Islam is a practical form of spiritual guidance which originated in the ancient, pristine, deserts of the Middle East. It is a timeless teaching which has much relevance today to the seekers of Truth everywhere, but particularly in the contemporary western world. Behind the veil of Middle-Eastern cultural trappings and Western biases, lies the Straight Path to inner peace, the spiritual goal of all truth seekers. It is a direct answer to the spiritual hunger which many in the West suffer from after having indulged themselves for hundreds of years in an orgy of materialism.
Western society is suffering a spiritual crisis. This is apparent from the social unrest and racial tensions which fill our daily newspapers and television broadcasts. The traditional sources of spiritual guidance, which people previously turned to for help have fallen out of touch with their spiritual needs. A growing number of people are seeking spiritual guidance from alternative religions or paths such as those associated with the New Age movement. The decline of the influence of the Christian church is countered by a growing interest in diverse Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Zen, Tantraism, Sufism, Taoism, as well as self-proclaimed gurus and disparate forms of magic and divination such as astrology, tarot cards, numerology, crystal gazing, etc. Some have been so disenchanted with western society as to go so far from the mainstream as to engage in devil-worship.
This desperate state of mind and spirit is a result of the materialistic values of the west which encourages the ego to promote its self-interest over the common welfare. The ego is a necessary part of the mind which is supposed to help us deal with the every day demands of the outer world. However, when it is not given the proper and careful guidance it needs, it becomes the root cause of our discontent. It is that part of us which says, when we are asked to help someone in need, "What's in it for me?" The way to inner peace and spiritual enlightenment is the recognition of the ego's role in our daily lives and its sublimation. For the sincere Truth-seeker, Islam provides a simple, sure and direct way out of this morass.
The word "Islam" may be defined as "submission... [to the will of the Divine]." Pragmatically, this means the surrender of our mundane, materialistic egos, to the will of the Divine Spirit, the ultimate reality which is God. By doing so, one learns to detach oneself from the illusions of the material world so that one can enter the kingdom of peace which is awaiting all those who are prepared to take the Islamic journey within.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186