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The Hidden Treasure that
Loved to Be Known

by Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid

from Vol. 8, No. 3

The Meaning of Time,
Part One

by Arife Ellen Hammerle

from Vol. 8, No. 1

The Meaning of Time,
Part Two

by Arife Ellen Hammerle
from Vol. 8, No. 2

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, a non-profit organization
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The various articles presented
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This Article Appeared
in Volume 7, Number 1


An Old Tradition for a New World

Sufism and New Physics

By Professor Arthur Kane Scott

The language of modern physics and the language of Sufism is the language of metaphors. Metaphors point to a deeper reality, to the unexplainable, to the paradoxical, to the ineffable. Metaphors attempt to express the hidden mysteries of


archetypes — metaphysical realities and energies beyond human comprehension. Love, for example, describes a metaphorical condition or state that exists both inside and outside of space and time, immanent and transcendent. Ultimately, metaphors point to Wholeness and Unity, to the majesty and beauty, to Jalaal and Jamaal of Allah.

The Hubble Space telescope represents a gnostic metaphor for a view of the Universe that shatters the Newtonian-Cartesian preconceptions of classical physics. At this instant, it relays pictures about the macrocosmos that are grander, more beautiful and astonsihing than Galileo with the telescope ever could image.

Modern astrophysicists have calculated that since the movement of creation — the Big Bang — there are at least 15 billion galaxies and that the galaxies in the cosmos follow the same life cycle described by Sufis of birth, groowth, death and rebirth. Stars, like human beings, never actually die, rather their raw materials of iron, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen are continuously being recycled into space as cosmic dust, new stars, plants and life. Everything in the expanding universe consists of energy, and energy simply changes from one state to another in its cosmic ascent to Allah.

The Hubble captures the beautiful intentionality of Creation expressed in the Hadith: "I was a hidden treasure desiring to be known, and I created the universe so that I might be known."

Man being an integral part of the cosmic story as the steward of the universe carries the beauty of the entire universe within. We are a microcosmos of the greater macrocosmos, we are all connected together into a simple, holographic world in which there is no beginning or end, no time or space. We are, as Rumi described it, "windows to other universe." In short, you and I, the complete ONE, are eternal, timeless and boundless. There is no center out there for wherever we are, that is the center, the still point of the cosmos. Amir-Al-Momenin Ali understood implicityly the holiness/wholeness of each person in the web of life when he declared:

"You though yourself a part, small;
Whereas in you there is a universe, the greatest."

Let Hubble be the new lens of perception which will lead us to the heart of Existence by lifting the 78,000 veils of sseparation that prevent us from experiencing the rapture and beauty of the Sacred. When the veils are lifted, we will be transformed through the wormholes of ignorance into the parallel sublime universe of perfection.

The picture that Hubble portrays of the cosmos, along with the discoveries made in modern physics by Einstein, Heisenberg and Bohr reveal a universe dramatically different from the mechanistic-dualistic-reductionstitc picture drawn by Newton, Descartes, and Bacon in the 17th century.

First, the universe today emerges as holographic. The universe can be described as a perfect diamond comprised of various points. Each point within the diamond constitutes an integral part of the whole without which the whole would not be complete. Everything that individually exists in the universe is a microcosmos of the greater macrocosmos. We are literally, as popular songs descirbe, the "universe" or the "world." Even more mysteriously, cycles of inhalation/exhalation involve breathing the same 1 million atoms breathed by Lao Tzu, Buddha, Socrates, Christ and the Prophet Mohammed. Breath has been described by Sufis as the life force, the intangible energy that links man to the Divine. The word inspiration literally means in the spirit of the Sacred. Spirit, the underlying energy of the universe links all of us to the Divine, constitutes the sine qua non of existence.

Secondly, modern physics indicates that life is essentially whole and one. Unity prevails at the core of intelligence, but awareness of Unity remains lost at the sensory level. Perception paints the wolrd as many and varied in size, volume, diversity and quality—an infinity of variety appears to prevail at the level pf physicality. But at the subatomic level or in the world of the Sufi, another picture emerges—a picture in which every being connects with every other being in an ocean of empty space or dark matter. What unites the universe is energy, but energy and its fields moves too fast for the doors of perception to apprehend it. Because of its speed of 186,000/second, we confuse the sensory map, the physical form, for the spirituality unseen territory, namely the Sacred. It’s at the level of energy of consciousness that Oneness occurs and not at the level of personality. "I though I was person and then discovered that I am part of the Divine."

The imperceptible Oneness of energy permeates the entire life experience. In the classroom, for example, what really brings teacher and student together is energy, mutual fields of attraction. Energy accounts for the exquisite choreography that guides the dance as teacher and students merge into a sublime whole. As one, they arrive at a higher level of existence--reaching a transcendental state of timeless joy. this explains why every encounter represents a holy encounter--for it holds out the probability of a Divine joyous breakthrough ending the agony of separation. Joy puts us into attunement with the larger whole pulsating with compassion, mercy and love. "Earth and heaven do not contain me, but the heart of my believing servent contains me. . .

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