Friday, January 27, 2006


Sufism

Sufism is an Islamic movement which dates back to the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Tradition holds that the Prophet of God (PBUH) taught his closest companions the inner dimensions of mans mind, heart and soul. The goal of every Sufi initiate is a state which is known in Arabic as fana or annihilation, where in the initiate destroys his base wants and desires after which his entire being is filled the remembrance of Allah. It is said that when a person reaches this state every atom of his being forms a mouth and each mouths sole purpose is in singing Allah’s praise.

Sufis say that the ultimate spiritual truth is hidden behind veils which man must remove in order to obtain his goal (fana).The most important and hardest veil to remove is egotism; one this has been subdued man can begin to reform his soul and in doing so reach his final objective. This attempt at renouncing the ego is a recurring theme in most mystic movements, which would explain the appearance of dreadlocks among many mystic groups through out history because the underlying theme among practitioners who wear dreadlocks for religious reason is the renunciation of outwardly beauty, by matting ones hair by means of neglect.
Sufistic moevements can be found among both Sunni and Shi’a Islam however the Shi’i strain is known as Irfan. Both Sufis and Irfanis claim to have a chain of teachers which are all linked back to Ali ibn Abi Talib (the son in law of Muhammad (PBUH)) and from him to the holy Prophet Muhammad.

The four main brotherhoods which were founded by promoninte Sufi Saints of their day include Chishtiyya, the Naqshbandiyya, the Qadiriyya and the Mujaddiyya. I should also mention that many off shoots of these four main schools. Another very important aspect of Sufism is that one MUST be Muslim to be Sufi. There are some groups mainly in the west who have perverted Sufi teachings and divorced themselves from Islam; however these groups are no more Sufi brotherhoods than a group who would call themselves Christians yet denounce the Prophet hood of the Prophet Jesus.

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