The Naqshbandi Sufi Way: History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain
“I can’t Breathe” is the expression of the Crisis of the modern world.
“I can’t breathe“ is a slogan associated with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. The phrase is derived from the words of Eric Garner and George Floyd, two African-American men who died of asphyxiation during their arrests in 2014 and 2020, respectively, as a result of excessive force by primarily white police officers. The phrase is used in protest against police brutality in the United States.
The protest is the expression of the Crisis of Modern man. As the Corona virus is taking a toll on all of us and is attacking our lungs, giving us serious problems of breathing, especially those least able to retreat into their homes until the worst is over.
But, beyond the health and humanitarian measures urgently needed for those affected, it also offers a chance to right historical wrongs – the abuse of our earthly home and of marginalised societies, the very people who will suffer most from this pandemic. This viral outbreak is a sign that by going too far in exploiting the rest of nature, the dominant globalising culture has undone the planet’s capacity to sustain life and livelihoods. The unleashing of micro-organisms from their animal hosts means that they must latch on to other bodies for their own survival. Humans are a part of nature – and everything is connected to everything else.
Our civilization is in decay. Because we have blown-up our ego. Cosmic Balance has been disturbed. The painting “Dulle Griet”of the great painter Bruegel express very clearly the Crisis of Modern man. Read more here
St George and Al kidhr
Note on Al khidr: His original name seems to have been al-Khadir (“the green one”), which over time in many places became al-Khidr or Khidr or Hizr. In the modern Middle East the spelling is Khodor is often used as a person’s name. We shall use the shortened form, Khidr.
At first sight there seems to be little connection between Elijah, George and Khidr, apart from the fact that in the Middle East they are frequently associated with the same place by different religious traditions. Is it then a simple case of overlapping traditions, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, all of whom focus on the Holy Land as part of their own heritage and take Abraham as their forefather?
Certainly there is a view which suggests that Khidr is to Muslims what Elijah is to Jews, in respect of them both acting as initiator to the true believer, and which in itself is testimony to attempts to find common ground between the three traditions.
The sacred sites associated with Elijah, George and Khidr over centuries seem to have accumulated worship in various forms, so that one sits quite literally on top of or next to another. The sites often exhibit similar attributes: for instance, the presence of water and greenness, suggesting fertility in a barren land; or perhaps a cave, which represents a meeting-place of two worlds, the manifest and the hidden (and on occasion both elements are present, as at Banyas).
Then there is the ancient theme of the spiritual side of man being dominant over the material, as suggested in the stories by the holy rider on a chariot or horse (or in the case of Khidr, a fish).
This is a clear picture of the divinised human, who comes to deliver mankind:
Elijah is zealous for God and the destroyer of false prophets,
while St George is the conqueror of animality in the form of the dragon;
Khidr’s role is rather less vividly martial – he brings real self-knowledge, delivering the individual from the false and base nature of the soul.
In all three cases one can remark the polarity of the monotheist or true believer and the pagan or ignorant: Elijah and the prophets of Baal, St George and the emperor Diocletian, for example and perhaps most strikingly in this respect, Khidr who points out the interior meaning of this opposition and is thus the educator of Moses.
However, we should note significant differences in their status, which in part reflect the religious context in which they appear: Elijah is a prophet, in a long line of prophecy; St George is a saint, martyred for his faith in the tradition of Christianity; Khidr, however, is almost a nobody – he is neither saint nor prophet, but an ordinary person graced with immortality and initiatic significance. While the first two are usually portrayed as mounted, Khidr has his feet upon the ground (or just above it in some stories) or walks on water; as we shall see, he has a most particular role to play in mystical teaching. Read more here
Ego rules the world: Anti-“God”, Anti-“Humanity”, Anti-“Nature
Our civilization is in decay. Because we have blown-up our ego. Cosmic Balance has been disturbed. The Origin – Cosmic Womb/Vacuum – “doesn’t tolerate” this. With the help of Her two Cosmic Forces of “Death and Rebirth” (“Stirb und Werde” – “Die and Become”-J.W. von Goethe) She breaks down our ego-accumulations, thus restoring the Original Balance.
Description (from Sandala Productions): The Power of this prayer of Imam Muhammad al-DarÏ lies in its simplicity, its purity, and its sincere supplication. It is essentially a plea to God that our transgressions be overlooked, that divine mercy be bestowed upon us, that social justice be restored in spite of us, that wrongs be righted, and that righteousness reign once again in our lands, so that the destitute may no longer be in need, the young may be educated, the animals’ purpose fulfilled, rain restored, and bounties poured forth. It is a plea to be freed from the aggression of foreigners in lands over which they have no right—a plea much needed in our modern world, rampant as it is with invasions and territorial occupations. Ultimately, it asks not that our enemies be destroyed, but simply that their plots, and the harm they cause, be halted. Its essence is mercy, which in turn is the essence of the Messenger of God, Muhammad(saw): “And We have only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds.“
The Prayer of the Oppressed – Du’a al-Nasiri here download
A broad-ranging, illustrated, scholarly treatment of core topics in Islamic spirituality. This book discusses the foundations of Sufism, including the Qur’an, the Hadith, pilgrimage, and prayer, as well as a study of the rise of Islam. The companion book Islamic Spirituality: Manifestations delves more deeply into the different ways that Sufism is lived out around the world, with attention to the various sects and their writings. Read here
The current pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of the world we live in. But is it unprecedented? Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Dean of Cambridge Muslim College, shares his perspective on this humbling phenomenon, one which is not unfamiliar in our Islamic tradition. He also highlights the beauty and healing of our religious practice and provides helpful suggestions on how to remain connected as Muslims.
FILM PREMIERE: ‘POLISHING THE HEART’ – a major new Ghazali Children’s Project documentary on Muslim children’s education. Featuring interviews with many teachers, parents and scholars including Sh. Hamza Yusuf, Prof. Ingrid Mattson, Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad, Dr. Tamara Gray, Prof. Mustafa Abu Sway, Sh. Yahya Rhodus, Baraka Blue and many more. A little inspiration during these difficult times. After a decade of work with a dedicated team of scholars, we see here the project in action worldwide and hear from teachers, parents and children about its transformative impact.
KEY RESOURCES: 1) Ghazali Children’s Books: https://bit.ly/340CfP0 2) Ghazali Children’s Resources, Links & Films: https://bit.ly/2yoLvAL 3) Ghazali Children’s Pilot School signup: https://bit.ly/3dON6jJ 4) Official website: https://ghazalichildren.org/ We are sending out prayers for everyone’s safety in these turbulent times. Greetings of peace, The Fons Vitae Ghazali Children’s Project Team