Rumi’s Sermon

Irving, author of the blog, Darvish, has posted a translation of one of Jalaluddin Rumi’s last sermons. Irving notes that,

“We do not know if it dates from before or after his meeting with Shams al-Din of Tabriz. Rumi delivered the opening benediction and the Hadith in Arabic, the liturgical language, then switched to Persian. Only seven sermons are so far known to exist in manuscript form.”

To read the full sermon go over to Irving’s blog at Darvish by just clicking here.

Please note that Irving has also written a powerful Sufi novel, Master of the Jinn. You can find details about this novel on the blog.

It’s Time to fill the Gap Between Academic Expertise and Public Knowledge of Muslims and Islam

“Building a Shared future: Islam, Knowledge and Innovation” is the title of a joint publication of the British Council’s ‘Our Shared
Future’ project and the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. To go straight to the pdf file of this publication click here

I find this immensely exciting and encouraging. The publication arises out of a conference on ‘Acknowledging a Shared Past to Build a Shared Future: Rethinking Muslim/non-Muslim Relations’ held at the University of Cambridge. The idea is, as the title of this post says, ‘To fill the gap between academic expertise and public knowledge of Muslims and Islams. It is essential work and there is a lot to do.

Not all settlers and Palestinians want each other to disappear – Haaretz – Israel News

Not all settlers and Palestinians want each other to disappear – Haaretz – Israel News.

This is a remarkable story of a brave initiative. A small group of Palestinians and settlers meet regularly for discussions in an attempt to stop being afraid of each other. The settlers taking part in these meetings have reason to be worried about fellow settlers who disapprove of what they are doing. It is not easy and it takes courage but this group are considering solutions that make sense on the ground but which Israeli and US politicians are not even looking at.

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Malalai Joya: Standing for Justice for Women in Afghanistan

I have just read this article in the Independent and feel inspired and saddened. While the British public is calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan and the US and the UK have the sudden ‘good idea’ of speaking with the Taliban, Malalai Joya speaks of the injustices to women under what she calls, “the regime of warlords”. This, she says, is what British and US soldiers are dying for. Self educated and working hard to educate other women, Malalai says, as quoted in the Independent article today, that, “Dust has been thrown into the eyes of the world by your governments. You have not been told the truth. The situation now is as catastrophic as it was under the Taliban for women. Your governments have replaced the fundamentalist rule of the Taliban with another fundamentalist regime of warlords. [That is] what your soldiers are dying for.” Malalai is willing to risk her life for the women of her country and she is in constant danger.
Go here to read the full article.

Malalai Joya has written a book of her memoirs
which can be ordered from here:joya_raising_my_voice_small

The Balance of Peace and Justice

This is an interesting article by Dr. Robert Crane on the balance of peace and justice for Gaza. He relates the two to transcendence and immanence and asks which is needed first. His approach is ontological but with very practical consequences. He concludes that:

“In the metaphysics of transcendence, to know God is to know and practice justice.  In the metaphysics of immanence, to know God is to know peace.  But justice is creative, and peace is not.  Peace is for the afterlife.  Justice is for the here and now.”

Sufis in Palestine

two-who-attained

"Rare glimpses of two 20th-century Sufi saints are offered in this work: the eminent Shaykh al-Alawi and the lesser-known woman saint Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, both of whom continued on the Sufi path even as they watched their world crumble. Shaykh al-Alawi's influence was pivotal to the spiritual development of Thomas Merton, who looked to al-Alawi's writings and teachings in his own practice. Fatima al-Yashrutiyya is a rare example of a literate Muslim woman living a public spiritual life. Readers will see a new side of the Sufi Path from her uncompromising viewpoint, and can catch an uncommon glimpse of life in the early 20th century for a spiritual seeker, writer, and self-educated woman in the Muslim world. These essays represent Islam in its esoteric dimension and raise issues of regional unrest and colonial intervention that are still relevant. Through the words of these two saints the world of the Sufi brotherhood is opened, revealing an underlying theme of the oneness of Allah."

Fatimah al-Yashrutiyya was born in Acre, Palestine in 1883. The Yashruti Sufi Order in which she grew up and in which her father was a Shaykh (spiritual guide) are a branch of the Shadhili Order, founded in 1258. Fatimah’s father promoted the advance of education for women and in her autobiography she speaks of the many scholars of philosophy and the Sufi path from whom she learnt. Following the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, known to the israelis as the War of Independence, Fatimah and her family had to flee their home to live permanently in Beirut. The book pictured on the left, Two Who Attained contains a translation of her autobiography and is published by Fons Vitae. Just click on the image if you would like to order it. Below is an excerpt from the autobiography. The book also contains translations of the work of Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, another 20th century Sufi saint.

“The Shadhiliyya Sufi method is founded on the Holy Book and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, the search for knowledge, and the frequent practice of invocation in an attitude of worshipfulness and consciousness of the divine. This means of calling upon God is the easiest and most direct of spiritual paths, for it does not entail great hardship or much strenuous effort. The primordial light lying dormant within the soul gains strength through the light of knowledge and through the light of invocation, so that the soul is rid of its defects and impurities. It can then draw nearer to the Divine Presence until it is completely absorbed and the invocation burns away all thoughts of anything other than the One Invoked.”

Photo of Fatima al-Yashrutiyya taken from the Fons Vitae website

Photo of Fatima al-Yashrutiyya taken from the Fons Vitae website