"Living Islam – East & West"
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
"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
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:
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
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.
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.