Sheikha Fariha is the spiritual guide to the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order at the Dergah al-Farah Mosque in lower Manhattan.
Q: As horrific as the events of 9/11 were, in what ways has the post-9/11 world been a “learning experience” for Americans?
A: People are learning about each other and so a great healing is going on. Turn to God, turn to your heart, act the best you can, behave the best you can, don’t judge other people, be kind to other people, be compassionate, reach out, do charity, pray together, Truth is the birth right of every human being.
Q: As horrific as the events of 9/11 were, in what ways has the post-9/11 world been a “learning experience” for Americans? What is the opportunity? Has the “teachable moment” passed?
A: I think it’s been a challenging moment for people, because to open one’s self to the grace of forgiveness, because people are so devastated after such a tragedy but to be able to forgive the perpetrators of this truly misguided…but the hopefulness of forgiveness…it is always a challenge.
Q: What is the opportunity, or the “teachable moment”?
A: Out of tragedy, grows a rose garden. It’s often from tragedies that the greatest things are born. It calls forth the greatest qualities in human beings, because they go to their depth and in their depth, what do they find, they find God and they find love…they find compassion…they find forgiveness. After this great tragedy, what comes out but love? A great healing has come about already and needs to continue. People are learning about each other and so a great healing is going on. After 9/11, people said, “What is this religion?” So there was a great exploration and introspection.
Q: How would you want 9/11 to be remembered at its 20th anniversary, or 100th?
A: 9/11 should be remembered as a day of awakening, a day of sorrow, a day of compassion and a day of regeneration of human civilization. As long as we ignore our heart and ignore God, we will never build a new civilization, and it will always collapse. If we are guided by that light we will be guided to the best. 9/11 was sort of a beginning where we will view one path, one religion, one way. Within this ocean, we just have different streams. It is all one.
Q: What message of hope would you offer Americans during the observance of the 10th anniversary?
A: Every sacred tradition belongs to every human being and they have the right to that wisdom and to the beauty that lies within it. Economies will always collapse. Political empires will always collapse, that’s the nature of things. They are bound to. But what endures is the human heart. So if we can bring about a world civilization based on the human heart…we are light of the divine…we are the divine…than this can be great. And we won’t worry so much about things collapsing and then things will stop collapsing.
Dergah al-Farah Mosque joyfully welcome seekers and students of all religious paths into their gatherings. More at Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order.
Sheikha Fariha will be speaking at A Celebration of Our Oneness: In Commemoration of September 11 at Integral Yoga Institute NYC on Saturday 9/10/2011 at 6pm.