Nov 1, 1999

In The New Age The 'Divine' and The 'Human' Are No Longer In Conflict

While man’s idea of himself in the twentieth century was colored mainly by the materialistic approach, in the last decades, he seems to have been realizing the spiritual dimension of himself. The number of spiritual circles is tangibly increasing. Such circles in all countries are coming so popular. It is noticed that most of the circles avoid being affiliated to a certain religion. Reason for that, I suppose, is widespread notions that :
  1. Religions impose on man rigid traditions that contradict sometimes with reason as well as personal freedom.
  2. Religions have been causes for wars among nations.
  3. Religious authority was a direct obstacle on the way of progress in Europe. Western progress was not possible until secularization took place.
  4. Countries which still cling to religious traditions now-mainly Islamic- are not among the most developed.
In the New Age we expect that Revelations are no longer put aside but read anew. Fresh readings will spread awareness that Revelations were there to guide man to qualify his spirit for an eternal life with no contradiction whatsoever with respect of reason, and work for what is best in this life. Some questions are raised:
Can man make equal and harmonious use of all his talents and reasonability as well as spirituality ?
Can there be no contradictions between the requirements of this life and those of the next life?
Is it possible that Revealed teachings do not contradict with reason and personal freedom?
Could fresh understanding of Revelations be one way of spreading peace, love and mutual understanding among nations?
We, “A Road Home”, say, “yes, it is definitely possible on one condition; truthful knowledge is made available”. Truthful knowledge has been distorted because humankind’s experience of possible interaction between the “physical” and the “spiritual”; the “human” and the “divine” is extremely limited. With limited experience false awareness, that “conflict” is inescapable, has been very widespread.
On one side of the coin, the “divine” looks as the winner in that conflict. The image of the Divine is just like a dominant power towards which man “human”, weak as he is, can do nothing but acknowledge its dominance. Out of fear some people comply with what they think the Divine’s will. This is generally the way ‘religious’ people in different cultures think and feel. They create their own image of “God”, and they perceive His commandments accordingly. In that they are not different from the primitive man except in the cleverness of enveloping their attitudes by claims of happiness. They dare not show the “conflict” inside them when they repress natural human needs of inquiry and reasoning. They just comply to sets of teachings. Yet, however, “conflict” of different forms and degrees is reflected in their behavior. In the name of religions and revelations some show superiority on one another, attempt to impose their beliefs on others by force, invade countries and occupy others’ lands with no right. In the name of religion some people mistakenly surrender to laziness assuming that God makes everything for them with no effort from their side. And in the name of religion rigidity, confusion and mental pollution have been spreading.
On the other side of the coin the “human” seems to be the winner over the “divine” in that conflict. Achievements of science led several people claim that everything that is not subject to scientific proof does not exist, as naturalists put it. Tools of scientific research substitute what the primitive man and the “ignorant” people term as the power of God, they assume. They are no longer interested in any Sublime or Divine aspect in life regarding them as product of mere superstition or “a big lie”. Interest in religion, they announce is a mere historical stage. They have actually announced “the death of God”. For many years “Science” has been regarded as the new “God”.
Nevertheless, the earth has never been void from truthful knowledge. Knowledge, in that sense, is not mere words to be uttered; it is living experiences of Prophets, Messengers, and sages. There are treasuries of spiritual guidance in Revelations that are still intact. It is time, we assume, that humanity start a new phase in which Revelations are read afresh. Revelations are not mere history of rituals; permissions and prohibitions; or Prophets’ biographies.
In “ A Road Home” we assume that the relation between the “spiritual”, “sacred”, or “sublime” and the “physical” or “human is “harmony”, “integration” and “complementation”. To be able to consider the nature of harmony between the two levels, one has first to put away any traces of old concepts that affirm “conflict”. One has also to be able to distinguish between the authentic revelations and people’s “practices” and “misconceptions”.
This is our objective in “Road Home”; it is an old one since all Revelations told people to trace back “Truth” not “tradition”. Revelations were not there to disclose to man the Existence of the Supreme Power; man discovered that for himself since creation. Revelations were not there either to urge man to stop reasoning or paralyze his talents. Revelations were there to guide man to how to achieve “harmony” between the two levels of his existence: the “spiritual” and the “physical”. Every revelation came to “fulfill” not to “deny” the previous one. All Revelations refuted groundless beliefs, false arguments, and misleading traditions that people, ignorantly, dealt with as if they were integral part of the Revelation.
Belonging to the “Road” goes beyond any limitations of colors, races, languages, nationalities, or apparent religious affiliation. At “Home” we start by reading ourselves through reading all meanings and ideas shared in the spiritual heritage of humanity as expressed by all Prophets, Messengers, spiritual guides, and sages everywhere on earth. We find Islam complementing and integrating-not denying- all of them. When we say Islam we mean what Prophet Muhammad meant. “Prophet Muhammad did not see himself as separate from all preceding prophets. Nor did he see the Book revealed to him disconnected from their Books. Prophet Muhammad did not consider the knowledge endowed to him as distinguished from that of other prophets. Nor did he regard his own experience as a prophet as superior to those of prophets or even any good servant of Allah. The knowledge, and wisdom that were endowed to Prophet Muhammad are available to whoever can follow the path he followed, learn what he learnt, believe what he believed, guide to what he guided to, reveal what he revealed, and lead to the righteous path as he did. (Master Rafea Muhammad Rafea, 1957)
In other words, in “A Road Home” we do not aim at comparing religions, prophets or teachings to each other, but rather detect the principal meanings and values that any prophet or sage experienced and see how we can be guided by them while passing our own spiritual experiences. In so doing we are following one of the basis of Islam in fact, because a Muslim is not a good believer until he has faith in all Revelations, Holy Books and Prophets who preceded Prophet Muhammad. A verse in Holy Koran states,”Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.” HQ 2, verse: 136.
Hence, among all religions and revelations we look for what is common. When we present our reading of Koran and Prophetic Tradition Sunna we are equally keen to search for the same meanings in other holy Books or wisdom of sages. We do not regard them as rivals but representative of one and the same Truth.
If you share with us the same interest of exploring how Revelations guide us to strike the “harmony” between what is “human” and what is “divine”, we will be pleased to share with you your experience.