Idol worship: They have simply put their idols and images in His place.


"If we consider the most ancient evidence left by homo sapiens, we can see that man has always been aware of the existence of a Supreme Being, who is Lord of all things and of all living creatures.

Using every conceivable means, human beings of every era have always tried to show their feelings of deep respect (and reverence) towards God and to perform what is due to their Creator.

This is why Islam has always stressed the possibility of direct communication with God. Even those who have fallen into idolatry have never denied the existence of the Creator, but have simply put their idols and images in His place. And this is still happening today. This being the case, how can we recognise a true prophet and what is his or her mission?

The mission of the prophets is to reveal the will of God, that is, to provide a logical and tangible explanation of religion as it is experienced in our daily lives.

Genuine monotheism - the belief in a Supreme Being - means (or implies) the unshakeable oneness of the whole creation between man and God. Monotheism proves then, the pointlessness of idols and of images that come between man and God. The mission of the prophets is thus to set human beings on the right track, and in order to do this, the prophets have used two parrallel and complementary paths:

- the way of learning, based on theology and philosophy
- and the way of Self-Knowledge or Self-Realisation

This is why we find in our Holy Book, the Koran, both scholastic discourse and phrases which hint at the"Way in"to knowledge of the Highest Self. The concrete means of putting this message into practise is what is offered to us in this age by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.

To back up this Truth, if you will allow me. I will quote these words of the Prophet Mahomet, who tells us: "God is closer to man than his own veins."And the Prophet says: "With the knowledge of the Spirit, man will begin to know himself, so as to finally achieve knowledge of God." "With the purification of his inner being, man becomes conscious that he is the Spirit."

It is thus the experience of spontaneous Self Realisation - which is revealed by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi - and Sahaja Yoga - which is the practise which she teaches - both spontaneous Self Realisation and Sahaja Yoga are in perfect harmony with the teachings of Islam. It is because of this revelation by Shri Mataji that I have wanted to speak to you tonight.

In similar vein, I should like to end my talk by referring to the condition of women in Islamic countries today. As you know, the position of woman as mother is glorified in the Islamic tradition. The Prophet Mahomet went as far as to say: "We experienced Paradise at our mother's feet."

As a wife, Islam not only acknowledges her complete right to choose her own husband, but pays homage to her in the famous words of the Prophet, who says: "The best amongst you is the one who behaves best towards his wife."Or again: "Women are sent to us by God and men are responsible for keeping them safe."Women are thus considered to be equal to men in both their responsibilities and in their legal and civic rights.

Today, unfortunately, we have seen that this great insight of the Koran is not always understood and therefore not respected in the various Muslim countries.

You, Shri Mataji, by virtue of your courage, and your sincerity and your purity, by virtue of your untiring travels through the five continents, you are today justly considered to be the Messenger of Peace in the world.

Your exemplary life makes you the perfect symbol and model for Muslim women. May their quest for Justice, their desire to be able to enjoy a true spiritual life in their own dignity, may their quest find an echo in the spiritual approach of the real Islam. This will make it possible to put a stop to all kinds of injustices which are still being committed against women in the name of religion.

It is with this vision and with the aim of defending the rights of women in Muslim countries throughout the world and in particular Afghanistan, in Iran and Turkey, that I address this brief talk to you Shri Mataji, and to all the people assembled here tonight."

Ayatollah Dr. Mehdi Rouhani

(Address delivered by Ayatollah Dr. Mehdi Rouhani at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 3rd July 1997)


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