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Letter from the Editor Like science, religion has a major presence in human civilization. The religions practiced by the majority of the Earth’s population were introduced to humanity over the centuries by certain noble, chosen individuals. The last such individual lived fourteen centuries ago and his revelations established Islam, the third and final religion of monotheism, centered on the belief in one God as a symbol of Oneness. In Islam, all the founders of monotheism are called messengers of God and their books are honored for including the Divine Messages. Before the establishment of the three branches of monotheism, other religions existed whose founders, though not called the messengers of God, were nevertheless messengers of Truth or Absolute Reality. These founders have left books, which consist of their discoveries and systems of practice for their followers. Beyond all historical or philosophical differences of the world’s major religions, these religions share a common focus in their methods of practice on the hidden dimension of the human being, which they name as the essence, soul, spirit, life energy or inner self. This is understood to be the locus of the totality of human identity, and uncovering that essence is the realization of ultimate reality and knowledge for the human being. To discover the hidden dimension of his being, the human focuses on his conduct, morality and ethical qualities as a heritage wrapped within his nature. Man has a share of divine qualities and can achieve them by righteous practice through which the lower qualities are

converted into the highest qualities. Because man is a fallen being whose pure essence has mixed with clay, man must purify his being and return to his origin, which is pure. Just as the smallest particle that Einstein observed, the human is a being who has a mystery within. As with science, we cannot ignore and underestimate our fear and anxiety about the dark side of religion. Throughout the centuries, nations around the world have experienced crimes of all kinds committed under the name of religion. Though these crimes vary in degree and magnitude, they have occurred in all nations without exception. Over and over, the people of the nation of one religion seek to destroy those of another. Physical destruction, murder, rape, torture, burning, and plunder of the wealth of the nations have registered in the history of religion. Yet religion is the system that offers to the human being all the divine qualities of love, compassion, peace and caring. What is the cause of deviation in both systems -- science and religion - as two strong pillars that on one hand hold the hope and trust of the human family, but on the other hand create disappointment and fear within the soul of humanity? If we investigate this question from our experience, we will find that when things go wrong, one essential and necessary component is missing from their practice and that is Virtue. Virtue arises from the horizon of balance and justice. Justice is the standard for integrity, validity, impartiality, and righteousness. The absence of Virtue is the cause of deviation and its horrible consequences. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

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Sufism: an inquiry - Vol16.2  

A journal for people of the heart.

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