Many people today are looking for ways to rid themselves of feelings of chaos, turmoil, struggle, trouble, conflict, insincerity, egoism, the stress of the rat race, and untruthfulness in the world in an effort to live safely, peacefully, and happily. As they have realized that happiness is a spiritual and psychological experience that involves the soul, and that it cannot be attained through financial means, power, physical strength or beauty, or even science and art, they then seek different alternatives and remedies. In fact, God, who created human beings, has sent them divine books to prevent people from being led astray, and appointed prophets to guide them. However, there are times when people turn away from the divine message. In such instances, false beliefs step in; these false beliefs exploit people physically and spiritually, they lead to family problems, suicides, and mental illnesses, and they become a source of unhappiness instead of bliss. If some of these beliefs are not hindered and if people's needs are not properly met, it is very likely that social disaster will ensue.
There are a number of interesting and exotic-sounding concepts that have recently been extensively covered by the press. Some of these concepts claim to bring people peace and happiness, but ordinary people can hardly grasp what they actually are. Here is but a list of them: Mystic Group, yoga, meditation, Maharishi, The New Age Movement, High-Consciousness, Human Potential, Bio-energy, Satanism, Shamanism, Zen Buddhism, Occultism, Esoterism, Theosophy, Aliens, walking on fire, FRP (Fantasy Role Playing), self-development, NLP, mind control, séances, universal brotherhood of humanity, Moonism, Ufoism, Amon, Religion of High Society, to name a few.
Having experienced amazing developments in technology, the western world has now become highly interested in mysticism. For example, the fad for yoga, becoming increasingly popular since the late 1990s, has recently reached its zenith and yoga gurus have become popular. Expensive classes have been organized, dozens of books have been published, and yoga centers have been opened in rich parts of towns. Some day care centers have started teaching children yoga and meditation. Famous actors and actresses, singers, politicians, and businessmen and women have all been talking of the benefits of yoga and meditation.
Over a thousand similar beliefs, institutions, and philosophies abound in the world. The United States and some European countries are leading countries in this movement, but they are not the only countries where new age culture is influential. For example, The Maharishis, who have a foundation in Turkey called "Birlesik Alan Teknolojileri Dernegi" (United Field Technologies Foundation), have a membership of over 20,000, and organize free presentations two days a week in five major cities through the TM – Transcendental Meditation – Foundation. According to Albert Baruh, the representative of TM in Turkey, TM and Maharishi are not only the origin of all religions, but they are also the single path that will lead humanity to happiness.
In this article we are going to analyze two points of these highly complicated belief systems.
To seek happiness is a part of human nature, a spiritual/metaphysical trait. This cannot be removed from human nature nor satisfied any other way than spiritually. Attempts to restrict or eliminate this need have failed throughout human life. People have endured innumerable difficulties, used all their financial means, and exploited every method in order to find happiness, or in other words, to satisfy their spiritual need. This search sometimes sends them on long journeys to find fulfillment. "Lots of millionaires go to Sai Baba in India to find happiness," says Coşkun Aral, a journalist who was present in the hall where Shri Mataji – the Hindu guru – held a meditation class for almost 5,000 people among whom were a number of famous artists, journalists, and business people.
Since peace and happiness are feelings that demand fulfillment at all costs, they are easily exploited. Every philosophy that promises peace of mind attracts a great deal of attention. In other words, ideas like the concept of peace are abused in order to gain notoriety. For example, it has been claimed that meditation through breathing is a very effective method, saying that it brings about all the benefits of meditation, some of which are a more robust existence, a healthy life, a balanced nervous system, complete relaxation, peace, openness of mind, the ability to control feelings and thoughts, and improvement in concentration, physical strength, and spiritual balance.
Yet, the promised objectives are almost impossible to achieve, when a closer look is cast upon them; the reason for the creation of a human being, their physical and spiritual makeup, environmental conditions, and genes all have great influence in our lives and they even work as if hand in hand against such objectives, sometimes even eliminating them altogether.
History shows that the prophets, who should have come first in the attainment of such objectives, always stressed the importance of the Hereafter over this world and they led lives of severe hardship, suffering, and poverty. It is also hard to claim that other people or groups have managed to reach the said objectives. Statements like "Aryans have been in contact with the Universal Spirit without excluding nature and through practicing yoga techniques and conquering the emotions and mind," lack any objective observation or criteria. It is impossible to talk authoritatively about people or groups that lived thousands of years ago from which no historical records survive. It is possible to state that the claims made by, for example yoga, are pipe-dreams to a certain extent; it should always be taken into consideration that these methods may leave people in the middle of psychological troubles that follow a temporary period of peace – a period effected by over-confidence, submission, and mislaid faith.
The beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by scientific research and presupposed by all divine religions, in particular those of Islam, are sufficient to provide the peace and happiness achievable in this life. Under the very foundation of these religions lies a true belief in God; if we look at the movements mentioned above, we can see that they contain serious problems and shortcomings in relation to this fact. Some of these movements do not include a belief in God. Some attribute divinity to a human, whereas others dismiss God, attributing divinity to all creation. Those who talk about the Universal Spirit avoid explaining what they mean by it and what attributes and traits it has. When they attempt to sort out a philosophy, they describe an entity that in no way can be considered a god.
Thus, a correct belief in God and His Unity is at the core of the question. A firm establishment of the relation between God, human beings, and the universe will allow us to identify our expectations and understand how we should live. It would be useful to examine a few examples here. First, the life of human beings does not simply consist of this world and is ethereal compared to the Hereafter. This world is the site for work and preparation. Secondly, human soul, heart, all outer and inner senses are the spiritual power stations of mankind, and one can attain comfort only through remembering God. One can also find peace through serving humanity, altruism, being just and relying on God.
This concept of the world and the Hereafter is complete in itself and depends on the principles of unity, prophethood, and the world that follows. Since the life that the alternative movements and philosophies aim at is not based on these principles, these movements can be seen to be barren, and it can be understood that they run a serious risk of leading people astray – even if they provide some temporary relief. The mass suicides and psychological ailments that have become prevalent confirm this fact.
One further point needs to be mentioned here. People, who innately demand eternity, can only find satisfaction for their hearts and minds in the eternity of Paradise. It is probably because the said movements have correctly identified this fact that they covertly promise Paradise in this world. This is a denial of the Hereafter. Yet all of the divine religions and historical facts declare that the troubles and injustices of this world require a Hereafter, that people will only be perfect and complete there, and that they will live in total bliss forever. Only the eternal life in the Hereafter can satisfy humankind, who desire eternity. However, if we allow ourselves to think that we can lead such a life in this world, this will make all the paths that we can take to attain our goal legitimate; a weakness that is open to exploitation and abuse.
Almost all the movements that have become popular recently depend on teachings, philosophies, civilizations, and traditions that date back to ancient times. In fact, their emphasis on antiquity is one of the reasons for their popularity. Some claim that they have been appointed to re-establish the ancient civilization of Atlantis; others talk of ancient civilizations such as Amon, Babylon, Mu, Maya, and Ancient Egypt and say some old practices born out of these milieux can be used today. However, the environment today has changed profoundly, making such a transfer impossible, while at the same time the spiritual, cultural, and mental acquisitions of human beings have developed incomparably. The situation is no different for the final divine religion. Many things have changed, especially since the time that Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was granted prophethood. For example, the final divine religion, that is Islam, evolved into maturity, nullifying the need to rely on old teachings, practices, or philosophies in order to meet the spiritual needs of human beings. This was recorded through God's words and the Prophet's practices.
This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (Qur'an 5:3)
The Prophet (pbuh) interprets an aspect of this verse as follows: "I have been sent to complete good morals." Religion has been completed so that we will not need the old spiritual or moral practices.
The means that jinn and the devils employed to obtain information were eliminated as of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). These creatures used to convey this information to people with a great deal of exaggeration, even though it would contain some unclear and indefinite hints concerning future events. The Holy Qur'an states:
We have indeed set up constellations in the Heavens and made them attractive to beholders; And guarded them against every accursed devil; however, if they eavesdrop stealthily they are pursued by a visible flame. (15:16-18)
In another chapter, jinn say,
And that we reached out to Heaven, but we found it filled with mighty guards and comets; And that we used to sit around it eavesdropping; but whoever listens now will find a comet in wait for him. (72:8-9)
Interpretations of these verses bring forth the following points:
1. All devils, without any exception, are accursed. They lie.
2. Jinn used to eavesdrop from the heavens in order to lead people astray before the time of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings.
It is important to mention one thing here first: most scholars, especially philosophers and those among Sufi scholars, mention that human beings possess different traits. They allocate human beings into five chief groups, which are discussed below.
These are distinguished people endowed with superior traits. They have been granted divine purity without requiring any special effort on their part. No material or spiritual veil or obstacle can sully them with mental or spiritual impurities. The following are the traits shared by all prophets:
a. Truthfulness: Prophets are completely trustworthy in carrying out their prophethood. They are honest and distinguished, their characters are absolutely dependable. Under no circumstances can they commit a betrayal; God will only give the duty of revelation and the honorable task of prophethood to His dependable servants, not to traitors. He chooses His prophets from among the honest and faithful people.
b. Trustworthiness: Prophets speak the truth when declaring divine rules, orders, and restrictions and when giving information. Otherwise, it would be impossible for them to convince people and guide them; lying is a great sin and it cannot be associated with the prophets, each of whom is an epitome of trustworthiness and purity.
c. Intellect: Prophets have superior intelligence, a powerful memory, and the ability to convince. In order for them to carry out their prophethood, which is honorable and noble, yet a great burden, they have to possess such unusual intelligence, traits, and abilities. Otherwise, they would not be able to render conclusive proof to their people nor struggle effectively to convince them, leading those who believe to the Straight Path.
d. Infallibility: Prophets are protected from committing anything unlawful, any error or sin. If they were able to commit sins or crimes or behave contrary to their purity, it would then not be sinful for people to follow them and also to do evil things.
e. Justness: All prophets represent God's justness and behave justly.
f. Invitation: They invite people to Unity, prayers, good morals, peace and happiness, honesty and altruism, and forbid them from all evil.
g. Prophets are the most noble and prominent members of their community.
h. The prophets are able to perform miracles that prove their veracity.
i. Unlike soothsayers, who prefer black, mainly a symbol of evil, prophets prefer to wear light-colored clothes.
God informs the prophets, who possess these basic traits, either directly or through angels. This process, which has several levels and stages, as a whole is called revelation. Prophethood includes traits such as possessing a superior nature, prominence in the community, protection of purity and morals, and these are supported by an infallible and superhuman revelation.
Saints are people who have won God's favor. In addition to possessing a higher nature and abilities, they have purified their selves through struggle, being granted with inspiration, which is a lower level of revelation. There are differences between the revelation given to the prophets and the inspiration given to saints. Since the latter one is personal and subjective, people are not required to be amenable to them according to Islam. Any such inspirations may well need to be interpreted. They cannot be a proof for a religious ruling. Such inspirations are acceptable as long as they are not in disagreement with the Qur'an and the Hadith. Since such inspirations are directly relayed into the heart without interference from angels, they are almost always without witnesses. Such an inspiration might be useful for the person who receives it and for those who believe him to be a guide in issues that need explanation. One who is bestowed with inspiration walks in the steps of prophets and moves like them in their motives, aims, and methods. Saints are the prophets' heirs on the spiritual front. This is what distinguishes the saints from those who fall into the following groups.
Yogis and similar types
These people innately have some superior abilities. Moreover, they purify their selves to a certain extent though personal effort. However, since they do not have a sound faith in God and since they lack a guide, unlike the prophets who receive revelations, they can neither receive an inspiration nor do they seek good with respect to morals, aims, and methods.
These people also have some superior traits, but they possess no personal purification. Nor do they make any effort to obtain such. Therefore, they cannot receive inspirations. By reinforcing their abilities with certain instruments (in order to aid concentration) and depending on false information provided by jinn, they struggle to obtain unusual information. They use instruments and techniques such as glass crystals, numerology, stars, astrology, dice, palmistry, domino blocks, cards, water in a vessel, coffee grinds, tea leaves, birds, flowery and persuasive discourse, to name a few.
Such people also make use of jinn. It would be a good idea to further investigate this subject, due to its importance. The eavesdropping that is mentioned in the Qur'an and the Hadith is a method used by non-Muslim jinn and devils to obtain divine information. Muslim jinn do not attempt to eavesdrop because they meet their needs through the Qur'an and the Hadith. Jinn who are not of the believers do not aim to satisfy their needs. They simply want to produce alternatives to the divine message and to lead people astray. Soothsaying, sorcery, fortune telling, performing séances, Masonic rites, Satanism, occultism, esoterism, theosophy, ufoism, etc are all parts of an overall plan. Movements like Zen Buddhism, Kabbala, and Freemasonry depend on and aim at similar goals.
However, the advent of the Prophet (pbuh) destroyed what they depended upon. The verses given above (15:16-18, 72:8-9) clearly explain that jinn's means of stealing information from Heaven has been eliminated. Moreover, we can infer what deters them is not so much the flaming fires, rather it is the light of the Qur'an and the prophethood. The Prophet (pbuh) orders believers to remember God and seek refuge in Him when intending sexual intercourse or to use the restroom, in order to be protected against Satan. The Prophet (pbuh) also said in one of his hadiths that jinn who saw the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions pray and heard them recite the Qur'an admitted that it is the Qur'an that prevented them from obtaining information from Heaven. Elmalili Hamdi Yazir (1877-1942) makes the following interpretation: "In short, the flaming fires cut off the information from Heaven and guard the doors to Heaven like sentries. This tells of the light of truth that burns their spirits, their lies, indulgences, and disbelief. They are the flaming verses and miracles that glow in the Muhammadan sky, which frightened man-devils and jinn-devils, making them dumbstruck. Jinn who experienced these events did not attempt to talk of the future as they did before, they avoided telling lies, and admitted that they do not know about the morrow."
It is important to add here that during periods like the one we are living at present, when the light of the Qur'an and prophethood do not shine in the skies of humanity – a humanity that has failed to live properly – jinn and the devils will be able to lead people astray and put more energy into their efforts. It is certain that they cannot obtain any divine information, therefore whatever they say will be lies and fabrications. The way to fight such efforts is by putting the Qur'anic and prophetic light back into the life of humanity. To digress from the point a little, in relation to the above-mentioned flaming fires, some people have tried to explain such occurrences with the phenomenon of shooting stars. But these could well be a phenomenon that is as yet unable to be detected by current scientific methods. We may be able to understand the issue more comprehensively if and when new methods and techniques that involve unknown dimensions of matter are developed.
We have adorned the lower Heaven with lamps, and We turned them into missiles launched against the devils. (Qur'an 67:5)
It has been explained that the verse above is talking about fortune-tellers and astrologists. Thus, any attempt to predict the future that relies on several false concepts and therefore deceives people by attributing that which should be attributed to God (He is omniscient and omnipotent) to the position and characters of the stars, is an abuse of scientific authority. Therefore, things like fortune-telling and astrology become a means of and an excuse for leading people to a denunciation of the Unity and an acceptance of false ideas. Fortune-tellers, astrologists and the like do what the devils do. The final verses of the Qur'an state that people should seek refuge in God from the evils of both jinn and humanity (114:6).
Now let us turn back to examining the different categories that people are divided into, looking at the fifth and final category.
Such people have neither superior abilities nor do they constantly strive for purification as prophets do. They do not use jinn or any other instruments like soothsayers do. They might still obtain some information through dreams; the Prophet (pbuh) describes dreams as being one-fortieth of prophethood. A true dream is like a lower revelation. That is, it is simply a glimmer of light that is personal and subjective. Dreams need interpretation and cannot be religious proof. But the dreams that the Prophet (pbuh) had and that have been interpreted are exceptions. Moreover, in instances like the moment of death or in a state of madness, when the connection with the world is at its weakest, people can obtain some information through their dreams.
In the light of the information provided above, we can arrive at the following conclusion. In most ancient civilizations, the pieces of information that jinn and the devils brought were combined with magic and similar practices and developed to lead the people of the day astray. This continued until the advent of the Prophet (pbuh). But people were never abandoned and the prophets were all assigned to help them. During Solomon's reign in Babylon, when magic was prevalent, the angels were sent to protect people from the evil and deception of fortune-tellers and magicians. Two angels, called Harut and Marut, taught the fundamentals of magic to people and warned them against abusing it. The Qur'an tells the story as follows:
Yet those two angels did not teach anybody without saying (to him): "We are a temptation. So do not disbelieve." (2:102)
The devils abused everything and they exploited the magicians to sow discord in families, to cause people to fight, to drag people away from the light of revelation, and finally to cause them to blaspheme.
Some of the secret practices that are being revived today consist of information that jinn and devils previously put before man in a false manner. This must be the reason why Satan is mentioned so often today. We can also say Satan, unable to culminate the disobedience and ignorance he effected in Adam and Eve, is trying his hardest to finish the job in this world. Behind Satanism and similar movements are such considerations.
For example, the Amons was a leading civilization during the lifetime of Moses, and sorcery was widespread among them. For this reason, the Pharaoh made Moses face the sorcerers, who were official priests. Moses showed them miracles that they could understand, causing them to believe. The mystical movements today mention the Amon civilization, saying it will be revived, and therein lies freedom. Sorcery was also prevalent in Babylon during the time of Solomon. The Qur'an draws attention to the relationship of Satan, jinn, and sorcery:
And they believed what the devil said about Solomon's kingdom. Not that Solomon disbelieved, but the devils did (2:102)
In short, those times have passed. Attempts to revive such periods, with their belief systems and practices, should no longer be carried out since the advent of the Prophet (pbuh). These attempts simply disregard that mankind has developed.
People are standing on slippery ground if they want to have supernatural powers, rule matter and natural phenomena, know the future, and be a perfect person in all respects. Sufis describe this as the quest for being a complete person, while in modern use it is called being an able/cosmic person. Modern movements and societies propagate their views in such statements as: "Join us if you want to reach the Space Civilization, if you want to be promoted to a higher level, if you want to become a cosmic person, if you want to get to the seventh level of consciousness, etc."
It is possible to demonstrate how wrong it is to go to extremes in this matter by mentioning the Islamic point of view in general, and that of Sufism in particular. Human beings have the purest and the best nature of all creatures and they possess some of God's attributes. Nevertheless, they are incomplete compared to God; absolute perfection is one of His attributes. Some of the Qur'anic verses concerning human beings are as follows:
When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down prostrating yourselves to him. (15:29, 38:72)
We have created man in the best of shapes. (95:4)
He has made you His inheritors of the earth. (6:165)
We have honored the children of Adam and carried them on land and sea, provided them with good things and preferred them greatly over many of those We have created. (17:70)
These verses show that human beings possess a divine element. There are also verses that point to the incompleteness, inadequacy, disobedience, and weakness of the human being.
for man was created weak. (4:28)
Man was truly created apprehensive. (70:19)
Sufism, with its understanding of the uniqueness of the human being, has put to the fore the good elements in people and developed the concept of the "complete person." The good elements of the human being include the fact that we know God through His actions and attributes. From these actions and attributes, existence and events materialize. Humans are both the seeds and the fruits of existence. Also, when human beings, the heirs of God, reach completeness, they become creatures in which God's names and attributes become flesh. People are a mid-point between God and the universe, the obvious and the hidden. They are the ones in which the meanings of divine completeness is realized. The universe is a mirror that reflects God. The complete human being is the reflection of this mirror. "God created Adam in His own image," and this continued after Adam, and the prophets and saints also carried this trait.
Sufism explains the complete human being's presence between God and the universe by pointing to the interpretation of the following verse:
He unleashed the two seas so as to merge together. Between them is a barrier which they do not overstep. (55:19-20)
In the light of this verse, the ideas that combine God and the complete person (ittihad), making them one (hulul), become void. Human beings are at the center of creation.
In religion, complete human beings are illustrious personalities. Faith, Islam, and benevolence are their path and orbit, God's favor is their goal, to love and to make others love God is their duty, while Heaven and God's beauty are the surprising outcome of their ways of thinking and acting. The complete person is God's vicegerent in terms of his relationship with creation and events, and his interaction with them (2:30). They always know their place. They are most careful when protecting the limits of creation and obedience, the thought that everything comes from God is always present in their mind. They neither get intoxicated on their abilities, nor do they fall into spiritual indulgence.
The Prophet (pbuh) represents the zenith of the complete person in Sufism. Although every prophet and every saint who follows a prophet is a complete person, they do not completely represent God's names. All the names and attributes of the prophets and saints combine into a whole in Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). For anyone who desires completeness, after going through all the stages, to be able to reach the "Prophet's Truth" is an ideal. Therefore, Sufi scholars have always kept alive the ideal of being a complete person. Human beings, the best creatures in the cosmic sense, try to climb the steps of wisdom and to maintain the unity of knowledge and practice in order to realize their potential personality.
In the philosophy of "unity of being" (Wahdat al-Wujud) the second stage of the seven-rung ladder is called pre-emergence (taayyun al-awwal). This is also called the Prophet's Truth or the complete person. The Prophet's Truth is a purely metaphysical fact that is beyond the limits of time and space. A number of superior qualities are ascribed to this cosmic stage in Sufi literature. According to the interpretation of the stage of existence in the philosophy of unity of being, it is impossible to separate this stage from the Essence and to treat it and the Essence as one because of the differences between them. When other points are taken into consideration, a third classification is born.
a. Prophets: Although the spiritual existences of all prophets from Adam to Muhammad (peace be upon them) are manifestations of this fact, the final Prophet is the culmination.
b. The Saints (Rijal al-Gayb): In Sufism, saints and qutbs (the greatest saint of an era), who govern the universe spiritually, take their share of the Prophet's Truth. Although a qutb is a perfect person, they are not as high as those in the first category.
c. Perfect Being (Al-insan al-kamil): We can separate al-insan al-kamil into two categories. One is the "guide" who has completed their spiritual education according to an established path and is assigned by their teacher to guide other people. This is the complete and perfect person. It is normal for every member of a Sufi society to see their teacher as being at this stage. They are advised to adhere to this understanding in order to obtain wisdom. The other category is that of the complete believer. Whether they have joined a society or not, every believer who knows God as described in the Qur'an and the Hadith and who leads a perfect Islamic life is in this class.
Although the classification as given above is not directly mentioned in any Sufi book, we have rearranged some of the basic ideas in order to make it simpler to understand. Our aim here is to point out the mistake of regarding one's teacher as the owner of the position of the Prophet's Truth and to the irrelevance of any anti-Sufi criticism on this point. Surely, this classification is open to criticism and explanations by experts. Moreover, the issue of the complete human being has cosmological significance and is discussed in Sufi philosophical works under such headings as The Prophet's Truth, the Prophet's Light, the Able Person, the Word, etc.
The concept of the complete human in Sufism, which we have briefly mentioned, depends on the distinction between God and humans, His servants. Although this is a consistent and balanced way of thinking, some Islamic scholars have, to some extent, criticized it because of several extreme interpretations that might lead to misunderstanding.
Modern movements disregard God, put human beings in His place, and try to place the human being before us in the manner of an all-powerful creator, tempting us into believing that we are totally self-sufficient. The result of such actions could be personality disorders and a laissez-faire syndrome. A person who rejects obedience to God will be estranged, lose his or her freedom, and be ready and open to worship anything other than God; this person is in contradiction with their own nature.
It would be a good idea to summarize the main points here.
In the understanding of the complete man in Sufism:
a. Man can never reach God's rank and he cannot acquire His attributes.
b. Everything other than God was created, even those beings at the first stage of Emergence (Taayyun).
c. There is a strict distinction between God and His creations. No one can claim to be worshipped and thus avoid their duty to pray.
On the other hand, in the understanding of the complete person of modern movements:
a. There is no belief in an all-powerful God. Some have no faith in God at all. Therefore, they do not believe in the Hereafter, the Prophethood, the revelation, etc.
b. People are being driven into a vortex of pharaoh-like egoism, vanity, and conceit, considering themselves above everything. In contrast, in Sufi education, destroying or minimizing the ego is one of the fundamental aims.
c. Human beings are prevented from worshipping God, and run the risk of worshipping everything else.
d. When human beings discover that they cannot reach the level promised by such a movement – because that is impossible – they become unhappy, suffer mental and spiritual ailments, and sometimes commit suicide, sometimes even arranging mass suicides.
e. People are led to believe that they have the power and the authority to do everything, and that they are the absolute rulers; this leads them to lose control and destroy nature. On the other hand, in Sufism everything – living or non-living – is part of God's creation and so must be loved and protected.
God taught Adam the names of everything and endowed him with prophethood. There are different interpretations of what he was taught. Among those things given to Adam, Sufi scholars argue, was the bounty or light that forms the spiritual part of religion. Bounty or divine bounty is used within two contexts in Sufi literature: the revelation of the divine truth in the human heart in terms of knowledge (ma'rifat) and Sufi cosmology.
According to Sufi scholars, the bounty (knowledge and spiritual bliss) that comes from God was revealed to the prophets through the Archangel Gabriel, and from the prophets it passed onto the saints, their spiritual heirs, and from the saints to humanity. Therefore, the original source of bounty is God.
Divine bounty, which is endless, reaches man either directly, via manifestation (tajalli), or via the saints, by means of love. Tajalli, which means becoming obvious, appearing, occurring, and being granted God's special favors, is a state in which divine secrets are inspired into the heart of a student through rays of wisdom that come from God. The initial stage moves on in a spiritual chain reaction, which is regarded as a sign of legitimacy and reliability.
According to Sufis, the light of the Prophet is eternal. It passes from generation to generation. It first emerged in the image of Adam and finally in that of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Thus all the prophets, from Adam to Muhammad, peace be upon them, are the bearers of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) light, and are connected to the same source.
To summarize, one must have a strong connection that leads to God in order to move in the spiritual world. This requires a sound belief in God and the prophets, and a proper understanding of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). A person excels in relation to their closeness to the Prophet (pbuh). Thus one can gain closeness to God and become receptive to bounty. On the other hand, all beings, including humans, are the realization of the names of God and His attributes, so any mistaken belief or assessment concerning divinity will deprive a person of all bounties and drive him/her to chaos.
What makes modern movements, including western mysticism, useless and what drives people into blind alleys – despite the fact that they may derive some personal benefits or pleasures – is their lack of this connection and the lack of an overall system. They miss the target and are left flailing uselessly.
S.A. Nadir Shah, the spiritual leader of the school of Islamic Sufism in the USA, provides an allegory of an electric lamp to describe the difference between modern psychology in the West and Sufism. In this allegory, psychology studies the size, weight, and the composition of the lamp. Is it a lamp for the floor or for the table? Is it a night lamp or a reading lamp? How much does it weigh? How is the weight distributed? All these properties are changeable.
Psychotherapy is interested in learning all the variables that one must know in order to place the lamp properly. Does the color match that of the room? Is it attractive? Does its model go with the furniture? Is its wiring sound? Is the switch easily accessible? Different branches of psychotherapy study these external properties. On the other hand, no matter how much we change the properties of the lamp and study them, the lamp will not work if it is not plugged in. For a lamp to provide light it has to be connected to an electric source. Otherwise, knowing all the properties has no meaning.
Sufism is interested in the reason for the why the lamp is there. That is, it is interested in turning on the lamp, to connecting it properly so that it will carry out its function, and to finding the necessary power supply, not to changing its shape or color. Consequently, Sufism is interested in one unchanging property of the lamp: its connection to the source. It tries to cure the major disease of the soul, modern man's estrangement from his real identity and from God. This treatment lies in the connection with the Source of Life.
In almost all modern movements and philosophies there is lack of a true guiding source. In other words, modern movements lack a foundation.
E=mc2 encompasses the limits of matter. No natural matter can be defined outside its scope. A problem arises when it comes to determining where the area outside this scope connects with the material universe. This area, which feeds our body and seems to serve as a source for it, which is termed as the sub-zero, virtual or imaginative, is claimed to be the creator himself by some philosophies and this is a serious misconception.
We have a mirror in our hand that reflects the sun. When we look at the mirror, we may think that it is the source of the light, not taking into consideration the fact that it is simply reflecting the light. We think that it is the creator. In fact, we are seeing no more than a smooth surface in which an unreal sun rises.
The view that claims that the limits science has reached are the borders of the malakut (immaterial) world, that our souls are unbounded by time or space and that this area or dimension, which is considered as a source of boundless energy, is merely a reflection of the unlimited energy of the Creator (the manifestation of His names and attributes) and that our souls feed on infinite energy, corrects this mistake. Lijun Wang, a doctor of physics at Princeton NEC Institute, has found that light can travel three hundred times as fast as it was previously thought to, which is an important piece of information. When we go beyond the area that is described by E=mc2, we enter the world of Heaven, a world in which space can be present simultaneously in several places and where souls can travel beyond the limits of time.
All Far Eastern philosophies regard this area (the world of Heaven) as the Creator Himself, the essence and source, and perceive the human as being part of God. This view has developed into a false philosophy which says "You are the source of infinite power; you can do anything you want to." Such a philosophy can only lead to depression, as it is clear that human beings are not capable of doing everything.
The theories positive science has established and techniques based on Eastern philosophies are of use and they do contribute to change. However, they will fail to produce satisfactory answers as long as they hide the Sun. When a person who has based their life on such philosophies dies, they will understand that something is missing, but they do not have the chance to come back and live again (63:10-11). Reincarnation is offered in an attempt to hide this fact or to cover this flaw.
I believe that Islam and that Sufism, one of our most important acquisitions, have a lot to say concerning these issues. We have Sufism, a boundless way of life and thinking, which can replace the more positive of the above-mentioned philosophies, movements, and practices; it can annihilate the negative ones, and endow human beings with bliss, both in this world and in the Hereafter, as it sticks to God's unaltered principles. Sufism, it needs to be repeated, includes all the aims and all the techniques that the more positive of these movements practice, aims and techniques through which they attract people, in particular the educated and the well-to-do. Stressing this fact, those who propagate such movements say, "Most of the methods described in this book, including the coordination of breathing and concentration, are practiced by Sufis."
Rumi's Mathnawi (Verses) was written on this topic; this book could easily be a bestseller for those who are searching for a "way" in the above-mentioned movements. In addition, there are still some spiritual guides in our time. It is certain that many others will come about if given a chance. Experts can discuss and clarify which points are irrelevant to the present age, and any aspects that may conflict with scientific, especially psychological, data.
 Aksiyon, 06.05.2002.
 Aktuel Dergisi, 07.06.2001.
 Hewitt, James, The Complete Yoga Book, Shocken Books Inc., 1990, 371.
 An Indo-European dialect-speaking people who migrated to northern India around 1500 BC.
 Manaf, Akif, Yoga,
 Indeed, in remembering God do hearts find comfort. (Qur'an 13:28).
 Aksiyon, March 30, 2002, 382.
 Muwatta, Husnu'l-Khuluq, 8; Hanbal, Musnad, II, 38.
 For a similar meaning see Qur'an 37:6-10.
 Qur'an 15:18, Bukhari, Medicine, 46, Morals, 117, Tawhid, 57; Muslim, Salam, 123; Musnad, VI, 87.
 Tirmidhi, Jum'a, 73; Ibn Maja, Tahara, 9; Muslim, Nikah, 116.
 Bukhari, Tafsir, 72/1, Adhan, 105; Muslim, Salat, 149; Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 72/2.
 Yazir, Hak Dini Kur'an Dili, VIII, 5403
 For further explanations on the Qur'anic commentaries see: Yazir, Hak Dini Kur'an Dili, 5/3051, 3049; 7/5206; 8/5382, 5404
 For more in-depth explanations see: ibid, VII, 5206.
 For more information and evidence see: ibid, I, 449; Atesi, Ali Osman, Kur'an ve Hadislere Gore Cin ve Buyu (trans. Jinn and Magic in The Qur'an and Hadith), 231 etc.
 Yildirim, Suat, Kur'an-i Hakim ve Aciklamali Meali (trans. The Holy Qur'an with Commentary), 367.
 Bukhari, Isti'zan, 1; Muslim, Birr, 115, Muslim, Jannah, 28.
Important note: Image in this hadith stands for the manifestation of God's beautiful names as reflected in human creation, not in the sense of likeness of physical attributes. God's Essence and nature of existence is beyond our comprehension and outside our imagination.-Ed.
 This very famous Sufi term denotes an individual's final "spiritual" perfection, which causes him or her to have a universal "nature" that can represent the entire creation and reflect all that is best in it.-Ed.
 See for a similar criticism by Abdulaziz Bayindir.
 Wilcox, Lynn, Sufizm ve Psikoloji, Insan Yayinlari, Istanbul, 2001, 13. Originally published as Sufism and Psychology (The Quilliam Press, London, 1996).
 This concept has meanings like dignity, sovereignty, dominion and refers to the invisible realm of souls and spirits.-Ed.
 Zaman, June 5, 2000.
 For more information see: Bozdag, Muhammed, Ruhsal Zeka (trans. Spiritual Intelligence), 133 etc. Istanbul, 2001.
 Hewitt, James, Meditasyon, 145. Akasa Yay., Istanbul, 2000. Originally published as Meditation (Random House, 1998).
 Many scientific investigations reveal that various techniques of Sufism, when applied by qualified masters, do not involve the same risks found in the other movements mentioned above. On the contrary Sufi techniques may provide a positive outcome in a person's psychological state. The following sources are worth mentioning for further investigation: Wilcox, Lynn, Sufism and Psychology; Spiegelman-Inayat Khan-Fernandez, Sufism, Islam & Jungian Psychology; Sayar, Kemal, Sufi Psikolojisi [Sufi Psychology].
Dr. Abdulhakim Yüce is a professor of Sufism at the school of theology, Yuzuncu Yil University. He points out the reality that a quest for peace is natural human behavior, and also underlines the fact that, although people think they have found "peace" they do not actually know what real peace is. Human beings have been granted the ability to seek "perfection" and have the ability to be in spiritual touch with the other world; yet this is something that can never happen in the way that Satanists try.