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Rumi , The Religion of Love, and Tolerance

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Initial post: Sep 10, 2008 5:33:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 10, 2008 6:10:36 PM PDT
Ishraqi says:
I've been reading a great book today " The Inner Journey Views from the Islamic Tradition" edited by William Chittick. In it I came across a fascinating poem by my favorite Sufi and Poet Rumi. It's very topical in terms our continued discussion regarding religious tolerance.

The poem starts with a story about the Prophet Moses (pbuh). He meets a shepherd who is praying to God in a strange way.. saying that he wants to wash Gods cloths and pick the lice out of His hair and other things of that nature. Moses confronts the person and tells him not to pray in that manner. He apologizes to Moses and promises he will never pray to God in that manner again and then runs off into the desert. As Moses leaves however God speaks to him ...

" You have separated Me from one of my own. Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to sever?

I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.

What seems wrong to you is right for him. What is poison to one is honey to someone else.

Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to Me.

I am apart from all that. Ways of worshipping are not to be ranked as better or worse then one another.

Hindus do Hindu things. The Dravidian Muslims in India do what they do. It's all praise, and it's all right.

It is not Me that's glorified in acts of worship. It's the worshippers! I don't hear the words they say I look at the humility.

That broken-open lowliness is the Reality, not the language! Forgot phraseology. I want burning, burning!

Be friends with your burning. Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!

Moses, those who pay attention to ways of behaving and speaking are one sort. Lovers who burn are another.

Don't impose a property tax on a burned out village. Don't scold the Lover. The "wrong" way he talks is better than a hundred "right" ways of others.

Inside the Kaaba it doesn't matter which direction you point your prayer rug! The ocean diver does not need snow shoes. The Love-religion has no code or doctrine. Only God.

So the ruby has nothing engraved on it! It doesn't need markings.

God began speaking deeper mysteries to Moses. Vision and words, which cannot be recorded here, poured into and through him. He left himself and came back. He went to Eternity and came back here. Many times this happened.

It's foolish of me to try and say this. If I did say it, it would uproot our human intelligences. It would shatter all writings pens."

-=Moses then went on to apologize and tell the person that he should pray to God as he feels lead. He states:

" I was wrong. God has revealed to me that there are no rules of worship.

Say whatever and however your loving tells you to . Your sweet blasphemy is the truest devotion. Through you a whole world was freed.

Loosen your tongue and don't worry what comes out, It's all the Light of the Spirit.

The Shepherd replied, 'Moses, Moses, I've gone beyond even that. You applied the whip and my horse shied and jumped out of itself. The Divine Nature and my human nature came together.

Bless your scolding hand and your arm. I can't say what has happened. What I'm saying now is not my real condition. It can't be said.'

The shepherd grew quiet. When you look in a mirror, you see yourself , not the state of the mirror. The flute-player puts breath into a flute, and who makes the music? Not the flute. The Flute-player!

Whenever you speak praise or Thanksgiving to God, it's always like this dear shepherd simplicity.

When you eventually see through the veils of how things really are, you will keep saying again and again.

"This is certainly not like we thought it was!"


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2008 8:26:35 PM PDT
Very insightful!

Thank You, my friend!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2008 9:53:55 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 16, 2010 4:13:23 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2008 5:25:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 11, 2008 6:30:02 AM PDT
Ishraqi says:
Yeah I love Rumi. Rumi and Hafiz are both very popular among the people of Iran I've noticed. Some of the politicized "clerics" are upset about the growing influence of Rumi and are trying to "warn people" about him but it isn't working. The writings of Rumi and the influence of Sufism on Iranian society are too deeply rooted and the Iranian people are too proud of their great poets and their Islamic mystics and thinkers.

Interestingly the main founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, himself actually wrote Sufi poetry and sent a copy of one of Ibn Arabis works to the Russian president. Unfortunately he (or at least some of his people )started to fear the influence of Sufism and how it provided a religious outlet outside of the state monitored religious authorities so at times they ended up cracking down on on some of the Sufi Orders. I think it has more to do with power politics and political pragmatism then anything else though.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2008 7:08:11 PM PDT
Ishraqi says:
Speaking of Ibn Arabi I like this poem of his on a simmilar theme:

"My heart embraces every form:
Pastures for gazzelles
convent for monks
temple for idols
Kaaba for pilgrims
tables of the Torah
pages of the Koran
I follow the Way of Love
and where Love's caravan takes its path
there is my religion, my faith"

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2008 8:54:31 PM PDT
Ishraqi says:

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2008 9:07:15 PM PDT
Youssif says:
it most definitely has more to do with politics than religion. sufism has always provides a more mystical and less legalistic connection to God. the official ulema (sunni and shia) have never been wholly comfortable with it, but lacking the power of the medeival roman catholic church, they were forced to accommodate it and many ulema even found agreement with al-ghazali that sufism purified one's actions. using the analogy of the medeival church then, we can see that centralized control over religious doctrine and practice is about power--thus it is political.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008 8:36:49 PM PDT
Beautiful poem!

It seems that we have the very same opinion about religion, even though following different paths.

I agree with the comments of Serina.

I believe religion and politics should not be put together.

But in most of the Islamic countries both concepts are very entangled (and I don`t know how to separate them since it seems that islam is a much more vivid religion and is present in every circunstance of the muslim life - please correct me if I am wrong). I believe this has much to do with History, since from the begining of islamism the spiritual and temporal powers came together.

I still don`t know what to think about iran and its politics. I`ve already read a lot about it but I don`t fell like I know enough to put a opinion about it.
I know Iran is a political enemy of the US, but here in Brazil we have almost no contact with it and it seems to me a better country than, for example, Saudi Arabia (which is an important ally of the US) in terms of ethics, respect of human rights, etc..

I know I am running a little out of the subject here but I don`t have anyone here to discuss such issues and I`d like to know the opinion of you guys.

Once again, thank you for the inspiration.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008 8:54:44 PM PDT
Youssif says:
alot of iranians also don't like religion and politics entangled. many muslims don't. i have a friend from sudan who left because she couldn't stand for the government to tell her how to practice islam.
islam is currently more entangled in politics and i don't think islamist reform movements are going anywhere very soon (they may end up like the christian democrats of europe though--depending on a few factors as the reformers could go completely populist). secularism did not come easy to the west though. richard bulliet's ISLAMO-CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION discusses all of this really, really well.
"Conventional wisdom maintains that the differences between Islam and Christianity are irreconcilable. Pre-eminent Middle East scholar Richard W. Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks beneath the rhetoric of hatred and misunderstanding to challenge prevailing -- and misleading -- views of Islamic history and a "clash of civilizations." These sibling societies begin at the same time, go through the same developmental stages, and confront the same internal challenges. Yet as Christianity grows rich and powerful and less central to everyday life, Islam finds success around the globe but falls behind in wealth and power. Modernization in the nineteenth century brings in secular forces that marginalize religion in political and public life. In the Christian world, this simply furthers a process that had already begun. In the Middle East this gives rise to the tyrannical governments that continue to dominate. Bulliet argues that beginning in the 1950s American policymakers misread the Muslim world and, instead of focusing on the growing discontent against the unpopular governments, saw only a forum for liberal, democratic reforms within those governments. By fostering slogans like "clash of civilizations" and "what went wrong," Americans to this day continue to misread the Muslim world and to miss the opportunity to focus on common ground for building lasting peace. This book offers a fresh perspective on U.S.-Muslim relations and provides the intellectual groundwork upon which to help build a peaceful and democratic future in the Muslim world. On "clash of civilizations" "Civilizations that are destined to clash cannot seek together a common future. Like Mathews'Islam, Huntington's Islam is beyond redemption. The strain of Protestant American thought that both men are heir to, pronounces against Islam the same self-righteous and unequivocal sentence of 'otherness'that American Protestants once visited upon Catholics and Jews." On "what went wrong" "The idea that people in the Middle East once embraced the goal of becoming like Europe and hoped that by adopting European ideas and institutions they would someday experience all of the liberal values we recognize in the Europe of today is nonsense. It assumes a historical outcome for Europe itself that no one even in Europe could have predicted." On "why do they hate us" "Those who advanced the Japanese occupation as a model for postwar Iraq seem to have baseball, Hello Kitty, and Elvis impersonators in the back of their minds rather than headscarves and turbaned mullahs.... Like latter day missionaries, we want the Muslims to love us, not just for what we can offer in the way of a technological society but for who we are -- for our values. But we refuse to countenance the thought of loving them for their values." On Islam's ideological shortcomings "Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Meir Kahane do not typify Christianity and Judaism in the eyes of the civilized West but those same eyes are prone to see Osama bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar as typifying Islam." On Middle East studies "The founders of Middle East studies ignored recommendations that they focus on contemporary Islam and focused instead on Middle Easterners trying to act like westerners. There weren't a lot of these, just as there hadn't been a lot of converts, but the conviction was strong that those few would be pioneers in bringing western modernity to the region... The people we supported as agents of modernity became tyrants."

this book is short and alot of it might be online at the link above. certainly i seem to be picking up alot.

iran is better than saudi arabia--but the regime is still lousy. it might have something to do with republic vs. a monarchy or it could be that iranians are better educated. under khatami, it looked as though the reform many iranians wanted would take place (the majority of iranians) but it didn't happen. americans do have odd ideas about iran though.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2008 4:04:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 14, 2008 4:05:47 PM PDT
Ishraqi says:
Speaking of Iran... I've been reading a good book " The Spiritual Wisdom of Hafez" and the author mentions the popularity of Sufi poetry in Iran: " In Persia poetry is part of everyone's life, from the sweeper in the bazaar to the university don. Hafez, one of the great poets, is also the most popular." It goes on to note that over 600 books have been authored in Iran about Hafez about half of which have been authored in the past 50 years making Hafez the most written about person in Iran. In 1988 the government of Iran along with the UN proclaimed 88 "The Year of Hafez".

Outside Iran many others also found inspiration from his writings including Goethe who said " In his poetry, Hafiz has inscribed undeniable truth indelibly. Hafiz has no peer.". Ralph Waldo Emerson also wrote about Hafez as did both Rudyard Kipling and Nietzsche.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2008 3:34:08 PM PDT
Ishraqi says:

This webpage has a good selection of Rumi poetry as well as articles on his life and and links to books.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2008 6:29:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 30, 2008 7:38:52 AM PDT
Thank You both for your explanations.

I have not answered before because I've been working a lot lately and things are kind of hard for me now.

About this one
"Why are you afraid of death, When you have a deathless soul? How can a dark grave contain you, When you are filled with the light of God?"

Very enlightening!

I am finishing reading "Meditations on First Philosophy" from Rene Descartes and after I'll start reading the Garden of Truth.
As soon as I have opinions about it I shall post it for us to discuss.

PS. I am reading also the Tafsir Ibn Kathir. So far, I am finding its commentaries very technical, but I am only beginning...

Let me ask a question for you both (Hik and Serina). Do you speak or unterstand arabic?

Once again, Thank You!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2008 6:33:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 30, 2008 6:35:03 AM PDT
Ishraqi says:
No I don't understand Arabic myself. I do plan on learning . I think when I get my tax money back I'm going to buy that Roseta Stone program on Arabic and Farsi. I hear they are really good.

BTW I'm Hikmat I just changed my name.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2008 8:06:23 AM PDT
I will open a thread to discuss the language.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2008 6:55:46 AM PST
S. Hussein says:

Your interpretation of the Qu'ran differs with many prominent scholars, reducing any sacred text to its lowest common denominator is best left to those who garner some benefit from "abject misanthropy and hatred of the other".

Thank you for sharing Simurgh.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 4:12:36 PM PST
Hi Hik,

Have you read this book? ( Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi )
Is it good?


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 9:35:34 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 16, 2010 4:47:26 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 8:45:14 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2008 8:47:50 AM PST
Ishraqi says:
No, I haven't read that book yet. I probably will soon though it looks good. So far the best book about Rumi was the the one by Chittick - "The Sufi Path of Love".

The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (Suny Series in Islamic Spirituality) (Suny Series, Islamic Spirituality)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 9:46:36 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 16, 2010 4:47:25 PM PST]

Posted on Aug 26, 2009 8:11:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 26, 2009 8:54:36 PM PDT
Ishraqi says:
This poem of Rumi seems to touch on a simmilar theme. He uses the symbol of the physical journey to the Kaaba to speak of the pilgrimage within to the Beloveds presence and to point out that variety of paths to it.

"The paths are many, but the goal is one. Don't you see how many roads there are to the Kaaba? For some the road starts from Rome, for others from Syria, from Persia, or China; some come by sea from India and the Yemen. If you are considering the different roads, the variety is immense and the difference infinite; if you consider the goal, however, they are all in harmony and are one. The hearts of each and every one of them are fixed upon the Kaaba. Each heart heart has one overriding attachment - a passionate love for the Kaaba - and in that there is no room for contradiction.

That attachment to the Kaaba cannot be called either "impiety" or "faith": it is not mingled with the various paths we have mentioned. Once the travelers arrive at the Kaaba, all quarreling and vicious squabbling about the different paths - this person saying to that "You are wrong! You're a blasphemer!" and the other shouting back in kind - simply vanish; they realize that what they were fighting about was the roads only, and that their goal was one."
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Discussion in:  Islam forum
Participants:  5
Total posts:  20
Initial post:  Sep 10, 2008
Latest post:  Aug 26, 2009

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