This essay is being dedicated to Merrie for her thoughtfulness and purity of heart. Merrie is an electronic friend I have communicated with for many years in the past,but unfortunately I have never met.
Why This Essay Now?
During the time I was fulfilling the promise I had made to other electronic friends who had expressed interest in learning more about Islam, and in the middle of presenting to them a series of 14 different topics about Islam, I received a completely unexpected E-mail from Merrie. It was totally unexpected since we did not communicate with one another for sometimes. What is of interest to this essay was what she wrote about Sufism in the E-mail she sent me,and I quote:
"I ran across this website and thought instantly of you and that you might enjoy it. I do not know if you appreciate Sufism as it is a special order of Islam but there are some beautiful thoughts that I've seen written by Sufis.
May you be well,
She accompanied her E-mail with the following essay:
"The Beauty of Mathematics and the Love of God Darvish <<"
It was a beautifull essay. And anyone who may be interested in reviewing it can do so through the following link:
The whole content of her E-mail has touched me to the core, to a point of blaming myself for forgotten to include Sufism and Sufis in the series I was providing and I promised then my other electronic friends that I would write a special essay about Sufism after finishing the series made of 14 different topics about Islam.
However,I thought of inserting Sufism in the series I was handling then. It just did not work. Hence,this essay about Sufism and Sufis is being written now.
Definitions Of Terms:
In order to comprehend Sufism ,one must ask the questions:
Question: What is Sufism?
Answer: According to some authorities on Sufism,it is a philosophy that uses poetry, music and dancings to worship and communicate with God. That is the way for those who are seeking an enlightenment with God.
Question: But where the word, Sufism, came from?
Answer: It came from the Arabic word,"Suf" which meant "wool."
Question: what, "Suf ", which meant/means, "wool", has to do with a philosophy called Sufism?
Answer: It had happened that the adherents of Sufism wore cloths made of "Suf" , meaning "wool". Hence, they are called Sufis. For a single one person he or she is called Sufi without the "s". In Arabic,the correct words are asfolows
Sufi for a single male person who follows Sufism.
Sufieh for a single female person who follows Sufism.
Sufian or Sufiyyn for two male persons who follow Sufism,depending on the grammer of the two words.
Sufiatan or Sufiatyyn for two female persons who follow Sufism,depending on thegrammer of the two word.
Sufiuoon or Sufieen for male plural,depending on the grammer of the two words in the sentemce.
Sufiaat for female plural.
Question: Is Sufism an integral part of Islam?
Answer: Yes and No,depending whom you asked. Some Islamic schools of thoughtsthe like the Wahabi in Saudi Arabia,do not consider Sufism as an integral part of Islam. Most Islamic schools of thoughts consider,however Sufism as an integral part of Islam. For details about the shools of thoughts in Islam,please review the topic entitled,"(9)Interpretations Of The Verses Of The Qura'n" ,as they were outlined in the series made of 14 different topics about Islam in this website. The schools of thoughts are called "Mathahib" in Arabic.
Question: What are the tenants of Sufism?
Answer: The main tenant of Sufism is the "Tawheed" (also written as Tawhid), which means "The One-ness of God". So is the Tawheed with regards to all other Islamic schools of thoughts. Hence,Sufism shares its fundamental tenant with all other Islamic schools of thoughts,that is the "Tawheed" or "The One-ness of God". Therefore, Sufism is an integral part of Islam. What taints a little doubt about this fundamental fact about Sufism is the fact that there are so many people who are NOT Muslims, but follow and practice Sufism.
Although the fundamental tenant is the same with all other Islamic shools of thoughts as one examines the details of the tenants of Sufism,one may discover that even in the details Sufism's tenants are quite similar,if not identical to the details that embodied in the good teachings in Judaism,Christianity and Islam. The best I could find from a rather lengthy researches to provide more credence to this conclusion was/is what a Sufi commentator by the name of Qushayri provdes about his Sufism,(as quoted in Sufism: An essential introduction to the philosophy and practice of the mystical traditionof Islam,by Carl W. Ernst,PhD):
"Sufism is entry into examplary behavior and departure from unworthy behavior."
"Sufism means that God makes you die for yourself and makes you live in him."
"The Sufi is single in essence,nothing changes him ,nor does he change anything."
"The sign of the sincere Sufi is that he feels poor when he has wealth, is humble when he has power, and is hidden when he has fame."
"Suffism means that you own nothing and are owned by nothing."
"Sufism means entrusting the soul to God and most highfor whatever he wishes."
"Sufism meansseising spiritual realities and giving up on what creaturespossess."
"Sufism means kneeling at the door of the Beloved, even if he turns you away."
"Sufism is a state in which the conditions of humanity disappear."
"Sufism is a blazing lightning bolt."
Poetry of Sufism:
The Islamic genious and hence Sufism's genious stems from the Qur'an,the Muslims' Holy book. No poet could make beautiful Arabic poetry or writer of beautiful Arabic proses could do so without profound knowledge of the beautiful language of the Qur'an.
Sufism has produced so many poets but one Sufi poet will immediately comes to mind is Jalal el-Deen el-Romi who was not only a Sufi poet,but also jurist as well. He spent his entire life trying to emulate the way Prophet Muhammad had conducted his daily life. His love of God was unshakable. Some of his poetry:
O' myy God,don't let me in the hand of this unreliable self.
Don't make me agree with anyone but youI run to You from deceits,troubles of myself,
I am Yours.
Don't give myself back to me.
I come to you without me,come to me without you.
Self is the thornin the sole of the soul.
Merge with others,
If you stay in self,you are grain a grain,you are a drop,
If you merge with others,you are an ocean,you are a mine.
I am neither a Christian nor Jew
Neither Persian nor Moslem.
I am from neither East nor West
Neither from land,norfrom water.
Note from the writer of this essay:
This essaymay be considered the gate way for those interested in developing a more profound comprehention of Sufism and Sufis like Jalal eL-Deen el-Rumi. Sufism and Sufis make a fascinating and most interesting topic to pursue further. All one needs to learn more is to have time,patience and genuine desire to learn more.