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Sufism - The Path of Love

by G Kumar

The word Sufi is derived from the Greek "Sophia", meaning Wisdom. It is known as Tasawwuf ( Mysticism ) in Arabic, and is considered by scholars as the mystical, the inner or psycho-spiritual aspect of Philosophia Islamica. The great scholar, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, considered Sufism as the esoteric dimension of Al Islam.

Sufism emphasizes on the Unity of Absolute Being, Wahdat al Wujud.

The Influence of Neoplatonism on Sufism

Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism, conceived God as the Alpha and Omega of Existence, its Source & Goal. The translations of Plotinus provided the philosophical ground for Sufism. One is struck by the similarities which exist in both systems, with regard to the concept of God, the soul, the body, Vice and Virtue, Life and Death and Beauty !

Sufism was influenced by Orpheus and Pythagoreanism. Orpheus was a poet who lived in Anatolia in the 6th and 7th centuries BCE. He had divine qualities and he could influence wild animals with his music. He postulated that the human soul can achieve perfection by refining itself from all passions and worldly possessions. Soul travels from body to body for self purification and reaches the Perfect State. Pythagorus adopted Orpheus' philosophy and integrated it with his own concepts. Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism took Plato's Theory of Ideas & reinterpreted them from Protagoras' point of view. Neoplatonism considers God as the Alpha & the Omega. >From Him everything comes into being, in Him everything exists, and to Him all return. Communion or Union with Him is the highest Goal, therefore. Our lives have only a symbolic meaning and it is good and necessary as a Becoming. But all Becoming has Being as its Goal and Fulfillment and God is the only Being !

Sufism is the Path of Love - Al Muhabba. God is understood as Universal Love and the aim of Sufism is to unite with the Source of all Being, Universal Love ! Love without Philosophy is superstition and Sufism therefore encourages the adventures of the Intellect, the scientific and the philosophical pursuit, Al Marifa !

When he was asked about Sufism, Junayd ( the preceptor of Mansur Al Hallaj ) said, "Sufism is that you should be with God-- without any attachment."

Sufism emphasises upon the struggle to overcome the domin- ance that one's Negative Ego ( Nafs ) has over one. The war depicted in the great Epics - Iliad & the Odyssey etc - depict the great war between Good and Evil happening inside the human bosom - where the great struggle for supremacy is fought out on the ground floor of our existence, between the black and white opposites of Virtue and Vice, Light and Darkness, prosperity & adversity. The Beloved ( God ) may manifest as Benevolence or Severity and the Sufi aspirant has to love both !

As Rumi said:

"I am a lover of both His benevolence and severity! Amazing it is that I'm in love with these opposites !"

If the aspirant can overcome one's Negative Ego, ( in the inner War, Jihad ul Nafs ) he can achieve Bliss, the Bliss for which the world's derelict sorrows yearn !

If you could get rid of yourself just once, The secret of secrets would open to you. The face of the Unknown, hidden beyond the universe Would appear on the Mirror of your perception. - Rumi

The Sheik of Naqshbandi wrote

"In my annihilation of annihilation
In my annhilation
I found You ! "

Rumi wrote

"I thought about You so often
That I completely became You !
Little but little You drew near
Slowly but slowly I passed away. "

This passing away is Annihilation in the Beloved ( Fana fi Allah ). There is another intermediary state - Fana al Fana and the last state is Baqi bi Allah or Permanence in the Beloved.

About Universal Truth, Ibn Arabi, the Great Master , ( al Shaikh al Akbar ) wrote:

"She has eluded the learned of Islam
And those who have studied the Psalms
The Jewish Rabbi
The Christian priest ! "

The greatest Sufi was Mohammed himself ( Peace be upon him ), he who said that

" Shariah ( Ethical Law ) is my speech,
Tariqat ( the Way ) my actions &
Haqiqat ( Truth ) my states " !

Inner & Outer Jihad ( Struggle ) in Sufism

"And those who perform jihad for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways, and God is surely with the doers of good". (Quran XXXIX; 69)

"You have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad" . (Hadith)

Jihad means struggle and there are two types of struggle. The lesser Jihad is struggle against the oppressors; the greater Jihad is the inner struggle against the inner enemies, the Seven Deadly Sins ( lust, greed, anger, jealousy, sloth, covetousness & gluttony). The outer struggle is defined as Al Jihad Al Asghar and the inner struggle is Al Jihad Al Akbar ! In his journey, the aspirant ultimately overcomes his Negative Ego & he becomes the Perfect Man, Al Insan Al Kamil !

See Also:

More on Muslim (Islam)

God's Love
The greatest power in the world is not the Hydrogen bomb, but it is the redeeming love of God. The Hydrogen bomb may destroy the whole world but only the redeeming love of God can make it anew.

The Power of Love
There is no doubt in my mind that the quality of love is the #1 quality that God would like to get worked into our souls and personalities.

Perceiving the Universal in All
Here is an excellent method of moving into prayer of meditation. It can also be used as a meditation in itself.

G Kumar is an astrologer, writer and programmer. He has 15 years research experience in Stock Market Astrology and various other branches of Astrology. Recently he was awarded a Certificate by the Planetary Gemologists Association as a Planetary Gem Advisor. He has 15 years psychic research experience in the esoteric arts. You can contact him at info@eastrovedica.com

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