An Analysis of the Root of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Light of Spiritual Psychology
by Ali Ansari
Most people won’t even consider looking at Islam as a viable alternative because of how it is portrayed by the rising dominance of the fundamentalist movement. It is in hopes of revealing the higher truths of the Islamic Faith that I feel it necessary to preliminarily explain the fundamentalist mindset in the language of the emerging psychology of spiritual transformation.
This language is increasingly coinciding (not coincidentally) with the terms of Spiritual Realization of the Eastern peoples from earlier times - including, for those who have completed their investigation, the mature and functional system of understanding the process of spiritual purification developed and cherished by the Muslims themselves (in spite of, for reasons to be explained later, the adamant disavowal of the fundamentalists), called Tasawwuf, or Sufism.
The typical Wahhabi or fundamentalist definition of tawhid (unity) is based upon a theological adamancy which is fearful, insistent, forceful and dominating, indicating a fearfully convinced mind and a deliberately trapped and unliberated heart from which all sorts of feelings of unwillingness arise, all the more convincing to the mind that the soul is inherently rebellious and bad, and in need of the mind’s stern discipline to keep it on the “right path”. Needless to say this spiritual repression develops into a projection onto the world that it is a “bad” place in need of discipline enforced by power. Hence the struggle for power. And all in the name of God. But God will never grant power to such a people until they change what is in their hearts. Quite the contrary, He takes the power of truth away from them and gives it to a people who will do better with, and honor it for the reality it holds.
The way to real world peace is for the West to understand itself and the problem of ego through its own spiritual development and to accept and understand Islam in that perspective and thereby attain to the true peace and the goal of all religion, including Islam.
Combining Western Media power with true spiritual teachers and realized Muslim Scholars can then enlighten the world as to the problem, its consequences of self and world destruction, and its solution in the proper understanding of self, spiritual psychology and Surrender (Islam). This is nothing less than calling the world powers and media to the aid of our spiritual evolution, which is the guarantee of peace and the end of war.
Such a plan does not “require” anyone to “become” a Muslim in the older and fearful sense of “submission” to a “Higher” authority, but simply to “realize” and actualize the meaning of the word, that “Islam” means our ordinary, everyday and inescapable “Surrender”. It requires only a proper understanding of the nature of the problem of the self and its solution. This is the work of spiritual education carried on by most religions and spiritual paths, particularly Buddhism, New Thought Christianity, Sufism and mainstream (although not fundamentalist) Islam.
“ISLAMIC” TERRORISM IS THE HIDDEN CHILD
AND THE SHAME OF THE MUSLIM WORLD
In an article I read on an Islamic ( ISIS) website it is said “In a theocracy of the type that Islamic fundamentalists wish to establish, sovereignty belongs to god, but in a democracy sovereignty belongs to the people.”
I’d like to point out that the “god” to whom they claim their sovereignty belongs is the “god” of their minds. It is their own personal god called “the fear of punishment” and is Not the God who is Loving and caring for His creation and everything in it. Just ask them about love and fear and you will see that they have their priorities dramatically reversed. Their “god” is in the spitting image of their fathers - concerned only for their personal safety in this life and their salvation in the next, drilling fearful and “theocratic” behavior into them which they then logically carry to its extreme. They will teach as they have been taught. This is the essence of selfishness, thinly disguised in the cloak of universal altruism, pure and simple.
God is His own Sovereign. His Sovereignty need not be “established” by men except in their own hearts. Then we will have a theocracy of luminaries, which is the only reality that matters, and for that we need only to learn true Surrender and teach true Surrender. And that is the pure Islam. Theocratic totalitarianism is not the sovereignty of God. It is paternalistic enforcement and very definitely the sovereignty of men. It is the attempted domination of the world by fearful and repressed minds, no matter what philosophy or religion they purport to be maintaining. It is always in the mindset of a like-minded group of people and is Not the Islam of trusting liberation ("La Iqraha Fi-d-Din") but that of religious slavery.
Fundamentalism in any religion or philosophy is good only as far as it goes. It is the learning and teaching of the fundamentals. But “love for the world” has caused them to turn their religion into a philosophy of purely materialistic gain. It’s all a big land-grab. Selfish and ego-driven, they have made it into their goal in life to have everyone in creation believe as they do. So naturally, when people reject this simplistic and totalitarian resolution to the world’s problems, they become the “enemy”, and their blood becomes “lawful”. But the enemy is still inside of them, and always will be until they look deeper into themselves to find out where they are wrong, which they, out of their own fear, will likely never do.
Love of the world has never been the way to attainment. The traditions are very clear about this. The world flees from those who pursue it and serves patiently and lovingly the true and purified believers and servants of God. Learning religion does not a true servant make. The garden is not attained through struggle, it is defended by struggle. It must be known that the real “Garden of Allah!’s Peace” is for immediate witnessing and way closer than the fruits of war, and that it is our freedom to live in it (and to take our chances with insecurity) that must be defended.
Everyone wants to enlist or enforce the aid of others to their own personal causes, most of which turn out to be nothing more than a glorified and self-gratifying land-grab. And I have no problem with that. Fight all you want over your lives and your world. But stop defending your actions in the name of God and religion. For you, with all your book-learned religious justifications are misrepresenting the religion and therefore on the road to a fire of your own making.
We must be grateful to Allah! for what we have, and use it constructively with patience, and not destructively, by screaming out our personal rage and anger. The world will always reflect to us the image of how we see ourselves in it. “And Allah! will not change the “state” of a people until they change what is in their hearts.” The “enemies” are the false idols that enter the heart from within and without. If this is not believed, then the struggle becomes for something “outside” the self, “owned” by “others”, and can only be “won”, if at all, by violence. We must find our way out of our fearful minds, which are the seats of our personal illusions and look into our hearts where reality and the true “Throne of God” is to be found.
It feels safe to say that none of these problems would exist if the religion of Islam were being practiced properly as a system of world enlightenment instead of as a system of world domination.
Muslims need to pursue the goal of healing the rift in their community between the lovers of peace and the lovers of war. They need to be strong and educate themselves in the Way of Peace, Love and Prosperity and stop themselves and their children from using God’s Holy religion as a tool for war and personal acquisition. Such behavior will consistently be rewarded by wrath, which they seem to be willing to face. They consider it the price for martyrdom, which is, unfortunately, because they so hate their own lives, all that they are praying for. But a deeper investigation shows that it is only their idea of more personal pleasure. And this (mal) practice is being asserted as “the correct way” only by people who see it to their personal advantage to practice it as such.
God has warned us severely against the practice and teaching of religion to personal advantage. It is mentioned in many places, all of them indicating that it would certainly lead to a most devastating failure, far worse than that of the most outspoken enemies of religion. We need only refer to current events as an example and proof of that.
So when will the “Muslims” get it right? Condemnation and hatred are simply not the right tools to get the job done. Try using Reason, Compassion, Peace and yes, Love, as we are told to do in Qur’an. And we will get these wonderful qualities from the True Faith and Trust in Allah! directly. If we do not have these qualities then we do not have a true faith. Qur’an is very clear about knowledge in the mind not being the same as faith in the heart.
Enmity to a religion can be resolved by understanding it to be a simple or complex misunderstanding, leading to a sickness in the heart. But using revelation to personal advantage after being clearly warned is a deliberated hypocrisy noticeable to all the world and devastatingly punishable because it is tantamount to abuse of privilege and power, and subverting the cause of God, thereby turning the world away from its own salvation.
Hatred begets hatred. And by which other qualities would you be judged? God has promised that He will not change the “state” of a people until they change what is in their hearts. By the very examples of such abusers of religion, even more misunderstanding and rejection is caused, and the people who would come to the aid of humanity through the proper use and understanding of religion are turned away from doing good by it.
This is why hypocrisy is condemned in Qur`an much more than simple disbelief. Because it is a “hijacking” and deliberated perversion of the very Truth which is sent to benefit All humanity. It warns clearly against its hypocritical use, and such (mal) practice is therefore an even greater denial of God. So punishment for hypocrisy is even swifter than that of the disbelievers, who are given long lifetimes in hopes of their coming to peace. But if we choose to use the means of peace for war, we will gain instant gratification.
Muslims cannot chalk up world opposition to simple ignorance. The world is objecting to something far greater than what is being observed by Muslim myopia. The fear of tyranny is very great, and Islam, in the hands of its current proprietors, is displaying itself to the modern world as being the very theocratic despotism that impoverished fathers inflict upon their would-be or might-be rebellious and innovative sons. And as long as Muslims feel it right and necessary to inflict their ‘religion’ upon the world and the people in it, they will always meet with strong opposition, even from within their very own numbers. For the soul objects to tyranny. That’s why we have so many rebellious souls manifesting themselves.
Even the effort to tyrannize others is a manifestation of the soul’s effort to reject the tyranny of the invisible father (or god) who is nevertheless always present in the mind of the unliberated child. The child is trying to free himself (seek paradise) by ‘outdoing’ the father, which means becoming an even “bigger and better” tyrant. This is the road to the ‘paradise’ of freedom from the ‘hell’ of life under the thumb of the ‘religion’ of the ‘father’. It is only another form of ‘escape’, and does not and cannot lead to the real garden of peace and joy that Allah! has in store for those who would truly seek it (in themselves).
One should not teach religion until one has learned it, and truly joined the ranks of the “Men and Women of Allah!” in heart and truth, and not just by claim and popularity. It must be ascertained and proven by the people of heart that his intentions have been purified to be truly for Allah! alone. The point of Faith in God is the perfection of noble character. Religion should be used for that intention and that intention only. If it is being used otherwise then it is not being used but abused.
And to the detractors of the truth in all religions I would say this. It is for the benefit of Muslims and the World to point out that the Islam being “practiced” by the violent minorities today, is, unfortunately, not the “real” deal. But it must be remembered that even though truth is more often used for false reasons, it is nevertheless still Truth in Essence. It may be noble to boldly criticize the blind mimicry of doctrine and the abuse of religious principles but it is surely throwing the baby out with the bathwater to nurture condemnation of the holy truth itself. Not even the western intelligentsia will go along with that.
What I think people want, need and are asking for is not this crazed fanaticism from either side - that of fanatical mobs praying for the paradise of their petty mortal pleasures over the dead bodies of their innocent and unsuspecting victims. And also not the rhetoric of the would-be violent reactionaries who know all too well what is wrong but do not know what is right.
The healing must come from within. It is the challenge of all of the humanist and “rightly guided” reactionaries to the blatant abuses of religion, to understand the causes and the means to setting it right. We must do this by setting a better example. By finding the right way in the true Love of God, and walking it, teaching it, living it, loving it, and thereby leading others to it and on it.