The most important attributes that have contributed to the wide acceptance of the Sufis is their love for the humanity, purity of mind and perfection in their conduct.
By R.K Gupta
Look into the heart of a Sufi,
If you want to see the Reality.
You would find there nothing,
But the true reflection of the Almighty.
Sufism evokes considerable interest amongst people mainly because of the mysticism associated with it and also because not much is known about the secrets of their knowledge. In regard to the origin of the word ‘Sufi’, there are different views amongst scholars.
Sufism is indefinable; it is a way of life. Tasawwuf (Sufism) is neither a religion nor a philosophy; nor is it a ritual or mere learning. If it was ritual, one could learn it by practice. If it was mere learning, one could acquire it by studying. To be a true human being, free from all bondage and honest with the Almighty is being a Sufi. Hakim Jami, a great scholar and Naqshbandi Sufi, has said: ‘Do not be proud of your intellect and learning, for in the Sufi way, your intellect hampers your progress, and learning is stupidity.’ But this has to be understood in the right perspective; the real learning for the seeker is from the book of the heart of the Sufi.
Sufism is a matter of conduct. It concerns with one’s conduct and is a matter of practice. About being a Sufi, Hazrat Abul Hasan Kharqani, a great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order, said that the Sufi is not the one who wears patched clothes or carries the prayer rug, nor the one who keeps certain customs and appearances, but the Sufi is one to whom everyone’s focus is drawn, although he is hiding himself. He also said that the Sufi is one who in the daylight does not need the Sun and in the night does not need the Moon. The essence of Sufism is absolute non-existence that needs no existence besides the Almighty’s Existence.
The Sufis do not crave for any recognition or special treatment for them. The idea of an intimate communion of the self with the Eternal Reality is central to being a Sufi.
Sufism is spiritual activation and evolution through participation, practice and one’s own experience. The spirituality of Sufis reflects in their every day action. It is not something external reserved for some special occasion, but a part and parcel of their being. Sufis make a conscious effort to evolve as a perfect man.
The Sufi is one, who has emptied himself of everything, who has left everything behind, except what he really is. He has removed all the dust and the rusting from the mirror of his heart, which now shines with His Glory and reflects His Presence. The Sufi is one, who has Submitted himself to the will of God, who lives in Union with the God and who has devoted himself to find the Truth.
The Sufis want to be nothing. It is their ideal to lose all their identity i.e. the complete sacrifice of the self, the ego. Abdul Samad, a disciple of Shaikh Abu Sa’id ibn Abul-Khayr, narrated that he once regretfully mentioned to his Shaikh that as he had been travelling, he could not attend his sermons and be benefited by the lessons. Shaikh Sa’id told him not to regret even if he missed the sermons for years, because he always said only one thing: ‘Sacrifice your ego, and nothing more.’
The Sufi lives only in the present. He does not think of yesterday or of tomorrow. The Sufi is linked to the present moment and he lives in the Eternal Now. The present moment is the nexus between him and the Eternal. He listens to his inner self and acts accordingly. For him, the present moment is the moment to achieve his target. He does not wait for a better or an auspicious tomorrow.
The most important attributes that have contributed to their wide acceptance are their love for the humanity, purity of mind and perfection in their conduct. Sufis distinguish spirituality from religion.
The Sufis are people with an open heart. They do not have any prejudices i.e. their mind is not preoccupied with any bias towards any one. They have no complex; neither are they overawed by the presence of kings, nor do they boast in the company of poor. They take things as they come. They do not condemn anyone, even a known sinner, for they consider that to hurt someone’s feelings is the biggest sin. n
(Excerpts from RK Gupta’s essay, ‘The Sufis’, the full form of which is available on www.sufisaints.net. The author may be reached at [email protected])