The following is based on an edited reply to an e-mail (December 2000)
The Love of Humanity
by Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri.
It is a great pleasure for me to receive your e-mails. They are so often full of earnest questing and
sincere soul searching. How much this is needed in the modern world full of so many false values or
'off the shelf' solutions. As before I want to try to discuss some points, but of course really the
answers lay within yourself - as your heart well knows. In answering I try not to do so from a
theoretical perspective - I am no philosopher (thanks be to God).
As regards sufism which you mention - I think, as you seem to imply, that the real sufis do not
concern themselves with being sufis at all. Their attention to, and love of, God does not leave them
time for such matters. If others wish to consider them as such they leave it to them to do so. I have
heard Zahurmian say - 'do not call me a sufi, rather call me a sinner'. However this does not mean
that the company of like-minded people sharing common goals and aspirations is not beneficial - it
certainly is a great aid for one on the path. Perhaps this is a major factor in sufis developing orders
The question you raised concerning loving others when one sees them engaged in acts of barbarism
and inhumanity towards their fellow man or indeed animals, disrespect for institutions intended to
enshrine their spiritual aspirations and so on. I think the sufi answer may be along these lines.
There is in each and every human being an unquenchable spark, which is a spark of divinity. The
sufis learn to perceive this spark in meditation - it is not beyond your capacity to do so. To be
technical the meditation involves the development of the pineal gland located in the centre of the
If one understands this one must see that it is this divinity within each man or woman that one loves
or seeks to love within them. In short one loves them for the divinity within them and not for the
forces which appear to hold such divinity in thrall and which are responsible for the negative effects
and inhuman behaviours. Another way this is sometimes expressed is to say that one loves the person
not the deeds. But I think one can express this better by saying one loves the divine within each
person and seeks always to relate to that - for in so doing one is seeking to love the Divine itself.
Ultimately, and immediately, All-mighty God governs the universe and the task is not difficult for
Him. This world is a transient phase in our existence, a testing ground for our soul. The one who
succeeds is the one who keeps the All-mighty in mind at all times and thus, if He wills it, unites with
Him. Again Zahurmian used to make this point in reference to problems - he would say when you get
a problem don't look at the problem look at the solution - the One who sent the problem. This is a
technique in life.
I mention this because one must recognise the transient nature of the upsetting inhumanity one sees
and hears whilst simultaneously taking it seriously as challenge or an opportunity to find divine
qualities such as compassion within ourselves. It seems to me a constant in sufi thinking to hold two
apparently opposite views simultaneously. Perhaps it is more than just dialectics since not only does
the sufi reconcile opposites in a transcendent unity but retains the value of each component within
itself. Thus while alive to the working of God in tragedy, suffering, poverty etc. the sufi tries to act
towards it with humanity, as if he were viewing it entirely from a human perspective. Surely this, in
the well-known phrase, is to be in the world and not of it.
This is also a practical approach - in the case of difficult situations or emergencies the one who is
most helpful is not the one who feels most strongly about it but the one who can suspend such
feelings in order to act most effectively.
Thus our heart functions within its sphere, our intellect within its sphere, and the physical actions
within the sphere proper to them. When one or another sphere becomes involved in things not proper
to it then the individual is out of balance and less effective. So when strong feelings cloud our
judgment we act less well. When the intellect reduces our capacity to feel, making us cold, our
actions lack passion and vitality. When the body overreaches itself or under performs we are equally
You speak about loving Lord Jesus and the holy Prophet Muhammed. You know my own feeling is,
and I think I have read this from Mevlana (Jalaluddin Rumi) and perhaps others too, that there are
two facets to this. There is the Prophet within us as well as the Prophet as a unique soul who exists
and functions beyond the death of his body, indeed preexisted before taking bodily form. I am
inclined to think that when many speak of finding Jesus they are referring to some recognition of the
Jesus within. I think the mystics have recognised that in certain respects we can find the whole
universe within us. To identify with or relate to the Prophet or saint within is to identify or relate to
that part of us which represents good, purity, love, benevolence, light, beauty, etc.
''Tread softly for you tread on my dreams' - as the poet says. Nevertheless you know, I am sure, that I
must aver when it comes to thinking of Jesus as the son of God. I certainly will not be drawn into
theological debate but I have always found the words of Shah Wali Ullah most helpful in this
respect. He says that Lord Jesus - discovering what is a very high and subtle spiritual reality -
correctly recognised three distinguishable facets of the divine. These Lord Jesus named as the father,
son, and spirit. He goes on to say that the naming of them by such human parallels became the cause
of confusion to succeeding generations since they misunderstood to what he referred. Perhaps it is
for this reason that this way of describing these exceedingly subtle distinctions is - as you know -
forbidden in the Qur'an. But in the end the truth of such matters will surely be revealed as the Qur'an
I mention this to clarify my response to your idea that whilst Jesus serves the function for you of a
relationship to a higher state of consciousness, the holy Prophet Muhammed serves this function for
me. Actually Lord Jesus as well as the holy Prophet Muhammed, and the other Prophets all serve this
purpose for the sufis. As a matter of fact the true spiritual guide whom one actually meets and knows
on this earthly plane serves this function (a point of course hotly disputed by the orthodox). In a sense
this is for the very the reason you describe - that to know God directly without a point of reference,
seems to defy a human's capacity. As a matter of fact I thought that what you said, leaving out the
reference to the concept 'son', shows a remarkable grasp of the Prophetic role between man and God.
This is paralleled in institutional sufism by the Guide/Disciple relationship. So may be after all I
share your love of Jesus more than you credit. My concerns about the existence of some inaccuracies
with the Holy Bible, inspired as so much of it undoubtedly is, may be a reflection of this love, as
much as those who claim such love based unquestioningly on these scriptures - but God knows best. I
would want to know and love the real Jesus rather than a version engendered for various possibly
political motives - wouldn't you?
However, all that having been said to satisfy the demands of the intellect, neither I nor anyone else
can or should try to stand between one who seeks to be a lover and their Beloved, by whatever name
you care to call the Beloved - and I cannot think of a better path than that of love. In that respect
consider me and all I have said as nonexistent. Love on!
Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri (Southampton. Dec 2000)
Published by The Zahuri Sufi Web Site December 2002