In this post, I explain what Sufism is and dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding this fundamental aspect of Islam.What is Sufism?
Sufism is normally called the magical part of Islam, however numerous Sufis would contend the point, saying that Sufism existed before the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. Others, notwithstanding, discover this contention hostile, attesting that Sufism is well-established inside the religion of Islam. In any case, it is a blessed well of consecrated understanding and has motivated probably the finest mystical poetry given to the world
Some delightful portrayal of the Sufi perfect:
- Sufism is an entry into exemplary behavior and departure from unworthy behavior.
- Sufism means that God makes you die to yourself and makes you live in him.
- The Sufi is single in essence; nothing changes him, nor does he change anything.
- The sign of the sincere Sufi is that he feels poor when he has wealth, is humble when he has power and is hidden when he has fame.
- Sufism means that you own nothing and are owned by nothing.
- Sufism means entrusting the soul to God most high for whatever he wishes.
- Sufism means seizing spiritual realities and giving up on what creatures possess.
- Sufism means kneeling at the door of the Beloved, even if he turns you away.
- Sufism is a state in which the conditions of humanity disappear.
- Sufism is a blazing lightning bolt.
- (quoted in Sufism: An essential introduction to the philosophy and practice of the mystical tradition of Islam, by Carl W. Ernst, Ph.D
Sufism vs Islam
Allah Almighty's divine peace light and endless favors be with you the topic of this video is Sufism what is Sufism Sufism is a topic that is perhaps universally misunderstood not only is Sufism often misunderstood by non-Muslims it is almost universally misunderstood Muslims themselves and in this training video I'd like to shed some light on Sufism this is actually a very important topic it's essential to address the topic of Sufism because Sufism is essential to Islam a proper understanding of Sufism leads to a proper understanding of Islam and understanding Sufism now in this day and age is of particular importance in fact Sufism can very well be a key to many of the world's current problems that'll be more clear as you watch this video and I'll address it a little bit more fully later on in this video first I'd like to cover the etymological roots of the word Sufism the word Sufi what does it mean where did it originate from and how did it come to be used we'll also address the historical development of Sufism how Sufism emerged and arose within the context of Islam and Islamic spirituality we'll talk about its true meaning and purpose and also how you can apply Sufism or to self as it is known in Arabic in your life quite simply Sufism equals spirituality and I'll explain that a little more throughout this video Sufism equals spirituality which is the spirit the essence within religion well the word religion may be understood to quantitate or denote the outer expression of the path of the way of revelation the form its external manifestation Sufism is the inner dimension it's the spirituality it's just a word that really points to the spiritual dimension the inner dimension of religion so throughout this video I'll use the word religion to denote the form the outer expression of the way and Sufism or tasawwuf or spirituality as the inner dimension as the essence you have the form the outer you have the essence the inner by understanding spirituality by understanding Sufism and applying it properly in your life you can achieve and attain a balanced experience of religion a balanced experience of spirituality not only will you be carrying a complete and balanced path a complete and whole path integrated but religion will become applicable and relevant in your life and in the lives of others only when the inner dimension when spirituality is honored does religion become healing and purposeful does it become beneficial and filled with light and thus does the way the path religion becomes spiritually fulfilling and it leads us to a higher state of consciousness a transcendent state of consciousness with ultimately leads to becoming free from fear anger jealousy hatred envy all of the negative characteristics of the lower self with an intelligent and balanced spirituality you become healed you become whole as human beings we are all wounded fundamentally in our core it's part of life on earth and through spirituality you can transcend the suffering that plagues humanity through spirituality you can heal your life and the ultimate source of healing is the Divine Presence it's all almighty and only through spirituality can we approach the divine presence of God also through understanding applying and living spirituality not only do you heal your life your personal life and environment which you contribute to healing the entire world your family your friends your community the world at large the world is dying from a lack of spirituality it's crowning and materialism and this is taking place within religion as well as without religion simply being religious does not mean a human being is spiritual in fact religion without spirituality can often become the very antithesis of its purpose religion without spirituality without its inner dimension without its essence without its soul without a spirit is literally empty it's as the form yet through spirituality we attain the true purpose of religion or religion becomes beneficial becomes healing becomes purposefully becomes a source of light and goodness in the world each healed soul is a source of light and grace for others for everyone around them for your family your community the world itself the danger of not understanding Sufism or spirituality and not applying spirituality to one's life is that we can fall into an imbalanced religious practice without spirituality both life and religion become heavy and burdensome a trial a constant struggle life in religion without spirituality becomes a path of force and struggle it is not conducive to develop and it is not conducive to peace it is not conducive to evolution of consciousness life in religion without spirituality is literally uninspired lacking spirit it becomes a path dominated by the ego by ego mind ego consciousness and without a proper understanding of Sufism and spirituality we can easily fall victim to corrupted teachings to corrupted paths those which are harmful to you to the self to your soul and spirit as well as to other human beings as well as to all other life-forms and without spirituality there's a progressive loss of purpose we progressively lose purpose in our lives spirituality is a path that is continually ascending it is continually taking us forward higher and deeper and without spirituality without Sufism without the soul of life becomes in the path becomes the way becomes lacking purpose there is no progress there is no movement and without spirituality by failing to adopt to practiced embrace to honor spirituality in our lives and in our religion religion becomes harmful rather than helpful it becomes destructive rather than healing religion without spirituality is dominated by mind dominated by ego and that means it is dominated by fear and anger rather than give life it then ends up taking life if that is not its purpose that is not as true purpose never was especially in the teachings of the prophet Muhammad’s our Eliza and without a spiritual understanding without a grasp of spirituality we're literally unable to pass anything of benefit on to others or on to our children true knowledge true realization true wisdom is in the heart it's in the soul and a way of the heart spirituality is the way of the heart is necessary to pass on wisdom knowledge true learning to others to your own children true knowledge comes from experience real experience and in his past from heart to heart not from books ok so what are the ideological roots of the word Sufi what does the word Sufi mean what does it come from there are several different references given to the origin of the word Sufi or Sufism the first is the Arabic word Safe which means purity this is the goal of Sufism it is the goal of spirituality to attain purity to become internally purified cleaned clear translucent transparent so that nothing but the light of Allah exists and operates through us when the ego is valet or being when the ego veils or lives the light of the divine cannot shine through the purpose of Sufism is to again attain purity within it's a path of purity this is known in Islam as test kiya and as mentioned throughout the Quran and in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad SAW myself in fact when the Prophet SAW was on first again teaching sharing the message the way he initially called it tes kiya not Islam but Ischia which means purification yet another root of the word Sufi is the word sooth which means wool in Arabic whoa and this comes from the dress of the original spiritual ascetics the saw hitting the spiritual warriors who wore just a simple woolen cloak two symbols to symbolize to signify non attachment to the world freedom from the world the simple woolen garb of the original Sufis was a testament to the lack of luxury excess in their lives the fact that they adhered to the original way of the profits is on a path of minimalism a balanced path that took what was necessary but never in excess the third root for the word Sufi comes from the casaba sofa the companions of the bench as habits sofa who are companions of the prophet saw him who sat outside his home and their primary focus was spiritual development this was an elite group of ascetics and spiritual seekers whose primary and total focus was spirituality spiritual development the attainment of enlightenment and fourth the Greek word Sophia which means wisdom which symbolizes knowledge and understanding true understanding true knowledge which is often which is often characterized as wisdom this is again the goal of the Sufi true knowledge true wisdom true realization now let's talk for a minute about the historical developments of Sufism of tasawwuf early in the Islamic empire the Islamic empire spread rapidly and this led to the development of the self of Sufism as a acknowledged or recognized field of knowledge within Islam primarily due to two factors two main factors number one the increase in wealth the acquiring of great amounts of wealth within the Islamic empire within the Muslim community and number two the formalization and canonization of religion in the time of the prophesy Salam religion the way was a living way was not formalized it was not catalyzed it was not institutionalized companions simply saw the Prophet and copied him followed him did what he did and they were continually being corrected by the Prophet it within the first couple of generations it became necessary to preserve the teachings the way the formal understanding of the way of the practices of the prophets Muslim and so religion became canonized point number one the wealth and success of the Muslim empire the wealth and success of the Islamic expansion Islam spread rapidly and like anything ever before or since within a single generation or two the Islamic empire had reached from east West they conquered primate much of the known world and many of those who embrace the slum were learning Islam originally from the Companions of the Prophet SWA solemn but within a couple of generations that was no longer the case as the Muslim community rapidly expanded there became a loss of connection to the living way to the prophets lesson as well as to his companions and with this loss of connection crept into the hearts of human beings a subtle love of the world subtle loss of the world in number two concurrently the canonization the formalization the institutionization institutionalization of religion now in order to preserve the teachings in the way the practices of the Prophet SAW solemn this was necessary but unfortunately whenever there's a focus on form on the external there is a concurrent loss of essence the internal with the shift of focus on to form there was the inevitable loss of the essence and of spirituality and here we see in religion how piety became equated with the external this is how Heidi became equated with prayer fasting with charity etc. with these external observances of the religion this was not so in the time of the prophets awesome in fact the holy prophet saw said consistently warned against equating piety with excessive observance of external forms again in the time of the Prophet SAW solemn knowledge was not canonized was not institutionalized it was not formalized the companions of the prophet saw son simply saw and did they saw what the Prophet SAW son was doing and they followed him they copied him they saw to do what he was doing this hard to emulate him directly it was a living path with a living master and the companions were continually being corrected by the Prophet saws on in very subtle ways in the time of the Prophet SAW Lysanne defined peace and blessings be with him the focus of the way the focus of the path was never about the fine points of external observance it was always about character and intent the way of the Prophet SAW sums folk was on character and intent it was on spirituality and development with the prophets Eliza the main focus was always internal and spiritual and of course this is not to say that external observance is not important it is it's what gives expression it's what gives life to the internal spiritual dimension that the way must be balanced the spiritual lesson must be preserved or all is lost the form has no meaning it has no purpose without its spiritual essence without spirituality religion is dead so with these two factors the increase in wealth and the canonization the structuring the formalization of religion spirituality the essence of the way became lost it became hidden in the pious in the sincere they were still connected to the living way of the Prophet SAW and began to withdraw they began to withdraw from the world around them and to stay true to stay steadfast to the original complete way of the prophets lesson they were in the world but not of the world they were travelers spiritual travelers and their primary focus was eternity their focus was the cultivation of the state of SN macalmon SN which the Prophet SAW son described as the goal of Islam the goal of the Islamic spiritual path these individuals were known to practice with great sincerity and with sharp insight they began to develop a reputation of spiritual development and they were spiritually connected directly to the prophets ale salaam through living chains of transmission through living chains of transmission they learned either directly from the prophets whistling or from a companion of the prophet Elijah or from a companion of the companion and they could trace their lineage directly back to the prophets on a sudden these individuals then came to be known by others as Sufis again meaning that they possess great wisdom great insight they were not attached to the world their primary focus was on purity and spirituality now it's important to note here that Sufism is and identity I'm going to repeat that Sufism is not an identity to identify with Sufism is actually counter to the very principles of tasawwuf to identify oneself as a Sufi is actually counter to the very purpose of Sufism itself identification with is just the form of augmenting the ego the self and the very goal of Sufism the very goal of the self is to become purified of the self to transcend the self and all temporal identity to identify with Sufism is in fact not practicing Sufism Sufism which is a path to transcend all illusion all for identification and separation differentiation is based in ego identification with is comes from the egos need to differentiate and separate itself to make itself special to augment its sense of self its identity in the world and this then is actually not sufficient it's in fact countered very principles of Sufism of the sub off the original Sufis did not identify with that term or with that label in fact there was a word that was used to describe them by others but it would have encountered they could not have imagined the early wants to call themselves Sufis to step forward and say yes I'm a Sufi to say that I am a Sufi is to say that I'm an enlightened being that I'm spiritually purified human being the highest state of Islam the highest type of Muslim identification with Sufism is actually a later development this is something that happened later the ego is continually seeking to augment itself it's continuing seeking subtle ways to preserve or augment its sense of self and it does this through identification incredibly the ego the self the mind self will actually use the very path designed for its annihilation to preserve and perpetuate itself and it shouldn't be surprising this is what has happened in every religion in the world including Islam now what is Sufism based on what I've described thus far you probably already have pretty good idea of what Sufism is of what so really is but here we'll go into it into a little bit more detail Sufism spirituality quite simply is tusks purification self-purification again Sufism or tasawwuf is simply task eye test guillotine nabs the purification of the self in tusk is mentioned throughout the Quran and the teachings of the prophets I saw again the prophet saw some originally referred to the way as has Gaya originally his teachings his weight was not called Islam this was a term this was a description that was given to it by Allah Almighty in the Quran much later later that Allah azza wajal complete and perfect the path the way the religion and call it all Islam as the path as the means to test kiya as the way the purification and again several synonyms are used often to describe this internal dimension of Islam the spirituality of Islam we have in English Sufism in Arabic tasawwuf or Tasked attend nabs and sometimes this internal dimension this field of knowledge within Islam is also referred to as Allah Millicent the knowledge of spiritual excellence which is the very goal and purpose of Islam another term that is often used synonymously with Sufism or Torso of is atria atria means the path in Sharia which is the external dimension of Islam the external rules and regulations of the Islamic spiritual path of Islam also means the way but the wide way traditionally historically referring the way to water to life tariqa then is the inner path it's focused and accelerated it's the inner path within the greater path tariqa is the essence of the path and it's the means of navigating the sharia so you have the external the greater path and within that tariqa the inner path tariqa also implies the way to the Prophet SAW and thus to the divine presence of Allah Almighty the creator the eternal divine source tariqa the way emphasizes a living lineage that can be traced directly back to the why salon himself there must be this living chain of transmission this chain of transmission of realized masters going from one to the other all the way back to the prophets ISIL because tariqa spirituality is based on reality it's based on experience not Theory not concept but reality and this type of knowledge can only be passed from heart to heart it is not a knowledge that can be passed in books or in words but it's a living real knowledge that has passed through the heart from a realized master to a student to disciple to a murid this is a divine light that flows from the divine presence of Almighty to the heart of the Prophet SAW salam to his companions to their companions and so on to this very day and incredibly with Sufism with the self with Tanika to this day they are masters walking the planet and teachers and students who can trace their lineage directly back to the Prophet ISIL in an unbroken chain of transmission this is incredible and it's a gift from Allah Almighty that this is available to us Sufism is thus the internal the inner dimension of Islam you have the external which is the form and the physical and you have the internal which is the spiritual the essence you cannot have one without the other you cannot have one without the other you cannot have just form without spirit or spirit without form you must have both in this world just like you just like me just like the human being is comprised of a form and a spirit within that form so tomb was the way religion consists of its form and its soul its essence its spirit Imam Malik what are the law on one of the early scholars of Islam one of the early great scholars of Islam who codified the way one of the great four or five original schools of thought or scroot original schools of practice known as mother hub said that if one practices Islam Sharia without practicing tasawwuf he or she will corrupt their soul and if they practice to solve without practicing Sharia they will corrupt the way yet only by attaining by practicing both by honoring both dimensions of the path of Islam can one attain to al-haq the truth the balanced path a balanced way the balanced approach consists of honoring both dimensions the outer and the inner and within Islam you have these two major fields of knowledge Sharia which is the outer in tariqa which is the inner thus Sufism is simply the term that is used to describe the inner field of knowledge within Islam the spirituality of Islam Sufism is simply the cultivation of sincerity of a clause in the attainment ultimately of mekomo Hassan spiritual excellence it is task iya does get enough that leads a human being into piety true piety and humility which was the essence of the way the South is the path of light in love it's the path of spiritual excellence the perfection of character which is the way of the prophecies said I was but sent to perfect noble character well Sharia religion teaches how to pray with your body the soul of tariqa teaches how to pray with your heart and soul spirituality teaches you how to surrender not just your body but your soul your mind and your soul again we must have both for religion without spirituality becomes hypocrisy it becomes corrupted and at worst religion without spirituality lacking compassion liking wisdom lacking understanding becomes evil it becomes harmful and detrimental it can thus become the antithesis of its very purpose the very reason was revealed to help humanity to become healed to become whole and spirituality without religion ultimately becomes corrupted and lost it cannot be preserved spirit requires a form to house it to protect to preserve it spirituality without religion is a path without foundation there's no way to pass it on in spirituality without religion quickly goes astray it quickly leads to error in the way errors in the path the way of the holy prophets only Salem was the middle way the balanced path it was the straight path never tending towards any extreme either this way or that beginning and throughout the life and the teachings of the prophets Ison the emphasis was always on spirituality it was always on character on intent on development on piety on humility on sincerity the prophets I shall always emphasized spiritual purity spiritual purification human excellence in the Sharia was designed to give housing to give expression to give form to this internal state of spiritual excellence unfortunately it was not long after the time of the prophets whistling after about three or four generations that this became upside down this became reversed and the emphasis shifted to form rather than spirit the emphasis focused the emphasis and focus shifted to the external rather than the internal and so to this day the emphasis still remains primarily on form to this day piety is equated with form with external observance and this is incorrect this is in fact a grievous error external observance does not equate to piety external observance does not equate to piety intention must be pure intention must be pure the Prophet SAW time said the value and benefit of an action is dependent upon the intention and amount Shari one of the other great schools of Islamic law and thought the Imam of one of the great schools said that this hadith alone constitutes one-third of all knowledge we need only look to the example of a beliefs shaitaan/satan to understand this he who excelled an external observance of worship of all the forms of religion yet failed entirely failed spiritually and so went astray despite his excessive external observance of spirituality of religion of worship he did not attain piety humility instead his worship became a source of arrogance and pride and there is no place for self-righteousness within the way the way of the Prophet Solomon the way of all prophets was always to cultivate sincerity and humility and for the sincere in the humble self-righteousness cannot be there's an important statement of the Prophet Solomon which he describes the first three who will be thrown into the Hellfire the prophesy son describes three people that will be thrown into hell fire and he describes them first this one was a martyr who died in the way of Allah who sacrificed himself supposedly in service to all on service to the way number two a wealthy person who gave a lot of wealth and charity and number three and knowledge person in Arlen a scholar who taught and shared the religion yet on the day of judgment when what is internal is revealed when I'll exposes what was hidden within the breasts of human beings they'll be shown to the smarter if he hadn't already realized it that he didn't sacrifice himself for Allah he sacrificed himself for himself so he could be thought of as courageous as victorious etc. and the wealthy person didn't give as well to spend truly for a lot to help humanity but rather gave it to be considered generous by others and so with the scholar who taught not to heal and help human beings but rather to be considered famous knowledgeable to be respected to be adored by others even worse to control and manipulate others with knowledge of the below may Allah protect us from such hypocrisy is worse than unbelief hypocrisy is worse than not believing for it corrupts the way itself it corrupts the way in veils it from those who are sincerely seeking the path when those who claim to be following a path or fact destroying it with their actions with their lack of piety with their lack of true sincerity with their lack of spirituality they are the fact that making it impossible if not at least very difficult for others to see the truth of the way and this is worse than those who simply don't believe religion without spirituality is dangerous it is driven by ego is motivated by the lower self and its passions its anger its greed its hatred its fear religion without spirituality results in arrogance and pride in control and manipulation in desire and in lust Sufism is thus an intrinsic field of knowledge within Islam there can be no Islam without the self there can be no religion without its most vital component spirituality humility piety sincerity purity Sufism to solve is not a fringe movement on the edges of Islam it is not optional Sufism to sodas get enough is essential it is vital spirituality and self-purification are absolutely necessary within religion within Islam it can be no form without its soul and so one cannot call oneself a Sufi Sufism the self is incumbent upon each and every Muslim does Glia is necessary for every human being one would not or need not identify with Sufis and just as they would not identify with any other field of knowledge such as fit touch weed hadith anything else all of these fields of knowledge are essential for the believer and in the time of the Prophet system again it was a living way none of these fields of knowledge were specialized codified this is something that happens as knowledge is developed thousands of years ago an individual who was skilled and who excelled in healing others was known as a healer or as a doctor as a medic but now we have increasing specialization as knowledge expands as knowledge develops and this is about Allah's will that knowledge is continually developing we're continually realizing more and more so now we have hard specialist ear nose and throat specialists specialist for the digestive tract etc. in the same way there are some who specialize in fit the external observance of Islam in touch we'd the pronunciation of the Quran or Intisar Fantasy Glia self-purification but these are all fields of knowledge which are essential to constitute a whole we cannot leave any out and of all these fields of knowledge the most vital the most essential the most important is the field of knowledge that deals with self-purification with spirituality the essence of the way more than anything it is important to be sincere to be a Mullis and so it is essential and incumbent upon every Muslim to practice tests kiya Sufism to self-yes and the prophets will as Salam the holy messenger of Allah said that a day will come and nothing will remain of Islam but its name and many will recite the Quran but will not descend below their throats and they will call themselves by this name yank they will call themselves Muslim it they will be the furthest ones from it from Islam a day will come when there is nothing left of Islam but its name and they will recite the Quran but it will not descend below their throats and you will not enter their hearts it will be trapped in their heads in the ego and they will call themselves Muslims but they will be the furthest from Islam May all almighty keep us on the straight path the path of sincerity the path of humility we almighty keep us on the way of truth and continue ascending and progressing towards spiritual excellence towards his divine holy presence both the inner and the outer are necessary and complement one another and create the whole the balanced path and just as a bird cannot fly with one wings so too must a spiritual seeker a Muslim a believer any human being embrace both an outer and the inner dimensions of the way a bird with just one wing kind of just flaps around on the ground and that's neither pretty nor dignified just the bird requires those two wings to fly so - do we require spirituality and religion to fly so in conclusion the label is not important and is actually counterproductive there is no need to identify with super zoom or to stereotype anyone has a Sufi yes there are many who identify with Sufism and we're not actually practicing Sufism in its perfection just as there are many Muslims out there who identify with Islam and are clearly not practicing Islam identification with is just a form of egoism ego is constantly seeking to differentiate and separate itself and the goal of Islam is unity its oneness Allah Almighty says in surah al-e-Imran and hold fast all of you together to the Rope of Allah and do not separate Sufism is simply the internal dimension of Islam the internal dimension of religion it's the methodology that leads to sincerity to piety to humility spiritual excellence and ultimately to Awakening and enlightenment there are four or five major schools of external knowledge and there are 41 traditional Sufi path Sufi orders traditionally one would follow any school of thought externally and any atria internally and these all lead to the same destination just as you have many universities teaching the same degrees same skills we have many different paths all leading to the same goal with their slight nuances like differences yet all moving in the same direction back to the divine presence of Allah spirituality gives light and life to religion and without spirituality religion becomes enshrouded in darkness it becomes lost in darkness and it becomes the antithesis of its very purpose religion without spirituality instead of healing and making whole instead of moving towards unity of humanity it then separates and divides instead of healing it harms Sufism is absolutely necessary especially in the current age where more than ever a balanced understanding of Islam is Nyssa Carrie it is Sufism it is to solve that is the way of the heart and leads to a higher state of consciousness I transcend its native consciousness a shift from the ego mind to the heart to heart based consciousness it is the self is spirituality that leads beyond the ego mind and thus to love in compassion continue to seek knowledge seek truth seek wisdom seek understanding the journey has just begun and Islam is a journey in sharia and atria or the way in the path visit my blog at san alexander calm where you'll find plenty of support material for your journey many tools and tapes match resources for the spiritual path also check out my premiere program the Islamic meditation program at Islamic meditation calm or you can get free instant access to a complimentary mini course as well as a meditation audio soundtrack simply plug in a pair of headphones sit back and relax this is our San and I wish you divine blessings in light strength and support may Allah Almighty's grace be with you and may you be continually supported and led with light every step of the way to divine an eternal success assalamualaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.