Sufism

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Sufism is a spiritual teaching tradition that although is based on centuries of wisdom, sits perfectly comfortably in our current times. This is because the beginning of Sufism is based in the divinely inspired message provided accurately from God by the Prophet Muhammad and that this message has been nurtured by an unbroken succession of fully enlightened Sufi Masters, providing spiritual guidance over their centuries of teaching and guidance.

The Sufis know from this background, that although the external world has constantly changed, human nature and the spiritual core of people has essentially remained the same and that Sufi teaching methods are still very effective.

The Sufi Path, although well trodden, is kept fresh and vital by the uniqueness of each new day. This is the ‘Hero’s Journey’ that has formed the spiritual basis of so many societies. The hero faces the challenges of his or her quest, often being advised along the way with sage-like advice, leading to the transformation of the hero and a successful homecoming. It’s this kind of universality that is a hallmark of Sufism.

Its universality to mankind is displayed by the large number of countries and cultures that have drawn from and added to Sufism. Within these countries, there is a full spectrum of people that are inspired by Sufism, reinforcing its universality, appealing to men and women, rich and poor, the old and young.

Sufism has provided some of the world’s finest:

  • Literature
  • Music
  • Art
  • Poetry
  • Spiritual Inspiration and Thought
  • Architecture
  • Medicine
  • Science

One aspect of Sufi spirituality is their understanding of the light that can be contained within humans and God’s creation. Muslims know that Angels are formed from light but it is the gift to humans from God that if they are rightly guided, they can add more and more light to their spiritual essence, which has a permanent quality that endures after a person dies. Muhiyiddin Ibn Arabi said that the characteristic of Believers is light. There are many descriptions of the light that would radiate from the Prophet Muhammad, including that he did not cast a shadow. The Verse of Light from the Quran (24:35), is as follows:

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The parable of His light is,
as it were, that of a niche containing a lamp;
the lamp is enclosed in glass, the glass like a radiant star;
lit from a blessed tree – an olive tree
that is neither of the east nor of the west –
the oil of which would almost give light
even though fire had not touched it: light upon light!
God guides to His light the one who wills to be guided;
and God offers parables to human beings,
since God has full knowledge of all things.

This is an example of the extensive knowledge that the Sufi’s can draw upon and apply to the development of their students. Sufism is a gem that has remained largely undiscovered in the West, particularly Australia. Apart from the beauty of this tradition, Sufism is well aligned to the psychological needs of Westerners.

Some Sufi Spiritual Practices include:

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“Do not come to us without bringing music:
We celebrate with drum and flute,
With wine not made from grapes,
In a place you cannot imagine.”
~ Rumi