The proposed solution to the internal stress caused by events in September 2001 may not be helpful to everyone
since it makes extreme demands on the heart. For some this may not be the time to make such an effort. Nothing
in this article should be taken to suppose any lack of sympathy or any unwillingness to offer practical assistance to
those who have suffered or doubtless will suffer from man's inhumanity however it may occur. May God help them
wherever and whoever they are.
The Significance of Love in a World in Turmoil
Time and Eternity
It is tempting to write a response to particular political or military acts that hold the
attention of the world at a given point in history - the incident of the huge loss of life and
property caused in America in 2001 being a case in point. It is right and proper of course
to make heartfelt condolences to those who lost loved ones in that and other tragic events
around the world.
Specific moments of history pass and things change. Love does not change - it is not
subject to the vagaries of history.
I don't doubt that when Keats said 'Truth is Beauty and Beauty Truth' there were events of
historical significance that occupied the minds of people at the time. What they now seem
to have been are mere passing shadows, known about or remembered by students of history
but not much outside of that. Keat's words however spring readily to the mind and echo
beyond particular times and circumstances. They are universal in application. True and
Real Love is Universal and Eternal.
The Zahuri Sufi web site therefore does not aim to involve itself in particular political
issues of this or any other kind whatever the personal views of the author.
Thus if we refer to the historic events of September 11th 2001 it can be only as an example
of the many passing events that threaten the individual or collective peace of mind of
Questions and an Answer
The question is can the law of Love and humanism as taught by Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan
Chishti help to heal the turmoil, fear, confusion and discontent produced in the minds of
people by such events as the one referred to? Can it help draw the minds of people from
thoughts of hatred, revenge, hurt and terror and turn them towards a sane, lasting, and
Somebody wrote to me once asking how to deal inwardly with the evidence of man's
inhumanity to man. His cruelty, his barbarism, his selfishness. At that time I answered that
we can blame the sin not the sinner and that we must remember that within every individual
a divine spark exists and relate to that. This time I want to go further than what I said then.
Maybe at first you will find this idea difficult - I hope you will pursue it and reflect deeply
on it for it is important - even crucial - to understand the power of Love in our everyday
I want to suggest that we must not only love the sinner but the existence of the act which we
have termed as a sin or an evil act or an inhumane act.
To suggest we must love the existence of the act does not mean that we say the act is good
from the point of view of morality, or imply that we would not wish to see justice served,
or that we would not wish to do everything possible to prevent such an act happening
again. It does not mean we would have desired the act - only that we love the fact of the
existence of the act once it has come into being.
The act has actually already happened - it may be an act of social, political significance, or
an act that only has significance for one or a few individuals but it has happened. The
'moving hand' has writ and moved on.
The real damage that an act of inhumanity can potentially do is that it affects our individual
and collective psyche. It produces, hatred, anger, fear and so on. The poet Auden wrote
about the outbreak of World War II - 'Waves of anger and fear circulate over the bright and
darkened lands of the earth, obsessing our private lives, the unmentionable odour of death
offends the September night.'
Our non-acceptance of the fact of the act, or repulsion at it, is itself indicative of the real
potential damage that an inhumane act can have. But passive, fatalistic acceptance,
recognising it as the Will of God, is not the full answer for those who seek divine love. We
must actually drag our mind/heart round to the point that it actually loves, embraces or is
even inwardly joyous at the existence of the act that appears so bad - because of the One
who actually brought the act into existence.
To eliminate the 'waves of anger and fear' we must go in our heart to the very source of
them, the particular act of inhumanity, and pour onto that source our love. Unconditional
embracing love - we must take the act into our heart with love.
I don't mean being glad about it from a political perspective or from a partisan viewpoint,
as we might be glad that the other sides football team was beaten. No, very far from it -
that kind of exultation at others discomfort, or suffering is at best mean spirited and foolish
and maybe much worse. I mean to recognise that in whatever way He acts, or in whatever
form He manifests, we see our Beloved. As Hazrat Sarmad said at the point of martyrdom
- 'in whatever form You come I recognise You'.
It may be argued that this is well enough for a saint like Sarmad but how can we love
humanity and also love such inhumanity? The fact is that when we sit in the quiet of our
room or on our prayer carpet, or wherever else we meditate, if we do pour our love onto
such an act we actually remove from within ourselves its harmful qualities. We eliminate
the risk of being invaded by fear, anger, and hatred. This leaves us as individuals able to
look for constructive, practical, clear minded solutions and ways to move forward - to
assist the cause of humanity and universal brotherly love.
Try it on some deeply felt hurt that lies part buried in your own mind, some lost romantic
attachment, some bereavement, some actual harm done to you by others, something stolen
from you or some insult hurled at you - or try it in relation to the world situation. Don't
concern yourselves for the moment with who did what but love the fact of the actual thing,
however much it hurts - for the sake of the One who really Causes all acts in the universe.
If the hurt is felt so greatly that it opens the wellspring of tears let them come - they can be
seen as signs of deep inward cleansing. This is in a small way to prepare for the return to
our Lord - 'and to Him we shall surely return'. If we are pleased with Him He will surely
be pleased with us.
Look at it this way - suppose we envisage that the souls that constitute our being are
permeated by an all embracing soul (of course in reality God cannot be limited by such
conceptualisations) when we return to awareness of union with that Soul and our acts in
separation are reviewed would we not hope to hear that Great Soul of Souls say that He
loved our acts, however bad they actually were, because we loved an act of His even
when it seemed to us bad in every way.
Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti expressed this idea in a succinct and universally
applicable way when he said -' Whatever comes into the heart of the lover is burnt - there
is no fire like the fire of the heart of the lover of God'.
It is the application of this to the world situation that I have been trying to make clear to
you. We must seek to love Him so intensely that the evil and corruption of anything
entering into heart becomes burnt in our love.
This is the love that eschews sentimentality. When we emerge from our meditation it is not
necessary that we wear sentimental love on our sleeves - love is a secret between lover
and Beloved. We should not refuse to face up to the day to day realities and
Neither should we fall into the trap of fatalism - an absence of personal moral
responsibility for our own actions should not inferred from this. Nor should we fail to
recognise the Divine working in our life, or in the unfolding pageant of history.
Having conquered within ourselves the fear and hatred by means of Love each decision,
small or big, must be weighed and we must accept the consequences of our choices. It does
not mean that we should not act to seek justice, or to act compassionately, but we should
do so when inwardly freed from the baleful influences.
Outwardly we should now be able to act properly, cleanly, clearly and in the best sense,
with Love dominating our heart.
Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri (Southampton, October 3rd 2001)
Published by The Zahuri Sufi Web Site October 2001