6 years ago. My teacher was holding my yoga book.
My Mawlana said one day I will bring many people to Islam.
My heart screamed in panic, cried, “WHAT?? But Mawlana, I dont feel like to convert anyone. I like people for what they are. As long as they follow the right way – that s simply be good and do good – for me that’s enough. Islam, no Islam, no problem”.
He didn’t know my answer. But maybe he could sense it right away that moment, straight through heart to heart connection between the teacher and his disciple.
Long after, I realized that the term “Islam” is rooted from the word Salam, it means Peace. So Islam is submission, or surrendering the self, to the Almighty.
Peace, submission, surrender. These words sounds very familiar to me. It sounds like a sister, or even a mother, who always been there for me, protected me whenever I feel scared or sad.
Is this “Islam” that he meant?
That day, he also said, “This ( yoga ) practice is the preliminary exercise to maqam Ihsan ( to feel His presence everywhere. And if you cannot feel it, just have faith that He is watching you). It s union. Let’s say it that way. Union, not Yoga “. He stated that, while pointing to my book in front of everyone. Some of them maybe belong to the groups that agree Yoga is forbidden in Islam.
He said “Union”, not “Yoga”, why ? I believe it was because many of us reject something only because of the terms, the language. So something entitled with another language’s word is an alien. But if we dont understand it, how can we love it?
So I agree. If the word “Yoga” is so intimidating, threatening, I dont mind to never use it. Yoga, no yoga. No problem. It s the essence that matters, not the packaging.
And this makes clear to me now. I must spread “Islam” the path of surrender, and guide people around me to surrender themselves. Islam, no Islam. No problem.
Like Mawlana Rumi once said,
“I’m not a Christian or Jew or
Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.
Not any religion
or cultural system. I am
not from the east
or the west, not
out of the ocean or up
from the ground, not
natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all”.