“Just about everybody I know who is serious about personal healing, social change, and ecological rebalancing is in recovery: recovery from personal addiction, childhood abuse, childhood deprivation, the nuclear family, sexism, racism, urban alienation, trickle-down economics, combat service in the trenches of the gender wars, the threat of extinction, linear thinking, the mind/body split, technological progress, and the mechanistic worldview.”—Chellis Glendinning, My Name Is Chellis & I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization.
“In a world, moreover, where palpable disparities with ‘The West’—in power, authority, the ability to craft and disseminate images, sensibilities, and ideal—continue to stroke powerful, preconscious impulses toward modes of rejection, accomodation, or dissociation that can only be indulged through a conscious (or perhaps at times not so conscious) flouting or misappropriation of God’s will.”—Sherman Jackson, Sufism for Non-Sufis?
“Mysticism, however, is dedicated first and foremost not so much to serving God as it is to enjoying God, that is, to perfecting not the worship of God but rather the ecstatic experience of God.”—From Sufism for Non-Sufis? by Dr. Sherman Jackson.
Someone asked me recently what Islam (or perhaps better put, the Muslims) was like in Philadelphia. Here’s a short answer:
So my family and I recently moved to a new home and we hired movers for the heavy stuff. Whilst we were in the middle of our move, my wife asked some friends of hers to come over and help with watching the baby. The three movers were two Blackamericans and one Asian. When my wife’s friends came to the door, we were both distracted with some last minute packing so her friend simple said from the open doorway,
While the Asian man kept working, apparently unfamiliar with the phrase, both African-American men replied,
"wa ‘alaykum Salaam."
Neither man professed to being Muslim. Rather, this encounter spoke to the overall familiarity of Islam to Blackamericans.
“Muslims in and from the Muslim world routinely look to God as divine anti-imperialist and just as often equate the mere rejection of Western ways with the establishment of a normative Islamic order.”—Sherman Jackson from Sufism for Non-Sufis?
“If your unveiling (kashf/كشف) contradicts the Qur’an and Sunna, hold fast to the Qur’an and Sunna and ignore your unveiling. Tell yourself, ‘God The Exaulted has guaranteed for me the truth of The Book and The Sunna, which he did not do in the case of unveiling, inspiration (ilham/إلهام) and direct witnessing (mushahadah/مشاهدة),’ not to mention the fact that the scholars agree that it is not permissible to act on the basis of unveiling, inspiration ir direct witnessing, without first comparing these with The Book and The Sunna.”—Imam al-Shadhili from al-Tabaqat al-Kubra taken from Sherman Jackson’s Sufism for Non-Sufis?.
Growing up listening to the radio, I would often hear the phrase, “100% satisfaction guaranteed,” or something to the effect of this. I had this precise recollection in my sleep with the following verse going through my head:
فاستجاب لهم ربهم أنى لا أضيع عمل عمل منكم من ذكر او انثى بعضكم من بعض
"Their Lord responded to them: ‘I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female – you are both the same in that respect." [Qur’an, 3: 195]
So what are you waiting for? Make that deed now while supplies last!
“It is still both possible and useful to distinguish a tool-using culture from a technocracy. In a technocracy, tools play a central role in the thought-world of the culture. Everything must give way, in some degree, to their development. The social and symbolic worlds become increasingly subject to the requirements of that development. Tools are not integrated into the culture; they attack the culture. They bid to become the culture. As a consequence, tradition, social mores, myth, politics, ritual, and religion have to fight for their lives.”—Neil Postman, Technopoly.
The continued use of such plastic words as “economic growth,” and “progress” shows how completely ridiculous our culture has become. If economic growth is like other forms of growth, then at some point, the growing must stop. When a tree is planted, it has to germinate in fertile soil and then after a period of time, it reaches its height and girth and stops growing and begins to do other things, like bear fruit and provide shade. It also protects the soil against erosion and provides birds with places to live, etc. It is a fact our economy must stop growing. The real question is has it been planted in fertile soil? Will it begin to bear us fruit, provide us shade and a comfort to our lives? If not then we cannot call this growth but a cancer. For only cancer grows and grows until it consumes its host. And yet, every single politician and CNN economic analyst regurgitates the same toxic nonsense until it becomes a fascist truth: a lie told over and over until it is accepted as the truth.
The Ummah of Muhammad, may God the Exaulted send prayers and blessings on him, is the Ummah of hope. It is for this reason I am an optimist: Not out of some individual code of ethics but because the Best of Creation was hopeful and inspired so many with hope.
“Most technology survivors lose all or part of their hero system*. Long-Standing, fundamental beliefs about themselves and the world can shatter into irretrievable fragments. One’s identity can be the first to go.”—
Chellis Glendinning, from When Technology Wounds: The Consequences of Progress. I am forced to think of newer technologies, such as Facebook (or even dare I say this Tumblr page!) and the Internet as a whole, where people do seem to lose their defining characteristics as well as their identities.
*this refers to Ernest Becker’s theory of the hero system found in The Denial of Death.
Some thoughts as I walked the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, located just outside Philadelphia, on sabr, hamd, and shukr. Taking a break from all the technology to relieve some stress by reflecting on God’s Signs.
“A preacher who confines himself to considering how a medium can increase his audience will miss the significant question: In what sense do new media alter what is meant by religion, by church, even by God?”—Neil Postman, Technopoly.
“The paradox, the surprise, and the wonder are that the clock was invented by men who wanted to devote themselves more rigorously to God; it ended as the technology of greatest use to men who wished to devote themselves to the accumulation of money.”—Neil Postman, Technopoly. I would caution Postman, however, from getting ahead of himself for “it” and “we” have not ended yet. Who can say what further uses the clock will be put to. Or perhaps it will be putout of use.
“To say that someone should be doing better work because he has an IQ of 134, or that someone is a 7.2 on a sensitivity scale, or that this man’s essay on the rise of capitalism is an A— and that man’s is a C+ would have sounded like gibberish to Galileo or Shakespeare or Thomas Jefferson.”—Neil Postman, Technopoly.
“Our psychologists, sociologists, and educators find it quite impossible to do their work without numbers. They believe that without numbers they cannot acquire or express authentic knowledge.”—Neil Postman, Technopoly.
“The first instance of grading students’ papers occurred at Cambridge University in 1792 at the suggestion of a tutor named William Farish. No one knows much about William Farish; not more than a handful have ever heard of him. And yet his idea that a quantitative value should be assigned to human thoughts was a major step toward constructing a mathematical concept of reality.”—Neil Postman,Technopoly.