It is challenging to write about Islam. There are so many opinions. So many emotions. Both outside, as well as inside of the Islamic community.
And many times it is difficult to tell what is the truth.
The only thing that I might speak of is my own experience. My own feelings.
For me… I believe… there is not much thinking when it comes to Islam. It is mostly just about being present. For about as long as I can remember I felt a kind of consciousness around me and within me. When I started to read about Islam and spoke with others about it I recognized this feeling as something that we might call consciousness of the one existence. For me, as a Muslim, this is Allah. Saying this I would like to add that I do not care much about names. When I read Allah, or God, or Tao… For me, they all point to the same thing.
This being present can be quite intense. More intense in a time like Ramadan while listening to the Quran. At these moments I feel the truth in the saying that the heart is the doorway to God. But also in a time like now… When I write this down… I feel the consciousness. And I remember that, when I worked as a counselor/coach, the best conversations were allways when this awareness was there.
I believe that many teachings point at this consciousness but somehow in Islam I have found a way that works for me. When it comes to the spiriual teachings of Islam I feel attracted to many of the priciples. For example patience, satisfaction and fate. Principles I might write about in an other time.
When it comes to rules… yes Islam has many rules. And I must honestly say that I do not always know what to do with them. I do not like rules very much but at same time I know that many of the great spiritual teachers (Attar, Rumi, Junayd, Ghazali) of Islam were in fact orthodox Muslims outwardly. So I wonder… If these great people believed some things to be important… Who I am to say it is not?
If there is one person I admire within the Islamic realm it must be Rabiá al Addawiya. And no… I do not know why. Maybe her sincerity and her surrender..
Hello Raoef, Thank you for what you wrote about Islam and your relationship to it.
Presence. I attended an introductory few sessions on Sufism, and found that this seems to be the essence of their teachings. Are you a Sufi? I was unable to go further because I could not accept the Koran (as a whole) as the Word of God, any more than the Bible. Anyway, I do see much that is valuable in Sufi teachings in particular, and will be at the Sufi Symposium in North Sydney on Dec. 4th. Wishing you peace!
“A true Sufi is he who is not”. Some used to say.
I do not realy like to call myself anything. I have no need for it.
As for the Bible in Islam.
I learned that the Creator has send messengers to all (or allmost) of the peoples that walk on this planet. So in essence I believe Moslims should be able to accept the books of all the great religions as coming from, or inspired by, the Creator.
Again… In essence I wonder if it realy matters witch religion one favors. Just don’t get lost in discussions about the differences or in the dogma’s. Keep your focus on, or presence with, the One, the rest is all talk.
I like to leave you with Gibran, who I love so dearly;
The three ants
Three ants met on the nose of a man who was lying asleep in the sun. And after they had saluted one another, each according to the custom of his tribe, they stood there conversing.
The first and said, “These hills and plains are the most barren I have known. I have searched all day for a grain of some sort, and there is none to be found.”
Said the second ant, “I too have found nothing, though I have visited every nook and glade. This is, I believe, what my people call the soft, moving land where nothing grows.”
Then the third ant raised his head and said, “My friends, we are standing now on the nose of the Supreme Ant, the mighty and infinate Ant, whose body is so great that we cannot see it, whose shadow is so vast that we cannot trace it, whose voice is so loud that we cannot hear it; and He is omnipresent.”
When the third ant spoke thus the other ants looked at each other and laughed.
At that moment the man moved and in his sleep raised his hand and scratched his nose, and the three ants were crushed.
(From the Madman)
Selams brother Raoef, Eid Kereem.
You ARE an answer to my prayers.
lol, if only you knew the details you would laugh too…..but not too loud.
Of course “Beware of what you ask for, you may get it.” Is the perennial wisdom. So, I am trying to be(a)ware…..
I read your first post where you mentioned an interest in Islam and whatever. “hmmmm.” I noted. “How interested?” I wondered.
I read your next post here. I think that is where you mentioned that you were handicapped by not speaking Arabic, unsure in some ways but pretty sure in others….. “Hmmmm.” I noted, a little keener, this time.” Read on and then “omg, a kindred spirit.”
I particularly liked the part about how you picked up Ekhart and at first thought he was ….maybe not so relevant to you personally. That didn’t happen to me. The fact that you picked him up again and realized that he was teaching the perennial teaching is what happened to me. At the time ET came into my life in answer to another prayer. Kindred spirits are not clones….they are ‘friends’ on the path. The forum is full of them. Surprisingly full.
Your story is my story. I still have my Lao Tse and I Ching after 30 years and many moves. But stories…….
the sunnet of Prophet Muhammed, as (stories from his life) and Rumi’s and justme’s, and Ekharts, and Manu and Marille, and Dawn andandand.
When the events I hear or read now actually happened 1400 years ago or yesterday, they were real at the time, as full and alive as the beings involved. When I hear or read them they are archetypal and depending on the vibration of the provider and the vibration of me they convey meaning…..and what they convey are part of my Now. Did you ever see the Japanese movie Rashemon? By Kurasawa? One thing I got out of that is that all things remembered are stories.
Anyway what unites us ……is indescribably greater than I can imagine or think. That is what I believe, maybe hope, unites us all here. Of course most of the people here believe we must give up our beliefs??? Oh well ….maybe if I knew better I would agree with that. I do agree with giving up on my egoic attachment to my beliefs though.
I think being raised in the West in a so called secular-humanist society, where man is the superior creation but in an upsidedown kind of way, has had its influence on me and has been both a blessing and a curse, a gift and a burden.
So…..welcome and thank you for sharing your story and Gibran’s too. I never heard that before a very good bit of humour. I hope you stick around. We can keep each other honest.
Ps Come back to the ETTV forum thats where its all happening.
This is a specialty shop,
a nice place to chill, have cookies n tea in good company.
Its like the neighborhood Starbucks. A great selection of books and music, theres art on the walls and entertaining grafitti in the bathrooms (which are very clean by the way). The ladies who run the place are warm and friendly, also quite knowledgeable. lol
How far can I go with this….? Do I need to apologize to anyone?
With affection and respect,
Eid Kareem and Salam Aleykum Fatima.
Family and Sheep (on the barbeque) limit my time right now.
Will be back tomorrow. (iA)
Thank you for your kind reaction. I have read it a few times now. Trying to capture its meaning. Laughed about your “Hmmmm” and wondering about its meaning.
You speak about events that happened 1400 years ago. I find this a challenge. Different time, different culture, different value’s and not always sure of the reliability of materials available.
“Depending on the vibration of the provider and the vibration of me they convey meaning…”… Could you please explain?
I also wonder how a secular-humanist society influences you when it comes to your experience and vision in Islam.
As for the last part: I like specialty shops. I have some experience when it comes to forums. Discussions easily go off-topic. To many people at a time giving their opinions, often without really trying to capture the meaning of what others are trying to say. I have a tendency of getting lost in such surroundings.
Nevertheless, I have been on the forum a few times and I probably will stay around. Not too much though. Words pull me to my head.
Fi amani Allah,
SA brother Raoef,
Starting at the end of your message. I have no experience in forums other than ETTV and no experience with blogs except this one – which I like very much of course.
Why would I suggest you come to the forums?
Two reasons. Ekart Tolle is the pole (we might say Sheikh) of that community and his vibration infuses the forums. It is his experiment and knowing that gives me courage. Basically I came here to practice what he teaches.
That was the first reason. Its true people don’t stay on topic. Its almost a given and it certainly is the reality. So, if I go to the community page of Ettv and I see irritating or off putting things comming up there (maybe they come up on any forum; they certainly come up in life), I open to that as an opportunity – to observe myself, to be present or not to be.
The question I carry into the forum is, “Can I be the space for this?” Then I can experience my judgments, emotions, opinions – in short my nafs – ego defending itself, in a place that is less distracting than my ‘real’ life with its history, considerations, identifications etc. Ego once removed, disem-bodied.
I was seriously stuck untill ET dropped into my life. Topics can change for better, and for worse or they just meander along…there are doldrums and cliffhangers. Every moment is an interactive opportunity there. That is the second reason.
“Depending on the vibration of the provider and the vibration of me they convey meaning…”… You ask, “Could you please explain?”
** Total bull and too much trouble to explain. Please just to ignore it in this instance.
Different time, different culture, different value’s and not always sure of the reliability of materials available.
***Different value’s? I don’t think so. Have human values changed since Adam and Eve?
***Reliablity? You mean Quran and Hadiths? What makes you think they are unreliable? The social and political forms of the Religion and interpretation of the fique maybe. They may be stuck in time – outdated. Ages of cultural add ons, local superstitions, misinterpretations passed on through increasingly egoic humans. That can change and in my opinion is changing in the West.
This is all I can say for now. I find exposition, very challenging and quickly start to get bored, or worse, with mySelf.
Trusting that if something is important it will come up again.
Selams for now,
I feel that I need to be careful when it come to the forum. It brings me back into my head because I try to capture what people are trying to say.
Maybe we have a different definition of the word value. When I speak of value’s I speak of the things that people find important. Things they live by.
I grew up in the Netherlands. Here it is normal that men and woman are in one room. Men and women can live together without being married. A son speaks to his father as if he is speaking to a friend. A younger person speaking without respect towards an older person.
I believe that even today this is very different then the value’s that people live by in Saoudi Arabia for example.
When it comes to reliablity I have no doubt when it comes to the Quran in Arabic. I am careful when it comes to translations. With the hadith I am a little careful. Want to know the source of the hadith. And again there is the translation challenge.
I believe that you know as well as I do that interpretation of both Quran and Hadith is delicate. A lot of books out there that are only a interpretation of certain topics. Books on how a man should behave. On how a woman should behave. How a Moslim should believe, think and act. Usually being sponsored by groups who have a very specific view on the Islam. These are the books that I am talking about when I speak of reliablity.
Hello again, Raoef,
I completely agree with your focus on consciousness, and your idea that dogma is best avoided – yes!
In understanding stories, however, there can be difficulties. So much depends on what you bring with you into the story! There is a Mullah Nasrudin story – I love his willingness to appear ignorant and foolish! – in which he is travelling on foot, he hears some horsemen approaching and runs to hide in an open grave in a graveyard. The horsement find him there, quivering in fear. They ask him what he is doing here? He replies: “It all depends upon yourviewpoint. If you must know, however, I am here because of you, and you are here because of me!”
I share with you the desire to be free of egoic stuff, but I am not. So what I say here, is likely to be full of it!
In one of the threads you called yourself a conflict avoider. I do that too (ie. try to avoid conflict), the only trouble is, it just pushes the disagreement further back, out of sight. So now, I would like to tell you how I feel and what I thought about something, simply to let you know how it is with me. I hope that is OK with you?
I felt a bit miffed about you “leaving me with” that story, as if that would solve my dilemma. It made it worse! The poor ants got lost on a man’s body, and he kills them! Well, obviously that, to you and Fatima, would be a blatant misinterpretation. This is what I meant about what you get out of a story may depend on what you bring with you into it…. One time, years ago, when my husband and I entered a Buddhist temple near Katmandu, as we came in the monk pointed out a trail of ants and said: be careful not to tread on them!
Also, the story seems to hightlight an enormous power differential – this I found offputting – no bridge between the ants, and the man, no feeling of love or compassion came to me. Only the message of: be careful what you say/do!
And the Nasrudin story I briefly alluded to works on a more horizontal level, and it illustrates how our interpretation of our perceptions affects our behaviour towards others. I love that story, and many of the Nasrudin stories…
I really appreciate your posts on Consciousness and related topics, please keep them coming! And I hope that my comments, coming from another perspective, will not cause offence to you!
Let me start by saying that I am not offended. I fact I would like to thank you for sharing an other light on the story. A point of view I did not see before.
My interpretation of the story differs of course. For me the ants are tree arrogant minds trying to explain the unexplainable. Acting as if they know… For me, the hand wiping them out is nothing more then reality showing how small their thought’s are. It’s a story about perspective. They little mole standing on his Molehill explaining the greatness of the world.
When it comes to stories… There are some great writers out there. I happen to like Gibran. Others are more in love with Rumi or Nasrudin. What they all share, I believe, is that you can read them over and over again. Every time revealing an other insight. As we grow, we see other meanings. What they also share, for me, is that I never took them literally. I look for the symbolic meaning. Forgetting that other people might have a different approach or being touched in an other way.
Your remark reminds me to a Hindu story about Indra being taught by Vishnu and Shiva. Need to translate it however. 🙂
Thank you, Raoef – I am so glad that I spelled out my misgivings more fully, so that you could understand – i am touched by your response!
I’m looking forward to the story about Indra, Vishnu and Shiva.
This has been a very helpful exchange for me, in encouraging me to express myself more fully. It was the fear of offending you that stopped me, but actually, I found that it was better to describe my feelings and reaction more fully!
Also, your mentioning that you tend to avoid conflict, caused me to reflect on how I could respond to your message without antagonizing or offending you. There is some new learning in this, for me!
Thank you again, Raoef,