By Kabir Edmund Helminski, Honorary Ph.D., Selcuk University.
What would a spiritual Islam look like? The poetry of Rumi, the gardens of the Alhambra, and the ecstatic songs of the qawwals provide examples of the beauty at the heart of Islam. In Holistic Islam, Kabir Helminski provides us with a compelling and timely work showing how this same creative energy can be tapped today to revitalize Islam and make it more relevant to the contemporary world. Islam once gave birth to a great civilization that respected religious diversity, freedom of conscience, and scientific thought, and Islamic knowledge contributed to the birth of humanism in the Renaissance.
Today’s world is desperately in need of a spirituality that is free of dogma, based in experiences not beliefs; one that can reconcile the human and spiritual realms. In his new book, spiritual teacher and Sufi shaikh Kabir Helminski gives us a compelling interpretation of spiritual or holistic Islam that will hearten contemporary Muslims looking for a faith suited for our times, and providing non-Muslims a brilliant introduction to this rich spiritual tradition.
Helminski’s Holistic Islam is an emerging force in the world. It is reflected in the rise of the popularity of the writings of Jalaluddin Rumi who is loved by followers in many spiritual traditions. Helminski shows how it is the great Sufi teachers of the Islamic tradition who show the way to this universal wisdom. Holistic Islam is an expression of the primordial religion of humanity that recognizes a journey through levels of consciousness leading to the transformation of self and true spiritual maturity.
Sufism has long been the kernel of Islamic truth and the embodiment of its wisdom. Kabir Helminski’s Holistic Islam is a sagacious and indeed perspicacious walk through the heart and soul of Islam. It is an essential source for anyone who is interested in Sufism or in the moral impulse that motivated great sages like Rumi and Hafiz. Perhaps, more importantly, I think this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the real Islamic faith. Dr. Khalid Abou El Fadl, Distinguished Professor of Islamic Law at the UCLA Law School, UCLA, and author of The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. Kabir Helminski has written an important and redolent book which deserves to be read and reread. His book, rebalances the understanding of Islam, away from the political and theological, and towards the realm of the spiritual and the ethical. For Islam above all is a way and a discipline that seeks to encounter the ever-present traces of the divine in the world.
Helminski evokes the beauty and solace that countless millions in history have witnessed and experienced in Islam, and continue to do so to this very day. Holistic Islam is not only about Sufism. It is about a profoundly spiritual religion which continues to be a touchstone for those seeking an authentic path of inner awareness and outer harmony. Ali Allawi, author of The Crisis of Islamic Civilization (Economist “Best Book of the Year”), and former Minister of Finance and Minister of Defense, Iraqi Transition Government.
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