"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Friday, 3 June 2011

Rosemary Pennington and Zaineb Istrabadi: Voices & Vision

Rosemary Pennington has interviewed Zaineb Istrabadi.

Rosemary Pennington, the Program Coordinator for Voices and Visions, is a graduate student in the School of Journalism at Indiana University.

Zaineb Istrabadi, a lecturer at Indiana University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and an expert in Sufism, describes the particulars. 

They engage in activities to cleanse the heart so that God, who cannot fit in anything, can fit into the heart of his believing servant. This is what Islamic tradition says. But you do not invite a king into a dirty stable, you invite him into a shining clean palace so the Sufis engage in activities to cleanse their heart,” she states.

Many religions have a mystical side to them. For Jews there is Kabbalah. For Orthodox Christians the Hesychasts. For Muslims there are the Sufi.

The Sufi employ techniques, including the remembrance of God, following the virtues in a very conscious way, and engaging in a repetition of some of the divine names. 

Istrabadi likens these prayers to putting Brasso on a brass vase that has been tarnished and wiping until the surface, which at first might get blackened even more, suddenly starts shining as you keep wiping away. Then it reflects light. “So it is with these mantras, it brings the heart to life,” she explains

Istrabadi reasons that there are some valid criticisms to be made, but those Muslims who say that the Sufi are not Muslims are treading on dangerous ground. 

She says,“There is no doubt that there are some things that Sufis do that appear to be outside of Islamic tradition (but) I personally am not interested in the details of how they practice. It is the Almighty who is going to be the ultimate judge.


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