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  1. 1. ADA3093 SPIRITUALITY IN WORLD RELIGIONS Sufism Relation to God Perfection Achieving Perfection
  2. 2. Synopsis  This course will expose the students to aspects of spirituality within Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Sikhism. The discussion include the relation between God and human, human beings and the environment. Other discussions include perfection and the process towards achieving it via the different approaches to spirituality. This course would also try to explain how ritual actions such as meditation and concentration are all connected towards achieving the ultimate goal of perfection. The connection between spirituality and ethics would also be explored. At the end of the course the student would appreciate the fact that all of these religions encourages a hamonious life which includes peace and respect for each member of their respective society.
  3. 3. Pertinent questions..       Spirituality: what is that? Ethics: how is that connected to spirituality? Perfection: what is that? How is it possible? How do people realized religion in their lives? Outer and inner? Unification of both? Very abstract and difficult BUT we have to do it..
  4. 4. Islamic spirituality     It is the inner dimension of Islam. This inner and outer dimensions are always being discussed by muslim scholars when they discuss aspects of spirituality in Islam. Is called tasawwuf. Underwent various stages of development from the earliest period without classification to this present time where it is “a name without reality” (Junayd al-Baghdadi)
  5. 5. Early development     Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ammar ibn Yasir, Abu Zar alGhiffari, Uways al-Qarani,Junayd al-Baghdadi, Hasan al-Basri, Harith al-Muhasibi, Sahl alTustari, Ideas of reaching God is quite early. “O Ali, Do you see God? Woe be to you for I see God before I see a thing, when I see the thing and after I see the thing.” Or “I do not worship that which I do not see”
  6. 6. Early development   This wanting to see or witness to become shahid (the witnesser) is the aim of all Sufis. The middle period involve the classification of Sufism with the writings of Sufi manuals e.g. Risalah Qushayriah, Kitab al-Lum’ah, Qut alQulub, Ihya Ulum al-Din and other classics in Sufism.
  7. 7. Later development      The establishment of pir-murid relationship, shaykh al-tarbiyyah and as a natural consequence the establishment of the Sufi Orders (turuq) (13th century) What is the aim of Sufism? To achieve perfection? What is perfection? What are the stages towards perfection? What are the ethics in this path towards perfection?
  8. 8. Aim of Sufism “We and our existences are non-existent. Thou art the Absolute appearing in the guise of mortality. That which moves us is Thy gift: our whole being is of Thy creation. Thou didst show the beauty of Being unto non-being, after Thou hast caused non-being to fall in love with Thee. We were not: there was no demand on our part; yet Thy grace heard one silent prayer and called us into existence” Rumi
  9. 9. Quotations  “O God, I never hearken to the voices of the beasts or the rustle of the trees, the splashing of waters or the song of the birds, the whistling of the wind or the rumble of thunder, but I sense in them a testimony to Thy unity and a proof of Thy incomparableness; that Thou art the All-prevailing, the All-knowing, the All-wise, the All-just, the All-true and that in Thee is neither overthrow nor ignorance nor folly nor injustice nor lying.”
  10. 10. Quotations   “O God, I acknowledge Thee in the proof of Thy handiwork and the evidence of Thy acts: grant me, O God, to seek Thy satisfaction with my satisfaction, and the delight of a father in his child, remembering Thee in my love for Thee, with serene tranquility and firm resolve.” (Dhul-nun al-Misri)
  11. 11. Quotations  “Oh happy man whose heart has been illuminated by invocation, in the shade of which the carnal soul has been vanquished, the thought of multiplicity chased away, the invoker transmuted into invocation and the invocation transmuted into the Invoked” (Jami)
  12. 12. Aims towards perfection     Cleansing the self with the aim of coming close to God. Acts: dhikr of specific adzkar; dhikr with the Divine names, sama’a, muhasabah, tawajjuh, muraqabah etc. Sufi metaphysics in explaining the nature of God’s existence and Being. How God unveils Himself in this world, His tajalliyat, our experience of coming close to Him
  13. 13. Perfection    But what is it? According to Ibn al-’Arabi all Prophets were sent to fulfill this potentiality which lies inherent in the existence of man. Innama buithtu li utammimakarimal Akhlaq As man is made in His image Khalaqallahu Adam ala suratihi (hadith sahih) therefore in fulfilling the potential or in achieving perfection man has to adorn himself with God’s attributes.
  14. 14. Perfection      Takhalluq bi akhlaqillah (assumption of the character traits of God) These character traits are God’s names. “And God taught Adam the Names” [2:30] Therefore human beings comprehend all the Names in their existences or wujud. Thus each human being manifest some part of the name to some degree. These names manifest in the course of human life in..
  15. 15. Perfection     .. all sorts of intensities, combinations and interrelationships. The results may or may not be in a harmonious personality. The human beings can unify wujud’s attributes such that each of the attributes stand in perfect balance and equilibrium with every other. This full manifestation of these Names appear in Ibn al-’Arabi’s idea of the Perfect man or the Insan al-Kamil.
  16. 16. Perfection    Insan al-Kamil: the complete and total human being who has actualised all the potentialities latent in the form of God. Actualised all the attributes in proper equilibrium. The perfect human beings embody every praiseworthy human quality.
  17. 17. Perfection    They are exemplars of human wisdom, compassion and all moral and spiritual good. They guide individuals and society to optimum equilibrium with the ultimate Good. They act as God’s representatives in society, leading people to supreme happiness in the next world.
  18. 18. Perfection    In their human manifestations, the perfect men are the Prophets and the great friends of God (awliya’). The perfect human beings are God’s goal in creating the cosmos, since only through them does He manifest the totality of His attributesin them alone does wujud reach its full unfoldment. No other creature apart from human beings can achieve this perfection.
  19. 19. Perfection  Hadith Qudsi: “I was a hidden treasure, so I wanted to be known; hence I created the creatures in order that I be known” It is through the cosmos that wujud discloses the infinite possibilities latent within itself. It reaches the fullness of its self-manifestation only through perfect human beings, since they alone actualise every ontological quality-every name and attribute of God. 
  20. 20. Achieving Perfection    Ibn al-’Arabi explains how human being can achieve perfection and that is by discplining their reason and imagination in order to combine the visions of tanzih (incomparability) and tashbih (similarity). Rational understanding of the reality of He/not He will not help them ascend to the world of light. The inward world of imagination cannot be..
  21. 21. Achieving perfection  transformed into a place of witnessing the selfdisclosures of wujud without following the guidance of those human beings who have already reached perfection-the messengers, Prophets and friends of God.