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Sufi Wisdom: Water and Weeds

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by T.L. James of MarsBlog. Part of our weekly Sufi Wisdom series. As terrorist Islam does its best to discredit the religion, it is important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics with roots in many religious traditions. The lessons of Sufism are often communicated through humorous stories and mystical or romantic poetry.

This week's Sufi Wisdom comes from Rumi, and concerns -- among other things -- imperfections:

Water doesn't lose purity because of a bit of weed.
The weeds float on the surface;
the pure water flows on undisturbed.

JK: See also Winds reader lurker's Rumi poetry as a comment re: Tarek Heggy's Friday Guest Blog "The Arab Mind."

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Tracked: June 18, 2005 12:02 AM
Good News Saturdays, 2005 from Winds of Change.NET
Excerpt: Our Saturday posts to this blog are always "good news". Welcome!


Well, this Rumi verse has many interpretations. One seems to be a comment on the human condition - lots of clutter in the visible part of our lives, but underneath, in the realm of spirit, still pure.

And then the question becomes, are you willing to dive in, even though you don't get advance warning of what's down there (precisely because of that same top clutter)?

Which would link it very nicely to Reb Eli's Taking the Journey today.

It also tracks well with the idea that the jihadis may obscure the view to the pure religion Islam is meant to be. They create a film of evil that hides the vast majority of peaceful muslims worldwide.

You got me again Joe. I was just sitting down to write a wicked rip on Islam after reading some updates about Ayaan Hirsi-Ali in Holland. Then I remembered it was Good News Saturday, so I headed here instead and you reminded me that one day at least we must chill.

I guess I will do some navel-gazing and write something later, maybe I'll go fishing.


Uncle J

David Loy, social critic and professor of comparative philosophy in religion in Japan at Bunkyo University, has argued that, because we have failed to recognize Market Capitalism as a fundamentalist religion unto itself, that we have failed to offer “what is most needed, a meaningful challenge to the aggressive proselytizing of market capitalism, which has already become the most successful religion of all time, winning more converts more quickly than any previous belief system in human history.”

Market Capitalism is a religion which promises a secular salvation that it never quite supplies. Yet, many have strong faith.

The weeds that exist on the top of the
good-faith waters of America are greed and a naked lust for power.

Whether we want to believe it or not, the anti-terrorist orthodoxy of our current Executive administration is used, to not only form a rationale for a never-ending war, but to deal with all forms of internal dissent. Market Capitalism is the sermon we hear when our American leaders speak of spreading freedom and democracy.

The Taliban and al Qaeda are both products of a virulent religious rhetoric - and they are crude and deadly in their violent actions.

Are we not a product of a virulent religious rhetoric - albeit far, far less incivil - with Market Capitalism? Can it be argued that this war on terror is not a Christian crusade, but is a Market Capitalist Crusade?

Those who subscribe to far-Right fundamentalist Christian principles join in support because it serves their own fundamentalist purposes.

Yes. There are weeds on the surface of the waters.

In a meaningful way, drawing upon the pure water described by Rumi, we American citizens who have a good-will desire to defend American ideals, as set down by the Founding Fathers, need to learn a new language to challenge those in power who would choose greed and power-lust over people-powered democracy.

David Loy link:

Jude Nagurney Camwell

What a load of blood stained commie garbage.

Show us an alternative to Freedom And Liberty that works .without the gulags anf the mass graves.

BTW, you can have Capitalism without Freedom ... look at China,,

But you cant have it the other way around, a free man will trade .. freedom must be removed to prevent it.

Reality isnt a religion .. that that works dont require faith

Socialism, with its 100 million Murders and inbroken record of failure and misery,, is a proven wrong evil followed by blind faith.

Jude Nagurney Camwell asks:

"Are we not a product of a virulent religious rhetoric..."

Why yes, I stongly suspect so.

"Yes. There are weeds on the surface of the waters."

So it would seem.

But eventually, the current carries them away, so long as the stream is not blocked. Our job is to keep the stream flowing. If we do, there will always be weeds - and they will always be swept away downstream. In the end, the depths remain.

The people of Rumi's time had a related saying: "the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on."

Dear Raymond,

I'm afraid you misunderstand. I am not a "commie" of the blood-stained kind - nor am I a Communist of any variety. Hogwash.

I am supportive of Capitalism, but not the kind that creates the proverbial weeds up top - the corruption, the power-lust, or the greed.

These are produced by Capitalist fundamentalists.

Fundamentalism breeds intolerance and rigid thinking. It also facilitates corruption.

So, I hope this clarifies your suspicion that I am anti-Capitalist, for I surely am not.


Joe - Well-said. I agree. The weeds will usually end up moving along with the current. In the depths below lies our hope. If there is no current, in my America-analogy, then citizens such as you and me have to start one.

Borrowing Joes link

He was at some environmental forum, and he said, “How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?” Naturally, every hand shot up. He said, “Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?” Nothing. Again: “Is there any evidence I could give you — anything at all — that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?” Not a stir. Simon then said, “Well, excuse me, I’m not dressed for church.”

I love that story, for what it says about the fixity of these beliefs, immune to evidence, reason, or anything else.

It reminds me of an experience that I’ve had with left-liberals about taxation. Now, you and I know that, in history, if you’ve cut tax rates, you’ve increased revenue to the government. But left-liberals, of course, don’t accept that.

So I’ve played a little game with them. “Suppose,” I say, “that you were presented with irrefutable evidence that if you cut tax rates, revenue to the government would increase.” They always balk, and I say, “No, really. I know you think this is nonsense. But just humor me. If you knew for sure that cutting tax rates would increase revenue to the government — for social programs, whatever — would you do it?” And they say — many of them — no.

Beautiful. I take this as proof positive that what they’re really interested in is punishment: taxation as punishment, for wealth-creation, innovation, enterprise, luck, and so on. They favor higher tax rates for moral reasons, if you will. They favor those tax rates as sanctions, not for the money they might bring in.

And it’s funny how many, when pressed, will admit it.

And your hate of everything, the very thing, that gave us this land of magical confort, the freedom that allows us to enjoy it, one and the same. makes you my enemy, im not rich, im not within a billion miles of rich, my bank never saw a ballance larger that 4 whole figures.

But your attack on those that provide my job prospects and bake my bread for me is an attack on me.

Because im the guy that gets hurt the most by your jihad agaist the rich... with your every victory food for my kids gets more expensive ... because im who ends up paying the taxes you inflict on them

The consumer pays all taxes ,, when i buy a load of bread, the cost of the taxes is already over 40% of the price ... the property tax for the bakery, the income tax of the company the owner and all that work for him .. the fuel taxes on the trucks .. every &%^** penny your jihad of punitive envy targeted on "greed" must come out of my pocket .,, your weapons inflict 100% colateral damage ... hurting the most those you intend to help ...

And im telling you, ive had it, im done all with that .. the leftist lies their commie schemes and their stupid misguided ill informed dolly do gooder attempts to "help us" that interrupts your tea and crumpets.

Go away,, im tired of the damange wrought by your help ... ive had it up to here with your help ... im not sure I will survive any more of your help.

I would rather you find another jihad to expend your free time ... go voluntier at a soup kitchen, clean out your storage rental and give it to the salvation army ... but please,, your leftist jihad came close to detroying our way of life and hope for the future.

Leave me alone .. and leave alone those who will employ my kids, you want to help ? undo some of your jihad against greed, I could use the price cut on bread and christmas toys.

That would be helping, otherwise,. please, stop.

Ray is definitely not down with the Good News vibe. He seems angry. Me I am on my back porch with a cold beverage and an un-obstructed view of the park and forest behind my house. I am the King of Content.


Uncle J

Uncle Jimbo, Ray isn't the only one here not on board with the vibe. Nor was he the first.

I'll add that while Jude's last paragraph in #6 is entirely unobjectionable, the current I was talking about may not be headed where he expects - and the depths may not be the ones he imagines.

Of course, everything I said is also equally applicable on a personal level to us all, and since I was quite deliberately speaking on several levels (I think some of this Sufi stuff is rubbing off) it's not surprising that people see in it what they wanted to see. That, too, is characteristic of many Sufi stories - though the people telling them are fully aware of their own intent and message.

I guess I am getting better at this after all.

It would be better if she railed against corruption, somthing we are all against

Freedom isnt utopia, it is messy and untidy, in fact the imperfections, or rather, because it does not attempt to strangle out the inperfections, is the reason it works so well.

Attempts to create perfection have been horrific for the participants.

Christians would call a steam with weeds "living water" water with weeds and fish was certainly better than the other kind in those days.

Despite the fact that our wonderfull freedom that creates more wealth and a better life for more people than anything else on earth, allows some to corrupt themselves, its that very freedom that allows it to work so well.

We wont catch all the corrupt, but most are not corrupt, and if we attempt to eliminated the weeds the water wont be any good to drink.

Freedom isnt utopia, its imperfect, and let us stand against those demanding perfection for our very lives.

Let us not poison the water to get at the weeds.

The real world has weeds ... thank god for weeds.

Now THAT was very interesting, Raymond.

Some of these big time eco-freaks have made some realy dumb statments such as PAUL ERLITCH making the stupid comment that give the world cheap abouncant energy would be like giving a idiat child a machine gun no mr earlich what they did do was to give that idiot child a degree in enimology(insects)and the ability to write a phonie book(THE POPULATION BOMB and THE POPULATION EXPLOSION)and the ability to act like a idiot

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