10 Mar Psychological Articles on World Religions
“Can Sufi Islam counter the Taleban? Barbara Plett, BBC World Service News
February 24, 2009
Pakistan has a reputation as a hotspot for extremist Islam but most Pakistanis follow a gentler, more tolerant form of Islam based on Sufi mysticism and folklore.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Sufi foreign minister, recently suggested that his religion could be used as a counter to growing fundamentalism in the country. His views echo those of western think tanks such as the Rand Corporation, who recommend the mobilisation of Sufism to counter Islamist ideology and influence.
Barbara Plett reports from Lahore, a city steeped in Sufi tradition.”
Boomer Yearbook is humbly offering this correction to Barbara Plett’s BBC article in that we have learned that Shah Mahmood Qureshi belongs to a lineage of patrons of saints but is not a sufi himself.
Sufism and Rumi’s Take on Love
Love is the single most potent emotion that has been a mystery to people since the beginning of times. We all feel it, discuss it, lament it but no one can tell what love is exactly. There is the love of the man for the woman, the mother for her child, the love between 2 friends or siblings, and that of Man for God.
Unrequited love can destroy a person, leaving him desolate and at the brink of madness. To love is as important for humans to live as perhaps is water to fish. Psychological articles even claim that an indicator of whether a person is going to live for the next ten years or not depends on whether he believes someone loves him or not.
Psychological articles speak of the strong connection between love and the feelings of stress, depression, self-esteem and even physical well being. There are vital questions revolving around this feeling that no scientist can answer. What we need is a psycho-analysis of the truth of love, ways of nurturing it, and learning from the feeling so we can provide nourishment and enrichment to our souls. For Sufis, who practice mystical Islam, the answers come from the works and teachings of a great teacher and a master who can lead us through the part that reaches our hearts and through that to our souls.
One such person who is recognized in both Eastern and Western writing, is the great poet and Sufi mystic, Jalal-ud-din Rumi. Rumi, who emphasizes that every person has a degree of divinity and no solution, no answer is impossible if we remember this truth about ourselves. Nothing is impossible for God and He is an embodiment of the best form of love.
Psychological articles that set Rumi’s philosophy regarding love as a pattern emphasize hence that surrendering to love is the only way of finding it as the object of a person’s love is but a reflection of his own inner self with each capable of the most deep and soulful form of love.
For Rumi, love was not the shallow feeling that it has come to be synonymous with in modern world. No matter how or who you love, it all traces back to God and as such brings us nearer to that Diving Being. Psychological articles explain that to love and be loved gives life clarity and meaning. Our senses suddenly become more aware of the world which in turn makes us realize the binding of all people and things into one solitary consciousness – making us One.
Psychological articles further argue that the pace at which modern life flows presents the biggest impediment to the way of loving relationships. In our hurried lives, people have lost the precious gift of self-reflection; we skirt around the perimeters of the meaning and nature of love, but fail to delve deeply into the totality of love’s essence. We always have something more important to do, always wanted somewhere else and in the bustle of life we forget to spend time in the company of those we love, trying to understand the subtleties of the feeling and to understand its divine connection.
Rumi’s Sufism teaches us that love demands that we take a deeper look into our inner selves as well as our lovers and try to understand that we have been created for each other and have been put into each other’s path by God. This is a gift He has bestowed so we can advance together in our spiritual struggle. Our lover is, therefore, not merely an object that has been created to meet our expectations, but a Godly presence on earth.
Rumi further teaches us that accepting our love in this manner will help us in our quest to understand it and learn from it but if all we do is make demands of love and have countless expectations we will find ourselves heading for endless disappointment and hurt. Psychological articles explicating Sufism and Rumi’s concept of love also state that diverting from this guideline leads to a defensive and conflicting attitude which is nowhere near the concept of love.
Understanding what we want and having a clear knowledge of it spares us a lot of misunderstandings. Another point to consider in accordance with the teachings of Rumi is that if we meet rejection we must be willing to explore the arising feelings accompanying this rejection. This will help us to beat dejection and also understand Rumi’s words that:
Come, come, whoever you are!
Wanderer, idolater, worshipper of fire,
Come even though you have been broken a hundred times!
Come, and come again,
Ours is not a caravan of despair!
Look! This is Love – Poems of Rumi,
translation by Annemarie Schimme
Sufism and Rumi’s Take on Love is the first in a series of psychological articles on World Religions, Spirtuality, and Solutions to Types of Discrimination. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
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