Sufism

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All things are but masks at God's beck and call,
They are symbols that instruct us that God is all. ~ Attar

Sufism or taṣawwuf (Arabic: الصوفية‎) refers to a range of traditions which emphasize mystical aspects of Islam, a practitioner of which is generally known as a ṣūfī (صُوفِيّ). Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God"; others conceive it is a manifestation of a perennial philosophy of existence which pre-dates religion, and which flowered within Islam, the essence of which has also been expressed in other religions. Some schools of Sufism in Western countries allow non-Muslims to receive "instructions on following the Sufi path", while Muslim opponents of Sufism consider it outside the sphere of Islam. "Neo-Sufism" and "universal Sufism" are terms used to denote forms of Sufism which do not require adherence to Shariah, or a Muslim faith. The terms are not always accepted by those they are applied to.

See also:
Islam
List of Sufis

Quotes[edit]

'Ali is acclaimed as the "Father of Sufism". Most of the Sufi orders claim their descent from Ali.
Statements of the Sufi traditions sorted alphabetically by author or source
The Sea will be the Sea
Whatever the drop's philosophy. ~ Attar
"You all are right, you all are wrong," we hear the careless Soofi say, "For each believes his glimm'ering lamp to be the gorgeous light of day." ~ Richard Francis Burton
To a Sufi, revelation is the inherent property of every soul. There is an unceasing flow of the divine stream, which has neither beginning nor end. ~ Inayat Khan
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition. ~ Rumi
Come, seek, for search is the foundation of fortune:
every success depends upon focusing the heart. ~ Rumi
  • The Sea
    Will be the Sea
    Whatever the drop's philosophy.
    • Attar of Nishapur, as quoted in The Sun at Midnight : The Revealed Mysteries of the Ahlul Bayt Sufis (2003) by Laurence Galian
  • When doctors differ who decides amid the milliard-headed throng?
    Who save the madman dares to cry: "'Tis I am right, you all are wrong"?
    "You all are right, you all are wrong," we hear the careless Soofi say,
    "For each believes his glimm'ering lamp to be the gorgeous light of day."

    "Thy faith why false, my faith why true? 'tis all the work of Thine and Mine,
    "The fond and foolish love of self that makes the Mine excel the Thine."
    Cease then to mumble rotten bones; and strive to clothe with flesh and blood
    The skel'eton; and to shape a Form that all shall hail as fair and good.
  • The mysticism of Islam is known as Sufism. "Sufis believe that the world can never remain without a qutb upon whom depends the preservation of the faith and the guidance of human beings. He is nearest to God , the guardian of the faith and receives instructions from Allah directly."
  • A Sufi is he, who not only wears coarse woolen garment, but, at the same time has a heart which is pure and filled with the love of God.
    • Md. Sirajul Islam, in Sufism and Bakhti : A Comparative Study (2004), Ch. 1: Origins and Development of Sufism, p. 4
  • Asceticism is an important part in the origination of gradual development of Sufism. Some say it is the seed or root of Sufism.
    • Md. Sirajul Islam, in Sufism and Bakhti : A Comparative Study (2004), Ch. 1: Origins and Development of Sufism, p. 9
  • To a Sufi the Teacher is never absent, whether he comes in one form or in a thousand forms he is always one to him, and the same One he recognizes to be in all, and all Teachers he sees in his one Teacher alone. For a Sufi, the self within, the self without, the kingdom of the earth, the kingdom of heaven, the whole being is his teacher, and his every moment is engaged in acquiring knowledge. For some, the Teacher has already come and gone, for others the Teacher may still come, but for a Sufi the Teacher has always been and will remain with him forever.
  • The religion of the Sufi is not separate from the religions of the world. People have fought in vain about the names and lives of their saviors, and have named their religions after the name of their savior, instead of uniting with each other in the truth that is taught. This truth can be traced in all religions, whether one community calls another pagan or infidel or heathen. Such persons claim that theirs is the only scripture, and their place of worship the only abode of God. Sufism is a name applied to a certain philosophy by those who do not accept the philosophy; hence it cannot really be described as a religion; it contains a religion but is not itself a religion. Sufism is a religion if one wishes to learn religion from it. But it is beyond religion, for it is the light, the sustenance of every soul, raising the mortal being to immortality.
    • Inayat Khan, in The Spiritual Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. I, The Way of Illumination, Section I - The Way of Illumination, Part III : The Sufi
  • Is a Sufi a follower of Islam? The word Islam means 'peace'; this is the Arabic word. The Hebrew word is Salem (Jeru-salem). Peace and its attainment in all directions is the goal of the world.
    But if the following of Islam is understood to mean the obligatory adherence to a certain rite; if being a Muslim means conforming to certain restrictions, how can the Sufi be placed in that category, seeing that the Sufi is beyond all limitations of this kind? So, far from not accepting the Quran, the Sufi recognizes scriptures which others disregard. But the Sufi does not follow any special book. The shining ones, such as 'Attar, Shams-i Tabriz, Rumi, Sadi, and Hafiz, have expressed their free thought with a complete liberty of language. To a Sufi, revelation is the inherent property of every soul. There is an unceasing flow of the divine stream, which has neither beginning nor end.
    • Inayat Khan, in The Spiritual Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. I, The Way of Illumination, Section I - The Way of Illumination, Part III : The Sufi
  • Strange as it may seem to our Western egoism, the prospect of sharing in the general, impersonal immortality of the human soul kindles in the Sufi an enthusiasm as deep and triumphant as that of the most ardent believer in a personal life continuing beyond the grave. Jalaluddin, after describing the evolution of man in the material world and anticipating his further growth in the spiritual universe, utters a heartfelt prayer — for what? — for self-annihilation in the ocean of the Godhead.
  • Sufism on its theosophical side is mainly a product of Greek speculation.
    • Reynold A. Nicholson, as quoted in Sufism and Bakhti : A Comparative Study (2004) by Md. Sirajul Islam, Ch. 1: Origins and Development of Sufism, p. 11
  • Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,
    Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
    Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
    Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.
    • Rumi, in the Masnavi, Book IV, Story II, as translated in Masnavi I Ma'navi : The Spiritual Couplets of Maulána Jalálu-'d-Dín Muhammad Rúmí (1898) by Edward Henry Whinfield
    • Variant: Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
      Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.
  • Reason is like an officer when the King appears;
    The officer then loses his power and hides himself.
    Reason is the shadow cast by God; God is the sun.
    • Rumi, as translated in Masnavi I Ma'navi : The Spiritual Couplets of Maulána Jalálu-'d-Dín Muhammad Rúmí (1898) edited by Edward Henry Whinfield Book IV, Story IV : "Bayazid and his impious sayings when beside himself"
  • This is what is signified by the words Anā l-Ḥaqq, "I am God." People imagine that it is a presumptuous claim, whereas it is really a presumptuous claim to say Ana 'l-'abd, "I am the slave of God"; and Anā l-Ḥaqq, "I am God" is an expression of great humility. The man who says Ana 'l-'abd, "I am the servant of God" affirms two existences, his own and God's, but he that says Anā l-Ḥaqq, "I am God" has made himself non-existent and has given himself up and says "I am God", that is, "I am naught, He is all; there is no being but God's." This is the extreme of humility and self-abasement.
    • Rumi, commenting on the famous expression of Mansur al-Hallaj, for which al-Hallaj was executed as a blasphemer, in The Mathnawí of Jalálu'ddín Rúmí, Vol. 4, part 7, edited by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1940) p. 248
    • Variant translation: People imagine that it is a presumptive claim, whereas it is really a presumtive claim to say "I am the slave of God"; and "I am God" is an expression of great humility. The man who says "I am the slave of God" affirms two existences, his own and God's, but he that says "I am God" has made himself non-existent and has given himself up and says "I am God", that is, "I am naught, He is all; there is no being but God's." This is the extreme of humility and self-abasement.
  • Come, seek, for search is the foundation of fortune:
    every success depends upon focusing the heart.
    • Rumi, as translated in Jewels of Remembrance (1996) III, 2302-5
  • He that is purified by Love is pure (Safi), and he who is purified by the Beloved in Sufi.
  • Ali is acclaimed as the "Father of Sufism". Most of the Sufi orders claim their descent from Ali. According to Ali Hajjweri, the rank of Ali is very high in the line up of Sufism. According to Junayd of Baghdad, Ali is the Shaykh as regards the principles and practices of Sufism. … The roots of Sufism lie embedded in Islam itself. There are numerous passages in the Holy Quran which are of a mystical character. The Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be on him) himself displayed mystical inclinations and he very often retired to the cave of Hirah for the purpose of devotions, meditation and contemplation. The Holy Prophet was recipient of two types of revelations, one embodied in the Holy Quran, and the other that illuminated his heart. The former was meant for all, the latter for a selected few whose hearts could be illuminated with the Divine Light. The knowledge of the Holy Prophet was thus book knowledge (ilm-i-Safina), and heart knowledge (ilm-i-Sina). Ali got this heart knowledge from the Holy Prophet.

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