بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم Bismillah ar Rahman ir Raheem: In the Name of Allah the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful: at your request I am submitting the following very incomplete and hopefully somewhat clear entry. (إن شاء الله)
Sufism also known as Tassawwuf , can be searched on the internet and read about in thousands of texts ancient and modern. Perhaps the easiest way to begin to understand the depth and breadth of Sufism is to look at our own lives. To realize that there is an inner and outer aspect to our life and that every moment of every day we are involved in seeing and hearing and feeling, tasting and thinking interacting with life, with others and with our self. Those interactions are all opportunities to remember our Creator by whatever name we call that Creative force. Allah , God, Truth, Buddha, Lord etc.
From the point of view of a sufi, each of those names reflect certain qualities. Allah is the name of the totality of those qualitites and attributes…we say the 99 beautiful names. The Compassionate, the Merciful, The Peace-full, the Patient, the Subtle, the Just etc. Each name is reflected to some degree in the heart and soul of each being and the Source of all these attributes (Allah) is present in our life. Near us, within us, around us yet greater than us , Eternal, Ever Living and without Bounds. That Reality is One and binds us all together like air supports all life, regardless of race or nationality, or creed or gender. That Reality (Allah to the Sufi or Khoda in Persian) is the Essence of all and yet beyond all that can be perceived. The indescribable beauty of life and nature, the majesty of the universe and stars the reflection of those within our own cells and universes within our own bodies and minds. To the Sufi everything praises the Creator…Allah , everything naturally reflects some aspect or name of Allah yet as humans we have choice. The choice to reflect, to remember to come into harmony with the Reality that is sustaining and surrounding us or to remain ignorant and turn away. In the Qur’an one way it is stated is this: ‘Unto Allah belong the East and the West and where ever you turn, there is the countenance of Allah. Lo Allah is All Embracing, All Knowing. “ Sura Baqara (2) ayat 115.
To the Sufi, realizing that one is swimming in the ocean of the Divine Presence and remembering that throughout ones day and night is itself the ultimate act of worship and gratitude.
Sufism, like other paths, is practiced by different people in different ways. Some mostly through acts of worship, prayer, supplication; others through service to others, to society in addition to the worship and supplication, others become abstracted and lost in the ecstasy of recitation, Dhikr (remembrance) movement, song; others remain silent and introspective. All seek the peak of the mountain and the depth of the ocean of Love. My friends soar to the stars and dive to the depths in the ways most appealing to you, but the one requirement is sincerity and the willingness to allow ‘The Changer of Hearts” to change your heart. Read the words of the great Sufis.The Hikam of Ibn ita’Allah Askandari, Ibn Ajiba, the writings of Ibn Mashish, The teachings of the different Orders of sufis…the Shaduliyya, Chistiyya, Naqshbandiyya Qadriyya, Mujjadidiyya, Rafai, and such noble people as ImamAl Ghazzali, Ibn Araby, Ahmed Farouqi Sarhindi, Abdul Qadir Jilani, Shaykh Shuruwadi, Syed ali al Hujweri among many other for the depth of philosophy and/or the poets; Rumi (find a good translation not one that is just an interpretation as the most popular ones are), Attar, Shabastari, Omar Khayyam, Saadi and many others; listen to the poems of Baba Farid or Amir Khusru sung by Qwwallis from India or Pakistan…like the Sabri Brothers, Aziz Mian, or the Salawat of the Ibn Arabi Ensemble , Al Kindi Ensemble or the Debu. Most of all listen to the beautiful recitations of Qur’an available on the net . Most important understand that the sufi is one who seeks harmony, balance, uprightness and humility through worship and study and service and submission to Allah. And one who sees that Allah is Divine Presence, not a person , Divine Love and Peace. So the sufi seeks peace within and strives to manifest it outwardly.
I hope this is a good introduction . May Allah swt forgive my errors . May you all find Sulh and Tasleem. Peace and safety / security in that Divine Presence .
Shaykh Ahmed abdur Rashid