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"Living Islam East & West"
(Excerpts Only)

By: Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

There is no good news (bisharah) without a warning (nidharah). After all the universe hangs on opposites. I would like to warn you of what is happening throughout the world. We cannot sit at ease in this time and expect to be able to practice the true path of Islam, both outwardly and inwardly, without being attacked in one way or another. Until recently, there were many citadels of Islam that could not be penetrated. These no longer exist. We have inadvertently become exposed. If we do not recognize it fully, we have not recognized the symptoms of a sick patient, and we are all patients in this world. We have come as sick people in order to wake up, to prepare ourselves to meet our Creator. From where illness comes there also comes the cure.

As we have discovered, the situation we are in is extremely sensitive and precarious. There are more and more institutions devoted to technological know-how. The word shahadah used to be used in relation to martyrdom. Now if you ask an Arab what it means, he will tell you a B.A. or B.Sc. from some western university.

It is not that we should be against science, against causality, but we must put it in its proper place. This is not the purpose of our creation. Science is a tool to help provide basic existential harmony in order that we may get on with the real business, which is knowledge of Allah. There is no other business. All other business is useless, senseless and secondary, and will cause our doom if it does not support the business of obtaining knowledge of Allah. But our so-called technological education has taken over. Our young people have become spoiled and ruined through useless academic pursuits.

We are following the same path taken by Christianity. The Christian Church was robbed of its essential teaching and offered only a set of dogmas and a lot of useless doctrine. The intelligent people refrained from attacking it because they knew that man's nature tends toward dogmatism. Therefore, they circumvented the Church by hiding under the guise of scientific endeavor and logic. Over a period of time the churches crumbled. Now they are being sold as bingo halls. Everywhere in the world, from Spain to South America, there are churches up for sale they do not know what to do with them. Science has prevailed. The Church has now become subservient to science. All of the endeavors that were sponsored by the Church 150 years ago are now under secular control. This so-called Godless scientific endeavor has taken over because there was nothing better. There was no unitary knowledge, no full, integrated message. There was no Qur`an and there was no prophetic practice.

Now there is outer technology and no inner technology, no spiritual doctrine. We in the East are importing and developing the outer technology without having it balanced with the inner technology that supersedes it. We do not realize the importance of making our outer progress subservient to our inner progress. The promise of Allah, however, is that His way will prevail whether we like it or not. But, if we are sensible and intelligent, we had better like it, and we had better learn to become the hand of Allah, His instrument. Otherwise, He will eventually find other people to fulfill His designs. The Light of Allah will prevail as Allah has said in the Qur`an. Eventually, a time will come when the earth will be inherited by those who are close to Allah.

If we truly wish to become the instruments of Allah, we must work to arrest the anomalous situation which I have just described and to do this, we will have to readjust our priorities. Knowledge of the material world is not the first priority. As we have stated previously, materialistic knowledge is magnificence if it is used for Allah's sake for enhancing our knowledge of  Allah. As Imam 'Ali said: "Doing without, the life of abstention, does not mean that one does not own or control anything. Rather it means that one is not owned or controlled by anything." We are not against matter. Matter is the creation of Allah. We are against accumulation of it and attachment to it.

We are no fools. People have been abused and thought not to be intelligent. The mass media which have been the cause of a great deal of our decadence and corruption will also reveal to us the truth. A source of evil may also be a source of goodness. What I want to point out to you and share with you is the danger. In the past we had more discrimination and what was not correct was fairly obvious. We could catch it by easily discerning its characteristics and reject it as unacceptable. That is no longer possible, for what is incorrect has become interwoven with what is correct in so many different formats. We have become accustomed to this arrangement of things and we think we are protected. But we are not. In fact it is harmful to us in every way. Our habits, our manners, our way of life, our economies, our banking system, our monetary system have all become diluted, and in many cases taken over, by the system of materialism which is continually spurred on by greed. Our ability to distinguish has become very weak. The people who have intentionally sold themselves to this system have no respect for anything except their own selfish, inner and lower animalistic desires. If we do not sharpen our inner wits and develop our inner technology, the knowledge of the self, we will be swallowed up by this system.

We must begin to state formally and make common knowledge the true nature of 'modernism' for this expose. It will protect those who can listen and act upon what they have heard. It does not matter if we are accused of being backward or dogmatic. Modernism is not sacrosanct. We are all for progress the progress of man towards his Creator.

O man! surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him. (84:6)

This is progress. In fact we can have that encounter here and now instantly if we are willing to let go and drop everything. Then we can see nothing other than the hand of Allah.

We are for progress, but what they call progress is often regress. We often allow ourselves to be swept away by slogans like democracy. We live in a dangerous time and no clear revitalization of the necessary is plainly evident, except possibly in Iran, where thousands have been hit by the light of Allah and are sustained in a glorious state of abandonment by continually facing death in the way of Allah. A great deal of Islamic sentiment has been kindled by the Iranian revolution in the last seven or eight years. It has become a vogue now because many heads of state are disturbed by it but cannot stop it. If they resist it, it will grow, and if they give lip service to it, it will also grow. This is the way of Allah. It will grow no matter what they do, it is Allah's business. But what are we going to do about it?

We have a great responsibility now, more than at any other time. There are no longer those natural barriers that we could have used in the past. All that is left for us is to develop stronger and stronger inner awareness, coupled with outer practices, so that everyone of us is a citadel, so that every household itself is an enclosed city, waiting for the blessed Prophet, to be their guest. If we fail to be a living reality and manifestation of Islam, then we have closed the door and all we can do is espouse false hope.

Events do not happen in a superstitious way. If we are with Allah, then we understand Allah's way. If we are very far removed, then we see only other than Allah's way. What we have said is true regarding the causality of physical experience, yet the man of Allah sees nothing other than miracles. Everything he sees is a miracle, because he knows that Allah is behind it all, using causality to manifest events. The man of Allah is totally abandoned to the experience of being in Allah's hands with his faculty of intelligence and reason fully awakened. We are people of unity. This is the path of unity, the unification of the outer and the inner, practice and belief, intention and action. We do not separate the intention from the action. We do not separate belief from good action.

The times we are living in are very difficult and very delicate. The enemy is subtle. Our revival and awakening must be in a manner that contemporary man can understand. Dusting off our predecessors is not sufficient. Allah says in the Qur`an:

Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. (2:106)

In other words, Allah will not withdraw a 'sign' without replacing it by one that is better. That means that men of knowledge now are better than the men of knowledge before in that they are appropriate for their age.

If we cannot present the truth in the present day, in the present language which is acceptable to the young, we will have lost them to outer technological qualifications that will only enhance their materialistic situation and further their loss. Everybody will have an isolated house and one or two cars. How incredibly boring. How can Islam live in that fashion? Islam is about gathered-ness. Our style of life reflects the fact that we have become diluted and that our Islam is by inheritance not by action. Muslims by birth are afraid that they will be labeled as backward or religious. This is because their knowledge of Islam has not become connected to the time in which they live. The Muslims has become soft and indiscriminate.

O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends (allies); whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people. (5:51)

This is our situation. If we do not recognize it and act upon what we recognize, we will be swamped. To reiterate the remedy, inner technology must prevail over outer technology and it has to be done by inner technologists who will come to the market place. This is not the day of sitting behind walls in isolation. This is the day for translating the little knowledge we have into action. If we do that, we will succeed.


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The Recovery of Spiritual Values ] Remembrance of Allah ] Living Real Islam ] Remembrance of the Prophet ] Freedom from the Chain of Desires ] [ Good News ] Accountability ] Inner Meaning of The Qur`an ] Keys to the Kingdom ] Praising the Lord of Creation ] The Witnesser and the Witnessed ] The Spiritual Nature of Man ] The Path of Unity ] The Ecology of Unity ] In Pursuit of True Knowledge ] A Living Model ] The Meaning of Life and Death ]