It was a custom of my beloved guide, philosopher and friend, Dr Zahurul Hasan Sharib,
to write a new year message and I have tried to carry this on using the technology of the
I have again just returned from Konya that wonderful city of Love where the presence of
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and the overflowing love that was sparked by his mystical union
with Shemsuddin Tabriz can be felt in the most surprising and palpable of ways. Humanity
owes an unpayable debt to these great lovers of God - whether it knows it or not. The
overflow of that love brings light into the soul, joy in the heart, peace in the mind of the
individual but it also brings humanity into the everyday relations between father and son,
mother and daughter, sister and brother, husband and wife, child and parents, business
partners, the rich and the poor and so on. The drudgery of work becomes selfless
service. The burden of care becomes the source of happiness. Business becomes the
opportunity for self development and the practice of the virtues.
Religion amongst other things is often taken as an excuse for taking the humanity out of
human relations. This abuse of this precious gift from God is remedied when
all-conquering Love is seated in its proper place on the throne of authority in the heart
and is guided by the purified intellect.
People point to the chest when they speak of love but the heart is not contained in the
chest it is greater than the whole physical universe though any such comparison does not
do it justice. Love requires to make itself into two in order to become manifest - that we
call the lover and the Beloved - but in reality these two are one. Separation is required in
order for there to be manifestation and then unification but in truth the two are never other
than each other. That pearl of love is within you - find it and you find the secret of life
itself. It is the root of all the human relationships. It makes you a true man or woman. It is
like the root cell in the body from the genes of which the physical manifestation of the
limbs and organs and so on will eventually become manifest.
How I enjoyed in Konya meetings and discussions with wonderful people at their various
points of progression in their spiritual development. I enjoyed meeting that true Shaykh
(how rare they are) Ali Baba at his dergah and the warmth of the mureeds and guests.
Later at his house we were shown the true Sufi hospitality - of generosity of heart. I
remember Sehar beautiful in her modesty and shyness and brave hearted Mahomet from
Iran and Oxford at the beginning of his quest for the truth. I remember the reliable and Sufi
hearted Abdullah ever ready to help others and his stout-hearted friend Tahir.
I remembered Nuri Baba who had taken on inwardly without external motivation to further
my inward progress - so that even the last hair of the donkey would finally be destroyed in
a sea of salt till there was nothing that could call itself donkey - only the salt of spiritual
purity saying silently 'I am salt and nothing else'.
I remember the wonderful and peaceful Ibrahim Gamard from America, pious and
knowledgeable, and our long and fascinating discussions on some finer points of religion
and mysticism. I remember his heart warming lecture at the conference - where what are
so often 'just words' and the reiteration of ideas, became something real in the heart. I
remember sharing poems in English and verses in Persian and Arabic over a bowl of
soup in a deserted restaurant. I remember other warm hearted meetings many and varied
but coloured by the love in the heart of Mevlana - it is as if we were in his heart.
I remember meeting quiet spoken Dr Tariq and hearing from him reflections on the nature
of the philosophy of Mevlana Rumi and the sincere desire of some visitors to know the
spirit of the Sufi dance. I remember meeting again Essin Chelebi and her mother with their
gracious calmness that is such a hallmark of the Mevlevi Order and their generosity in
allowing me to visit the Sema Performance in special seats next to the Shaykh. I
remember stern looking guards in the Chamber of Presence in the Turbisi of Mevlana
breaking into effusive greeting when they recognised me from previous years. I remember
the young Iranian girl who burst into long beautiful passages from Mevlana's poetry in the
cold night outside the gate to the shrine.
It was a great time to meet up unexpectedly with Radha Dayal one of Zahurmian's murids
who had been with us at the special time of his passing from this world to the next;
sharing with her special memories of old friends some of whom have followed him and
some of whom we have had too little contact with in the last few years. I remember
walking with Radha to her hotel and finding in the most mystical of ways that somehow
we were walking in the streets of India. I remember taking Ziarat (tour of the shrines ) with
Radha and her recent American acquaintance Robyn - visiting the various shrines around
Konya and in Merham.
These are just a few of the memories from this year, some are too personal or intimate to
Now we face the New Year - the future is always daunting. Like a blank sheet when one
first sits to write. The state of the world appears uncertain but we are never alone.
External events seem beyond our control and it seems inevitable they will shape our
collective and even personal destines but there is a Hand unseen writing our future as
Shakespeare puts it 'rough hew them how It will'.
Life can be viewed as having two types of journeys that run simultaneously so to speak.
One is chronological and both physical and psychological - it consists in us passing
through various phases of life. At one time we are a child then an adult then a parent and
so on. Each phase of life appears to be the only reality the rest is speculation or memory
- well Shakespeare puts it better as you know with his seven stages of life. This became
more real to me again as this year I retired from the world of paid employment with its
hardships, but also with its enforced discipline to a time when those disciplines must be
The other kind of journey is the progression from one spiritual level to another - from
rawness to being cooked and then burnt as Mevlana describes it. It is as water that
becomes transformed by heat into steam - a change in state - in our case a change in the
state of our mind and heart.
What we need is a vision, a goal that takes account of our chronological phases but
transcends it - that will carry us even beyond death and be the source of an everlasting
life. Zahurmian had a mission of spreading a message of 'better living' to his family of
devoted followers. He remains alive beyond the transition to the next world bringing about
changes inside us that realise his vision. It goes beyond 'Islamism' plagued as it is by
extremism and literalism, beyond spiritualism, or atheism or materialism and even 'Sufism'
which has been described well as a name without a reality. Its focus is not on the
pleasures of paradise, or the fear of hell, but on the deepest kind of service to humanity
which in the end is the true service to God who has many names but cannot be defined or
Such a service is a true Gift of God since He requires no help. He informs us in the
Qur'an that had He wished to make everyone Muslim that it would be easy for Him. The
same may be said of Sufism. Therefore our mission is not the spread of a religion or even
of Sufism but to make manifest the potential of human relationships to take on a spiritual,
ethical, moral, human and above all loving dimension that rises above worldly concerns
whilst taking them into account, and interacts with a dimension other than that of 'normal'
The holy Prophet (pbuh) had a mission as a seal of religion and he continues to this day
from beyond the grave to guide and develop the religion for the widest possible benefit for
the widest group of men and women. Before him Prophets Jesus and Ibrahim and Moses
had their missions suited to mankind in their time. Other peoples had their wise men and
Gnostic's whose mission was similar.
The great Sufis like Mevlana Rumi and Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishti, and Hazrat
Abdul Qadir al-Jillani, had a mission to revitalise the true spirit of Islam in changing times
and circumstances, and hundreds of years later they remain shining beacons of the spirit
of Love and humanity that excludes no one on account of their heredity, background,
belief system, or even life style. Inspired and motivated by their example but also by them
directly in the unseen dimension Dr Sharib and the saints of the Gudri Shah Order
continue to work unseen to better the quality of life of their extended inner family. I find the
same spirit in the Sufis who follow Nuri Baba and Ali Baba.
Do not mistake my meaning - if your path of return to the Origin takes you through a
particular religion or belief system then that provides you with a secure framework that
needs following till your understanding has been opened to its deeper truth. What needs
to be kept in mind is that religion and belief systems are a guide and pointer towards
something else. Muslims do not worship Islam but the Eternal Essence which in Arabic is
called Allah, Christians do not worship Christianity but that same Essence which they
term God in English, and so on. Which is to say we should not be satisfied with our
conception of the Truth but seek the Truth itself and it alone. The Ney in the famous
opening of the Masnevi says - 'Everyone sought me from their own opinion, none sought
me from within myself'.
In Islam there is something called Fitra. It means being true to our own inherent human
nature - not in its lowest and most debased form but in its highest and most exalted form.
There is a Qur'an verse which says Allah created man in the best of moulds and then he
was debased to the lowest of states. We need to find in ourselves that higher nature and
live in accordance with it.
Oh my dear, let love in to the heart, open a little the dome of the mind to the divine truth
and learn to know thyself who are really none other than a manifestation (not an
embodiment) of the Divine. Live an outwardly well organised and sober life but be ever
drunk within on the nectar of Divine Love. Let the Divine love create an ambiance around
you so that those entering that ambiance become at once changed finding their own
hearts softened by the contact. Play your part in changing living into Living, loving into
And have a really prosperous and happy New Year - all 366 days of it - by the Grace of
God the Merciful and Compassionate.
Jamil (Southampton Dec 2011).