This article in Newsweek about 'Muslim' Punk Rock stars (thanks Zahra for forwarding) reminded me of excerpts from one of my favourite books (which I was planning on posting anyway):
" People ask about those who engage in a great deal of remembrance yet neglect or ignore obligatory rites of worship as if they have transcended the need for these rites. This is unmitigated ignorance.
The first and foremost obligation on every human being is to gain knowledge. A human being is nothing until he has learned what is obligatory on every individual (fard `ayn). Without this a person has no rank or standing with God, and nothing is more consequential to a person other than his standing with God.
When God created us, He gave us accountability and the means and ability to carry out our responsibilities. Anyone who does not care to learn the first order of knowledge is living the life of a farm animal, a creature that does nothing but graze in this life, which is entirely insufficient in God's sight.
There is a confused sense of spirituality in which one feels that he or she can attain to the Reality without tending to the responsibilities and obligations of the Shari`a. This is a misleading phenomenon that spreads because of its appeal: spiritual sensation without any moral obligation.
Islam does not call people to unreasoned faith. It demands that a person learn authentic knowledge, which buttresses true spiritual growth. This real spirituality is protected by Shari`a , just as a shell protects its fruit. A person who tries to attain spirituality without the Shari`a will eventually destroy his soul and become, in essence, a false person.
Our objective is not merely to go through these spiritual experiences, but to firmly be grounded in a path that takes us to the pleasure of God and salvation in the Hereafter. If one performs remembrance properly and often, things will happen to the inner self. These things are studies by scholars of the inner sciences.
But we're also aware that Satan can play games with those who engage in certain practices blindly and without knowledge and prioritization. That's the peril of New Age practises and philosophies that can lead to sensations and experiences in which the one having them cannot distinguish between satanic influences, psychological phenomena and true spiritual encounters."