“…the erect and the fallen are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self, and that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.”
– Khalil Gibran
What I find most fascinating about people are the little clues they let slip about what sort of people they really are.
When someone claims to be spiritual and devout to God’s message, there are certain things that would never slip past their lips. The other day I heard such a person say “Oh well [about everyone else], I’m going to heaven.” My eyes immediately raised up and I looked at him, truly looked at him for the first time.
Here’s a person who genuinely believes they’re a devout Christian. Here’s an intelligent man working in defense. And here’s someone who doesn’t understand God; nor does he understand Jesus, who he claims to follow.
On another occasion, this type of person refused to enter the mosque. While everyone has their opinion, their right to do what they feel is right, I was amazed by the level of disgust he and his kind showed toward the mosque – as if entering means you’ve converted. As if upon entering you’ll find a bazaar-like assortment of jihadists plotting their next attack, secret basement beheadings, or any other such ridiculous associations commonly placed with Islam. Nor does entering a mosque mean that you’ve submitted to Islam.
Contrary to popular opinion, Islam’s call for submission is not submission to Muhammad, sharia law, or the injustices that come with Man’s Islam. Rather, Islam’s call to submission is a call to worship God, to put aside your ego and submit to Him.1 This is no different than the Christian perspective of worshipping God.
The word worship has even been twisted through time. The modern day connotations for worship hint at a God that needs attention, needs mankind falling down at their knees in blind obedience. Nothing could be further from the truth since the actual meaning of worship means to follow a path or way, and in this case, to follow God’s way. It’s arrogance and ego that’s holds people back from genuine understanding.
As a child in Germany, my mother routinely took me to church on Sundays. Her thinking was, “If you’re going to live here, you better learn to faith and culture of majority around you.”
So I went to church. Does that mean I’m now a Christian, that I’ve submitted?
On occasion I’ve even been to my share of Bible study groups, but that doesn’t mean I’ve converted?
I’ve been to a weekend retreat hosted by a sect of Hindus practicing the Dharma of Kalki. Does that mean I’ve forsaken my life here and moved to India’s Golden Temple?
A fear of the other is really a fear of yourself. If you cannot associate with others, if you cannot truly partake in what they are in order to understand them, without a fear of losing or compromising your own identity, then you are not what you say you are because there is still an inner insecurity which grasps at you.
I’m not one to be easily offended when it comes to anything serious, but this had me seriously offended. What sort of person is so up their own nether regions that they cannot put aside quoting the Bible for one second to truly live and think for themselves.
As if in a Tolkien world, this man said to me “Jesus says, ‘Light has no fellowship with darkness.’” I wondered if this individual was smart enough to realize that he just created a divide. He considered his Christian faith as light and my Sufi faith as darkness; he as light and me as darkness. How can Sufism, the esoteric dimension of Islam which surrenders itself to God in love, be darkness? And how can he be light when he clearly doesn’t reflect what Christianity is meant to be?
What is the real darkness here is the heavy selfish attitude of someone who is so quick to create divides, to show open disgust to another faith based on only its stereotypes and the mistakes of its followers, to be so self-assured of salvation, so as to easily be able to divide himself and others in mankind as light and darkness.
So it is the crevices of a man’s nature that shows you the abyss of his inner self, and herein hides a deep darkness.
1 The issue of submission is Islam, including a historical context, is discussed in my manuscript, Book of the Believers.