Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

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Know the qualities in each one's heart and then serve him. But first, try to know your own heart. Only then can you understand the hearts of others. If you have that understanding, then whatever words you speak and whatever duty you perform will be true duty, God's everlasting duty.

M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (died 8 December 1986) was a Tamil-speaking teacher and Sufi mystic associated with the Qadiriyyah order from the island of Sri Lanka who first came to the United States in October 1971 and established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship of North America in Philadelphia. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen authored over twenty-five books, although he himself did not read or write. These books were created from transcriptions of audio and video recordings of his discourses and songs, taken in the United States, totaling about 10,000 hours.


  • God bestows His Compassion upon all beings, always, and His Love and His Way is to bring lives together by pressing them together. God possesses a Love which spreads and intermingles with all lives. In the same way, among human beings there is also such a true Love, such a true, real feeling. When that Love is operating, when it is working, then it is God's work to take it and put it in its appropriate place. That is the Form of Love. That Love, that Divine Love, has brought us together as one.
    • Truth & Light: Brief Explanations (1974)
  • My beloved children, who are the pupils of my eye—Truth is silent. If Truth has dawned within you, then there will be no further speech. It is silence, and silence is the greatest Truth, the best question. If there is no Truth, then there will be a lot of talk and questions. One is good and the other is bad. If there is good within you, there will be no further noise within. But if you are full of bad, there will be so much of talk, speeches and questions. Therefore, seek the good. God does not make a noise. If you need anything, then you will have only to knock, and if you are tuned to that point, with the sound of that knock you will get an answer immediately. No noise, you don't have to make a sound. This is the Truth.
    • God, His Prophets, and His Children (1976)
  • To all those who say they believe in God, please realize with faith that God hears every word you say. God hears your every thought. Realizing this, speak only what is truth and act only with God's qualities of love, compassion, justice, patience, and the realization that each life is as important as your own.
    • Spoken on January 10, 1979
  • Each of us who came here with wisdom must learn from this school. Heaven does not come from building beautiful churches, mosques, and temples. Man must build his church, mosque, and temple within himself. The house of God must be built within. The place of worship must be seen within. The completeness of God must be built within the self. If man can understand his story and the story of God and then build a church within himself, that is victory.
    • The Wisdom of Man (1980)
  • Live with that faith that your body and your soul do not belong to you. Then God will share the suffering that comes to you. Place your trust in God all the time; in every moment say, “O God, this is Your property, Your duty.” One who was born as a man and has lived as a man will exist in this state. For whatever happens he will say with contentment and gratitude, “All praise belongs to God, al-hamdu lillah.” For what might come in the next moment, he will say, “It is Your responsibility, O Allah, tawakkul-‘alallah,” and praise Him.
  • O man, no matter what you have studied or how much you have studied, do not follow the ways of your mind with conceit in your learning. Ask a man of wisdom who is on the path and follow his directions. If you do not meet a man of wisdom, lay your heart open and ask even a tree or a wall. The power of God within your heart called conscience will caution you and guide you. It will say, "Go," or "Don't go," "Right," or "Wrong." If your heart is open, your conscience will provide useful fruit which will benefit your journey through life.
  • Son, you must not find fault with any of God's creations. You must realize that the center is within you. If you open your wisdom, stand in the center, and look intently at yourself, you will understand the point. Do not waste your time trying to analyze other people: if you look at others and try to figure out what they are like, everything will go wrong, because each person sees his own faults in others.
  • Within your heart in a space no bigger than an atom, God has placed the 18,000 universes, good and evil, and the wisdom to differentiate between them. That is your farmland. If you plow that land deep with your wisdom and sow God's qualities and actions with the knowledge of the difference between good and evil, you will receive the wealth of your soul, the bountiful harvest of undiminishing grace.
  • You must place your faith in the one indestructible, imperishable God. To do this, you must stop depending on the kings, forces, and armies within you. When you give up all this and stand defenseless and alone, saying, O God, it is all Your will! The sheikh will stand by your side. It is only when you surrender to Allah that the sheikh, who is the explaining wisdom of the Qutbiyyat which guides you on the path of God, will come to stand by your side. 'Son' he will say, 'Now you are ready. Come, let us go'.
    • The Golden Words of a Sufi Sheikh (1980)
  • If you try, everything you strive for will come close to you, and you will reap the benefit. May God give you that help, that grace, that wisdom, and His qualities. May He do what is good. If you believe in Him, He will never let go of you. If you intend Him, He will come looking for you. If you call Him, He will call you. If you love Him, He will love you. If you search for Him, He will search for you. Know this. Amin. Amin.
  • If you have faith in that one treasure which is God, His truth, and the wealth of His grace, if you assume His good qualities and His actions, God will always be with you. Whether you feel happy or sad, in sickness or in health, in sunshine or in rain, His wealth will always be yours and will always give you peace, happiness, and comfort any time you need it. This is the only thing which can protect you and take care of you. Nothing else is of any use. You must, therefore, have faith in God, the One Treasure, who is always with you, who always takes care of you. He is your shade in the heat of the sun. He is an umbrella in the rain and the happiness in your sorrow. He is always there to help you in any situation.
  • Have good thoughts in your lives. Have good manners, be polite, and have good actions. Be good, have love, and be patient. Never think of harming others. Only think of helping people. Think that others should be made better and that you should be made better. That is how your heart should be. Always wish for good things for other people. If you do, then your life will never be ruined, and you will progress higher and higher, and your brothers and sisters will also become exalted. Please think about this. Amin. May God give you His grace.
  • Whenever you look, God is there. But is He a rock or a stone or a sun or a moon or a bone? No. His sound is there and His warnings are there. You can see Him. You can see His sound, His words, His speech. You can listen to the commandments given to the prophets, because they have not gone away. They are within us.
  • We have come here to learn about the creations, about God's secret, and about God's grace. We are the form of light. There are six kinds of lives and we are the form of light. We have come here to learn the sirr, the secret connection between ourselves and His power, to study our Father and the story of where we were before. Within this body, within this show, there is much we must learn. We have come here to learn, not to dance on this dramatic stage or to watch show after show. We have come here to open and look within everything and see our Father. Each thing that we enjoy or feel sorrow about must be opened, and we must see God within. That is the lesson we have come to learn.
  • Know the qualities in each one's heart and then serve him. But first, try to know your own heart. Only then can you understand the hearts of others. If you have that understanding, then whatever words you speak and whatever duty you perform will be true duty, God's everlasting duty. If you are in that state, the love you give to each one will be God's complete love. In every situation, perform your duty with this understanding.
    • My Love You, My Children: 101 Stories for Children of All Ages (1981)
  • The prayers you perform, the duties you do, the charity and love you give is equal to just one drop. But if you use that one drop, continue to do your duty, and keep digging within, then the spring of Allah's grace and His qualities will flow in abundance.
    • Sheikh and Disciple (1983)
  • Our house is God's house. If our state is correct, our heart (qalb) is God's house, God's kingdom, God's justice, love, compassion, and unity. Before this state of beautiful peace and unity comes, we need a place in which to meet, unite, understand, think, and reflect every minute and second, establishing relationships of unity and peace. Instead of wasting time in the world, we can go to this place five or six times a day to do prayers and worship. We can gather at God's house, focus on God, think about God, pray to God, and remember God. It is for this purpose that we are building this place.
    • Spoken on March 10, 1983
  • My children, Allah's greetings of peace and supplications, His salams and salawats, resonate there in that water of divine knowledge. There you will find His representatives, His prophets, His olis, qutbs, auliya' and all those who know Him. Every second, every minute, they are praying and resonating with that beauty of Allah. Whoever falls into this water of divine knowledge will keep changing, until the taste of Allah is within him and he becomes the beauty of Allah.
    • A Mystical Journey (1990)
  • Look at yourself. You came into this world, but what you have to realize is that you came from Him and you must return to Him. The light within you has to merge with that One Light. Then the dark show of life will disappear. My love you, my children. This is the most important thing to understand in life.
    • Come To The Secret Garden: Sufi Tales of Wisdom (1994)
  • The more you make yourselves humble and ask for forgiveness, the more your true exaltedness is seen. Humility is a sign of exaltedness. The preface of a spotlessly pure heart (Iman-Islam) is patience (sabur), contentment and gratitude (shakur), having trust in God (tawakkal), and praising Him for everything that happens to us, saying, “Al-hamdu lillah!” Therefore, without feeling shame, ask forgiveness whenever necessary. This will be good. Allah, the Lone One who rules and sustains (Allahu ta’ala Nayan), will protect you and me.
  • This is the only path on which we can proceed with ease. It is the path to the freedom of our soul. Therefore, may we protect ourselves and give love to others. May we protect others as we would protect ourselves, love our neighbors as ourselves, and make all mankind our relatives, our brothers and sisters. May we make everyone our loved ones and help them become those who trust in God. May we all go together on this path as the followers of God, as the representatives of God, as the children of the one Father.
    • To Die Before Death: The Sufi Way of Life (1997)
  • What has to die will die, and what has to remain will remain. Supposing you dig a well and the water dries up. Just because the well went dry, you cannot say that there is no water there. You cannot say that the spring is dead, for if you dig down one more foot, water will again spring up. If people will only dig a little deeper, they will find the water there. Of course, they can say, “There is no water in the well any more,” and go away. But those who have real thirst will dig a little deeper, and they will find water there. What is will always be. That which dies is dead and gone, but that which is will always be.
  • What we are slaves to will prevent us from praying to God. If we are slaves to all the thoughts we think, if we are slaves to everything our eyes see, if we are slaves to all the music our ears hear, if we are slaves to everything the nose smells and the tongue tastes, if we are slaves to everything the body wants, then how can we ever reach a state of peace? We can never know peace or tranquility this way. We have to escape from this slavery and become a slave only to God.
  • In God's kingdom there is no fighting. He rules over both kingdom of hell and the kingdom of heaven, giving each of His creations what is due to them, but taking no share for Himself. God is One. He proclaims, My religion is to recognize all lives as one’s own life, all religions as one’s own religion, all languages as one’s own language, all vision as one’s own vision. It is in this state that God conducts His kingdom. He has no partialities, no religious differences, and prejudices based on skin color, whether it be black, red, white, or yellow. In His kingdom, there is no fighting.
  • "The things that change are not our real life. Within us there is another body, another beauty. It belongs to that ray of light which never changes. We must discover how to mingle with it and become one with that unchanging thing. We must realize and understand this treasure of truth. That is why we have come to the world.
  • We should not hold on so strongly to those who are going to leave us some day anyway. We should not feel excessive attachment for them. We have to keep it in moderation. But there is One who will never leave us, One who will never perish. God will never leave us, not in the kingdom of heaven, nor in the kingdom of hell, nor in this world. And since judgment is in His hands, He is the only attachment we must have. If we hold on to only that one attachment, then we will have joy throughout our lives and even at the time of death. On Judgment Day we will know that joy, because we will be with Him.
    • Questions of Life Answers of Wisdom, Vol.1 (2001)
  • My loving children, my children who were created with God's beauty, my wise children, whatever difficulty you may have, do not ever leave His charge. Just as the prophets of God kept their faith firm and were tolerant in spite of the problems they had, no matter what difficulties you may experience, be tolerant, be forbearant and embrace all living things as your own life.
    • The Tree That Fell To The West: Autobiography of a Sufi (2003)
  • Here and in the hereafter, we must embrace all those who with absolute faith accept Allah in their hearts. We must pray to Allah in a state of unity, peacefulness, and truth, and then give greetings of peace to each brother. Standing face to face, our eyes looking directly into our brother's eyes, our hands clasping his hands, and our hearts embracing his heart with love, we must say, "May the peace of God be upon you." This is the unity and beauty of Islam, the beauty that Muhammad (Sal.) brought to the people. Wherever we go, our hearts must be in that state. Our prayers must be one-pointed, directed toward the same place, toward Allah, the One who is truth. If we can recite the praises of Allah and the Prophet, then look each other in the eye, give peaceful greetings, and embrace each other — if we can achieve that oneness of the heart with all lives, then we will be true believers.
  • To wage war within oneself is Islam; the real fight is an inner one. To dispel evil qualities, evil thoughts, and the differences that lead to separations is Islam. To wage war upon jealousy, envy, and vengeance is Islam. To cut out and discard the qualities of Satan and to fill ourselves with the qualities of Allah is Islam. To show a heart full of love to our brothers and sisters is the wealth of Islam.
  • Everything in this world changes; only God remains the same forever. If mankind will realize this truth, then we can avert disaster by coming together with faith in God and living in unity and compassion. Do not live divided. With compassion for each other, live in unity and truth, in the presence of God. Live according to justice and conscience, respecting the lives and bodies of all others as your own, and knowing the hunger and the suffering of others as your own. Have patience, contentment, trust in God, and live praising God at all times, and peace will be easy.
  • One who has not found peace within himself will forever be giving speeches about peace. This world is a pulpit upon which man preaches, and there is no end to this talk! For millions of years man has been speaking this way, but he has not come forward to first find peace within himself. There is no use in making speeches. Man must acquire the qualities of God and live in that state. Only then can he speak of peace, only then can he speak the speech of God and dispense the justice of God's kingdom.
  • People with wisdom know that it is important to correct their own mistakes, while people without wisdom find it necessary to point out the mistakes of others. People with strong faith know that it is important to clear their own hearts, while those with unsteady faith seek to find fault in the hearts and prayers of others. This becomes a habit in their lives. But those who pray to Allah with faith, determination, and certitude know that the most important thing in life is to surrender their hearts to Allah.
    • Islam and World Peace: Explanations of a Sufi (2004)
  • The real fast is the blossoming of the inner heart. Fragrance must emanate. The qualities, conduct, behavior, and disposition that accompany this blossoming make no sound. Light and fragrance must dawn in the inner heart. The one point which is God must resplend. Do fast, but make sure the heart blossoms; make it fragrant. The flowering scent must emanate, and when that space is perceived, the One who inhales that perfume will come. The One who perceives that fragrance will come. He is the Lord.
    • The Fast of Ramadan: The Inner Heart Blossoms (2005)
  • There is a Power, a Power that controls the moon, the stars and the sun. It is a Power that can burn all other powers. It is the Power that pervades each atom, all that is finite, all that is infinite, a Power that no one can see...It has no assistance. It is completely alone. Original.
    • The Point Where God and Man Meet (2006)
  • Always use positive words, and never use negative or evil words. Cultivate good thoughts, not bad thoughts. Make sure your intentions are constructive intentions. Never be jealous; be grateful. Be tolerant, peaceful, and honest instead of vengeful. Always be compassionate, never proud and arrogant. Praise God, because God is the Deserving One. You need these in your life. If you can teach yourself to follow these suggestions, you will have a very good life.
    • God's Psychology: A Sufi Explanation (2007)
  • Before we try to destroy someone else, we should first pass judgment on ourselves. Before finding fault with others, we must first pass judgment upon ourselves. Before we backbite others, we must first pass judgment upon our­ selves. Before we lie about others, we must first judge ourselves. Before we hurt the heart of another, we must first pass judgment on ourselves. Like that, we have to pass judgment on our thoughts and on all actions done by our eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth. The guilty ones are within our own body and mind. These are our qualities which exist in our actions. All these qualities exist within us, do they not? So we have to pass judgment on them. That is the state of Iman-Islam. That is what is called Islam. To first see the fault in yourself and then to pass judgment and correct yourself is true justice. Those who perform that justice are in the religion of truth. They are the leaders of the religion of truth. They are in the state of Iman-Islam. They are the true believers.
    • Benefit to All (undated)
  • Children of any religion who have true faith must realize that God is the only One who knows all of everything. Therefore, only God can judge whether a person has faith, certitude, and determination or not and whether a person lives with that purity that can be called Islam or not. No one else can give that judgment. Do not wave your religion like a banner and go out to capture others. Only one kind of war is permissible in the eyes of God: the war you wage within yourself to defeat the demonic forces of lust, anger, jealousy, desire for revenge, and other evil feelings and attributes that may exist within your heart. God has sent each of the prophets as witnesses to the grace of God and as supports to help us in this inner war. This is the reason for the Qur'an. It is to help the true Muslim fight this inner battle and win victory over his own base desires that God sent the Messenger with the Qur'an.
    • The True Meaning of Islam (undated)
  • There is One God. He created all beings, and He exists beyond the beyond of religions, beyond the separations of race, religion, and philosophies. He is beyond mind, desire, and physical vision. He is beyond the world, lust, torpor, and illusion. God resides in that spotlessly pure place known as the heart and sees and knows everything. He sees each and every heart and mind and understands all things.
    • God's Light Magazine, Vol. 1 #4 (undated)


  • We read his words and our heart opens. Suddenly we realize our home is with God.
    • Rabbi Zolman Schacter-Shalomi, Professor Emeritus, Temple University

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