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As a believer, my fundamental aim is a life in resonance with the Divine, a life in concord with the natural order of the Universe. For me, Islamic teachings, principles, and practices help me strive after unity within humanity and personal harmony with nature and the Transcendent.
At the same time, my spirituality has been profoundly impacted by Buddhist teachings about detachment, and Taoist teachings on the negation of self-will and the value of emptiness. My understanding of and participation in Islamic rituals is enriched and deepened by those doctrines.
This religion syncretism is one of the benefits of living in a global village. We are not confined to the religion that is prevalent in our town or country, but can benefit from the teachings of many different faiths. So, too, religious practices. If Buddhist meditation or tantric yoga helps you to attain serenity and to interface more directly with the Divine, then more power to you.
I find support for this position in the Qur’anic passage which tells us that humanity was created in tribes and nations so that we might learn from each other (4:1).
As a practicing Muslim, however, I wouldn’t advocate for Muslims to abandon the rituals of Islam in favor of other rituals. Rather, these other disciplines should supplement Islamic rituals.
The tension between remaining true to Islamic teachings and pursuing the mystical path has been argued back and forth among Muslims, with particular reference to Sufi practices, for centuries. A minority have claimed that the mystic path supersedes Islamic rituals, with the majority seeing practices such as formalized dhikr as augmenting them.
Either way, each individual must negotiate her/his own relationship to the divine, and must come to their own conclusions about what works for them. Personally, my most intense experiences of ecstatic awareness of the Other come when I’m in nature, watching sporting events, or listening to classical music. Formalized meditation and dhikr circles leave me cold.
To me, my path is clear; I can only hope it is equally clear to others.