Islamic Mysticism and Tolerance

Those who view Islam as a religion of fanatics are often unfamiliar with its inner dimensions, as revealed by the great mystics, who have illuminated the Path of Love and inspired traditional Muslim societies with their wisdom and tolerance. Even today, Sufi (mystically-inclined) Muslims are in the forefront of the battle against extremist ideology—unafraid to oppose the hijacking of Islam by those who claim to speak for God on behalf of all Muslims.

My heart has become capable of every form;

it is a pasture for gazelles and a cloister for Christian monks,

And a temple for idols, and the pilgrim’s Ka’ba,

and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Qur’an.

I follow the religion of Love, whichever way his camels take.

My religion and my faith is the true religion.

~ Ibn al-Arabi

The difference among men results from the outward name;

When you reach the inner meaning you reach peace.

Oh marrow of existence!

It is because of the perspective in question

That there is a difference between a Muslim, a Zoroastrian and a Jew.

~ Jalal al-Din Rumi

Each creature has its being

From the One Name,

From which it comes forth and to which it returns,

With praises unending.

~ Shabistari

Unto Him is the return of all of you;

It is a promise of Allah in truth.

Lo! He produceth creation,

Then He bringeth it back.

~ al-Qur’an X, 4

Everyone, drunk or sober seeks the Beloved

And every place, mosque or church is the House of Love

~ Hafez

The journey of the pilgrims is two steps and no more:

One is the passing out of selfhood,

And one towards mystical Union with the Friend

~ Shabistari

I thought that I had arrived at the very Throne of God

and I said to it:

“O Throne, they tell us that God rests upon thee.”

“O Bayazid,” replied the Throne,

“we are told here that He dwells in a humble heart.”

~ Bayazid al-Bistami

Deem of small account the lion

who breaks the ranks of the enemy;

the lion is he who breaks himself.

~ Jalal al-Din Rumi

By counting beads, repeating prayers,

And reading the Qur’an,

The heathen does not become a Muslim.

The man to whom true infidelity is revealed

Becomes disgusted with pretended faith.

~ Shabistari

I learned gnosis from a monk called Father Simeon.

~ Ibrahim bin Adham

Every prophet and every saint hath a way, but it leads to God; all the ways are really one.

~ Jalal al-Din Rumi