(A) Literal Meaning of Sufism/Sufi:
Possessing Spiritual Purity.
Becoming a part of Unity of Truth
Being sensitive to one’s own rights and the aspirations and the rights of humanity in general.
Possessing firm belief in God Almighty.
Training one’s own soul.
(B) What is Sufism or Islamic Mysticism?
Sufism is, in fact, a tradition based on the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). Only through this method or tradition one can understand the principles of Islam; because the religion comprises of principles while life of the prophet is the model of living. Such a living encompasses the principles of purity of soul, supremacy of oneness of God, appreciation for human rights, firmness of belief and the training of soul. In short, the Prophet’s life is synonymous with Love for Humanity. As an example, one may state that revenge is a natural form of justice; but the Prophet exercised patience and love even for his enemies and those who tried to harm him. Sufis have also adopted the same lifestyle and character; and have, through love, occupied a very respectable status in the hearts of common people.
Religion is law while the life style of the Prophet is following that law. If the law asks not to eat the forbidden, it means not only to avoid eating the forbidden meat but also from corruption, theft and usurping the property of the widows and orphans. This act is known as Tareeqat or the chosen method which is in accordance with the life of the Prophet. A life that is full of love, grace, affection, brother hood, honesty, prayer, practice, leadership, code of Islamic conduct, realism and the understanding of God. These pure traits are also upheld by Almighty Allah.
This, it is evident that Sufism is actually yet another form of Prophet’s life and encompasses the principles of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). Through prayer rituals one may be able to please God Almighty; but, it is only through the essence of the life of Prophet Muhammad i.e. through his tradition of love for humanity that one can please the human beings – the heart of each of whom houses the Almighty Allah ! Sufism or Islamic Mysticism is love for humanity and that love is actually the essence of life; while life means the life style of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).
(C) Kinds of Sufism
Two main traditions of Sufism are: Qadria and Chishtia. Both cherish the same basic principles and life style. However, they differ in the format of prayer rituals.
(i) Qadri Mode or Tradition
Both collective prayer in loud voice and the individual prayer through breath are prevalent in the Qadri mode. If the Sufi masters the art of using breath for performing "Zikr" or remembrance of God, he or she becomes free from the limitation of time; and, could perform the prayer even during other worldly activities. The prayer then becomes hidden from the eyes of common man. Breath is the most valuable activity of human body; and, it becomes the medium for the uplift of a Sufi to the higher levels of attainment.
(ii) Chishtia Mode or Tradition
Chishtia mode entails collective prayer through words spoken in a loud voice. Qadri mode, in comparison, is easy and lasting as the Sufi keeps on praying unnoticeably.
(D) Teachings of Sufism
Sufism believes that a Sufi may not be lost in the worldly affairs. Instead, he may be lost in understanding himself through the following questions:
(a) What was the state of existence before the creation of man?
(b) Why was the human being created?
(c) Once you have been created as a human being, what is the mission in this world?
Teachings of Sufism include understanding of oneself, doing justice with oneself, introducing one with his/her self in the real form, developing love with oneself so as to achieve the righteous place. Thus, the Sufi is taught to do justice with the self, with the soul, with the mind and heart, and with one’s city, country and humanity at large. Justice to humanity means service without greed and manipulation. Justice to oneself means understanding oneself and following the path of righteousness and truth.
- Sufism teachers respect and adhere to the life style and values held by the Prophet Muhammad
- Sufism teaches respect and reverence for others and equal treatment for all;
- Sufism teaches love for human beings, animals, flowers and fruits, leaves and trees, day and night, earth and skies, and all the creations of God;
- Sufism teaches polite speech so no one is hurt because love is the religion of Sufis;
- Sufism teaches purity of sight so as to ensure the purity of soul;
- Sufism teaches us to avoid the forbidden;
- Sufism teaches purity of head to avoid arrogance in accordance with teachings of Qura’an;
- Sufism teaches us not to hear ill words against any person so as to avoid harm to other human beings;
- Sufism teaches us not to use hands in any wrong-doings; and
- Sufism teaches us not to move the feet in a direction where one may lose consideration of mankind.
Sufism teaches us to distinguish Good from Evil. What is the purpose of creation and how to struggle with one’s soul? It emphasizes that love for humanity is above all religious. Sufism unveils the spiritual secrets and teaches us to change our lives on the pattern of the life of Prophet Muhammad.
Written By: Sufi Raz Ali Faqir Sabz Posh
Follower of Sufi Ghous Mohd Ilyaes, Sufi Irshad Abbas Late Sujjada Nashin Dargah Jhoke Sharif