zenpundit.com » sufi

Archive for the ‘sufi’ Category

Two sides of the Saudi coin?

Friday, May 19th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — sunni / salafi hope, shia fear, when the us weighs saudi oil against iranian nukes — what say the sufis? ]
.

Context one:

**

Context two:

**

Having said that, returning to the Saudi visit:

Hayder al-Khoei is less than enthused:

Empty handed thieves

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — on filling the anxious void ]
.

Upper panel, below, saying of Saadi, from the Gulistan, presented by Idries Shah in The Way of the Sufi:

Lower panel, above, a haiku by the Zen monk Ryokan, from Stephen Mitchell, The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry.

Wikipedia tells the tale:

One evening a thief visited Ryokan’s hut at the base of the mountain only to discover there was nothing to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon.”

Beautiful, the moon? A tautology, surely..

Peace is with the Withinners

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — ever grateful ]
.

Top-down peace talks are by no means a bad thing, maybe even a source of joy..

but to tell the truth..

.. peace is with the withinners:

**

Sources:

  • Pravmir, Egypt’s Al-Azhar University to Hold Peace Conference With Pope
  • NCR, Vatican calls on Catholics and Buddhists to work together to promote nonviolence
  • A tip-of-the-hat to Ursula Le Guin for her marvelous coinage, “the withinner”.

    Muslim does not equal Terrorist

    Friday, April 21st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — witting or unwitting, there’s a blatant inability to make this simple distinction ]
    .

    The sane alternative:


    Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba and His Holiness the Dalai
    Lama are two role models for our century.

    **

    There’s an interesting conflation of Islam and Terrorism in a post titled 2 Faces of Islam: Why All Muslims Benefit from Terrorism from Freedom Outpost:

    While many Muslims are just as horrified by terrorism as the rest of us are, all Muslims nevertheless benefit from Islam. This is because both peaceful and violent Muslims tend to share two important goals: (1) the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, and (2) the silencing of critics of Islam. Since terrorism helps achieve these goals, all Muslims benefit from Islam.

    This would make sense — I’m not saying I’d agree with it, merely that it would have a logical form to it that wouldn’t make me go cross-eyed — if it read [note: this paragraph edited in light of comment below]:

    While many Muslims are just as horrified by terrorism as the rest of us are, all Muslims nevertheless benefit from terrorism. This is because both peaceful and violent Muslims tend to share two important goals: (1) the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, and (2) the silencing of critics of Islam. Since terrorism helps achieve these goals, all Muslims benefit from terrorism.

    But no: under a caption that tells us 2 Faces of Islam: Why All Muslims Benefit from Terrorism, it twice states all Muslims nevertheless benefit from Islam.

    The conflation is evident, Islam and Terrorism are interchangeable in the writer’s mind, and that interoperability is liable to find an echo in — or seep diasastrously into — the reader’s mind, too.

    **

    The actual relation between Islam and contemporary Islamist terrorism is neither “Islam is a religion of no terrorism (aka peace)” nor “Islam is a religion of terrorism (aka war)”. To get at a couple of the major nuances here, the Meccan Cantos and the Medinan cantos of the Quran suggest very different readings of what the religion was originally all about, and how it adapted to violent hostility; and in terms of contemporary Islam, not all Muslims are Salafist, and not all Salafists are jihadist fighters, but some of them most definitely and ruthlessly are.

    In addition, Islam needs to be considered both scripturally — the usual western critique — and culturally, by which I mean how Islamic belief plays out in cultural practice across time and space — a far subtler matter. SH Nasr‘s The Study Quran is a prime guide to the former, and Shahab Ahmed‘s What Is Islam?
    The Importance of Being Islamic the towering work to digest in understanding the latter.

    A useful corrective to the “Islam is a religion of war” perspective can be found in the lives and works of two proniment Muslim proponents and practitioners of nonviolence, Sheikh Amadou Bamba, founder of the Muridiyya or Mourides, and Badshah Khan, Gandhi‘s Muslim friend.

    For context around the Mourides, and in constrast with the Wahhabis of the Levanty, see Why are there so few Islamists in West Africa? A dialogue between Shadi Hamid and Andrew Lebovich.

    The inability to distinguish Muslim from Terrorist, and the violence that follows it, can truly be described as Islamophobia.

    **

    Image:

  • Sheikh Aly N’Daw, Choice, Liberty and Love: Consciousness in Action
  • Shahbaz Qalandar shrine bombing DoubleQuote

    Saturday, February 18th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — qawwali vs bombing — tragic though this week’s deaths are, music, poetry, and devotion transcend death ]
    .

    I thought this horrific announcement:

    deserved a response of a very different order:

    **

    That’s it, that’s my response.

    **

    By way of background:

    Lal Shahbaz Qalandar of Sehwan, whose shrine in Pakistan was bombed this week, was an Ismaili Shiite poet-mystic, perhaps best understood via his poetry. Shehram Mokhtar in a Master’s thesis on Qalandar writes:

    His title of Shahbaz (royal falcon) is associated with him because of the mystical and spiritual heights he attained. This is reflected in his own poetry: “I am the royal falcon, that has no (fixed) place i.e. I am always in flight; I cannot be contained in any place; I am the phoenix, that cannot be restrained in any symbol or form” (Qazi, 1971, p. 26).

    Further:

    The third title associated with saint’s name is Qalandar. Muhammad Hussain bin Khalaf Tabrizi, the writer of a famous Persian dictionary defines Qalandar as someone “so much spiritualized that he is free from social and customary inhibitions and taboos” (Mohammad, 1978, p.7). Many other references have used terms like, “intoxicated in spirituality” to define the term Qalandar. The title of Qalandar has been associated with three saints, Lal Shahbaz, saint Bu Ali Sharfuddin of Panipat and a female saint Rabia Basri (Mohammad, 1978).

    A taste of his poetry gives a taste of the man:

    I am burning with Divine love every moment.
    Sometimes I roll in the dust,
    And sometimes I dance on thorns.
    I have become notorious in your love.
    I beseech you to come to me!
    I am not afraid of the disrepute,
    To dance in every bazaar.

    Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is both transgressive – a frequently overused term, yet entirely applicable in this instance – and transcendent.

    **

    It’s not always easy to get a fix on Sufi poet-saints. Consider this tale of Kabir, a Muslim from Varanasi, who obtained initiation from the Hindu saint Ramanand:

    One of the most loved legends associated with Kabir is told of his funeral. Kabir’s disciples disputed over his body, the Muslims wanting to claim the body for burial, the Hindus wanting to cremate the body. Kabir appeared to the arguing disciples and told them to lift the burial shroud. When they did so, they found fragrant flowers where the body had rested. The flowers were divided, and the Muslims buried the flowers while the Hindus reverently committed them to fire.

    Shahbaz Qalandar’s death seems similarly shrouded in mystery – so much so that the quai-authoritative Wikipedia entry for him reports both “Died: 19 February 1275 (aged 98-99) and “Lal Shahbaz lived a celibate life and died in the year 1300 at the age of 151. “

    It is his death – considered as his marriage with the divine beloved – that is celebrated at the three-day urs (literally: marriage) festival, attended yearly in Sehwan by upwards of a half-million devotees, at which the divine love is glimpsed through a dance – the dhamaal – similar in function to, though not the same as, the sama dance of the dervish order order founded by Qalandar’s contemporary, Jalaluddin Rumi. The dancers’ characteristic experience is one of divine intoxication, mast.

    It was Qalandar’s shrine / tomb that was the site of the IS-claimed bombing this week.

    **

    With appreciation & and hat-tip to Omar Ali, and condolences — also to Husain Haqqani, Raza Rumi, Pundita, and all those who live, work and or pray for a peaceable Pakistan.


    Switch to our mobile site