Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sufism, the Qur’an and Exegesis

How should one read the Qur’an? Is there a special method of exegesis when searching for an interpretation of the Qur’an?

According to the Rose Crescent, Qur’anic exegesis may be carried out in a number of ways. Before proceeding, though, let us say that in Islam/Sufism it is the responsibility of each individual to read and interpret the Qur’an for him/herself. Relying on what a scholar, Imam, mullah or ayatollah has said will not help you. You must determine what the Quran has said. Now -

The first rule is that you should be aware of what and how other sincere readers and scholars have said. (This doesn’t mean, though, that your own interpretation should be stopped). We recommend Yusuf Ali’s commentary as a starting point.

Second, all interpretations of the Qur’an should be measured by those spiritual saints upon whose shoulder’s we stand, namely: Rumi and Ibn Arabi. These two men of God are the keys that will assist you to unlock the Qur’an.

Third, when reading the Qur’an you must keep in mind the following:

Does the passage have temporal or spatial limitations? In other words, was it intended just for the people of that day (e.g. the Arabs whom Muhammad – pbuh – was dealing with)? Was it just for the specific situation in which Muhammad (pbuh) found himself?

Or, is the passage pointing towards deeper universal spiritual truths?

Fourth, which chakra and/or station is the passage speaking to or from?

Fifth, how does the passage relate to various Hadith and/or other surahs?

And finally, having worked through the above five points, you should take the passage to your individual Shaykh.

Here is the method:

Begin by lighting a candle on your alter
Say, “Bismallah ar-rahman ar-rahim”
Read the passage aloud
Ask Allah (the Light, Source and Depth) for guidance
Ask that your interpretation be for the Good, helping all and hurming none


Lie down
Count from 20 to 1
Do the meditation with the rose crescent
Listen to a drumming CD
Seek your ladder to the heavens (Surah 6:35)
Enter the Celestial Mosque
Your Shaykh* will be waiting for you
Ask your Shaykh to help you interpret the passage
Ask your Shaykh how this passage can be used in your life
Thank your Shaykh
Return down the ladder
Open your eyes
Conclude by saying, “Allahu Akbar”

*If you don't have a Shaykh, when you get to the celestial mosque and you meet a person ask him/her: "Are you my Shaykh?" If yes, go with them. If not, ask him/her: "Can you lead me to my Shaykh?"

For more commentary on the Qur'an click here

For more spiritual exercises click here


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