(This interview is from a 2016 retreat)
Wa alaikum assalam
Can you tell me about your experiences when you first joined the order, and if you’ve been attending retreats regularly, if you’ve noticed any differences in how you feel from the time that you began, to this weeks retreat in London, and reflect on your experiences.
Okay, so, I joined the Birmingham group in 2011, and one of the reasons I joined was because I did lots of other meditation practises which I found were beneficial in some ways, but in other ways they weren’t – the energies weren’t right, or the feeling wasn’t right in the group.
So I joined the group in 2011 and I found it really peaceful – I was able to meditate, I was able to sit. I think the key thing for me was that it was a practise that was focused on the heart. Lots of other practises focus on your breathing, the mind, the physical body. For me the eye opening thing was just to focus on my heart, to be with my heart rather than anything else.
So I’ve been with the group since 2011, and what I find is just peace. Really, just peaceful. It allows you to live in the world in a very different way. Normally when everything is chaotic and everything is busy, I tend to just focus back onto my heart. I don’t say the intention, but just be with my heart. And everything seems to then just flow. Even in general day-to-day life I find if I just go back to my heart and focus on that, things start to shift.
I think the key thing for me joining the Sufi group also was that I would go to lots of other places and the energy wasn’t right, I would get ill, and things like that. So I find with this practise, the protection is automatically in the practises, I don’t have to do anything.
Islamic Banking has been increasing in popularity over the past decade but has also been of particular interest due to the global financial crisis. However, the Islamic banking industry is still small compared to the conventional system (accounting for 1% of total assets), and indeed the main criticisms are that the banks are not really ‘Islamic’, but rather a marketing tool to attract deposits from the Muslim population that deal with conventional banks, and to offer Islamic loans and investments that are merely labelled as being ‘Shari’a compliant’. Furthermore, the largest segment of the Islamic banking industry is in sukuk (bonds) issued by governments, large corporations and indeed the Islamic banks themselves and is used to finance their operations. Again these instruments have been viewed with much scepticism – none other than by leading Shari’a scholars involved in reviewing their structure and legality from a strict Shari’a compliance perspective. Continue reading
And he it is who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before his mercy, and we send down pure water from the sky,
That with it we may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things we have created, cattle and men in great numbers.
And we have distributed the water among them, in order that they may celebrate our praises, but most men are averse to anything but rank ingratitude. Quran 25: 48-50
Water is one of the earths most precious and threatened resources which has not been allowed to return to its natural cycle and is over-used. Drinking water is now often contaminated with chemicals and contains bacteria and viruses. Vital aquifers are becoming toxic. Once an aquifer is contaminated, it’s not likely that it can ever recover. Continue reading
Guardians of the Natural Order
God created the Earth in a perfection and beauty that demonstrates an unequivocal balance and harmony. Tawheed, the fundamental statement of oneness of the Creator, from which everything else follows, is the primordial testimony to the unity of all creation and to the interlocking grid of the natural order. Islam teaches us to understand the naturalorder anddefines our responsibility towards it.
My understanding of health, and in particular, of how the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the body connect, was revolutionised by The Book of Sufi Healing.  I found this in a local bookshop, and as soon as I picked it off the shelf, my heart started to hurt. A sign not to be ignored: without further ado I bought it. The book introduces the medicine system of Unani Tibb, established by Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Continue reading