Here’s a video of my talk the other night in Seabrook, TX. I addressed members of the Muslim American Society on the issue of DEUCE – dialogue, education, understanding, commitment and engagement. I refer to Prophet Muhammad’s relations with Christians and touch upon “the grey zone” that Donald Trump and ISIS want to destroy. That…… Continue reading Video: Talk to Muslim American Society in Seabrook, TX
People often ask me, Why do you study Islam if you are a Christian? Here is my answer: I am hungry for meaning, wherever it might be found. I do not care if it is in a desert of Arabia or a small village in France. I want to bridge the perceived worlds, through meaning-making.…… Continue reading Why This Christian Studies Islam
There are three things that we should do everyday of our lives. Number one is LAUGH. You should laugh everyday. Number two is THINK. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is that you should have your emotions move you to tears. Think about it… If you laugh, if you think, and…… Continue reading Laugh, Think, Cry
Here’s how you can become a good person… Look people in their eyes when they’re speaking to you. Listen to everything they say and never interrupt them. Don’t dismiss their points, ever. Make them smile, make them laugh. Find their strong points and tease them out. Find common ground and build on it. Be humble.…… Continue reading How to Be a Good Person
“… By paying attention to ourselves, we give to ourselves, and can open ourselves up to receiving too. We can re-parent and heal our inner child, as we start to trust that we can depend on ourselves. We have less need of attention from others because we begin to realise that from others there is…… Continue reading Reflection on the Importance of Paying Attention to Our Selves
Love is patient, Love is kind. * It does not envy, It does not boast, It is not proud. * It does not dishonor others, It is not self-seeking, It is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs. * Love does not delight in evil But rejoices with the truth. * It always…… Continue reading A Biblical Poem of Love
Maimonides did not think it was healthy for the soul to have “unbounded desires” which “is never stated with pursuing passions.” Referencing Jewish Holy Scripture (Koheles 5:9) he argued in The Guide that a person who has a covetous soul “will not be sated with all the wealth of the world.” Maimonides’ thought mirrors Rumi,…… Continue reading Guiding Jewish/Muslim Relations Through the Life of Maimonides, the 12th Century Jewish Scholar
The writings of Jalalud’din Rumi, the 13th century Sufi Muslim philosopher from modern-day Afghanistan, and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century Christian transcendentalist from Boston, Massachusetts, are filled with lessons that enrich every human soul. Rumi’s and Emerson’s similar thoughts on religious tolerance, love, and care for the soul can help bridge…… Continue reading Rumi and Emerson: A Bridge Between the West and the Muslim World
“I saw only the noble earth on which I was born, with the great Star which warms and enlightens it. I saw the clouds that hang their significant drapery over us. It was Day— that was all Heaven said.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson This was taken as I flew over Ireland in the wee hours…… Continue reading And that was all heaven said
You can read more about the life of Akbar the Great in my Huffington Post Religion article, “Finding Tolerance in Akbar, the Philosopher-King”
I took this picture in the summer of 2011 at “The Rock” in Dover, Massachusetts. “The Rock” is one of my favorite getaways, a serene place I often go to contemplate the world around me. That’s me in the picture. I placed my camera on the timer to capture the glorious sunset. I’ve included Rumi’s poetry to…… Continue reading Where is your soul from?
This morning I picked up Jacob Needleman’s The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders in the hope of finding some useful material on my dissertation on pluralism and the founding fathers. But early in my reading, I was distracted by Needleman’s discussion of materialism and its impact on our health as Americans, and…… Continue reading Is materialism destroying us?
There’s this drive within me. I think it’s in my soul. It’s always been with me. I didn’t create it, though I certainly create from it. It was given to me, but I don’t know when or by whom. This drive is a mystery, though I’m certain that it pushes me forward and never backward.…… Continue reading Personal: The drive
Ah, the life of a writer. You design your piece this way and that. You manage to find a framework which you think can work. You plow through the keyboard and think what you have is great, only to have someone else read it and realize that it’s actually crap. So you work through your…… Continue reading Personal: The struggle of writing
The ancient sages at Delphi always stated to their visitors: ‘know thyself’. No doubt these are wise words, but should we take it further, we could also ‘love thyself’ explicitly so that we can love others. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t have that deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish…… Continue reading Personal: A note on compassion
‘The feelings of my smallness and my nothingness’, said Pope John Paul II, ‘always kept me in good company’. I’m confident that Alan Watts, the Western Buddhist philosopher who speaks in this short film, would wholeheartedly agree with the former Pope.
By Akbar Ahmed A debilitating tension between Darwin and Jesus lies at the heart of American identity. It is not so much about how society originated and evolved, but whatdefines and motivates it. The core principles of the Darwinian thesis and Christianity are diametrically opposed and cannot coexist simultaneously in one society without causing severe friction. Darwin represents…… Continue reading Darwin vs. Jesus
The biggest problem facing the world today is APATHY. People either don’t care at all about our common plight, or don’t care about the right things. People want to indulge in their pleasures, take part only in things that make them happy, and ignore the complicated issues just because they have lazy minds, or because…… Continue reading Personal: Apathy and Fear vs. Caring and Courage
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned…… Continue reading Poems: Speaking to you of Joy and Sorrow
Aristotle, not Plato, is the dominant figure in Muslim philosophy, and few Muslims are familiar with the name of Plotinus, who was more commonly called ‘the Greek Master’ (al-Sheykh al-Yaunani). But since the Arabs gained their first knowledge of Aristotle from his Neoplatonist commentators, the system with which they became imbued was that of Porphyry…… Continue reading Sufism’s Neoplatonic Roots in Ancient Greece
After Bastami, or who may have received it from Abu Ali. Here it reads in Nicholson: Creatures equal subjects to changing ‘states’, but some people have no ‘state’, because his vestiges are affaced and his essence annihilated by the essence of another. Traces lost in another’s traces.
After Reynold A. Nicholson * Jesus passed by three men. Their bodies were lean and their faces pale. He asked them, ‘What has brought you to this plight?’ They answered, ‘Fear of the Fire’. * Jesus said, ‘You fear a thing created, and it behoves God that he should save those who fear’. * Jesus left them…… Continue reading Poem: Out of plight
To what extent is communism a fundamental principle of Christian theology? To what extent is the implementation of communism the correct path for the realization of republican ideals and virtues? What are the similarities and differences between communism and socialism? How could the abolition of private property and inheritance be realized? How can our needs…… Continue reading Politics: Considering questions about communism
After Emerson What is the hardest task in the world? To think. I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth, and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that. I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face…… Continue reading Poem: How do you think?
After Emerson Every soul is a celestial Venus to every other soul. The heart has its sabbaths and jubilees in which the world appears as a hymeneal feast, and all natural sounds and the circles of the seasons are erotic odes and dances. Love is omnipresent in nature as motive and reward. Love is our…… Continue reading Poem: The sentiment of love
‘I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal…… Continue reading Quoted: Thoreau on Success
After Emerson When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty. Behind us, as we go, all things assume pleasing forms, as clouds do far off. Not only things familiar and stale, but even the…… Continue reading Poem: What’s out there
The world can easily be turned upside down. Old cultures and civilizations can be uprooted at the flick of a switch. Do you ever wonder about previous cultures? Do you ponder their origins and what made them tick? What happened to them? Did we learn from them? Sometimes you have to get lost to be…… Continue reading Video: Native Nature
Truth is our element of life, yet if a man fasten his attention on single aspect of truth, and apply himself to that alone for a long time, the truth becomes distorted and not itself, but falsehood; herein reassembling the air, which is our natural element, and the breath of our nostrils, but if a…… Continue reading Ralph Waldo Emerson on thought and the prison
Truth is our element of life, yet if a man fasten his attention on a single aspect of truth, and apply himself to that alone for a long time, the truth becomes distorted and not itself, but falsehood; herein resembling the air, which is our natural element, and the breadth of our nostrils, but if…… Continue reading Every Thought is a Prison – R.W. Emerson in Intellect
Intellect separates the fact considered from you, from all local and personal reference, and discerns it as if it existed for its own sake … Intellect is void of affection and sees an object as it stands in the light of science, cool and disengaged. The intellect goes out of the individual, floats over its own personality,…… Continue reading Quote: On intellect
IGNORANCE ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ – Socrates PRETENTIOUSNESS ‘The intelligent people are the ones so intelligent that they don’t even need or want to look “intelligent” anymore’ – Criss Jami GREED ‘Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, for wisdom is better than silver or gold’. CERTITUDE ‘Only the madman is…… Continue reading Personal: Avoid!
*Dedicated to Professor Akbar Ahmed He serves esoteric and philosophic truths, across the traditions, in pursuit of those truths, so that the darkness can be lifted, and the light can shine through. © Craig Considine
Ibn ʿArabī (Arabic: ابن عربي) (Murcia July 28, 1165 – Damascus November 10, 1240) was an Arab Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher. He is sometimes referred to as “the Son of Plato” (Ibn Aflatun) for his devotion to Plato. My heart has grown capable of taking on all forms It is a pasture for gazelles A table for the Torah A convent for Christians…… Continue reading A Poem of Ibn Arabi’s
Rumi, the great Sufi poet, was actually a scholar of sharia law (Islamic law). His responsibilities included making legal rulings and giving unapologetic lectures on how to resolve conflicts. One day, a man in rags approached Rumi and changed everything. The following exchange, according to legend, occurred: Pointing to Rumi’s legal books, the man in rags…… Continue reading Religion: Rumi – from scholar to saint
One can only face in others what one can face in oneself. On this confrontation depends the measure of our wisdom and compassion. This energy is all that one finds in the rubble of vanished civilizations, and the only hope for ours. – James Baldwin, ‘NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME’
Someone who doesn’t make flowers makes thorns. If you’re not building rooms where wisdom can be openly spoken, you’re building a prison. SHAMS OF TABRIZ I found this on page XI of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel.
I just picked up Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation at New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton, Massachusetts. To be honest, I wasn’t searching for it; I pretty much stumbled across it randomly in the extremely small ‘Islam’ section (it’s small…… Continue reading Quoted: Whitman, Tagore, and Rumi
Last night I watched the movie Alive. Have you seen it? It’s about a Rugby team that’s stranded for something like 70 days in the Andes mountains after a plane crash. As you can imagine, the team faces unfathomable hardship and even has to resort to cannibalism. It’s also, unbelievably, a true story. Something came…… Continue reading Alive
Lately, I have been engaged in learning about the life of one of America’s Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson. His writings have inspired me to live a more moral and virtuous life. Oftentimes, I cease to ponder on my character and conduct, so it is humbling to learn about my self through someone else. Last night,…… Continue reading Personal: Manifesto from 2008
Arrogant, and a know-it-all, who cannot be taught anything. * Indifferent, spiritually empty, dictated by relativism. * Empty, on the inside, seeking perfection on the outside, * Lonely, insecure, with no direction. * Veering, losing sight of family, running from relationships that matter. * Selfish, closing in on the self, the ego and the cliques. * Broken,…… Continue reading Evolution
Location: Hamza Yusuf’s home, California Date: November 2008 Topic: American identity and Muslims in the USA Project: Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam Principal investigator: Akbar Ahmed Filmed by: Craig Considine © Akbar Ahmed
One of the most famous Sufi thinkers ever is Rabia, who wrote in the 8th-century. She was born in modern-day Basra, Iraq. According to folklore, Rabia was an orphan and ultimately sold into slavery; she almost had nothing except, of course, her thoughts. Legend has it that Rabia was once seen praying with a halo…… Continue reading Carry these in your hands
I’m at home, relaxing, with all my books, surrounded by so much potential knowledge that I’m really not even sure where to begin. Overwhelming at times, as you could imagine.