"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 Fana - Annihilation of Sef & Baqa - Eternal Mystical Union and Abiding with God ].
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.
Excerpts from The Persian Sufis by Cyprian Rice.
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.
Sufi Zikr or Dhikr Ceremony
- The Origin of Sufism
- What Is Sufism?
- Zuhd (Asceticism)
- 'Ashq (Passion or Intense, Ecstatic Love)
- Mahabba (Love)
- Ma'rifa (Spiritual Knowledge of God)
- Dhikr (Recitation of God's Names)
- Faqr and Ghina (Poverty and Richness)
- Sakina and Itmi'nan (Serenity and Peacefulness)
- Ihsan (Perfect Goodness)
- Sabr (Patience)
- Shukr (Thankfulness)
- Haya (Modesty)
- Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Dervish (Dervish)
- Salik (Initiate)
- Tawhid (Unity)
- The Universal Man
- Chila (Suffering)
- Mujahada (Striving)
- Safa' (Purity)
- Fana Fi'llah (Annihilation in God)
- Baqa Bi'llah (Subsistence with God)
- Sakr and Sahw (Intoxication and Sobriety)
- Ma'rifa (Knowledge of God)
- 'Ilm (Knowledge)
- Hikma (Wisdom)
- Qalaq (Passion)
- Istighraq (Immersion)
- Irshad and Murshid (Guidance and the Guide)
- Safar (Journeying)
- Wasil (One Who Has Reached)
- Wahda and Kasra (Unity and Multiplicity)
- The Spirit and What Follows
- Wijdan (Conscience)
- 'Aql (Reason)
- Nafs (The Soul)
- Karama (Wonder)
- Nazar and Tawajjuh (Attention and Regard)
- Waridat and Mawhiba (Gifts and Favor)
- Khulla (Sincere Friendship)
- Fayd and Tajalli (Effusion and Manifestation)
- Tajalli (Manifestation)
- Wahy and Ilham (Revelation and Inspiration)
Read Entire eBook Online Below:
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.
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 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, Sufis & Sufi Orders: Sufism's Many Paths
- Sufism: an Introduction
- Tasawwuf - Sufism - Must Read
- Sufism or Islamic Mysticism - 240 Pages
- Essential Sufism
- Sufism and its Teachings
- Sufi Thought and Practice
- Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam
- Introduction To Sufi Doctrine
- Sufism or Islamic Mysticism
- Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism
- Sufism: The Mysticism Developed by Muslims
- Sufism and Sufi Mystics of Islam
- The School of Sufi Teaching
- The Origin of Sufism
- Sufism - The Formative Period
- A to Z of Sufism
- What is Sufism? by Martin Lings
- What is Sufism? by Annemarie Schimmel
- Sufism and Its Teachings
- The Sufi Path to God
- World of Tasawwuf
- The Doctrines of Sufism
- Analysis of the Doctrine of Sufism
- Significance of the Isra and Miaraj in Sufism
- The Purpose and Content of Traditional Sufism
- Words of Ecstasy in Sufism
- Ecstacy, Sama and Dance in Sufism
- The Influence of Sufism on Traditional Persian Music
- Sufism in the Light of Orientalism
- The Relevance of Sufism and Psychology
- Sufism and Psychology.- Clinical Perspectives
- Sufi Treatments Methods and Philosophy Behind It
- Theoretical Gnosis and Doctrinal Sufism and Their Significance Today
- LOVE AND LOVER TRANSFORMED: THE SUFI PATH TO GOD
- AN INTRODUCTION TO MYSTICISM/SUFISM
- THE POLITICS OF POPULAR RELIGION: SUFIS, SALAFIS, AND MUSLIM
- Female Sufism in Central Asia: from Poetry to Music
- Sufism and the Indonesian Islamic Revival
- A History of Western Sufism
- Sufism and Sufi Orders in the West
- International Sufi Movement
- International Association of Sufism
- Sufi Order International
- The Golden Sufi Center
- The Sufi Center East
- Sufism Journal
- Coming to One through the Many (Sufi Yogi connections)
- Sufism and Zen
- The Sufi (Sufi ebooks, Articles & Sufi Music)
- Darvish- excellent blog on Sufism
- Sufi Books and Articles to Read Online
- More Sufism Resources
"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."
- Mevlevi Sufi Order (Rumi's Sufi Order)
- Nimatullahi Sufi Order
- Nimatullahi-Gonabadi Sufi Order
- Chishti Sufi Order
- Chishti-Ajmeri Sufi Order
- Naqshbandi-Nizami Sufi Order
- Naqshbandi-Mujaddedi Sufi Order
- Naqshbandi-Owasiah Sufi Order
- Naqshbandi-Owasiah Sufi Order
- Halveti-Jerrahi Sufi Order
- Nur Ashki-Jerrahi Sufi Order
- Qadiri Sufi Order
- Qadiri-Muhammadi Sufi Order
- Rifai Sufi Order
- Rifai-Qadiri Sufi Order
- Shadhili Sufi Order
- Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshband Bukhari
- List of Sufi Saints - Must Read
- Sufi Religious Leaders
A Wandering Afghan Sufi Dervish known as Malang or Qalandar.
صوفی درویش افغانی مشهور به ملنگ یا قلندر
"There are wandering Sufi Dervishes
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
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
La Illaha Ill-Allah-
"There is nothing but God.
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
خانقاه حضرت مولانا در قونیه - ترکیه
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."
Virtually all of the following eBooks 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:
"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."
"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."
Muslim Saints and Mystics
By A.J.Arberry - Must Read
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 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."
"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 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."
"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."
"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."
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."
"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."
"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" 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"."
"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 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."
- The Sufi Tradition- an Interview with Idries Shah
- Declaration of the People of the Tradition - Idries Shah
- Reflections - by Idries Shah
- The Sufi Awakening -a Lecture by Idries Shah
- The Commanding Self - Full Book
"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 Sūfi movement, the mystical states, fundamentals of Persian mysticism and Sūfi practices."
Persian Sufi Poetry - An introduction to the mystical use of classical poems
By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart
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:
"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."
What is Sufism? by Annemarie Schimmel
"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 Veil and Quintessence
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."
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."
Early Mystics in Turkish Literature
*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 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
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."
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
"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 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
Sanctity and Mysticism in Medieval Egypt: The Wafa Sufi Order and the Legacy of Ibn 'Arabi
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 the Mystery
Kashf al-Mahjub (کشف المحجوب)- Revelation of the 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 Indian Subcontinent.
Ali Hujwiri's Kashf al-Mahjub in Farsi, Arabic, Urdu, Sindhi and Bengali:
Kashf al-Mahjub - in several 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
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
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."
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."
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
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
Sufism and Deconstruction: A Comparative Study of Derrida and Ibn 'Arabi
* 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."
- Ibn Arabi’s Doctrine of Oneness of Being (9 Pages)
- Introducing Ibn Arabi’s Book of Spiritual Advice (15 Pages)
- Mantle of Initiation (Khirqah) by Ibn Arabi (29 Pages)
"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."
Sufi Teachings of Osho
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.
"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.
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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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.
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”.
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