Quote on a Healthy vs. Radical Islam

This phrase if contemplated with understanding and some awareness of history, may open doors of understanding to certain readers.

“Islam is the religion of nature.
Islam, the religion of nature, confirms the Divinely ordained nature of the unity and harmony of the created world, not just the entities but their inter-relatedness.

The air is poisoned. Its temperature rising to end the balance of nature.
The sea is poisoned. This week we were told that in 50 years the oceans will be voided of all fish.
The earth is poisoned. Polluted, toxic and barren.

…Islam is neither culture nor civilisation, these are its healthy by-products…. on radical Islam well as far as I am concerned, “radical Islam” or ” Islamic terrorist” is a contradiction in terms.

It is not possible to be a true Muslim and simultaneously a violent terrorist. The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that a Muslim is the one from whose tongue and whose hand you are safe.

It is absolutely necessary to scrutinise the terminology and words we use: As you must be well aware of a certain fact , “spectrum of radicalization” is not an Islamic concept. It is a concept which is alien to Islam and the existence view of Muslims.

The Qur’an does not talk of “moderates” and “radicals”, but of “muminun” (belivers) and “kafirun” (those who cover up the truth e.g. disbelivers) – of those who accept and those who reject divine guidance.

The term “radicalization” derives from the word “radical” which used to refer to the root or source of a matter, but which is now usually used to identify some form or other of extremism.

It is usually the concept or label used by those who wish to target or isolate specific groups, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, who are perceived as imagined or potential threats to the currently dominant status quo which endorses and supports the disguised, unelected and therefore undeniably undemocratic, ruling banking elite, the 200 or 300 or so families who control 90% of the world’s wealth.”

– by “Celt Islam” British Electro DJ, and Islamic writer. paraphrasing Dr. Ian Dallas al-Sufi.

13 Comment

  1. I remember making this distinction myself but slightly differently: In terms of muslims themselves, are we talking about munafiqeen as those who ‘cover up the [Islamic] truth’? As opposed to kafirun, which my idea about are those who reject it and openly.

    Language is powerful: I can feel even my frame of ideas shift depending on the language I’m speaking.

    It seems like taking the easy path to automatically say ‘That’s not Islam’ when you can always with surety say ‘radical Islam’. One can’t be sure unless the matter’s given some study.

    The joke I often quote. Can’t throw a rock into a crowd of muslims without hitting someone everyone else believes is a heretic*.
    *[can’t remember whether it’s kaafir or munafiq, this]

    Ian Dallas. I remember the recommendation here as have recently searched out which books I can obtain and which seem like a priority. Goes by [Sheikh?] Abdalqadir Al-Murabit, doesn’t he?

    Worth relinking your booklist comment actually on this post:

    How did Sufi-ism get a hold of you? Compared all schools of thought? Born into it? Called to it?

  2. Indeed.

    There is another


  3. Are you a professional journalist? You write very well.

  4. Always.


  5. On Sufism, a bit of family conenction, a bit of seemingly random history. My parents are converts, my father early in his life made a sort of spiritual pilgramage to India, spent some time with the Tablighi Jamaat there, and took bayat on the hands of a major Sufi sheikh there. So I was raised in an understanding of Islam that was very infused with Sufi values.

    It was a PRACTICAL Islam, my Dad was a bit of a stern practical patriarch, he had an immense respect for the Sunnah, and had no tolerance for unpractical, air headed spirituality. He believed that following tariqas and shaikhs was mostly a waste of time, but he very much was infused with the values of the Sufis and the importance of dhikr. He often used to read to me out of Abdal Qadir Jilani’s “Futuh al-Ghayb”

    After he lost his private practice he increasingly spent a good deal of his time in night prayer vigils, dhikr, or physical exercise, jogging 7 miles a day, weight lifting, etc. This made a huge impact on my psyche. My dad as some sort of spiritual and physical ubermench.

    (He lost his practice because insurance companies are bastards. Insurance companies delayed his patients payments to the point that he had no cash flow, this was in the early 90s when HMOs were popular, and he refused to formally join an HMO so insurance companies took their sweet time paying him. And he refused to raise his rates, he still charged his patients rates from the late 70s out of kindness. He even let some patients barter with him. Obviously the insurance co’s were not pleased)

    My parents seperated, my dad dated a few women and finally met and fell in love with my stepmother, there was a formal divorce, and I was sent away to a different city to live with my mom’s parents. This was a dark time in my life.

    In those years I completely drifted away from Islam, became a punk, started studying the occult seriously and got into random naughtiness. My dad’s way of righting me was to urge me to read Idries Shah books.

    I was entranced with Shah’s sufi stories, but I didn’t make a real decision to practice Islam until the first gulf war started. Everyone at my school were pretty anti-Islamic, which pushed me to try to learn a little more about this faith I was loosely raised in, but more or less abandoned. Later in my last year of High School I met a mysterious dervish named Rashid in the middle of downtown DC.

    Rashid would randomly seek me out in local places where I hung out at after school,it was fey and uncanny. I would get a strange feeling, a state of tension, wherever I was, a sort of almost… ringing in my head. And then 5 minutes later this Rashid fellow would “pop up” randomly near me and accidently bump into me.

    We talked a bit, he was very kind to me, asked me questions about what I was reading, it was usually some book about the occult or ceremonial magic. Rashid would ask me if I had ever heard of Sufism or Islam. I played dumb at first but eventually admitted to him that I was born in a Muslim family, Rashid would act surprised, and encourage me to read a book here or there…

    After a solid year of this I got the hint, figured God was pushing me (obviously) in a certain direction, so I decided to teach myself salat. My dad gave me a prayer rug years before, I just used it for decoration, so I slowly started getting into the practice, with the hope that I would get further guidance…

    I graduate highschool, was accepted into a number of colleges, one of them has a course on Sufism taught by a certain Seyyed H. Nasr. So I’m like “Cool, this is neat, ah it must be a sign.” So I formally register, sign up for one of Nasr’s courses, and another, and another, and befriend one of his TA’s who I thought at first was a bit of a fundie but grew to respect him immensely.

    He revealed to me that our professor was an initiate in a secret Sufi brotherhood, and had me hang out with others who were part of this organization. Many of whom were upper class white converts. This was a very different world than the inner city sort of black sunni Islam I was raised in.

    Eventually in my freshman year of University I moved next door to an old man from Burma, who it turned out was also a Sufi. He elected to train me in the dhikr of his brotherhood, a little known tariqa in Indonesia called the Shatari. I wrote to his Shaikh, Guru Affandi, and tried to put into practice what he advised. I also took bayat at some time with a local Naqshbandi Lodge.

    My neighbor shared many books with me, this expanded my horizon. He taught me many secrets about dhikr. And the overwhelming weight of all of this random exposure fixed the matter in my mind.

    Later in my early 20s I traveled to England, spent some time in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where I encountered the Markazi mosque there, met some madressa instructors who were Sufis, traveled to London, and met some interesting people. Some Gangsters, some punks, some Sufis, and some fundamentalist types.

    Anyway, through the years I lapsed in and out of a formal practice, though on an intellectual level Sufism was always a filter through which I viewed Islam as an ideal spiritual path. Though at times I drifted away from formal practices, as my life got more secular at times, I always drifted back to – or was pulled back to – it. The values of Sufism as an esoteric depth within Islam remained a point of reference to me.

    Over the last few years I have moved away from Sufism to a degree, and my interests have been more in the astonishing depth of formal orthodox Sunni Islam (and some aspects of Shia thought as well).

    Today I see Sufism as a sort of reification of things that are naturally implicit in an everyday Islam. I see that, in an age as decadent and decayed as this, in a humanity as decadent as ours, in a society as decadent as ours, the practice of Sufism requires an olympian degree of spiritual prowess. I am interested in its intellectual and philosophical values, but think that a simple mere adherence to the basics of Islam is all that one can really expect and aim to cultivate. A sort of walking before running, light weight work before doing supersets of Deadlifts and Olympic power cleans all day.

    (Decadence is a reality – even on a secular level, from an evolutionary and genetic level, our present humanity has a massive load of genetic mutations, early humanity was much more robust than we are. Sedentary living has something to do with this, but I believe genetic drift factors in. We are half the men we used to be…)

    so in a nutshell, this explains part of why my worldview is infused with Sufism.

  6. Why thank you.

    An amateur gadfly, by profession, actually.

  7. Salaam

    I have read your article brother re your understanding and experience of Sufism. Tableeghi jamaat are not sufis, their founder was in Tariqat but they have moved away from Sufism.
    Another point is that you cannot be a sufi if you do not adhere to the Shariat. Sufism is about having a single spiritual guide, not many guides, but one guide who is an accomplished Guide, a true Wali. These days there are too many people labelling themselves as sufis but in reality they are not for there are rules in Tariqat. You have a guide who follows an established Tariqat and is part of an unbroken chain, from him you gain spiritual knowledge, through specific dhikrs and practices. You can’t have 2 guides or 3 guides, only one guide with whom you pledge your Allegiance. Sufis must adhere to shariat first then tariqat as shariat is the foundation of all authentic tariqats.

  8. I think the writer Celt Islam hasn’t grasped the concept of what a Kafir is. A kafir is a person who knows the truth but covers it up, not every non muslim is a kafir because not every non muslim knows the truth. This is the problem with DIY Islamic writers, they make mistakes.

  9. Brother Musafir, a name that is in itself a beautiful nasiha, thank you for the comment.
    I agree with some of your points and disagree with others, and thank you for your advice. in my comments I’m not trying to be a smart aleck in any way.

    It should be noted that my little “spiritual biography” in a nutshell really was a nutshell description of much that happened in my life at specific times, the actual events were far more nuanced.

    I respectfully disagree with you on one specific matter, which is about the role of Sufism on the Tablighi Jamaat.

    Please note that I never claimed that the Tabligh Jamaat was a Sufi tariqa, I did say that my father “spent some time with the Tablighi Jamaat there, and took bayat on the hands of a major Sufi sheikh there” – which was a nutshell description of something more nuanced.

    But in any case my father took bayat on the hands of a Chisti Murshid, and was given awrad and adhkar by this Shaykh. The Tablighi Jamaat was, at that time, “led” (if you will) by Amirs who were themselves Sufi Mashaykh.

    You need not take my word for it, of course, there are others who have far more knowledge of these matters than I do. The Tablighi Jamaat is in many ways very much infused by a sort of folk Sufism. In ways that ‘purists’ (traditionalists or those more wahabiyya minded) might object to. It is true, as you state, that Jamat al-Tabligh is not, in itself, a tariqaa. However, I never claimed that it was to begin with.

    It is also true that many of those participating in it are not Sufis or murids in any specific tariqa. Particularly today this is the case, 30 or so years ago this was less the case.

    Tablighi Jamaat isn’t a tariqa in a narrow sense, but its point lies in practicing Islam as a matter of aamal, actions, infused with a practical spirituality. The spirit of tasawuf pervades it as a sort of out flowing, like a perfume, into the whole Tablighi movement. It is very much like a teaspoon of rose water into a gallon of water. It represents a specific and conscious diffusion of a specific mode of spirituality.

    The point is to invite people who are on the periphery of Islam to move towards a more interior understanding of Islam, through practice of the Sharia and through inculcating a personal piety.

    There are some who are called to go deeper, and they go deeper bi idhni’llah, while there are others who are called away to different work, and are thus called away, while others still remain where they are.

    Those who do not even practice the Sharia in their personal lives, or even perform the basic obligatory rites such as salat, and siyam, are not ready for the more intense demands of an authentic tariqa. this is the point of the Tablighi movement. What is sacrificed in depth is made up for in breadth, many do not understand the point of it, or to whom it is directed.

    In a way, the Tablighi Jamaat operates as a sort of preparatory stage for Muslims who feel a spiritual calling but find themselves lost, in the fields of their lives.

    The Tablighi Jamaat is a movement aimed at cultivating a basic spiritual interiority among many in the Muslim masses who have lost our way. It is a calling back, in a sense, and a giving of practical deeds with a bit of inner understanding of their significance.

    It is, in a sense, a specific adaptation to the akhir ul-Zeman in the sense that the Blessed Prophet indicated that there would come a time in the future in which if people practiced 1/10th of what he taught, they would be saved, whilst in his age those who forgot 1/10th of what he taught would be damned.

    It is meant for specific things and is appropriate for some people, and less appropriate for others. There are some tariqas which do not take murids until all missed salats are made up for and expiation for other things are properly done. For a person who has incurred a spiritual debt to his own soul that is not balanced out to seek after tariqa when he has much preparatory work, inwardly, to “tune” him to the degree that he can meaningfully seek greater guidance, could keep him from his aim. Tablighi work acts as a subtle filter and a sort of yeast like agent, a humble and even weird seeming matter that leavens a community’s bread, spiritually.

    Allah takes work from people in accordance to their capacity and whatever other criteria that are known, alone, to the divine.

    As for Sufism and the Tablighis.
    The “leadership” if you will (which is difficult to even talk about because by its nature the Tablighis have a very fluid, decentralized, non hierarchical sort of leadership) is very much infused with an operative Sufism. That is they are Murids of specific mashaykh, or in some cases muqaddams of specific tariqas or even Pirs.

    Many of the long time workers in the movement as well are murids in various tariqas.

    One former Amir of the Jamaat, Hazrat Ji (raheemullah alaih) was a Pir -i- Murshid and many people have bayat through his lineage.

    The Tablighi’s “Imani Movement” is very much infused with a sort of day to day operative Sufism, and this is noticed by those perceptible.

    As for taking or not taking multiple guides, I have no desire to quibble with you on this point, and less to argue, but will note the following.

    It is well known that many people have taken bayat on multiple shaykhs for purposes of baraka, whilst having one actual murshid. Some Shaykhs in some tariqas allow this. Many do not. It is necessary to be specific in such matters. Also, a shaykh might dismiss a murid because that path is simply not appropriate for that Murid’s development, but might suggest that he seek out another shaykh.

    In some cases a Murid might have to take a different Murshid due to practical contingencies, such as not being able to geographically sit with the Shaykh and take benefit from him because the murid might be forced to move. Or a Shaykh might pass away.

    In some cases a Murid might receive idhn to take a course of action through dreams or visions, though it is necessary to be wary of the traps of the nafs, and the lures of the Shayateen in such matters.

    Someone who takes obsession to one thing I wrote above about multiple shaykhs, please be advised that what I wrote was not to encourage any sort of spiritual “musical chair hopping” – a good deal of background exists behind certain events in my life. I will simply say that when I was younger, I sought out specific people, or were put in their paths, or they were put in my path, or all of the above, out of what were in many cases clear signs. Some of which were manifest in the external world, and if I denied them this would have been ingratitude towards Allah.
    When certain signs or directions manifest in your waking life, outside of the interior world of your mind, and you seek guidance through prayer, and are guided thusly, then you may need courage to take an action. In some cases such things may be istidraj, a sort of “drawing to” destruction, as a test of sorts, others may be intended to be acted upon and if one does not display the proper adab towards the matters this could prove to be baneful.
    If someone is goaded, in some way, by compelling circumstances to seek or to avoid certain people, and one was sincerely seeking guidance through prayer and dhikr, asking for guidance, and guidance appears before one in a form that is compatible with the Sharia, then the next move is a matter of courage.

    In my early life I was very much directed to, put in front of, or steered in the path of specific people from whom I learned certain things, and thereafter steered away from, warned of, and directed away from them once I had learned something critical. In a few cases this was by intense dreams, in some cases ru’iya during Ramadan on certain days or hours that were propitious and due to the timing not subject to interference by infernal forces. When you receive dreams of waking solidity and density, ru’iya that feel as real as where you stand now, in the middle of Ramadan, or within the dates of laylat al-qadr, then it is good to heed them, and seek their interpretation. When these support other signs, or traces of signs, in waking daily life, fortuitous meetings and occurrences, then it would be naive to just run to a certain course of action, but it would be advisable to ponder and consider a course of action deeply. If such occurrences involve taking the company of one, leaving the company of another, then this should be considered deeply.

    Unless one is a murshid or has intimate knowledge of another’s spiritual state, it may be ill advised to lay down blanket rules for that person’s spiritual development, beyond adherence to what is known by necessity to be obligatory or meritorious in the Quran and Sunnah.

    Blanket rules in such matters do not exist, other than the 5 pillars, practice the Sharia, and make dhikr, avoid masiyah, and when one falls into certain matters to seek purification. The obligatory actions act as an iron to smooth out the wrinkles in one’s character.

    And in all things, God and his messenger know best.

    Thanks for posting.

  10. Wa Salam,
    on the theme of DIY writers on Islam, Celt Islam was actually paraphrasing his shaykh who, while being quite controversial, is more qualified to write about Islam than either he, or I, or quite a few bloggers.

    His Shaykh, who is not my Shaykh mind you, is a Darqawi Murshid.

    In general I agree with you. He does, of course, point out this distinction when he says:
    ““kafirun” (those who cover up the truth e.g. disbelivers) – of those who accept and those who reject divine guidance. ”

    In other words, he explicitly speaks of “those who cover up the truth” which implies volition and intentionality and
    “those who reject divine guidance” which presupposes being presented and understanding something to reject.

    If you do not get advice then you cannot reject it much less than cover it up. I think, if you read closely, he was actually agreeing with you actually.

    There are several usages of the word kafir, some lexical and some specifically legal. It is legitimate to use the term in one domain or another if one is clear about what one is addressing.

    Celt Islam is explicitly pointing out that “It is not possible to be a true Muslim and simultaneously a violent terrorist.”

    I think this is a very valid thing to point out, another statement of his is that ‘radical’:

    “.. is usually the concept or label used by those who wish to target or isolate specific groups, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, who are perceived as imagined or potential threats to the currently dominant status quo which endorses and supports the disguised, unelected and therefore undeniably undemocratic, ruling banking elite, the 200 or 300 or so families who control 90% of the world’s wealth..”

    and I think this is demonstrably evident, with some quibbles.

    There are around 300 families who control, actually, more than 90% of the world’s wealth. And they do have a habit of seeing those who object to this as “radicals” and none of this is a matter of muddy headed conspiratorial speculation, it’s actually borne up by rather mainstream historiography. you might want to start with some readings in elite studies, and the sociology of elites, C. Wright Mill’s is a good start. Also just for giggles throw in Carol Quigley’s “The Anglo-American Establishment” for a dated, but still interesting, look at the Anglosphere’s financial and political elite. He really isn’t saying much that is that controversial..

    It is best not to object to one’s being a “DIY writer on Islam” which is objectionable, to some degree, but does come off sounding snobby. At least such people are writing, sincerely, more than I am. And the person he’s paraphrasing isn’t a DIY writer on Islam, but rather is an established author and spiritual guide. One who is controversial, yes, but not easily dismissed out of hand.

    I could be wrong of course, and you could be right. I think that we seek the same thing essentially and it is ok to disagree.

  11. It’s also to be noted that all of this is waaaay too autobiographical – further disclosures of this nature shall be more circumspect.

    Like, totally.

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