April 14, 2016
Doctor’s faith soothes people’s spirits
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Dr. Ahmad Javid shows his recently released third book, “Sufi Prayer and Love,” Wednesday at the Family Health Network offices in Cortland. Javid, from Pakistan, moved to Cortland in 1996. His latest book is about the Islamic mysticism called Sufi, which focuses on using meditation and self-reflection as a way to enhance prayer.
CORTLANDVILLE — People often go to the doctor when something is off with the body, not the spirit. But Dr. Ahmad Javid, a physician with Family Health Network, is concerned about the spiritual realm as well and has written three books on Islamic mysticism, called Sufi.
Javid, who moved from Pakistan to America, first living in New York City before coming to Cortland in 1996,is a deeply spiritual person and an author who recently released his third book,“Sufi Love and Prayer,” which focuses on Sufism.
Sufism isn’t a sect of the religionbut rather a way to practice it, Javid explains. Sufism uses meditation and self-reflection as a way to enhance prayer, which Javid said helps people better connect with God.
In applying these practices, there is also an emphasis on virtues like peace and love, along with compassion and respect forothers.
“Prayer is not only limited to the ritual prayer,” he said. “Every action thatyou do or every work you do, if you do it honestly with the intention of helping others ... is a prayer. There’s sort of a service in prayer.”
Since 2013, Javid has put out a new book roughly once a year. In addition to his most recent work, Javid has written two other books: “Sufi Light: The Spirit of Meditation” and “The Spirit of a Sultan,” both of which serve to assist people of all faiths on their path to enlightenment through prayer.
While this might seem ambitious given his profession, Javid said researching and writing the books have been the easier and more enjoyable parts of being an author. The hard part has been doing what it takes to get the book out there.
“The challenges are more in publishing than writing,” he said. “Ten percent is writing, the rest is publishing and promoting to get your message across. It’s a tough process. There are a lot of readers still there. A lot of people love it.”
While it might seem challenging for someone to spend so much time writing about something as esoteric as Sufism, it came naturally for Javid who was not only born into a spiritual family, but a family of writers and authors.
“I grew up with spirituality and Sufi teaching,” he said. “A lot of stuff I learned from my father and grandfather and their books.”
Javid said given the personal nature of faith and spirituality, the topic of religion, let alone Sufism, doesn’t come up at work or in the conversations that he and his peers have amongst themselves.
However, he said that he’s noticed in his roughly 20 years of practice many people — whether they are religious, atheists or somewhere in between — have one thing in common: they usually rely on some form of prayer to get them through their darkest hours.
“Everybody at least believes in some supreme power,” he said. “Even ... those who deny God. Still, they somehow pray because they wish for something or they want something in their life. That is also prayer.”
Sufism extends well beyond prayer. Some people write Sufi poetry whichcan be used in prayer or enjoyed on its own. In this regard, one does not necessarily have to be religious or even spiritual to enjoy Sufi poetry as the study’s inherent message of peace and love can come through the writing even without overt references to God.
“People who do not believe any organized religion, they still like it,” he said. “Sufi poetry is so beautiful and heart-ravaging. It gets you in.”
Javid is showing no signs of slowing down and he said he plans to write at least one more book related to Sufism.
Javid said he is aware that today some extremists are using religion — particularly Islam — to spread fear and hatred. This is why he is committed to bring a message of peace to a new generation of people, encouraging them to find the best in themselves and each other.
“Those who promote violence ... in our view, they’re not even Muslim — they’re not even human beings,” he said. “Here, the message is peace and love and brotherhood. Helping people and serving people and serving God.”
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