Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Great Secret of Islam


In summary, human beings are comprised of: (A) a mortal body with five senses; (B) an immortal soul born with primordial innocence (fitra) but which comprises three modes (an ego or ‘soul that incites unto evil’; a conscience or ‘soul that blames’, and a ‘soul at peace’) and has a number of faculties (these being: sentiment and feelings; a will; an intellect comprising the faculty of speech and the faculty of learning and of imitation; an imagination; a memory; sense, and insight and intuition), and (C) a spirit which comes from the Divine breath within human beings and comprises subtle realities between it and the soul, these being: (in descending order): (1) the heart’s core (lubb); (2) the inner heart (fu’ad), (3) the heart (qalb), and (4) the breast (sadr).

***

A clear pattern emerges from the above: the rites and duties of Islam, Iman and Ihsan are not haphazard or random. They are not unrelated to each other. They are specifically designed and revealed by God to suit human beings as such in order to systematically involve every single one of human beings’ constituent parts and faculties—in an exactly complementary and holistic way—in first acknowledging God, and then in attaching themselves completely to Him, and by the same token detaching the soul from the world, the body and the ego.

To be precise (and recapitulating our list of human constituent parts and faculties from earlier): the body and its five senses worship God through the movements of prayer, and are purified through ablution and fasting; the soul worships God through prayer, becomes detached from the world through the tithe, and from the ego and the body through fasting; the ego is purified through ablution and fasting; the conscience worships God through and in the ablution; the soul at peace worships God through pilgrimage; sentiment and feelings worship God through the tithe; the will, the intellect and the breast worship God through Islam and the double testimony of faith; the faculty of speech, the faculty of learning and of imitation, the imagination and the memory worship God through prayer and through the Qur’an; the heart worships God through Iman and through pilgrimage; and the spirit, the heart’s core, the inner heart—and hence also insight and intuition—worship God through Ihsan and through constant remembrance of God, albeit none of the above preclude each other. Moreover, human beings worship God through Iman in knowing (and hence, doing), and through Ihsan in being.

This is the great secret of Islam, Iman and Ihsan, and the invisible thread that binds them all together: Islam, Iman and Ihsan consist inwardly, and perhaps essentially, of harnessing all that human beings are in their bodies, souls and spirits to worshipping and loving God as much as possible in a perfectly complementary and internally-completing way.

***

As we have seen, the religion of Islam takes as its starting point human beings such as they are. Accordingly, Islam has no need of a doctrine of redemption; no need of monasticism; no need of a complex theology based upon the idea of a unique manifestation of the Divine Word; no need of a church to intercede with God for human beings and no need of a clergy; no need of a sacerdotal caste; no need of a covenant theology or of a doctrine of a chosen race; no need of a Dualistic or Trinitarian theology; no need for pantheism; no need for deism; no need for arcane philosophy; no need for fantastic mythologies; no need of unspeakable mysteries for adepts; no need for basing itself on the existential suffering of human life; no need for basing itself on an ethic of social harmony in a particular society; no need for basing itself in a particular historical time or geographic land, and no need for basing itself on a subjective individual state or an objective degree of reality—like various other religions in history and presently—and it certainly has no need to claim to worship God through icons, relics, idols, statues, miracles, sacred animals, subtle beings or angels. The religion of Islam simply bases itself on reality as it is: humankind as it is, and God as He is, and everything else follows from these two
axioms.

~ Excerpted from What is Islam and Why? By Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad

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