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

The Spread of Islam

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

My brothers and sisters in Islam who are true believers,2 I give you my greetings. May the peace of Allah be upon you.3

It has been 1,408 years since the congregation called Islam emerged from among the children of Adam. Allah, all glory and exaltedness be His,4 perfected the state of true Islam with the coming of the Final Prophet, Muhammad, His Chosen Messenger. Through the Angel Gabriel, Allah sent the Holy Qur'an as revelations to His Prophet. In turn, Muhammad explained the five principles of Islam5 to the great holy men of divine wisdom,6 to the saints, to the archangels, and to all mankind.

But Islam is not just 1,408 years old. Islam is truth. It is Allah's radiant light, His qualities and actions, His attributes, and His compassion. It is perfect purity. Allah placed this purity within man when He created Adam. Islam, therefore, existed even before the creation of man. It existed in the world of the pure souls.7 This has been revealed in the traditional stories of Islam.8

Truth is one and Islam is one. It shows no preference for any particular religion, sect, race, or tribe. It sees no differences between black, white, red, and yellow. It does not distinguish between people from China and people from Africa, America, Europe, Australia, Asia, Russia, or any country in the world. It does not even show differences between those in the realm of the primal beginning9 and those in the hereafter.10 The word Islam has only one meaning: the unity and peacefulness of truth. That truth is Allah. He rules all the universes with His truth and peacefulness and with absolute faith, certitude, and determination.11 Islam is comprised of His three thousand gracious qualities and attributes, His unity, tranquility, and virtuous conduct, His equality, and His compassion. They are His wealth. To attain that wealth we recite the kalimah, "There is nothing other than You, O God. Only You are Allah."12 God is the One to whom we pray. He is the truth which we must accept in this world and in the hereafter.

My brothers who are true believers must realize this. Islam must realize this. There should be no divisions among those who, with perfect faith, have accepted the truth of Allah and affirmed the kalimah. All those who worship Him and pray to Him should pray in unity. All must unite as one in times of sorrow and in times of joy, in death and in life. To be in Islam means to be united as one congregation in all three realms: in the primal beginning, in this world, and even in the hereafter. It means to see Him face to face, worshiping Him, and greeting Him with peace in our hearts.

Here and in the hereafter, we must embrace all those who with absolute faith accept Allah in their hearts. We must pray to Allah in a state of unity, peacefulness, and truth, and then give greetings of peace to each brother. Standing face to face, our eyes looking directly into our brother's eyes, our hands clasping his hands, and our hearts embracing his heart with love, we must say, "May the peace of God be upon you."

This is the unity and beauty of Islam, the beauty that Muhammad brought to the people. Wherever we go, our hearts must be in that state. Our prayers must be one-pointed, directed toward the same place, toward Allah, the One who is truth. If we can recite the praises of Allah and the Prophet,13 then look each other in the eye, give peaceful greetings, and embrace each other-if we can achieve that oneness of the heart with all lives, then we will be true believers.

As brothers in Islam, we must open our hearts and look within. Without jealousy, envy, deceit, or trickery, without divisiveness or discrimination, we must turn our hearts to the straight path and glorify Allah. Accepting the truth and abiding by it, we must establish that truth in the right manner, with love, forbearance, and equality. This is the state of Iman-Islam, which the Prophet explained 1,408 years ago. This is what is spoken of in the Qur'an.

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My brothers, before the time of Prophet Muhammad, there were many, many divisions and sects among the people of Mecca. They worshiped three hundred and sixty different idols, which they housed in the Ka`bah.14 They performed mantras, magics, and miracles. Although so many prophets had come to the world, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, and many others, Mecca was still a place of idol worship. Those who lived at this time are commonly referred to as the ignorant ones.15 Even after Muhammad came and taught the kalimah, most of the people in both Mecca and Medina still had no faith and rejected his teachings. They were referred to as unbelievers.16

But did Islam reject the people of Mecca and Medina? No. It was not the purpose of the Prophet to divide or to create enmity. Islam tells us not to discard the unbelievers or those who are ignorant, but rather to transform them. Once they acquire faith and their hearts are filled with light, once they perform their prayers to Allah alone, they too will be in Islam.

All those in Islam must reflect on this today. If we consider the way in which the Prophet transformed the people of Mecca and Medina, can we not follow that same process now, in the rest of the world? Islam is compassion, tolerance, forbearance, and the gracious qualities of Allah. It should not create barriers or divide people; it should show them the way and invite them into itself. That was the way of Muhammad and the way of the earlier prophets.

Just as the Prophet transformed the unbelievers into Islam through his love and his gracious qualities, each one of you must turn those evil qualities within yourself into good qualities. You must develop inner patience, contentment, trust in Allah, and praise of Allah.17 Only then can you truly be a follower of Islam.

It is these good qualities and good thoughts that can attract and capture the hearts of others. It is love that can open and reveal a person's innermost heart to himself. Once his heart is opened, absolute faith can bring him to a state of steadfastness. Then that person is ready to go in search of the truth, and when he finds the truth, he will find Allah, who is that truth. And once he finds the justice and the peacefulness of Allah, he too will be able to dispense justice and peacefulness throughout the world. In this state, he will glorify Allah, the Protector, the Most Compassionate. Such a man will embrace and comfort others with his life, his heart, and his body. This is how the individual, the world, and Allah's kingdom of justice can be ruled by the qualities which emerge from within the heart of one who has absolute faith, certitude, and determination.

You should not call anyone an unbeliever. When your love goes out and embraces the hearts of others, when truth enters their hearts and perfect faith conquers them, at that moment, at the very instant that faith appears in their hearts, they are in Islam, are they not? They have turned around and hoisted the flag of Islam, have they not? At that moment, those whom you once called unbelievers are changed. They accept Allah as the truth and now they worship only Him. Only the grace called faith can overcome and conquer the unbelievers.

Faith alone can capture another heart. Faith alone can rule the world. The qualities of Allah that exist within the heart of one with determined faith must reach out, enter the heart of another, and give him comfort and peace. It is seeing Allah's compassion, His equality, His tranquility, His integrity, His honesty, and the manner in which He embraces and protects all lives with equal justice which can bring a person to the state of harmony and compel him to bow in unity. It is these qualities that can conquer people and nations. They begin by capturing the hearts of a few, then they reach out to all those in the village, then the city, and eventually these qualities reach out to the entire population of the country.

Through Allah, faith can conquer the primal beginning, this world, the hereafter,18 and all of everything. This is the proof that Allah alone rules His kingdom. This is how true Islam spreads, not by going to war to conquer other lands. If we can complete the war within ourselves against our own bad qualities, then our faith will be able to conquer other hearts and other countries.

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To be in Islam is to act with virtue, modesty, compassion, peacefulness, forbearance, Allah's three thousand gracious attributes, His unity, His tranquility, and His equality. Islam embraces all equally in both joy and sorrow. If one is hungry, all are hungry. If one is sad, all are sad. If one is happy, all are happy.

In this state of Islam, if we have a quarrel with somebody after the afternoon prayer,19 we must make peace, and embrace each other by the time of the early evening prayer.20 Any evil influences created must be thrown away before the next time of prayer. We must ask God for forgiveness for the faults we committed and strive for repentance. For what is happening now, during this very breath, we must glorify His name. And we must surrender to God the next breath, the next time of prayer to come. Whether or not we are alive in the next moment is Allah's will. May His will be fulfilled. If we have this faith with perfect certitude, if we have this intention with every breath, if we can acquire His qualities and His actions, then that is the state of Islam lived by true believers.

Whatever suffering each one of us faces, we must have patience. If we undergo even greater suffering, we must have contentment. If we undergo still greater difficulty we must surrender it to God. And when our suffering extends yet further, beyond our endurance, we can do nothing but praise Him. This is Islam-to praise Allah for whatever happens.

To worry about what has happened before or what is to come later is not Islam. If one constantly worries about what has gone by, his heart will be filled with grief and darkness. Grief and darkness are not Islam. Envy, jealousy, and treachery are not Islam. For what has gone by, all we can do is ask for forgiveness and strive for repentance21 and then complete whatever needs to be done now. This is the correct state of Islam, the state that a man who is a true believer must attain.

If our hearts attain this state of clarity, we will never see differences anywhere. If His qualities develop in us, we will never show discrimination toward anyone. Allah does not see any differences. Truth sees no differences. The prayer that accepts Allah as the only One worthy of worship sees no divisions. His equality and His peacefulness do not see any differences. Islam brings that equality and that peacefulness to every heart. It demonstrates unity and compassion to every heart.

Just getting together and talking about these things is not the true voice of Islam. Islam is not idle talk. In order to give voice to Islam, we must bring these words into our hearts, make them steadfast within us, and then act accordingly. We must praise Allah saying, "All praise is to You,"22 greet His prophets, saying, "God bless them and grant them peace,"23 and greet those who have faith, saying, "May the peace of God be upon you." That is the true voice of Islam. Coming together to glorify Allah alone is Islam.

We must bring God's qualities into action within us. This is the command of Allah, shown to us by every prophet He sent, from Adam to Prophet Muhammad. If every one of us can establish this state, if we can exhibit and prove this within our own hearts, we will be true believers. May we who have the determined faith of true believers think deeply about this. May every heart reflect on this. The kings who are true believers, the elders who are true believers, the rulers, the learned ones, the teachers, and those with the wealth of Allah24 - all those who are true believers-must reflect upon this. Our entire generation must reflect upon this.

We must understand the words of Allah, the words of the Prophet, and the treasure of grace buried within the Qur'an. We must embrace that treasure to our own hearts before we can explain it to the hearts of others and help them to accept it. The Qur'an is our treasury, the wealth of Islam, from which everything comes. Even though we may be poor in this world, we can earn the wealth of God in the hereafter. The wealth of this world will be left behind, but the wealth of His qualities, His actions, and the divine knowledge25 of His grace26 will be with us forever. Those who have made their hearts the repository of this wealth of Allah's grace and have acquired that divine knowledge and put it into practice are the ones who can truly be called the wealthy ones in the hereafter.

May this beneficence which Allah has given fill the hearts of everyone around us, in all three realms of the primal beginning, this world, and the hereafter. May their hearts be filled with the wealth of grace-awakened wisdom,27 the wealth of prayer and worship,28 and the wealth of justice. And may we make our hearts the repository of Allah's wealth and share it with the hearts of our brothers and sisters. May we strive hard to help them fill their hearts with divine knowledge and faith, so that they will be the wealthy ones in the hereafter. May all attain peace within their hearts. May we make every effort to do this. In our prayer, in our congregations, in the mosques, in our jobs, in our worldly life, in death and in life, in sorrow and in joy-may we strive for only this wealth, this unity, this grace.

My very precious brothers who have opened out the umbrella of grace called Islam, unfurled the flag of perfect faith, and walked on the good path, with awareness in our hearts, let us establish this state of unity called Islam and lead our lives in that unity. Amen.

Certain words may have been repeated here, but they contain meanings which must be said over and over and over again until they are understood. They have been repeated so that we will gain more and more understanding each time we read them. Therefore, please forgive the repetition. Please forgive us in the name of Allah and Muhammad. These are the words that came to our heart. Please do not reject them.

If there is any fault, please forgive me in the name of Allah and His Messenger. I give peaceful greetings to all of you.

May all the peace, the beneficence, and the blessings of God be upon you. Amen. May Allah guide us on the path of equality and peacefulness. May He strengthen our faith, take us on the straight path, and accept us. Amen.

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Footnotes

1. as-salam 'alaykum wa-rahmat Allah wa-barakatuhu kulluh
2. mu'min
3. as-salam 'alaykum
4. subhanahu wa-ta'ala
5. The five obligatory duties of Islam: faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca.
6. qutbs
7. 'alam al-arwah
8. ahadith
9. al-awwal
10. al-akhirah
11. iman
12. La ilah illa Allah
13. salawat
14. The cube-like building in the center of the mosque in Mecca.
15. jahils
16. kafirs
17.sabr, shukr,tawakkul 'ala Allah, and al-hamdu lillah
18. al-awwal, dunya, and al-akhirah
19. 'asr
20. maghrib
21. tawbah
22. al-hamdu lillah
23. The salawat: Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa-sallam.
24. dawlah
25. 'ilm
26. rahmah
27. gnanam
28. 'ibadah

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Copyright 2003, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship