Book Review:  Heart of the Qur’an - Meditation on Surah 1, Ayahs 1-7 The Direct Path **

Meditation on Surah 1, Ayahs 1-7 The Direct Path

By Nur Hixon

My beloved Muhammad, please inspire My precious human beings to affirm with their entire being the Majestic Name, Allah Most High, Who is the Ultimate Source now speaking through you as tender Mercy and sublime Love. Please teach humanity to pray this way:

“Spontaneous praise arising from the hearts and minds of all beings flows toward Allah alone, the Ever-Present Source and Goal of Being, Who sustains and cherishes every being, the Source of Love Who overflows constantly with compassion and forgiveness. The Supreme Source draws all conscious beings to their Day of Truth, their homecoming into the Radiance of Allah. To Allah alone, as the Source of Being, can living beings truly offer their entire being. From Allah alone, as the Source of Power and Love, can true strength and guidance be received. Most precious Allah, You alone teach human beings to turn consciously toward their own True Source. This is the direct path of Islam, revealed through all the Prophets and courageously taken by the lovers of Love who follow the Call of Love directly to the Source of Love. This is not one of the mundane paths that wander through creation, taken by those who heedlessly turn away from the Source of Creation.” (page 57, HEART OF THE KORAN)

We would like to recommend to you the book from which this meditation was reprinted. The book is

HEART OF THE KORAN

, Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 1988. $9.95. This book is a meditation on the Holy Qur’an by an American Muslim. Lox (Nur) Hixon has a Ph.D. in world religions from Columbia University and teaches Islam at Masjid al Farah in New York City. The best introduction to this book would be to let Br. Hixon speak for himself. He has graciously permitted us to reprint this excerpt as well as the Preface from the book which follows.

Neither as Christians or Jews, nor simply as intellectually responsible individuals, have members of Western civilization been sensitively educated or even accurately informed about Islam. For more than a thousand years, obvious and subtle prejudices against the way of live and wisdom called Islam have been instilled into European cultures. Even some persons of good will who have gained acquaintance with Islam continue to interpret the reverence for the Prophet Muhammad, and the global acceptance of his message as the inexplicable survival of the zeal of an ancient desert tribe. This view ignores fourteen centuries of Islamic civilization, burgeoning with artists, scholars, statesmen, philanthropists, scientists, chivalrous warriors, philosophers, saints, and mystics, as well as countless common men and women of devotion and wisdom from almost every nation on the planet.

The coherent world civilization called Islam, founded in the vision of the Qur’an cannot be regarded simply as the product of individual and national ambition, supported by historical accident. This vast spiritual community, consisting today of some 900 million persons, can only be understood as the result of the holy life of Muhammad. Islam will continue to blossom throughout the future of the planet, awakening human beings to the true nobility of the soul and to the sublimity of its Source, providing a disciplined and harmonious way of life for a large segment of humanity.

The history of Islam is not free from intolerance, injustice, and other chronic distortions of the human spirit. Neither is Christian history free from such distortions. But these sobering facts cannot dim the wonder of twenty centuries of commitment flowing from the inspired life of Jesus, and fourteen centuries of commitment flowing from the inspired life of Muhammad. The power of authentic revelation cannot be understood simply in terms of political and cultural history. There exists one ultimate Source from which the entire universe is harmoniously flowing. This sublime and healing knowledge dawns within the human heart and mind, individually and collectively, through contact with clear channels of truth and love, such as Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.

There is no way that I can dispel every false or incomplete impression about Islamic spirituality which the prospective readers of this book may hold. Instead, I ask you to experiment by temporarily suspending any negative judgments. Simply assume Islam to be among the great wisdom traditions of humanity, all of which are worthy of fundamental respect. This will create an attitude of openness in which the reader can drink from the illuminating fountain of the Holy Qur’an.

All Muslims place the Qur’an at the center of their life, faith, and practice, for every word of this scripture was received by the Prophet Muhammad during the exalted state of consciousness through which the Source of the universe speaks directly to humanity. The revealed words of this Qur’an, when experienced reverently and profundity, are not relics from the past but exist in a timeless present, communicating as vividly as when they were first uttered. If we are patient and concentrate, we will discover that these words of Allah often refer with mysterious precision to whatever historical or personal situation presents itself to us.

The encounter with the Qur’an as living revelation is the single thread from which all the dimensions of Muslim spiritual life and civilization are woven. After sharing this precious encounter for even a few moments - an experience which the present book attempts to make possible for the general reader of English - we can never again be satisfied with a superficial understanding of the Prophet Muhammad and the rich heritage of Islam. We now feel kinship with the vast spiritual family of devout Muslim men and women that extends throughout the world.

It is my hope that readers of this book will be stimulated to turn or return to various scholarly translations of the Holy Qur’an, and even to the Arabic original, with openness and new inspiration. This is not a treatise about Islam, written from the perspective of another religious tradition or from a supposedly neutral academic standpoint. This is a meditation on the Holy Qur’an which has been generated from within the mystical embrace of Islam. Therefore, HEART OF THE KORAN is an offering to the Muslim world as well as to members of other cultures and traditions who have an intellectual curiosity or a spiritual desire to learn about Islam from within.

The Arabic word ISLAM simply means SURRENDER. Muslims are those who consciously and constantly surrender their lives to the single Source of the universe. This is the practice of living prayer that enables humanity to realize balance, responsibility, freedom, ecstasy, and peace. May we all experience such surrender.

Originally published in the July/August 1991 print edition of

The American Muslim

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