Imam Jamal Rahman, a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations, has been featured in The New York Times, on CBS News, the BBC, and various NPR programs. Co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at the Interfaith Community Church and adjunct faculty at Seattle University, he is a former host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting retreats and workshops. Rahman is the author and co-author of many books including The Fragrance of Faith.
The spiritual riches of Islamic spirituality have been preserved and passed down through the generations in sacred texts, meditations, and knowledge of the heart. But these riches are not just for Muslims and Sufis. If you are a seeker, a person rooted in another tradition, one of the many who identifies yourself as "spiritual but not religious," or an agnostic or atheist, the 33 gems presented by Imam Jamal Rahman will provide light to illuminate your path and lift up your spirit.
With enthusiasm and authenticity, the author taps into the wisdom of Islam with insights and practices from the Qur'an, Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad as well as the hadith qudsi, which are God's words communicated through the Prophet), the 14th century Sufi poet Rumi, and Muslim teaching stories. Each chapter includes his explanation of a key concept, followed by questions for reflection and instructions for a related practice to use in your daily life. This format gives the book both spiritual depth and practical applications.
Here are some of the gems presented in this paperback:
• "The word heart is mentioned 132 times in the Qur'an and a hadith qudsi states that God resides in the purified human heart. When we work to purify ourselves and remove what the Qur'an calls the innermost dross of the heart, our human heart is graced with access to divine light and wisdom. So important and trustworthy is the heart's inner knowledge that the Prophet advised, 'Even if the religious judge advises you about earthly matters, first consult your heart.' "
• "The Qur'an says, 'There is a watcher within, ever present' (50:18). You can activate a connection with this sacred light of self-witnessing. Gently touch your heart and make a prayerful intention to continuously be aware of your heart. If your attention strays, touch your heart again to remind yourself. This repeated focus on the heart activates a mysterious light of compassionate self-witnessing."
• "Rumi said, 'Like the angels, make the glorification of God your sustenance.' Develop the habit of glorifying and thanking God as often as you can throughout the day. You will feel 'shifts,' and experience blessings in your inner and outer world."
• "Make it a habit to engage every day in beautiful deeds, no matter how small they appear to be: a smile, a kind word, mindful presence, a short prayer, a helping hand, a small donation. These little acts are an important part of our sacred mission and we become, in the words of Rumi, a 'lamp, lifeboat, or ladder' to God's creation."
• "From time to time, as an integral part of your spiritual practice, meditate on your death. Aware of the mystery of death, meditate on the Prophet's words, 'It is better to blush in this world than in the next.' Ask yourself what you might do to purify your heart more deeply, say what needs to be said to others, and perform more righteous deeds. Do all of this not with a sense of fear but out of a soul-felt desire to become free and fulfilled. The Prophet has sage advice for all of us: 'When you were born, everyone was smiling but you were crying. Live such a life that when you depart, everyone is weeping but you are smiling.' "
Other gems from Islam covered in this valuable work are the purpose of life, the inner work of transforming the ego, the practice of remembering God, walking on spacious paths by celebrating diversity, and learning to forgive. This is another sterling spiritual resource from Jamal Rahman!