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

The Ocean of Divine Knowledge

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

This is a small explanation of Iman-Islam,1 the way the Sufis practice it as they develop more and more clarity and wisdom. Throughout the ages, step by step, Allah sent revelations to mankind through the prophets-through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, David, Jesus, and all the other prophets. One prophet brought ten revelations, another brought seven, and others came with only one, two, or three.

As His final and ultimate explanation Allah sent 6,666 revelations to the Last Prophet, Muhammad, who was also the Prophet for the beginning, Nur Muhammad.2 Those revelations are the verses of the Qur'an, and they include all the revelations sent to earlier prophets. We were provided with these explanations so that we could understand the words, conduct, and qualities of Iman-Islam, and so that we could realize the value of the kalimah, the affirmation of faith.

Allah has given us five kalimahs3 and ordained five times of prayer each day. These are essential for our peace and contentment. Earth, fire, water, air, and ether are also five in number and are necessary for the life of the body. All creations suffer when their bodies are deprived of water, when they do not have enough air to breathe, or when they feel the fire of hunger. If it is too hot the body needs something cool, if it becomes cold the body must have heat. Only after these needs are satisfied can the body feel peaceful. Similarly, only when we receive a full understanding of Iman-Islam and the kalimah can we feel the inner peace that they offer.

God has provided all that we require to meet our inner and outer needs, at every moment, wherever we are. But in order to know exactly what will comfort us and what will quench our thirst, we have to know everything in the world of souls, in this world, and in the hereafter.4 So that we can understand all this, Almighty God5 has given us the Qur'an.

The Holy Qur' an is an ocean of divine knowledge.6 It is so vast that its breadth can never be seen and its depth can never be fathomed. To try to limit it, thinking that we can ever fully comprehend its meaning, is ignorant. That ocean contains everything: heaven, hell, this world, and the eighteen thousand universes. We have been told, "Swim! Immerse yourself in that ocean of divine knowledge." To know the secrets it contains, we must obtain the strength of wisdom to dive deep within it and into the depths of the qualities of God. We must cling to the faith that the kalimah inspires as we repeat its words and swim with the power of the kalimah's radiance.

To cross this vast ocean of divine knowledge, each one of us must become a perfected human being,7 one who lives his life with wisdom. When such a person swims, he knows. But in our present state we seem to be tied to a flimsy raft, floating on this endless ocean. With certitude we must hold fast to the oar of faith in Allah and His Messenger, knowing that Allah is the upper edge and Muhammad is the lower edge of the blade that cuts through the water and pushes us forward. Then we will be able to cross the ocean and reach the shore.

My brothers and sisters, if you can know your own life and understand it, you will find the ocean of divine knowledge within you. You will find the Qur'an within you. You are the Qur'an; you are your own book. If you can study that book and reach the state of fully ripened knowledge, then you will be able to speak of its sweetness and know peace and comfort in your life. To establish and understand this state is Iman-Islam. To learn divine knowledge is Islam. Once we understand this, we will understand why the Prophet said, "Study divine knowledge, even if you have to go unto China."

As we mature step by step, that knowledge will reveal to us the right thing at the right time. This is how we must delve within the Qur' an. We cannot understand the Qur' an through the intellect, nor can we receive its benefits by earning titles or the esteem of the world. These things belong to Satan. To try to see the value of the Qur'an with the mind is useless. The mind cannot grasp divine knowledge. That knowledge can only be understood if we surrender to God and have perfect trust in Him, knowing that He is the One who can do all things. We must study divine knowledge through the clarity of pure wisdom, with a pure soul, and through the pure qualities of inner patience, contentment, trust in God, praise of God, and the acknowledgment that God is most great and can do all things.8

God's beautiful qualities, duties, and actions are Islam. He is each quality, He is each duty, He is each action. He performs His duties and actions with His qualities. He is what He does. He acts, He sees, He questions, He gives, He receives. These are the meanings of His ninety-nine names.9 These powers10 of Allah can be found in the innermost heart11 of each and every human being as qualities, actions, and behavior. They are the highest ideals of Islam, and they must be developed and established. Man must invite them into his heart.

When these ninety-nine powers of Allah, His three thousand divine attributes, and the qualities of His Messenger begin to resonate within the heart of a man, he will not have any enemies. When his heart is filled with the kalimah, when he greets his brothers with peace,12 and when his heart sings out in supplication for God's blessings upon the prophets and upon all mankind,13 he will see all lives as his own life. When patience, contentment, trust in God, praise of God, and the affirmation that God is great shine forth from within him, his innermost heart will resplend with unity, humility, and harmony. He will have no prejudices or differences. When the constant remembrance of and contemplation on God14 begins to resonate in his heart, that resonance will give forth millions and millions of explanations that will bring peace to millions of hearts. Such a person will care for his neighbor as himself. He will have the ability to hold everyone in an embrace which makes them all one. He will never see anyone as an enemy, because Allah has no enemy.

Allah is each one of His names. Not one of His names has the meaning of attacking or causing pain. It is not God's work to attack others; His work is to correct what comes to Him. If something is wrong, He corrects it with His wisdom. What Allah does is Islam, and in the same way, one who is in Islam will not attack others. He will correct his own faults, so that his peaceful state will bring peace to others. He will correct his own qualities and teach God's qualities to his mind, so that those sweet qualities can soothe and comfort others. He will elevate his own state to the state of God, so that he can help others to grow.

When every heart understands this, when these qualities develop in the heart of one human being and then transfer to the hearts of other human beings, when unity and love catch every heart, every life, and every nation, then true Islam will come into being and catch fire and spread throughout the world. This is the unity that occurs when we trust and follow the words, actions, and qualities of Allah and His Messenger.

Allah has no hostility, and the kalimah brought by His Prophet expresses no hostility. Once we say that kalimah and accept the truth of God with absolute faith, we will see everyone and everything as Islam. Drawing a sword, attacking others, or trying to force them into our beliefs is not Islam. True Islam means controlling ourselves, controlling the anger, jealousy, and vengeance that come from our own minds, and attacking all the thoughts within us that hurt others. That is the war we all must wage.

God has no need to wage wars. He is capable of creating or destroying universes within the blink of an eye. If He were to close His eye, nothing would exist; when it opened again, creation would come back to life. Similarly, in the blink of an eye, the darkness within the heart can be dispelled and the light of God's qualities can come back to life.

Islam. Lam15 is light, the light of the pure soul and pure wisdom. The word Islam describes a place where there is no darkness at all, a place where there are no differences, no disputes over races or religions, a place where there is only light. As we open our eyes and our hearts to that light, to inner patience, and to the wisdom of divine knowledge, all our evil tendencies will be burned away, and all of God's beauty will come into being within us.

Of course, if we do not recognize the difference between good and evil, we might burn everything indiscriminately. But if we apply our understanding we will burn away only the bad. Then light will come into being, and we will see the power of God's grace and understand what Islam truly is. One who understands this will gain the wealth of the three worlds.16 For such a man, this world is heaven, the hereafter is heaven, and even the time of creation, of birth, is heaven. Iman-Islam is the name given to this state when it is established with awareness. But as long as we do not understand this properly and continue to say, "I am great, I am greater than you," we have not reached that level of understanding. Only when we have rid ourselves of all our blemishes will we be able to see God.


My brothers and sisters, even though we have not yet seen God, there is no place where He does not exist. He is within every life. He is in the trees, the flowers, the fruits, and in the plants and shrubs and vines. There would be no flowers or fruits on a tree if His power did not exist within it. When we squeeze a fruit its sweet juice can quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger, because it has His power within it.

The same intensity of sweetness exists within the ideals of Islam. If we accept the qualities of Allah and Prophet Muhammad, as we affirm our faith with the kalimah and embrace our brothers in peace and unity, and as we sing a prayer for God's blessings upon the prophets and all mankind, we will experience that sweetness. The trust inspired by that love will melt our hearts and touch the hearts of everyone around us. We will be like honeybees collecting the nectar from a million flowers and storing it within our hearts. Islam is the honey that unites, the honey that we can taste and enjoy and share with everyone else. Once we are filled with that honey, we will embrace all lives as our own, in unity. Our racial and religious prejudices will leave us. Doubt, jealousy, and the spilling of blood will cease. When that sweetness of Iman-Islam comes into us we will see Islam in everyone.

All of creation is within Islam. God created everything and everyone as Islam, as light. Who is not in Islam? Since the time of Adam everything has been in Islam. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad are all within Islam. Idris, Isaac, Job, Jacob, Salih, and the many other prophets are also within Islam. Everyone created is embraced within Islam. God never called anyone anything else. It is we who call ourselves by different races and different tribes. It is our arrogance that causes destruction. It destroys us and it destroys others. As long as we do not reach that state of divine knowledge, wisdom, and clarity, only trouble will arise. We will end up fighting each other and bringing great harm to each other.

Wisdom means not hurting anyone. We should embrace one another with patience. And if our difficulties increase, we must be contented and continue to embrace each other. If things become even more difficult, the sweetness of our embrace must deepen and we must have trust in God, surrendering to Him saying, "All praise is to You! I have done as much as I can, it is Your responsibility now. I praise You!" And if the situation becomes impossible, we must say, "Allahu Akbar, You are the greatest. I die within You. Accept me.

Patience, contentment, trust in God, praising God's greatness and His power-those qualities are the honey, the taste of the fruit of Islam. Through them you can reach the highest level of Iman-Islam and find contentment in life. Then we will be able to comfort others and help them find the treasure of peace that the world is now lacking.

My love you. May God help us. May the peace and blessings of God be with you.17


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1. Iman: absolute faith, certitude, and determination. Islam: the state of absolute purity. See glossary.
2. The light which became completeness within Allah and then emerged.
3. See appendix.
4. al-awwal, dunya, and al-akhirah
5. Allah ta'ala
6. bahr al-'ilm
7. insan kamil
8. sabr, shukr, tawakkul 'ala Allah,
9. Asma' al-husna
10. wilayat al-hamdu lillah, Allahu Akbar
11. qalb
12. salam
13. salawat
14. dhikr and fikr
15. The Arabic letter (J) which correlates to the English consonant 'L'. In the transformed man of wisdom, lam represents the resplendence, or Nur, of Allah.
16. mubarakat
17. al-salam 'alaykum


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Copyright 2003, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship