Реферат: Analysis of Sufism Through Art of Sufi Poetry

Eleonora Karamiants

Muslim Faith and the Nation of Islam

Dr. Laughlin

Winter, 2001


Tasawuf, or Sufism is the esoteric school of Islam, founded on the pursuitof spiritual truth as a definite goal to attain: the truth of understandingreality as it truly is, as knowledge. When Sufism speaks of understanding of insight that refers to theperfect self-understanding that enchains the understanding of the Divine. Sufisbelieve that it is the unique human right and privilege to be able to find theway towards understanding and reality of the Divine. 

The origins of Sufism still are a highlydebated topic amongst scholars.  Someaccounts refer the rise of the mystical school during reign of Abu Bakr andlater, Usman, other sources point at the flourishing in a sinful abundance ofwealth Umayyads’ regime, when Islam ceased practicing spiritual, mental andphysical rigors.  However, anotherversion suggests the Prophet Muhammad to be the founder of Sufism.  The mysterious time he spent in mountainscontemplating and, perhaps, meditating before the encounter with divinity alongwith certain quotations from Hadith, the compendium of stories and sayings ofthe Prophet, permits a legitimate presumption that Muhammad, at leastindirectly correlates to the establishment of the esoteric school ofIslam.  “An hour of contemplation isbetter than a year of prayer” (Ch.7, p.92) directly contradicts the custom oftraditional praying at mosque.  Sufiscultivate the seed of a school of spiritual practice based on knowledge of theself.  Avoiding persuasive publicprayers, their gatherings were held in private. Instead of preaching in public, these pious individuals were searches oftruth and not rhetorical opponents – “the first stage of worship issilence”(Ch.7. p.89.)

As the perceptive tools of ordinary mentallogic are limited in their ability to comprehend such a great and all-embracingsubject based on language alone cannot open any door to understanding suchreality.  Instead such a path ofunderstanding demands spiritual striving, the understanding and the knowledgeof the heart, in its quest to realize the existence of the Divine. 

            Become a person of the heart,

-<span Times New Roman"">         

or at least the devotee of one;

Orelse, you will remain

Like adonkey stuck in the mud.

                                    (Rumi, Ch.9, p.103)

BetweenGod and a human lies nothing, except for artificial obstacles to the unifyingcreated by humanity.  This veil hinders aseeker from ascending to the level of Reality (Bayazid Bistami, Ch.10, p.111top.)  If people were free from thelimitations of the material and physical tools that humankind possesses; thus,the immense and eternal unity of all the Being, the Creator and His creationswould become transparent.  According toSufis, there is a chance for humanity to ascend to such a level of understanding,a path that can be traced through purification and meditation to therealization of its achievement.  Asal-Ghazzali believes, when one’s heart is purified, the “light of divinesecrets” is reflected in the mirror of the heart (Al-Ghazzali, Ch.9, p.102.)  Along with purification of theheart, one has to remember God as the first and only priority in life in orderto unify with Reality (Sheikh Muzaffer, Ch.8, p.98 top.)  Sufi compare relationship with God as betweenlovers, who live only by each other and their love.  Nothing else exists in their world (Jami,Ch.8, p.99.)

Sufis’way of life does not exhibit the most accurate instance of severe asceticismand a practice of physical rigors.  Theperfect Sufi lives in accordance with Qu’ran and “never forgets God for asingle moment.”(Abu Sa’id, Ch.1, p.40) The essence of the mystic’s lifecorresponds to constant remembrance of God. Islamic mystics are aware of the true value and function of everythingin the world; thus they accentuate Reality as the major concern of a humanlife.  They advocate moderation in foodand physical comforts as a profound condition to liberate hearts and minds fromeverything that is peripheral and transitory, and stay focused on God(Al-Ghazzali, Ch.1, p.37.)  The eternalpath of Sufis commences with their approach to daily life.  Soul remains the primary tool in search ofReality.  Body serves only as means ofensuring physical health, and the care for it is provided as to a camel in acaravan – without adoration and contemplation, for camel is merely a device toreach the destination (al-Ghazzali, Ch.2, p.47.)  Sufis’ destination is the unity with God, thetruth and knowledge exposed when the “veil” is elevated.  Muslim mystics teach that nothing isperpetual and everything is perishable in the world (Attar, Ch.6, p.80.)  Everything has a beginning, a purpose and anend, and after completing the cycle returns to its original pattern.  “The end is maturity, and the goal isfreedom.  The circle is complete.  Completing the circle of existence isfreedom” (Nasaft, Ch.2, p.53.)   

Sufisteach that on the path of spirituality one must first learn to draw thefundamental distinction between deception and truthfulness.  “You may follow one stream.  Know that it leads to the Ocean, but do notmistake the stream for the ocean” (Jan-Fishan, Ch.6, p.81.)  It is easy to fall into falsehood by thinkingthat one may appropriate the knowledge of others as one’s own.  Such mere information should not be mistakenfor actual knowledge of Reality.  Theperceptions of senses can be misleading and even more so, the judgements thatare derived from them.  The superficialknowledge acquired through human senses can not develop into a foundation, fromwhich humankind can ascend to the level of understanding the knowledge ofReality.  A Sufi avoids falling intofalsehood by learning how not to mistake imagination and assumption for thetruth of reality (Dhu-l-Nun, Ch.10, p.110.)

Sufis,similar to Zen masters believe that nothing external should be a source ofdistraction on the pathway to Reality. One has to concentrate on his/her own within.  Sufis strongly oppose influence of a publicopinion.  “If someone remarks, ‘What anexcellent man you are!” and this pleases you more than his saying, “What a badman you are!” know you are still a bad man” (Sufyan al-Thawri, Ch.3, p.61.)  Also, mystics teach that peopleshould not disguise their deeds as acts done for the cause of God, when inreality they are committed in order to earn applause, seek praise of thepeople, be called charitable or brave (al-Ghazzali, Ch.3, pp.62-63.)  Unless one frees oneself from the lower self,one will not arrive at the gateway, separating humanity from Ultimate Reality.  To tame one’s lower self enacts avoiding theinferior qualities that can overcome the heart and mind of the seeker andhinder the person from progressing on the spiritual path (Kashani, Ch.4, topp.68.)  Lower self extinguishes the lightof divine love in the heart of a seeker. A person searching for a spiritual path has to remain stable and strongso not to become motivated by the lower qualities such as jealousy, greed, andegotism.  Instead, one should develop“practice of remembrance, awareness, and heedfulness”(Sheikh Tosun Bayrak,Ch.4, p.71.)

 In the mystical traditions of Islam, Sufism,God is immanent versus God being a remote entity in Islam itself.  According to Sufis the world itself is amirror of the divinity.  All the beautyand perfection of it, even though temporary, allows humans to sense theimpeccable splendor of Paradise, while the hideousness and ugliness of the sameworld conveys the gloominess of Hell. However, the underlying message of such conception is that “it is Godwho is real and so forever” (Jami, Ch.5, p.74.) Nature, the earth, which humans behold and feel is the subjectivevisions of God, suggested to human minds by the Creator.  The most beautiful, sensuous and eloquentcreations in the world are merely pale shadows of the greatest in itsperpetuity beauty of God (Moinuddin, Ch.5, p.78.)

     Throughout the world of Sufism, love is aneternal theme, which Sufis in all eras have gracefully glorified in exuberantpoetry.  It is love that refines,enhances, and brings beauty to the world. In Sufism the treasure of love has been likened to fire: it burns andthrough such burning longing it purifies and intensified.  The metaphor of fire expresses the truth ofsearch for reality.  If fire did not burnnor would it purify and illuminate (Sheikh Muzaffer, Ch.11, p.119.)  A beautiful and profoundly meaningfulnarrative about Caliph Harun al-Rashid’s favorite concubine, who refused allthe riches when, offered by the Caliph to his mistresses to take the mostprecious amongst the jewels he presented and to walk away free.  She stayed until it was only two of them leftin the empty hall.  All she wanted wasthe Caliph himself and no gold or gems could substitute her love for Harunal-Rashid.  That was what be, the realSufi, wanted – not the palace, or power, or any of the jewels and other giftsof the Caliph – but the Caliph himself (Sheikh Muzaffer, Ch.11,pp.123-24.) 

Tariqah, the wordfor mystic path in Sufism means the path in the dessert that the Bedouin takesto travel from oasis to oasis.  To findthe way in the trackless desert one need to know the area intimately.  “Whoever travels without a guide needs twohundred years for a two-day journey” (Rumi, Ch.12, p.145.)  Sufi teachers are those who know the areaintimately.  They are reliable guides tothe tariqah that crosses the desertof the Absolute and take their students from oasis to oasis of gnosis andrevelation with an astonishing effortlessness. “On all paths of spiritual training, the teacher is of centralimportance.  He or she embodies theteaching as a living representation of the tradition.  He or she helps the student to grow beyondthe boundaries of self” (Ozelsel, Ch.12, p.128.)

 Worship that is based on traditional customssuch as praying and meaningless imitations is deprived of truth.  It is the heart of the believer that mustbecome open to faith, so that it may see and hear truth until it can believethe reality of the Divine (Rumi, Ch.13, p.152.) Sufis’ practice of Islam is significantly deeper rooted in spiritual practiceand mental concentration rather performing prescribed procedures in a commonmanner.  When performing an ablution,spiritual cleansing is paramount.  Whennothing is available to perform the ritual washing prior to praying, one should“cleanse yourself with intention so that you approach the moment as free of thepast as possible” (Reshad Feild, Ch.13, p.154.)

Theeffect of fanaticism to destroy a person’s sense of humor is well known.  The Sufis make use of this, too, in theirinsistence that those interested in their Way should study and understand jokesand humorous recitals.  Even though jokesseem a frivolous device when applied to studying Sufism, the profoundlyeloquent jokes help in learning and understanding the concepts of Sufism(Ch.14, p.164, in the middle.)  Eventhough laughter may not seem as a useful tool, yet it provides spiritualawareness and assists in learning (Ch.14, pp.168-169.)

Sufismis a hidden gem, not a jewelry that can be bought or sold in themarketplace.  The Sufis have releasedthemselves from the world of mortality, they have passed the stages ofpurification, have freed themselves from attachment to the realm of appearance,and have striven for the annihilation of their limited “self” into the eternalBeing (Ibrahim Adham, Ch.15, pp.182-183.) The Sufi is free from all attachments to material goods and also freefrom influences of the desires, he/she is therefore poor, possessing nothingand letting nothing possess him/herself (Ibrahim Adham, Ch.15. p.182.)

Patienceas it is practiced in Sufism possesses both an outwardly apparent and inwardlyessential aspect.  A seeker always thinksbefore he speaks, awaiting the opportune moment, so as not to say what he/shemay well later regret (Ibn ‘Arabi, Ch.15, p.184.)  Sufis teach that the one who is patient isgrateful even in times of difficulties and misfortune through perseverance inGod (Sheikh Muzaffer, Ch.15, p.184.), Ch.15, p.184.)

Sufisteach that God with always present with humans, it is humans who are veiledfrom God.  Once a seeker commences thepath to knowledge of Reality, he/she approaches closer to God, whereas God isstill, already with the seeker (Muhammad, Ch.16, p.199) At the hardest timesGod is with humanity, however, the duty lies on people to recognize God.  “We are always surrounded by the Help ofGod.  The question is to realize it”(Irina Tweedie, Ch.16, p.202.)  In Sufismprayer is the most significant element of worshipping.  The highest is Divine love, which is thefinality of the spiritual journey, and is known only to the truthful (al-Ghazzali,Ch.17, p.204.)  When a seeker prays, themirror of his heart shines pure and clean, and so becomes a mirror of the wholeworld since God “lifts a veil and opens the gates of the invisible” (Muhammad,Ch.17, p.204.)

TheAlmighty Lord commanded “Remember me, so that I remember you” (Qu’ran, II,152.)  Remembering does not mean theoccasional recollection of God.  Ratherit means to remember and remind one’s self of His existence at all times.  “All creations are calling upon God.  You cannot hear or see it on the outside, butthe essence in everything is continuously remembering and calling uponGod”(Sheikh Muzaffer, Ch.18, p.210.)  Inremembrance of God, one has to put everything aside, so “he sees nothing but God,[and] nothing moves him but the will of God” (Dhu-l-Nun, Ch.18, p.211.)  Service is a very important aspect ofSufism.  The significance of it is thesincerity and intentions.  In the meaningof service still the preponderance of Love is addressed to the issue.  A young man leaving his old father in themountains because his wife demanded so, a young water carrier whose vow was togive all the money he collected on Fridays for the sake of his parent’s souls,a brother who was so used to give money to his younger brother that when theyoungest needed an advice, the older brother, following the habit offered moneyinstead of his ear to listen to, and his heart to comfort (Ch.19, SheikhMuzaffer, pp.222-223; p.218, pp.2190220.)  All these narratives depict moral self-transformation, which is as essentialin Sufism as the worship and a sincere prayer.

AlthoughIslam is a monotheistic religion, Sufism as its mystical school slightly driftsaway from the monotheistic mold.  InSufism God is not a remote Creative Force that interferes from time to timeinto human affairs.  Sufis regard God ineverything.

Rose and mirror and sun andmoon – where are they?

Wherever we looked, therewas always Thy face.

                                                            (Mir,Ch.20, p.228)

Sufi’smonistic interpretation of God also suggests that everything is God, thusassigning every creature in the world a divine shadow.  “The eyes that regard God are also they eyesthrough which He regards the world” (Traditional, Ch.20, p.229.)  Contrary to Christian doctrine about Satan asan opposing force to God, balancing on the scale of Good and Evil, Satan inIslam is not a destructive entity within or outside of the Divine Council.  Banished for the refuse to prostrate in frontof Adam, Satan still loves God, moreover, loves unconditionally.  Satan explains it that “so that I would notmix with the sincere ones and worship Him out of passion or fear or hope orcraving” (Sana’i, Ch.21, p.237.)  ToSatan God is still the Friend, even though Satan loves Him without a hope to beloved in return.  “From the hand of theFriend it matters not whether it is honey or poison, sweet or sour, grace orwrath” (Hallaj, Ch.21, p.238.)

Those who are free from their egobecome united with God at the stage of selflessness.  They leave the transient “self” behind and,and will exist through the existence of God (Hallaj, Ch.22, p.246.)  The seeker is dissolved into the divineexistence and breaks the limitation of the self.  The one who truly believes in unity is the one,who has gone through spiritual stages of understanding the truth into thesingle essence and has broken from the limits of the self (Rumi, Ch.22. p.250.)

Sufisare not afraid of death, for it is not a physical condition as much astransition to the unification with God. “Death is a bridge whereby the lover rejoins the Beloved” (Rabia, Ch.23,p.253.)  Death is crushing the bonds ofphysical existence to become one with a universe beyond the limitations ofnature.  Death is completing the circle.  The goal is reached.  Freedom.

  Whenyou see my funeral, don’t say,”What a separation!”

It is time for me to visit and meetthe Beloved.

Since you have seen my descent,then do see my rising.

Why complain about the setting ofthe moon and the sun?

Which seed that went under theearth failed to grow up again?

                                                                        (Rumi,Ch.23, p.256)     



еще рефераты
Еще работы по иностранным языкам