“The coming of prophets to open countless unique paths for people to journey to God, aside from just becoming seekers of religious knowledge and its scholars, has to do with connecting all of creation with the spiritual realm and transcending their attachment to material meanings.

One reason the Muslim community seems to obsess over disciplines such as law and theology is precisely because they pertain to this body and mind, even the spiritual reality of these sciences is neglected.

Consider, for instance, that shaykh al Akbar Ibn Arabi included an entire section in the Meccan Openings on the inward reality of shari’a where he discussed, among many others, the reason for permissibility to wear shoes during prayer as being that prayer is a journey.

It is worthwhile noting that the word shari’a itself, linguistically, comes from shaari’ (road), and thus refers to ones path to the water of spiritual life. This necessarily includes a constant awareness of the spiritual reality of our bodily worship.

Like metaphors in a poem, our bodily existence is a metaphor of our spiritual reality … we are a spirit first and foremost and a body second. The body is auxiliary and perishes, while the spirit is essential and remains.

Therefore, any discussion of law or theology that focuses solely on the bodily dimension, leaving out the spiritual reality is steering us away from our objective, God.

Even any attempt to rectify injustices in the world by resorting to social criticism without rooting the sickness and medicine in the spirit first and foremost is steering away from our objective, God.

Those Muslims who seek to fix the world whilst criticising abundant divine remembrance and singing of divine or prophetic praises as being a nice individual activity but irrelevant or inefficient at fixing the world’s problems, quite frankly, are exactly the ones who wrongly believe that our power lies in our bodies and minds, not spirit.

The simple fact is that the closer any activity we perform is to the spiritual world, the more powerful and efficient it is at changing both our spiritual and bodily reality. Anything else is in vain … all our institutions and conferences perish without this spiritual reality.

From this perspective of reality, art has more power to change a villains heart than all institutions, conferences and lectures combined… art works on hearts and all else works on the mind. And who are saints but perfected divine art works turned artists!”

Sidi Ali Hussain