with man;
Mithra was a saviour of mankind;
He was part of a Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit);
Mithra was born in a stable of a virgin, Anahita, through immaculate conception;
His birthday was celebrated on December 25; At his birth, Mithra the infant child was visited by wise men bearing gifts;
He made a contract between man and God. Mithra is the Persian word for contract;
Mithra had 12 disciples. He was called the Messiah, or Christos, by the Jews while in captivity;
He performed miracles and healed the sick;
He celebrated a last supper with his disciples before his death;
Mithra died to atone for the sins of man; Mithra was resurrected on a Sunday;
He ascended into Heaven to rejoin his father;
Mithra will return to pass judgement on man; the dead will rise and be judged by Mithra on judgement day; He will send sinners to Hell and the faithful to Heaven;
On judgment day there will be a final conflict between Good and Evil. The forces of Evil will be destroyed and the saved will live in paradise forever; Mithra is depicted with a halo or band of light around his head; His followers drank wine and ate bread which represent his blood and flesh; The discs of bread which Mithra worshippers ate to symbolise the flesh of their god, were marked with a cross; Mithra's followers were baptised;
Followers called each other 'brother' and were led by a priest called 'father' whose symbols were a staff, a hooked sword, a ring and a hat; Saturday and Sunday were the two days in the week to rest and celebrate.

Mithra was worshipped in the Roman Empire, largely by the army and the ruling class, including many Emperors. His birthday on December 25 was the most important day of the year. The closeness of Christianity to Mithraism is so stunning that it begs an answer to the question, how could such a replication occur?

Constantine | The key was Constantine who claimed that, in a decisive battle for succession in the Roman Empire, he was told by a voice as he prepared for battle at the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD to put a cross on the shields of his soldiers and he would be victorious. Constantine, who was a follower of Mithra, did as he was told and was successful in this decisive battle which led him to eventually become Emperor of the Roman Empire.

Constantine attributed the voice to the Christian God and became converted to Christianity. In the same year he signed the Edict of Milan extending tolerance to Christians. He freed Christian prisoners and restored properties owned by them. Constantine directed his army to worship on Sundays and declared December 25, the birthday of Mithra, to be the birthday of Jesus Christ.

The conversion of Constantine to Christianity did not result in his denial of Mithraism. He worshipped both, which made it easy for Romans to adopt the beliefs of Mithraism into Christianity. In these and many other ways the Emperor Constantine was responsible in large part for the christianisation of the Roman Empire by absorbing Mithraism which eventually faded as a religion. This does not derogate from the important roles of the Apostles Peter and Paul who waged their own incessant campaigns. Constantine created great monuments which helped Christianity to eventually become the dominant religion: the Church of High Wisdom in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), the first St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. (from The meeting of east and west by Edward Seaga via Jamaica Gleaner News)

Also read:
Christianity or Mithraism
Saul of Tarsus, Mithraic Cults, and Christ's Blood
Mithraism and Christianity from Metareligion
History of Mithraism


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Meditative Quranic Verse 9 | Solitary Journey

Walaqad ji/tumoona furada kama khalaqnakum awwala marratin wataraktum ma khawwalnakum waraa thuhoorikum wama nara maAAakum shufaAAaakumu allatheena zaAAamtum annahum feekum shurakao laqad taqattaAAa baynakum wadalla AAankum ma kuntum tazAAumoona

And Behold! You have come unto Us solitary as We did create you at the first, and left behind yours are all that We bestowed upon you, and We see not with you those your intercessors, of whom you claimed that they possessed a share in you.

Now is the bond between you severed, and your illusions have vanished from you. (The Quran: 6.94)

:: Previous post in this series: unto God all affairs are returned
:: Introduction to this series Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rumi, Shams e Tabriz and whirling

Shams (Shams-e-Tabriz) was the spiritual master to Rumi. In sufi tradition, spiritual master or guide is the successor, the inheritor of the Prophet Muhammad. As the Prophet passed down his spiritual illumination from heart to heart to his companions, so is the role of a sufi shaikh or master.

Shams was a wandering dervish. Rumi first met him in Konya (a city in modern day Turkey) in the winter of 1244, when he was riding past the sugar merchants’ stalls and Shams suddenly reached up and grabbed the reins of his horse. Shams asked Rumi some mind boggling metaphysical questions in the context of islamic theology and mystical illumination.

That particular exchange and meeting of minds led on to a deep bond of love and friendship which developed between the two. They would spend months together in khalwa [spiritual seclusion and meditation, just as Prophet used to do regularly prior to his illumination], suhba [spiritual conversation] and dhikr [remembrance of God]. Shams opened up a part of Rumi’s heart which was ready for a spiritual awakening; he unfolded like a flower at dawn. The jealousy of Rumi’s students led to Shams disappearing once or twice, and then finally he was never found again. Rumi went into mourning.

He was seen turning and turning and turning in the market-place to the sound of the gold-beater’s hammer. To Rumi, this sound was the repetition of the Name of Allah. He adopted a special mourning robe, and a honey-coloured hat, symbolising a tombstone. He also made a hexagonal guitar, explaining that, “The six angles of this guitar explain the mystery of the six corners of the world; its string explains the hierarchy of spirits unto God.”

This was the beginning of the whirling; although the formal sema [the whirling ceremony] as we know it today came through the son of Rumi, Sultan Velid, who formalised the Mevlevi Order.

:: Credit: quoted mostly from a beautiful interview: “Dust on the Path of Muhammad” of Shams Friendlaer in Islamica Magazine. Read the full interview here.

:: Watch some of the whirling dervishes in formal sema: Video1, Video2, Video3, video4, Video5 via youtube and google video. Pin It Now!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

speaking for God

If you miss the surise I made for you today,
never mind.

I'll make you another one tomorrow.

- God Pin It Now!

Event News | @ Singapore

Al-Fathhu Traditional Learning Centre in Singapore is offering the following courses on Spirituality and Islam for 2007.

THE SECRET OF SECRETS | with Sheykh Ibrahim M. Kassim
A series comprehensively explaining the spiritual of our daily devotions. Based on Sheykh Tosun Bayrak’s translation of Sirrul Asrar (‘The Secret of Secrets’) by Sheykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani, this course will cover the inner dimensions of remembrance, purification of self,charity, fasting, pilgrimage and being close to Allah. (starts Jan 15 07)

THE ISLAMIC CREED | with Ustadh Liekat Ali
An extensive explanation of the Islamic creed. Based on ‘The Elementary Teachings of Islam’ by Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddique, this course will cover the principles of the Islamic faith. (starts Jan 12 07)

THE BEGINNING OF GUIDANCE | with Ustadh Ismaeil Al-Khatib
An extensive explanation of the significance and meaning of the great classic of Islamic literature, Bidayatul Hidayah (‘The Beginning of Guidance’) by Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali. This course will examine how one should order his life in each hour to attain Allah’s pleasure as a loyal servant. (starts Jan 21 07)

For more information please e mail: | web:

Al-Markaz, the Arabic Language Center is running few Arabic courses starting from January.

:: Introduction to Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and Quran Arabic are some of the notable langauge courses. more here

:: Quran Science courses include Quranic recitation, Tajweed etc. details

For details about the Arabic language courses, pls contact Al-Markaz; The Arabic Language Centre. email: | web: Pin It Now!

Meister Eckhart quotes | on God

“God is at home; it is we who have gone for a walk.”

“No-one knows what the soul is.. But what we do know is, the soul is where God works compassion.”

“You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.”

“Every creature is a word of God”

“Whoever possesses God in their being, has Him in a divine manner, and He shines out to them in all things; for them all things taste of God and in all things it is God's image that they see.”

“To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.”

“God is in all things, but so far as God is Divine and so far as He is rational, God is nowhere so properly as in the soul - in the innermost of the soul”

“If God gave the soul His whole creation she would not be filled thereby but only with Himself.”

:: Johannes Eckhart O.P. (1260–1328), also known as Eckhart von Hochheim and widely referred to as Meister Eckhart, a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Erfurt, in Thuringia.
:: Quote credit Pin It Now!

Focus on Islam in media | from BBC network

Extremely secular western society with its increasingly devoid spiritual life style is attracting people from diverse background to a faith which is perhaps one of the most misunderstood as well. Yet, strange but true that Islam is offering 'spiritual home' to many in the west.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has covered Islam not only in British context but also on European and global spectram. Here are few of their sites and resources dedicated to Islam, Muslims, interviews with westerners who converted to Islam and much more.

Islam and the West | Explore the issues, hear views of world leaders and experts and see how they have answered your questions. Overview: Bridging the Divide

American women and Islam | Since the destruction of the twin towers there's been a keen interest in America in the study of Islam, copies of the Koran are said to be flying out of book shops and significant numbers of Americans, particularly women, are said to be converting to the faith.

Sam Hardie met a group of converts in San Francisco to find out more. [listen to audio]

Women in The Nation of Islam | The Nation of Islam, an import from the USA, is an organisation that preaches self-reliance for black people within an Islamic framework. [listen to audio]

Women converting to Islam | There is evidence that Islam is drawing converts in the West and followers are becoming more protective of their faith since the London bombings in July. Jenni is joined by Zia Sardar, writer and broadcaster, Batool al Toma, a convert who runs the New Muslims Project in Leicester, and Rebecca Masterton, who converted in 1999. [listen to audio]

A day at the Mosque | What does it mean to be Muslim - and what happens at mosques?

Islamophobia 'explosion' in UK | History of Islamic Spain | Islam Resource page

Muslims in Europe | Islam's Furthest Frontier | more search in bbc on islam

:: Related post: Faith in Media | from Newsweek and Time Pin It Now!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Open source approach to Religion

Last night came across this article about the concept of Open Source approach to Religion. never before i heard the terms open source and religion coming so close. being someone interested in integral spirituality and comparative religion, no doubt i liked the idea. yes we need an open source approach to religion. and its coming ...

let me share the article, Two Attempts at Opening Up Religion Online by Eric Krangel @ via digg, as well as some other resources on the theme.

For many Jews, raised with a strong sense of cultural identity but lacking a formal religious education, accessing the lessons and wisdom of their heritage can seem daunting. The essential texts of Judaism, the Torah, the Midrash, the Talmud, conform to stylistic conventions thousands of years old that make the texts frustrating, if not impossible, to decipher for the casual reader.

But the Internet has enabled people to offer their own commentary on religious texts, building a new collective wisdom - an open source approach to religion.

For the past seven months, editor David Plotz has been leading the “idiosyncratic” Blogging the Bible project. “This is a book which shaped my life, the religion I believe in, but I’ve never read it for myself,” Plotz told NewAssignment.Net. Calling himself a “not very observant Jew,” Plotz started with chapters of Genesis, reading the text for the first time as an adult. He then summarizes the passage online, adds his own personal thoughts and observations, and invites his readers to respond.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Plotz said. “Every time I put something up, I get this flood of e-mails about it.” While Plotz braced himself for hate mail, he estimates that more than 90 percent of the feedback is positive, from people eager to engage in an earnest discussion of biblical interpretation. Not only has Blogging the Bible become one of Slate’s more popular features, it’s bringing in traffic from outside the usual Slate readership. Blogs serving evangelical Christians, conservatives, and orthodox Jews all link to Plotz.

A more ambitious, interactive, truly open-source interpretation of Judaism’s texts was the dream of Douglas Rushkoff, the creator behind the now-shuttered Open Source Judaism project. The idea was to open up the religion to disaffected Jews and use new media technologies to reinterpret the faith in a way accessible and relevant in the 21st century. “The entrance into Judaism is not a demonstration of faith,” Rushkoff said. “It’s the bar mitzvah. It’s that you can read the Torah and have a discussion about it with other adults.”

Rushkoff quickly attracted sponsors from among Jewish philanthropies who hoped he could help revitalize Jewish religious practice. Almost as quickly, under the weight of Rushkoff’s contentious personality, the self-described “iconoclast” attracted a lot of controversy. “Judaism was invented not to become a religion, but to have a corrosive effect on religion,” Rushkoff said. His book, originally to be titled Open Source Judaism, hit print with the far more provocative title Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism.

While Plotz wished he could figure out how to make Blogging the Bible more interactive, he anticipated the trap Rushkoff’s open-source religion idea fell into. “The problem with a successful wiki is the problem Wikipedia has,” Plotz said. “The popular entries are so contentious.”

Given the experiences of both Plotz and Rushkoff, it’s apparent there’s both a tremendous demand for and pool of willing contributors to a new open-source Judaism project. But unlike debugging an errant Firefox module, in religion there are no correct answers, only points of view. For Jews online, how to balance the promises with the pitfalls of open-source religion remains very much an open question.

my 2 cents | in a global village like ours, we truly need a better understanding of faith and religions. not only the faith we inherit from our parents, but also that which belong to humanity in general.

easiness of information sharing is bringing us a broad opportunity of sharing faith and religious issues. this will enable all of humanity to derive benefit of the collective wisdom that all religions bring to us. Did christ ever said, he is only for those who call them christians? did buddha claimed to be for the buddhist monks? no, they all are healers and teacher of huamanity. no faithful can honestly claim his faith is best while he or she is total ignorant of other faiths that many in the planet shares.

the approach of open source religion may have its short-comings (tell me which doesn't have on earth?), but it surely will help us share the essential wisdoms in a more integral way.

Blogging the Bible
Open source Judaism Porject
The Complete Blogging the Bible (so far) By David Plotz Pin It Now!