The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 105

Is Religion Possible?


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The seventh lecture hall was constructed in association with the Aristotelian Society, London. The theme is, ‘Is Religion Possible?’

Is Religion Possible?

Neither the technique of medieval mysticism, nor nationalism, nor atheistic socialism can cure the ills of a despairing humanity. Surely the present moment is one of great crisis in the history of modern culture. The modern world stands in need of biological renewal. And religion, which in its higher manifestations is neither dogma, nor priesthood, nor ritual, can alone ethically pre­pare the modern man for the burden of the great responsibility which the ad­vancement of modern science necessarily involves, and restore to him that attitude of faith which makes him capable of winning a personality here and retaining it in hereafter. It is only by rising to a fresh vision of his origin and future, his whence and whither, that man will eventually triumph over a so­ciety motivated by an inhuman competition, and a civilization which has lost its spiritual unity by its inner conflict of re­ligious and political values.

Modern psychology has not yet touched even the outer fringe of religious life. It is a stranger to the kind of experience described by one Abdul Momin to Sheikh Ahmad of Sirhind (the ‘Mujaddid’):

‘Heavens and Earth and God’s Throne and Hell and Paradise have all ceased to exist for me. When I look round I find them nowhere. When I stand in the presence of somebody I see nobody before me: nay even my own be­ing is lost to me. God is infinite. Nobody can encompass Him; and this is the extreme limit of spiritual experience. No saint has been able to go be­yond this’.

You may notice the similarity with ‘Poem 75’ of the second chamber of the Temple of Modern David: I bow down before myself: temple or Kabah are no more. Sheikh Ahmad replied, “The experience which is described has its origin in the ever varying life of the Qalb; and it appears to me that the recipient of it has not yet passed even one-fourth of the innumerable ‘Stations’ of the Qalb.

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