Sufism & The Environment
The teachings of Sufism provide methods and opportunities for individuals interested in attaining peace and spiritual solace. Sufism teaches how to recognize and maintain the essential law of existence: balance. Balance is an element that encompasses all – each individual as well as the harmony of the wider community.
Balance is also represented by the verse “Alif Lam Mim” in the Holy Quran, Verse al-Baqara (2:1). This verse symbolizes the balance inherent and necessary to the earthly and heavenly aspects of life. While spiritual practices such as daily prayer (namaz) or Tamarkoz® (Tamarkoz method is the art of self-knowledge through concentration and meditation) play a major role in the teachings of Sufism, the same love and attention is given to other aspects of life as well. This includes not only commitment to the community but also care for the environment.
Some of the ways in which MTO® and its students demonstrate care for the environment include a commitment to reduce the amount of waste generated. In MTO buildings worldwide, particular attention is paid to procuring reusable materials both in building construction as well as in everyday activities. Even seemingly small actions like moderating the use of water and energy aim to ensure the long-term wellbeing of the environment. These practices are a constant reminder that the resources provided to humans on earth must be used wisely. Treating our planet in a responsible way is a way to express gratitude and to create a lasting prosperity for future generations.
Another principle in the teachings of Sufism is the purification and ongoing education of the self so that the inherent potential of each individual can present in its absolute form. Professor Nader Angha, MTO’s Sufi Master, has used the analogy of the planted seed to symbolize the relationship between the individual and the environment. In this example, Professor Angha describes the seed already in possession of the knowledge necessary to come to being and to express its inherent potential in its most beautiful form, yet it is the gardener who must take the necessary steps to create an environment for the seed to flourish. The gardener makes sure the process can take place without complications, selecting the appropriate location, applying the necessary steps, and treating any diseases that arise. The gardener does not do this to restrict the seed in its natural process or to create something artificial, but to create the necessary conditions for the seed to manifest its knowledge and prosper.
In our day to day, this is also the task of us humans. The planet on which we live already possesses all the knowledge necessary to maintain the natural cycle of life. Human interference often leads to the restriction of this process and ultimately to an imbalance of the entire ecosystem. Together we are committed to beneficial actions for our planet that will allow it to thrive for generations today and in the future.