SPIRITUALITY IN WORLD
Relation to God
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
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
Outer and inner? Unification of both?
Very abstract and difficult BUT we have to
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)
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”
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
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
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”
“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.”
“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.”
“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)
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,
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
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
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..
.. all sorts of intensities, combinations and
The results may or may not be in a
The human beings can unify wujud’s attributes
such that each of the attributes stand in
perfect balance and equilibrium with every
This full manifestation of these Names appear
in Ibn al-’Arabi’s idea of the Perfect man or the
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
The perfect human beings embody every
praiseworthy human quality.
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
In their human manifestations, the perfect men
are the Prophets and the great friends of God
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
No other creature apart from human beings
can achieve this perfection.
“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.
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
The inward world of imagination cannot be..
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.