The problem with the western or eastern scholars is that they do not realize the Sufi doctrines rooted in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. They do not have any interaction with the living Sufis of their times. They simply understand it as a path like the paths or systems of other religious and mystical traditions. Mysticism in many ways is a process of dehumanization, whereas, Sufism is a process of the elevation of man. It leads man to God, His pleasure, vision, bounties and immortality. It purifies man and society from all sins and crimes and leads them to the material and spiritual development. It creates a peaceful society, where everyone is honoured, equally treated and respected. It teaches service and love to man and universe as the service to God.
Sufism is a Process of the Elevation of Man
Revisiting History: A Conversation with Hayat Aamir Hussaini- X
Edited by: Mudasir Al-Majdey
This was the path of the great Khawaja of Ajmer and the great Mir of Hamdaan, who created and nourished a new and live culture in the Indian subcontinent, routed all types of inequality and consequently envy, hatred, war, lust and exploitation. The great Mir Syed Ali nourished a new spiritual culture, art and industry, education and educational system, and the Islamic world view in Kashmir. Same was the role of other Sufis living in other parts of the world. Hasan al Basari raised the voice against the crimes of Umayyad’s done in the garb of the philosophy of pre-determination (Jabr), and Shaikh Najmuddin Kubra fought the holy war against the Chingizi criminal forces who invaded the Saljuq Empire, the Empire of the great Turks.
Real Sufism is prophetic and it has no identity with non-prophetic mystical frameworks, philosophies and practices. It is not unnatural and unwarranted and it does not allow any unwarranted inhuman and painful practices in the name of spiritual gain. It is based on the purification of the self and society, and develops and cherishes a psychology of peace, love and brotherhood, service to humanity and sanctity, and safety of the creations of God.
Islam is an ethical world view or system, and governs the political, social, educational, economic, cultural and the other fields of life on ethical principles. These ethical principles are the core and central doctrine of Islam. The Sufi way is primarily an ethical way, with the sole purpose to purify man from all vices and evils, and transform him into a pious and righteous existence, obedient to Allah and the prophet, and loving to and caring of all humanity and creation. The entire Sufi doctrinal system explains and elucidates the same truth. The life when governed and treated as the ethical way, it leads the traveler (salik) to the ultimate end, the vision and pleasure of God grounded on the faith of ‘al Tauhid’, the unity of God. God is the only necessary existence, the ultimate end, the creator, nourisher, cherisher of all creations. He is absolutely pure and free from all vicious things. The primary object of Sufism is purity and purification of the heart from all evils. It is only purification which creates, governs and sustains the beautiful, just and balanced way for man and consequently changes him in the ‘Nafsi Mutamaina’. “the soul in peace”.
The fear of God is the only deterrent tool that can deter man from all vices. Fear has two broader dimensions, the fear of destruction by known and visible things, and the fear of the unknown. The fear of unknown is the metaphysical, ethical and existential fear and is rooted in the very existence of man. This is the fear of God and man’s future. The future is always unknown and unpredictable. The fear of the loss of immortality is rooted in the wrath of God. But, if deeply realized it is rooted in the love of God. It is love which generates the fear of the loss of the pleasure and vision of God. Immortality stems from the love of God. It was Hasan al Basari who forwarded the ‘fear’ as a Sufi doctrine. But his doctrine was modified, enhanced and made more meaningful by Rabia al Basari, who gave the concept of love. The Quran holds both the doctrines which emerge from the gnosis and knowledge of God. Fear and love are the consequences of gnosis and consciousness of the Lord and His pleasure and the loss of His pleasure and vision. The Quran holds that the people fearing God are those who have knowledge. How can an ignorant feel these things? They live a life of animals. So gnosis (marifa) is the basis of Sufi behavior and it governs their life. It is the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who is treated by al-Quran as the model and embodiment of all values and virtues. The Sufis hold him as the ‘Qutub’ or the pivot or the running principal of universe. He is the absolute and most authentic source of knowledge and the right system of life which can bring man nearer to God and can create I-Thou relationship between them. This relationship based on knowledge, love and fear nourishes their psychology that is most human and spiritual and which creates a generous, loving and peaceful social order and leads humanity to the ultimate end ‘al saadah’ the success in both the worlds.
The mysticism that is rooted in polytheism or polytheistic metaphysics is either materialistic or dualistic or pantheistic, holding the soul and God identical. It has its own epistemology and socio-cultural framework which emerges from the polytheistic culture. While as Sufi metaphysics is prophetic and its epistemology and socio-cultural philosophy is rooted in the Quranic teachings and prophetic traditions.
Naturally then, the psychology of mysticism is totally different from and contradictory to the Sufi psychology. Their beliefs, practices and models of behaviour and the targets and ultimate goals are the two banks of a river which can never meet. Therefore, their mental behavior and understanding of life and the problems of life absolutely differ. Both the approaches and practices and goals belong to the two different cultures and thereby epistemological frameworks.
The author can be reached at: email@example.com