Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., the Editor in Chief of the journal, is the Co-Director of the International Association of Sufism. He is an acclaimed Sufi Master with students around the world, an international lecturer and the author of numerous books including An Introduction to Religion.
In Islam, this is a journey through the belief system of self to Self. In the past, when human knowledge and information about nature and natural forces was limited, the immense power behind natural phenomena constituted the supreme mystery of human experience. Over time, those mysterious powers were represented by human beings as different gods. Eventually, the many gods representing the powerful phenomena of nature came to dominate human societies of every kind. At the beginning, many of these gods resided in the celestial sphere and were worshipped outside the confines of buildings. As our construction skills improved, those gods were moved into buildings! Then we began to express our devotion to the gods through our developing artistic abilities and we created magnificent decorations inspired by our spiritual longing. Over time these decorated buildings became temples of worship, but the expressive power of these adorned buildings came to serve the authorities controlling each temple and the often self-serving belief systems they 11
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 1
promoted. Thus, our reverence and awe for the mysterious power we witnessed in the world around us was diverted away from connection with that power toward acceptance of human authority and its misrepresentations of reality. We have learned that in ancient times, human beings would drum forcefully during an eclipse to make sure the cloud covering the face of the sun-god would disappear or leave. At the present time, during this new millennium, we hear a similar drumming, which is stronger than ever before. That is, we hear the drumming of science insistent upon uncovering the hidden sun of knowledge that resides within the heart of every element. Science is beginning to explore deeper and deeper within every particle of nature. Indeed, it will not be long before science tells as about the oneness of the universe and directs us to open ourselves toward understanding the absolute knowledge that governs the Oneness of Being. At the same time, everywhere in organized religion still the face of truth is hidden under a cloud of ceremony. Idols