Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri
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The Recovery of Spiritual Values

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"Living Islam East & West"
(Excerpts Only)

By: Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

Everybody is at a loss except those who understand the nature of man's capacity to fall into loss and thus act correctly. Correct action means for the sake of Allah, anything else is not correct action. Our mission is only to know the reality of Allah. If we aim for that, we will achieve everything else. If we merely try and explain aspects of Islam, we will always be at a loss. If we aim for Allah, we will understand everything, but if we only go for bits and pieces, we will always have divided opinions. In every so-called Muslim country there are factions and people at odds with one another because they are Muslims by name, but not Muslims by heart and action, and this is the situation everywhere in the world, not only in Muslim countries but in Christian countries, in Hindu countries, in Buddhist countries, and in countries where there is no religion. The reason for this is simple: they are not living this life for Allah and for the next life they do not remember death.

Allah in Arabic is the Majestic Name. It has no attribute, rather it indicates the essence. Attributes are all of the qualities we can witness: the Powerful, the Giver, the Taker, the One before us, the One after us, the One who gives life. All of these are attributes of Allah. Creation is Allah's action. In order to find out the meaning of good and bad, we must start with creation. We begin from the physical, and find that it is relative and not acceptable, because it is ever-changing. For example, the child begins to experiment with his immediate environment because he wants to connect with everything around him, he wants to assimilate all that he encounters. This search at the existential level takes the form of searching for cause and effect relationships.

Islam, meaning 'submission', is complete understanding and unification with the reality of existence. We are actually already unified with that reality, but we do not know it because we see separation and boundaries. As a global community, we have different habits, different languages and different cultures, but in truth, we are all created from one self. The Qur`an says,

We have created you from one self.

Self (nafs) means all of the different character manifestations and feelings each one of us has. Self means the attributes, feelings and experience which all of us share. We all know the meaning of peace and love and hate and insecurity. We all know the meaning of fear and pain and hunger. We all experience heat and cold. In fact, everything we experience is based on opposites. You cannot have life without death. God cannot be experienced without the knowledge of evil, nor friendship without enemies. Adulthood cannot be experienced without the experience of childhood. There is day and night, high and low, man and woman. All of these we experience in our lives. This is the meaning of one self.

Also, we have a faculty in us, the faculty of reason. That faculty must be nourished as we grow. We are all programmed to want to know more, and if we do not continue to know more, we suffer. We all want to be in harmony in this life, which is a preparation for the next life. Ultimately, we will come to know that there is only One Reality behind all this. This is the meaning of "There is no god but Allah". The statement is easy, very easy. All religions, all men seeking enlightenment say "There is no god but Allah". The statement is easy, very easy. All religions, all men seeking enlightenment say "There is no god but Allah". Anybody who contemplates, meditates or sits quietly, after a while sees one hand behind everything. What is difficult is "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah". The wisdom of seeing One we can obtain quickly. The problem is what to do next. This is where differences occur. How are we going to devise the best type of society in this world? All of the Prophets have tried, in their respective times, to teach the people of their society the most suitable way to live. Each Prophet embodied the teachings of those before him and brought a system that was particularly applicable to the needs of his time. Some prophets did not prohibited the use of wine because it was one of the most important foods that the people had. As they pressed the grapes for juice it became wine in the hot weather. Certain factors made it necessary to prohibit the intake of alcohol during the Prophet Muhammad's time, one of which certainly must have been that alcoholic intoxication had become a serious problem among the Arabs and was due to remain a social problem in the future as we witness in our own time. We raise this matter here because it is an example of a prophetic law, and therefore a Divine Law, which differed from what came before. It is a law which many people could not and cannot follow, thus cutting them off from the Path of Reality. The Prophet said: "I am the city of knowledge," so access to knowledge is obtained emulating and imitating his way. He further said: "And 'Ali is its gate (the gate to the city of knowledge). Whoever enters a city must enter by it's gate."


Islam is the therapy for all mankind. The Qur`an says the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family, was 'A Mercy for all the worlds' (21:107). Every teaching that came before Islam is within Islam. We say that every child is born a Muslim until his parents change him, because the child is natural and in a state of submission.

If the Muslims who truly understand the meaning of Islam can show the Qur`an and the way of Muhammad to people all over the world in a digestible form, then they will have provided a great service. Allah will love them because they will be doing His work, which is to save man from his own ignorance.

Up Next

[ 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 ]