Islam and the Rise of Global Spirituality


 Introduction – Dr Saeed Shehabi: I am not sure if we have a record attendance today because people love spiritualism or the HSBC and banking.  Our aim tonight is to try and find a common cause between the two: spirituality and banking, materialism and spiritualism.


First of all I would like to thank the HSBC which is sponsoring tonight’s session and after the first speech they are going to provide us with a glance of what they do in their amanah services. These are  Islamic banking services adopted by the HSBC in recent years.


I was not expecting so many people. This shows that people are really looking for spirituality at  this time. I thought that people are more materialistic. I also want to welcome Dr Ali Alawi, a former Minister of Finance in Iraq, who spoke on this platform two and a half years ago.

Sheikh Fadhlalla Haeri: I would like to thank Saeed Shehabi and all of you who have come to make this gathering possible. I thank Allah for putting our hearts in knowledge and light and to discover the purpose that life has and the position of human beings in this journey.


I have five points which I would like to share with you:


·         The core essence of the din of Islam, the path of Islam;

·         The history of religions and how sometimes the original path meets the peoples practice and sometimes it does not. In the case of Islam the divergence of Muslims from the din. Simply being a Muslim does not mean that the person is living fully his din and has been  awakened and enlightened by it;

·         The present situation essentially in the, developed Western world and the urgency in the Western world towards human potential and the discovery of excellence in perfection in whatever a person does;

·         The overall global situation. I am sharing with you now why I believe spirituality is prevailing again because of secularism. We are heading towards an era of spiritualising our secularised world.


So to begin the din of Islam is based on the notion of  the inner feeling of all human beings of oneness – that there is one creator. It is tawhid. It is based on the fact that we are all caught in this world by these four corner stones which are described as being the qualities of Allah and his creation command.


They are the first, the last the evident and the hidden. The heavens are hidden the earth is evident. My inner most situation within  by own body is hidden but my senses and my ability to hear is evident.


So whatever you and I perceive, conceive and feel is within  this  dichotomy of first, last, evident or unseen. This brings us to the key issue in this life. All general experience is one of two: duality – man, woman, up down, night day, good bad, happy unhappy, living dead: and, and, and, what can this and be unless it is one of two. Yet these two are connected through the  inception by the light of the one.


Our din has got within it the perfect inner technology to unify and bring into unison the two most important dualities: self and soul, the ego, the so called I based on my biography  conditioned consciousness and that which is within  the heart: pure consciousness – real life.  The Qur’an tells us  that when  you question what is  this ruh you can only say it is from the command of my Lord.


So within every human being there is an entity within the heart, the soul. Others call it the higher essence or the secret or any other such name implying that which you cannot define or delineate.  You can say something which he is doing now is rude, or upsetting or okay and fine.  The outer qualification of a person or a persona or a personality can be  described, discussed and related to. But the ruh cannot. The implication is that we, all of us, children of Adam have within us the same intrinsic essence which  reflects the supreme essence, the eternal.


This whole business occurred with Adam  – in other words the four and a half billion years since the creation of the earth culminates some ten, twenty, fifty thousand years ago with the rise of the  consciousness discriminating between specific things, worldly things and the divine – the combination of the two. And this is what distinguishes human beings from all other creations and animals.


And this unison, the co-relation between the so-called being –  sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy, sometimes angry, sometimes at peace sometimes expecting – it is so transitory, referring this to the higher in me. Things that are the foundation of morality. So human being are distinguished from animals by having this thing called morality or ethics or ethical responsibility because of this high consciousness, pure  consciousness, divine consciousness within the heart and personal, conditioned consciousness. The so-called me which is always changing. So there is something in me which always changes for the better, moving towards unison towards that which is like a light in the heart representing the ever perfect creator.


So it is again to bring about tawhid. The story begins  when Allah created Adam and said I did not create any of these entities except to worship. Who are these entities? They are minerals, plants all the animals to human beings.  There is a highly structured programme or domain.


The human beings situation can move beyond that.. It can rebel. It can be worse than animals.  It can be satanic. So the beginning of it all lies in the consciousness of realising that there is an all encompassing reality.


My interpretation of the that tree is the tree of duality:  good and bad. The jenah has only perfection in it. That is ferdos, not the jenah of the salat. If it is an aspect of this earth it must also be part of jennah.


All of us, everyone of us wants to have a garden.  Everyone wants to be a gardener to groom our nafs and to curb our lower tendencies. That is a more difficult issue. Allah reminds us that only if your  nafs have been subdued, your lower self has been subdued, then it can enter jennah. You can have access to jenah now but you we more used to creating havoc and chaos because we do not have total disappearance for the world of duality into the every present jenah within the heart.


This is the amazing revealed information: that there is one who created you and you are there to make sense out of it. And this courtesy and this information must now end up being a transformation. So if I am not transformed by it  I remain just declaring aspects of being and if you like becoming professional and the din becomes a way of earning a living without having a real transformation.


And that is what most religions suffer from, especially the Abrahamic traditions which was formed 1850 years before the before that advent of Christ with Abraham who grew up near the city of Ur and migrated to what is now Turkey and towards what is now Palestine or Israel and then down to Egypt and back again to the sacred areas in Palestine near Jerusalem.


He is the father of us all in that context. The Qur’an declares that  Ibrahim was in submission to this truth. The truth is that we want comfort, we want ease, we want well being, heath, and a good mind and a purified heart  so that transformation eventually occurs. Access to the ruh can only occur if the heart pure. Otherwise it is murkier and there are ayas in the Qur’an which describe seven or eight sickness of the heart.


So we need to ensure  that the heart is pure: No anger, no expectations. We also have our rituals, tawaf and the sacrifice at the end of  haf. This is the Prophet’s sacrifice, or willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismael.  Some traditions say Ishak. It does not matter as long as this great being who had given up everything for hak had something in his heart about his son, he was over 100 years old and he had to clear it out. His willingness  to sacrifice his son brought this manifestation of the ram and he was inspired to sacrifice the ram instead.


This is where we come on the path of accepting things as they are. Reading things as they are in the right context. More than anything else we want to clear our head, taking counsel, referring to others, taking the best  advice. Ultimately  you and yourself and between you and your creator to make sure the heart is pure.


So this is in  fact our din of Islam.. It is declared that you have to be concentrated. Prophet Muhammed, when he was in Mecca never said he had brought a new religion. He declared repeatedly that he was here to complete and that you must put Allah in the centre of everything you do because he is the cause of it all. He is the one who has given you life, he is the one who has created the pattern of cause and effect. The more you refer to the creator the more you  likely  you are to be steady and centred within yourself.  Then you can sail through life and the journey with all its ups and downs with a reasonable balance and equanimity.


As you know the Ibrahamic prophets were numerous, maybe in the thousands and they all had come to re-correct an imbalance or re-emphasise an issue. They were using the language of the day which also comprised a culture. In order to let everybody take that responsibility to themselves, in order for  everyone to realise that if you make goodness for yourself, save yourself from your lower self. This was the message throughout the numerous  currencies of prophecies. And the Qur’an  tells  us they are all the same in the sense that they are declaring the same thing, they are singing the same song but in a manner that is more appropriate for the time and they age from which they come.


So all these are paths of salvation. There is also a saying that there are as many paths to Allah as there are human beings, implying that the outer biographies, the outer physiology, your genetic inheritance is different from everyone else’s. But our spiritual inheritance is the same. We want  the same certainty, security, faith that  will lead us towards hope and well being and inner contentment which is the door to happiness. No one can be happy unless they maintain contentment at heart.


I think contentment is not possible to be maintained for any durable time. Equally we have to struggle, each one of us as we do, to maintain outer justice, goodness, compassion, generosity etc


In the world as it is you see chaos in the global sense. Earlier on this chaos was  on a smaller scale. Now we have globalisation. It may have certain advantages, the internet, us discovering a lot of aspects of   news and technology. But it also has the effect of realising how much injustice there is and that people cannot do much about it because of  the political machinations and the global aspects of monopolies, corporations and global finance. They have  their  own machinations.


We have often found ourselves at a cross roads. Is there anything we can do? What should we do  as human beings who believe that this life is a preparation for the  next life? How could we be effective in doing our bit of consciousness? Of  jihad. And all of us are constantly confronted with an issue about what we can do in order to at least  air our perception of this total abusiveness of this world situation, especially if we believe, ourselves as Muslims, that real life comes after departure from this physicality. And therefore we need to prepare for it.


And when you see  the total lopsidedness of the world with cultures being totally materialistic and abusive we need to counsel each other and put things in perspective rather than lash out emotionally or  individually and therefore also end up in the bad place.


So this brings me to the issue that most of the religions, regardless of the spiritual path, always start with unity between the outer and inner and often end up with a structure or traditions that are sanctified  with inner light or give life that comes with light.


That is why often pseudo religious  people are very grim. That is why most young   people don’t like it. And quite rightly. If you discover the omnipresent, glorious creator who is always guiding us about what to do and what not to do, why can’t you liven up and share it? Why are you unhappy? Why is everything miserable? It shows he who has not got that higher divine inner light and outer struggle, seriousness and responsibility  is out of balance.


What happens now is our world instead of being out centric it is bicentric,  if you look at Europe after an oppressive, if you like specialised period of Christianity  which was  created in order to reinforce the Roman Empire by Constantine in the 1330’s. To consolidate this empire he created a very refined aspect of the Abrahamic tradition. Soon after that it became very oppressive.  With the inquisitions and divisions in the church there were about 500 years of conflict.


People  were fed up and we saw the beginning of  the renaissance and the reformation which led to the industrial revolution, the scientific revolution, the technological revolution. Now we have IT and a real change in every aspect of our lives. For two hundred years fiefdoms were based on land ownership. Now there are IT fiefdoms and it is mostly young people who seem to be able to deal with this very well.


So now we have come to a situation where our world, this global scene has in a way shrunk distance, through communication, satellite, through whatever you find that the distances of the world are disappearing.


I as a student of basic  science know that time and space cannot be separated and that whatever you experience within time and space gives actually a bent, spherical  aspect which brings about the experience as the force of gravity. Space is the end of that apparent thing called time which mean the demise of absence and heralds the ever-presence.


That is why I say spirituality will be the next theme. Materialism is now taken to its hilt. It  doesn’t mean that the rest of the world is not in the queue for the green card or the British passport. They are. The first thing we need to do is to keep the body healthy, intact, in line. Then we go higher and higher towards the hierarchy  towards equanimity, towards the realisation of the ever-present creator.


So there is a hierarchy and people need to have some shelter, some food, some clothing. When half the world does not have potable water how can there be justice. Every year you find there is more poverty in the world than the year before. And there is also more concentrated wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer than the year before.


That  is why the world is suffering from a totally unjust, global situation and we are the inevitable recipients of this imbalance. The demise of distance is the beginning which is giving us the preview to the diving presence. That is why this thing within us which constantly leads us to want to know, who I am, where am I going, what is the meaning of life, what comes later, who can save me, how can anybody help me, what is the role of religions,  how can I be illumined by religion.


This is coming more and more into the forefront. That is why we are Muslims, if we truly believe our din, not just talk about it. Instead of being in the head or in the books it should be in our hearts, for us to be the first recipients of these high ideals of  nourishment. Then other things can happen.


In South Africa one of the biggest obstacles to propagating the din of Islam was that most of the people regarded it as being an Indian din. The Indians in South Africa are the Muslims  and they regarded it as their special exclusive. That is why we need to distinguish  the Muslim situation from  Islam. If you look at the history of our 1400 years we find that after the first years of unity and tawhid when people had internalised the inner and outer light they were not cowardice, they were not suicidal, they had no fear of death. They had no fear of shadows in this life and they saw the light of the divine within them. They were awakened. That is why there are so many ayas which cannot be explained unless  we accept that there is another awakening. This life of ours is geological, biological but there is another wave that comes if you access the light in your heart after you have groomed the nafs.


So after I come to the unification movement throughout the world. You come to the few percentage of the top people in the Western world  in the past 40 or 50 years. So much of this pursuit of excellence has been experienced at every level of development including science and physics (especially quantum physics) and the inner functioning of physicality. In the 50s it was mostly to do with the discovery of the atom. But some amazing  things have happened during the last 50 years. We have come to an age of the seen and the unseen meeting. That  is why I think mass spirituality will come from sciences. It will not come from theological schools.


So the cultural position we are in throughout the world is that we all feel there is  a desperate need, if you are satisfied with basic requirements, the need is to discover the  point it is all about. It is about timelessness and spacelesnes. It goes beyond the limitation of change. There is one package in Islam our salat. If we perform our sira fully, it is higher than any practice of meditation. It takes us to another zone beyond space and time.  Having that instant travel and back. Distances are no distances, time is no time, beyond the limitation of physicality.


It does not deny our physicality. Allah tells us that if we are blind in this world we will be more blind in the next. So you can’t say never mind this world. But equally do not forget that the real purpose of this world is to discover your eternal side. So the object is to be least nafsi, least selfish, by reducing my desire to own things to posses and grooming that into modesty. It is not easy for everyone. There is a lot of temptation and destraction.  As we grow older we can say less food.


The other one is repulsion, anger.  When anger becomes courage it brings about so many virtues. And once knowledge comes into this modified self   is brings wisdom. Then you can talk about justice.  Doing the right thing, at the right time in the right place without any concern about the consequences. Just being just. Doing the right thing in the right way at the right time. The perfect Prophetic profile. That is why we love the Prophet. That is why we love the imams and the enlightened beings. Because they were safe from themselves and creation was safe from them and their relationship was constantly referring to the ultimate inna ready to leave this world.

If you are ready to leave this world, you are qualified to deal with it as appropriately as you can.


So now we now come to the global scene. Allah  declares to us that the whole world, the whole people. Every human being has the light in the heart and a different, every-changing personality. If that personality does not get into unison, with reference to its root which is its soul or spirit then we are disjoined. Allah reminds us: “What is in your heart, what is your priority?”


So I am here this evening to share with you my utter optimism  based on what I tried to take you through in a very fast and speedy panoramic way to declare  to you that these days, these decades are going to be those of spiritualising secularism.  The Western advance or decadence, which ever way you would like to look at the balance sheet in the last 200 years has been a world of meritocracy, what can you do and materialism and  it needs some sort of  an order, some sort of an expectation, some sort of a continuation.


 So this situation is secular. You can be a Catholic, you can be a Christian you can be anybody, provided you can perform you can get a job. Where in the Middle East or other parts of the world is that possible? The first thing they ask is which tribe are you from? And you fall into these sieves and you don’t know where you end up. And that is why we see greater injustice.


Part of that is because we do not have a system of  evaluating leaders. So we end up having for the sake of this so-called idea  among the ummah not to have dispersion or divergence the tendency to keep quiet and so we often end up having the worst of rulers. And many a time you find in our history that there was an alliance between these leaders and the clergymen – whether Sunnis or Shias. They were often paid by  the rulers.


So we are stuck to a great extent and here we have this wonderful package of how you deal with yourself, with your brother, with your sister, with the world at large, with the creator. You are in this world but not of this world. That is why Islam is the key. There will be a rise of this secular spirituality in the West than in the Middle East which is very much under government control and fear in order for them to use the din to enhance their dunia. This is a human tendency.


I was talking to a friend of mine in Iraq who is really baffled and he said you may have helped to take Saddam out of his palace but are you able to take Saddam out of the hearts of the people? Until you realise that everyone has the light of the great magnificent ruler in his heart you become ashamed and become accountable. And you say Allahu akbar: Allah is greater than I can imagine, Allah is greater than I can phathom  and then you are humble.


So if Christians, Jews Muslims truly live their path and are enlightened by their path then we have contributed first to ourselves and then to the global rise based on this secular performance. It has to move to the other end, it can’t go anywhere else.  In the West there is more thirst for spirituality than in the East. In the East  we are more confused. We  think we have it and we lose both this world and the next.  And in the West people who have got it all are still unhappy.


Be aware. You put yourself in the grave every night and then you wake up and say Illuamdu Allah, what an amazing day even if the traffic jams are increasing. And then you see the positive side.


So again I thank you for coming, thank you for your time, thank you for allowing me to share with you my total optimism for which there is very strong evidence and I hope we can share some aspects so all of us can benefit and move higher while we are dealing with Iraq.




Q: I saw a documentary on Channel Five which stated that the heart responds to events before the brain. Does the heart give the order to the brain? The Qur’an talks about a pure heart when making decisions. It doesn’t say you have a pure brain!  What is your advice for moving from thinking about everything in materialistic terms to moving towards the light.


A; This is a very crucial question. It sums up everything.  The cosmology  we have from our tradition in the Qur’an and from the Prophetic way and from the great ones is that we as human beings are a composition of this twoness: one is my personal consciousness and the  other is supreme or pure or God consciousness. God consciousness is my ruh and the ruh is what lives in this thing called the heart. It is the  pumping heart. It is somewhere there. So the source of my life, the umbilical cord to life is from that. And through that the baby  begins to develop the mind, the brain and the memory and the  conditioned consciousness of the baby and the personality later on. So the issue is that  I as a human being  with an identity card with the ability to speak, to sit, to move to think to have memory good or bad be concerned about the future, all of this has come about because of that ruh which is my heart. So if you like the heart is the essence, the source of that energy.

          As for thinking there are two aspects: one is mental thinking and the others refers to the rational self. It is like spiritual intelligence. The more I refer to the absolute the more the relative becomes easy. Your work, my work, his work, the bus has gone, who is there – this is all relative . It is all changing. If I refer to an absolute than I am likely to get the relative in its context. The child as he or she grows, the mother is very much concerned that the child is aware of who is around. She doesn’t mind the child messing up eating when  it is alone but not when people are present. To be aware, take reference.

           So the heart comes before thinking before anything  manifest. It is to do with the rational self.  Where is Allah?  I can refer to my heart if it is a heart if it has been purified.   I am programmed to want survival and I am also programmed to want to be strong. And then I am programmed to love all the  divine attributes. Who doesn’t want wealth, power to be a healer. Everyone  is a bit of healer advising if someone comes and says I have a stomach upset. Children love to play doctors. It is higher up, it belongs to Allah, not to the nafs. So this shadow  of I wants to sit on the throne. This is the issue.


Q: You talked about time and space which are attributes of this life. But when we go to the other life which we believe is eternal, no confines, no restrictions are we talking about the absence of time and space completely.

A: In our tradition there is time and space after death. Until youm al kiyama. Then there is no time and space, absolute. Because the Qur’an tells us that a day with Allah is like 10,000 years. In death I can’t act anymore. But my ruh continues. That is why I said we have the model, but we are not internalising the model.

          The main question you asked is how can I have that higher reference while I am fully absorbed. I think this is personal. Especially a man of your calibre and education. We need to find our own pharmacopia. You can’t be given a specific medicine. I used to find that a bit of a break from the confinement like salat or anything that enables you to switch off totally and allow the vastness of the outer world to re-energise you totally. So you have to find whatever is appropriate for you. I suggest every hour you take five minutes to do a special dikr or anything  that gives you a diversion from the mind and its gymnastics  into the stillness of the inner ruh. You need a little help and guidance until you get it and once you get it you can do it. I can’t give you an absolute specific remedy but they are available.


Q:  How much erfan is the way to deep knowledge?


A:  How can I worship an entity unless I know the aspects of it, unless I love it? Unless I adore it. Again I  go into this duality of my nafs and the thing I have grown up with, my biography and my ruh. I love all the divine attributes.  At all times we are attracted to this panorama of these amazing qualities of Allah. Some of them I cannot  get near. I can’t participate in these higher qualities and that is how I get drawn into internalising my din.  All of it is based on erfan, all of it is life. The young people do not have the inner meaning of worship. What is the inner meaning of wodu. To disconnect from the outer world Bismallah is the most difficult thing – it is the most difficult passport to get. You think an American is difficult. So you  it is all about erfan. Allah is ever forgiving, ever present. So we have to be honest.


QSo many people call for jihad. And the Qur’an says that in a certain environment it is alright to respond in a physical way? When and how should we respond to what is around us?


A: Again a very crucial  and timely question. We are not living in an ideal environment to be able to really follow the original Prophetic injunction of jihad.  There are other conditions in terms of basic theology which need to be present if we are to follow the overall package. The world ‘jihad’ is from the root word of ‘jed’, energy. How can you and I exist without expanding energy? And if that energy is always directed towards the higher or the attainment of the balance with the higher then at least you don’t have to feel  that guilty.

           Here is an aspect of jihad. We have struggled to get here despite all the odds and the difficulties. Time constraint in our to have some idea about the map of existence.  We can use it to succeed either  outwardly or inwardly. I am  not avoiding the issue of how  much can we be in the battlefield.  If I was in south Lebanon and maybe a bit younger or more energetic than I am today I would have certainly gone to the front. But I am that there. And I think I would of  caused so much consumption of  food and water and whatever and I would be so exhausted that I would be pretty useless. So you have to be responsible to yourself about what you are doing because the Prophet’s teaching is vast on this issue. Do it with  your limbs, do it with your tongue in any way you can if see injustice. You cannot just sit back and ignore it because it will affect you.

          Blood pressure is nothing more than someone who has expectations and cannot raise their thoughts. You have to respond. That is one of the reasons I do not watch television. I will either break it or break myself. So you have to question your ability and the context of the time.

          Iraq was the same. Many of my friend told me to go back to Iraq and my feeling was that I can’t be consuming what little there is left of water and electricity: my input would be inappropriate. They need more people on the ground to rebuild the basic structure.  I am offering an experience of the  art of disappearance. But the appearance is not taking place so how can disappearance take place. So you have to be honest with yourself . Guilt  is the distance between what you did at the moment and what you could have done had your referred to the higher entity.


Q:  We see what is happening when spirituality is taken out of religion. It seems that the spiritual  people are abandoning their outlook.  We need the constraints of time and space.


A: You are right. We must be in the middle. You cannot deny the outer responsibility. But equally you will not be qualified for the outer unless you have the constant reference to the inner.  If you deny  one you  will be denied  the other. So it is the constancy of being in the middle. Ready to stay, ready to go.  Then we are not following a pre-conceived prejudice. We are suffering from prejudice. We need justice not prejudice.


Q:  We Muslims are in trouble throughout the world and we have caused more bloodshed among ourselves than from outside.  Can you tell us how to overcome this?


A: Again it is a very crucial issue. And again if we must go to the origin. Were there Sunnis and Shias in Mecca during the time of the Prophet. There were no Sunnis or Shias in the first twenty or thirty years. So these things are natural. As time progresses divisions are natural, dispersions are natural and the yearning for unity that you have described is also natural. If you don’t go back to the source of spirituality we will find that these differences are a cause for fighting.

          I am from South Africa and there is one of my best friends from South Africa, Haroun, sitting there. Do we have any problem of Sunnis and Shias. He is a Hanafi, I am a Jafferi.  We are concerned about the highest. And I enjoy the slight differences. So we have to rise to the higher and then we find the lower disappears. But if as human being we are created to constantly think if the icentricity, my past and the way of things as I was used to I will also see these differences as threatening.  We have not gone to the highest.

Q: Can you elaborate on the notion of oneness?


A: From time immemorial many parts of the world, many parts of human civilisation  people began to have the notion of oneness and that is where supreme consciousness began to impinge of  human consciousness.  So  you will find it even among people who you did not consider historically as  civilised.  There were a lot of nomadic people in the Far East, the Middle East on the subcontinent and in Africa who were aware and they depicted it in cave drawings and in  other traditions. So this notion of the one from which everything has emanated  goes back to the time of Adam.

          As for wahda al wajud I don’t think it was very well understood.  It is the unity of the source of everything in existence rather than everything is the same. The source is one. The  from the supreme essence you have infinite varieties. The ant has soul, it is different from that of a tiger and my soul. My soul contains in a pattern , in a programmed  subliminal software, all the  other souls. That is why I can understand the whale and how it behaves. Everything that is sentient has a soul and all of it  has the presence of the universal supreme soul or Godhead, or any other name you would like to give it.

          The difference between Hinduism or Buddhism and the Islamic tradition is the grooming of the self.  The main aspects of our practices are clear whether it is salat or  zakat, or khums, you have to do it in order to crush the ego and for you to be free from the presumption and assumption that you are this great guy or this great woman.


Q: The Qur’an says that we should not be making excuses for not  going into battle and so on. A small army with faith can defeat a Golaith.  You should not ask can you do it or can you not do it because if you have the faith you will do it. Regarding the Sunni Shia conflict the Qur’an says we have to be obedient to Allah and Allah says to not divide amongst yourselves. So if we just follow that simple thing it is as simple as that.  And also regarding jihad the Prophet once said take care of your parents.


A: He gave guidance for a particular situation. You have to judge it for yourself and not use your parents as an excuse to escape. The nafs wants to serve itself  so it will always find an excuse.

          As for the presence of angels sometimes you feel another power, you feel you are not alone. There is some angelogy going on. In the last  three or four years no less than 300 or 400 books have been published on the presence of angels. How do you use the angels. The key issue  is that you must be neutral and keep calm and these energies come. You have to be in a certain frame of mind. The energy has to be prevailing or it doesn’t.


Q: You are a man of peace who has built bridges between various religions and cultures. If you were in Iraq what would you suggest ?

A: I would send you a postcard and since I do not intend to be there you will only receive a post card from South Africa. In truth the moment itself, the presence itself, the environment itself will enable everyone to lose our head and our heart together. So I can’t, sitting in the comfort of this place, say what would I do there. I really don’t know. If I well and I am up to it I may be right in the front. Or I may be helping others or I may be teaching or I may be carrying water for a woman across the road who is older than I. I really don’t  know but I have to be accountable to myself because I  have to live with myself. I do not want to feel guilty and bad and awful and upset with myself. I first have to save myself from myself in order to have presence. So I really don’t know what I would do. Context, context, context. So if we take the teaching of Islam out of its context than again we are using religious teachings in order to enhance the nafs. So context is essential. You have to be honest. I can’t tell I have to be in unity.


*Fadhlalla Haeri is a philosopher/writer who combines knowledge and experience of the spiritual teachings of the East with a keen understanding of the West. He was raised in a family of several generations of Islamic spiritual leaders in the Holy City of Karbala. Educated in Europe and America, Shaykh Fadhlalla was active in the oil industry and international business, which he abandoned in pursuit of spiritual knowledge. His belief in the universality of the true Islamic heritage enables him to understand and relate to the spiritual quest wherever it may arise, irrespective of culture or ethnicity.  One of his main aims is to make accessible to younger generations the Prophetic way of life, through understanding the foundation of the Divinely revealed message and its omnipresent Creator.

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