Sufism is often described as ‘the mystical branch of Islam’. Giving some more attention to this underexposed spiritual side, it is often proposed, could help us to ease certain contemporary societal tensions. One finger then points toward the rigorous religious aggression of fundamentalism as ‘the problem’, while another points toward the soft beauty of mysticism as ‘the solution’.
Yet, no matter how well-intended the contemporary focus on Sufism might often be, in the end, it repeatedly portrays a lack of comprehension when it comes to Islamic mysticism. The typical descriptions are full of mistakes, and the conclusions they lead to need much nuance.
To acquaint himself with the soul of Islam J.Y. Atlas had openhearted conversations with influential Muslim scholars and artists. From Jakarta to New York and from London to Lahore, this Christian theologian met with imams and Sufis, academics and feminists, punkers and poets. The result is a book full of novel insights that will help us to transcend today's cultural and religious impasses.
Attempts of interfaith dialogue often stay away from the more difficult issues and remain somewhat superficial. With his 'Halal Monk' journey, Atlas wanted to go further. He wanted to get to the root of our current tensions. This book collects his most fascinating dialogues at the intersection of culture, society and religion. In between those conversations, some extra light is shed on key concepts of the Islamic tradition and their relevance for today's debates.
This little gem beautifully elucidates the flow of our mind, heart and soul during meditation and prayer. It explains how we can guide our inner being to moments of spiritual contemplation.
In a concise and poetic language, Jonas Yunus Atlas clarifies the core aspects of meditation and prayer. He does not discuss their outer forms or technical sides, but reveals their mental forms and deeper spirit. And, while doing so, also rephrases our relationship with the divine.
Many meditation books focus on bodily exercises and physical postures that are needed to open distinct energy channels. The verses in this book, however, describe the different 'spiritual postures' that open the 'channels of the soul' between ourselves and God.