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Islam and World Peace - Explanations of a Sufi
by M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

The Inner Qur'an

 I seek refuge in Allah from the evils of the accursed satan.
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

May all the peace, the beneficence, and the blessings of God be upon you.1

Brothers and sisters in Islam, no matter what changes occur throughout the ages, the Qur'an is one thing that never changes. It is immutable. It offers an explanation appropriate for every period of time and for every level of understanding. All the meanings it contains could not be written down even if all the oceans of the world were made into ink and all the trees were made into pens.

To comprehend the Qur'an, first we must establish our absolute faith, certitude, and determination;2 then we must acquire wisdom; and finally we must delve deep inside and study it from within. If we look into the depths of the Qur'an, we will find the complete never-ending wealth and grace of Almighty God.3 We will find the light of Allah, the resplendence of Allah. We will not find racial or religious prejudices, battles, or fighting of any kind. We will find only the benevolence of all the universes.

The Qur'an appeared as the beginning, the emergence of creation (Awwal Muhammad), as the eternal life, the emergence of the soul (Hayah Muhammad), as the food, the nourishment for all creations (An 'um Muhammad), as the innermost heart (Ahmad), as the beauty of the face which is a reflection of the beauty of the heart (Muhammad), and as the plenitude, the light which became completeness within Allah and then emerged (Nur Muhammad).

The Qur'an is a treasure which continually speaks to our faith. Its verses were sent to Muhammad one by one, according to the needs of the people, the difficulties they were undergoing, and the questions they asked. These verses and chapters were sent to bring clarity to man, from the time he appears as a fetus, as the mim,4 to the moment he reaches the shore of the hereafter. They cleanse man stage by stage. Whatever state he is in at one time of prayer,5 the Qur'an explains the state he should achieve by the next prayer time. In this way, the Qur' an lifts man up, causing his wisdom, his beauty, and his divine knowledge6 to grow little by little.

The Prophet said, "Even though I depart from the world, I leave you the Qur'an. That is your evidence. Please keep it close to you. The Qur'an will be a teacher and a learned one to the innermost heart." That is why its verses were sent to mankind. Step by step the Qur'an elevates man; chapter by chapter, it cuts away all the things within him that need to be discarded. That is the purpose of the Qur'an-to eliminate the four hundred trillion, ten thousand degenerate qualities and actions which oppose the truth of God, and to show man how to develop, how to beautify and improve himself. The Qur'an has the capacity to cut away this birth, to cast out arrogance, karma, illusion, and the sexual energies of the three sons of illusion.7 It can dispel man's love for earth, sensual pleasures, and gold. It can drive away lust, anger, miserliness, attachment, bigotry, envy, theft, murder, falsehood, and the effects of intoxicants.

To rid himself of these evil qualities, a true human being must sacrifice and purify his heart for Allah. He must perform the ritual sacrifice called qurban8 for the sake of truth and justice, for the sake of righteous action, duty, equality, peacefulness, unity, and for the love of the one human family. If he does this, he will acquire the qualities, actions, and beauty of Allah. This is the state which the Qur'an depicts, the path of perfect purity.9 This is Allah's kingdom, and He is the only One who protects it, conducts its affairs, and rules over it with total justice. Anyone who acts according to that justice and understands Allah in completeness becomes His slave.10 Such a man owns nothing of his own, and so Allah protects him and looks after all his needs.

If a man progresses to this state of purity, if he succeeds in cutting away all these evil qualities, then he becomes a true believer,11 living for nothing other than Allah, and having nothing other than Allah in his thoughts or intentions. He does not concern himself with seeing or hearing others, because no one else exists for him. He sees nothing other than Allah. He speaks to no one other than Allah. He has closed himself off to the sight and sound of everything but Allah. That is why he is called an ummi, an unlettered one. And because he has no words of his own, Allah's words and sounds come through him. He becomes the hadith12 which explains the inner and outer aspects of Allah's revelations. In that state, his body or form is the holy book and his innermost heart is the Umm al-Qur'an. What does Umm mean? It means "mother." The mother who raises the true believer is the Umm al-Qur'an, the mother of justice and faith, the mother of man's wisdom. The Umm al-Qur'an is the essence of the Qur'an, the eye of the Qur'an.

If man will only open that eye, he will know Allah, and knowing Allah, he will hear only His sounds and His words. This was the state of the Prophet, Muhammad al-Ummi. He was unlearned, and therefore, the words that he received could only have come through God's revelation.13 Allah explained to Muhammad the meaning of Iman-Islam, prayer, worship,14 and everything He had revealed to the earlier prophets. Through Muhammad, His Final Prophet, Allah clarified everything for mankind.

Of all the prophets, only Moses and Muhammad attained the state where they met and spoke directly to God-Moses on Mount Sinai, when God revealed Himself as a resplendent light, and Muhammad once face to face during his mystical journey to heaven,15 and also in the many direct revelations he received.16

Moses and Muhammad also shared another distinction. They were the only two prophets whose names began with the letter mim. The mim was what Allah created first, and from it He made all of His creations. The letter mim covers the universes of the primal beginning, this world, and the hereafter.17 It penetrates the essence and the manifestation,18 as well as good and evil. All creations begin with mim, and as long as they continue to appear, that mim, the pearl of creation, will exist. It is endless.

Through that mim Allah gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the explanations of the Torah, showing him what was permissible and forbidden19 according to God's law, and what was good and evil?20 With the grace of that mim, Moses was able to perform miracles and to deliver his people from Pharoah. And it was to the mim in Muhammad that Allah revealed the 6,666 verses of the Qur' an.

The Sufis say that it is impossible to give a complete explanation of the mim; it can only be grasped by those who search deeply with perfect faith and an open heart. How then is it possible to explain who Muhammad truly is? How can we say when Muhammad was created or when he appeared? Only if we understand the real Qur'an completely can we understand Muhammad. Until a man reaches that state, he will continue to say that Muhammad is the son of Aminah and 'Abdullah. The Sufis call Muhammad the light of the innermost heart. In Tamil muham means face and aham means heart. When the Ahmad, the state of the heart, becomes Muhammad, then the light of the innermost heart is revealed in the beauty of the face.

The Sufis also say that only when man comes to a realization of himself and dives deep within the inner Qur'an, drinking from its essence, will the truth of Muhammad be revealed to him in his meditation. Only when he reaches the state where he speaks to Allah alone, can he be said to truly exist in Islam. When he attains that state of communion with Allah, he will understand that the Qur'an and the holy books are his own body, the inner mystical form of a true human being. Such a man will understand the inner meaning of al-hamdu lillah,21 which is the praise of the inner form of man. Understanding the history of the One who is all praise, he will glorify Him alone. Only then can he see this history as one continuous study, an endless ocean of divine knowledge. Otherwise, each book he reads will explain a few points and then refer him to another book which will then refer him to yet another book. As long as he continues reading only those outer books, he will never reach his freedom.

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My brothers, we must consider how the Qur'an came from Allah, and we must delve deep within it. In order to understand its true meaning, we must be in the same state as that original Qur'an was when it emerged from Allah. It came as a resplendence, a radiance, a resonance, and a grace. Then it came as a light to Gabriel. And when it came to Muhammad, the Messenger, it came as the grace and attributes of Allah. Next Muhammad brought it to us as a revelation. Then the sound of these revelations was transformed into letters and formed into words. What was revealed in those words ultimately became public knowledge and part of history. The interpretations of this knowledge later gave rise to religious differences, divisions, and bigotry, which in turn gave rise to prejudice, fighting, and wars. This is the state the world has come to.

We, however, must delve into the depths of the Qur' an; we must experience each step of the way as it originally came from Allah. As we look deeper and deeper, we will see the Messenger of God, and once we see him, we will know how Gabriel came to him and how he received that grace. We will see the light, and if we look through that light we will experience the resonance of Allah within the Qur'an. As we understand that resonance, we will understand our life and our death; we will understand the Day of Judgment, the Day of Questioning, and the ninety-nine attributes22 of Allah.

Once we have this understanding, we will see that all men are our brothers, just as the Qur'an teaches us. To truly see all people as our brothers is Islam. If we see anyone who is in need, we must offer him the water of the mercy of all the universes, the water of absolute faith, and the affirmation of that faith, the kalimah. That water must be given to everyone who is hungry or thirsty. We must embrace them lovingly, quench their thirst, and wash away their dirt. We must offer them love, compassion, patience, and tolerance, just as the Prophet did. This is what will satisfy their needs and dispel the darkness in their hearts.

My brothers and sisters in Islam, if we offer peace, then justice will flourish. Love will cut away all enmity. Compassion will cause God's grace to grow in this world, and then the food of faith and the mercy of all the universes can be offered. When that food is given, hunger, disease, old age, and death will be eliminated, and everyone will have peace.

Allah and the state of a true human being are right here within us. It is a great secret, hidden within our hearts, within the Umm al-Qur'an. Only if we can study this divine knowledge can we attain our freedom. All who have faith must reflect upon this, understand it, and teach it to those who have less wisdom, to those who have no clarity of heart, to those whose minds oppose us, and to those who have no peace of mind. We must teach them these qualities, give them this food, this beauty, and this nourishment of grace and absolute faith. Every human being in the community of Islam, everyone who has faith, all those who are learned and wise, all the leaders of prayer and the teachers, all those who know the Qur'an-all must understand this. This is what I ask of you.

Amen. Allah is sufficient unto us all.

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Footnotes

1.al-salam 'alaykum wa-rahmat Allah wa-barakatuhu kulluh
2. iman
3. The rahmah of Allah ta'ala
4 mim, the Arabic letter (M ) which correlates to the English consonant 'M.' Its shape is similar to the sperm cell. See glossary.
5 waqt
6. ilm
7. tarahan: the pathway for the sexual act, the birth canal or vagina. singhan: the arrogance present at the moment of ejaculation.
suran: the illusory images of the mind enjoyed during the sexual act.
8. Externally, it is the ritual slaughter of animals to make them permissible to eat. Inwardly, it is to sacrifice one's life in devotion to God and to cut away the beastly qualities within the heart of man.
9. Din al-Islam
10.'abd
11.mu'min
12. The traditions of Prophet Muhammad, often the words and commands of God. In this context,man becomes Allah's words and sounds.
13. wahy
14. salah and 'ibadah
15. mi'raj
16. hadith qudsi
17. al-awwal, dunya, and al-akhirah
18. dhat and sifat
19. halal and haram
20. khayr and sharr
21. All praise is to God!
22. wilayat


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Copyright 2003, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship