Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven as they are both present inside this very moment. Why worry so much about the aftermath, an imaginary future, when this very moment is the only time we can truly and fully experience the presence and absence of God in our lives? Motivated by neither the fear of punishment nor the desire to be rewarded in heaven, Sufis love God simply because they love him.
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When you kill someone, something from that person passes to you - a sigh, a smell or a gesture. I call it "the curse of the victim." It clings to your body and seeps into your skin, going all the way into your heart, and thus continues to live within you. I carry with me the traces of all the men I have killed. I wear them around my neck like invisible necklaces, feeling their presence against my flesh, tight and heavy. In every murderer breathes the man he murdered.
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I'm not one of those pious types who spend their whole lives hunched on prayer rugs while their eyes and hearts remain closed to the outside world. They read the Qur'an only on the surface. But I read the Qur'an in the budding flowers and migrating birds. I read the Brething Qur'an secreted in human beings. Every man is an open book, each and every one of us a walking Qur'an. The quest for God is ingrained in the hearts of all, be it prostitute or a saint. Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on.
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Some people make the mistake of confusing "submission" with "weakness", whereas it is anything but. Submission is a form of peaceful acceptance of the terms of the universe including the things we are currently unable to change or comprehend. I accepted the fact that there are things beyond my limits. I can only see some parts, like floating fragments from a movie, but the bigger scheme is beyond my comprehension.
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One of the rules says, You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover. There is no one who has lived after seeing Him, just like there is no one who has died after seeing Him. Whoever finds Him will remain with Him forever.
Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God wil open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that has been denied.
Doubts are good. It means you are alive and searching. One does not become a believer overnight. He thinks he is a believer; then something happens in his life and he becomes an unbeliever, after that, he becomes a believer again and then an unbeliever again, and so on. Until we reach a certain stage, we constantly waver. This is the only way forward. At each new step, we come closer to the Truth.
Each time I say good-bye to a place I like, I feel like I am leaving a part of me behind. I guess whether we choose to travel as much as Marco Polo did or stay in the same spot from cradle to grave, life is a sequence of births and deaths. Moments are born and moments die. For new experiences to come to light, old ones need to wither away.
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Before passing through the gates of a town I've never visited, I take a minute to salute its saints - the dead and the living, the known and the hidden. Never in my life have I arrived at a new place without getting the blessing of its saints first. It makes no difference to me whether that place belongs to Muslims, Christians, or Jews. I believe that the saints are beyond such trivial nominal distinctions. A saint belongs to all humanity.
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It is so demanding to be born into a house full of women, where everyone loves you so overwhelmingly that they end up suffocating with their love; a house where you, as the only child, have to be more mature than all the adults around... But the problem is that they want me to become everything they themselves couldn't accomplish in life... As a result, I had to work my butt off to fulfill all their dreams at the same time.
Some among the Armenians in the diaspora would never want the Turks to recognize the genocide. If they do so, they'll pull the rug out from under our feet and take the strongest bond that unites us. Just like the Turks have been in the habit of denying their wrongdoing, the Armenians have been in the habit of savoring the cocoon of victim hood. Apparently, there are some old habits that need to be changes on both sides." Baron Baghdassarian
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As I went through all these experiences, I began to compile a list that wasn't written down in any book, only inscribed in my soul. To me these were as universal, dependable, and invariable as the laws of nature. Together they constituted The Forty Rules of the Religion of Love, which could be attained through love and love only.
How can love be worthy of its name if one selects solely the pretty things and leaves out the hardships? It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.
Inside, I found three things: a silver mirror, a silk handkerchief, and a glass flask of ointment. These items will help you on your journey. use them when need be. If you ever lose faith in yourself, the mirror will show your inner beauty. In case your reputation is stained, the handkerchief will remind you of how pure your heart is. As for the balm, it will heal your wounds, both inside and outside.
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You are too timid for me. You care too much about what other people think. But you know what? Because you are so desperate to win the approval of others, you'll never get rid of their criticisms, no matter how hard you try. You say you want to travel the path, but you don't want to sacrifice anything to that end. Money, fame, power, lavishness, or carnal pleasure - whatever it is that one holds most dear in life, one should dispose of that first.
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My interest in Sufism began when I was a college student. At the time, I was a rebellious young woman who liked to wrap several shawls of '-isms' around her shoulders: I was a leftist, feminist, nihilist, environmentalist, anarcho-pacifist... I wasn't interested in any religion and the difference between 'religiosity' and 'spirituality' was lost to me. Having spent some time of my childhood with a loving grandmother with many superstitions and beliefs, I had a sense the world was not composed of solely material things and there was more to life than I could see. But the truth is, I wasn't interested in understanding the world. I only wanted to change it.
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Father, I am from a different egg than your other children. Think of me as a duckling raised by hens. I am not a domestic bird destined to spend his life in a chicken coop. The water that scares you rejuvenates me. For unlike you I can swim, and swim I shall. The ocean is my homeland. If you are with me, come to the ocean. If not, stop interfering with me and go back to the chicken coop.
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In the Ottoman times, there were itinerant storytellers called "meddah. " They would go to coffee houses, where they would tell a story in front of an audience, often improvising. With each new person in the story, the meddah would change his voice, impersonating that character. Everybody could go and listen, you know ordinary people, even the sultan, Muslims and non-Muslims. Stories cut across all boundaries. Like "The Tales of Nasreddin Hodja, " which were very popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans and Asia. Today, stories continue to transcend borders
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I know every single street in this town. And I love strolling these streets in the mornings, in the evenings, and then at night when I am merry and tipsy. I love to have breakfasts with my friends along the Bosphorus on Sundays, I love to walk alone amid the crowds. I am in love with the chaotic beauty of this city, the ferries, the music, the tales, the sadness, the colors, and the black humor...
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He tip-toed past the double bed that had been placed in a corner - wrought-iron headboard, embroidered pillows, amulets against the evil-eye and a satiny, cobalt-blue bedspread. Blue was Iskender's favourite colour. It was the colour for boys, which meant the sky was a boy. So were the rivers and lakes. And the oceans, though he had yet to see one.
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This he had noticed while doing his military service back in Turkey. When more than three people slept in a narrow place, sooner or later their breaths would become synchronized. Perhaps it was God's way of telling us that if we could just let go of ourselves, we would all eventually be in step and there would be no more disputes.