Spiritual Seriousness

After receiving your earlier message, my first thought was to recommend that you persist within the Islamic form, practicing it from the perspective of the religio perennis and exercising as much love as you wish for Christ and Christianity. Several of my closest Sufi friends, though fully Muslim in every respect, nonetheless have the highest regard for Christianity, and this includes a deep love for Christ and a respect for all the Christian saints. They are in this respect like Ibn Arabi, whose “heart had opened unto every form; it is … a cloister for Christian monks … and the Kaaba of the pilgrim”. Indeed every true esoterist would say the same, in principle if not in fact, given the metaphysical transparency of all orthodox forms.

But now I see from your most recent communication that in fact you’ve not been practicing Islam for some time—nor are you following any traditional Path. Though your family is Muslim, you “fell away”, you say, and “left the religion completely” some time ago. It’s not clear to me exactly how long this has been, but I take it that the rapid religious “oscillations” you describe have occurred within a period of just two or three years. This being so, my main concern is that you not compound the problem by acting once again in a precipitous or impetuous way.

“Haste is of the devil,” and the best advice I can give you is not to do anything right away—except of course to pray. Until you’ve weighed the alternatives and made a carefully considered decision, it would obviously be inappropriate to recite the canonical prayers of either Islam or Christianity, but you can—and clearly should—engage in personal prayer, opening your heart to God as fully and candidly as possible, requesting His guidance as you gather strength for renewed spiritual effort.

You need of course have no “fears” either way, either as a Muslim or as a Christian. The only thing you should fear is a further lack of spiritual seriousness. Perennialists say, of course, that there is more than one saving Path back to God, but they’re equally adamant that a man must follow only one of those Paths. Metaphysically, we’re universalists, but practically—or operatively—we must be “exclusivists”. Jumping back and forth between religions is not merely inefficacious; it is dangerous.

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