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

The Holy War Within

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

God is Most Great. God is Most Great. Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar. There is no god other than God, and Muhammad is His Messenger. La ilaha illa Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah

My brothers and sisters in Iman-Islam, 1 we have affirmed this kalimah. 2 We trust in God and have faith in Him alone, and with that determined faith we accept the revelations brought by the Prophet Muhammad. This is justice and truth, and truth is the silent witness in our life and in the hereafter.3 To accept this truth and establish it is Iman-Islam To recite the kalimah to Allah with absolute faith, certitude, and determination, and to accept His representatives is Iman-Islam To pay obeisance to Him, to worship Him alone without the slightest doubt, to become His slave, 4 and to put His actions into practice in our lives is Iman-Islam From out of the beauty of Islam emerges Allah's power 5 and His wealth.

My brothers and sisters, before we consider the meaning of jihad, or holy war, let us think about the straight path and the oneness of Allah. This Unique, Almighty Power has no comparison; nothing is equal to Him, nothing can be likened to Him. That is why He is called the Incomparable One, and that is why we must accept Him.

The Qur'an, the traditions of the Prophet, 6 and the kalimah are His signs. They provide explanations about His representatives and about His power. The entire Qur'an is an explanation of the oneness of Allah, and the kalimah verifies this oneness. The Qur'an tells us with certainty that we are all the children of Adam and the slaves of Allah, our Creator. He is the One who gives according to the needs of each. He shows no differences among His creations; He creates, protects, and sustains us all. He is the Unique One who will call us all back and question us later. The Qur'an states this with certainty, and we must understand this with our seven states of wisdom. We who are the children of Adam must fully accept Him within our hearts. We must bow down 7 and prostrate 8 before Him. That is the meaning of the kalimah and the meaning of Iman-Islam.

My brethren, let me tell you a story so that you may better understand the meaning of jihad, or holy war. When God formed Adam out of earth, He placed the great trust of the light of Nur Muhammad on Adam's forehead and decreed that man would know things that the angels and other beings could never know. The leader of the jinns was watching and listening. He became filled with jealousy, pride, and vengeance, and these qualities changed him into Satan At once he began to speak against God, boasting to Adam, "I am more exalted than you. Allah said that He created you to be most exalted, but you are only made of earth. I am made of fire. If you bow down to me I will help you, but if you attempt to rise above me, then I will do many evil things to you and make you suffer greatly. "

Then that light on Adam's forehead looked closely at Satan, and when Satan saw the radiance, there arose within him an even greater fear, jealousy, and vengeance. Once again he sneered at Adam, "You are created out of mere earth, and yet you dare to look at me like this! Because you were given a higher place than I was, I will create sorrow and suffering for you until the very end." Then Satan spat on him, and the moment that spit landed on Adam, satan's poisonous qualities entered him and spread throughout his entire body. Those qualities became the darkness of the mind and the veils within the innermost heart.

Upon seeing what had happened, Allah commanded the Angel Gabriel to pinch out that spot of hell where satan's spit had landed. The hollow that remained became the navel. Even though the spit itself was cleared away, some of the poison of those evil, envious qualities had already entered Adam and in that way were passed on to his descendents, causing all of mankind endless trouble. Because of satan's actions, Allah commanded that he and his followers be cast out of heaven. Then He elevated Adam to the high position decreed for him.

This is a very great matter. I have related only a small part of it to show you that the most important jihad, the holy war that each one of us must fight, is the war against these qualities. Just as Satan was thrown out of heaven because he opposed the Almighty, Unique One, we too must cast out all that is evil within us, everything that opposes God. Those evil qualities of jealousy and vengeance are the qualities that ruin us and take us on the path to hell.

To help us fight this war, Allah sent us the kalimah and commanded us, "Recite this kalimah and cut away the enemy that is within you. Who is that enemy? Satan's evil qualities. They are an enemy to your body and to My unity and truth. Cut your connection to the evil one and cast out his qualities. Those qualities are the very fire of hell."

Therefore, with the kalimah and with Allah's qualities we must destroy the seven hells inside of us, and embrace instead the purity of the oneness of Allah. One who with wisdom and a pure heart accepts that oneness completely, also accepts the first kalimah. That is the affirmation of the unity of Allah, 9 and that is the first thing we have to do on the path of Iman-Islam. We must accept this reality of the oneness of Allah without any doubt. This means that we must also accept everyone, all of Adam's children, as our brothers and sisters. We must think about this deeply, within our hearts.

The meaning of this is very, very profound. The purity we speak of is very deep. The state of absolute faith, certitude, and determination 10 is also deep, and from it comes the wisdom which will help us to understand these mysteries.


My brothers, the holy wars that the children of Adam are waging today are not true holy wars. Taking other lives is not true jihad We will have to answer for that kind of war when we are questioned in the grave. That jihad is fought for the sake of men, for the sake of earth and wealth, for the sake of one's children, one's wife, and one's possessions. Selfish intentions are intermingled within it.

True jihad is to praise God and cut away the inner satanic enemies. When wisdom and clarity come to us, we will understand that the enemies of truth are within our own hearts. There are four hundred trillion, ten thousand spiritual opponents within the body: satan and his qualities of backbiting, deceit, jealousy, envy, treachery, the separations of I and you, mine and yours, intoxicants, theft, lust, murder, falsehood, arrogance, karma, illusion, mantras and magics, and the desire for earth, sensual pleasures, and gold. These are the enemies which separate us from Allah, from truth, from worship, from good actions and good thoughts, and from faith, certitude, and determination. These are the enemies which create divisions among the children of Adam and prevent us from attaining a state of peace.

Among the seventy-three groups of man, there are only a few who understand and fight the war against the enemy within themselves, the enemy who stands between them and Allah, the enemy who does not accept Allah and will not bow down and prostrate before Him. To cut our connection to this enemy who is leading us to hell is the true holy war.

Brothers, once we realize who is the foremost enemy of this treasure of truth which we have accepted, then we can begin our battle against that enemy. That is the holy war of faith, of the kalimah, and of Islam. That is the one holy war which Allah accepts.

We must not kill each other. Instead, we must wage war against the evil qualities within ourselves. When a child has bad qualities, what does the mother do? She tries to teach him and help him to develop good qualities. Does she call him an evil child? No. If he steals the belongings of another because he wants to play with them, that is a bad quality no doubt, but the child is not evil. Does the mother strike down the child just because he has some bad qualities? No, the mother explains things to him and tries to expel the bad qualities and teach him good qualities. That is her duty, is it not?

Likewise, Allah, who created us, does not strike down His creations for the evil they have committed. It would not make sense if He did that. They are all His children, the children of the Lord of all creation. As their Father and Mother, He helps them to dispel their evil ways and tries to bring them to the straight path. He seeks to make His children happy and good. That is the way God is. And just as God does not kill His children because they have evil qualities, we must not murder others or cut them down. Instead, we must try to improve them by showing wisdom, love, compassion, and God's qualities, just as a mother teaches her mischievous child to change. That is our duty.

No good can come from cutting a person down. If a mother constantly shows unity and love to her child, that will get rid of the child's bad tendencies. In the same way, we must help others to remove the evil qualities, teach them good qualities, and lead them to the state where they can become the princes of God.

My brothers, if we act with love and unity, we can dispel all our evil qualities and live as one family, as one race, as children bowing to one Lord.11 Once we understand this truth, we will become good children. But as long as we do not understand and do not cast off the evil, then we are bad children.

Of course, when you cut these qualities, it might hurt. It might cause difficulty and suffering. When a child is cut, the pain makes him cry. He may scream and fight or maybe even bite you. He may shout, "I will kill you!" But you must embrace him with love and patiently explain things to him, always remembering that the qualities within the child are the enemy, not the child himself.

My brothers, man has two forms, each with its own set of qualities. The war is between these two forms. One is composed of the five elements and is ruled by the mind; it lives in the kingdom of illusion, creation, and hell . The other is a pure form made of Allah's light, of His resplendence and purity. That form lives in the kingdom of heaven, in the world of pure souls. When man dwells within this good form, he speaks and acts in good ways. When he moves into the form of the elements, he speaks and acts in evil ways. One body exists within him in a formless state; the other exists outside as his form and shadow. These two bodies have opposite qualities and duties.

The heart also has two sections: one is the innermost heart 12 and the other is the mind. The mind is connected to the fifteen worlds, which are ruled by the energies of earth, fire, water, air, and ether. Just as these five elements are mixed together in the earth and in the sky, they are also mingled within the body.

The fifteen worlds are connected to all of creation, to all forms. Seven of the worlds are above, seven are below, and the fifteenth world, which is-the center, is the mind. It is there, in the world ruled by the mind, that the holy war must be waged. The mind and the energies of the elements roam up and down throughout the fifteen worlds, manifesting as the four hundred trillion, ten thousand miracles that create differences and divisions among men. We have to fight against all these energies in all fifteen worlds. This is the major battle. Once we complete this war, then we are ready to begin our work within the innermost heart.

The innermost heart is the kingdom of Allah. That is where His essence 13 can be found. The secret 14 of the eighteen thousand universes and the secret of this world are contained within that heart. Allah's messengers, His representatives Es, the angels, prophets, saints, the resplendently pure souls, and His light within the soul are all to be found in a tiny point within the heart. Within that atom is contained His entire kingdom, the kingdom of truth and justice and purity, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of enlightened wisdom .15

The eighteen thousand universes are within 16 that kingdom of light and divine knowledge, and Allah is the ruler of all those universes. His infinite power, His three thousand gracious qualities, His ninety-nine attributes, 17 His compassion, peace, unity, and equality are all found within those universes. That is the innermost heart, His kingdom of true faith and justice, where one can find peace.

Until we reach that kingdom, we have to wage a holy war within ourselves. To show us how to cut away this enemy within and to teach us how to establish the connection with Him, Allah sent down 124,000 prophets, twenty-five of whom are described thoroughly in the Qur'an. These prophets came to teach us how to wage holy war against the inner enemy. This battle within should be fought with faith, certitude, and determination, with the kalimah, and with the Qur'an. No blood is shed in this war. Holding the sword of wisdom, faith, certitude, and justice, we must cut away the evil forces that keep charging at us in different forms. This is the inner jihad.

My brothers in Iman-Islam, we must cut away the qualities which oppose Allah. There are no other enemies. Allah has no enemies. If anyone were to oppose Allah, the All-Powerful, Unique One, that person could never be victorious. You cannot raise or lower Allah. He does not accept praise or blame.

Praising Allah and then destroying others is not jihad. Some groups wage war against the children of Adam and call it holy war. But for man to raise his sword against man, for man to kill man, is not holy war. There is no point in that. There can be no benefit from killing a man in the name of God. Allah has no thought of killing or going to war. Why would Allah have sent His prophets if He had such thoughts? It was not to destroy men that Muhammad came; he was sent down as the wisdom that could show man how to destroy his own evil.

Once we have completely severed those qualities of satan within us, there will be no more enmity among human beings. All will live as brothers and sisters. That is true Islam, the affirmation of the unity of Allah, the oneness of Allah. Once we accept this, Allah accepts us. Once we fight and conquer these enemies of our faith, these enemies of our prayers, we will find peace within ourselves. And once we have found peace within, we will find peace everywhere. This world will be heaven, and we will have a direct connection to Allah, just as Adam had that original connection. Then we will understand the connection between ourselves and all the children of Adam.

Every child must know this and fight the enemy within. We must fight the battle between that which is permissible 18 under God's law and that which is forbidden. 19 If we do not do this, then the qualities of evil 20 will kill that which is good, 21 and the truth will be destroyed. But if we can win this huge battle, we will receive Allah's grace, 22 and that will enable us to know His eighteen thousand universes. If we can conquer the world of the mind, we will see the kingdom of the soul, His kingdom.

May every one of us think about this and wage our own holy war. Only when we finish the battle and progress beyond will we realize that we are all children of Adam, that we are all one race, that there is only one prayer, and that there is only One who is worthy of worship, one God, one Lord. He is the Compassionate One, 23 He is the Merciful One. 24 He creates and sustains all lives, He does not cut them down. Once we realize this, we will stop the fighting, the spilling of blood, the murder.

We will never attain peace and equality within our hearts until we finish this war, until we conquer the armies that arise from the thoughts and differences within ourselves, until we attack these enemies with faith, certitude, and determination and with patience, contentment, trust in God, and praise of God. 25 With divine knowledge, with justice and conscience, we must fight and win this inner jihad.

May the peace of God be with you. 26 Allah is sufficient for all. Amen.

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1. Iman: absolute faith, certitude, and determination. Islam: the state of absolute purity. See glossary.
2. La ilah illa Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah
3. al-akhirah
4. 'abd
5. qudrah
6. ahadith
7. ruku'
8. sajdah
9. tawhid
10. iman
12. qalb
13. dhat
14. sirr
15. gnanam
16. 'ilm
17. wilayat
18. halal

19. haram

2 1.
khayr and al-hamdu lillah
sabr, shukr, tawakkul 'ala Allah,
26. al-salam 'alaykum



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Copyright 2003, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship