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Sacred Laughter of the Sufis


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Table of Contents

Introduction vii OUR HUMAN CONDITION Searching for Our True Identity 3 Stuck in Patterns 6 Overlooking the Obvious 8 SOME SHIFTS IN AWARENESS The Storms in Our Lives 13 Asking Deeper Questions 16 Spirituality Is an Experience 18 We Foolish Humans 21 Three Stages of Knowing Oneself 23 FOIBLES AND VULNERABILITIES Seeking Approval from Others 29 Clinging to an Image 32 Slavish Dependence on Authorities and Experts 34 Swayed by Outer Forms 36 Appetite for Praise and Titles 38 Know and Laugh at Your Eccentricities 41 Excuse after Excuse 44 Truth of Convenience 48 Attached to the Familiar 51 Fear Is All You Need 54 Fear Has No Favorites 57 WARINESS OF RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS Deferred Spiritual Maintenance 61 How Some Religious Customs Began 64 Belief, Faith, and Borrowed Certainty 67 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES Honor the Present Moment 73 Strive to Be Grateful 77 Spirit of Prayer 81 Efficacy of Prayers of Supplication 84 Efficacy of Rituals and 86 Spiritual Practices Signs in Nature 88 WISDOM FOR THE INNER JOURNEY Seeking in the Right Direction 93 Not All Tears Are Equal 96 Little by Little 99 Blessed Are the Flexible 102 A Sense of Balance 104 Web of Interconnection 107 Thank God for Diversity 109 Cultivate Hope through 112 Patience and Faith The True Teacher Kindles the Light 115 KNOWING GOD Connecting to Mystery 121 If God Wills 125 BE ENGAGED IN THE WORLD Do What Is Beautiful 131 Building Community 134 Justice and Conflict Resolution 137 Revere the Wombs That Bore You 140 Advice on Marriage 143 Honor the Children 145 TIME TO RETURN HOME It's Later Than You Think 151 The End Is Coming! 154 It's Not Like You Think It Is 156 Notes 160 Suggestions for Further Reading 162

About the Author

Imam Jamal Rahman is a beloved teacher and retreat leader whose passion for helping people deepen their spiritual lives and cultivate interfaith understanding has inspired audiences throughout the world. He has been featured in the New York Times, on CBS News and the BBC.


Sufism is Islam's mystical dimension, and Sufi stories are used to teach "larger" lessons. The protagonists for most stories are famous Sufi luminaries; however, Mulla Nasruddin is the main character in several of the stories. In the stories, the main character typically does "stupid" things to expose our fallacies or show us what is truly important. This collection of stories is divided into nine sections. Each section contains about half a dozen chapters, and each section takes the reader into a higher level of consciousness (which Sufis typically work toward). Each chapter contains a couple of stories, but the bulk of the chapter is devoted to explaining the lesson. The stories, although humorous, serve to embellish the lesson rather [than] form an integral part of it, and each chapter ends with sections for further reflection and practice. Although the stories included are generally intended for children, this book is more suitable for older readers and adults. A chapter can be read quickly, but the reflection and practice last a lifetime. -- Muhammed Hassanali * BookList *

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