Embracing Islam

By |2015-03-20T18:34:42+10:00March 20th, 2015|A Course in Miracles, Ego, God, Islam, We Are One|

muslim woman

Like me, you may have only thought of Islam as a religion filled with rituals and rules.  Perhaps, like me, you found it hard to understand how a Muslim could have a personal spiritual experience in the midst of so many rigorous practices.  Perhaps, instead, you imagined every Muslim to be just like the many extremist “Islamists” we hear about in the media involved in brutality and terrorist activities.

It is not surprising that most people in the west have a negative impression of Islam and its adherents.  It is only the negative stories which are brought to our attention.

My current course with AIHT (American Institute of Holistic Theology) has taught me that there is much more to Islam than rituals and rules.  I have begun to learn about a spiritual side of Islam, which could account for some of the 2.08 billion people who are already Muslims, and for the million or so people who convert to Islam each year.

In Surrendering to God: Understanding Islam in the Modern Age, Eren Tatari gives her opinion that “in recent centuries, Muslims have been over-emphasizing practice and jurisprudence/fiqh at the expense of belief and theology”.  She suggests that the practical side of worship is in many ways easier, because it is “concrete”, whereas “Qur’anic iman [faith] education is difficult”, and that, of the more than 6,000 verses in the Qur’an, only 280 relate to practice.

It is within this iman education that I discovered aspects of Islam which align closely with a number of modern spiritual teachings.

The word, Islam, means submission to the one true God (Allah) and a Muslim is one who submits.  As I read about, and reflected on, what submission to God really means, I discovered similarities with lessons from other teachers.

In A Course in Miracles, I learned that, within each of us, there is an ego mind and a Christ mind, or voice for God, and that our aim is to listen only to the voice for God, and not the ego mind.

Eckhart Tolle in his books, The Power of Now, and A New Earth, helps us to find ways to notice when we are acting from our egos, and to focus instead on the formless consciousness in each of us which connects us to all of the universe, as we live in the present moment.

Esther Hicks and Abraham have taught us to notice communication from our inner being, our inner connection with Source energy, so that we may always act in alignment with our Source.

Could it be that all the practices of Islam which demonstrate Muslims submitting to Allah, are really ways in which they can ignore their egos, and focus on their connection with Source, their Christ mind?  Could it be that the practices of Islam allow Muslims to find the straight path to God, as the Qur’an claims to show (5:16)?

Muslims are guided in many verses of the Qur’an to reflect on the world and the universe (2:164; 10:101; 16:65-81; 41:53; 51:47-49; 50:6-11 for instance).  According to Tatari, the universe is the embodiment of the Qur’an, and it is in observing God’s creation, that one can find the attributes of God.

This idea is not so far removed from the idea in modern spiritual teachings, that we are one with God and his creation.  In fact, according to Tatari, “Islam is built on the principal of God’s unity (tawhid)”  It is not such huge jump to see that principal of the unity of God reflected in the idea of the oneness of God’s creation, and the oneness of each of us with God and his creation.

One of the practices of Muslims is to reflect on the 99 Most Beautiful Names of God.  Although some of their beauty may be lost in the translation from Arabic to English, I offer this as an exercise in becoming closer to both Muslims, and their Creator, by considering one or two of these names of God, and reflecting on whether you can relate to them as attributes of God, and how those attributes appear in God’s creation, and in your lives.

1. The Beneficent2. The Merciful3. The King4. The Holy
5. Peace-Giver6. Faith-Giver7. The Guardian8. The All-Mighty
9. The Compeller10. The Tremendous11. The Creator12. The Maker of   Order
13. The Fashioner of Forms14. The Forgiving15. The Subduer16. The Bestower
17. The Providing18. The Opener / The Giver of Victory19. The All-Knowing / The Omniscient20. The Restrainer
21. The Expander22. The Abaser23. The Exalter24. The Giver of Honour
25. The Humiliator26. The Hearing27. The Seeing28. The Judge
29. The Just30. The Kind31. The Aware32. The Forbearing
33. The Magnificent34. The Forgiving35.The Grateful36. The Highest
37. The Great38. The Preserver39. The Nourisher40. The Reckoner
41. The Majestic42. The Generous43. The Watchful44. The Answerer
45. The Vast46. The Wise47. The Loving48. The Glorious
49. The Resurrector50. The Witness51. The Truth / The Real52. The Trustee
53. The Strong54. The Steadfast55. The Protector56. The Praiseworthy
57. The Accounter58. The Initiator59. The Reinstater60. The Giver of Life
61. The Bringer of Death62. The Living63. The Self-Subsisting64. The Perceiver
65. The Illustrious66. The One / The Manifestation of Unity67. The One / The Indivisible68. The Everlasting
69. The Powerful70. The Dominant71. The Expediter72. The Delayer
73. The First74. The Last75. The Manifest76. The Hidden
77. The Patron78. The Exalted79. The Most Kind and Righteous80. The Ever-Returning
81. The Avenger82. The Pardoner83. The Compassionate84. The Owner of All Sovereignty
85. The Lord of Majesty and Generosity86. The Equitable87. The Unifier88. The Rich / The Independent
89. The Enricher90. The Defender91. The Distressor92. The Propitious
93. The Light94. The Guide95. The Incomparable96. The Abiding
97. The Inheritor of All98. The Guider99. The Patient

(The Qur’an: An Introduction, by Anna M Gade)

I would be interested to hear any thoughts that you might have.





 Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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