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The Sufism

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Written by JOSÉ ENRIQUE SALCEDO   
Sufism

The Sufism is a mystical islamic movement which distances itself from the traditionalist approach of Islam and tends to a more personal relationship with God. This underlines the importance of an inner search of God as a complement of the exterior order of 'shariah', meaning of the law.

The word comes from 'suf' (wool) because the old storytellers, from which Sufism had evolved, wore wool clothes.

The Sufists aim to lose themselves in the final reality of the divinity through the constant repetition of “dhikr” that is the mention of God.

DHIKR is an arabic word which means 'remembrance' and it refers to the Sufi practice which implies the remembrance of God, the reciting of the names of God and the awareness of God’s presence. It can be done silently or in a loud voice, in solitude or in a group. This prolonged repetition of the name of God is for the Sufis a method of spiritual concentration. Aid is often used as music, a rosary, dance and systematic breathing exercises. This practice is validated by the Qur’an 33, 41: 'Oh, believers, remember God often and glorify Him at dawn and dusk.'

For the Sufis, the dhikr is both an act of God and a human act. It is God the one who invokes himself, as is invoked by a believer.

Most of God’s names are found in the sacred book; though some come from outside of Qur’an. The supreme name of Allah was common even before the era of the Qur’an, but its significance was transformed by the Qu’ran. A few examples with typical names of God are 'al-Haqq' (The Truth), 'al-Ahad' (The One), 'al-Hakam' (The Judge), 'al-Quddus' (The Saint), 'al-Kabir' (The Majestic), 'al-Karim' (The Generous), 'al-Wali' (The Protector), 'al-Wadud' (The Affectionate).

Sometimes the word 'dhikr' is used to designate a Sufi ceremony in general but especially refers to the invocation of the Divine Name in the middle of the ceremony.

Sufi dancing

As you can see, this practice corresponds closelly with 'the remembrance of the Being and with 'the Superlative Consciousness of the Being', which maintained moment by moment leads to the awakening of the objective consciousness. About all of these the V. M. Samael speaks:

The most serious thing in life is to forget oneself. Thus it is necessary to transform the impressions, and this is only possible by interposing the Being between the various vibrations of the outside world and the mind. When someone interposes between the impressions and the mind what is called the Consciousness it is obvious that the impressions are transforming into Forces and Powers of a Superior Order.
It is very easy to interpose the consciousness between the impressions and the mind. To receive the impressions with the consciousness and not with the mind, it is necessary only not to forget ourselves in a given time. (…) We must be concentrated in the Being, in order for the Being, the Superlative Consciousness of the Being, to be the one who receives the impressions and digests them correctly. Thus the aweful reactions that all, some and others, have in front of the impacts that come from the outside world are avoided. In this way the impressions are completely transformed, and once transformed, they develop us marvellously.
Because if someone forgets oneself, forgets of ones own Inner Being before an insulter, ends up insulting; if someone forgets oneself, forgets of ones own Being, before a glass of wine, ends up getting drunk; if someone forgets oneself, of ones own Being before a person of the opposite sex, ends up fornicating.
When someone learns to live in a state of Alert Perception, Alert Novelty; when someone remembers oneself from moment to moment, (…); when someone never forgets oneself, without doubt will become conscious.
In times of tough temptations, humiliations and desolations, one has to appeal to the intimate self-remembrance.
In the profundity of each of us is the Aztec Tonantzin, Stella Maris, Egyptian Isis, the Mother Goddess, waiting for us to heal our grieved heart.
When someone gives oneself the shock of «Self-remembrance», really a miraculous change occurs in all the structure of the body, thus the cells receive a different nourishment.

Let us remember the sage of Mallorca, Raimundo Lulio (1235 – 1315), who in 'The Book of a Hundred Names of God' established the method of the great masters of Islam: the Dhikr, which put the mystic in direct contact with the Divinity.

SUFI INSTITUTIONS

SUFI INSTITUTIONS - The Sufism

Sufism began to be institutionalized quite early, when the Sufists formed steady communities in which they could live together and they could participate to educational activities. The Sufi centers were often formed on the basis of charitable funds (waqi) and they were developing their own lifestyle.

The first groups of Sufists appeared in the 8th and 9th centuries. The School of Bagdad taught a systematic teaching of the stages of mysticism through the purifications of the senses and the spirit. Beginning with the 10th century a distancing between the Islamic orthodoxy and Sufism occurred.

The Sufi institutions emphasized also the virtues such as humility and the care for the others.

The V. M. Samael states precisely that the disinterested sacrifice for humanity is an essential element of a true school of regeneration. For this reason, the V. M. Sivananda indicates the asceticism as an essential characteristic of Sufism. The devotee consecrates all his physical, mental and spiritual actions to the will of God. The Union with God, the brotherhood between people and their own dedication to the Lord are the the most vital doctrines of Sufism. Sufism recognizes God with a form, but also recognizes His aspect without form. Sufism combines the ecstasy with the service for humanity. Sivananda underlines the following eloquent words of Qu’ran:

No man is truly faithful if he does not want for his brother what he wants for himself. God will not give His affection to that man who will not give himself to the other creatures. God’s favourite is the one who does good to His creatures. The best of men is the one who makes the human welfare grow. All God’s creatures are His family. The most beloved of God is the one who tries to do a greater good to His creatures. Feed the hungry one, visit the sick one and free that prisoner when was imprisoned unjustly. Help any oppressed person, whether muslim or not. First of all, love your neighbour.
Any man can reach liberation through his faith and good actions. (…) Anihilate your ego. Serve the suffering humanity. Sacrifice your money, time and your energy serving the poor and the oppressed. This yes, will offer you salvation or freedom.

Let us remember that giving alms and doing acts of charity is one of the five pillars of Islam.

SUFI ORDERS

Sufi Orders - Sufism

The Sufi institutions from the first period of Islam had evolved in the 12th century to the formal orders known as TARIQAHS. They were led by a spiritual elevated leader, known as a SHAYKH, and were formed by stable members (who may or may not have been married) and by laic adepts. The main orders were subdivided into hundreds of other orders. Although the main purpose was to increase the mystical consciousness of God, they fulfilled also an important missionary role, especially at the borders of the muslim world, in places like Central Asia, India, Sudan and Western Africa.

The V. M. Samael affirms that in the missionary vocation there is sacrifice, and that 'if we wouldn’t do anything to carry the light of knowledge to other people, nations and languages, we would fall into a spiritual egoism, very refined, that would hinder us in any inner progress'. To love without asking for anything in return, to eliminate resentment, to forgive correctly the defects of the other, to give your life to the neighbour, any true sacrifice is rewarded by God.

The Sufism – Islamic mystical movement The Sufism
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