“Peace, unity, and equality…when we are in one place, when we live in one place, eat in one place, sleep in one place, disappear in one place, die in one place, when our final judgment is given in one place, and when we finally join together in heaven in one place, that is unity. Even when we go to that (final) place, we all live together in freedom as one family, one group. In this world and in the next world we live together in freedom, as one family of peace. This is Islam. If we find this way of peace, this is Islam.”
— M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
From the fellowship website:
Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Sufi mystic, can best be remembered for his efforts to bring unity through understanding to the faithful of all religions.
Little is known of his early personal history. Records of his life began in the early 1900’s when religious pilgrims traveling through the jungles of Sri Lanka first caught glimpse of a holy man. They were overwhelmed by the depth of divine knowledge that he imparted. Sometime later a pilgrim invited him to a nearby village, and with that began his public life as a teacher of wisdom.
Throughout Sri Lanka, people from all religious and ethnic traditions would listen to his public discourses. Many consulted him on how to conduct life’s affairs, including public figures, politicians, the poor, and the learned.
In 1971 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen accepted an invitation to visit the United States. Here, once again, people from all religious, social and ethnic backgrounds would join to hear him speak. Across the United States, Canada and England, he won recognition from religious scholars, journalists, educators and world leaders. The United Nation’s Assistant Secretary General, Robert Muller, asked for Bawa Muhaiyaddeen’s guidance on behalf of all mankind. Time Magazine turned to him for clarification during the hostage crisis in 1980. Thousands more were touched by his wise words when interviewed in Psychology Today, the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Pittsburgh Press. Wherever he went, he tirelessly answered the many personal and mystical questions that people brought to him until his death on December 8th, 1986.
For fifteen years, M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen authored over twenty books and the Fellowship he founded recorded thousands of hours of audio and video discourses. The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship now serves as a thriving community dedicated to studying and disseminating the vast treasury of his teachings.
The name Muhaiyaddeen literally means ‘the giver of life to the true belief.’ And indeed Bawa Muhaiyaddeen did spend his life awakening and strengthening faith in God within people’s hearts. Though he was an unlettered man, he was able to guide and inspire people from all walks of life.
Many scholars and leaders from the Islamic, Judaic, Christian, and Hindu communities considered him to be a true saint.