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Title: Sufism

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Sufism--Part 1
The Path
  • Mysticism is the experience of mystical union or
    direct communion with ultimate reality, and
    attainment of direct knowledge of God, spiritual
    Truth, or ultimate Reality through subjective
    experience. Sufism or Tasawwuf is considered
    Islamic Mysticism. However, certain Sufi
    practices are considered incompatible with Islam.
  • The term Sufi is variously traced to Arabic
    word, Suf- wool, referring either to the simple
    cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore, or
    possibly to Saf- purity. Thus The Sufi is the
    one who wears wool on top of purity. Wool
    cloaks were a designation of their initiation
    into the Sufi order, worn perhaps as an
    imitation of Isa bin Maryam (Jesus). Yet others
    have linked the term with Greek word Sophia-
  • Under the Umayyad rule, when Muslim communities
    were rife with schisms, bloodshed and fanaticism
    - a group of pious companions, such as Ahle
    Suffa, who used to sit on the benches (Suffa)
    and were known for their ascetic life, decided to
    move out of this politicised atmosphere of the
    cities and go into rural areas to devote
    themselves to spirituality. They learned higher
    spirituality from and gave their loyalty to a
    Sufi Shaikh or Peer. They were the early Sufis.
    They were also the theoreticians of the
    Traditional Islam.
  • Some of the more remarkable qualities of these
    people included loving and humanitarian attitudes
    toward fellow human beings irrespective of race
    or religion, humility, living an ascetic life --
    and spending most of their time in prayer, Zikr
    or Dhikr (reciting Qur'an, chanting the names of
    Godand Muraqaba (contemplation).
  • The great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order,
    Hazrat Maulana Shah Fazl Ahmad Khan (19th20th
    cent.) has said that the occult science of Sufi
    Saints in fact belonged to the ancient Hindu
    saints, which was lost in oblivion by them and is
    being now reintroduced amongst them.

The Way of the Sufi
  • SUFI is one, who has Submitted himself to the
    will of the god, who lives in Union with the God
    and who has devoted himself to FInd the Truth.
    The essence of Sufism is absolute non-existence
    that needs no existence besides the Almightys
  • Sufis lay stress on the unity of inner teachings
    of all religions, rather than on their outer
    form. They distinguish spirituality from
    religion.  For them the Almighty is not concerned
    with ones religion, but with love. The real
    objective being to grow beyond religion, to
    understand the real meaning of the religion and
    to realize the Truth by ones own experience.
  • Sufis yearn to be a true human being, free from
    all bondage and honest with the Almighty. They
    believe in evolution of a man into a complete man
    by enlightenment through ones own experience and
    understanding. They make a conscious effort to
    mind their conduct and evolve as Insan Kamil- a
    perfect man. 
  • Sufis want to be nothing. It is their ideal to
    lose all their identity i.e. the complete
    sacrifice of the self, the ego. The Sufis live
    only in the present. They are different from
    others in that they are inwardly absorbed all the
  • The Way of the Sufi The Religion of the Sufi
    is the cry of the heart The Ideal of the Sufi
    is spiritual consciousness The Goal of the Sufi
    is self-realization The God of the Sufi is the
    Divine Presence within The Path of the Sufi is
    brotherhood and sisterhood The Manner of the
    Sufi is inner nobility The Art of the Sufi is
    personality The Charm of the Sufi is humility
    The Moral of the Sufi is beneficence The
    Attitude of the Sufi is forgiveness The Beloved
    of the Sufi is love itself.

Divine Love
The Sufi Qalb- heart
This is the first step on the road to the love
of God. This is just a seed of love. In time,
the seed will grow and become a tree and bear
fruit. Then, whoever tastes of that fruit will
know what real love is. It will be differently
for those who have tasted to tell of it to those
who have not.
The essence of God is love and The Sufi
Path is path of love.  Love is to see what is
good and beautiful in everything. It is to learn
from everything, to see the gifts of God and the
generosity of God in everything. It is to be
thankful for all God's bounties.
- Muzaffer Ashki al-Halveti al-Jerrahi (1916-1985)
The Qalb, though connected in some mysterious way
with the physical heart, is not a thing of flesh
and blood. Whereas the intellect cannot gain real
knowledge of God, the Qalb is capable of knowing
the essences of all things, and when illumined by
faith and knowledge reflects the whole content of
the divine mind. Normally, the heart is 'veiled,'
blackened by sin, tarnished by sensual
impressions and images, pulled to and fro between
reason and passion a battlefield on which the
armies of God and the Devil contend for victory.
Through one gate, the heart receives immediate
knowledge of God through another, it lets in the
illusions of sense.
The Basic Principles of Sufism
As given by Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani and
Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshband of the
Naqshbandi Sufi Order. These were embraced and
hailed by all the forty tariqats (Sufi Orders)
as the way of Truth and loyalty. (i) Hosh dar
Dam (Conscious Breathing)-The true seeker should
always be alert that he does not take any breath
devoid of Gods remembrance. (ii) Nazar bar
Kadam (Watch Your Step)- Each step moved forward
should be taken consciously i.e. one should not
do anything which may drag him down or which may
obstruct his spiritual progress.  (iii) Safar dar
Watan (Journey Homeward)- The seeker must move
from the world of creation to the world of
Creator. The first part of the journey is
external in which the seeker desires and searches
for the Master. Then the internal journey begins
which leads to the purification of his heart and
makes him eligible to receive the Divine
grace.  (iv) Khilawat dar Anjuman (Solitude in
the Crowd)- Khilawat means seclusion, both
external and internal. External seclusion
requires the seeker to be away from people,
staying by himself and spending his time in the
remembrance of God. (v) Yad Kard (Essential
Remembrance)- To keep oneself continuously
engaged in reciting the japa (the internal
practice as directed by the Master) and in such a
manner that the seeker starts feeling the
presence of the Master or the Almighty in his
heart is the Essential Remembrance.  
The Basic Principles of Sufism
(vi) Baz Gasht (Returning to the origin) During
internal practice the seeker may experience
sighting of light, activation of the mystique
centers, acquisition of miraculous powers etc.
which may arouse the ego. The seeker should keep
on praying the Almighty at intervals that He
alone is the objective of the seeker. Ones heart
should be protected from bad thoughts and from
worldly inclinations.   (vii) Nigah
Dasht (Attentiveness)-The seeker should always
keep an eye on his internal condition so that no
doubt or ill thought ever arises and he
constantly keeps on remembering the Almighty.
(viii) Yad Dasht (Recollection) It means
continuous remembrance. When the seeker through
practice becomes so apt that the remembrance
continues in the heart effortlessly on its own,
it is called Yad dasht. (ix) Wakoof
Zamani (Awareness of Time)The seeker must watch
that the time at his command is spent in the
remembrance of the Almighty and must make all
efforts to make spiritual progress. He must
recount his actions and deeds and seek His
forgiveness for the wrong doings. (x) Wakoof
Adadi (Awareness of Numbers) One should, while
holding the breath, recite the name of the God,
feeling His Presence in the heart, in odd number
i.e. 5,7,9,11,21 etc. The real meaning appears to
be that the Almighty is One and He likes Oneness.
It perhaps also means that one should remember
the Almighty alone. (xi) Wakoof Qalbi (Awareness
of the Heart)The seeker should always have an
eye on his heart (Qalb) so that his attention is
always towards the Divine Presence and it may not
be diverted elsewhere. 
Sufi Beliefs
  • Sufis believe in practicing perfection of
    worship (Ihsan). Sufism is primarily concerned
    with direct personal experience. It is defined as
    the science of Reperation of heart, purifying
    beautifying it, and turning it away from all else
    but God Travelling into Divine presence.
  • The central doctrine of Sufism called Unity
    (Wahdat) is the understanding of  all
    pheno-mena are manifestations of a single
    reality (Tawhid), or being (Wujud). The essence
    of being/ Truth/God is devoid of every form and
    quality, and hence unmanifested, yet it is
    inseparable from every form and phenomenon either
    material or spiritual. It implies that every
    pheno-menon is an aspect of Truth, and
    attribution of existence to it is false. The
    chief aim of all Sufis is to let go of all
    notions of duality and the individual self also,
    and realize the Divine unity.
  • Sufis believe that Sufism cannot be learned
    through books. Sufism typically requires that the
    disciple live with and serve the teacher for
    many, many years. The Sufi doctrine of the
    Perfect Man (al-Insan al-Kamil), states that
    there always exists upon earth a Pole or Axis,
    of the Universe (Qutb)who is the perfect
    channel of grace from God to man and in a state
    of Wilaya (sanctity, being under the protection
    of God). The vow of obedience to the Qutb or
    Shaikh which is taken by Sufis is considered
    incompatible with devotion to the Imam.
  • In Sufi metaphor, the seeker is Ashiq- lover,
    Allah, the Mashuq- Beloved represented by the
    Peer as the Saqi- the (male) Cupbearer or
    Tippler, seen as a handsome youth, pouring Divine
    Wine of nectar unto him. His features
    (specifically the eyes, forehead, hair and mole
    on the cheek) and his demeanor are praised to
    high heaven. He hides behind a veil, which needs
    to be lifted. In contrast, the Shaikh, Mullah
    Kazi are treated by Sufis with contempt as being
    charlatans (Pakhandis). Folk love tales (such as
    Laila-Manjun) were used as allegories of
    spiritual love. In India, Amir Khusro, Qutuban,
    Malik Mohd. Jayasi etc. enriched Sufi literature.

Sufi Orders
  • The widening of Islams conquests, and the
    resulting absorption of a wide range of mystic
    traditions from outside Arabia, fuelled its
    spread. Sufism became a more formalized movement
    by the 12th cent., and during the 13th-16th
    cents. it produced the flourishing intellectual
    culture- throughout the Muslim world, whose
    physical artifacts can be seen today. Sufi lodges
    (Khanqah, Zaouia or Tekke) were established where
    Sufis and itinerant seekers gathered.
  • As Sufism became a greater movement
    in Islam, individual Sufis began to group
    together. These groups (also known as orders)
    were based on a common master, who then began
    spiritual lineage, which is a connection between
    a Sufi order in which there is a common spiritual
    heritage based on the masters teachings called
    Tariqa. A Sufi's Silsila is his badge of
    identity/source of legitimacy.
  • Sufism had a long history already before
    institutionalization of Sufi teachings into
    Tariqa- devotional orders of cultural wisdom
    reflecting the perspectives of different masters.
    In Sufism, one can only receive instruction in
    spiritual practices (Talqîn) from an authorized
    teacher of the path or method (Tariqa), and only
    after pledging a vow of obedience (Bay ah) to
    this Shaikh. The Shaikh gives his disciples
    permission (Ijâza) to practise the Tariqa he may
    also authorize one or more of them to teach it to
    others, i.e. appoint them as his khalîfas.
  • The Silsilas- genealogical chains of transmission
    from master to student concerned themselves with
    subtle knowledge (gnosis), education of the heart
    to purify it of baser instincts, the love of
    God, and approaching God through a well-described
    hierarchy of Maqamat- spiritual stations and
    Ahwal- the more transient spiritual states.
    Several extant Sufi orders trace their Silsilas
    back to Prophet Muhammad thru his Companions Ali
    abu Talib (the primary link between Sufi orders
    and the Prophet), Abu Bakr and Umar (3 of the 4
    Righteously Guided Caliphs). Their lineage is
    called Silsilat al-Dhahab (Dhahab gold), the
    Chain of Gold.

Sufi Orders
  • Yasawi founder Khwaja Ahmed Yesevi in modern
    Kazhakistan was one of the earliest orders.
    Kubrawia f Najmedddin Kubra originated in C.
    Asia. The best known of silsilas in S.
    Asia/India are (1) Chishtia (2) Naqshbandia (3)
    Qadiria and (4) Suhrawardia. One particular order
    that is unique in claiming spiritual lineage
    through the Caliph Abu Bakr, who was generally
    seen as more of a political leader than a
    spiritual leader, is the Naqshbandia.
  • The North African Abu'l-Hasan al-Shadhili (d
    1258) was the founder of the Shadhilia. The
    Rifaia was definitely an order by 1320, when Ibn
    Battuta gave us his description of its rituals.
    The Khalwatia f. Umar al-Khalwati, an
    Azerbaijani Sufi. While its Indian Subcontinent
    branches did not survive into modern times, it
    later spread into the Ottoman Empire and became
    influential there during the 16th cent. It
    crystallized into a Tariqa between 1300 and 1450.
    The founder of the Shattaria was Abdullah
    al-Shattar (d. 1428). Currently, orders worldwide
    are Ba Alawiyya, Khalwati, Nimatullahi,
    Oveyssi, Qadiria Boutshishia, Tijani, Qalandaria,
    Sarwari Qadria, Shadhlia, Ashrafia, Jerrahi,
    Bektashi, Mevlevi, Alians etc.
  • Qadirias f Abdul-Qadir Gilani (1077-1166) one
    of the oldest Sufi Tariqas. And the most
    widespread Sufi order. They and their many
    offshoots, are found in the Arabic-speaking
    world, Afghanistan, S. India, Bangladesh,
    Pakistan, Turkey, the Balkans, China, Indonesia,
    India, Israel, and much of the EW Africa, like
    Morocco. They strongly adhere to the fundamentals
    of Islam. Their leadership is not centralized,
    and own interpretations and practices are
    permitted. A rose of green and white cloth, with
    a six-pointed star in the middle, is
    traditionally worn in the cap of Qadiri
    darveshes. Teachings emphasize the struggle
    against the desires of the ego. It is described
    as "the greater struggle" (Jihad). Names of God
    are prescribed as Wazifas (chants) for repetition
    by initiates (Zikr) in both loud and low voice.
    Though the Sunna is the ultimate source of
    religious guidance, Walis (saints) are God's
    chosen spiritual guides for the people.

Sufi Orders
  • The Chishtias founded in Chisht, near Herat
    about 930 by Abu Ishaq Shami are known for their
    emphasis on love, tolerance and openness and for
    the welcome extended to seekers who belong to
    other religions. They flourish in S. Asia and
    Afghanistan and have attracted many westerners.
    Their insistence on otherworldliness has
    differentiated them from Sufi orders that
    maintained close ties to rulers and courts and
    deferred to aristocratic patrons.
  • Chishtias follow five basic devotional
    practices. 1. Reciting the names of Allah loudly,
    sitting in the prescribed posture at prescribed
    times (Zikr-i Djahr) 2. Reciting the names of
    Allah silently (Zikr-i Khafi) 3. Regulating the
    breath (Pas-i Anfas) 4. Absorption in mystic
    contemplation (Muraqaba) 5. 40 days of spiritual
    confinement in a lonely corner or cell for prayer
    and contemplation (Chilla). Chishti practice is
    also notable for Sama'- evoking the divine
    presence through song or listening to music or
    dancing with jingling anklets. The Chishti, as
    well as some other Sufi orders, believe that
    music can help devotees forget self in the love
    of Allah. The music usually heard at Chishti
    shrines and festivals is Qawwali, invented by
    Amir Khusro, which is a representation of the
    inner sound.
  • Early Chishti shaikhs adopted concepts and
    doctrines outlined in two influential Sufi texts
    the ?Awarif al-Ma?arif of Shaikh Shihab al-Din
    Suhrawardi and the Kashf al-Ma?djub of Hujwiri.
    These texts are still read and respected today.
    Chishti also read collections of the sayings,
    speeches, poems, and letters of the shaikhs
    called Malfu?at.
  • The most famous of the Chishti saints is
    Mu'inuddin Chishti of Ajmer, India, others being
    Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtyar Kaki, Fariduddin
    Mas'ud ("Baba Farid), Nizamuddin Auliya,
    Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, Muhammed Badesha Qadri,
    Ashraf Jahangir Semnani, Haji Imdadullah Muhajir
    Makki and Shah Niyaz Ahmad. Chishti master Hazrat
    Inayat Khan was the first to bring the Sufi path
    to the West.

Sufi Orders
  • Suhrawardias f Diya al-din Abu n-Najib
    as-Suhrawardi (1097-1168) live in extreme
    poverty, spending time in Zikr- remembrance. It
    is a strictly Sunni order, guided by the ShafiI
    school of Islamic law (Madhab), and, traces its
    spiritual genealogy to Hazrat Ali ibn Abi
    Talib through Junayd Baghdadi and al-Ghazali. It
    played an important role in the formation of a
    conservative new piety and in the regulation of
    urban vocational and other groups, such as
    trades-guilds and youth clubs, particularly in
    Baghdad. Shaikh Umar of Baghdad directed his
    disciple Baha-ud-din Zakaria to Multan and
    Saiyad Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari to Uch,
    Sindh. Bukhari was a puritan who strongly
    objected to Hindu influence on Muslim social and
    religious practices. The order became popular in
    India owing to his and of his successor,
    Baha-ud-din Zakarias work. The poet Fakhr-al-Din
    Iraqi and Pakistani saint Lal Shahbaz
    Qalandar (1177-1274) were connected to the order.
    The order declined in Multan but became popular
    in other provinces like Uch, Gujarat, Punjab,
    Kashmir, Delhi, Bihar Bengal.
  • Naqshbandias- engravers (of the heart) f
    Hazrat Shah Baha al-Din Naqshband (d.1389) use a
    coloured map of an internal stage for Tasawwar,
    recite the Kalma in a low voice, follow Sharia
    and Habs-i-Dam (Pranayam). They are most active
    in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and
    Brunei and is prevalent in almost all of Europe
    incl. UK, Germany and France, and in USA, Middle
    East, Africa, Syria, Palestine, India, China,
    Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America,
    Azerbeijan, Daghestan (Russia) etc. Baqi Billah
    Berang is credited for bringing the order to
    India during the end of the 16th cent. Among his
    disciples were Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (Mujaddad-i-A
    lf-i-Thani) and Shaikh Abdul Haq of Dihli. Some
    of their other prominent masters were Hazrat Abu
    Bakr as-Siddiq, Hazrat Bayazid al-Bistami,
    Bayazid al-Bistami, Saiyad Abdul
    Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, Hazrat Shah Naqshband,
    Saiyad Ubaidullah al-Ahrar, Saiyad Ahmad
    al-Faruqi, Shaikh Khalid al-Baghdadi, Saiyad
    Shaikh Ismail Shirwani.

Sufi Literature
  • Important early contributions in writing are
    attributed to Uwais al-Qami, Harrm bin Hian,
    Hasan Basri and Saiyad ibn al-Mussib. Ruwaym
    Junayd of Baghdad were influential early figures.
    Sufi poets and philosophers such as Rumi and
    Attar of Nishapur greatly enhanced the spread of
    Islamic culture in Anatolia, C. Asia S.
    Asia. Sufism also played a role in creating and
    propagating Ottoman culture , and in resisting
    European imperialism in N. Africa and S. Asia.
  • Towards the end of first mill. a number of
    manuals began to be written summarizing the
    doctrines of Sufism and describing typical Sufi
    practices, two of these are Kashf al-Mahjûb of
    Hujwiri and Risâla of Qushayri. Abu Hamid
    al-Ghazalis greatest treatises, Revival of
    Religious Sciences Alchemy of Happiness,
    argued that Sufism originated from the Qur'an and
    was compatible with Islamic thought, and did not
    contradict Islamic Lawbeing instead necessary to
    its complete fulfillment. This became the
    mainstream position among Islamic scholars for
    centuries, challenged only recently on the basis
    of selective use of a limited body of texts.
  • The works of Ibn al-Arabi (d. 1240) deeply
    influenced almost all later Sufis. Sufis also
    contributed richly to Persian literature e.g.
    Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Conference of the
    Birds of Attar, Masnavi of Rumi.
  • The literature of Sufis comprised 1.
    descriptive essays and critiques, interpreting
    Islam in a new way, subtly incorporating the
    earlier Zoroastrian (Aryan in origin) devotion
    into the Semitic Islam 2. Biographies of
    prominent Sufis such as Attar, Jami etc. 3.
    Poetry making extensive use of parable, metaphor
    and allegory. Ghazal- a specific form of poetry
    and Rubai- a verse used mostly in humour have
    been used extensively. While the original Sufi
    tradition was based on Arabic, it spread to
    Farsi, Turkish local Indian dialects Hindvi
    Deccani were employed by the Sufis to put across
    their message, both to the Moslem and the Hindu.

Sufi Spirituality
Sufi Spirituality
  • Sufi darveshes believe that Love is a universal
    projection of the essence of God to the universe.
    God desires to recognize beauty by looking at
    Himself within the dynamics of nature.
  • In the first approach in the practice of Sufism,
    the seeker begins by purifying the lower self of
    every corrupting influence that stands in the way
    of recognizing all of creation as the work of
    God. This is the way of Imam al-Ghazali and of
    majority of Sufi orders. In the second approach,
    the seeker experiences divine attraction
    (Jadhba), and is able to enter the order with a
    glimpse of its endpoint, of direct apprehension
    of the Divine Presence towards which all
    spiritual striving is directed. This does not
    replace the striving to purify the heart, it
    simply stems from a different point of entry into
    the path. This is the way primarily of the
    masters of the Naqshbandi and Shadhili orders. A
    third approach, attributed to the late Ottoman
    scholar, Saiyad Nursi entails strict adherence to
    the way of Muhammad.
  • The 4 stages of spiritual development are 1.
    Sharia rules for external mode of religious
    life comprising rites and rituals such as
    keeping fasts, going on pilgrimages, giving
    charity, reciting scriptures praying in outer
    temples. 2. Tariqa code for higher spiritual
    morality and conduct, for which, a spiritual
    guide (Khalifa or Imam) is essential. Its
    practices include Zikr (Sumiran) to achieve
    concentration of attention using a Varnatmak name
    and provide some experience such as flashes of
    lightning, and lead to mystic rapture (Hal). 3.
    Marifa nearness to and communion with the Lord,
    above Third Eye focus. Seeker is now known as
    Arif- one who knows the nature and being of God.
    4. Haqiqa merging in Truth (al-Haq) and full
    realization of God (Fana fi l-Allah). While most
    remain confined to the first stage, a few concern
    themselves with the second. Sufi mystics delve
    into the last two stages dealing with Para Vidya-
    inner realization and spiritual enlightenment,
    and are then no longer bound to the rules of

Esoteric Spiritual Practices (Mamulat)
  • Prophet Muhammad was a Sufi in the state of
    Urooj while experiencing the divine andin the
    state of Nuzul he was separated and gave out his
    teachings as enshrined in Hadith. Tasawwuf
    comprised this and inputs of Greek/Gnostic
    Neo-Platonism and Indian Vedantic thought.
    Buddhist thought, with its rebuttal of Atman/Rooh
    and Godhead remained aloof.
  • The leading ideas of Sufism- asceticism,
    purification, love, gnosis, saintship are
    developed from the cardinal principle that
    spiritual success results when ego is annihilated
    to the will of the spiritual mentor (Murshid).
    Sufi devotional practices vary widely. The
    Murshid may prescribe specific practices
    depending upon his diagnosis of Mureeds
    spiritual maladies.
  • Sufis are seekers (Muridun) and wayfarers
    (Salikun) on the path to God. For proper training
    they put themselves under the guidance of a
    master (Murshid). The search for God (Irada,
    Talab) and the wayfaring (Suluk) on the path
    (Tariqa) involve a gradual inner and ethical
    transformation through various stages by
    discipline and effort. It is only through
    constancy in action for God (Aml li-Allah),
    remembrance (Zikr Allah), recitation from the
    Quran, prayers that a mystic can hope to obtain
    his objective, which is perfect obedience to
    Allah (Ubudia).
  • In order to combat and train the
    lower-self, Sufis practise fasting (Sawm), food
    and drink deprivation (Ju'), wakefulness at night
    for the recitation of Quranic passages (Qiyam
    al-Layl), seclusion (Khalwat), roaming
    uninhabited places in states of poverty and
    deprivation, and lengthy meditations (Muraqaba,
    Jam' al-Hamm). The effortful path of self-denial
    and trans-formation thru gradual Maqamat is
    interwoven with effortless mystical experiences
  • Initially the new seeker (Muridun) is taught
    Zikr- remembrance (Japa, Sumiran)- first,
    Zikr-al-Lisani (with the tongue) usually in
    congregation (Islamists use La Ilah Illillah)
    and then, Zikr-al-Qalbi (of the heart). In
    Zikr-i-Khaffi (used by Sufis) only mental
    repetition is done in solitude, resulting in
    Fikr- contemplation (Dhyan) and then, gradually,
    in Muraqaba (Samadhi).

Esoteric Spiritual Practices (Mamulat)
  • Spiritual Poverty or Renunciation is a
    cornerstone of Sufi practice, which begins when
    the seeker joins the order and prepares for
    initiation. He passes through spiritual stations
    or stages (Maqamat). Linked to these are states
    or emotions (A?wal), such as fear hope, sorrow
    joy, leading to a transient state of mystic
    rapture, ecstasy and elation. Company of ones
    Master (Peer) and receiving his grace (Tawajjoh)
    are essential.
  • Repentance (Towbat) is described as the
    awakening of the soul from the slumber of
    heedlessness, so that the sinner becomes aware of
    his evil ways and feels contrition for past
    disobedience. He is not truly penitent, however,
    unless (1) he at once abandons the sin or sins
    of which he is conscious, and (2) firmly resolves
    that he will never return to these sins in the
    future. It he should fail to keep his vow, he
    must again turn to God, whose mercy is infinite.
  • Abstinence is to control ones mind and to
    restrain it from indulging in sensuous pleasures.
    To do so often people adopt practices like
    observing fast, silence and solitude. Sufis,
    however, lay stress on the evolution of the
    inner-self. The seeker starts feeling that the
    knots of sensual pleasure hitherto tying his mind
    are loosening and their place is being taken over
    by the love for the Master or God.
  • Purity in the body, mind as well as the
    consciousness is implied in Sufism. Perfect
    purity is attained through selective gardening of
    the mind, ego and intelligence. A Sufi is always
    on the inner path (Saluk) to God, always eager to
    achieve purification of the ego (Tazkiya-i-Nafs).
    To achieve this, he undergoes various stages of
    evolutionary Kriyas under the guidance of a
    Master (Murshid). In order to keep his mind clean
    and pure, a Sufi gives up worldly desires, anger,
    lust pride. He creates harmony, lives in
    harmony and offers harmony.

Esoteric Spiritual Practices (Mamulat)
  • Mortification of the Nafs is the work of
    devotion leading to contemplative life. Nafs
    should be weaned from things to which it is
    accustomed, encouraged to resist its passions,
    and its pride should be broken. Through suffering
    and tribulation it should recognize the vileness
    of its original nature and impurity of its
    actions. While fasting, silence, solitude etc.
    are its outer modes, it is a moral transmutation
    of the inner man as well. When the will is
    surrendered to God and when the mind is
    concentrated on Him, the attributes- ignorance,
    pride, envy etc.- are extinguished, and replaced
    by their opposites.
  • Sufi who has eradicated self-will is said to
    have reached the stages of Acquiescence or
    Satisfaction (Rida) and Trust in God (Tawakkul).
    After this the wayfarer lives as He desires
    (Raza). It does not befit a devotee to look
    towards anyone else except God. The seeker now
    learns to be thankful to Almighty in whatever
    condition He keeps. Both sorrows and happiness
    are considered to be His blessings. Fully
    content, seeker now sees His grace in everything.
  • Seclusion (Khalwat) (or Chilla-nashini)
    secluding oneself from all worldly things to
    practise stilling the mind and withdrawal of
    senses, to speak silently to ones inner being,
    or going into solitary retreat to speak to God
    secretly. The Mureed secludes himself in a dark
    and small room (Khalwat Khana) to spend his time
    in worship (Muraqaba) thru breath regulation
    (Habs-i-Dam, Kumbhak Pranayam), remembrance
    (Dhikr) and reflection (Tasawwur). He emerges
    only to pray and to discuss dreams, visions and
    the like with the Murshid. Khalwat, lasting 40
    days is called Arbain, while Nisif lasts 20
    days and Urub 10 days. The Chilla is performed
    for spiritual as well as worldly attainments,
    psychic abilities (Siddhis), or complete
    enlightenment depending on the desire of the
    practitioner who performs it. Chilla-i-Makoos is
    an inverted Chilla which is undertaken hanging
    upside down. The body is suspended upside down by
    means of a rope, often in a well, the darvesh
    remaining in this position all night.

Subtle Centres (Lataif)
  • The doctrine of centers of subtle cognition
    (Lataif-i-Sitta), somewhat akin to Kabbalistic
    Sephiroth and Yogic Chakra systems, addresses
    awakening of spiritual intuition, each with an
    associated body region, colour and prophet. These
    Lataif designate various psychospiritual
    organs or, sometimes, faculties of sensory and
    supra-sensory perception. The Lata'if dormant
    faculties to be sequentially awakened through
    purification of the psyche, meditation (Muraqaba)
    and Zikr (remembrance of God). They are reckoned
    by various schools as being 6, 7 or 10 in number.
  • The 10-fold Lataif (a) Pertaining to the
    Divine World (Alam-i-Amr) 1. Qalb (heart, below
    left breast, lust, yellow, Adam), 2. Rooh
    (spirit, below right breast, anger, red, Nooh
    Ibrahim), 3. Sirr (secret, besides left breast
    towards centre, greed, white, Musa), 4. Khafi
    (hidden, besides right breast towards centre,
    jealousy, black, Isa) 5. Akhfa (most hidden,
    between breasts, pride, green, Muhammed).. (b)
    Pertaining to the Created World (Alam-i-Khalq)
    6. Nafs (self, below navel, passion), 7. Bad
    (air), 8. Nar (fire), 9. Ma (water) 10. Khaq
  • The purification of elementary passionate nature
    (Tazkia-i-Nafs), followed by cleansing of the
    spiritual heart so that it may acquire a
    mirror-like purity of reflection (Tazkia-i-Qalb)
    and become the receptacle of God's love (Ishq),
    illumination of the spirit (Tajjali-i-Rooh),
    fortified by emptying of egoic drives
    (Taqlia-i-Sirr) and remembrance of God's
    attributes (Dhikr), and completion of journey
    with purification of the last two faculties,
    Khafi and Akhfa.
  • Qalb Nafs form Rooh-i-Haiwani (Animal Soul),
    Sirr Rooh form Rooh-i-Insani (Human soul),
    Akhfa Khafa form Rooh-i-Azam (the great
    soul). The Lata'if interact in various ways,
    producing the spiritual types of the tyrant
    (dominated by Nafs), the person of faith and
    moderation (dominated by Qalb), and the person
    lost in love for God (dominated by Rooh).

Remembrance (Zikr)
  • Zikr is a preparatory, but essential exercise
    going upto Third Eye (Nuqta-i-Swaida, Mehrab or
    Qalab-i-Munib) focus. It is invocation and
    remembrance of Divine names or some religious
    formula, which are repeated, accompanying the
    intonation with intense concentration of every
    faculty, to enjoy uninterrupted communion with
    God. The name gets itself established in their
    tongues, heart and soul. This is the key to
    Marifat or access to the Divine Mysteries.
  • Zikr may be either spoken or silent, but tongue
    and mind should co-operate. Its first stage is
    to forget self, and last stage is
    self-effacement. Recollection eventually becomes
    part and parcel of his life. Due to
    concentration, certain Riddhi-Siddhis-
    supernatural powers are invested. Sufis attach
    greater value to Zikr, than to five Namazes at
    fixed hours of the day.
  • Zikr can be 1. Nasooti (of tongue) initially
    prescribed, as audible Zikr permeates the entire
    body. 2. Malkooti (of heart) thru perfection in
    Habs-i-Dam (Pranayam). 3. Jabrooti (of spirit)
    results in tranquility in the consciousness. It
    requires mastery in withdrawal of senses. 4.
    Lahooti (of mind) aspirant projects love
    (Muhabbat) for the All-Pervading Divine.
  • Types of Zikrs è Zikr-i-Qalab
    (Shugal-i-Isa-i-Zat) begins with
    Qalab-i-Sanobari at the physical heart and rises
    upto Third Eye. Qalab-i-Salib is the heart at
    Trikuti. è Fahmida done, keeping focus on tip
    or root of the nose. è Zikr-i-Pas-o-Anfas (Shwasa
    Sohang) done with rhythm of breath. Allah is
    mentally repeated while inhaling, Hu while
    exhaling. è Isma-i-Rabbani prescribed Divine
    names are repeated everyday. è Zarabi thrusts
    are applied on the heart in order to scan it. è
    Ara by visualizing Satan being bisected, while
    striking the heart. è Latifa by concentrating
    on the Latifas and awakening them thru Zikr. è
    Sultan-ul-Azkar the king of all Zikr. Latifas
    are activated by deep concentration, without
    Habs-i-Dam, but with repetition of Divine names.
    Finally, focus is laid on the senses. è Other
    Zikrs such as Aita-ul-Karsi, Haddavi, Kara
    Haidri, Makashfah, Fana-o-Baqa.

Love (Mahabbat), Ecstasy (Wajd)
  • Love, like gnosis, is in its essence considered
    a divine gift, not anything that can be acquired.
    A Sufi sees God and recognizes God in beauty, in
    humanity and in all creation. A believer in God
    conceives God as a separate being, while the Sufi
    does not think himself apart from God. The God
    of Sufi is not in heaven above, but He is
    everywhere. The purpose of human life is to
    achieve union with the Creator. It is possible to
    see God within by loving Him and His creation.
  • Most of the great medieval Sufis lived saintly
    lives, dreaming of God, intoxicated with God.
    The devotional and mystical love of God soon
    developed into ecstasy and enthusiasm, which
    finds in the sensuous imagery of human love, the
    most suggestive medium for its expression. God is
    the eternal Beauty, and it lies in the nature of
    beauty to desire love. Mystic poets have
    described self-manifestation of the One with a
    profusion of splendid imagery.
  • Ecstatic Trance (Wajd) is involuntary, although
    certain conditions are recognized as being
    especially favourable to its occurrence. It comes
    to a man through vision of the majesty of God
    and through revelation of the divine omnipotence
    to his heart. Nature of ecstasy is described as
    "a divine mystery which God communicates to true
    believers who behold Him with the eye of
    certainty," or as "a flame which moves in the
    ground of the soul and is produced by
    love-desire." Trances could sometimes last many
  • Ecstasy affords the only means by which the soul
    can directly communicate and become united with
    God. Sufis of the darvesh orders soon discovered
    that ecstasy might be induced artificially, not
    only by concentration of thought, recollection
    (Dhikr), and other innocent methods of
    autohypnosis, but also by music, singing, and
    dancing (included in the term Sama, which
    properly means nothing more than audition),
    which became favourite means of inducing the
    state of trance called 'passing-away' (Fana).

Music (Sufiana)
  • Music is a harmonic sound and is liked due to
    its sweetness. When we hear music, it creates
    different patterns on our heart. Godly music
    creates Godly pattern while ugly music
    materializes into fearful demons. None can deny
    that every uttered sound has vibrations and
    these affect mind, heart and soul. Our whole
    life, nay our cosmos is suffused in sound. Divine
    music has been called Kalma, Kalam-i-Qadim, Kun
    Amra in the Qur'an, and Bang-i-Asmani,
    Sultan-ul-Azkar Saut-i-Sarmadi by the Sufis.
  • Sound and music occupy an important place in the
    life of many Sufis. It is a tool for the believer
    to get closer to God. Sufi music means music that
    connects with the heart. It is the music of
    submission and surrender that bonds humans to
    God. Music of the Sufis, known as the Sufiana, is
    to be sung very softly in a whisper like tone and
    rhythm such a kind of music is soothing and has
    harmonious effect on temper.
  • Hundreds of years after being relegated to the
    background, the mystical Sufi music of the 14th
    cent. is staging a resounding comeback. A unique
    style of singing that transports listeners into
    spiritual ecstasy, it is acquiring a steady fan
    following much like the rock genre of the
    sixties. Credit for its spread must go to the
    energy-charged music that sends both the singer
    and listeners into a spiritual trance.
  • Sufi music is not about entertainment, but about
    spirituality. Amidst tension and turmoil of
    today, its powerful lyrics speak about reaching
    the Divine by spreading love and harmony.
    Contemporary singers like the late Ustad Nusrat
    Fateh Ali Khan Abida Parveen from Pakistan,
    Indian Shubha Mudgal, Muhammed El-Shaikh Juma
    of Sudan, Rumi of Iran, Whirling
    Darveshes of Turkey, Baul singers
    from Bangladesh or even pop groups like
    Junoon have all contributed in re-vitalizing this
    unique religious singing.

Poetry (Shayari)
  • Qawwali is the devotional music of the Sufis of
    the Indian sub-continent. Originally performed
    mainly at Sufi shrines, it is a vibrant and
    popular musical tradition. Its roots can be
    traced back to 8th cent. Persia. However, in the
    form we know it today, it was created by Amir
    Khusrau in the late 13th cent. by fusing Persian
    and S. Asian musical traditions. Qawwalis tend to
    begin gently and build steadily to a very high
    energy level in order to induce hypnotic states.
  • Very similar to Qawwali, Sama, set to a form of
    music called Ayin, featuring classical
    instruments such as Ney (a reed flute), is used
    in C. Asia Turkey. During 11th cent., tradition
    of Sama migrated to Indian sub-continent, Turkey
    and Uzbekistan. Rumi and his Mevlana order have
    been propagators of Sama in C. Asia. The West
    African Gnawa is another form. Sufis from
    Indonesia to Afghanistan to Morocco have made
    music central to their practices.
  • Urdu poetry (Shairi), coming from Arabic and
    Persian cultures, forms an important part of
    Indian culture. It has two main types i.e. Ghazal
    Nazm. Mushairas are poetic expositions. The
    major genres of poetry found in Urdu are Ghazal,
    Nazm, Qasida, Marsia, Sehra, Rubai, Noha, Shehr
    Ashob, Qata, Doha, Soaz.
  • The Ghazal (mortal cry of a Kastoori doe) is
    a poetic form consisting of couplets which share
    a rhyme and a refrain. It consists of a seemingly
    infinitely adaptable combination of essentially
    simple elements. Ghazal is always written from
    the point of view of the lover who is unable to
    attain his beloved, because the beloved is just
    playing with the poet's feelings. The lover is
    aware and resigned to this fate. It is not
    important to the lover that the beloved does not
    echo the same feelings towards him. The beloved
    is often portrayed in exaggerated terms, with
    extended metaphors about arrows of her eyes or
    referring to the beloved as an assassin.
  • A Nazm is an Urdu poetic form that is normally
    written in rhymed verse.

Dance of Darveshes (Sama)
  • Spiritual concert or listening (Sama'), the
    liturgy of which may include recitation,
    chanting, singing, instrumental music, dance,
    costumes, incense, meditation, ecstasy and
    trance, to arouse Ahwal, is associated with some
    Sufis, notably the Chishtiya, Naqashbandia
    Mevlevi Darveshes go in a whirling motion-
    symbolizing rotation of universe in Gods
  • The whirling dance of Sama' is conducted by
    Murshid in the prescribed manner. 9 to 13 Murids
    sit for half an hour on the floor, with eyes
    closed, heads bowed and arms folded. Murshid
    invites all the assembled to raise their hands in
    prayer and chants. After prayers, Darveshes
    approach Murshid, one by one, salute him with
    gesture of hand and begin dancing.
  • Darveshes advance slowly, turning on the left
    heel, till they form one circle. Their arms are
    open or raised, but eyes are closed. All
    visualize beholding beauty of the Beloved God.
    Sweet music is played or interrupted by poetic
    compositions sung by musicians and singers. Every
    Darvesh tries to search inward purity and
    tranquility. Dancing may continue for an hour or
  • In the assembly of the Sama', Darveshes may go
    into emotional upsurge (Wajd), becoming agitated
    and manifesting excessive motion, crying and
    weeping. The ecstasy is a means to a swift flight
    towards the Beloved and attaining an awareness of
    the Divine presence and is considered a special
    gift bestowed by God. Towards the close of the
    dance, Murshid may join the dance of Sama' for a
    little while and then make the closing prayer to
    conclude the Sama'.
  • The practice of Sama quickly spread amongst the
    Sufis and produced an acute cleavage of opinion-
    some holding it to be lawful and praiseworthy,
    others condemning it as an abominable innovation
    and incitement to vice. Those whose hearts He has
    endowed with spiritual perception hear His voice
    everywhere- ecstasy overcomes them as they listen
    to rhythmic chant of the muezzin, noise of the
    wind, bleating of a sheep or piping of a bird. 

Stages (Maqamat) States (Ahwal)
  • The Sufi, set out to seek God, is a 'traveller'
    (Salik), who advances by slow stages or stations
    (Maqamat) along a 'path' (Tariqa). A spiritual
    stage periodically marks the long path followed
    by Sufis leading to the goal of union with
    Reality (Fana fi l-Haq). Maqamat can also be
    perceived as the ascending rungs of the spiritual
    ladder. With continuous spiritual practices, a
    seeker ascends on this ladder.
  • Sufi's path is not finished until he has
    traversed all the stages, making himself perfect
    in every one of them, before advancing to the
    next, and has also experienced whatever states it
    pleases God to bestow upon him. Only then is the
    seeker permanently raised to the higher planes of
    consciousness which Sufis call 'the gnosis'
    (Marifa) and 'the Truth (Haqiqa), where the
    seeker (Talib) becomes the 'knower' or gnostic
    (Arif), and realizes that knowledge, knower, and
    known are One.
  • A spiritual station is considered enduring, in
    contrast to a spiritual state (Hal). It means a
    spiritual awareness that is lasting and which
    continues until the Sufi is more fully purified,
    more deeply surrendered to God's Will, and is
    led to another spiritual station. The Sufi
    progresses by means of his own effort or
    self-mortification (Mujahadah) and through the
    help and guidance of the master (Murshid) and by
    Gods grace. In each Maqam the Sufi strives to
    purify himself from all worldly inclination and
    to prepare himself to attain an ever-higher
    spiritual level.  
  • The stages (Maqamat) of self-awareness on the
    Sufi path, constitute Sufis ascetic and ethical
    discipline, and are distinct from the 'states'
    (Ahwal, pl. of Hal). While the 'stages' can be
    acquired and mastered by continuous spiritual
    practices and sincere efforts, the 'states' are
    spiritual feelings and dispositions over which a
    man has no control and depend on the Grace of God.

Stages (Maqamat) States (Ahwal)
  • The majority of Sufis agree on 7 major
    stages (Maqamat) 1. Repentance (Tawbah) does
    not mean remembrance of sins and atonement for
    them, but rather forgetting them along with
    everything that distracts from the love of God.
    2. Fear of the Lord (Wara?) is not fear of
    hellfire, but rather the dread of being veiled
    eternally from God. 3.  Renunciation or Detach-
    ment (Zuhd) means that the person is devoid of
    possessions and his heart is without
    acquisi-tiveness. 4.  Poverty (Faqr) in which he
    asserts his independence of worldly possessions
    and his need of God alone. 5. Patience (Sabr)
    the art of steadfastness, 6. Trust or Surrender
    (Tawakkul) in which the Sufi knows that he
    cannot be discouraged by hardships and pain, for
    he is in total submission to Gods will and finds
    joy even in his sorrows. 7. Satisfaction (Ri?a)
    a state of quiet contentment and joy that comes
    from the anticipation of the long-sought union.
  • The mystic states (Ahwal), thru which the soul
    has to pass are 1. Abudiya- doing Ibadat-
    devotion (Tapas). 2. Ishq- love. 3. Jihad-
    overcoming obstacles. 4. Muarif- intuition. 5.
    Wajd- an ecstatic state of rapture, normally
    experienced by Sufi mystics during reading poetry
    or scripture. 6. Haqiqa- truth, and 7. Wasl-
    union. Ego then becomes Fana- destroyed and
    immortality and bliss of Baqa- presence of Deity
    is experienced. Another list meditation,
    nearness to God, love, fear, hope, longing,
    intimacy, tranquility, contemplation and
  • Hal occurs spontaneously as a spiritual gift. A
    soft cloud appears on the horizon, engulfs the
    seeker while quenching his spiritual thirst, then
    moves on leaving him in a state of awe. In this
    state, a seeker neither expects what comes to him
    from the unseen world, nor has the slightest idea
    about the nature of experience. He is simply
    taken over by an overwhelming compassionate
    power. A realm of ecstasy prevails due to
    unbearable display of beauty. This state of
    Hal comes and goes on its own. A seeker can never
    claim such a state due to its extraordinariness
    and his ordinariness. It always happens as an act
    of Grace. 

Mystic Practices (Ashgal)
  • The Ashgal (pl. of Shugal) are esoteric
    exercises of the soul, such as Zikr, Fikr,
    Muraqaba, Habs-i-Dam, Shugal, Sama, Khalwat etc.
    which prepare it for illumination. These are
    directed towards three goals 1. to activate the
    heart centre, the store house of love, to clear
    the path towards Truth, 2. to subjugate the
    commanding self (Nafs-al-Ammarah) to the
    contented self (Nafs-Almutmainah), 3. to render
    the heart subtle for awareness and illumination.
  • Besides heart, which is the store house of Love
    and hub of life force, a Sufi has to activate
    other centres of divine energy in his physical
    body through breathing and meditation. Each
    practice is meant to unfold unconsciousness and
    remove blockades in the Chakras. At the Muladhara
    Chakra, then the seeker is prone to temptations.
    Evolving to Nafsi (Swadhistana Chakra), the urge
    to seek sensual gratification is pre-dominant.
    Those that evolve to Roohi (Manipura Chakra), by
    contemplation on the Divine, master the finer
    aspects of metabolism. When the aspirants evolve
    to Qalbi (Anhata Chakra), they attain mastery
    over languages of human species and animal
    species and develop supernatural powers. The rare
    few who activate the Khafi (Ajna Chakra) are
    blessed by the Unmanifest. The All-Pervading
    Divine Light of God is manifest here. Those
    reaching Akhfa (Sahasrara Chakra) are said to
    attain Wehdat (merger with the Divine).
  • Ashgal fall into 4 categories 1. Dasti with
    hands- telling beads, doing good deeds. 2.
    Lassani with the tongue- reciting scriptures,
    repeating holy Names, uttering sweet speech,
    preaching etc. 3. Samai with the ears-
    listening externally to Satsangs hymns also
    listening to Anhad Shabd or inner music
    (Shugal-i-Nasira, Shugal-i-Saut-i-Sarmadi, or
    Surat-Shabd Yoga). 4. Basri (or Nazri) with the
    eyes- gazing on an external object, leading to
    awakening of Nirat (Shugal-i-Aftabi- focus on the
    sun, Shugal-i-Aina- focus on ones reflection in
    a mirror, Shugal-i-Neem Khwabi-
    semi-consciousness during sleep).

Mystic Practices (Ashgal)
  • Tasawwar (Dhyan) concentration on the mental
    conception of some internal stage.
  • Shugal-i-Miyat (Shugal-i-Mansoori, Shav-asana)
    in this, one lies on the ground, face upwards and
    repeats a name, while keeping ones attention on
    the Third Eye.
  • Shugal-i-Roohi (Khechri Mudra) involves
    sticking of tongue to close the mouth cavity and
    repeating a name.
  • Shugal-i-Sultan Samadi Qalbi (Anahata Chakra)
    is activated thru sense-withdrawal love.
  • Shugal-i-Aina activates Sirr (Vishuddhi Chakra)
    through contemplation, aided by Zikr.
  • Shugal-i-Sultan Mehmood focuses on Khafi (Ajna
    Chakra) and is filled with Light.
  • Shugal-i-Bisat in this, one concentrates on the
    inner sun, repeating a name and reaches Akhfa
    (Sahasrara Chakra).
  • Shugal-i-Muqaman (Trikuti Dhyan) involves Fikr
    (concentrating). The gaze is fixed on the
    nose-tip with a name being repeated, and then
    taken inwards.
  • Shugal-i-Sanobari focuses on Fikr, as
    preparatory for Zikr (remembrance).
  • Shugal-i-Barazkh-i-Kabir (Bhakti Yoga) enjoins
    concentration on the Perfect Man
    (Peer-o-Murshid), both outwardly and inwardly,
    terminating in Fana fi l-Shaikh- merger in the
  • Shugal-i-Sultan Nasira (Tratak Karma Chachri
    Mudra) involves listening to Ghor Anahad-
    undifferentiated sound comprising 10 types of
  • Shugal-i-Saut-i-Sarmadi or Sultan-ul-Azkar
    (Surat-Shabd Yoga, Sahaj Yoga) begins by Zikr
    at the Third Eye focus and coming into contact
    with Dhunyatmak Nam, Shabd or holy Word
    (Kalam-i-Ilahi- Word of God, Nida-i-Asmani-
    heavenly sound, Ism-i-Azam- highest name) thru
    meditation (Muraqaba) aided by contemplation
    concentration (Fikr), and reaching Fana fi
    l-Shaikh and Fana fi l-Allah through focus on
    the inner Sound Light.
  • Fikr (contemplation) is of 2 kinds one is the
    result of perfect faith, the other of rapturous

Meditation (Muraqabat)
  • Muraqaba (to watch over the spiritual heart or
    soul, acquiring its knowledge and that of God)
    means meditation, a silent communion with the
    Divine. It means presenting oneself before the
    Creator. It is done sitting calmly in seclusion
    with inner eye, with outer eyes closed. Prior to
    engagement in Muraqaba, a disciple purifies his
    physical body with ablution and his mind by
    casting away all evil thoughts. Before presenting
    him before the Beloved God, the Murshid may
    prescribe the following states (Ahwal) and stages
    (Maqamat) The disciple may be (a) told to sit
    in a dark cell, open his eyes and concentrate on
    a single point. (b) required to observe silence
    for some days. (c) told to consider himself as a
    drop of water, from the sea of God. (d) required
    to consider himself a ray of light, from the
    Eternal Light.
  • After a period, when the Murshid is satisfied,
    out of grace, he may prescribe a Muraqaba 1.
    Muraqaba Royat During the practise of Fikr, to
    visualize that the Beloved God is looking at
    him. 2. Muraqaba Mmaeyat to think that his
    Beloved God is always with him. 3. Muraqaba
    Aqribiayat to think that his Beloved God is very
    near to him. 4. Muraqaba Whadit to think that
    his Beloved God rests in everything of this
    world. 5. Muraqaba Fana to lie down in
    Shav-asana and visualize his death. This is to
    remove the fear of death from heart of the Murid.
    Also, he attains the power to contact the
    departed souls. 6. Muraqaba Towhid-i-Afali to
    activate his mental activity, with confidence so
    that ones activity becomes Gods activity. 7.
    Muraqaba Towhid-i-Sifati to consider that
    oneself and this world, as a shadow or a replica
    of the Creator. 8. Muraqaba Towhid-i-Zati to
    consider the vegetable, animal and mineral
    kingdom, all elements and the heavens as God. 9.
    Muraqaba Noori to visualize God as the radiant
    light, covering the whole existence. This light
    is the consciousness, which the Sufis term as
    Noor-i-Mutlaq and the Yogis call Kundalini. It
    shines like the flash of lightening and covers
    the whole body from the spine to the head.

Meditation (Muraqabat)
  • Various types of Muraqaba Lower level 1. Light
    of various colours. 2. Ihsan (perfection of
    worship). 3. Noor (invisible Light). 4.
    Hatif-i-Ghabi (unhearable Sound of Cosmos). 5.
    Names   Attributes of God. 6. Allah (proper name
    of God). Middle level 1. Maot (death) life
    after Death. 2. Qalb (heart) Spiritual Heart. 3.
    Wahdat (unity) Cosmic Unity. 4. La
    (nothingness) material-lessness 5.
    Fana (annihilation of self) alpha-omega of
    universe. Higher level 1. Tasawwur-i-Shaikh (focu
    s on master). 2. Tasawwur-i-Rasool (focus on
    prophet) transfer of Faiz (arcane spiritual
    knowledge) from prophet. 3. Tasawwur-i-Zat-i-Ilahi
     (focus on God) experiencing Tajalli-i-Zat of
    God. 4. Martaba-i-Ihsan (focus on perfection of
    Faith) offering Salat as if you are watching
    Allah. If not, then as if Allah is watching you.
  • Sufi journey of ascension (a) Gnosis of self
    1. Somnolence (Ghanood) becomes
    semi-consciousness over time. 2. Cognition
    (Adrak) thru un-conscious mind during
    wakefulness without seeing or hearing. 3.
    Experience (Warood) with awakening of flickering
    vision due to increased mental concentration. (b)
    Gnosis of universe 4. Unveiling of Arcane
    knowledge (Kashaf/Ilham) initially without
    control. 5. Evidence (Shahood) with practice,
    knowledge by will- thru sight, hearing, smell or
    touch. 6. Victory (Fatah) Experiencing with open
    eyes, while freed from fetters of time space.
    (c) Gnosis of Creator 7. Annihilation (Fana)
    Gnosis of God through a series of stages
    (Maqamat) and subjective experiences (Ahwal),
    this process of absorption develops until
    complete annihilation of the self takes place and
    one becomes al-Insanul-Kamil (the perfect
    man), also called Extinction with unity (Fana
    fit-Tawheed) and Extinction in reality (Fana fi
    l-Haq). 8. Journey towards God (Sair-Il-Allah or
    Safr-i-Urooji). 9. Extinction of self in God
    (Fana fi l-Allah) mystical experience, becoming
    extinct in Gods Will and being wrapped
    in contemplation of divine essence. 10. Return
    journey from God (Sair min Allah or
    Safr-i-Nuzooli) being lost to oneself and
    totally lost in Gods magnificence. 11. Eternal
    life in union with God (Baqa-bi-Allah) when one
    lives in the world subsisting in God.

Illumination, Discernment, Well-doing
  • Illumination (Tajalli) means self-manifestation
    of God, but is understood in different ways by
    the mystics. It is the stage of union with God
    resulting in total absorption. A seeker reaches
    the stage of Yaqin, when he is blessed with the
    glance in this world. In the Beatific Vision, God
    manifests to the elect in various forms
    corresponding to their mental conception. The
    Sufis call it Tajalli-i-Dhat, signifying
    manifestation of the Glory of God during Wajd
  • Every Sufi is blessed by God to have a natural
    ability to illuminate his soul with Prophetic
    Blessings (Noor-i-Nubuwat). Whenever the light
    of faith touches his heart, his soul is
    illuminated, as if a lamp is lighted. Such a
    person becomes source of illumination for
    humanity. When such a person reaches the company
    of an accomplished Sufi master, then this
    illumination of soul is increased manifold. This
    is an essence of Sufism.
  • Saints and seers obtain Divine Inspiration
    (Ilham-i-Rabbani) from God. A mystic sees a
    vision in inner space, not before his eyes. A
    Sufi, after his or her annihilation in the
    personality of God, experiences a mystic union
    with God, which results in Tajalli. The Beatific
    Vision of the Divine in glory is achieved when
    body, mind and soul are intoxicated with love of
  • Discernment (Firasat) The light gleaming in the
    heart of the illuminated mystic endows him with
    this supernatural power. Its origin is in the
    Koranic verse in which God says that He breathed
    His spirit into Adam. Orthodox Sufis, who
    strenuously combat the doctrine that the human
    spirit is uncreated and eternal, affirm that
    Firasat is the result of knowledge and insight,
    metaphorically the 'light' or 'inspiration,'
    which God creates and bestows upon His
  • Well-doing (Ihsan) From illumination of
    gradually increasing splendour, the mystic rises
    to contemplation of the divine attributes, and
    ultimately, when his consciousness is wholly
    melted away, he becomes transubstantiated
    (Tajawhara) in the radiance of the divine
    essence. This is the 'station' of well-doing.

Annihilation (Fana)/Subsistence (Baqa)
  • Fana and Baqa are two major milestones on the
    path of spiritual progress. Fana or
    annihilation is the state that precedes the
    state of subsistence (or Baqa). Sufis believe
    that the purpose of human life is to attain the
    state of merger i.e. unity with the Almighty
    (Fana-fi l-Allah) and then to live in that
    state (Baqa). After reaching Wasl, ego becomes
    Fana- destroyed and the immortality and bliss of
    Baqa- presence of the Deity is experienced.
  • Unlike Nirvana, which is merely the cessation of
    individuality, Fana, the passing-away of the
    Sufi from his phenomenal existence, involves
    Baqa, the continuance of his real existence. He
    who dies to self lives in God, and Fana, the
    consummation of this death, marks the attainment
    of Baqa, or union with the divine life. When one
    approaches the stage of merger, it is called
    Salokyata and Samipyata (the state of Nearness).
    From here one moves to Sarupyata (Baqa) and
    complete Unity- Sayujyata (Baqa-dar-Baqa or
  • When the individual self is lost, the Universal
    Self is found. Fana is 1. a moral
    transfor-mation of the soul through the
    extinction of all its passions and desires. 2. a
    mental abstraction or passing-away of the mind
    from all objects of perception, thoughts, actions
    and feelings thru its concentration upon the
    thought of God. Here thought of God signifies
    contemplation of the divine attributes. 3. the
    cessation of all conscious thought.
  • Among the Darvesh orders, music, singing and
    dancing are favourite means of inducing Fana.
  • Often, though not invariably, Fana is
    accompanied by loss of sensation. The gnostic
    contemplates the attributes of God, not His
    essence, for even in gnosis a small trace of
    duality remains this disappears only in
    Fanaal-Fana, the total passing-away in the
    undifferentiated Godhead. It forms the prelude to
    Baqa, 'continuance' or 'abiding' in God. The
    mystic is now rapt in contemplation of the Divine

Gnosis (Marifat)
  • Sufism is a spiritual path, on which one travels
    in order to recognize Allah (Mari'fat) and attain
    nearness (Qurb) to Him. This path develops the
    spiritual faculties of man for realization of
    Divine Reality. While the term, Ilm denotes
    ordinary knowledge, Marifat is the mystic
    knowledge peculiar to Sufis. Mari'fat is a
    special guidance, which Allah inspires in the
    purified heart of the Mumin. This is a knowledge
    that cannot be learned through books. It is a
    gift of Allah, who bestows it to His chosen ones
    among the Friends of Allah (Awliya Allah), who
    have reached a certain degree of nearness to
    Him. This knowledge has been transmitted from
    the breast of the Spiritual Guide to his
    disciples and cannot be disclosed to others.
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