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I am a practicing Muslim who tries his best (with several shortcomings)to live a life of servitude to Allah (swt). Recently my brother introduced me to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle through the book the "Power of Now". This was one of the most eye opening books I have ever read, probably the most influential after the Quran itself. I found what he says about being in the present moment and the illusion of the ego (nafs) to be very compatible with the teachings of Islam. I found after reading it and trying to live by it that I get far less distracted in my Salah (prayer), and I don't stress too much about the future or regret about the past, or have hatred for others (having identified all of these as the evil which the nafs commands as Allah tells us in Surah Yusuf).

When I asked a scholar I know just about the concept of mindfulness and its origin in Zen buddhism, he said there is nothing wrong with adopting it. He said the Islamic viewpoint was that such teachings have prophetic origins even if we don't know the specific prophet which taught it.

But at the same time, Eckhart in his book talks about our "true self". The essence of us that lies beyond the ego, and he somehow equates this with God. I think this delves into the realm of wahdat-ul-wujud and the teachings of Ibn Arabi. The danger I think with adopting this belief is if you believe the Creator is in you then what is the purpose of worship?

So I just want to know which teachings from Tolle's Book and Zen Buddhism can Muslims adopt and which should they be careful of lest it corrupts their Aqeedah?

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he somehow equates this with God implies shirk. There are many teaching from different people across the world. Islam differs from many other religion and other's teaching on one major base. "SHIRK".

Consider Christianity and Islam, so much is in common between these two but the major difference comes from SHIRK. So do you want to adopt that?

There might be things that this writer/ author have told might got catchy, with no offense to any one ... these are basics, which has been told 1400 years ago, if not through Hades through actions done by Prophet and his followers. If you can follow what has been told perfectly without having to take more in your plate and not harming, troubling or having malice for any one and lead a truthfull life with 5 times salat, fasting, Quran,charity and Haj and clean earning for your self and your family thats more than enough.

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    To equate "Waḥdat al-Wujūd" with "shirk" is a simplistic and shallow position which has not done enough research into what the two concepts really are. And to say the author has only taught "the basics" without even reading his book is not right either. Jazak Allah Khair brother for your time and words but it doesn't really answer my question. – AbuMariam Apr 22 '16 at 14:16
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If it strengthens your faith and is compatible with the Quran, I think you have answered your own question. I am only practicing Islam for two years, as a new Muslim I am both uplifted and also overwhelmed at times by the various opinions. This life is between you and Allah, if you know in your heart that you have the best intentions to live a life of Submission to Allah's will, my opinion, is that our learning and searching only brings us closer to Allah. My husband can disagree with me, but the best guidance I ever received was from a Sister who reminded me, this is between YOU and Allah. Only you will get to speak for yourself on judgement day. I was reading Eckart Tolle BEFORE i came into Islam. I think you pointed out something when you said, "The danger I think with adopting this belief is if you believe the Creator is in you then what is the purpose of worship?" If you believe the Creator is in you, it is a different teaching from Islam. So if you choose to be Muslim, then this is not a compatible belief. In my own experience, believing the Creator was within me actually increased my Ego. As Muslim, I recognize myself as part of the Creation....and being in submission to Allah's will, is where I find my peace. When I pray, I feel my smallness, and I feel so much gratitude for the gifts of my life -shelter, food and water, my family, peace,my health, my education. When I was believing I was co-creating, it was difficult to feel humble, my pride and my desire was greater...As Muslim, it allows me to better practice "being in the moment of NOW" knowing that Allah is the ONE who grants us our every heart beat. Hope this message was helpful, Insha Allah.

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It would require a full reading of the book to know to which extent it is in agreement with Islam. But considering the nature of some of the ideas you mentioned from the book, it is noteworthy that only a scholar with knowledge of Islamic esoteric aspects may be illegible to tell you that since the ideas you mentioned as you rightly suspected echo those of the esoteric scholars such as those versed in Sufism. But I know to invoke Sufism is to invoke all sorts of misunderstandings about their doctrines such as the common misconception that for God to be somehow present within you nullifies worship which warrants a separate discussion. So I'm gonna focus my answer on this part alone.

As regards the doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujud or Unity of Existence, the Sufis explain that the very purpose of worship is to lift the veils that prevent us to sense Allah's presence within and without us. So while Allah is present in everything and everyone (a statement supported by Quran), His presence is not felt by average Muslim until He has attained to a very high level of God-consciousness that only comes through acts of worship and self-purification. But even when such a state is reached, worship is not nullified otherwise one won't be able to sustain himself in that lofty state which is a stage in spiritual journey described as "subsisting with Allah" after one's "annihilation in Allah" so that Allah becomes "his ear by which he will hear, his eyes by which he sees, his tongue by which he talks, and his hands by which he works". This last phrase was taken from a famous hadith which I recently learned is quoted by Sunni sources just as it's been by Shia Imams.

But other than the Quranic verses mentioned in the link that came above, among the Shia esoteric narrations, there's a famous one that can be read as a very explicit confirmation of the idea of Wahdat al-Wujud or Unity of Existence. This narration shows up in the Book of Tawheed by Sheikh Saduq which is a famous Shia hadith collection on Aqida. The hadith is quoted by Jafar us-Sadiq the 6th Shia Imam:

I was told by my father who was told by his father who was told by The Commander of the Faithful (that is, Ali ibn Abi Talib) who said:

I saw Khidr peace be upon him in a dream on the eve of the Battle of Badr and I told him to teach me something by which I could triumph over my enemies and he said: "Say O He! O He apart from whom there is no he but Him!" And when morning arrived, I described my dream to the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him and his family, and he told me: "O Ali! You were taught the greatest name [of Allah]!" And this saying was on my tongue on the day of Badr...

حَدَّثَنِی أَبِی‌ عَنْ أَبِیهِ عَنْ أَمِیرِ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ علیهالسلام قَالَ: رَأَیْتُ الْخَضِرَ علیهالسلام فِی الْمَنَامِ قَبْلَ بَدْرٍ بِلَیْلَةٍ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ عَلِّمْنِی شَیْئاً أُنْصَرْ بِهِ عَلَى الْأَعْدَاءِ فَقَالَ قُلْ یَا هُوَ یَا مَنْ لَا هُوَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَلَمَّا أَصْبَحْتُ قَصَصْتُهَا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلی‌الله‌علیه‌و‌آله‌و‌سلّم فَقَالَ لِی یَا عَلىُ عُلِّمْتَ الِاسْمَ الْأَعْظَمَ فَکَانَ عَلَى لِسَانِی یَوْمَ بَدْرٍ وَ إِنَّ أَمِیرَ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ علیهالسلام قَرَأَ قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ فَلَمَّا فَرَغَ قَالَ یَا هُوَ یَا مَنْ لا هُوَ إِلَّا هُوَ اغْفِرْ لِی وَ انْصُرْنِی عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْکَافِرِینَ وَ کَانَ عَلِیٌّ علیهالسلام یَقُولُ ذَلِکَ یَوْمَ صِفِّینَ وَ هُوَ یُطَارِدُ فَقَالَ لَهُ عَمَّارُ بْنُ یَاسِرٍ یَا أَمِیرَ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ مَا هَذِهِ الْکِنَایَاتُ قَالَ اسْمُ اللَّهِ الْأَعْظَمُ وَ عِمَادُ التَّوْحِیدِ لِلَّهِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لا إِلهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَ آخِرَ الْحَشْرِ ثُمَّ نَزَلَ فَصَلَّى أَرْبَعَ رَکَعَاتٍ قَبْلَ الزَّوَالِ

The prayer that Khidr taught Ali ibn Abi Talib is a statement that negates the general pronoun هو from anything except Allah, which is to say that there's nothing out there in existence to be named or referred to except Allah. The theological significance of this statement is that all creation are fully contained in Allah's essence despite appearing as separate sovereign entities. This might sound admittedly as a perplexing doctrine, but that's among the Islamic doctrines that according to Sufis and Shia esotericts the Holy Prophet reserved for a select few of the wisest and most pious among his companions such as Salman Farsi and Ali who in turned passed it to those who are known as the Imams of the Ahl-Bayt.

So to sum up my answer, the idea of "True Self" you mentioned above may parallel the idea of Wahdat al-Wujud but you should think better than assuming that Ibn Arabi just made up that doctrine out of nowhere from the Islamic sources! So maybe the right response to your question is that you need to first make sure what Islam actually teaches on more esoteric levels, before knowing which doctrines from outside Islam are consistent with it.

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Assalam u Alaikum

I have also read the book and found it a real eye-opener. It helped me a lot in dealing with personal problems and definitely boosted my concentration in worship. I am somewhat able to remember Allah a lot more since I read the book thoroughly, but it's definitely not a book you want to read just once.

As far as your true self is concerned, I think Eckhart also calls it your God Essence and now you are left with the question,"if you believe the Creator is in you then what is the purpose of worship?" My question in response to this is "if you believe the Creator is NOT in you then what is the purpose of worship?"

In either case, Allah created something to worship Him alone, whether He dwells within or without (or actually both in my humble opinion). In the Quran, Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ ۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

"And certainly We created man, and We know what his mind suggests to him, and We are nearer to him than his life-vein (jugular vein)." (50:16)

What I personally take that to mean is that somehow Allah is closer to us than our own selves. Now, in Islamic terms, the human being is made up of 3 components:

1) Jism (Physical body)

2) Nafs (The egoic self)

3) Ruh

This last part is the True self if you will or God essence as Allah blew this from Himself into Adam AS, and by extension, each and every one of us. So you could say it is Allah or a part of Allah in a way although Allah is certainly not 'in parts' but One. So you are, as Eckhart describes, both one with an Infinite Presence and also one infinitesimally small fragment. So back to your question, what is worship? Whether or not you accept The Power of Now, you will be left with that question because in essence, Allah is worshiping Himself through you!

Another interesting point I would like to add, I am a student of the Arabic language and was listening to a lecture by Nouman Ali Khan in which he was describing the origin of the word Taqwa. In pre-Islamic times, when a horse would lose it's shoe in battle or otherwise, it's hooves would be exposed and thus extremely sensitive. The horse would move calculating each step, being ever present with each movement and was said to be in the act of having Taqwa. This is the very presence in the moment which Eckhart talks about in the book and the Quran's opening verses state that it is a Guidance for the Muttaqeen (people of Taqwa). Truly amazing! I'd be very surprised if the Power of Now correlated with any spiritual source more than it does with Islam, even Zen Buddhism.

ALLAH KNOWS BEST

Anyway, it looks like it has been some time since your post. I would love to know where you have reached with your thinking on the topic.

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All perfect praise be to Allah

There should be a rule of thumb for each and every muslim, which is, that each and every thing, saying, quote, book you read or hear. You MUST present in on quran and hadees, and find its compatibility with them. If this is against teachings of islam and quran, than of course these are wrong and one should restrain from adopting them.

Now apply same rule on this book, and on each and everything you read.
The person you asked is right, Allah has sent messengers to whole world in different times, there is a hadith too which i dont remember correctly so i will not quote, it says something about that allah has sent messengers to whole world. So, all basic and old religions we see in the world must have had some prophetic background, as even the kuffaar of makkah knew jesus, moses and the idols they used to worship were also of their old pious men. But that didn't meant they were doing and saying everything right, infact they were called mushriks and kuffar. So, what i am trying to say is, that that imam didn't meant that you can follow each and everything in those books, indeed he forgot to mention the above rule of thumb.

Besides, each and everything which was in old religions before prophet muhammad s.a.w.w was cancelled out by his prophecy(until or unless it is compatible with quran and hadees), we are not allowed to read bible because it is corrupted, even they claim it is from prophet, so how on earth we are reading these SPIRITUAL books and teachings of Buddhism etc which are not even attributed to any known prophet.
So, you can read these books, although its better to avoid any non-islamic SPIRITUAL books, because of the same reason you mentioned what you found in it. If one wants to read, use the above rule and everything will be fine. Besides there is more than enough material in islam on these, if you want to read you can find many spiritual material.
In fact, the above rule is for anything you hear in name of even islam itself, you can verify from quran and hadees that to what extent this thing is compatible and according to quran and hadees.

May Allah keep us all at the right path

Allah knows best

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1)As Muslim, our PRIME reference is The Quran and The Authentic Hadith/The Ahlil Bayt whom live with it. (2)The Well-Knowned Scholars mainly the mainstream of School of thoughts of the 4 mazhab. Mainly in 3 Major Subject : Tawheed, Fiqh & Tasauf/Sufism. (3)Any teachings which contradicts Quran and the Authentic Hadiths MUST be discarded and throw it away completely, it's garbage, from whoever he/she is. (4)For Tasauf/Sufism, we have the greatest Saint-Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Jailani, he is the descendants of Prophet Muhammad pbuh from both side of his parents. All Muslims could refer from his teachings with regards to Tasauf/Sufism, his students and other Scholars who live and thought these fields, eg: Hassan Al Basri, Yazid Al Bustami, Al Ghazali and many more. (5)We DON'T NEED this Erkhart Tolle or any stranger similar to him. He was not a Muslim, he just merely reading our Scholar's books, copy and paste to his mind and make money out of it. Better read from our own Authentic Sources, the Scholar who SIT infront of other Scholar to gain knowledge(became students facing all odds), and live(EXPERIENCED)Sufi's life under 'mentorship' of other Sufi(his teacher). Not just reading books under the comfort of air-conditioned room and start preaching, you get nothing from this kind of people but astray. Anyone who became a student, his/her teacher will correct them whenever misunderstood, diverge or gone astray in their understandings. For those without teacher, who's going to correct them if that's happened? Not to mentioned might be inspired by Satan of their understandings. (6)Same thing the so-called 'mindfulness', zen, is all derived from Muslim Scholar teaching, they just copy and paste, modified here and there. In-fact the Original teachings of Budha according to one of the former followers was nothing to do with idols, apparently the followers add their own teachings after the death of Budha years after, and we can't deny completely that Budha might be one of the prophet, because his original teachings is also believing the oneness of the Creator and no idols involved. (7)To summarized: Muslims don't need any teachings beside Quran and Authentic Hadith/Ahlil Bayt. There's no other religion beside Islam with such a comprehensive and complete teachings which covers all subject and aspects. Others are merely copy and paste from Islam, so whatever not contradicts Islam, is allow, because it's actually a 'stolen' knowledge from Islam but they named it differently, nothing new. Allah knows best.

  • This is not an appropriate way to answer for a Muslim. – Medi1Saif Apr 30 at 12:16
  • Medi1Saif, see my answer to your comments, above. – Yusuff Apr 30 at 14:35
  • There's no need to answer my comment I'm only pointing at our be nice policy which you may find in our help center. Please consider reading How to Answer. – Medi1Saif Apr 30 at 19:34
  • I've read it, I don't see any discrepancy. My intentions is just to save the believers from astray without knowing it. – Yusuff Apr 30 at 23:28
  • you have no references to authoritative sources – qdinar May 1 at 15:03

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