Sufism and Peace
The current agitated state of the world, and the unstable human relationships within it, are the result of a combination of unfavorable events and the intentional or unintentional pursuit of unfounded and disruptive ideologies of the past as well as the present. Thus, all the innate values, possibilities and resources which lie within the very core of man are in danger of destruction. This is a danger signal which must alert and propel humanity of this age---especially reflective and peace-seeking individuals throughout the world—to think and ponder upon deeply. It is time that attention be given to the glorious words of truth and revelation of the Almighty God in the Holy Qur'an:
يَقُولُ الْإِنسَانُ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَيْنَ الْمَفَرُّ
On that day man will say: What is the way to redemption and refuge? (75:10)
Is today not that day? Is it possible that humanity be advanced in appearance, yet at the same time be disquieted and vengeful? Should it not recognize and know the true word of peace and tranquility in the infinite Book of Existence, and by the true cognition of human dignity, exchange this state of hell-fire for the promised paradise?
All these questions and many more, direct our attention to these all-important questions: What is peace? Where and under what conditions will it prevail? Seven thousand years of written human history, plus millions of years of evolution of the human species, bear witness only to the endless excuses of humanity to justify its shameful, aggressive, and destructive actions. Humanity has not only not reached his goal of a relatively continuous peace, but , in spite of the rapid advancement and expansion of science which offered great promise, has strayed even further from the realm of true peace.
Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, the spiritual master of M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi (School of Islamic Sufism)®, in the book Peace states:
"Logical thought demands that a firm and solid measure be recognized for man, so that a stable system or social structure is devised, and firm steps taken toward its implementation. Therefore, devising any compulsory system which forces man into a predefined structure not in harmony with the nature and personality of man will result in explosion and devastation in a short time.
"Thus, only laws and social systems which are not rationally and scientifically opposed to the essence of man will be permanent and enforceable. For this reason, it is necessary to know man and his universal personality from the point of view of Sufism (Irfan). This has been the subject of the teachings of Prophet s of religion." 1
Peace and Stability in Existence
Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, the great Arif (Sufi Master) of our era, in the book Psalm of the Gods, addresses mankind:
"In nature’s destination, the pacts of man are apparent, but to the senses, they are unknown."
Experimental sciences and different advanced theories estimate the age of our solar system to be billions of years old. Therefore, determining the age of galaxies and other planetary systems, and of the infinite universe, is inconceivable. Yet, during this span of time, the universe has continued with tranquility and peace throughout its orbital revolutions without ever faltering. What law prevails in this nearly infinite journey which governs all entities and their precise interrelationships? Recognition and discovery of this specific principle—the source which causes a relative permanence for such matter and celestial bodies— may be invaluable in reaching a deeper and more conclusive understanding of peace.
On the other hand, whenever we compare the structure of this immense solar system with the structure and organization of the atomic structures, we observe that within each element of the earth and other planets of the solar system, they all follow one all-pervasive law. Adherence to this absolute law and its influence has made this relative physical stability possible.
The constant determining factor which keeps all particles in balance is the law of submission. The reason for the survival of all manifestations—particles and waves—which seem to be eternal, is their total, complete and continued submission to the penetrating and stable laws of existence. Cognition of this law, the ruling power of the fate of all particles and galaxies—and specially of the truth of human being—acquaint us with the extensive knowledge inherent in nature and of true tranquility. 2
Peace and the Human Being
"Just as precious diamonds do not deteriorate into the dirt of swamps, and the running veins of pure gold keep their place within the heart of the earth and are loath to mix with the brittle soil in mines, even while their luminosity distinguishes and separates them from the volatile disintegrating dust, so does man bear a distinctive attribute in his earthly, natural being, which is also luminous and has a separate life to undertake. The reliable and eternal dimension of man, hidden within him, is inaccessible to his limited dimension of nature, to his unripe thoughts and feelings. The cognition of the truth of man in his heavenly realm results in more constant and correct laws."3
The eternal dimension lies hidden within human beings and is inaccessible to their limited perceptions, thoughts and senses. In this dimension, limitations and boundaries cease to exist and differences in race, ethnicity, culture and gender are insignificant. Recognition of the truth of the individual in their eternal realm results in constant and reliable laws.
The instructions and messages of the Prophets are intended for this dimension of man, with a particular receptivity and a capability of receiving special training.
Sufism is the method through which man is reconciled with his eternal dimension.
Sufism teaches that the whole of existence, from atoms to galaxies to human beings, all submitted to their informed center and are guided by their innate knowledge.
The centre of the "I" is the prevalent, informed center. Discovery of the "I", the Source of Life within, is the first step in the journey toward self-knowledge, peace, and justice.
Peace and Society
A prosperous human society is attained through the outward and inward harmony of each of its members, and their harmonious existence in a unified system. Without achieving this, all international laws and agreement, and all organizations which use the term "peace" as a concept without its realization, will fail with existing methods in the goal of creating a prosperous and peaceful society. When the true values of one person are totally known, it is possible to design and implement other laws of action that are built upon those values.
Therefore, until humanity is able to discover the absolute common meeting grounds, it will be unable to formulate and execute laws or construct social systems which will stand the test of time. This is why social laws without firm foundations are unable to provide effective solutions and results.
Unless reflective organizations which serve as innovators for social and educational change discover a constant spiritual measure, the disparate and changeable factors such as prejudice and differences in attitudes to existing territorial boundaries will not be eliminated.
Sufism teaches that Religion, in spite of all branches of thought and sects, is the stability of the human being in the ultimate eternal truth, as revealed in the Holy Qur'an:
إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ (51:5)
وَإِنَّ الدِّينَ لَوَاقِعٌ (51:6)
Whatever you have been promised is truth. And it is religion which is the stable reality.
Islam, which is derived from the root s-l-m [ س ل م ], means peace and tranquility. The words of the Lord of believers and the pure, Amir-al-Mo’menin Ali (peace be upon him), the guiding light for humanity, attest to this genuine and sacred goal:
"Islam is submission, and submission is stability and constancy in the true reality of Existence."
The ultimate goal of the teaching of Islam is the discovery of the constant and eternal laws of existence, and the realization of a freedom and justice whose measurement is as vast as infinity. And, its potential fulfillment will be the source of peace and tranquility for all individuals and societies of mankind to the extent of all natural laws and immensity of fields and forces of Universe. Therefore, those who are drawn with unswerving devotion and love towards the source and the existential truth, are absolved of all excessive desires, conflicts and error, and their being will only propagate love, affection and peace. 4
“We must not think that we need to undertake monumental and intricate projects to attain this goal. Instead of persistently trying to design and implement the illusory ideals of societies or organizations, thinkers and managers should put their efforts toward providing the means that will help individuals to discover their values.... Educational systems and training programs should be revised for individuals to be effectively educated, and to bring out their true capabilities and potentials.”5 Unless compassionate and dedicated thinkers discover the correct education methods and endeavor to correct existing ones, it seems unlikely that they will come close to a prevailing peace envisioned in human societies.5
In any discipline one must study and experiment under the instruction and guidance of a knowledgeable teacher to master one’s subjects. Likewise, it requires the presence of the Spiritual Master to discover the truth of the human being, and the road map to the eternal dimension. The Arif (Sufi Master) is one who has attained knowledge of reality, and can provide the guidance in the journey toward self-knowledge.
Rumi, the 13th century Sufi said: "Whoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for two days’ journey."
1. Molana Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha. Peace (Verdugo, CA: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications,1987), 27.
2. Ibid., 30-31.
3. Ibid., 45-46. 4. Ibid,. 34. 5. Molana Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha. Theory “I”: The Inner Dimension of Leadership (Riverside, CA: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 2002), 169.