Cultic behavior amongst Muslims

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Catherine Hampton

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May 31, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/31/97
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MEF MEF Inc. (MEF...@worldnet.att.net) wrote:

: IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL


: CULTS & THOUGHT CONTROL

: (c) 1997 Abdullah Brown, M.D.

<Most of an excellent article originally posted to soc.religion.islam
snipped to save space, and avoid me having to reject my own article
for having too much quoted material.> <wry grin>


For those who may not know this, I am one of the moderators on
soc.religion.islam. I am Christian, and while I participate, I don't
usually talk about my personal experiences or beliefs because they
usually aren't relevant, and I'd rather not start a flame war.
This time, I'm going to talk about some personal things which
relate to this article.

I'm responding at length to Dr. Brown's article, not because I disagree
with it, but because I'm afraid people might ignore it because it
is so long. Please don't ignore it -- read it. If you haven't read
it already, go back and do so before you read this. It's important.

A few of you in soc.religion.islam know something about my background,
but for those who don't -- I spent ten years in a religious movement
which became one of the most prolific Protestant Christian cults in
existence today, the International Church of Christ/Boston Church of
Christ. (The ICC, for short.) Any one who wants to read my full story
can find it on the REVEAL WWW site at http://www.reveal.org/, under
"Stories from the ICC". I know how important it is to understand what
cults are and how they work because I've been there.

Since leaving that movement ten years ago, I've become concerned with
cults and cult behavior. Part of this was simple curiousity, but
much of it was an attempt to understand what had happened to me, and
why I was having trouble with my relationship with God and ability
to function in my church, at work, and with other people. Cults
don't just affect a person while they are members, and this is
especially true for those of us who were members for a long time.

In learning what had happened to me, and recovering from it, I also
met a whole lot of other people whose lives had been affected by
other cults, most of them nothing like the one I'd been in if you
looked at their doctrines, but spookily similar in their practices.
I also read some books, and one of them really hit home -- the
Autobiography of Malcolm X. It's an extraordinary book by any measure.
It is also a nearly textbook case history of cult recruitment, life
in a cult, and leaving a cult because of growing doubts about a
leader who permitted no doubts about himself or his teachings.

I don't doubt there are other Islamic cults, and also movements or
groups which are dangerously close to becoming cults. But very little
research has been done on these groups.

I can guess why. A couple of years ago in another newsgroup, someone
asked if anyone had looked at Islam as a possible cult. I knew the
poster, and he was simply clueless -- all he knew about Islam was what
he read in the papers and saw on TV. His attitude is pretty typical
of a lot of Americans and Canadians I know, and not much less common
among Europeans. It is unfortunately common among educated people
who should know better, as well, including those who do this kind
of research. :(

While most Muslims certainly don't have this illusion ;>, in my
experience many assume that Islam precludes cults and cult behavior --
thinking "It can't happen to us." So, on one side, you've got people
who think Islam itself is a cult, and on the other, people who think,
"If it's Islamic, it can't be a cult." So not many people have really
looked at Islamic groups.

In addition, many people don't understand what a cult is, and why cults
are dangerous. Many make the mistake of thinking that whether
a group is a cult or not depends on its doctrines -- what it teaches
and believes officially. Others assume that a cult is by definition
a "kooky" religious group whose members will dress and act strangely.
In America, these people may assume that a Muslim revert who starts
wearing hijab is in a cult, and fail to spot an ICC recruit who dresses
and acts like most of the yuppie women she works with and lives around.

Even among those who have heard the terms "brainwashing" and "mind
control" (or "thought control" -- they mean the same thing) usually
have mental pictures of a hypnotist and his dazed subjects. They've
never heard of Robert J. Lifton, who guided the original research
into brainwashing and mind control in the late 1950s and early 1960s,
and wrote the seminal book on it, "Thought Reform and the Psychology
of Totalism". But Lifton's work is fundamental to understanding
how one human being can dominate another's thoughts and beliefs
without his full consent or understanding.

This domination does not have to happen in an environment where it is
obvious that one person is trying to dominate another. It does not
have to look strange. It does not necessarily advertise itself.

A student of Lifton's, Margaret Singer, first applied his work to
cults. Her books on this subject are also very much worth
reading. I also recommend the work of Steven Hassan, a former member
of the Unification Church whose book, "Combatting Cult Mind
Control" gave me the first real understanding of what had happened
to me.

I'm glad to see a Muslim writing about this topic because Muslim
children are vulnerable to these groups and these leaders. Muslim
children are probably even more vulnerable to Islamic cults because
they are based at least to some extent on Islamic beliefs, which will
"ring true" to a Muslim who is being recruited, just as the Christian
beliefs/doctrines in Christian cults "ring true" for those who were
raised as Christians. This problem is especially great with those
who did not receive a good theological education as children, because
they won't generally have the knowledge and background to question
what they are being told. Muslim leaders, and parents, need to know
about this, and need to be prepared to deal with it.

A few comments on some parts of the article....

: techniques by which this is accomplished. Destructive cults seek to rob
: their members of independence – intellectual, financial, physical,
: psychological, and spiritual. Critical analysis is discouraged. What
: results is what has been termed the "DDD syndrome" – debility, dependency,
: and dread – modified by one author to read deception, dependency, and
: dread. Deception is utilized to recruit new members, a state of dependency
: of new members upon the cult and its leader is instituted as rapidly and
: completely as possible, and dread of leaving the cult is instilled within
: members.

The term "DDD Syndrome" actually comes, not from the psychological world,
but from the human rights group Amnesty International in the mid-1960s,
and was used to describe the process by which torturers established
control over their subjects. Dr. Brown spots the one essential difference
between how a torturer operates and how a cult recruits -- torturers
aren't generally trying to deceive you as to their intentions. :/
Deception -- overt lying and intentionally misleading information --
are key to cult recruitment. If you don't have some kind of deception
around, you don't have a cult. End of story.

If a group or leader justifies lying to people or deceiving them about
the group's goals in order to get money from them or convince them to
join, it is very likely you do have a cult, and you certainly have a
group which uses some of the same tactics.

: socially, emotionally, psychologically. Life outside the cult seems
: impossible, and the member dreads expulsion from the cult. Many
: individuals have remained with cults long after they consciously
: acknowledged the falseness of the cult's absurd teachings.

Very true. I'd also point out that many members stay in out of
confusion, as much as fear. Cults interfere with a person's ability
to assess information and think rationally. You'll often find that
people involved in cults know that something is wrong, but think that
"the Faith" is everything it claims to be -- the people are just
screwed up. I stuck around three or four years more than I would
have otherwise because I thought this.

: or moral absolutes. While deception of group members or leadership is
: prohibited, cult members are frequently encouraged to actively deceive
: non-members during recruitment and fund-raising efforts. The end justifies
: the means.

Definitely. The Moonies call it "heavenly deception". Other groups
admonish their members, "Don't give the devil his due." There are
other terms for what amounts to the same thing in other groups. This
is usually justified because most cults believe that those outside of
cults are ruled by Satan, hopelessly deceived or evil, and thus not
worth of respect or the truth.

: That Islam is about as far from meeting the criteria for a destructive cult
: as you can get is no surprise, and the Muslim, armed with knowledge of
: cults, may be able to convince a concerned non-Muslim of this very point.
: But don't count on it. The reason? Aspects of cultic behavior are
: observable in the individual and group practices of a large number of
: Muslims. This is disturbing and bears considerable examination.

This is where the article breaks some new ground -- most of what Dr.
Brown wrote til this point is just summarized from standard work on
cults. Those who just glanced through the article or didn't read this
part carefully may want to go back and reread carefully from this point.
Particularly, pay attention to his assessment of fanaticism and its
relationship to cults. I know of Christian people and groups whom I'd
characterize as fanatics who aren't cults, but cults tend to arise
from such groups, and they operate "on the edge", so to speak, of this
particular abyss. Islamic fanatics are just as vulnerable, IMHO.

I'd also recommend that you not ignore, or dismiss, Dr. Brown's comments
on the problems of cult-like behavior in families, and on the abuse of
women. What he describes as happening among many Muslims also happens
among many Christians, particularly Christians froma traditional
religious background who marry and move away from where they grew up,
loosening ties to their families and churches. I have seen it happen.
He's on target.

<a little later>

I wrote this during lunch, and just now (mid-afternoon) took a look at
it. I'm not too sure I want to post this <wry grin>, but I will.
May God use it as He wills.


Under His mercy,


Paul O Bartlett

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May 31, 1997, 3:00:00 AM5/31/97
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A few days ago, there appeared on soc.religion.islam an article by
Abdullah Brown on cults and the implications of "cultishness" for
Muslims, especially in the west. This article, together with a short
piece a couple of months ago by AbdulraHman Lomax, got me to thinking
(based on my personal experience) that there can be and, sadly, is
among Muslims in North America a behavior which is perversely almost the
reverse of common cult behavior: not deceptively ensnaring someone and
using various techniques to keep him/her in, but just the opposite --
not accepting into the Muslim community in any meaningful sense those
who want in.

In Portland, Oregon, and Falls Church, Virginia, I myself observed
what looked like a community among Muslims, and I wanted to be part of
it. That was a significant part of my motivation for making shahada in
the first place. Then I collided head on with the reality of Muslims in
some localities: if you are a middle-aged white westerner who speaks
nothing but English (or possibly Spanish or French), you are not sucked
in cult-like -- you may simply be ignored. Ethnicism is venomous among
some Muslims in some localities, and it is deadly for the new would-be
Muslim.

The new Muslim confronts a de facto exclusion, just the opposite of
the way cults tend to treat their new members, as Abdullah Brown and
Catherine Hampton were expressing in their articles. Cults go to one
extreme. My experience has been that some Muslims go to the opposite
extreme and, in actual practice, exclude people who want to come in,
despite all the fine talk about "Islamic Brotherhood." Is it any wonder
that after a while, some people just lose interest and start to wander
away from the Islam they had embraced with high expectations?

Paul <pob...@access.digex.net>
----------------------------------------------------------
Paul O. Bartlett, P.O. Box 857, Vienna, VA 22183-0857, USA
Finger, keyserver, or WWW for PGP 2.6.2 public key
Home Page: http://www.access.digex.net/~pobart


D A Rice

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Jun 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/1/97
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Assalamu alaikum,

Firstly, what do we mean by "cult"? It is important to get our
definitions clear (particulary for extremely emotive words like
"cult").

The article by Abdullah Brown states:

>There are several means by which a cult may be defined. The word "cult" is
>derived from the Latin "cultis" which means "worship". Thus, in its most
>literal and general sense, any form of worship is a cult.

Yes -- the definition of "cult" according to my dictionary (Collins
English Dictionary) is very broad. It seems to encompass any kind of
religious activity, or devotion to an idea or person, or any popular
fashion or craze. Therefore, in this broad definition, capitalism,
market economics, the Republican and Democratic parties, communism,
various charities, Beatles fan clubs, atheists, Alcoholics Anonymous,
Mothers Against Drunk Driving -- are all examples of "cults."

Due to its extremely broad definition, and a highly emotive response
to the word which has been "brainwashed" into us by the popular media,
I would prefer not to use the word "cult" at all, and instead use
something more specific and less emotional, to make it easier to
discuss things in a more rational manner.

However, the article continues to clarify that it is not using this
extremely broad definition of this highly emotive word, but a more
specific one:

>However, for the
>purposes of this article, we will consider the connotative meaning of the
>word, the meaning that the word holds in general use for the general
>public. A religious cult is a newly formed religious group with a living
>charismatic or messianic leader.

This is the more specific definition -- insha-Allah, from here on,
I'll use this more specific definition of "cult," rather than the
broad dictionary definition indicated above.

>Hence, Islam is not a cult.

Even with this new definition, during the Prophet's time, Islam was a
"cult," since it was a "newly formed religious group with a living
charismatic or messianic leader." Probably the majority of the major
world religions (eg. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism) were at their
beginning "cults" (according to the above definition), since at its
beginning most major world religions were "newly formed religious
groups with a living charismatic or messianic leader."

This is one reason why I dislike the word "cult." A highly emotive
aspect to this word has been "brainwashed" into us by the media, yet
no clear definition of what is meant ever seems to be specified. Even
Abdullah Brown's definition is not clear, since I doubt he meant to
say that the Prophet (s.a.w.) was the leader of a "cult," even though
this fits his restricted definition.

If you want to know about brainwashing, ask yourself why your response
to the word "cult" is so emotive, when the meaning of the word itself
is in reality extremely broad, and can be applied to any collection of
people which follows an idea or fashion or person, including groups
with a very positive role in society. To me, this "brainwashing" of
the majority of society by major corporations (such as the media) is
far more worrying than the work of various tiny groups. Noam Chomsky
has made some interesting observations regarding this, in his various
books (and his co-authored book "Manufacturing Consent" specifically
deals with this general topic). I highly recommend reading Noam
Chomsky in order to get an alternative view on how "consent" is
"manufactured" by various major corporations in Western societies,
which in Noam Chomsky's view (and I agree with it) undermines true
democracy. This influence is far more prevalent than that of tiny
groups.

By the way, I am not denying that there are harmful groups out there.
However, in Islam, I believe we have a safety net -- it is called the
"Shari`ah," -- the various restrictions and regulations Islam
specifies, which are there for everyone's welfare and protection.
When considering a group, from an Islamic perspective, ask whether the
group tries to practice and teach the Shari`ah. If it doesn't, then
stay away from it. I'll call this criterion for assessing various
groups the "Shari`ah criterion."

Catherine Hampton, claimed that the "Nation of Islam" (at least as
recorded in Malcolm X's autobiography) used brainwashing techniques.
I cannot comment on that due to lack of knowledge either way, except
to point out that the Nation of Islam does not to coform to Shari`ah,
so by the "Shari`ah criterion" this group should not be joined.

Another harmful group, mentioned in a post a few months ago, is the
group centered around Frithjof Schuon. Former followers of Schuon who
have left the group have mentioned various disgusting (and Islamically
prohibited) sexual practices within this group, which have reportedly
destroyed families and caused some suicides (according to reports of
former members of the group). This group also clearly does not follow
Shari`ah, so the "Shari`ah criterion" would also prevent (and protect)
you from following this group. Some former followers of this group
are actively warning others about it.

Lastly, Paul Bartlett also mentioned a post brother Abdulrahman Lomax
made a few months ago, when he described the "Murabitun" as a "cult."
I had a short email correspondence with brother Abdulrahman about this
at the time (I told him I would not have described them as a "cult,"
and I wondered why he did). As I understood it, in that article he
was using the word "cult" in its broader meaning (any group of people
dedicated to an idea, fashion, or leader), and if I understood
correctly he did not mean it in the negative sense meant by Abdullah
Brown. That is, brother Abdulrahman Lomax, if I understood correctly,
was not necessarily opposing the Murabitun, but simply making an
observation (please correct me if my understanding was incorrect,
brother Abdulrahman).


Wassalam,

Fariduddien Rice

D A Rice

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Jun 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/2/97
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In article <5mr1dm$cfc$1...@shell3.ba.best.com>, Paul O Bartlett <pob...@access.digex.net> writes:
> A few days ago, there appeared on soc.religion.islam an article by
> Abdullah Brown on cults and the implications of "cultishness" for
> Muslims, especially in the west. This article, together with a short
> piece a couple of months ago by AbdulraHman Lomax, got me to thinking
> (based on my personal experience) that there can be and, sadly, is
> among Muslims in North America a behavior which is perversely almost the
> reverse of common cult behavior: not deceptively ensnaring someone and
> using various techniques to keep him/her in, but just the opposite --
> not accepting into the Muslim community in any meaningful sense those
> who want in.

Paul, I am sad that you have had this experience. In my experience,
many groups are not like this.

The most wonderful study group I think I ever joined was a study group
where I was learning tajweed (correct pronunciation when reading the
Qur'an). Our teacher was ethnically Turkish, who only spoke Turkish
and Arabic, and most of the brothers there were Turkish. However, I
attended this group once a week for about two years, with two fellow
Muslim brothers (I am half-Indonesian half-American, and my two
friends were ethnically Sri Lankan and Egyptian). Although I couldn't
speak to our teacher directly (I had to communicate through one of the
other brothers translating), I could directly feel his warmth, and
whenever I met him he always made me feel like I was missed. He
smiled a lot (which is sunnah!) -- actually, my two friends and I
agreed that his behaviour was like that of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Regarding brother Abdulrahman Lomax's post from a few months ago, as I
have mentioned in another post in this thread, I had a short email
correspondence with him at the time. To my understanding, he did not
mean the word "cult" in a necessarily negative connotation, but in a
broader sense as a group which has a devotion to an idea, fashion, or
leader. Please see my other post for more clarification on this.

> In Portland, Oregon, and Falls Church, Virginia, I myself observed
> what looked like a community among Muslims, and I wanted to be part of
> it. That was a significant part of my motivation for making shahada in
> the first place. Then I collided head on with the reality of Muslims in
> some localities: if you are a middle-aged white westerner who speaks
> nothing but English (or possibly Spanish or French), you are not sucked
> in cult-like -- you may simply be ignored. Ethnicism is venomous among
> some Muslims in some localities, and it is deadly for the new would-be
> Muslim.

I don't know what it is like in the US. In Australia, most Muslims
are relatively recent migrants -- Australia had a racist "European
whites only" immigration policy until about 1970, and most Muslims in
Australia today arrived after that. Since most Muslims (particularly
the older ones) are first generation immigrants, English may not be
their first language (if they speak it at all) and so it is difficult
for them to associate with others who do not speak their own language.
I expect this problem to disappear as subsequent generations of
Muslims in Australia grow up speaking English, and thus do not have a
language barrier in mixing with each other.

> The new Muslim confronts a de facto exclusion, just the opposite of
> the way cults tend to treat their new members, as Abdullah Brown and
> Catherine Hampton were expressing in their articles. Cults go to one
> extreme. My experience has been that some Muslims go to the opposite
> extreme and, in actual practice, exclude people who want to come in,
> despite all the fine talk about "Islamic Brotherhood." Is it any wonder
> that after a while, some people just lose interest and start to wander
> away from the Islam they had embraced with high expectations?

Well, this may be true of some groups. My feeling is, if you
encounter such groups, you are probably better off not joining them
anyhow. Hopefully, there is another group around with whom you can
associate with -- in particular, join some Islamic study classes, we
can always learn more, and it is a good way, I think, to associate
with other Muslims. Many various small Islamic groups (both formal
and informal) here in Australia have informal study groups, often
meeting in the evenings or on weekends, either in the homes of their
members or in one of the various masjids. I expect it would also be
true in the US and Europe. Perhaps after Friday prayer, you could ask
the Imam -- he may be able to help.

Wassalam,

Fariduddien Rice


Catherine Hampton

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Jun 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/3/97
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D A Rice (phs...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au) wrote:

: Firstly, what do we mean by "cult"? It is important to get our


: definitions clear (particulary for extremely emotive words like
: "cult").

True. What I meant, and what Dr. Brown appeared to mean, is a
group which meets Robert Lifton's eight criteria for measuring a
mind control organization. These criteria are independent of
doctrine or beliefs, and in fact apply to non-religious groups as
much as to religious groups.

The word "cult" as used in everyday language or the media is IMHO
useless except to get people angry and upset. :/

: >public. A religious cult is a newly formed religious group with a living
: >charismatic or messianic leader.

: This is the more specific definition -- insha-Allah, from here on,
: I'll use this more specific definition of "cult," rather than the
: broad dictionary definition indicated above.

This is a somewhat narrower definition that I would use, in one way,
and wider in others. Having a charismatic/messianic leader is only
one characteristic of being a cult, as most cult researchers would
define it.

: >Hence, Islam is not a cult.

: Even with this new definition, during the Prophet's time, Islam was a
: "cult," since it was a "newly formed religious group with a living
: charismatic or messianic leader." Probably the majority of the major
: world religions (eg. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism) were at their
: beginning "cults" (according to the above definition), since at its
: beginning most major world religions were "newly formed religious
: groups with a living charismatic or messianic leader."

If you define by this criterion only, sure. On the other hand, if you
look at all eight of Lifton's criteria, let's see what you get...

MILIEU CONTROL -- Extreme control of the environment in which members
of the group live, preventing feedback from the outside world
or filtering it heavily through the group's doctrines.

Does Islam do this? As I recall, in the early years of Islam
there was a tremendous amount of outside contact and information,
so not at that point. Islam today is so varied that it is
in my opinion impossible to answer this question about Islam as
a whole. Most Muslim groups I've had contact with don't qualify
by this criterion.

MYSTICAL MANIPULATION/PLANNED SPONTANEITY -- an attempt to stage-
manage a person's experience within the group so that highly
planned events appear to have happened spontaneously, thus
implying that God endorses the group and the person's membership
in it, and to reinforce the belief that the group is the one true
path to God/enlightenment.

Does Islam do this? During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammed,
one could perhaps claim that, but only by insisting that the
signs/miracles associated with him were in fact fake. Muslims
will naturally reject this assertion, and proof of a negative is
difficult. :/ Nowadays? Perhaps in some Islamic groups, but I
haven't heard of a widespread pattern.

DEMAND FOR PURITY -- An absolutist approach to sin, and utter
rejection of anything deemed questionable, to the extent that
a member who violates any rule int he group fears being cast
out and sent to hell.

Does this apply to Islam? To some groups, yes. To others, no.

CULT OF CONFESSION -- Requirement that there be no privacy and no
secrets between the member and the leaders. Everything must be
confessed, and the member has no expectation of confidentiality.

Is this relevant to Islam? This doesn't sound like Islam to me at
all, although I am sure there are groups within Islam where this
occurs.

SACRED SCIENCE -- A group holds that its beliefs/doctrines only hold
all the answers to "Life, the Universe, and Everything" (to quote
Douglas Adams), that these answers are logically/rationally
verifiable, and which nonetheless forbids members to think critically
about these doctrines or question them.

Does Islam do this? From what I've read in the Qur'an and Hadith,
Muhammed did not forbid people to ask questions about his prophethood,
although there are some passages which make me uneasy. (There are
some in the Bible which also make me uneasy on this ground.) Later
followers appear more guilty of this, but I don't see any totalist
rejection of critical thought.

LOADING THE LANGUAGE -- Subtly redefining common terms (usually
theological terms, for a religious cult) to carry meanings and
baggage which they do not carry in normal theological conversation,
and widespread use of cliches and other "thought stopping" language.
(Think of George Orwell's "Newspeak" in "1984" for an example.)

Islam? I'm not knowledgeable enough to hazard a comment on
the Prophet Muhammed's time. Among the Muslims I've been around,
though, this doesn't appear to happen. There are certain special
meanings to theological terms, some of them quite different than
the same terms among Christians, but that appears to be just a
different consensus on the use of those words, not an attempt to
prevent thought, shape conclusions, or mislead outsiders.

DOCTRINE OVER PERSON -- If the doctrine says that the world or life
is a certain way, then any personal experiences which appear to
indicate otherwise are ignored or taken as proof of individual
depravity.

Islam? I've seen this happen among certain Muslims, those I'd
consider fanatics, but from what I've seen, this is typical of
fundamentalist/fanatical thinking regardless of the religion.

Dr. Brown relied on the three-fold "DDD" out of the human rights
community rather than Lifton's eight criteria, but he didn't claim
that any group which has a charismatic leader is a cult, not if you
read his whole article.

: with a very positive role in society. To me, this "brainwashing" of


: the majority of society by major corporations (such as the media) is
: far more worrying than the work of various tiny groups.

Perhaps in some ways. But, Dien, the media you refer to doesn't have
nearly the level of control over individuals that the cults I"ve seen
do. I suspect that, not having been affected by a cult, you are
underestimating the damage they cause.

Also, the "tiny groups" you referred to are not so tiny. The ICC
(my group) has about 85,000 members now, but probably around 150,000
to 200,000 former members. It's pretty much the new kid on the block,
as well. I daresay, if one could count the current and former
members of some older cults, the results would startle a lot of
people.

: By the way, I am not denying that there are harmful groups out there.

: However, in Islam, I believe we have a safety net -- it is called the
: "Shari`ah," -- the various restrictions and regulations Islam
: specifies, which are there for everyone's welfare and protection.
: When considering a group, from an Islamic perspective, ask whether the
: group tries to practice and teach the Shari`ah. If it doesn't, then
: stay away from it. I'll call this criterion for assessing various
: groups the "Shari`ah criterion."

That's one measure, but it only works if you are extremely careful
how you define Shari'ah, excluding both groups which deviate from it
and those which enforce every little provision of it extremely
strictly and to a degree which was not intended originally.
Religious groups like my old one are notable less for deviation
from orthodox Christian beliefs than for a ridiculous strictness, all
out of proportion to what Christ, the Apostles and Church Fathers
taught.

I think of this as similar to learning about "significant digits"
when making measurements and recording data in scientific experiments
or mathematical calculations. Since all human measures (scientific
or otherwise) are limited and at least somewhat faulty, relying on
them to too great an extent is bound to introduce error into your
data set. That's true whether you're measuring the speed of a
chemistry reaction, or applying to individual circumstances a general
religious law.

: Catherine Hampton, claimed that the "Nation of Islam" (at least as


: recorded in Malcolm X's autobiography) used brainwashing techniques.
: I cannot comment on that due to lack of knowledge either way, except
: to point out that the Nation of Islam does not to coform to Shari`ah,
: so by the "Shari`ah criterion" this group should not be joined.

Trust me, if you read Lifton, and then read the Autobiography of Malcolm
X, you won't have any questions about this. It isn't a borderline
situation at all.

: have left the group have mentioned various disgusting (and Islamically


: prohibited) sexual practices within this group, which have reportedly
: destroyed families and caused some suicides (according to reports of
: former members of the group). This group also clearly does not follow

I don't remember this discussion or know about this group. Any group
which leaves in its wake destroyed families and suicides should be
looked at askance, in my opinion, regardless of whether they appear
to adhere to the Shari'ah, or whatever standard you and they hold.
One of the oldest human sins is using religion or the law to justify
abhorrent behavior. Human beings don't have infallible judgment, and
instinct can warn you away from something when you haven't yet seen
the problems intellectually.

--
Catherine Hampton <ar...@tempest.boxmail.com>

(I'm the moderator, but this was a personal post, not official.)
(Please note that the address in my "From:" header is a spam trap.)

D A Rice

unread,
Jun 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/3/97
to

Assalamu alaikum,

I must correct a mistake which I made....

Earlier, I wrote:

> Catherine Hampton, claimed that the "Nation of Islam" (at least as
> recorded in Malcolm X's autobiography) used brainwashing techniques.

Actually, Catherine Hampton said:

> I also read some books, and one of them really hit home -- the
> Autobiography of Malcolm X. It's an extraordinary book by any measure.
> It is also a nearly textbook case history of cult recruitment, life
> in a cult, and leaving a cult because of growing doubts about a
> leader who permitted no doubts about himself or his teachings.

Since "cult recruitment" perhaps might not necessarily mean
"brainwashing techniques," I felt I should point out and apologize to
Catherine and any readers for my mistaken recollection of what she had
written.

However, I think this topic of "cults" does bring up the great
importance of the Shari`ah. It seems to me that, without a doubt, the
Shari`ah is a great mercy for us. It is a protection for us, and I
think it is a great protection for us from harmful groups such as
destructive "cults." Therefore, I do think that if we only join
Muslim groups who practice the shari`ah, we will insha-Allah be safe
from "cult recruitment." Even if the group has a charismatic Muslim
leader, we must continue to remember that this leader also should


practice and teach the Shari`ah.

I think it is also good for us, however, to not go to the other
extreme, of thinking that the Shari`ah is all there is of Islam. The
Shari`ah is only part of Islam, it is like a protective shell, and the
beautiful light of the love of God is Islam's deep core.

Wassalam,

Fariduddien Rice

euphrates

unread,
Jun 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/9/97
to

Catherine Hampton wrote:

MILIEU CONTROL -- Extreme control of the environment in which members
of the group live, preventing feedback from the outside world
or filtering it heavily through the group's doctrines.

Sounds like sufism.



MYSTICAL MANIPULATION/PLANNED SPONTANEITY -- an attempt to stage-
manage a person's experience within the group so that highly
planned events appear to have happened spontaneously, thus
implying that God endorses the group and the person's membership
in it, and to reinforce the belief that the group is the one true
path to God/enlightenment.

Mysticism vs sufism sounds compatible.



DEMAND FOR PURITY -- An absolutist approach to sin, and utter
rejection of anything deemed questionable, to the extent that
a member who violates any rule int he group fears being cast
out and sent to hell.

> Does this apply to Islam? To some groups, yes. To others, no.

Definitely apply to sufism.


CULT OF CONFESSION -- Requirement that there be no privacy and no
secrets between the member and the leaders. Everything must be
confessed, and the member has no expectation of confidentiality.

> Is this relevant to Islam? This doesn't sound like Islam to me at
> all, although I am sure there are groups within Islam where this
> occurs.

I guess that is a requirement in sufism.


SACRED SCIENCE -- A group holds that its beliefs/doctrines only hold
all the answers to "Life, the Universe, and Everything" (to quote
Douglas Adams), that these answers are logically/rationally
verifiable, and which nonetheless forbids members to think
critically
about these doctrines or question them.

Shaykh knows everything.


LOADING THE LANGUAGE -- Subtly redefining common terms (usually
theological terms, for a religious cult) to carry meanings and
baggage which they do not carry in normal theological conversation,
and widespread use of cliches and other "thought stopping"
language.
(Think of George Orwell's "Newspeak" in "1984" for an example.)

I am not sure about this. We should ask a sufist.


Mrs. Hampton can we conclude that sufism is a cult under these
conditions?

AbdulraHman Lomax

unread,
Jun 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/10/97
to

as-salamu 'alaykum.

euphrates <euphr...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Catherine Hampton wrote:

> MILIEU CONTROL -- Extreme control of the environment in which members
> of the group live, preventing feedback from the outside world
> or filtering it heavily through the group's doctrines.

> Sounds like sufism.

Well, we have a general injunction in Islam to be careful about whom
one associates with. And this -- and other characteristics which also
apply to cults -- can be found to one degree or other among the ahli
tasawwuf. However, the keyword is "extreme." I have found more
exclusionary fanaticism among anti-Sufis than among Sufis. But
contemporary Sufism is not free of cultic problems.

> MYSTICAL MANIPULATION/PLANNED SPONTANEITY -- an attempt to stage-
> manage a person's experience within the group so that highly
> planned events appear to have happened spontaneously, thus
> implying that God endorses the group and the person's membership
> in it, and to reinforce the belief that the group is the one true
> path to God/enlightenment.

>Mysticism vs sufism sounds compatible.

I don't think that Euphrates means "vs." Once again, the abusers of
tasawwuf are sometimes guilty of these things. This is not genuine
Sufism, it is its evil twin.



> DEMAND FOR PURITY -- An absolutist approach to sin, and utter
> rejection of anything deemed questionable, to the extent that
> a member who violates any rule int he group fears being cast
> out and sent to hell.
>
>> Does this apply to Islam? To some groups, yes. To others, no.

>Definitely apply to sufism.

No. If anything, one tends to find too much reliance among the Sufis
on the mercy of God and too little "fear" of God. Euphrates does not
know the Sufis. Again, however, it must be acknowledged that there is
cultic behavior among the Sufis and that some Sufi groups are
correctly characterised as cults. And likewise some groups that
absolutely hate Sufism.

> CULT OF CONFESSION -- Requirement that there be no privacy and no
> secrets between the member and the leaders. Everything must be
> confessed, and the member has no expectation of confidentiality.
>
>> Is this relevant to Islam? This doesn't sound like Islam to me at
>> all, although I am sure there are groups within Islam where this
>> occurs.

>I guess that is a requirement in sufism.

The kind of confession described here I have never encountered among
the Sufis. Obviously, if one goes to a doctor, one should disclose
one's condition. But here we are talking about a doctor who demands to
know all secrets, and who does not respect confidentiality. If I tell
a shaykh about a personal problem, I would not expect to hear it from
the minbar next Friday. This has happened with some imams in some
masajid. Offensive, is it not?

> SACRED SCIENCE -- A group holds that its beliefs/doctrines only hold
> all the answers to "Life, the Universe, and Everything" (to quote
> Douglas Adams), that these answers are logically/rationally
> verifiable, and which nonetheless forbids members to think
>critically
> about these doctrines or question them.

>Shaykh knows everything.

This is an abuse of tasawwuf where it exists. The shuyukh make
mistakes. But so do doctors, and this does not mean that one should
therefore not go to a doctor and follow his advice. A good shaykh is
less likely to make a mistake than one is oneself, and that is the
point.

> LOADING THE LANGUAGE -- Subtly redefining common terms (usually
> theological terms, for a religious cult) to carry meanings and
> baggage which they do not carry in normal theological conversation,
> and widespread use of cliches and other "thought stopping"
>language.
> (Think of George Orwell's "Newspeak" in "1984" for an example.)
>

>I am not sure about this. We should ask a sufist.

This charge is more true about traditional tasawwuf than the others.
But it is not a cultic language in style. Rather there are certain
problems inherent in language, and to deal with these problems, the
knowledgeable develop special terminology. It happens in many fields,
not just in tasawwuf.

One does find the use of cliches in imitation Sufism, but also in
regular imitation Islam.

>Mrs. Hampton can we conclude that sufism is a cult under these
>conditions?

I would not conclude that "sufism" is a cult; rather I would conclude
that groups calling themselves "Sufi" or anything else which match
these descriptions -- as they were intended and not just superficially
-- would be legitimately described as cults. And no such blanket
statement could be made about all Sufis. Do I write like a cult
member? Of course, maybe I am not a Sufi. Actually, it is not for me
to say, I have no permission to describe myself with the terms of
purity.

wa maa ubari'u nafsiy, inna n-nafsa la 'ammaratun bi s-suw'.

AbdulraHman Lomax
abdul...@worldnet.att.net
P.O. Box 10316
San Rafael, CA 94912


Catherine Hampton

unread,
Jun 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/11/97
to

Oh, bother....

One thing that is guaranteed to make a former cult member angry
is someone using the issue of cults as a means of bashing a religion
or religious group they don't like. And it's easy to do this,
simply because most people don't understand what a cult really is
and react at a knee-jerk level to the word "cult". Calling a
religious group you don't like a "cult" is so common that many
people (foolishly) assume that there really is no such thing as
a cult -- just religious groups whose beliefs and actions look
strange to other people.

Those of us who have been in the real thing don't like it when people
discredit our experiences with their foolish, careless, and sometimes
intentionally deceptive labeling of non-cult religious groups as
cults. :( I'd give Euphrates the benefit of the doubt if he'd
given me any reason to, but this post of his has got to one of the
most wholesale and blatant jobs of innuendo and outright slander it
has been my displeasure to see in this group.

If the rest of you would rather not read me getting angry, skip the
rest of this post. :/

>Catherine Hampton wrote:

> MILIEU CONTROL -- Extreme control of the environment in which members
> of the group live, preventing feedback from the outside world
> or filtering it heavily through the group's doctrines.

> Sounds like sufism.

Which Sufis? Where? I could just as legitimately say it sounds like
Muslims to me, because I've seen and heard of some Muslims who do this.

Sufis are not a single, homogenous group. IF they were, your comparison
would have some chance of being valid. In this case, you just slammed
a whole, diverse group of people without giving a single example or
shred of evidence about even one of them. Nice job.

> MYSTICAL MANIPULATION/PLANNED SPONTANEITY -- an attempt to stage-
> manage a person's experience within the group so that highly
> planned events appear to have happened spontaneously, thus
> implying that God endorses the group and the person's membership
> in it, and to reinforce the belief that the group is the one true
> path to God/enlightenment.

>Mysticism vs sufism sounds compatible.

Mysticism != mystical manipulation. Mystical manipulation is taking
a situation which has nothing of mystical experience about it and
falsifying that experience, either through misinterpretation or
outright falsification of a miracle or supernatural event. If you don't
believe in or approve of miracles or the supernatural, say so. (And
then explain how you are able to be Muslim while denying the miracles
of God.) If you believe that all Sufis falsify miracles or misinterpret
non-supernatural experiences as supernatural, say so.

As it is, you said nothing at all. First, I wasn't discussing mysticism.
I wasn't even discussing mystagoguery, although that certainly plays a
part in mystical manipulation. Second, how compatible the two
things "sound" is neither here nor there -- that's a purely subjective
asessment, and given your previous statements about Sufism, I certainly
wouldn't trust your impressions about it. You're about as prejudiced
as anyone I've ever seen posting in this group. :/ So you didn't ask
a question even remotely relevant to the issue of cults.

These tactics are the tools of someone who is determined to discredit
a person or group but who lacks any evidence of wrongdoing.

> DEMAND FOR PURITY -- An absolutist approach to sin, and utter
> rejection of anything deemed questionable, to the extent that
> a member who violates any rule int he group fears being cast
> out and sent to hell.

>Definitely apply to sufism.

Chapter, book and verse, please. Statements of this type are slanderous
unless you back them. And don't try to get away with providing one
example of an extremist Sufi group. I suspect there are several such
which border on being cults, if they haven't crossed the line, but
that proves nothing about most Sufis, any more than that the ICC
matches the criteria for a cult proves anything about the Baptists
or other Protestant Christians.

> CULT OF CONFESSION -- Requirement that there be no privacy and no
> secrets between the member and the leaders. Everything must be
> confessed, and the member has no expectation of confidentiality.

>I guess that is a requirement in sufism.

You guess.... Again, I don't think anyone who had read your previous
posts on Sufism would trust your guesses on the subject. :/ This sounds
like yet more innuendo (or waffling) to me -- you want to insult Sufis
and don't have the proof to back a direct accusation or even support a
clear question about real facts.

>Shaykh knows everything.

That's not what I've heard from the Sufis I've talked with. Most of them
view a Shiekh as a wise man who has achieved a measure of enlightenment
through his studies, prayers, and service to God. This doesn't imply
infallibility, or omniscience. I can't imagine a Sufi of my acquaintance
asserting that his Shiekh is the equivalent of your Prophet Muhammed,
and I am quite certain that any Muslim who asserts that even Muhammed
was omniscient will get corrected firmly, if he's fortunate enough to
avoid a charge of heresy.

>I am not sure about this. We should ask a sufist.

That was coming from a Mohammedan, I gather. :( Don't use insulting
terms unless you want the same from others -- these people are called
Sufis, not sufists.

>Mrs. Hampton can we conclude that sufism is a cult under these
>conditions?

You have my answer.

From what I know of sufism, it would not surprise me to hear that there
are Sufi cults, just as there are Muslim cults of other types. But I'd
be considerably more concerned about your brand of Islam, whatever
it is, than Fouad Haddad's, quite frankly. While Fouad has lost his
temper on occasion, he generally posts about his beliefs, not to attack
those of others, and he usually has something positive to say about
what he believes rather than something nasty to say about what others
believe. Further, I've seen him interact with a whole bunch of other
Muslims whose beliefs differ from his, discuss issues rationally, learn
from the discussions, and admit to mistakes. This isn't the behavior,
or attitudes, of a cult member discussing his cult's beliefs.

The other prominent SRI resident Sufi (or rather, Sufi sympathizer) is
Dien Rice, who has impressed me as one of the least prejudiced and most
level-headed people in this group. Because of my past experiences, I've
got excellent antennae for extremist and/or cult-like beliefs and
practices in people. Neither Fouad nor Dien has ever set off an
alarm.

I don't know about you. I've seen plenty of non-cultists who spent a
lot of time and energy trying to discredit religious groups they didn't
like, but IMHO that is not a healthy occupation even for people whose
motives are more or less pure. Time spent bashing others is time not
spent praying or learning to obey and trust God. I struggle with this
myself when doing my anti-cult work, although I know my reasons for doing
it are to help others stuck in the same trap I was in. I can't spend
too much time opposing anything; it's spiritually corrosive and I forget
how to trust, love, pray and worship.

Try tending to your own faith until you have something positive to
say, please. I don't think I've read a single post of yours
that wasn't trying to insult someone.

For the rest of you.... Please don't assume that cults don't exist just
because some people like to label religious groups they don't like as
cults. :/ That would be as disastrous, and as misguided, as assuming there
is no such thing as a child molester just because some divorcing parents
have made false accusations in court to get back at their spouses.


--
Catherine Hampton <ar...@tempest.boxmail.com>

(I'm one of the moderators, but this was a personal post,
not official. Please note that the address in my "From:" header
is a spam trap.)

D A Rice

unread,
Jun 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/12/97
to

In article <5nk0qg$ngo$1...@shell3.ba.best.com>, abdul...@worldnet.att.net (AbdulraHman Lomax) writes:

> Well, we have a general injunction in Islam to be careful about whom
> one associates with. And this -- and other characteristics which also
> apply to cults -- can be found to one degree or other among the ahli
> tasawwuf. However, the keyword is "extreme." I have found more
> exclusionary fanaticism among anti-Sufis than among Sufis. But
> contemporary Sufism is not free of cultic problems.

[...]

> I would not conclude that "sufism" is a cult; rather I would conclude
> that groups calling themselves "Sufi" or anything else which match
> these descriptions -- as they were intended and not just superficially
> -- would be legitimately described as cults.

I would like to stress that I believe the shari`ah protects from
cultic practices. Insha-Allah, time-permitting, I will go through
Catherine's earlier post and point out how the shari`ah protects from
cults.

If we accept that the shari`ah protects from cultic practices (which,
insha-Allah, I will endeavour to show in a separate posts), then the
shari`ah gives a firm criterion in helping to protect yourself against
pseudo-Sufis, who may form cults.

I agree with Br. Abdulrahman says -- pseudo-Sufi cults do exist. They
steal the words of the Sufis and present them as their own, and thus
tricking people with the beautiful teachings, which they are merely
imitators of. They have no true knowledge of that which they are
speaking. Many of the great Sufi shuyukh speak of deceptive
pseudo-Sufis -- these people take the title of "Sufi" because it gives
them a certain amount of prestige and power, and they take advantage
of those who cannot tell pseudo-Sufism from the real thing.

Unfortunately, you can find many pseudo-Sufi books in the bookstores,
mixed in among books containing the authentic teachings -- the
Shari`ah is a way of distinguishing these books.

On the topic of pseudo-Sufis, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi says:

A disciple who is trained by a man of God will have a pure and
purified spirit. But he who is trained by an imposter and
hypocrite and who learns theory from him will be just like him:
despicable, weak, incapable, morose, without any exit from
uncertainties, and deficient in all his senses. "As for the
unbelievers -- their protectors are idols, that bring them forth
from the light into the shadows." (Qur'an 2:257).

[From the "Fihi ma fihi," translated by W. C. Chittick in "The
Sufi Path of Love: the Spiritual Teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi," p.
145]

Furthermore, on the topic of pseudo-Sufis and the harm they do,
Jalaluddin Rumi says (in poetry):

You are the disciple and guest of someone who in his vileness will
steal away all your attainments.

He is not victorious -- how will he make you victorious? He will
not give you light, he will make you dark.

Since he has no light, how can others receive light through
associating with him?

Like a blind man who cures eyes: With what will he anoint your
eyes other than wool? [...]

He has no scent or trace of God, but his claims are greater than
those of Seth or Adam.

The devil himself is embarassed to appear before him; he keeps on
saying, "We are of the saints and even greater."

He steals many of the words of the dervishes, so that people may
think he really is someone.

In his talks he even cavils at Bayazid; Yazid himself is ashamed
of him. (*)

He is destitute of the bread and provisions of heaven: God has
not thrown him a single bone.

[From the Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi, Book I, vv. 2265-68, 72-76,
translated by W. C. Chittick in "The Sufi Path of Love: the
Spiritual Teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi," p. 145-6.]

(*) Bayazid refers to the great waliullah, Bayazid al-Bistami; Yazid
refers to the oppressive ruler.

Therefore we see that a great shaykh such as Jalaluddin Rumi warns us
of the false Sufis. False Sufis may even be more prevalent today than
they were in the past.

The Shari`ah is of _fundamental importance_ to the Sufi path. This
point is very strongly made by the great Naqshbandi Sufi, Shaykh Ahmad
Sirhindi, in his letters. Here is a small excerpt from one of his
letters, where he clarifies this topic:

The Shari`ah has three parts: knowledge, action, and sincerity of
motive (_ikhlas_); unless you fulfil the demands of all these
parts, you do not obey the Shari`ah. And when you obey the
Shari`ah you obtain the pleasure of God, which is the most supreme
good in this world and the Hereafter. The Qur'an says: "The
pleasure of God is the highest good." Hence, the Shari`ah
comprehends all the good of this world and the next, and nothing
is left out for which one has to go beyond the Shari`ah.

The _tariqah_ ["way"] and the _haqiqah_ ["reality"] for which the
Sufis are known, are subservient to the Shari`ah, as they help to
realize its third part, namely, sincerity. Hence they are sought
in order to fulfil the Shari`ah, not to achieve something beyond
the Shari`ah. The raptures and ecstasies which the Sufis
experience, and the ideas and truths which come to them in the
course of their journey, are not the goal of Sufism. They are
rather myths and fancies on which the children of Sufism are fed.
One has to pass over them all and reach the stage of satisfaction
(_rida_) which is the final goal of _suluk_ ["travelling", i.e.
the Sufi path] and _jadhbah_ ["overwhelming love"]. The purpose
of traversing the stages of of _tariqah_ and _haqiqah_ is nothing
other than the realisation of _ikhlas_ which involves the
attainment of _rida_. Only one out of a thousand Sufis is graced
with the three illuminations (_tajalliyat sih ganah_) and gnostic
visions, given _ikhlas_ and elevated to the stage of _rida_.

[Quoted from "Sufism and Shari`ah: A study of Shaykh Ahmad
Sirhindi's Effort to Reform Sufism," by Muhammad Abdul Haq Ansari,
pp. 221-2. Originally from Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi's letters, Vol.
I:36.]

For those who may not have heard of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, he lived in
India in about the 16th Century, and he reinvigorated and repurified
Islam in India, after the highly destructive anti-Islamic policies of
the Moghul ruler Akbar. Most of the Naqshbandi lineages today stem
from Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi -- this is an indication of his great
influence. I think there is a strong parallel between Shaykh Ahmad
Sirhindi's time and the world today, and so I think we can learn very
much from this great Shaykh's life and writings, as a model for our
actions today.

In summary, the Shari`ah is the criterion for protecting yourself and
others from destructive cults, and it also helps prevent you from
following harmful pseudo-Sufis. The Shari`ah is a _fundamental part_
of Tasawwuf; so if someone calls himself a "Shaykh," yet does not
follow the Shari`ah, all Muslims should avoid him, and prefer to
follow a Shaykh who teaches and practices Shari`ah.


Wassalam,

Fariduddien Rice


SAMI1

unread,
Jun 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/13/97
to

Time prevents me from writing in detail, but I would like to point out
that despite some very good points in the article of the muslim convert,
ie Dr (muslim first name) Brown's article, his basic definition is
INCORRECT.

There is no difference between cult and religion except that cult is
false somewhere and religion is true everywhere.

Truth will look true no matter what angle or aspect you look at it from.

Cult is a false imitation of religion which has partial truth on the side
showing the audience. if you manage to penetrate that thin shell of truth
you will see the falsehood inside.

Consider my definition regarding scientific theories. A theory like
the classical mechanics has a lot of truth in it, but there is falsehood
also and it exposed itself after a considerable centuries of effort.

Brown's article describes situations that arise in a cult but not in
religion, however, his attempt to abstract the general
abstract characteristic from it are doomed to fail if one knows my
definition or bound to mislead many believers if they choose to fix their
attention on his definition.

Since a cult has elements of falsehood, it is bound to die sooner or
later. It is theoretically not impossible to imitate a true religion
and form a cult, and that is what the true greatness of Quran emerges
that it will prove its veracity by regular corroborations with empirically
discovered facts in a future time (I am thinking of many predictions and
accounts like the shape of the fetus etc.). The creator of cult cannot
practically know what the author of Quran and creator of universe knew!

All the elements of mind control and attention control are found in
religion. For example, simply take our Tasbeeh:

Ya Allah, Ya Allah, ...

or

Ya Ali, Ya Muhammad, Ya Muhammad, Ya Ali, ...

These give great peace and comfort in distress. Furthermore, if the sayer
is in a quiet place with many others praying quietly in concentration, the
experience is profound.

I therefore submit to the readership of SRI that it is very hard to
distinguish a very carefully crafted cult from a true religion according
to the definition of Mr. Brown. Just because he put his ideas in a well
organised article with considerable references (which I do not remember
seeing either) and is a convert with title Dr. does not mean that his
thoughts are etched in stone.

His article would be more correct if it only focussed on the definitive
aspects of the cult and did not cross the grey line to go into the domain
of religion. For otherwise, if we reject all the techniques of our own
mind-control that Allah has mercifully provided us, then who will be left
to control our mind? It will be none other than the satanic media or other
idle activity. Ms. Hampton's concern is valid as much of "Christianity" is
a cult that is remnant of the Roman imperial authoritarianism and
subsequent secularisation. Observe how even the third branch, the orthodox
cult showed failed to hide its truth in the 20th century in serbia and
croatia, and the protestant NATO (a militant evangelical cult in reality)
failed to act according to the thin shell of truth (champion of human
rights (wherever it is convenient, kuwait, china,...)) that is shows
outwardly.

For this reason, I consider Mr. (muslim first name that I forget) Brown's
defintion not only to be erroneous, but highly dangerous! In the wrong
mind this definition can create tremendous problems, and in the wrong
hands it can itself become a tool of exclusion that according to his own
definition is a prima facia of a cult.


euphrates

unread,
Jun 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM6/16/97
to

D A Rice wrote:


> But now Euphrates decides to slander Sufis (as he has done a number of
> times before), while again providing no evidence.


I have not slandered them now nor have I done it before, I just asked a
question to Mrs. Hampton. Can't you respect the ideas of other people
when they do not match yours instead of making false accusations.

SAFIA posted a relevant verse today:
In The Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful


O Ye who believe!
Stand out firmly for Allah,
As witnesses to fair dealing, and
Let not the hatred of others to you make
You swerve to wrong and depart from Justice.
Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah.
For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

(Al Ma 'idah: 8)


Mr. Rice, why would I want to slander sufis. It is true that I believe
sufism is deviantly wrong, and it is nothing to do with islam. But
slandering is different than expressing this.


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