Talk by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Islamic Society Freshers' Dinner, Cambridge - October 2006 - 34 mins 22 secs
The sheikh begins this talk by considering the mystery of the relationship between self-knowledge and knowledge of God, referring to the Qu'ranic verse in which He promises to show us signs within ourselves. The sheikh contrasts this type of vision or perception granted by God with modern exhortations toward self-discovery. The latter are frustrated by the confusion which surrounds material definitions of human consciousness; modern man is told to fulfil himself without really knowing what the self is. From an Islamic perspective, the efforts of a disembodied intellect can never overcome this problem: rather, the body, mind and spirit are integrated and their effects on one another absolutely connected. Different aspects of the religion illustrate this, such as the physical dimensions of different acts of worship ('ibada) and bodily resurrection after death. The sheikh relates this idea in particular to the mi'raj, the ascent to Heaven of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and contrasts it with the rebellion of Iblis, who refused to act on the signs shown to him by God. Self-transcendence or self-knowledge from an Islamic point of view is presented not as abandoning the body or as some kind of 'out-of-body experience', but as a model of spiritual practice that keeps us in the world while granting us surer comprehension of our place in it.
Listen to this talk
Download this talk (MP3, 31.4 KB)