The Sufi Message of Love, Harmony, and Beauty

April 21, 2013

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“The Sufi sees the truth in every religion. If invited to offer prayers in a Christian church, the Sufi is ready to do so. The Sufi will go the synagogue and pray as the Jews do; will offer Salat with Muslims; and in the Hindu temple worships the same God. Yet the Sufi’s true temple, the true mosque, is the human heart, in which the divine Beloved lives. Sufism is a religion if one wants to learn religion from it; it is a philosophy if one wants to learn wisdom from it; it is mysticism if one wants to be guided by it in the unfoldment of the soul; and yet it is beyond all these things. It is the light of life which is the sustenance of every soul. It is the Message of Love, Harmony, and Beauty.”

- Hazrat Inayat Khan

Ya Haqq!


Tower of Babel

June 18, 2012

Sufis are bricklayers
Their bodies the bricks,
Earth, water, straw
In the proper mixture

Sufis are builders
Their edifice
The Tower of Babel
Rising ever higher

So that humanity
Speaks with one tongue
Once more, the language
Of love, infinite and eternal

- © Irving Karchmar 2012


Faith, Love, and the Greeting of Peace

September 14, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“You will not enter Paradise until you have faith, and you will not have faith until you love one another. Do you want me to tell you something you can do to make you love one another? Make it a habit to greet one another with ‘Assalaamu Alaykum’ – peace be unto you”.

– A hadith, or saying of the Prophet (pbuh), recorded by Muslim.

Ya Haqq!


Words of Wisdom!

May 11, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

Ya Haqq!

Note: Rabbi Gershon Steinberg Caudill says: “The ancient rabbis say that these three things encompass all 613 commandments of the Torah


Meditation on Death

April 9, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Because I could not stop for Death he kindly stopped for me. The carriage held but just Ourselves and Immortality.Emily Dickinson

In December of 1986, I was operated on to remove my pituitary gland and the small benign tumor within it that had resulted in Cushing’s Disease, and had caused a lengthy hospital stay in the beginning of that year. It was during that earlier hospital stay that I had the out-of-body experience I have written about in a previous post (which you can read here).

I remember the anesthesia being administered and being told to count backwards from one hundred. At about 96, I blinked my eyes, and when I opened them again an instant later, I was being wheeled back to my room. I asked the nurse, “When does it start?”  She answered, “It’s all over.”

Eight hours had passed in the blink of an eye. It could have been eight years, or eight million. The anesthesia blanked me out of existence so completely, that I wondered if death was like that:

An instant that lasts for eternity!

In the years since those two events, and as I approach my sixty-fifth birthday, death itself holds no fear for me, because just as in the Angel of Death excerpt from Master of the Jinn, I really do consider it a mercy from God.  But I cannot but wonder if one of those experiences holds the answer to the great mystery of what comes afterward.  Both possessed the immediacy of experiential truth, but can both be real? Is the instant of nothingness a precursor to awaking on a different plane of existence? Can it be that our spirit, or soul, or ka, or whatever your faith calls it, leaves the physical body at death and after an instant of blankness, joins, or rejoins, the Eternal Godhead?

Socrates asked the same question, concluding: “Death is one of two things…Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as we are told, it is really a change: a migration of the soul from one place to another.”

My late father-in-law believed the former. Once I asked him if he thought that we live on after death. He said, “Yes, in blood and memory.”  In other words, we live on in the bloodline passed to our children and grandchildren and down the generations. And in the memory they carry of us, until that is lost in time, when those that still remember us have also died.  He considered himself a realist.

And yet, the first law of thermodynamics, an expression of the principle of the conservation of energy, states that energy can be transformed (changed from one form to another), but cannot be created or destroyed.

Is that also true of the energy of consciousness, which is, after all, the only part of us that really would go on after the body dies? Or is it just our greater Self that goes on, our soul, which is that ineffable part of us that is always in touch with, and originally a part of, the Oneness of Divine Love? Inshallah, it is so.  I do not mind at all leaving the lesser self behind; the individual ego with its fears and jealousy and enmity and regrets. Let it die as the electro-chemical brain and body functions come to a stop.

I know that love goes on.  And after years on the Sufi path,  I have seen what can only be described as a glimpse of… something other.

There is some comfort in the belief that the body is nothing but a shell for the evolution of consciousness, “to evolve toward the Godhead,” as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French philosopher and Jesuit priest wrote in The Phenomenon of Man.

And, so as not to waste what God has given, I am also an organ donor; I prefer to leave all organs that are still of any use to help others, and the rest to be cremated.  I like the efficiency of the fire, taking up as little room at the end as I did at the beginning. And I like the idea of my ashes scattered to the winds of the world.

But does individual consciousness completely die? Or does the soul or greater Self have its own higher level of consciousness? My late Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, was asked this very question, and he said, “In the end, the drop becomes one with the Ocean, but it does not lose its wetness.”

There is hope in that statement. I have studied many religions and their beliefs of the afterlife, and in all honesty they sound mainly the same, a heavenly paradise where the individual self consciousness, and often the resurrected body, is kept intact and rewarded or punished for its life on earth in just measure to its deeds. But if the individual self stops at the end of life, the afterlife must be something else entirely. What that something else, that wetness is, is one of the eternal questions of living beings.  The ultimate mystery!

And that’s what I’m counting on :) All questions are inevitably useless. The answer will come soon enough!

No mythology and metaphor for me. I want the great mystery, all of it, no matter what it is—a billion years in the blink of an eye, or an infinite panorama as vast as the universe; and an endless sea of stars on which to sail.

Death is an angel with two faces; to us he turns a face of terror, blighting all things fair; the other burns with glory of the stars, and love is there.
- T. C. Williams

Alhamdulillah!

Ya Haqq!


Milad Un-Nabi – Birthday of the Prophet (pbuh)

February 27, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21).

Alhamdulillah! The moon is full, a reminder that this is Rabi a-Awwal, by the Lunar calendar the month of the blessed birthday (Milad Un-Nabi) of the Prophet Muhammad (the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his family).

According to Sunni scholars, the Prophet’s birthday is observed on 12th Rabi al-Awwal, which falls on February 26, 2010, and 17th Rabi al-Awwal (March 3rd this year) according to Shia scholars.

There is a difference of opinion about whether the Milad Un-Nabi should be a time of celebration. There is evidence that the Prophet (pbuh), his Companions, and the early followers after them did not celebrate or otherwise observe his birthday. On the contrary, he was careful to warn his people not to imitate other faiths, whose followers elevated their prophets and added to the religion what was not in the original teachings.

Those who disagree see it as a time to read the Qur’an, fast, pray, and remember the life, teachings, and example of the Prophet (pbuh).

When praising the Prophet (pbuh), we are also warned not to exaggerate in his praise. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not overpraise me as Christians overpraised Jesus, son of Mary. Say [when referring to me], ‘Servant of Allah and His messenger.’”

Servant of Allah and His messenger!

Surely that is a title that needs no embellishment. And so, what will you do to celebrate the Prophet’s (pbuh) birthday? Will you be fasting and praying? Having a celebration and giving gifts to family and friends? Giving to charity, visiting the sick, going to the mosque, helping a neighbor?

“Remember Me and I will remember you!” (Qur’an, 2:152)

May Allah bless you all, gentle readers, and guide you on the straight path of love, compassion, mercy, generosity and kindness.  Ameen.

Ya Haqq!


“Everything is Love!”

February 21, 2010

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

I read of a Christian woman years ago who went on a forty day meditation retreat in a monastic cell. When she finally came out, all she could say is: “Everything is love!”

Surely those who open to faith and do beautiful wholesome works, for them the One Who is the Most Gracious will appoint Love.  -  Qur’an 19:96

A man once came to the Prophet (puh) and asked him about the hereafter. The Prophet asked him, “And what have you prepared for that time?” The man replied, “Nothing, except that I love Allah and I love you.” The Prophet (puh) answered him, “You are with the ones you love.”

I profess the religion of love,

Love is my religion and my faith.

My mother is love

My father is love

My prophet is love

My God is love

I am a child of love

I have come only to speak of love

- Jalaluddin Rumi

“…the guidance of Islam is the guidance of love. The innate, natural and ancient religion that is Islam is the religion of love. The Prophet (pbuh) came to guide us to love and to make clear the love that is at the core of all religion. Our purpose as human beings is to consciously manifest Allah’s love in our lives.”

- from Love in Islam, a Khutbah (Sermon) by Mahmoud Mostafa

Ya Haqq!


Happy New Year 2010 :)

December 31, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Happy New Year 2010 to all my Brothers and Sister of every faith and race and creed around the world!  May God bless you all this year with health, happiness, wisdom, and love, so that we may better serve God by serving His creation.  I can think of no better resolution for the New Year than to try and live up to these true words:

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ya Haqq!


Surrendering to Love

December 28, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Surrendering to love is the hardest damn work I have ever done in my life. Put me working in prisons to teach murderers how to give good massages or give me tortured women who haven’t slept without nightmares in ten years, but don’t ask me to be open and receive tender loving care of someone who is going to know all my dirty laundry and stick around anyway!

Why is it so hard? Well, I guess I’ve just been on the road so long I don’t know the difference between my feet and my boots and here comes someone to offer a foot rub and I gotta’ feel how tired my feet are and how long I‘ve been wanting some good touch and lay down all those other times of disappointment and confusion and let this in without overwhelming myself or anyone else with grief and longing. I didn’t learn how to do this at home or school. Did you? It takes a combination of mercy and love we give ourselves.

- John Calvi, from True Love, The Friends (Quaker) Journal, 1992

Ya Haqq!


Love is My Gift to the World

November 28, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Love is my gift to the world. I fill myself with love, and I send that love out into the world. How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine.”

- Dr. Wayne Dyer

Ya Haqq!


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