Saturday, 16 August 2014

21st century Sufism meets Self-realization?

In a promotional review of Irving Karchmar's Master of the Jinn, which I recently read, the reviewer writes: 'There is an added social component in the novel: the modernization of Sufism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal wrote Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of Self), a Sufi love poem which argued that negation (fana'), the longstanding obsession of the mystic, had to be replaced with affirmation (khudi). Without it, Sufism would become irrelevant in the modern world.'

Delving a little deeper into Muhammad Iqbal's biography yields a little more about his thinking:

'In the development of this dynamic philosophy, which is expressed in Bergsonian vitalistic terms (although unlike Bergson, Iqbal regards God as being outside the process of history), the key role is played by the twin terms khudi ('self') and 'ishq ('absorbing love' or elan vital). The goal of this ethical dynamism is to expand and fortify the self (which is the only way to individual survival after death), since only when an enlarged and fortified self is realized can a meaningful community of the faithful be launched on earth as the prophet Muhammad was able ...'

~ The Hole Pitcher.