Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad COSAN

Without doubt going through life is a serious and difficult test, but one that will end. Our most important goal after birth is to gain the love and approval of our Lord who created us and sustains us, who will call us to account on the day of judgement, and who will punish us for our deeds.

The only road for attaining the approval of God is the last and truest religion, Islam. The other roads and religions are either wrong, false or corrupted or else their time has passed and they have lost their validity. Anyone who wishes to find serenity in this world and the afterlife absolutely must pass his life fulfilling Islam's commands and refraining from its prohibitions.The state of unbelievers in both worlds is miserable, and their end is destruction. Only believers will find joy. The most obedient to God and the Muslim who follows his religious ordinances strictly will be the most beloved and esteemed servant on the day of resurrection.

Islam has a very beautiful and advantageous structure. Its principles have very wide and deep meaning. Islam helps a person keep his body healthy; it nourishes his soul and fills his heart with peace and light. It gives order to one's worldly business and insures happiness in the next world. It protects the individual, saves the family and strengthens the community and government. It protects the weak and restrains the bully. It gives everyone his rights and makes him aware of their duties. It protects woman and elevates man. It makes the poor smile and directs the rich to charitable acts. It makes the worker happy and the employer sensitive to his employes.

What a faultless, complete, wonderful and glorious order is Islam! Islam is a cure for every age, especially this sick modern age. It is the solution to all physical and spiritual, and individual and social problems. It is nourishment for the mind and pleasure for the heart. Islam is the bright morning after the dark night and the elixir of eternal life.

But also there is a very important and attractive branch of Islamic knowledge called Sufism [Tasawwuf]. Without it would be almost impossible for today's man and perhaps humans in every age to fully feel his faith and to comprehend the essence of Islam, its internal dynamics, spirit, contents, subtleties and secrets. Sufism is the ethics of Koran, the spiritual state of the Messenger, and the refined manners of the Shari'ah. Sufism is not selfishness, but altruism, kindness, affection, and service. It is not nonsense and idle talk but rather sincerity and wisdom. It produces purity in the heart, high knowledge and good works. It is not illusion but a beautiful state -- a rose instead of a rock, an antidote to poison, light of our eyes, fortification of our hearts.

Sufism can make a crazed person a saint and a raging person calm. It can warm and soften a hardened heart, make a merciless person compassionate and make a stone heart cry. It elevates the confused and heedless from oppression to enlightenment and the lost to safety. Sufism educates the ignorant making them a treasury of spiritual knowledge; it waters the wasteland from streams of divine knowledge and makes it green. It makes a shepherd a sultan, shallow knowledge an ocean. Sufism makes a person beneficial and desirable to the people and beloved by God. Sufism gives spiritual light to man who was created from earth; it makes him celestial, worthy of being in God's presence and favor.

With Sufism a hay loft becomes a place for a pleasure excursion, a narrow space a great square. Heedlessness and blindness disappear; inner vision occurs. Hearts that have been ruined by love of this world are rebuilt with the love of God. Spiritual oppression fades away and man becomes pure light internally and externally. This worn-out world which is a prison for believers becomes a rose garden.

Sufism is the essence and true meaning of our religion. It is the road and method for obtaining our real goal of becoming Perfected Man. In short, Sufism is the divine road and key to real happiness (as it is in all ages), sought day and night and in the wrong place by today's man who is full of stress, nervous, tense, depressed, in doubt, in a hurry, full of problems, sick and miserable.

In view of this, you should approach this serious and vital subject, enter this enlightened and divine path and discover happiness in both worlds.

May God allow you to attain to real worldly and otherworldly holidays (with your loved ones) and may you be honored with heaven and divine beauty!

(Islam, April 1990)