Sunday, March 11, 2007

American Islam: the Struggle for the Soul of a Religion, by Paul M Barrett

...American Islam has a chapter devoted to Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kibanni, spiritual leader of the Naqshbandi order of Sufis in the United States.

To my amazement I read that the Naqshbandi own a farm near Fenton, Michigan, the town where I grew up. Not only that, but what had been the local Episcopal church is now their mosque.

I guess I haven't been to my old town for a while.

Sheikh Kabbani's Sufi approach to Islam emphasizes love, recognizes the presence of God in all, and urges tolerance and peace.

He was disturbed, when he came to the US in 1990, by the intolerant tone of much of what he heard in American mosques.

He has denounced those who spew hate and destruction in the name of Allah, a stance that has brought death threats.

Yet the Sheikh is no liberal Muslim. Naqshbandi Islam is a deeply rooted tradition within Islam, rather that a newly minted secular imitation. It is mystical, not rationalistic; devotional, not dogmatic.

Besides the Naqshbandi, there are other movements- Sufi, Sunni and Shia- which are traditional expressions of Islam and who view the Wahhabi and Salafi violence as aberrational, who affirm the traditional Islamic prohibitions against killing civilians, against slaying Muslims, and against committing suicide.

To pray for a revival of these expressions of Islam is to pray not only for the common good and for peaceful times. It is to pray for the good of souls; it is to pray movement toward Catholic truth and Catholic charity.

I do not see it as contrary to praying for the conversion of Muslims.

--Daniel Nichols

No comments: