Pictures · Poems

Poem: What’s out there

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

Poems

Poems: Spiritual Laws

The living Heaven thy prayers respect, House at once and architect, Quarrying man’s rejected hours, Builds therewith eternal towers; Sole and self-commanded works, Fears not undermining days, Grows by decays, And, by the famous might that lurks In reaction and recoil, Males flame to freeze, and ice to boil; Forging, through swart arms of Offense, The silver…… Continue reading Poems: Spiritual Laws

Quoted

Every Thought is a Prison – R.W. Emerson in Intellect

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

Personal

Personal: Avoid!

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!

Personal · Religion

Benjamin Franklin’s Case for Pluralism

We can gain a sense of young Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts on religion in A Witch Trial at Mount Holly, which raised the concern of his Puritan parents that he held ‘erroneous’ religious opinions.  Franklin was not himself an emphatically religious man; while he believed in God, he did not subscribe to one particular creed.  What we do…… Continue reading Benjamin Franklin’s Case for Pluralism

Film-work

Video: The state of nothingness

Sociology

Recommended reading: ‘Islam Under Siege’

Akbar Ahmed’s Islam Under Siege is an attempt to make sense of a rapidly transforming and dangerous world where ‘Westerners’ and ‘Muslims’ (as if the to are not inclusive!) are often pitted against each other as mortal enemies.  In his analysis, Ahmed explains what is going wrong in the Muslim world; why it is going…… Continue reading Recommended reading: ‘Islam Under Siege’

Religion

An easy way to debunk a common myth (‘kill the infidel’) of Islam

Muslim Americans are often harassed and forced to defend themselves against controversial verses in their holy text – the Qur’an.  One of these verses is Surah 9:5 (the ‘kill the infidel’ verse).  I am not a Muslim, but I still have concerns over how ‘experts’ say Muslims kill because the Qur’an tells them to (Representative…… Continue reading An easy way to debunk a common myth (‘kill the infidel’) of Islam

Poems

Poem: Akbar

*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

Personal

The short speech I never read

I wrote this speech (with a few typos) before launching Journey into America, which was screened at the Washington D.C. Convention Center.  I ended up not even reading it.  I was under the impression that we (researchers) were going to be asked to say a few words in front of the audience.  This was never…… Continue reading The short speech I never read

Poems

A Poem of Ibn Arabi’s

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

Creative writing

Religion: Rumi – from scholar to saint

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

Fieldwork · Religion

Thick and thin religion

Kavirah (2010) argues that the growing religiosity in many parts of the world is quite different from our traditional understanding of religion (in his writing, he refers to rising Hindu identity and nationalism).  He argues that we need to distinguish between ‘thick and thin religion’.  Thick religion encompasses traditional rituals, practices, and beliefs, whereas thin…… Continue reading Thick and thin religion

Religion

Sufism and the Virgin Mary

The author of Blessed Virgin Mary is a Sufi master of Turkish descent named Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, who passed away in 1985.  He is considered by Sufis as a Waliullah, or intimate friend of Allah (God). The book is designed in a nonlinear fashion, ‘transcending the usual laws of logic and habitual experience which the Virgin…… Continue reading Sufism and the Virgin Mary

Poems

Evolution

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

Film-work

Speaking with Hamza Yusuf on American Identity

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

Religion

Religion: Meet Christophobia

In his book The Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel turns to Joseph Weiler’s ‘Christophobia’ theory to discuss the ‘European problem’ (or the struggle for cultural and moral supremacy between atheistic humanists (secularists) and Christians).  ‘Christophobia’, which resists any acknowledgement of the Christian sources of Europe’s democracy, has eight key features, as outlined by Weigel,…… Continue reading Religion: Meet Christophobia

Religion

Call to wander

Abraham makes the leap and thus secures his reputation for all time. The text is so matter-of-fact it almost masks the significance: ‘Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him’.  He does so silently, joining the covenant with his feet, not his words.  The wandering man does what he does best, he walks.  Only…… Continue reading Call to wander

Religion

This is Why People Love Sufism

Sufis are very inclusive and open-minded.  They believe that God is everywhere.  They quote Qur’anic passages like, ‘Wherever you turn, there is the face of God’ (2: 115).  If God is everywhere, then God can be seen in all religions too.  A Sufi would not only be comfortable praying at a church or synagogue or…… Continue reading This is Why People Love Sufism

Sociology

Nafs and the stages of ‘self’

The Arabic word nafs is variously translated as ‘soul’, ‘self’, or ‘ego’.  The nafs has seven levels or stages of development that correspond more or less to the seven stages of the Sufi Path.  The Path, which leads to a transformation of consciousness, can therefore be described as the refinement and purification of the soul.  The seven…… Continue reading Nafs and the stages of ‘self’

Conferences

Attending event with Ahmadiyya community in Dublin

Last week  I was invited by Imran Ahmed, member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Ireland and Dublin City Interfaith Forum, to the 6th Interfaith Peace Conference on April 28th in Lucan, County Dublin. The conference, titled ‘Purpose of Religion, will be attended by people and speakers from major religions to strive towards peace in Ireland.…… Continue reading Attending event with Ahmadiyya community in Dublin

Creative writing

The mystery of faith for a young Dublin man

There is a young Dublin man who had been ‘lost’ for nearly 10 years.  ‘I have seen it all, done it all, laughed harder than most, and definitely partied harder than all.  I had all the pleasures in the world – beautiful women, a good physique, and charming looks’, he said.  The young Dublin man…… Continue reading The mystery of faith for a young Dublin man