Must Read Books on Sufism (Online eBooks)

You cannot become a Sufi mystic
by simply wearing a Sufi cloak made of wool.
You cannot call yourself a Sufi master
by simply being a talkative sweet-talker.

A Sufi must first possess a pure heart.

So you want to practice Sufism

with all that hatred still in your heart?
Give this Sufi a break, will ya!
~Maulana Rumi~ my translation~

صوفي نشوي بفوطه و پشمينه
نه پيرشوي زصحبت ديرينه
صوفي بايد كه صاف دارد سينه
انصاف بده صوفي و آنهمه كينه
مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

"The term "Sufi" derives from the Arabic word "Soof" (meaning "wool") and was applied to Muslim ascetics and mystics because they wore garments made out of wool. Sufism represents a dimension of Islamic religious life that has frequently been viewed by Muslim theologians and lawyers with suspicion. The ecstatic state of the mystic can sometimes produce extreme behavior or statements that on occasion appear to border on the blasphemous. The cause of this is that the Sufis can sometimes feel so close to God that they lose a sense of their own self identity and feel themselves to be completely absorbed into God. This in fact is the goal of the Sufi. Through following a series of devotional practices, which lead to higher levels of ecstatic state, Sufis aspire to realize a condition in which they are in direct communion with God. Ultimately the individual human personality passes away and the Sufi feels his soul absorbed into God- known in Tassawuf or Sufism as Fanaa - Annihilation of Self and Baqaa - Mystical Union with God.

The etymologies for the term Sufi are various. Tasawwuf, an Arabic term for the process of realizing ethical and spiritual ideals; meaning literally “becoming a Sufi,” Tasawwuf is generally translated as Sufism. The primary obvious meaning of the term Sufi comes from suf, “wool,” the traditional ascetic garment of prophets and saints in the Near East. The term has also been connected to safa’, “purity,” or safwa, “the chosen ones,” emphasizing the psychological dimension of purifying the heart and the role of divine grace in choosing the saintly.  Another etymology links Sufi with suffa or bench, referring to a group of poor Muslims contemporaneous with the Prophet Muhammad, known as the People of the Bench, signifying a community of shared poverty. 

Sufism or Tasawwuf is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a Sufi. Sufis believe they are practicing Ihsan (perfection of worship) as revealed by Gabriel to Muhammad, "Worship and serve Allah as you are seeing Him and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you."

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". Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits".

Classical Sufis were characterized by their attachment to dhikr (a practice of repeating the names of God) and asceticism. Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE). Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages. "Orders" (turuq), which are either Sunni or Shi'i or mixed in doctrine, trace many of their original precepts from the Islamic Prophet Muhammad through his cousin 'Ali, with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi who trace their origins through the first Caliph, Abu Bakr. Other exclusive schools of Sufism describe themselves as distinctly Sufi.

The Sufis never set out to found a new religion, a mazhab or denomination. They were content to live and work within the framework of the Muslim religion, using texts from the Quran much as Christian mystics have used the Bible to illustrate their tenets. Their aim was to purify and spiritualize Islam from within, to give it a deeper, mystical interpretation, and infuse into it a spirit of love and liberty. In the broader sense, therefore, in which the word religion is used in our time, their movement could well be called a religious one, one which did not aim at tying men down with a new set of rules but rather at setting them free from external rules and open to the movement of the spirit.. Perhaps we may say that if, in the past, Sufism's function was to spiritualize Islam, its purpose in the future will be rather to make possible a welding of religious thought between East and West, a vital, ecumenical commingling and understanding, which will prove ultimately to be, in the truest sense, on both sides, a return to origins, to the original unity."

"Sufism or Tasawwuf, as it is called in Arabic, is generally understood by scholars and Sufis to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam. Today, however, many Muslims and non-Muslims believe that Sufism is outside the sphere of Islam. Nevertheless, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the foremost scholars of Islam, in his article The Interior Life in Islam contends that Sufism is simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam. 

The Sufis maintain that the intellect gives information concerning the phenomenal world, it does not reveal the nature of infinite God and his attributes. According to the Sufis, it is the mystical experience which leads to the knowledge of God (marifa). In his communion with God, the Sufi becomes one with Him and the Divinities disclosed. God head is directly experienced by Him. Moreover, rational or intellectual knowledge is indirect. The rational proceeds with that which is different from the truth: the Gnostic begins his mystical quest for God after leaving everything which is other than God. The Sufi doctrine of Unification of God is not similar to the Quranic concept of the Unity of God. The follower of Islam believes in one God, however the Sufi believes in the Unity of God and releases his identity with God."

Tasawwuf or Sufism ~ تصوف یا عرفان ~

The mystical dimension of Islam or Islamic Mysticism. Tasawwuf or Sufism teaches the relationship between Man and God on the one hand, and Man and Man on the other, and the various mystical stages of Man's spiritual evolution in his or her journey towards God in quest of the everlasting mystical union.

Sufi ~ صوفی ~

Also known as seeker, dervish, fakir, qalandar, lover, or mystic; a Sufi is the one who embarks on a spiritual/mystical journey towards God by means of love and devotion. A Sufi believes that the only way to becoming perfect is by the purification of Self.

4 Stages of Self-Purification in Sufism:

Fanaa - فنا = Annihilation of Self.
Baqaa - بقا = Mystical Union with God.

1. Self becoming emptied (Fanaa - فنا).
2. Self becoming illuminated (Fanaa فنا).
3. Self becoming adorned (Fanaa فنا).
4. Self-having-passed-away and in eternal union with God (Baqaa - بقا).

Wahdat al-Wujud ~ وحدت الوجود ~
~ Unity of Being ~ 

Man and God finally becoming ONE. Wahdat al-Wujud is the final stage or station of a Sufi seeker's lifelong spiritual journey upon the spiritual/mystical path of Sufism.

Murid ~ مرید ~

A novice student of Sufism, or the one who follows a Sufi Master.

Pir, Murshid or Shaykh ~ 
~ پیر, مرشد یا شیخ ~

The Sufi Master, Spiritual Guide, or the Sufi Teacher of traditional Sufi teacher-student relationships. Pir-o-Murshid or a Spiritual Teacher's presence is an inspiration to the spiritual development, maturity, and illumination of a novice student of Sufism.

Salik ~سالک ~

A wanderer or seeker of knowledge of Sufism who may follow many different teachers, seeking personal goals and different states or levels of spirituality in his or her journey towards the ultimate mystical union with God.

Suluk ~ سلوک ~

The spiritual pathway of a salik or Sufi seeker's inner and outer mystical journey in his or her quest for the ultimate mystical union with God.

Khanaqah/Zawiya/Tekke or Ribat ~
 ~ خانقاه ~ زاویه ~ تکه یا رباط ~

Meditation and prayer center for collective practice of Sufi spiritual disciplines. It's also the traditional lodging place for wandering Sufi dervishes and fakirs. Sufi Khanaqah is better known in English as Sufi Convent or Sufi Lodge.

Zikr- Dhikr or Zeker ~ ذکر ~

The Sufi practice of repetitious remembering of God. Zikr can be performed individually or collectively through recitation and silent meditation, or by the Sufi practices of chanting, dancing, and musical instruments playing rituals as a means of prayer and remembrance of God. The Sufi Zikr ceremony is based on the following Quranic Teaching:
"Remember Me, and I shall remember you." Holy Quran 2:152.

The shining light of Zikr-
Repeatedly Remembering God-
Illuminates the moon in the sky.

Remembrance of God,
Brings a Sufi gone astray
Back upon the Path of Truth.

Make this Sufi mantra
Part of your daily prayers:
La Ilaha Illa'llah (there is no god but GOD).
~Maulana Rumi ~ My Translation

از ذکر بسی نور فزاید مه را 
درراه حقیقت آورد گمره را
هرصبح و نماز و شام ورد خود ساز
این گفتن لا اله الا الله را
مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

Sufi Zikr or Dhikr Ceremony

Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism is a comprehensive study of concepts and terms associated with Sufi traditions of Islam. Gulen’s informative analysis of Sufi ideas is a must read for those who seek a understanding of the dynamics of Sufism. For Gulen, Sufism is a form of self-purification leading to inner dimension of Islamic rituals, a deeper understanding of the divine acts, and a greater knowledge and love of the Divine. The continual process of spiritual development in Sufism along a path of the innate human poverty, helplessness, and powerlessness before God is undertaken in the knowledge that everything come from God. The Emerald Hills of the Heart presents such Sufi concepts like repentance, reflection, self-criticism, asceticism, piety, abstinence, self-supervision and sincerity.

Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism
by Fethullah Gulen

"Sufism is a path that demands active participation in spiritual growth and development. Introducing and describing the various stages of the Sufi path, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism presents a reliable metaphysical road-map for the Sufi or Islamic spiritual life.

The spiritual journey or progression is virtually infinite, and is comprised of as many stages and ranks as there are believers, from the most honorable of all creation, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, to the most ordinary Muslim. The spiritual path contains various distinguishing subtle characteristics or particularities that can only be comprehended by those with the ability to brave these rough terrains. Emerald Hills of the Heart is able to evaluate these characteristics both within the boundaries and limits of the Islamic measures and the enormous profundity and infinity of spiritual life; this is done within a conceptual framework.

This comprehensive three-volume series helps to establish the boundaries of the spiritual path so that spiritual life can advance on the basis of Islamic principles without causing or suffering from any digressions; at the same time this path is illuminated by the floodlights that have been placed at every stage and station. While delineating the boundaries, Emerald Hills of the Heart concurrently destroys any limits that have been imposed on the spiritual journey.

Emerald Hills of the Heart elucidates the relationship between God the All-High and His human creation, presenting the most unique and sensitive aspects of this relationship; at the same time the identity of human beings as of the best stature and the perfect pattern of creation is focused on by making use of the concept of the Perfect, Universal journey from God, on their setting their heart wholly on God,and the back towards Him and with Him."

Read Entire eBook Online Below:

Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism-Vol.1

Sufism and Its Origins 
by Fethullah Gulen

Sufism is the path followed by Sufis to reach the Truth: God. While this term usually expresses the theoretical or philosophical aspect of this search, the physical or practical aspect is usually referred to as “being a dervish.”

What is Sufism?

Sufism has been defined in many ways. Some see it as God’s annihilating the individual’s ego, will, and self-centeredness and then reviving him or her spiritually with the lights of His Essence. Such a transformation results in God’s directing the individual’s will in accordance with His Will. Others view it as a continuous striving to cleanse one’s self of all that is bad or evil in order to acquire virtue.

Junayd al-Baghdadi (d. 910), a famous Sufi master, defines Sufism as a method of recollecting “self-annihilation in God” and “permanence or subsistence with God.” Shibli summarizes it as always being together with God or in His presence, so that no worldly or otherworldly aim will even be entertained. Abu Muhammad Jarir describes it as resisting the temptations of the carnal self and bad qualities, and acquiring laudable moral qualities.
There are some who describe Sufism as seeing behind the “outer” or surface appearance of things and events and interpreting whatever hap- pens in the world in relation to God. This means that people regard every act of God as a window through which they can “see” Him, live their lives as a continuous effort to view or “see” Him with a profound spiritual “seeing” that is indescribable in physical terms, and with a profound awareness of being continually overseen by Him.

All of these definitions can be summarized as follows: Sufism is the path followed by individuals who, having been able to free themselves from human vices and weaknesses in order to acquire angelic qualities and conduct pleasing to God, live in accordance with the requirements of God’s knowledge and love, and experience the resulting spiritual delight that ensues.

Sufism is based on observing even the most “trivial” rules of the shar-i’a in order to penetrate their inner meaning. An initiate or traveler on the path (salik) never separates the outer observance of the Shari’a from its inner dimension, and therefore observes all of the requirements of both the outer and the inner dimensions of Islam. Through such observance, this person travels toward the goal in utmost humility and submission.
Sufism, being a demanding path that leads to knowledge of God, has no room for negligence or frivolity. It requires the initiate to strive continuously, like a honeybee flying from the hive to flowers and from flowers to the hive, to acquire this knowledge. The initiate should purify his or her heart from all other attachments; resist all carnal inclinations, desires, and appetites; and live in a manner reflecting the knowledge with which God has revived and illuminated the heart, always ready to receive divine blessing and inspiration, as well as in strict observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s example. Convinced that attachment and adherence to God is the greatest merit and honor, the initiate should renounce his or her own desires for the demands of God, the Truth.

Sufism requires the strict observance of all religious obligations, an austere lifestyle, and the renunciation of carnal desires. Through this method of spiritual self-discipline, the individual’s heart is purified and his or her senses and faculties are employed in the way of God, which means that the traveler can now begin to live on a spiritual level.
Sufism also enables individuals, through the constant worship of God, to deepen their awareness of themselves as devotees of God. Through the renunciation of this transient, material world, as well as the desires and emotions it engenders, they awaken to the reality of the other world, which is turned toward God’s Divine Beautiful Names. Sufism allows individuals to develop the moral dimension of their existence, and enables the acquisition of a strong, heartfelt, and personally experienced conviction of the articles of faith that before they had only accepted superficially.

"Sufism dates back almost to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, and it has been present in Muslim societies for more than 12 centuries. Historically, Sufis were organized into a number of brotherhoods or mystical orders (tariqat, literally “paths”), each with its own religious rites, saintly lineage and leadership structure. The head of each order, generally a hereditary position known as the shaykh or pir, represented a spiritual genealogy tracing back to the Prophet.

Tariqahs or Sufi Orders had become major social organizations by the twelfth century and enjoyed mass popularity by the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Orders range in form from simple preservation of the tariqah as a set of devotional exercises to vast interregional organizations with carefully defined structures. Historically, Sufi Orders have facilitated interregional interaction, education, and travel, and have supported reform, spiritual revival, and missionary activities. They have also provided organization and support for movements resisting foreign rule throughout the Islamic world."

A Wandering Afghan Sufi Dervish known as Malang or Qalandar.

 صوفی درویش افغانی مشهور به ملنگ یا قلندر

"There are wandering Sufi Dervishes
called, Qalandars
who are constantly tickled with life.
It's scandalous how they love and laugh
at any small event.
People gossip about them,
and that makes them deft in their cunning,
but really a great God-wrestling
goes on inside these Sufi wanderers,
a flood of sunlight that's drunk with the whole thing..."
~Rumi on Sufi Dervishes or Qalandars

درویش افغان مشهور به ملنگ یا قلندر

 A Wandering Sufi Dervish of Indian Subcontinent.

صوفی درویش در نیم قاره هند

A Wandering Sufi Fakir or world-renouncing Sufi mystic.

صوفی درویش - سالک فقیر - یا قلندر

Persian Sufi Dervishes outside a Sufi Convent in Tehran, Iran, c.1920.

چله نشینی درویشان درخانقاه - تهران - ایران

Jewish Sufi Dervishes of Iran - Agha-Jaan Darvish and his brother, patriarchs of the Darvish Family. Tehran, Iran, c.1922.

درویشان یهودی ایرانی - آغا جان درویش و برادرش

A Wandering Arab Sufi Dervish. Fez, Morocco, c.1953.

صوفی درویش عرب مراکشی درفز- مراکش

Turkish Sufi Dervishes of Ottoman Turkey (Practicing Sufi Sema Dance of Whirling Dervishes with Semazen or Ney-flute Player).

صوفیان ترکیه عثمانی - نی نواز ورقص سماع

A 'Pir', 'Shaykh', 'Murshid', Sufi Master, or Spiritual Guide of a novice Sufi.

 پير، مرشد، شيخ، استاد و راهنماي طریقه صوفی

The Passion & Ecstasy of Kurdish Sufi Dervishes during the Sufi Zikr Ceremony.

مراسم ذکر صوفیانه - درویشان کردی دروجد

The ruins of a Sufi Convent in Balkh, northern Afghanistan where Rumi's father taught and young Rumi studied before fleeing the onslaught of Genghis Khan and his dreaded Mongol army...Rumi and his family finally settled down in the Anatolian Turkish town of Konya (in central Turkey).

خانقاه - 
زاویه یا تکه سلطان‌العلما (پدرمولانا) در بلخ - شمال افغانستان

Maulana Rumi's Sufi Convent in Konya, Turkey.

خانقاه حضرت مولانا در قونیه - ترکیه

A typical Sufi Convent (Zawiyah - زاويه, Tekke - تکه or Khanaqah - خانقاه) which can still be found throughout the Islamic World...the above 11th century Sufi Convent is still standing in Cairo, Egypt.

خانقاه یا زاويه در قاهره - مصر

"Rumi's deep metaphysical ideas should not be confused with the sometimes shallow practices of popular Sufism. Rumi used poetry as a vehicle through which he conveyed his Sufi mystical thoughts. Rumi’s profound Sufi teachings touch upon several important issues, such as the station of Man, Revelation and the role of the Prophets, the progression of matter and spirit through the world of existence, and the nature of love and the function of prayer. Rumi's continuing popularity in both the East and the West supports the argument that there are still many things in ethics and philosophy in the Masnavi that mankind hasn't yet understood. Rumi's Sufi poems are the continuation of the heavenly books and divine truths."

So what is Sufism?
I've heard that the ecstasy
of 'Wearers of Wool'
comes from finding
the taste of Divine Love.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

What is Sufism ?
Good character and full awareness of love,
the cure for all your hatred and vengeance.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

What is Sufism ?
The heart attaining tranquility
which is the root and the purpose
of practicing any religion.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

What is Sufism ?
Contemplation that travels
to the highest Divine Throne,
a far-seeing mystical gaze.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

Sufism is a mystical path,
it is this clear spiritual road.

That’s Sufism and nothing more.

Sufism is keeping your distance
from imagination and supposition.
Sufism is surrendering your soul
to the care of inviolability of Divine Love.

Sufism is searching deep within
for the inner meanings of your faith,
and a lifelong spiritual journey
towards the final mystical union
with the One and Only God.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

Sufism is a smooth and illuminated path,
it's this highly spiritual and mystical way
to reach the exalted Divine Throne
of our Friend and Beloved, 
Lord, the Almighty God.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.
~Rumi on Tasawwuf or Sufism

"The essence of God is love and the Sufi Path is the Path of Love. Love is to see what is good and beautiful in everything. It is to learn from everything, to see the gifts of God and the generosity of God in everything. It is to be thankful for all of God's bounties. This is the first step on the road to the Love of God. This is just a seed of Love. In time, the seed will grow and become a tree and bear fruit. Then, whoever tastes of that fruit will know what real Love is. It will be different for those who have tasted to tell of it to those who have not.When you find Love, you will find yourself. When you have the knowledge of Love, you will then feel peace in your heart. Stop searching here and there, the Jewels are inside you. This, my friends, is the holy meaning of Love."
~Sufi Teachings of Rumi.

"If invited to offer prayers in a Church, a Mosque, a Synagogue, or a Hindu Temple, the Sufi is ready to do so, knowing that all people worship the same God, the Only Being, no matter what Name they use. Yet the Sufi's true House of Worship is the human heart, in which the Divine Beloved lives. Sufism is a religion for those who wish to learn religion from it, a philosophy for those wanting wisdom from it, a mystical path for any who would be guided by it to the unfolding of the soul, and yet it is beyond all these things. It is the light of life, which is the sustenance of every soul."
~Sufi Teachings of Rumi.

If you're interested in Sufism or Sufi related studies, the following e-Books and Articles are A MUST READ to better grasp and study the mystical dimensions of Islam or Islamic Mysticism (Tasawwuf). Just as a memory refresher, ALL e-Books and Articles listed below are solely for educational purposes..

Virtually all of the following e-Books and Articles are in PDF format. Please click the icon below to download the latest free version of Adobe Reader to open your PDF-files; in case you don't have it already installed in your computer:...Happy Reading!

by R. A. Nicholson -  Must Read

"Academic introduction to the origins of Sufism. In The Mystics of Islam, Reynold A. Nicholson draws lines to old Christian, gnostic, neoplatonistic and even the Buddhist influences from where Sufism origins. The book is rich on examples, poems and references to Sufi masters and writers. The Mystics of Islam is introductory approach to the study of Islamic mysticism, which provides a broad outline of Sufism and the religious philosophy of Islam. Described here are the principles, methods, and characteristic features of the "inner life" as it has been experienced by Muslims from the eighth-century onward."

by R. A. Nicholson -  Must Read

"Mysticism is such a vital element in Islam that without some understanding of its ideas and of the particular forms which they assume it is hard to penetrate below the surface of Muslim religious life. In this book, which was first published in 1921, Professor Nicholson examines the life, work and teaching of three of the most important of the early Súfís - the Persians Abú Sa'íd (937–1049) and Al-Jílí (1365–1406), and the Cairene Arab Ibnu l-Fárid (1182–1235). These great mystics were almost legendary figures; possessors of occult and mysterious powers, whose tombs became holy shrines. They were regarded in effect as saints, but saints canonised by the people while still living, not posthumously by the church. Súfism, as Professor Nicholson suggests, lies at the heart both of the religious philosophy and the popular religion of Islam. A re-issue in paperback of Nicholson's classic survey of the field of Islamic mysticism. Studies in Islamic Mysticism is intended as reading for students of Sfism, philosophy and literature, it also provides an introduction to the translations of both R.A. Nicholson and A.J. Arberry."

by Annemarie Schimmel  Must Read

"Mystical Dimensions of Islam presents, for the first time, a balanced historical treatment of the transnational phenomenon of Sufism—Islamic mysticism—from its beginnings through the nineteenth century. Through her sensitivity and deep understanding of the subject, Annemarie Schimmel, an eminent scholar of Eastern religions, draws the reader into the mood, the vision, the way of the Sufi in a manner that adds an essential ingredient to her analysis of the history of Sufism. After exploring the origins of the mystical movement in the meditations of orthodox Muslims on the Koran and the prophetic tradition, the author then discusses the development of its different stages, including classical voluntarism and postclassical theosophical mystical trends. Particular emphasis is placed on spiritual education, the different ways of leading the mystic toward the existential realization of the profound mystery of the profession of faith that "there is no deity but God." Sufi psychology and Sufi orders and fraternities are comprehensively explored.

Through an examination of mystical anthropology, which culminates in the veneration of the prophet and the saints, the questions of free will and predestination, of good and evil, are implied. The main burden of the text, however, is Sufism as reflected in Islamic poetry, and Professor Schimmel examines the various aspects of mystical poetry in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Sindhi, Panjabi, and Pashto. The author skillfully demonstrates how Sufi ideals permeated the whole fabric of Muslim life, providing the average Muslim—villager or intellectual—with the virtues of perfect trust in God and the loving surrender to God's will. Professor Schimmel's long acquaintance with Turkey, Iran, and the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent provides a unique emphasis to the study, and the author's personal knowledge of Sufi practice in these regions lends a contemporary relevance to her work.  Thirty-five years after its original publication, "Mystical Dimensions of Islam" still stands as the most valuable introduction to Sufism, the main form of Islamic mysticism."

Mystics and Saints of Islam

Must Read

"Mystics and Saints of Islam is a compilation of 15 short biographies of great Islamic saints and mystics, as reflected in the title of the book. Author Claud Field opens with a short introduction to Islamic mysticism and pantheistic sufism, followed by short descriptions of several well-known Islamic saints, including Rabia the Woman Sufi, Habib Ajami, Al Ghazzali, Suhrawardy, and Sharani the Egyptian. This book is intended for those new to Sufism and scholars interested in a quick overview of major Islamic figures. 

Claud Field (1863-1941) was an author and translator of Arabic literature. His most well-known translations are the works of Abu Hamid al-Ghazālī, namely The Alchemy of Happiness and The Confessions of Al Ghazzali. He is the author of Mystics and Saints of Islam, Heroes of Missionary Enterprise, The Charm of India, and Persian Literature, among others."

Muslim Saints and Mystics

by A.J. Arberry -  Must Read

"Shaikh Farid Al-din Attar's Tadhkiratal-Auliya (Muslim Saints and Mystics) is considered world famous classical book of Persian literature which printed and re-printed in many countries. Above abridgement, translated by A.J. Arberry, of Attar's only known prose work Tadhkirat Al-Auliya (The Memorial of the Saints) which he worked on throughout much of his life and which was available publicly before his death. Arberry's translation is an abridgement and many chapters have been omitted in his book. Shaikh Farid Al-din Attar is considered one of the preeminent mystical poets of the Persian literary tradition. The duration of his life is uncertain, though he can be placed in the 12th and 13th centuries C.E. born in Nishapur in what is today Iran . Attar apparently was a pharmacist but little information about his personal life is known. During his lifetime he is believed to have written approximately 9 books, including such famous works as The Manteq Al-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds) and The Ilahi-Nama (The book of God). Farid Al-Din Attar was one of old Persia's greatest poets. He appears to have died between a.d. 1220 and 1230. Of the very numerous epics and idylls ascribed to Attar perhaps nine may be recognized as authentic. Of these the most famous is the Manteq Altair, a subtle and charming allegory of the soul’s progress towards God. This books is a collection of biographies of Sufis, Mystics and Muslims saints."

The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism

"This book provides translations of the earliest Arabic autobiography and the earliest theoretical explanation of the psychic development and powers of an Islamic holy man (Saint, Friend of God)."

The Doctrine of the Sufis

by A. J. Arberry - Must Read 

"This English translation of a classic Arabic text in Sūfīsm, the mystical aspect of Islam, by A. J. Arberry preserves the beauty and simplicity of the original without departing from a literal translation. Little is known of the author of this treatise Abū Bakr al-Kalābādhī, except that he was a lawyer and died in Bukhārā in about AD 990. This book is the work on which his fame rests, and is important because it is the earliest extant text to reconcile the position of Sūfīsm and orthodox Islam. The book consists of five parts: a general introduction to the term Sūfī and an enumeration of the names of the great Sūfīs; a statements of the tenets of Islam, as accepted by the Sūfīs; a discussion of the various 'stations' of the Sūfīs; and a discussion of the various phenomena of Sūfīsm. This is a superb English introduction to Sūfīsm."


"William C. Chittick, the leading scholar in the field, offers a compelling insight into the origins, context, and key themes of this fascinating movement. After a general overview of the tradition, he draws upon the words of some of the greatest Sufi writers – among them Ibn Arabi, Baha Walad and Rumi himself – to give a fresh and revealing perspective on the teachings and beliefs of Sufism and its proponents. Covering everything from the history and growth of Sufism to its place in the modern world, this sympathetic book will be appreciated by anyone interested in Sufism, from complete beginners to students, scholars and experts alike."

Sufism Veil and Quintessence


"If thou wouldst reach the kernel", said Meister Eckhart, "thou must break the shell". Schuon offers us a penetrating discernment of both the obstacles presented by historical Sufism and the quintessential Sufi doctrine which is fundamental and irrefutable, because it springs from the very nature of the pure Intellect. A useful guide to students of Sufism, revealing the metaphysical roots of Islam."

Introduction To Sufi Doctrine


"Titus Burckhardt's masterpiece, Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, explores the essence of Islamic mysticism, or Sufism, presenting its central doctrines and methods to a Western audience in a highly intelligible form."


"Why is Sufism so compelling to both spiritual seekers and scholars? This, the first book in English from an authority on Sufism, Éric Geoffroy, introduces Sufism from many angles and from its origins up to the present day. Geoffroy sees Sufism as a unique lens through which we can view the spirituality that lies behind the forms of Islam. Having its source in the Koran and in the prophetic Tradition, Sufism’s goal is to deliver practitioners from the negative human passions, and the illusions, that beset them. This book covers the history of Sufism from its earliest days up until our own times, touching on the many significant people, practices, ideas, and controversies that have shaped it. It also highlights Sufism’s universal aspects, which are a powerful antidote to various fundamentalisms. Geoffroy’s special treatment of the subject balances the voices of long ago (e.g. Ibn ‘Arabī, Rūmī, Hallāj, and Ghazzālī) with many contemporary voices to cover a remarkable scope of topics essential to a full understanding of authentic Sufism."

Essential Sufism


"The definitive compendium of Sufi wisdom, 'Essential Sufism' draws together more than three hundred fables, poems and prayers that reveal the luminous spirit of Islamic mysticism. Essential Sufism edited by Robert Frager and James Fadiman is an awesome compendium of spiritual wisdom from the mystical tradition of Sufism. Here is their introduction to the section on death from the chapter on transformation:

"For Sufis death is not a transition; it is stepping across a threshold and being given another chance to reawaken. Life, as well, offers a spectrum of opportunities, that, if taken, allow one to recover awareness of one's full identity. "Huston Smith calls Sufis the 'impatient ones,' those who are not willing to wait to be reunited with Divinity at death but hunger for union now. 'Why the rush?' the rest of us might inquire. Who looks forward with equanimity to his or her own death?

"If you accept the premise that life and death are both gifts, then the prospect of death can become more a source of wonder than a cause for fear. "It is especially hard for Americans to think in this way, because our culture is almost as phobic about death as that of ancient Egypt. Egyptians packed off their dead into tombs full of belongings, mummifying their dead to prevent physical decay. We do much the same, making our dead look as good or better than they did in life, then preserving their flesh in soft, padded containers as long-lasting and as secure as we can afford. In the face of culturally sanctioned denial, how can we possible see death as a gift?

"There is a medieval Christian mystery play in which the lead character asks who will come with him into the grave to support him at his last judgment.

" 'Not I,' said his friends. 
" 'Not I,' said his children. 
" 'Not I,' said his wife. 
" 'Not I,' said his priest. 
" 'Not I,' said his fields of grain, his cattle and his sheep, his gold and all his treasures. 
" 'I will stay with you,' said his Actions, upon which they leapt into the grave to be by his side. Arm in arm, they knocked at the door of death — together.'

"What do you take with you into the city of death? Not a suitcase, not a purse, not even the pictures in your wallet. You never see a hearse followed by a moving van. Nothing goes with you except the sum of what your life has been. "A Sufi teaching says, 'Die before you die.' One interpretation is that you should strive to learn what you would be shown at death while you still have time to make use of this knowledge, that is, while still alive in a body. The wisdom we achieve on death reveals the true value of what is important and what is not. How much richer life becomes if we are able to gain this perspective beforehand."


"This book is a comprehensive historical overview of the formative period of Sufism, the major mystical tradition in Islam, from the ninth to the twelfth century CE. Based on a fresh reading of the primary sources and integrating the findings of recent scholarship on the subject, the author presents a unified narrative of Sufism’s historical development within an innovative analytical framework. Karamustafa gives a new account of the emergence of mystical currents in Islam during the ninth century and traces the rapid spread of Iraq-based Sufism to other regions of the Islamic world and its fusion with indigenous mystical movements elsewhere, most notably the Malr cultural context."


"A collection of essays on Sufism, written by such contemporary contributors as Seyyed Hossein Nasr, William Chittick, and Frithjof Schuon, demystifies its language, philosophies, and history, in a volume that also provides interpretations of classic and modern essays."

A to Z of Sufism 


"The A to Z of Sufism includes more than 1,000 entries on the history, major figures, institutions, theology, and literary works associated with Islam's mystical tradition, Sufism. In addition, the volume is enhanced by thousands of cross-references, an introductory essay, and a map, chronology, glossary, and bibliography. Important visual themes associated with Sufi thought and history are illustrated in 20 black-and-white photographs of both classical and contemporary aspects of Sufism. This volume's extensive information will not only assist those seeking a deeper understanding of the diversity within Islam and a more complete context for contemporary events, but will also prove invaluable to researchers needing quick access to both basic and obscure aspects of Sufism."

Historical Dictionary of Sufism


"With more than 3,000 entries and cross-references on the history, main figures, institutions, theory, and literary works associated with Islam's mystical tradition, Sufism, this dictionary brings together in one volume, extensive historical information that helps put contemporary events into a historical context. Additional features include: · chronology of all major figures and events · introductory essay · glossary of 400 Arabic, Berber, Chinese, Persian, and Turkish terms · comprehensive bibliography Ideal for libraries, as well as students and scholars of religion."

Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis - South Asia

"This work "Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis (South Asia)" highlights on the biographical outline of the prominent Sufis of South Asia in alphabetical order."

"This work "Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis" (Africa and Europe) highlights on the biographical outline of the prominent Sufis of Africa and Europe in alphabetical order."

Sufism and the Way of Blame

"This is a definitive book on the Sufi "way of blame" that addresses the cultural life of Sufism in its entirety. Originating in ninth-century Persia, the "way of blame" (Arab. malamatiyya) is a little-known tradition within larger Sufism that focused on the psychology of egoism and engaged in self-critique. Later, the term referred to those Sufis who shunned Islamic literalism and formalism, thus being worthy of "blame." 

Yannis Toussulis may be the first to explore the relation between this controversial movement and the larger tradition of Sufism, as well as between Sufism and Islam generally, throughout history to the present. Both a Western professor of the psychology of religion and a Sufi practitioner, Toussulis has studied malamatiyya for over a decade. Explaining Sufism as a lifelong practice to become a "perfect mirror in which God contemplates Himself," he draws on and critiques contemporary interpretations by G. I Gurdjieff, J. G. Bennett, and Idries Shah, as well as on Frithjof Schuon, Martin Lings, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. He also contributes personal research conducted with one of the last living representatives of the way of blame in Turkey today, Mehmet Selim Ozic."

Essay on the Origins of the Technical Language of Islamic Mysticism

by Louis Massignon -  Must Read

"This English edition of Massignon's philological work on the origins of the technical language of Islamic mysticism incorporates the corrections from 1954 edition and updated references. It concentrates on the development of the words used by 10th-century Persian mystic and poet, al-Hallaj."

Oriental Mysticism

"The Universe is the mirror of God, and the heart of man is the mirror of the Universe."

"This is a concise study of the key concepts of Sufi philosophy, written by a western scholar in the mid-19th century. Palmer discusses the spiritual journey that Sufis take, the path to oneness with God. A very useful feature of this book is the glossary of poetic symbols used in Persian Sufi literature."

Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism: A Short Introduction

by Majid Fakhry -  Must Read

"From the introduction of Greek philosophy in the eighth century to modern times, this book charts the evolution and interaction of philosophy, theology, and mysticism in the Islamic context. In a succinct, but comprehensive guide, Majid Fakhry highlights key individuals, movements, concepts and writings, and explores the conflicts and controversies between anti- and pro- philosophical parties that have characterized the development of Islamic thought.  The book also features coverage of:

- The translation of ancient texts and their transmission to the Muslim world.
- The development of a systematic philosophy in Islam. 
- Theology, mysticism and the development of Sufism. 
- Islam's interaction with Western philosophy and theology.

Accessible and stimulating, this book will be appreciated by students, scholars, and all those interested in broadening their knowledge of the Islamic tradition."

Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought

Must Read

"In all the current alienating discourse on Islam as a source of extremism and fanatic violence, this new publication takes a timely and refreshing look at the traditions of Islamic mysticism, philosophy and intellectual debate in a series of diverse and stimulating approaches. It tackles the major figures of Islamic thought as well as shedding light on hitherto unconsidered aspects of Islam utilizing new source material. The contributors are impressive list of scholars and experts."

Arabic Thought and Its Place in History

~ Must Read ~

"The transmission of ancient Greek philosophy to the forerunners of the Renaissance was through the Islamic world. This book details each of the steps along that path, identifying the Syriac writers of the late classical period as introducing Hellenic philosophy into the Middle East. The book details the growth of Islam, including the major branches such as the Shia, Sunni, and Sufi, and many minor as well, and their relation to the schools of Islamic philosophy. From the Baghdad of the Arabian Nights, we pass to Islamic Spain, where Arabic philosophy was increased by both Muslim and Jewish scholars. Finally, we see how Plato and Aristotle were re-introduced into Europe through Christian scholars, and became one of the precursors of the Italian Renaissance. The equivalent of a college-level course on the history of Islamic thought, this book is essential background reading if you want to understand this topic."

Courtesy of Sacred Texts

"Meeting the ever increasing interest in Islam and Sufism, this book is the first comprehensive study of Sufi Qur’anic commentaries and includes translations of many writings previously unavailable in English. It examines the shared hermeneutical assumptions of Sufi writers and the diversity in style of Sufi commentaries. Some of the assumptions analyzed are:

- The Qur’an is a multi-layered and ambiguous text open to endless interpretation.
- The knowledge of deeper meanings of the Qur’an is attainable by means other than transmitted interpretations and rational thought.
- The Self is dynamic, moving through states and stations which result in different interpretations at different times.

The styles of Sufi commentaries are explored, which range from philosophical musings to popular preaching to literary narrative and poetry. Other commentaries from the classical period are also investigated to provide context in understanding Sufi approaches and exegetical styles."

The Sufis

by Idries Shah - Must Read

"Idries Shah's definitive work, The Sufis, completely overturned Western misconceptions of Sufism, revealing a great spiritual and psychological tradition encompassing many of the world's greatest thinkers: Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn El-Arabi, Al-Ghazzali, Saadi, Attar, Francis of Assisi and many others. The astonishing impact of Sufism on the development of Western civilization from the seventh century is traced through the work of Roger Bacon, John of the Cross, Raymond Lully, Chaucer and others. Many of the greatest traditions, ideas and discoveries of the West are traced to the teachings and writings of Sufi masters working centuries ago. But The Sufis is far more than an historical account. In the tradition of the great Sufi classics, the deeper appeal of this remarkable book is in its ability to function as an active instrument of instruction, in a way that is so clearly relevant to our time and culture."

"Idries Shah (1924 - 1996) devoted his life to collecting, selecting and translating key works of Eastern Sufi classical literature, adapting them to the needs of the West and disseminating them in the Occident. Called by some ‘practical philosophy’, by others ‘templates in straight thinking’ – these works represent centuries of Sufi thought aimed at the development of human potential to its fullest extent. They stress virtues such as commonsense, clear-thinking and humor to counter cant and religious dogma. As such they may be viewed as an antidote to radicalism and fanaticism much needed in the world today."

More Sufi Books by Idries Shah:

The Way of the Sufi

~ Must Read ~

"The Way of the Sufi presents an unparalleled cross-section of material from Sufi schools, teachings and classical writings, as a basic course of Sufi study. The author begins with the outward aspects of the teaching most likely to puzzle the student coming fresh to the subject. He considers various attitudes to Sufi ideas, and evidence of their absorption into medieval Christianity, Hinduism, Jewish mysticism and modern philosophical teachings.
The greater part of the book illuminates aspects of Sufi activity and practice relevant to the contemporary world."

Sufi Thought and Action

 ~ Must Read ~

"Previously published only as separate essays, Sufi Thought and Action – assembled and introduced by Idries Shah – covers an extraordinary diversity of Sufi ideas and activities in many countries and cultures. Included in the volume are papers on Sufi Principles and Learning Methods; Ritual, Initiation and Secrets in Sufi Circles; and Key Concepts in Sufi Understanding. The volume stands as a clear and simple handbook to many facets of Sufi study and thought. Shah’s introduction begins, ‘The object of Sufi spiritual teaching can be expressed as: to help to refine the individual’s consciousness so that it may reach the Radiance of Truth, from which one is cut off by ordinary activities of the world’."

Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching Stories of Sufi Masters Over the Past Thousand Years

 ~ Must Read ~

"Tales of the Dervishes is a collection of stories, parables, legends and fables gathered from classical Sufi texts and oral sources spanning a period from the 7th to the 20th centuries. It introduced a 'genre' – the teaching story – to a contemporary readership familiar with the entertainment or moralistic values of such tales but unfamiliar with certain instrumental functions claimed for them. An author's postscript to each story offers a brief account of its provenance, use and place in Sufi tradition.

Tales of the Dervishes was first published in 1967. Together with The Exploits of Mulla Nasrudin, published the year before, it represented the first of several books of practical Sufi instructional materials to be released by Idries Shah. Shortly before he died, Shah stated that his books form a complete course that could fulfill the function he had fulfilled while alive. As such, Tales of the Dervishes can be read as part of a whole course of study."

Neglected Aspects of Sufi Study

~ Must Read ~

"Based on university lectures at the New School for Social Research, New York, and the University of California, San Francisco, Neglected Aspects of Sufi Study deals with many of the problems of Sufi methods of study and those which militate against its effective progress in the modern world; notably the unrecognized assumptions which we make about ourselves and about learning and its process."

~ Must Read ~

"In this ideal introduction to Sufi wisdom, Shah illustrates how traditional Sufi concepts can resolve our social, psychological, and spiritual problems, drawing on classic texts, the Eastem parables of Jesus, and encounters with contemporary teachers, students, and journalists."

"And among the wondrous things is a veiled gazelle: a Divine Subtlety, veiled by a state of the Self, Referring to the States of those who know. Unable To explain their perceptions to others, they can only indicate them to whoever has started to feel something similar. . . ." --Muhiyuddin Ibn El-Arabi, The Interpreter of Desires.

The title, A Veiled Gazelle, is taken from this beautiful poem by 13th-century mystic, Ibn Arabi. The "gazelles" are extraordinary experiences and perceptions latent in ordinary man. "Veiling" refers to the action of the subjective or "commanding" self, which partly through indoctrination and partly through base aspirations, prevents higher vision.

Says Shah in the introduction: "Sufi poetry, literature, tales and activities are the instruments which, when employed with insight and prescription rather than automatically or obsessively, help in the relationship between Sufi and pupil, toward the removal of the veils." This book is a remarkable working example of these instruments."

Wisdom of the Idiots

"In Idries Shah's 'Wisdom of the Idiots', the 'idiots' are Sufis, called this because their wisdom penetrates to a depth which renders it inaccessible to the merely intelligent or academically-knowledgeable. The exercise-stories of the Sufis are tools prepared for a specific purpose. On this level the movements of the characters in a story portray psychological processes, and the story becomes a working blueprint of those processes."

Thinkers of the East: Studies in Experientialism

"Drawn from teachings of more than a hundred sages from three continents, Thinkers of the East is a book of enormous breadth and depth, the impact and vitality of which is characteristic of the Sufi emphasis on experience rather than theory."

Oriental Magic

"Oriental Magic" includes a myriad of illustrations, including unique photos of places and people associated with the mysterious world of magic. Only an author of Shah's experience, dedication, and knowledge of human nature could assemble such an array of arcane information into a dazzling picture of human beliefs and practices. This new release is sure to attract the attention of a new generation of interested readers."

The Magic Monastery

"This beautiful collection of stories is one of Shah's best-selling books, and a stirring example of the Sufi system of development at work in the world today. The Magic Monastery was the first book to include stories written by Shah, along with traditional tales illustrating the instructional methods employed by Middle Eastern sages during the last thousand years--mostly unpublished."

The Secret Lore of Magic

"This book aims to include the entire text of all the major grammars of sorcery with commentaries and illustrations, providing a comprehensive survey of ritual magic, black and white magic and sorcery. The author brings together material on spells, charms, divination and magical conjuration. The book should be of interest to all students and scholars of the black arts, with its compendium of rare "grimoires" or source books of magical arts, containing spells, charms and methods of making powerful talismans. The author's previous books include, "The Wisdom of Idiots", "Oriental Magic", "The Sufis", "The Exploits of The Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin", and "The Way of The Sufis"."

Special Illumination: The Sufi Use of Humor

"Not only are the 60 jokes contained in this volume representative of the type of material used in Sufi development, but their selection, arrangement, and presentation also comprise an actual learning experience for the modern reader. Idries Shah weaves contemporary jokes, humorous anecdotes, and stories with skillful commentary. The result is an entertaining journey that mixes laughter, introspection, and surprise."

The World of Nasrudin
The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin

"The World of Nasrudin is the long-awaited fourth title in the series by the acclaimed author Idries Shah. An international folk hero with universal appeal, Nasrudin is often said to have been the wisest fool that ever lived -- though whether he did live at all is a matter of debate. More certain is his universal popularity -- Nasrudin is famous throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, North Africa and the Arab World, as well as Central Asia and as far as China. Whether the stories of Nasrudin are studied for their humor alone, or for their hidden wisdom, they help us to understand our world and ourselves."

Idries Shah, Anglo-Afghan author of over 30 books on Sufism

"Idries Shah was born in Simla, India, to an Afghan-Indian father, Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, a writer and diplomat, and a Scottish mother, Saira Elizabeth Luiza Shah...He devoted much of his life to explaining the East to the West, and made a wide body of scholarship of Eastern traditional teachings available in the Western world. A foremost authority on Sufism, he presented key Sufi concepts, stripped of cultural and religious accretions, to a Western audience. He maintained that much of the work of Western psychology was pioneered, centuries ago, by Sufis. His books sold over fifteen million copies in twelve languages worldwide, and covered Islamic thought, belles-lettres, humor, problem-solving and a range of other topics. He died in London in 1996."

One Pair of Eyes: Dreamwalkers - Full Documentary -
Idries Shah's classic BBC documentary on Human Thought, first aired in 1970

    The Persian Sufis

    by Cyprian Rice - Must Read 

    "The Sufi phenomenon is not easy to sum up or define. This book is concerned primarily with the Persian mystics and looks at the history of the Sufi movement, the mystical states, fundamentals of Persian mysticism and Sufi practices."

    The Heritage of Sufism -Vol. 2: The Legacy of Medieval Persian Sufism (1150-1500)

    "This collection - the second of a three-volume study - examines the roots of the artistic, literary and cultural renaissance of Sufism from the 12th to the 15th centuries. It includes essays on Rumi's poetry and imagery; Sufi music and the idea of ecstasy; sainthood and Neo-platonism; comparative metaphysics and literature; and unity of religion theory in Sufi philosophy."

    Persian Sufi Poetry - An Introduction to the Mystical Use of Classical Poems

    "Persian Sufi Poetry focuses on the poems rather than on their authors. It surveys the development of Persian mystical poetry, dealing first with the relation between Sufism and literature and then with the four main genres of the tradition: the epigram, the homiletic poem, love poetry and symbolic narrative..."

    The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism

    by Henry Corbin

    "A penetrating analysis of the writings of the great Persian mystics - Suhrawradi, Semnani, Najm al-Din Kubra and other Sufis on the quest for dawning light in the spiritual journey. In the Sufism of ancient Iran, the quest for the dawning of light in the cosmic North symbolizes the mystic's search for realization. In this spiritual journey, the light arising in man's inner darkness -- the Northern Light or Midnight Sun -- represents the impartial but brilliant light of truth, that which sets us free from egotism and from slavery to material existence.

    This small but dense study focuses on the various approaches of several great Sufis to a common quest: the cultivation of the “subtle body” in the often perilous approach to the lucidity of the “cosmic North”. As is to be expected, Corbin’s voluminous knowledge brings many sources to bear on the topic, across the range of Persian spirituality (Manicheanism, Mandaeanism, Zoroastrianism), through Gnostic and alchemical traditions. Goethe even makes an appearance near the end, in a brief but illuminating comparison of the Sufis’ sense of “inner lights” pre-existing and enabling external, “ordinary” light and vision, with the German polymath’s own “theory of colors”."

    Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism

    "This book is a full-length study devoted to the life and mystical experiences of one of the outstanding figures in Persian Sufism, Ruzbihan Baqli (d.1209) who is long recognized within the Persian Sufi tradition. This study introduces and analyzes the most important sources for the life of Ruzbihan, his own visionary diary (The Unveiling of Secrets) written in Arabic, and two Persian hagiographies written by his great-grandsons a century after his death; and extensive excerpts from these works are presented here in translation. "

    Traveling the Path of Love: Sayings of Sufi Masters

    By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee ~ Must Read ~

    Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee - the British-born Muslim convert and Sufi Shaykh or Sufi Master of Naqshbandi Sufi Order based in California - writes the following in the introduction of his outstanding book, Traveling the Path of Love: Sayings of Sufi Master:

    "Sufism is a mystical path of love. It emerged in the Muslim world in the eighth century in small groups of seekers who were known as "Wayfarers on the Mystical Path." In their deep passion and longing for God they realized Truth as "The Beloved," and therefore also became known as "The Lovers of God." Later they were called Sufis, possibly referring to their white woolen garments (Sûf), or as an indication of their purity of heart (Safâ'). These small groups gathered around spiritual teachers and, in time, matured into fraternities and orders, with each order bearing the name of its initiator.

    The essence of the Sufi path is the particular tradition passed down from teacher to disciple in an uninterrupted chain of transmission. Each Sufi order and teacher has certain practices and principles to help the wayfarer on the journey, to keep the fire of longing burning within the heart and the attention focused on the goal. The sayings and writings about the path help the wayfarer to develop the right attitude and qualities, and also to understand inner happenings that are often bewildering and confusing. The ways of love are very different from those of the mind. The Sufi path has as its goal the state of union with God. For each traveler the journey to this goal is unique; it is the journey "of the alone to the Alone." Yet there are also stages which all seekers pass through, trials, processes of purification and transformation. It is these stages that the Sufi masters, or sheikhs, have attempted to describe. As guides they have mapped out the path of the heart and the mystical states that are experienced along the way.

    The teachings and writings of the Sufis describe the soul's journey from separation to union with God. With the passion and depth of feeling that belong to lovers they outline the stages of this journey and give advice to other travellers. Sufi literature offers us the richest and most detailed understanding of the relationship of lover and Beloved, a relationship that is at the core of every mystical path. Drawing on their own experiences, the Sufi masters describe the inner workings of the path of love. They tell how longing for God burns away our impurities. They remind us that by remembering God we come closer to our eternal essence and that in our moments of utmost despair the Beloved reveals Himself: He who had seemed so distant is discovered "closer to you than yourself to yourself." They share their glimpses of the essential oneness of all life and, with simplicity, directness, and humor, describe the paradoxical nature of this mystical journey.

    These early mystics spoke a direct and simple language different from the more learned and scholarly writings of some of the later Sufis, as, for example, al-Ghazzâlî, who in the late eleventh century worked to reconcile the teachings of Islam, the "sharî'a", with the mystical path, the "tarîqa." A century later ibn 'Arabî, called "the greatest sheikh," and considered by many to be the greatest Muslim exponent of metaphysical doctrine, stressed the existence of One God and the Unity of Being (wahdat al-wujûd). A few years after ibn 'Arabî's death Jalâluddin Rûmî, spiritually awakened by his meeting with the wandering mystic Shams-i Tabrîz, began reciting one of the greatest mystical writings of all time, the Mathnawî, a treasure-house of spiritual lore.

    Rûmî is the most widely read of the Sufi writers, and the contemporary translations of his work have made Sufism more known in the West. But he is only one of the many Sufis who, from the eighth century to the present day, have spoken and written about the path of love, of the pain and the bliss of the heart's opening to God. Each Sufi master is influenced by those who have gone before him, by the history of the tradition. But more important are the mystic's own experiences, his individual communion with the Beloved. This is the truth that speaks through their words, whether the direct utterances of the drunken Bâyezîd Bistâmî, or the metaphysical work of ibn 'Arabî. Language and culture may change with time and place, but the inner workings of the heart remain the same. The essence of the mystical quest is beyond time and space, beyond all form. What the Sufi masters say about love speaks to all who long for their Real Home. They help to remind us of our divine nature and provide signposts on the way back to our innermost self. These lovers of God speak the direct language of spiritual experience, language that carries the conviction of those who have tasted Truth.

    This selection of Sufi sayings is offered as inspiration for fellow-travelers on whatever path they may be following. The Sufi says that there are as many ways to God as there are human beings, "as many as the breaths of the children of God." Within each of us there is the call to "open your hidden eyes and come, return to the root of the root of your own self." This journey of the soul is mankind's most primal dream. It is the deepest purpose of life. On this journey we are in the company of all those who have gone before us. We are guided by their footprints."

    Love is a Fire: The Sufi's Mystical Journey Home

    "Based on live talks and meetings with Vaughan-Lee, this is an introduction to the passion and wisdom of the mystical Sufi path of love. One of mankind's greatest secrets is the call of the heart, and how it draws us back to union. For the Sufi, this love is a fire that burns away all traces of separation. Vaughan-Lee teaches how to live this burning. He describes the stages of the path of love on the soul's journey home."

    "Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart gives a clear and accessible outline of Sufism: its basic principles, historical background, and recent development in the West. While exploring the spiritual and psychological processes of transformation, this book offers practical guidelines to help the seeker. Sufism, the Transformation of the Heart is a valuable introduction to a dynamic spiritual path that is attracting growing interest in the West."

    The Circle of Love

    "The circle of divine love is always present within the heart. The journey of the mystic is to retrace this circle and so experience the oneness that is hidden within us.
    In The Circle of Love, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, continuing his work of providing a contemporary understanding of Sufism, draws us into this mystery of the soul. He describes the way of mystical prayer and of listening with the heart. He offers valuable insight into power and the spiritual life: how to use one's power to break free of restrictions and live the joy of one's divine nature. He explores the primordial question of why we so easily forget our origin in God. Finally, The Circle of Love takes us deep into the mystical secret of being lost in God, to the center of the circle where the lover merges into the Beloved and the heart's deepest truth is revealed.

    The Persian saying in the front-cover image is from a poem by Hafîz:

    We have not come to this door
    looking for greatness and glory."

    In the Company of Friends: Dreamwork within a Sufi Group

    "A spiritual group forms a sacred and protected space where energy can flow from the inner to the outer world. Weaving together dreams and spiritual stories, In the Company of Friends explores the psychological and spiritual processes experienced within a group, and how the energy of the path transforms the seeker. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi teacher. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of transition, and the emerging global consciousness of oneness. He has also specialized in the area of dreamwork, integrating the ancient Sufi approach to dreams with the insights of modern psychology."

    Catching the Thread: Sufism, Dreamwork & Jungian Psychology

    “Blending together the subjects of psychology and spirituality, Vaughan-Lee's gentle wisdom reveals the magic of transformation, the ancient process through which we discover the pure gold of our real nature. 

    Spiritual life is a process of inner transformation in which the whole psychic structure of the seeker is changed. Exploring the threshold between spirituality and psychology, Llewllyn Vaughan-Lee shows how dreamwork guides us on this inner journey and helps us to understand the different stages of the path.

    From the transformative darkness of the shadow he takes us into the love affair with our inner partner, and from there into the archetypal realm and the symbolic dimension of the Self. He explores the psychological dynamics of the relationship with the teacher, so often misunderstood in the West, and then describes what is hardly mentioned in the great spiritual literature of the world: how the soul of the disciple merges with the soul of the teacher.

    Catching the Thread is a pioneering work, integrating the traditional wisdom of the Sufis with the insights of modern psychology—a valuable guide for any spiritual student. Catching the Thread is a re-edited version of The Call and the Echo, combined with some of the most important material from the author's first book, The Lover & the Serpent."

    More Sufi Books by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee:

    "Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (died December 8, 1986) was a saintly Tamil-speaking teacher and Sufi mystic from the island of Sri Lanka who first came to the United States on October 11, 1971 and established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship in Philadelphia. From Philadelphia, with its approximately 1,000 followers, branches of the Fellowship have spread throughout the United States and Canada, as well Australia and the UK. Societies of followers were already in Jaffna and Colombo, Sri Lanka before his arrival in the USA.

    Bawa Muhaiyaddeen taught through the use of fables. These reflected the background of the student or listener and included Hindu, Christian, and Muslim religious traditions; he welcomed persons from all traditions and backgrounds."

    The Golden Words of a Sufi Sheikh

     God's Psychology - A Sufi Explanation

    To Die Before Death - The Sufi Way of Life

    Come to the Secret Garden: Sufi Tales of Wisdom

    Treasures of the Heart: Sufi Stories for Young Children

    A Book of God's Love

    More Sufi Books by Bawa Muhaiyaddeen:

    The Principles of Sufism 

    by Aishah al-Bauniyyah - Must Read 

    "ʿAʾishah al-Baʿuniyyah (d. 923 H/1517 AD) of Damascus was one of the great women scholars in Islamic history. A mystic and prolific poet and writer, ʿAʾishah composed more works in Arabic than any other woman before the 20th century. Yet despite her extraordinary literary and religious achievements, ʿAʾishah al-Baʿuniyyah remains largely unknown. For the first time her key work, The Principles of Sufism, is available in English translation.

    The Principles of Sufism is a mystical guide book to help others on their spiritual path. She recounts the fundamental stages and states of the spiritual novice’s transformative journey, emphasizing the importance of embracing both human limitations and God’s limitless love. Drawing on lessons and readings from centuries-old Sufi tradition, ʿAʾishah advises the seeker to repent of selfishness and turn to a sincere life of love. In addition to his lucid translation, Th. Emil Homerin provides an insightful introduction, notes and a glossary to ʿAʾishah al-Baʿuniyyah’s remarkable account of the pursuit of mystical illumination."

    Early Mystics in Turkish Literature 

    "Early Mystics in Turkish Literature describes the early development of Turkish literature, especially mystical folk literature, through the lives of the poets Ahmad Yasaawi in Central Asia and Yunus Emre in Anatolia during the Middle Ages. This book is a translation of one of the most important Turkish scholarly works of the 20th century. It was the masterpiece of M.F. Koprulu, one of Turkey's leading, and most prolific, intellectuals and scholars. Using a wide variety of Arabic, and especially Turkish and Persian sources, this book sheds light on the early development of Turkish literature and attempts to show the continuity in this development between the Turkish of Central Asia and that of Anatolia. Early Mystics in Turkish Literature addresses this topic within the context of other subjects, including:

    *The genesis of Turkish culture in the Muslim world

    This book is a major contribution to the study of Turkish literature and is essential reading for scholars of Turkish literature, Islam, Sufism and Turkish history. This book has been translated into English by Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff. Gary Leiser is the Director of the Travis Air Museum at Travis AFB, California. He received a doctorate in Middle Eastern history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. He has been engaged in a long term project of translating into English the major historical works of M.F. Koprulu."

    The Sufi Path of Annihilation: In the Tradition of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and Hasan Lutfi Shushud

    "In this exploration of the profound spiritual practice of the Sufi path of annihilation, the eminent Turkish-born scholar and translator of Rumi, Dr. Nevit Ergin examines the three main facets of this path: zikr or breathing exercises, fasting, and mental suffering. "

    The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi

    ~ MUST READ - 912 PAGES ~ 

    "This is the most accessible work in English on the greatest mystical poet of Islam, providing a survey of the basic Sufi and Islamic doctrines concerning God and the world, the role of man in the cosmos, the need for religion, man's ultimate becoming, the states and stations of the mystical ascent to God, and the means whereby literature employs symbols to express "unseen" realities."

    "There are almost no authoritative books readily available for the general reader that provide, in clear and accessible language, an introduction to the spiritual perspective illuminating Rumi's magical poetry. In this beautifully illustrated work, William C. Chittick, a leading scholar of Sufism and Rumi, opens doors that give us access to the inner sanctum of Rumi's thought."

    Kernel of the Kernel: Concerning the Wayfaring and Spiritual Journey of the People of Intellect - A Shi'i Approach to Sufism

    "Kernel of the Kernel is an authoritative work on Sufism from a Shi'i perspective that is not only fascinating, but also contains much practical advice. In addition to providing a theoretical discussion of spiritual wayfaring, it is also the account of a personal fifty-year spiritual journey by Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i, a renowned Iranian-Shii scholar and spiritual master. In Kernel of the Kernel, Tabataba'i discusses the doctrinal foundations of spiritual wayfaring as well as processes and stages that an aspiring wayfarer must go through in order to attain spiritual realization. He discusses the relation between the exoteric and esoteric aspects of Islam and clearly demonstrates that these inward and outward dimensions of Islam complement each other. The book also provides information on the Quranic origins of Sufism and its special relations with Shi'ism as well as the role of Shi'i Imams in the spiritual realization of a sincere wayfarer."

    "The headlines are filled with the politics of Islam, but there is another side to the world's fastest-growing religion. Sufism is the poetry and mysticism of Islam. This mystical movement from the early ninth century rejects worship motivated by the desire for heavenly reward or the fear of punishment, insisting rather on the love of God as the only valid form of adoration. Sufism has made significant contributions to Islamic civilization in music and philosophy, dance and literature. The Sufi poet Rumi is the bestselling poet in America. But in recent centuries Sufism has been a target for some extremist Islamic movements as well as many modernists. The Garden of Truth presents the beliefs and vision of the mystical heart of Islam, along with a history of Sufi saints and schools of thought.
    In a world threatened by religious wars, depleting natural resources, a crumbling ecosystem, and alienation and isolation, what has happened to our humanity? Who are we and what are we doing here? The Sufi path offers a journey toward truth, to a knowledge that transcends our mundane concerns, selfish desires, and fears. In Sufism we find a wisdom that brings peace and a relationship with God that nurtures the best in us and in others. Noted scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr helps you learn the secret wisdom tradition of Islam and enter what the ancient mystics call the "garden of truth." Here, liberate your mind, experience peace, discover your purpose, fall in love with the Divine, and find your true, best self."

    Sufism and the Modern in Islam 

    "Sufism has not only survived into the twenty-first century but has experienced a significant resurgence throughout the Muslim world. Sufism and the 'Modern' in Islam offers refreshing new perspectives on this phenomenon, demonstrating surprising connections between Sufism and Muslim reformist currents, and the vital presence of Sufi ideas and practices in all spheres of life. Contrary to earlier theories of the modernization of Muslim societies, Sufi influence on the political, economic and intellectual life of contemporary Muslim societies has been considerable. Although less noticed than the resurgence of radical Islam, Sufi orders and related movements involve considerably larger numbers of followers, even among the modern urban middle classes.

    This innovative study brings together new comparative and interdisciplinary research to show how Sufis have responded to modernization and globalization and how various currents of Islamic reform and Sufism have interacted. Offering fascinating new insights into the pervasive Sufi influence on modern Islamic religiosity and contemporary political and economic life, this book raises important questions about Islam in the age of urbanism and mass communications."

    Sufism Today –Heritage and Tradition in the Global Community

    "This book offers the first sustained treatment of Sufism in the context of modern Muslim communities. It is also innovative, in that it broadens the purview of the study of Sufism to look at the subject right across international boundaries, from Canada to Brazil, and from Denmark to the UK and USA. Subjects discussed include: the politics of Sufism, the remaking of Turkish Sufism, tradition and cultural creativity among Syrian Sufi communities, the globalization of Sufi networks, and their transplantation in America, Iranian Sufism in London, and Naqshbandi Sufism in Sweden.  In its thorough examination of how Sufi rituals, traditions and theologies have been adapted by late-modern religiosity, this volume will make indispensable reading for all scholars and students of modern Islam."

    "This book is a collection of essays concerning the mystical and contemplative dimensions of Eastern Christianity and Islam presented at the October 2001 conference on Hesychasm and Sufism at the University of South Carolina. Contributions from internationally recognized spiritual leaders and scholars include Kallistos Ware; Seyyed Hossien Nasr; John Chryssavgis; Reza Shah-Kazemi; Huston Smith; Williams Chittick and more. Despite the long and well-known history of conflict between Christians and Muslims, their mystical traditions especially in the Christian East and in Sufism, have shared for centuries many of the same spiritual methods and goals. One thinks, for example, of the profound similarities between the practices of the Jesus Prayer among the Hesychast masters of the Philokalia and the Sufi practices of dhikr or invocation.

    These commonalities suggest the possibility for a deeper kind of religious dialogue than is customary in our day, a dialogue which seeks to foster what Frithjof Schuon has called inward or "esoteric" ecumenism, and which, while respecting the integrity of traditional dogmas and rites, "calls into play the wisdom which can discern the one sole Truth under the veil of different forms."

    The purpose of this book, the first major publication of its kind, is to promote precisely this more inward kind of ecumenical perspective. These essays point to a spiritual heart in which the deeper meaning of Christian and Muslim beliefs and practices come alive, and where spiritual pilgrims may discover, beyond the level of seemingly contradictory forms, an inner commonality with those who follow other paths."

    Popular Sufism in Eastern Europe: Sufi Brotherhoods and the Dialogue with Christianity and Heterodoxy 

    "This is a detailed description of the various Sufi orders and movements which entered into the Balkans, the Crimean peninsula and other parts of Eastern Europe following the Ottoman conquests. Many of the Sufis came from Christian societies, principally from an Eastern Orthodox background, but others, such as the Bosnians, from churches that were accused or suspected of heterodoxy of belief and of antinomianism. These beliefs, together with pre-Christian beliefs, influenced by Manicheanism, Dualism and pantheism, left their mark on Sufi Islam. The book concentrates on the Bosnians, Bulgarians, Albanians and Tatars. Their Sufism reflects their national aspirations, and their writings fuse their mysticism, national faith and folklore in a Sufism which is quite distinct from that in other regions of the Muslim world."


    "With the increasing Muslim diaspora in post-modern Western societies, Sufism – intellectually as well as sociologically – may eventually become Islam itself due to its versatile potential. Although Sufism has always provoked considerable interest in the West, no volume has so far been written which discusses this aspect of Islam in terms of how it is practiced in Western societies.

    Bringing together leading international authorities to survey the history of Islamic mysticism in North America and Europe, this book elaborates the ideas and institutions which organize Sufism and folk-religious practices. The chapters cover:

    The Sufi Orders and movements
    Their social base
    Organization and institutionalization
    Recruitment-patterns in new environments
    Channels of disseminating ideas, such as ritual, charisma, and organization
    Reasons for their popularity among certain social groups
    The nature of their affiliation with the countries of their origin.

    Providing a fascinating insight into how Sufism operates within different spheres of society, Sufism in the West is essential reading for students and academics with research interests in Islam, Islamic history and social anthropology."

    Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality

    "In recent years Sufism has undergone something of a revival as a spiritual alternative to other manifestations of Islam. This book investigates the development of Sufism in Western societies, with a regional focus on North America and Europe. Exploring a number of issues relating to the dynamic tensions between religious globalization processes and specific sacred localities, this book looks at the formation of Sufi movements that have migrated from their place of origin to become global religious networks.
    Sufi groups are highly differentiated and often inaccessible, so the origins and development of Sufism in the West have not been widely studied. Employing a comparative approach based on regional fieldwork and case studies, this book addresses theoretical issues and gives a comprehensive analysis of distinct communities and the development of regional branches of Sufi orders, providing an international perspective on Sufism in the West. With contributions from well-known international experts on the topic, the book addresses Sufi orders in the context of the transnational networks in which they are operating and the constraints of the localities in which they live.

    This book will be of interest to scholars and students of religion, Islam and Sufism in particular."

    Sufism in Europe and North America

    "Today there is a substantial and rapidly growing Muslim population in Europe and North America. Here, as elsewhere, many of the Muslims are Sufis. This book focuses mainly on issues of inculturation or contextualization of Sufism in the West. It shows that, while more traditional forms of Sufism exist, many radical changes have taken place in this part of the world. For instance, in some groups there are female sheikhs and a far-reaching pluralistic attitude to other religions. Hence Sufism is sometimes seen as something that transcends the boundaries of Islam."

    Sufism Music and Society: In Turkey and Middle East 

    "After decades of prohibition, Mevlana ceremonies of whirling dervishes attract renewed interest as forms of sacral music, both in formal and popular genres. This trend runs parallel to an increasing concern for cultural, ethnic and religious identities, where the rising tide of religious revivalism sets the tone."

    A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama, Listening and Altered States

    "Avery explores the psychology of altered states among the early Sufis. It examines Samâ` - listening to ritual recitation, music and certain other aural phenomena - and its effect in inducing unusual states of consciousness and behaviors. The focus is on the earliest personalities of the Islamic mystical tradition, as mediated by texts from the tenth to the twelfth centuries C.E. These unusual states are interpreted in the light of current research in Western psychology, and also in terms of their integration into historical Islamic culture. A Psychology of Early Sufi Samâ` provides new insights into the work of five Sufi authors, and a fresh approach to the relation between historical accounts of altered states and current psychological thinking."

    Sharing Poetic Expressions: Beauty, Sublime, Mysticism in Islamic and Occidental Culture 

    "A world ever more extensively interlinked is calling out for serving human interests broader and more compelling than those inspiring our technological welfare. The interface between cultures - at the moment especially between the Occident and Islam - presents challenges to mutual understandings and calls for restoring the resources of our human beings forgotten in the struggle of competition and rivalry at the vital spheres of existence. In the evolutionary progress of the living beings the strictly vital concerns, emotions, attributes become sublimed and elevated to the spiritual sphere at which human beings encounter each other and share. Studies presented here bring forth sublimity, generosity, forgiveness, beauty, and are exalting the quest after ciphers and symbols which lead to our sharing the common deepest stream of fraternal reality."

    "Scholar, mystic and visionary, Ibn 'Alwân lived through the transition from Ayyubid to Rasulid rule in thirteenth-century Yemen. He was well known in his time for his critique of the ruling elites and their governance, and left behind a substantial body of writings on Islamic mysticism, theology, law and exegesis of the Qur’an. Here Muhammad Aziz presents a comprehensive portrait of Ibn 'Alwân, delineating the religious and political background in Yemen, the development of Sufi orders, the interplay between Sufi, Shi'i and Sunni traditions, and the impact of Ibn 'Alwân on the history of Sufism and Islam. The first study of Ibn ‘Alwân in English, Religion and Mysticism in Early Islam is essential reading for all those interested in mysticism, early Islam, Sufism, and religion and history more generally."

    A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama: Listening and Altered States 

    "Avery explores the psychology of altered states among the early Sufis. It examines samâ` - listening to ritual recitation, music and certain other aural phenomena - and its effect in inducing unusual states of consciousness and behaviors. The focus is on the earliest personalities of the Islamic mystical tradition, as mediated by texts from the tenth to the twelfth centuries C.E. These unusual states are interpreted in the light of current research in Western psychology, and also in terms of their integration into historical Islamic culture. A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama provides new insights into the work of five Sufi authors, and a fresh approach to the relation between historical accounts of altered states and current psychological thinking."

    "This book examines the theological, philosophical and Islamic mystical dimensions of the Suhrawardî sufi order from the 13th to 15th centuries. The Suhrawardîs were a legally grounded and intellectually vibrant sufi order whose mystical path was based on exchanges and debates on the Qur'an and on the Prophet's customs. The book analyses their interpretation of sacred texts: the Qur'an, hadiths, sunna, and malfuzat. This created a unique self-understanding, which developed specific sufi spiritual exercises. The book discusses new important ways of thinking about the sufi hermeneutics of the Qur'an and its contribution to Islamic intellectual and spiritual life."

    The Naqshbandiyya: Orthodoxy and Activism in a Worldwide Sufi Tradition 

    "The Naqshbandiyya is one of the most widespread and influential Sufi orders in the Muslim world. Having its origins in the Great Masters tradition of Central Asia almost a millennium ago, it played a significant role in the pre-modern history of the Indian subcontinent and the Ottoman Empire, and is still spreading today. This volume seeks to present a broad picture of the evolution of the ideas and organizational forms of the Naqshbandi order throughout its history. It combines a synthesis of the vast literature on the order with original research, and shall be an important contribution for those interested in Sufism, Islamic history and Muslim-Christian relations."

    A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism 

    "Sufi scholar Abu Bakr al-Wasiti (d. ca. 320 AH/932 CE) was called a "soaring minaret" for his cutting comments and keen theological insights. Wasiti's life is little-known today, but elements of his lost Qur'an commentary have come down to us through the glosses of his students, and his career offers a window into the development of Islamic mysticism and metaphysics. Wasiti's legacy includes a number of firsts: he was one of the first students of the great Baghdadi Sufis, the first to migrate east and establish the Baghdadi Sufi tradition in Khurasan, among the first to compose a Qur'an commentary, and among the first to articulate a complete metaphysics in keeping with early Sunni theology. Presenting Wasiti's life and work within the context of the development and spread of Sufism, author Laury Silvers goes on to provide a philosophical and theological analysis of his understanding of divine reality."

    Sanctity and Mysticism in Medieval Egypt: The Wafa Sufi Order and the Legacy of Ibn 'Arabi 

    "Using the original writings of two Egyptian Sufis, Muhammad Wafa' and his son 'Ali, this book shows how the Islamic idea of sainthood developed in the medieval period. Although without a church to canonize its "saints," the Islamic tradition nevertheless debated and developed a variety of ideas concerning miracles, sanctity, saintly intermediaries, and pious role models. In the writings of the Wafa's, a complete mystical worldview unfolds, one with a distinct doctrine of sainthood and a novel understanding of the apocalypse. Using almost entirely unedited manuscript sources, author Richard J. A. McGregor shows in detail how Muhammad and 'Ali Wafa' drew on earlier philosophical and gnostic currents to construct their own mystical theories and notes their debt to the Sufi order of the Shadhiliyya, the mystic al-Tirmidhi, and the great Sufi thinker Ibn 'Arabi. Notably, although located firmly within the Sunni tradition, the Wafa's felt free to draw on Shi'ite ideas for the construction of their own theory of the final great saint."

    Saints and Sons: The Making and Remaking of the Rashidi Ahmadi Sufi Order 1799-2000

    "This first history of the Rashidi Ahmadiyya argues for a new explanation of the great Sufi revival of the eighteenth century, and also defines a new paradigm of development and change in Sufi orders. In his study of one widespread Sufi order over two centuries and three continents, the author identifies a repeating cycle in which a section of an order rises under a great shaykh, splits, and stabilizes. Though each great shaykh seems to remake the order with little reference to what has gone before, there are in fact two constants through all cycles: the written literature of the order, and the limiting effect on even the greatest shaykhs of their followers' expectations."

    Kashf al-Mahjub - Revelation of Mystery

    ~ MUST READ ~

    "Kashf al-Mahjub (کشف المحجوب)- Revelation of Mystery - is the Oldest Persian Treatise on Sufism written by the eminent 11th century Persian Sufi master, Ali Hujwiri better known as Hazrat Data Ganj-Bakhsh in the Indian Subcontinent.

    Like Rumi, Hafiz and Attar, al-Hujwiri was one of the great saints of Sufism. Revelation of Mystery, or Kashf al-mahjub, has been revered by students of Sufism for nine centuries. This classic text contains biographies of the saints, including Fudayl, the brigand who became a great spiritual teacher; Ibrahim Adham, the prince who renounced everything when he received the divine call; and al-Hallaj, the great Sufi martyr. Al-Hujwiri also offers the spiritual seeker universal and timeless advice on many subjects, such as contemplation, generosity, spiritual courtesy, prayer, love and distinguishing false spirituality and false teachers from the real, a discernment just as important today as during al-Hujwiri's time."

    Ali Hujwiri's Kashf al-Mahjub in Farsi, Arabic, Urdu, Sindhi & Bengali:

    Kashf al-Mahjub - in various languages

    "Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light investigates, for the first time in a Western language, the manner in which the Muslim scholars of China adapted the Chinese tradition to their own needs during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book surveys the 1400-year history of Islam in China and explores why the four books translated from Islamic languages into Chinese before the twentieth century were all Persian Sufi texts. The author also looks carefully at the two most important Muslim authors of books in the Chinese language, Wang Tai-yu and Liu Chih. Murata shows how they assimilated Confucian social teachings and Neo-Confucian metaphysics, as well as Buddhism and Taoism, into Islamic thought. She presents full translations of Wang’s Great Learning of the Pure and Real—a text on the principles of Islam—and Liu Chih’s Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm, which in turn is a translation from Persian of Lawayah."

    Stairway to the Stars: Sufism, Gurdjieff and the Inner Tradition of Mankind 

    "The book provides an introduction to mystical philosophy and the concept of inner development by looking at a number of its great schools. Mystics concur in saying that we are in some way "asleep" and must recognise this to awaken. A considerable attempt to identify the nature of this "sleep" is made in the earlier part of the book, with the particular help of the teaching of Gurdjieff. Also studied are ways of the past and present, including the Mystery Schools, Gnosticism, Alchemy, Zen, the Fourth Way, and the Way of the Sufi. It is also made apparent that the Way of Jesus, until it was overlaid by "Christianity", was once understood as one of these "waves" or teachings for the development of human being and consciousness. The resonance of this teaching with all other mystical teachings is a significant theme. The purpose of the book is to inspire the reader to ascend the 'Stairway to the Stars'."

    Mystical Languages of Unsaying

    "The subject of Mystical Languages of Unsaying is an important but neglected mode of mystical discourse, apophasis. which literally means "speaking away." Sometimes translated as "negative theology," apophatic discourse embraces the impossibility of naming something that is ineffable by continually turning back upon its own propositions and names. In this close study of apophasis in Greek, Christian, and Islamic texts, Michael Sells offers a sustained, critical account of how apophatic language works, the conventions, logic, and paradoxes it employs, and the dilemmas encountered in any attempt to analyze it.

    This book includes readings of the most rigorously apophatic texts of Plotinus, John the Scot Eriugena, Ibn Arabi, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart, with comparative reference to important apophatic writers in the Jewish tradition, such as Abraham Abulafia and Moses de Leon. Sells reveals essential common features in the writings of these authors, despite their wide-ranging differences in era, tradition, and theology.

    By showing how apophasis works as a mode of discourse rather than as a negative theology, this work opens a rich heritage to reevaluation. Sells demonstrates that the more radical claims of apophatic writers—claims that critics have often dismissed as hyperbolic or condemned as pantheistic or nihilistic—are vital to an adequate account of the mystical languages of unsaying. This work also has important implications for the relationship of classical apophasis to contemporary languages of the unsayable. Sells challenges many widely circulated characterizations of apophasis among deconstructionists as well as a number of common notions about medieval thought and gender relations in medieval mysticism."

    The Station of No Station: Open Secrets of the Sufis

    "The teachings of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, offer a startling resolution to many contemporary problems. This book outlines the main tenets of Sufism as taught by the Sufi masters of Central Anatolia. A discussion of Sufi psychology and its seven levels of selfhood heralds the possibility of psychological evolution for all human beings to higher stages of consciousness. Using the promise of the Sufi vision, the author builds a bridge between the West and Islam."

    Al-Shadhili’s Treatise - Illumination in Islamic Mysticism

    "This is a translation with an introduction and notes of a critical edition of Abu-al-Mawahib al-Shadhili's Treatise, Quanin Hikam al-Ishraq."

    Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam: An Architectural Reading of Mystical Ideas

    "This fascinating interdisciplinary study reveals connections between architecture, cosmology, and mysticism. Samer Akkach demonstrates how space ordering in premodern Islamic architecture reflects the transcendental and the sublime. The book features many new translations, a number from unpublished sources, and several illustrations.

    Referencing a wide range of mystical texts, and with a special focus on the works of the great Sufi master Ibn Arabi, Akkach introduces a notion of spatial sensibility that is shaped by religious conceptions of time and space. Religious beliefs about the cosmos, geography, the human body, and constructed forms are all underpinned by a consistent spatial sensibility anchored in medieval geocentrism. Within this geometrically defined and ordered universe, nothing stands in isolation or ambiguity; everything is interrelated and carefully positioned in an intricate hierarchy. Through detailed mapping of this intricate order, the book shows the significance of this mode of seeing the world for those who lived in the premodern Islamic era and how cosmological ideas became manifest in the buildings and spaces of their everyday lives. This is a highly original work that provides important insights on Islamic aesthetics and culture, on the history of architecture, and on the relationship of art and religion, creativity and spirituality."

    What is Sufism? by Annemarie Schimmel
                  |PDF| ENGLISH | 535 PAGES |

    ~ MUST READ ~

    "Real Islam is a deep and unquestioning trust in God, the realization of the truth that "There is no deity save God" and of the threefold aspect of religious life: that of islam, complete surrender to God; iman, unquestioning faith in Him and His wisdom; and ihsan, to do right and to act beautifully, because one knows that God is always watching man's actions and thoughts. For fourteen hundred years the Muslims have practiced these virtues, and the great mystics of Islam have taught them to millions of faithful who have survived the most difficult times, the greatest hardships because of their unshakable faith in the loving kindness of God, the creator, sustainer and judge of everything created.

    Sufism, the mystical current inside Islam, developed logically out of the serious study of the Koran, according to Muslim belief the uncreated word of God, and of the constant direction of all faculties toward God. The Sufi masters taught their disciples that their duty is the fulfillment of God's will, not out of a feeling of duty but rather out of love - for could there be anything greater than the unconditional love which man offers his Lord?"

    Annemarie Schimmel (1922 – 2003) - late Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture at Harvard University & the renowned scholar of Rumi and Sufism. 

                  |PDF| ENGLISH | 128 PAGES |

    "Martin Lings provides an excellent and authoritative introduction to the mystical movement of the Sufis based on his lifelong interest in Islamic culture. His explanation derives from a profound understanding of Sufism, and extends to many aspects which are usually neglected. His illuminating answer to 'What is Sufism?' gives a taste of the very subject matter itself. What do Sufis believe? What do they aim at? What do they do? Unlike other writers on the subject, Martin Lings treats all the three questions with equal justice. He is thus able to give a wealth of answers to the main question 'What is Sufism?', each answer being from a different angle but all going to the root of the matter. A reviewer wrote 'Should the book appear in paperback, I would use it for undergraduate and graduate courses on Islamic civilization', and in fact What is Sufism? has become a set book in colleges and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. It is now accepted as the authoritative statement on the subject of Sufism and it has been translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish. It has also been published in Sarajevo in Bosnian, and is available in Braille."

    More Sufi e-Books to Read Online:

    "Ibn al-'Arabi was a mystic who drew on the writings of Sufis, Islamic theologians and philosophers in order to elaborate a complex theosophical system akin to that of Plotinus. He was born in Murcia (in southeast Spain) in 1164 ad, and died in Damascus in ah 1240 ad. Of several hundred works attributed to him the most famous are al-Futuhat al-makkiyya (The Meccan Illuminations) and Fusus al-hikam (The Bezels of Wisdom). The Futuhat is an encyclopedic discussion of Islamic lore viewed from the perspective of the stages of the mystic path. It exists in two editions, both completed in Damascus - one in 1231 and the other in 1238 - but the work was conceived in Mecca many years earlier, in the course of a vision which Ibn al-'Arabi experienced near the Kaaba, the cube-shaped House of God which Muslims visit on pilgrimage. Because of its length, this work has been relatively neglected. The Fusus, which is much shorter, comprises twenty-seven chapters named after prophets who epitomize different spiritual types. Ibn al-'Arabi claimed that he received it directly from Muhammad, who appeared to him in Damascus in 1229. It has been the subject of over forty commentaries.

    Although Ibn al-'Arabi was primarily a mystic who believed that he possessed superior divinely-bestowed knowledge, his work is of interest to the philosopher because of the way in which he used philosophical terminology in an attempt to explain his inner experience. He held that whereas the divine Essence is absolutely unknowable, the cosmos as a whole is the locus of manifestation of all God's attributes. Moreover, since these attributes require the creation for their expression, the One is continually driven to transform itself into Many. The goal of spiritual realization is therefore to penetrate beyond the exterior multiplicity of phenomena to a consciousness of what subsequent writers have termed the 'unity of existence'. This entails the abolition of the ego or 'passing away from self' (fana') in which one becomes aware of absolute unity, followed by 'perpetuation' (baqa') in which one sees the world as at once One and Many, and one is able to see God in the creature and the creature in God."

    "Muhyi ad-Din Ibn 'Arabi (1165 - 1240) was an outstanding Spanish-born mystic and one of the most prolific writers in Islamic history. He made major contributions to the fields of Qur'an commentary, jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, cosmology, and spiritual psychology, and he was also a great poet of love. Although he is known as the first spokesman for 'the oneness of being', his real focus was the diverse modalities of human perfection. He marks a transition in Sufism in practical instructions on healing the heart and aphorisms on the divine mysteries to an equal stress on the theoretical issues that had long been the topic of philosophy and theology."

    "Called by Muslims “the greatest master,” Ibn Al-’Arabi was a Sufi born in twelfth-century Spain. The Seals of Wisdom was written during the author’s later years and was intended to be a synthesis of his spiritual doctrine. Bezel means a setting in which a gem, engraved with one’s name, is set to make a seal ring. The setting in which Ibn Al-’Arabi has placed his spiritual wisdom are the lives of the prophets. It was in Damascus that he had the vision that prompted him to write this book. He describes it in his preface: “I saw the Apostle of God in a visitation…He had in his hand a book and he said to me, ‘This is the book of the bezels of Wisdom; take it and bring it to men that they might benefit from it.’”
    The book portrays the wisdom of love through Abraham, of the unseen through Job, of light through Joseph, of intimacy through Elias and so on. Ibn Al-’Arabi invites us in these pages to explore the inner spiritual meanings of the Quran, its heartful meanings. In one of his poems he stated, “Love is the creed I hold: wherever turns His camels, Love is still my creed and faith.”"

    A Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection by Ibn Arabi

    "Widely used for centuries in Sufi circles, the prayer known as "The Most Elevated Cycle" (al-Dawr al-a'la) or "The Prayer of Protection" (Hizb al-wiqaya), written by the great Sufi master Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, has never before been available in English. This book provides a lucid English translation and an edited Arabic text of this beautiful and powerful prayer. It includes a transliteration for those unable to read Arabic, who wish to recite the prayer in the original language. Showing the importance of Ibn 'Arabi's devotional teaching, the book explores the prayer's contemporary life, properties and historical transmission. It gives full details of generations of well-known scholars and Sufi masters who have transmitted the prayer, providing an intimate and fascinating insight into Islamic history."

    Selections from Ibn Arabi's Futuhat-Makkiyya - Meccan-Revelations

    "This is an introduction to English translation of Ibn Arabi's famous book of al-futuhat al-makkiyya. The Meccan Revelations is considered the most important book in Islamic mysticism. Ibn al-Árabî started working on this book in Mecca in the year 598 AH / 1202 AD; thus from here it takes its name, where he received the immense knowledge that he had broadcasted in this huge book from a spirit he calls the ‘passing young’ (al-fatâ al-fâàt) whom he met at the Kaaba. But it took him around thirty years to finish it in Damascus in the year 629 AH / 1232 AD, and then he rewrote it again between 632/1235 and 636/1239, just two years before he passed away.

    The book consists of 560 chapters that vary in length between as short as half a page and as long as several hundreds. Although it is now mostly printed in four condensed volumes, based on Bulaq edition, it is in total contained in 37 volumes according to Ibn al-Árabî's own arrangement, and each volume is normally divided into seven parts which may start or end regardless of chapters; thus some chapters are placed in more than one part or even more than one volume. Although this volume contains the first chapter of the five hundred and sixty chapters of the Futûħât and a considerable part of the second chapter which is quite long, but we can consider this volume as an introduction to this immense book. As he normally did for other volumes, Ibn al-Árabî divided this volume into seven parts:

    1. The First Part is a foreword (khuţbah) to the book, but which can also be considered an abstract summary of Ibn al-Árabî's view of the world. He divided this foreword into two sections; in the first one he enclosed his spiritual addressing before the Prophet, may Allah have mercy and peace upon him, and his Companions and other prophets who all met in the world of imaginational realm (ăâlam al-mithâl) and whom he saw through a disclosure attended metaphysically in his heart. In this addressing he speaks about the spiritual hierarchy and the origin of spiritual and physical creation.
    2. The Second Part is a list of the five hundred and sixty chapters which constitute the Futûħât.
    3. The Third Part is an introduction to the book, in which he explains the sources of knowledge and the difference between its three types: the intellectual science, the science of states and the science of secrets which he shows that it is highest and all encompassing science which actually includes all other sciences..
    4. The Fourth Part starts with the first chapter of the Futûħât in which Ibn al-Árabî explains the occasion that led him to this initiative and how he received the knowledge that he is going to broadcast in the book from a spirit he met while circumambulation around the Kaaba.
    5. The Fifth Part is devoted almost entirely to explaining the ambiguous characters at the beginning of some chapters of Qurãn and particularly ﴾ALٓM: الٓمٓ (àlif-lâm-mîîm)﴿ of sûrat al-Baqarah.
    6. In the Sixth Part he talks about the properties of the characters one by one.
    7. The Seventh Part is devoted to explaining the different terms he had used in this weird science of characters."

    Divine Sayings: The Mishkat al-Anwar of Ibn 'Arabi 

    "A collection of 101 hadith sayings, this work is one of the most important and influential early collections of hadith qudsi. Falling into three categories, the first 40 sayings each have a full, unbroken chain of transmission that goes back to God through the medium of the Prophet Muhammad. The second category are sayings mostly taken from well-known written collections. The final section is drawn from similar books, with Ibn 'Arabi adding one extra hadith, orally transmitted. Comprised of a full introduction explaining the meaning of Hadith, the text stresses the importance of this tradition in Ibn 'Arabi's writing."

    Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi

    "Henry Corbin's works are the best guide to the visionary tradition.... Corbin, like Scholem and Jonas, is remembered as a scholar of genius. He was uniquely equipped not only to recover Iranian Sufism for the West, but also to defend the principal Western traditions of esoteric spirituality."--From the introduction by Harold Bloom.

    Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) was one of the great mystics of all time. Through the richness of his personal experience and the constructive power of his intellect, he made a unique contribution to Shi'ite Sufism. In this book, which features a powerful new preface by Harold Bloom, Henry Corbin brings us to the very core of this movement with a penetrating analysis of Ibn 'Arabi's life and doctrines. Corbin begins with a kind of spiritual topography of the twelfth century, emphasizing the differences between exoteric and esoteric forms of Islam. He also relates Islamic mysticism to mystical thought in the West. The remainder of the book is devoted to two complementary essays: on "Sympathy and Theosophy" and "Creative Imagination and Creative Prayer." A section of notes and appendices includes original translations of numerous Sufi treatises. Harold Bloom's preface links Sufi mysticism with Shakespeare's visionary dramas and high tragedies, such as The Tempest and Hamlet. These works, he writes, intermix the empirical world with a transcendent element. Bloom shows us that this Shakespearean cosmos is analogous to Corbin's "Imaginal Realm" of the Sufis, the place of soul or souls."

    Beshara and Ibn 'Arabi: A Movement of Sufi Spirituality in the Modern World

    "Investigating Sufi-inspired spirituality in the modern world, this interdisciplinary text combines cultural study with solid data to provide a comprehensive look at how the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi have been adopted and adapted by Muslims and non-Muslims. At the heart of this movement is the Beshara School in Scotland, founded in the 1960s, and now a center of international scholarship. Using the school as a case study, the discussion describes its emergence and evolution, its approach to spiritual education, the origins of its spiritual teacher, its major teachings and practices, and its projection of Ibn ‘Arabi. Both rigorous and very timely, this effort points to areas of cultural exchange between East and West and highlights commonalities in the various historical changes both societies have undergone."

    Sufism and Deconstruction: A Comparative Study of Derrida and Ibn 'Arabi

    "Examining a series of common features in the works of Derrida and the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi, considered to be one of the most influential figures in Islamic thought, the author addresses the significant absence of attention on the relationship between Islam and Derrida. Presenting a deconstructive perspective on Ibn 'Arabi, the book's features include:

    * the opposition to systematizing representations of God/reality/the text
    * a re-emphasis on the radical unthinkability of God and the text
    * a common conception of rational thought as restrictive, commodifying and ultimately illusory - and a subsequent appraisal of confusion as leading to a higher state of knowledge
    * a positive belief in the infinite interpretability of the text
    * a suspicion of representation - and an awareness of its semantic futility, along with a common, 'welcoming' affirmation of openness and errancy towards God and the text.

    This book will be essential reading for advanced students and academics of Religious studies, Arabic and Islamic studies and those interested in the work of Derrida and Ibn 'Arabi."

    "Inayat Khan was a Sufi teacher from India who started "The Sufi Order in the West" (now called the Sufi Order International) in the early part of the 20th century. Though his family background was Muslim, he was also steeped in the Sufi notion that all religions have their value and place in human evolution. Inayat had been a tireless teacher, writer, and lecturer traveling and lecturing almost continuously for seventeen years. He had established his school in France, and a dedicated group of disciples. But, his difficult schedule had weakened him over the years. He left for India to see his homeland for the first time in seventeen years. He hoped to rest and meditate but was asked to lecture and graciously consented as was common. He died in New Delhi in 1927 of influenza. Inayat Kahn is probably the best known teacher of Sufism in America and Europe in the 20th century. His legacy of Sufi universalism or what one author terms "Non-Islamic Sufism" is seen primarily in the three areas of the Sufi Order International organization, Omega Institute, and the Dances of Universal Peace."

    "Sufi philosophy includes the schools of thought unique to Sufism, a mystical branch within Islam. Sufism and its philosophical traditions may be associated with Sunni Islam or Shia Islam. It has been suggested that Sufi thought emerged from the Middle East in the eighth century, but adherents are now found around the world. It was around 1000 CE that early Sufi literature, in the form of manuals, treatises, discourses and poetry, became the source of Sufi thinking and meditations. Sufi philosophy, like all other major philosophical traditions, has several sub-branches including metaphysics and cosmology as well as several unique concepts. A person's Baqaa, which literal means permanency, is a term in Sufi philosophy which describes a particular state of life with God. Inayat Khan writes in his book A Sufi message of spiritual liberty,

    "The ideal perfection, called Baqa by Sufis, is termed 'Najat' in Islam, 'Nirvana' in Buddhism, 'Salvation' in Christianity, and 'Mukhti' in Hinduism. This is the highest condition attainable, and all ancient prophets and sages experienced it, and taught it to the world.Baqa is the original state of God. At this state every being must arrive some day, consciously or unconsciously, before or after death. The beginning and end of all beings is the same, difference only existing during the journey."

    "Perfection is reached by the regular practice of concentration, passing through three grades of development: Faná -fi-Shaikh, annihilation in the astral plane, Faná-fi-Rasul, annihilation in the spiritual plane, and Faná-fi-Allah, annihilation in the abstract.After passing through these three grades, the highest state is attained of Bá qi-bi-Allah, annihilation in the eternal consciousness, which is the destination of all who travel by this path."

    Inayat Khan (عنایت خان ) (July 5, 1882 – February 5, 1927) was an exemplar of Universal Sufism and founder of the "Sufi Order in the West" in 1914 (London). Later, in 1923, the Sufi Order of the London period was dissolved into a new organization formed under Swiss law and called the "International Sufi Movement". He initially came to the West as a representative of classical Indian music, having received the title Tansen from the Nizam of Hyderabad but soon turned to the introduction and transmission of Sufi thought and practice. His universal message of divine unity (Tawhid) focused on the themes of love, harmony and beauty. He taught that blind adherence to any book rendered any religion void of spirit. Inayat Khan set forth ten thoughts that form the foundational principles of Universal Sufism."

    The Sufi Message of Inayat Khan -14 Volumes

    "Volumes I through XIV are the teachings of Inayat Khan as transcribed by his students from his lectures and talks given between 1914 and 1926. These are the books which have been most widely circulated. The book called "Sayings" is largely derived from Inayat Khan's own personal notebooks. The portion of the book called "Biography" was written following interviews with Inayat Khan, while the "Autobiography" portion was written by Inayat Khan himself."

    "The Indian Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927) was the very first teacher to bring Sufism to the Western world. This is the first representative collection of the master's teachings - making it the perfect book for anyone who has been intrigued by his writings but unsure about where to start in his sixteen-volume collected works. Newcomers will be inspired by just how delightful and useful Inayat Khan's teachings are for everyone, regardless of religious background. Long-time students will find the book a valuable reference to the essence of his teachings on a variety of subjects. Each chapter includes a wealth of material taken from Inayat Khan's work on a particular subject, such as Mysticism, Discipleship, Music, Children, or Divine Intimacy, followed by a selection of his short sayings and aphorisms on the same topic."

    Sufi Teachings of Osho 

    "Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain (11 December 1931 – 19 January 1990), was an Indian mystic and spiritual teacher. Osho's syncretic teachings emphasize the importance of meditation, awareness, love, celebration, creativity and humor – qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition and socialization. His teachings have had a notable impact on Western New Age thought, and their popularity has increased markedly since his death.

    Jokes, paradox, parables, wisdom, absurdity – all to shake the reader out of his intellect and into the innocence of the mystic. Osho distills the essence of Sufism for the contemporary Man, not to inform the reader about the state of mysticism but to create the situation in which we can discover the mystic within ourselves. 

    "I am not really talking on Sufism. I will be talking Sufism. If you are ready, if you are ready to go into this adventure, then you will attain to a taste of it. It is something that will start happening in your heart. It is something like a bud opening. You will start feeling a certain sensation in the heart – as if something is becoming alert, awake there; as if the heart has been asleep for long and now? the first glimmer of the morning – and there you will have the taste."  ~Osho.

    The Shrine of Ali Hujwiri - better known in India and Pakistan as Data Ganj Bakhsh - in Lahore, Pakistan. The eminent 11th century Persian Sufi master, Ali Hujwiri or Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh is the founder of Sufism in Indian Subcontinent.  

    The Shrine of founder of 12th century Chishti Sufi Order in Indi, Moinuddin Chishti - better known as Hazrat Gharib Nawaz- in Ajmer, India.

    The Sarcophagus of founder of 12th century Chishti Sufi Order in India, Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, India.

    Emperor Jehangir's visit to the Mausoleum of Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer, India - Ca.1613.

    Gathering of the Sufis in India, 11th century miniature.

    Gathering of the Sufis in India, 17th century miniature.

    "India has always been a land of great saints and free thinkers, which has been assimilating in its fold various cultures and thoughts from time to time. It is the land of ancient wisdom, where Sufism in its true spirit has flourished from time immemorial.  However, in the current context of Sufism, it could be worthwhile to mention that Islam entered into India through the Sea route, through the land route from Persia into Sind and through the Khyber Pass.  It is believed that the Sufis must have also used these routes, which were used by the Arab traders and military commanders.

    The first great Sufi saint to visit India (undivided) was Ali el-Hujwiri popularly known in India as Data Ganj Bakhsh. He was a disciple of Muhammad al-Hasan al Khuttali who was connected with Junayad of Baghdad.  He came to be known as Data Ganj Bakhsh after being addressed so at his tomb by Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, the great Sufi saint of the Chishti order. Ali el-Hujwiri is considered to be the first authoritative Sufi writer who wrote several books on Sufism. His most famous book is Kashfu’l Mahjub, the first book on mysticism in the Persian language. Born in Ghazna in Afghanistan, around 1000 AD, he travelled from Syria to Turkistan and from the Indus to the Caspian Sea. During his journeys, he came across many saints and had deliberations with them. He received knowledge both from Abul Qasim Gurgani, a great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order and Khwaja Muzaffar.

    His Shaikh asked him to go and settle in Lahore. According to the description in Fuwaidu’l-Fuwad (a compilation of the sayings of great Sufi Master Khwaja Nizamuddin-Auliya of the Chishti Order) he was initially reluctant to go to Lahore as one of his co-disciples Shaikh Hasan Zanjani was already there. On insistence by his Master, he proceeded to Lahore. On entering the city of Lahore he witnessed the burial of Shaikh Hasan Zanjani, who had just passed away. He settled near Bhati Gate in Lahore, where his tomb is situated.

    Ali el-Hujwiri continued to be greatly revered by all the saints of India, even after his death.  Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti is believed to have paid a visit and offered prayers at his tomb on his arrival to India. It was during this visit that he paid respects to Ali el-Hujwiri by addressing him as ‘Ganj Baksh’ i.e. the munificent one which also meant ‘Data’ (giver) in Hindi, thus he came to be popularly known thereafter as ‘Data Ganj Baksh’..."

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    "Shah Wali Ullah divides Sufism into four epochs, though the four historical epochs were not mutually exclusive. There was considerable overlap. The first epoch began with the prophet and his companions and extended until the time of Junaid of Baghdad. According to Yusuf Husain, the Sufis of the first two centuries of Hijrah were ascetics, who laid great stress on the principles of Tauba and Tawakkul. Their contemplation remained confined within the limits of the Quran and the practice of the prophet.

    The second epoch started during Junaid’s time. The Sufis of this period lived in a state of continued meditation and contemplation. This resulted in intuitive insights and intense spiritual experiences that could be expressed only symbolically or in unusual phrases. They were so emotionally affected by “sama’” that they swooned or tore their clothes in ecstasy. In this period the Sufis were better organized and were divided into sects. Sufi masters now began to send their disciples to distant lands. Many eminent Sufis also moved to India.

    The third epoch started from the advent of Shaikh Abu Said Ibn Abdul Khair and Shaikh Abul Hasan Kharaqani. The Sufis of the period live in a state of ecstasy, which led to “Tawajjuh” (spiritual telepathy). In contemplating the union of temporal and eternal their individuality dissolved, and they even ignored their regular religious practices.

    The fourth began with the birth of Shaikh Akbar Muhiyuddin Ibn al-‘Arabi (1165-1240 AD), when the Sufis discovered the theory of the five stages of the descent from “Wajibul Wujud” (Necessary Being), i.e. Ahadiyya (Essence of Primal One), Wahdaniyya (Unity of God), sphere of Arwah (sphere of Infinite Forms), sphere of Misal (Similitude or Angelic Forms), sphere of Ajsam (Bodies of Physical World).

    Before reaching India, the movement of Tasawwuf had reached the highest point of its development in the twelfth century. After the conquest of northern India by the Muslims, various Sufi orders were established, in particular, the Chisti and Suhrawardiyya orders. The orders of Qadiri, Naqshabandi, Shuttari, Madari ect, also represented and functioned on more or less the same lines. The Sufi who left an indelible mark both on India and on the history of Sufism was Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Usman al-Hujwiri, known as Data Ganj Bakhsh, who reached Lahore in 1035 AD. He wrote Kashful Mahjub in Persian, contains biographies, thought and practices of Sufis from the prophet Muhammad’s day to his own time.

    The order of the Chistis, founded by Khawaja Abdal Chisti (d. 966 AD), was introduced into India by Khawaja Muinuddin Chisti. He was born in Sistan in 1143 AD. He traveled widely in Islamic countries and came to Harun, a town in Nishapur, and became the disciple of Khawaja Usman Haruni, a famous saint of the Chisti order, who directed him to settle in India. Khawaja Muinuddin arrived in India in 1190 AD. , And first proceeded to Lahore, where he spent some times in meditation at the tomb of Ali Hujwiri. The surviving sayings of the Khawaja show that his life’s mission was to inculcate piety, humility, and devotion to God.

    The Chisti mystics believed in the spiritual value of music and patronized professional singers, whatever their caste or religion might be. Khawaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, the successor of Muinuddin died in a state of ecstasy while listening to music.

    Another Khawaja Muinuddin’s disciple, Shaikh Hamiduddin made Nagaur (Rajasthan) the chief Chistiyya order. He was then succeeded by his grandson Fariduddin Mahmud. One of Shaikh Farid’s disciples, Khawaja Ziyauddin Nakhshabi was a famous scholar who translated Chintamani Bhatta’s Suka-Saptati into Persian from Sanskrit and gave the title Tuti Nama.

    Of the Khawaja Muinuddin’s disciples, Shaikh Fariduddin Ganjshakar or Baba Farid was very celebrated. He settled in Ajodhan and built his Jamaat Khana. Baba’s successor was Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya (1238-1325 AD), who came from Badaun but had settled in Delhi. Under Khawaja Nizamuddin, Chistiyya order became the dominant Sufi silsila in India. The collection of his conversation known as “Fawaid al-Fuad” compiled by his disciple, Amir Hasan. From him began the Chistiyya Nizamiyya, while Alauddin Sabir of Kalyar, another disciple of Baba Farid, led Chistiyya Sabiriyya.

    Nizamuddin, known also as Mehboob Ilahi, stressed on the motive of love, which leads to the realization of God. He extended his love of God to the love of humanity without which the former would be incomplete. After Nizamuddin, some Chisti saints became the successors one after the other. They are Nasiruddin Chiragh Dahlavi, his malfuzat known as “Khairul Majalis”, Sayyid Muhammad Gesudaraz, who wrote “Khatairu al-Quds”, “Asma al-Asrar”, “Sharh Risala-e-Qushairi”, ect. Gesudaraz earlier works are based on Wahdatu al-Wujud, but was later converted to Wahdat al-Shuhud doctrines.

    Beside Chistiyya, Suhrawardiyya sisila also have played significant role in the spread of sufi doctrines in India. The founder, Shaikh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi, the author of “Awarif al-Ma’arif”, directed his disciple Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya of Multan (1182-1262 AD) to make Multan the center of his activity. Iltutmish appointed him as Shaikhul Islam after the invasion of Multan and topple its ruler, Qabacha. During the Mongol invasion he became the peace negotiator between invaders and Muslim army.

    Bahauddin’s successor was his son Shaikh Sadruddin ‘Arif. His disciple, Amir Husayn, the author of “Zad- al-Musafirin”, wrote several works on the doctrine Wahdat al-Wujud. Shaikh Arif’s son and caliph, Shaikh Ruknuddin was highly respected by the Delhi Sultans from ‘Alauddin Khalji to Muhammad Ibn Tughlug.

    After the death of Shaikh Ruknuddin the Suhrawardiyya silsila declined in Multan but became popular in other provinces like Uch, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir and even Delhi. It was revitalized by Sayyid Jalaluddin Bukhari known as Makhdum Jahaniyan, the world traveler. He was puritan and strongly objected the Hindu influences to Muslim social and religious practices.

    Another contemporary mystic who is worthy of mention was Shaikh Sharfuddin Yahya Manairi (d. 1380 AD). He belonged to the Firdausia order, a branch of Suhrawardiyya. He compiled several books, i.e. “Fawaid al-Muridin”, “Irshadat al-Talibin”,”Rahat al-Qulub”, ect.

    Qadiri order was founded by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Gilani of Baghdad (d. 1166 AD). The first who introduced it to India was Sayyid Muhammad Gilani Qodiri of Aleppo, who later settled in Uch where he died in 1517 AD. Other famous mystics of Qadiri order were and Shaikh Abdul Ma’ali of Lahore. Shaikh Abdul Haq Muahddis Dahlawi wrote many important books one of them was “Akhbar al-Akhyar”. Dara Shukoh, the son of Shah Jahan was a devotee of Qadiri order. He wrote “Safinat al-Awliya” and “Sakinat al-Awliya” on the mystics biographies.

    Naqshabandi order seems to be destined to accept the challenge flung against orthodox Islam in India by the upholders of the doctrine of the “Unity of Being”, and the electicism of Akbar. Naqshabandi order is the offshoot of Khwajagan order. Khwajagan order was founded in Turkistan by Khwaja Ahmad Ata’ Yaswi. The order was popularized by Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshabandi (d. 1388 AD). After him the order was known as Naqshabandi. He emphasized to follow the sunnah. The order was introduced to India by Khwaja Baqi’ Billah (1563-1603 AD) and popularized in India by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624 AD), known as Mujaddid Alf Thani. After him the order named Naqshabandiyya Mujaddidiyya.

    Rejecting the “Wahdat al-Wujud” (Unity of Being) he expounded the doctrine of “Wahdat al-Shuhud” (Apparantism). Shah Wali Ullah, another mystic of Naqshabandi order tried to compromise both the two doctrines. In his treatise “Faislatul Wahdatul Wujud wa al-Shuhud” he stood as an arbiter on the dispute of both doctrines. But in other occasion he observed in his book “Tafhimat Ilahia”, that “Apparantism” is higher than that of the “Unity of Being”.

    "This book studies the veneration practices and rituals of the Muslim saints. It outlines the principle trends of the main Sufi orders in India, the profiles and teachings of the famous and less well-known saints, and the development of pilgrimage to their tombs in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. A detailed discussion of the interaction of the Hindu mystic tradition and Sufism shows the polarity between the rigidity of the orthodox and the flexibility of the popular Islam in South Asia. Treating the cult of saints as a universal and all pervading phenomenon embracing the life of the region in all its aspects, the analysis includes politics, social and family life, interpersonal relations, gender problems and national psyche. The author uses a multidimensional approach to the subject: a historical, religious and literary analysis of sources is combined with an anthropological study of the rites and rituals of the veneration of the shrines and the description of the architecture of the tombs."

    Indian Sufism since 17th Century: Saints, books and empires in the Muslim Deccan


    "Sufism is often regarded as standing mystically aloof from its wider cultural settings. By turning this perspective on its head, Indian Sufism since the Seventeenth Century reveals the politics and poetry of Indian Sufism through the study of Islamic sainthood in the midst of a cosmopolitan Indian society comprising migrants, soldiers, litterateurs and princes. Placing the mystical traditions of Indian Islam within their cultural contexts, the study focuses on the shrines of four Sufi saints in the neglected Deccan region and their changing roles under the rule of the Mughals, the Nizams of Haydarabad and, after 1947, the Indian nation...  Indian Sufism since the Seventeenth Century is essential reading for scholars with interests in Sufism, Islam, India and cultural studies."

    Yogis In Silence. The Great Sufi Masters


    "The book, Yogis in Silence, the Great Sufi Masters provides a glimpse of the life and conduct of some of the great Sufi Masters from 8th Century AD onward. These great Masters lived like ordinary family persons, hiding their true self from the public. They believed, Perfection is not in exhibition of miraculous powers, but perfection is to sit among people, sell and buy, marry and have children; and yet never leave the presence of the Almighty even for one moment. The essence of their teachings is: desires are the world. Desires cause the worries and worries result into instability of mind."


    "Sufism, Its Saints and Shrines is the first authoritative and detailed account of Sufism as it exists in India and Pakistan, and as such fills a colossal gap in the study of Sufi mystical movement. The author was at one time member of the Qadari order, a well known Sufi order. He compressed in this book a fascinating material starting with the early history of Sufism and ending with an account of its religious order and some of its principle saints. The highlight of this comprehensive work is the detailed account of the main Sufi traditional orders which have not been covered with the same authenticity in any other book. It provides information about the saints, their practices and thoughts. It is an effort to place before the readers, in systematic form, the varied and extensive thought from the original sources of Urdu and Persian literature."

    "This multi-sited ethnography considers the impact of contested definitions on the experiences and representations of Sindhi Hindus. Ramey recognizes how the dominant definitions of Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism challenge communities who defy such understandings and analyzes the ways Sindhi Hindus have established their unconventional practices and heritage in the context of their diaspora. By analyzing concrete examples of the creation of a heritage in the context of migration, this book considers the implications of representations of religions for Sindhi Hindus and other similar communities."

    Sufism Beyond Religion - by R.K.Gupta

    "The book, Sufism Beyond Religion is an attempt to distinguish between spirituality and religion, not by comparing the two, but by describing how one could acquire spirituality, no matter what religion one follows. Sufism is the ancient wisdom, which is not confined to any particular religion and, therefore, Sufism cuts across the barriers of religion. The author has thrown a great deal of illuminating light on various points on the mysticism free from religious limitations, with special reference to certain such saints, who meditated for human integration and opposed every division of humanity in the name of God."

    Carl W. Ernst is a specialist in Islamic studies, with a focus on West and South Asia. His published research, based on the study of Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, has been mainly devoted to the study of Islam and Sufism. On the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1992, he has been department chair (1995-2000) and Zachary Smith Professor (2000-2005). He is now William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor (2005- ) and Director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations.

    Songs of Kabir

    "Songs of Kabir is a 1915 book consisting of 100 poems of Kabir, the 15th-century Indian poet and mystic, translated to English by Rabindranath Tagore. In this book, Kabir has combined the philosophies of Sufism and Hinduism. The book has an introduction by Evelyn Underhill."


    Emphasis on music and singing the praises of God.

    "All the comforts lie in the meditation of the one Name. All the religions are contained in singing God's praises." (Guru Arjan Dev, Asa, pg. 392).

    Emphasis on inner worth instead of external rituals.

    "Easy is it to utter and cause to utter. But difficult is it to accept Thy Will." (Guru Arjan Dev, Sri Rag, pg. 51).

    "They who perform many religious rites, but meditate not on the Creator and in their mind have no Divine discrimination, suffer transmigration and wander in many existence's." Guru Arjan Dev, Pauri, pg. 297).

    Respect for all religions and prophets and a general tolerance for the convictions of others.

    Free community kitchen.


    Belief in poverty and asceticism. Gurus believed one should lead the life of a householder.
    "To be a householder, who at least gives to some is better than this wearing deceptive robes (of the recluse)" (Guru Amar Das, Slok, pg. 587).

    The final stage of the Sufi is renunciation away from family and community. There is no need to renounce these in Sikhism.

    Belief that life is misery and the world nothing but an embodiment of pain.

    "Ever meditate within thy mind on Him, by whose kindness thou dwellest comfortably in thy palace. By whose kindness, thou abidest in comfort with thy family, repeat thou His Name with thy tongue for all the eight watches. Nanak, constantly meditate on Him, who is worthy of meditation and by whose favour thou enjoyest love and pleasures." (Guru Arjan Dev, Ashtpadi, pg. 269).

    Related Reading Materials:

    "Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) whose life and teachings spanned the greater part of the 20th Century, is regarded by many as one who has had the most profound impact on human consciousness in modern times.

    Sage, philosopher and thinker, he illumined the lives of millions the world over – intellectuals and laymen, young and old. Breaking away from all organized religions and denying his role as a Guru, he spelt out his mission: to set Man absolutely and unconditionally free.

    He traveled round the world till the age of 90 giving talks, writing, holding discussions. He talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday life; the problems of living in modern society, the individual’s search for security, and the need for human beings to free themselves from from their inner burdens of violence, fear and sorrow."

    More Sufism Related Reading Materials


    "Rumi is perhaps the only example in world literature of a devoted prose writer who suddenly burst forth into poetry during middle age to become a truly great mystical poet for all time. This book, a long-overdue reckoning of his life and work, begins with a description and examination of the living conditions in 13th-century Persia. Building on this context, Afzal Iqbal [the eminent 20th century India-born scholar of Rumi] proceeds to fully analyze the formative period of Rumi's life leading up to 1261--when he began the monumental work of writing the Mathnawi. Toward the end of the book, Iqbal more generally investigates Rumi's thought and includes translations of those portions of the Mathnawi that have been hitherto unavailable in English. Combining an unparalleled familiarity with the source material, a total and critical understanding of the subject, and a powerful and readable prose style, this is an extraordinary study of a truly remarkable poet and mystic."

    "Rumi (1207-1273) was a Persian jurist and theologian best known for being perhaps the finest of all Sufi poets. His writings have been widely translated and remain especially popular in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Though written from a Sufi perspective, Rumi's poems on spiritual growth-here collected and edited by F. Hadland Davis and first published in 1907-cross all cultural and religious bounds, and can still be heard today in many secular and religious settings. The Persian Mystics: Jalalu'd-din Rumi includes selections from some of Rumi's most famous works, the "Divani Shamsi Tabriz" and the "Masnavi," as well as passages on his life and work, and the origin and nature of Sufism. FREDERICK HADLAND DAVIS is also the author of The Persian Mystics: Jami (1908) and Myths and Legends of Japan (1912)."

    "Two astonishing perspectives for the discipline and science of self transformation: Rumi s Poetic language vs. Carl Jung s psychological Language. Rumi & Self Psychology (Psychology of Tranquility) combines the poetry of Rumi with Carl Jung's concepts of the self and explains notions such as self-discovery, self-actualization, self-liberation, self-determination, self-assertion, and self-knowledge. Each chapter offers an explanation from a self-psychology perspective, a series of Rumi's poems, and a series of famous quotes relating to the subject. This book combines the concepts of Rumi and Carl Jung to help the reader become familiar with the concept of self. This book will use a combination of psychological and spiritual approaches in an attempt to face, and communicate with the reader, the reality of the deeper layers of a person's being; the self's different aspects. Hopefully, it will help the reader in understanding the concept of self. The meanings of the poems of Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet who is said to be one of the most popular poets in the West as well as the East, are explained in this book. In addition, Carl Jung's concepts of self are combined in an attempt to form an explanation of an expanded and well-developed self. Jung was the Swiss psychiatrist who founded the concept of analytical psychology."

    فاسقان زشتند
    و زاحدان مزدور بهشتند
    اي آفريننده خلقان ز آتش و آب
    فريادرس از دل بحجاب وفتنه اسباب
    گريه گرفتارآن دردم كه تو درمان آني
    بنده آن آشنايم كه تو سزاي آني
    من در تو چه دانم
    مناجات نامه- 'پیر هرات' خواجه عبدالله انصاری

    خود را بشناس تا شناسی حق را
    حق را نشناخت هر که خودرا نشناخت
    بنگر که چه یی و از کجا آمده یی
    میدان که چه میکنی کجا خواهی رفت
      خواجه عبدالله انصاری

    خالقا بیچاره راه تو ام
    همچو موری تنگ درچاه تو ام
    من نمیدانم که من اهل کیم
    یا کجایم یا کدامم یا کیم
    شیخ فریدالدین عطار

    سودیم سراپا و به پایی نرسیدیم
    ازخویش گزشتیم و بجایی نرسیدیم
    آن بی پر و بالیم که در حسرت پرواز
    گشتیم غبارو بهوایی نرسیدیم
     ابوالمعانی بیدل

    دی شیخ شهر همی گشت گرد شهر
    کز دیوو دد ملولم و انسانم آرزوست
    گفتند یافت می نشود جسته ایم ما
    گفت آنکه یافت می نشود آنم آرزوست
     مولانا جلال الدین بلخی رومی

    میان عاشق و معشوق هیچ حایل نیست
    تو خود حجاب خودی حافظ از میان برخیز


    ای خودستا بیرون کن پاازسرای هستی
    تا چند از دنائت دربند خودپرستی
    تاکی روی شتابان درپرتگاه پستی
    هنگام تنگ دستی درعیش کوش ومستی
     حافظ شیرازی

    چه پرسی از کجایم چیستم من
    بخود پیچیده ام تا زیستم من
    زمن گو صوفیان با صفا را
    خدا جویان معنی آشنا را
    غلام همت آن خود پرستم
    که بانور خودی بیند خدارا
    علامه اقبال لاهوری

    مسافر چون بود، رهرو کدام است
    که را گویم که او مرد تمام است
    دگر گفتی مسافر کیست در راه
    کسی کو شد ز اصل خویش آگاه
    مسافـر آن بـود که بـگذرد زود
    ز خود صافی شود چون آتش از دود
    بـه عکـس سیر اول در منـازل
    رود تا گردد او انسان کامل
    شیخ محمود شبسترى

    اگر خواهی خودرا شناسی بدانکه الله تعالی ترا آفریده است از دو چیز: یکی کالبد ظاهر که آنرا تن گویند و بچشم ظاهر بتوان دید و دیگری معنی باطن که آنرانفس گویند و دل گویند و جان گویند و آنرا به بصیرت باطن توان شناخت و بچشم ظاهر نتوان دید
    شیخ احمد غزالی

    درین عبرت سرا عرفان ماهم تازگی دارد
    !سراپا مغز دانش گشتن و چیزی نفهمیدن
    ابوالمعانی بیدل

    صوفي نشوي بفوطه و پشمينه
    نه پيرشوي زصحبت ديرينه
    صوفي بايد كه صاف دارد سينه
    انصاف بده صوفي و آنهمه كينه

    ای دل تو دمی مطیع سبحان نشدی
    وز کار بدت هیچ پشیمان نشدی
    صوفی و فقیه و زاهد و دانشمند
    این جمله شدی ولی مسلمان نشدی

    خوش باش که خوش نهاد باشد صوفی
    از باطن خویش شاد باشد صوفی
    صوفی صاف است غم بر او ننشیند
    کیخسرو و کیقباد باشد صوفی

    صوفیان آمدند از چپ و راست

    در به در کو به کو که باده کجاست
    در صوفی دل‌ست و کویش جان
    باده صوفیان ز خم خداست

    صوفیی از فقر چون در غم شود
    عین فقرش دایه و مطعم شود
    شاد آن صوفی که رزقش کم شود
    آن شبه‌ش در گردد و اویم شود

    پرورد به ناز و نعمت آن دوست مرا
    بردوخت مرقع از رگ و پوست مرا
    تن خرقه و اندر او دل ما صوفی
    عالم همه خانقاه و شیخ اوست مرا

    امشب منم و هزار صوفی پنهان
    مانندهٔ جان جمله نهانند و عیان
    ای عارف مطرب هله تقصیر مکن
    تا دریابی بدین صفت رقص‌کنان

    دارد درویش نوش دیگر
    و اندر سر و چشم هوش دیگر
    در وقت سماع صوفیان را
    از عرش رسد خروش دیگر
    تو صورت این سماع بشنو
    کایشان دارند گوش دیگر
    صد دیگ به جوش هست این جا
    دارد درویش جوش دیگر
    همزانوی آنک تش نبینی
    سرمست ز می فروش دیگر
    درویش ز دوش باز مست است
    غیر شب و روز دوش دیگر
    ماییم چو جان خموش و گویا
    حیران شده در خموش دیگر

    صوفییم و خرقه‌ها انداختیم

    باز نستانیم چون در باختیم
    ما عوض دیدیم آنگه چون عوض
    رفت از ما حاجت و حرص و غرض
    ز آب شور و مهلکی بیرون شدیم
    بر رحیق و چشمهٔ کوثر زدیم

    صوفی ابن الوقت باشد در منال
    لیک صافی فارغست از وقت و حال
    هست صوفی صفاجو ابن وقت
    وقت را همچون پدر بگرفته سخت
    هست صافی غرق عشق ذوالجلال
    ابن کس نه فارغ از اوقات و حال
    هست بسیار اهل حال از صوفیان
    نادرست اهل مقام اندر میان
    از پی روپوش عامه در بیان
    وحی دل گویند آن را صوفیان
    زانک جانی کان ندارد هست پست
    این سخن حقست و صوفی گفته است

    در تعريف تصوف سخنان بسيار آمده است. از ابو سعيد ابو الخير پرسيدند كه صوفي كيست؟ گفت:" آنكه هر چه كند به پسند حق كند و هر چه حق كند او بپسندد." صوفيان ترك اوصاف و بي اعتنايي به جسم و تن را واجب مي شمارند و دور ساختن صفات نكوهيده را آغاز زندگي نو وتولدي ديگر به شمار مي آورند

    :هفت وادي (مرحله) عرفان
         طلب، عشق، معرفت، استغناء، حيرت، فنا و بقا

    تصوف چيست؟

    تصوف دو چيز است، يک سو نگريستن و يکسان زيستن. و اين تصوف عزتيست در دل، و توانگريست در درويشي، و خداونديست در بندگي، سيري است در گرسنگي، و پوشيدگي است در برهنگي، و آزاديست در بندگي، و زندگاني است در مرگ، و شيريني است در تلخي

    تصوف يعني گسيختن ارتباط از هر چيزي که غير از خداست. قسمت دروني صوفي خدا، و قسمت بيروني او انسانيت است و در ميان مشايخ اين طايفه، اصلي بزرگ است که اين طايفه همگي يکي باشند و يکي همه - ميان جمله صوفيان عالم هيچ مضادت و مباينت و خود دوي در نباشد، هر که صوفي است، که صوفي نماي بي معني در اين داخل نباشد. و اگر چه در صور الفاظ مشايخ از راه عبارت تفاوتي نمايد، معاني همه يکي باشد چون از راه معني در نگري، چون همه يکي اند، همه دست ها يکي بود و همه نظرها يکي بود
    شيخ ابو سعيد ابوالخير

    هفت شهرعشق را عطار گشت
    ماهنوزاندرخم یک کوچه ایم

    هفت شهر عشق' در منطق الطیر شیخ فریدالدین عطار نیشاپوری'

    گفت ما را هفت وادی در ره است
    چون گذشتی هفت وادی درگه است
    هست وادی طلب آغاز کار
    وادی عشق است از آن پس بی کنار
    پس سیم وادی است آن معرفت
    پس چهارم وادی استغنا صفت
    هست پنجم وادی توحید پاک
    پس ششم وادی حیرت صعبناک
    هفتمین وادی فقر است و فنا
    بعد از این روی روش نبود تو را
    در کشش افتی روش گم گرددت
    گر بود یک قطره قلزم گرددت
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    Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!

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