There are many views concerning Sufism. Numerous books, articles
and special treatises in many languages have been dedicated to
this sacred teaching. However, a great number of these works was
written by those, who have not gone along the Path themselves.
It is similar to explaining the taste of a peach without ever
trying the fruit itself. Such writings create the wrong picture
of this Great teaching among the readers.
The truest and the deepest essence of Sufism is not intended for
the public disclosure. Sufi sacred knowledge and experience are
passed only at a private meeting with the master (murshid). The
disciple (murid) should be by no means aware of what is yet ahead
of him. That is why a Sufi knows of Sufism only that, which he
had learned from his own experience on the Path. Even an enlightened
Sufi does not take unto himself the task of writing about Sufism
without a special permission from his master, even if it will
only be about the outward side of Sufism, such as its history
and general philosophical ideas, is concerned. Sufi Sheikh Hasan-Hilmi
al-Kakhibi ad-Daghestani writes in one of his books that he has
said about the teaching just as much as he was allowed to say
by his master.
difficulty lies in the fact, that many aspects of the teaching
simply cannot be described. There are things, that a Sufi sees
and knows - yet is unable to explain. Imagine, for example, that
a person, who is blind from birth, asks you to explain what the
green colour looks like. We see that colour every day but we cannot
explain what it looks like. Just as those, who can see, are unable
to provide the blind with the explanations of many things around
them, so is the Sufi, for whom it is difficult to express in words
that which is open to him. To understand all this, a person has
to reach enlightenment by means of a special Sufi practice. He
has to open his spiritual sight" and extend his own insight
far beyond the limits of the material/ carnal existence - to achieve
parable says, that several scholars – (alims) - came to a sheikh
and asked him to explain them what Sufism is. “If Allah wishes
so, you will hear my explanation,"- replied the sheikh. He
invited them into the house and asked them to wait for a while,
while he withdrew to a separate room and prayed to Allah to take
his soul away and deliver him from speaking to his guests of Sufism.
The deep wisdom of the parable shows that it is impossible to
teach the truth, to explain the essence of the Sufi teaching even
to scholars, who's very disposition is to search for knowledge.
It is also impossible to render in words a special spiritual state
that can be achieved by Sufi practice. That is why Sufis say:
Everything that can be expressed in words - is not Sufism".
about Sufism, one should know his listener. It is very often impossible
to explain the essence of Sufism to a secular person, who has
been absorbing the secular ideology throughout his whole life.
Such a person would rather understand Sufism through those laws
and wisdoms that he is used to follow, simplifying things for
his understanding. But he will never succeed because of many reasons.
One of them is that the laws of the spiritual life are entirely
different from the laws of the material world.
true substance of the sacred Islamic teaching is revealed by Allah's
kindness only to those, who are seeking and making effort to achieve
an inside understanding of Sufism by means of the special spiritual
practice. But one should practice Sufi psychotechnique only under
the guidance of an experienced and true Sufi master - a spiritual
teacher (murshid), strictly following all his instructions.
question may arise: what is the purpose of Sufism? What does it
- is a sacred teaching, which holds the key to knowledge. Its
goal is to bring man up to the higher level of perfection. Mankind
was given science and Sufism: the first - to comprehend the creations
of the Almighty and the second - to perceive the Almighty, to
reach the Truth. Hence the specific range of means and methods
used in Sufi practice are quite difficult to understand. Sufism
teaches to gain understanding of the true reality. It is not only
about who the man is, but also what should be his ideal. Reaching
this level opens an unlimited scope of possibilities for a man.
lot has been written about the phenomenal abilities of certain
people, including clairvoyants and those who have the ability
of prophesy. But the superior abilities of the most recognized
of them are just a thousandth of what the true Sufis can do. The
Sufi level is unachievable for those who acquired their skills
in a different way. The secret mystical pre-Islamic religions
are also inferior to Sufism in this respect.
often say that the phenomenal abilities of clairvoyants and soothsayer,
such as, Nostradamus or Vanga, come from God. Those, who are endowed
by Him, reveal such abilities. From the one hand, it is true,
from the other - not so true. The truth is that Allah gives such
abilities to a man from the very beginning just as each man is
born with nails and hair. The question is how is one supposed
to reveal those abilities, how is one able to awaken the hidden
mechanisms of human nature responsible for their exposure. At
this stage of development mankind is still far from being perfect.
Depending directly on the level of human perfection, its potential
abilities are in a state of slumber".
the same time it is not the goal of Sufism to reveal human super
abilities just for the sake of doing so. It should by no means
be the reason for starting the journey along this Great and Sacred
Path. And if superior abilities, revealed during the practice,
become the matter of great interest for an experienced disciple,
the master shall free him from them so that they would not hinder
the disciple's ascending to the Truth.
superior abilities are badly needed for obtaining and understanding
the superior knowledge. He who can neither dive nor swim will
never see the bottom of the lake. Enlightened Sufis know that
man, the unique creation of Allah, is the unity of the three elements:
the flesh/carnal/material body, the materially thin substance
(nafs) and the fundamental substance of the human existence -
the soul. Nafs is also called the animal soul "and it is
known in today's experimental science as biological field. It
forms the frame of the materially thick human body, has an egg-like
shape (which narrows down to the feet) and consists of seven information-and-energy
layers – “bodies". Each of them is an intricate structure,
with its proper energetically structure, colour (nafs colours
in general are close to the rainbow colours), frequency vibration
range, polarization and so on. Our materially thick body is connected
to six of them through a sort of energy-information cords".
Lataifs are (in fact) the key to Nafs, through them the Sufi is
working in the beginning of the (Spiritual) Path, making nafs
healthy, more perfect and harmonious, enriching it in divine meaning,
with his/her master conducting and directing the work of his murid.
The spiritual sight helps a Sufi sheikh in this work by allowing
him to see the lataifs and the nafs as a whole as well as in detail,
to watch what is happening in the materially thin substance of
to be a Master are supposed to meet very high standards. The cases
are known when a master would select as his successor only one
disciple out of thousands. For example, a widely known Daghestani
Sufi sheikh Mama-Dibir al-Rochi ad-Daghestani has not left any
successor at all, although he had had several thousands of murids
(disciples). Ideally, a Sufi murshid must be absolutely perfect
and such perfection, naturally, leads to his superior abilities
being revealed. The higher the level of perfection, the more significant
they are. The superior abilities, given to a man by Allah, become
revealed with each step towards perfection.
the above said is just one of many sides of Sufism, which to a
great extent is connected with the manifested substance. The crucial
thing is that sufi practice cleans, heals, strengthens, harmonizes
and prepares our spirit as well as the basis of our existence
- our soul, for spiritual life after their separation from the
flesh/materially thick body. The supreme aim of Sufism is to know
the Almighty Allah and to know the Truth.
is one more thing. An alim said, “One third of the Qur'an is the
Tariqa". Another said, “One half of the Qur'an is the Tariqa".
Another said, “They are both wrong. The Tariqa is the whole Qur'an
". The whole text of the Holy Qur'an does not contain Sufism
as a systematized teaching, for a single whole cannot be divided.
Heart, brains, muscles, bones and other components - together
they form a single being. So does Sufism constitute a single whole
together with the teaching of Islam. If the heart is rent from
the being, it will neither function, nor will the organism itself
be alive without the heart. For that reason Islam and Sufism should
not be confronted one against the other.
example, one can be taught some knowledge in chemistry within
the frames of the school curriculum. Perhaps, it will be enough
for him. But if he wants to go deeply into the subject, he will
have to study it more thoroughly by learning its laws at a higher
level. The same can be said about the Shariah, an open teaching
of Islam, the teaching for all mankind. The Shariah provides the
necessary basis for spiritual life. At the same time there are
more sacred levels of existence. Reaching them requires concentrated
and persistent work. And Sufism is the very means and method of
knowing the Truth.
is perfectly justified to call Sufism the Shariah's heart".
For a Sufi, who has devoted his life to the quest of the Truth
and who seeks not but God, the unity of the Shariah and the Tariqa
(Sufism), the absolute compliance with the Shariah is the indispensable
condition of knowing the Truth. Shuaib-afandi al-Bagini ad-Daghestani,
the revered Sufi sheikh and hafiz, writes about himself in this
respect: All my life I have been living in strict compliance with
all the instructions of the Holy Qur'an and the hadith of the
Prophet Muhammad". Thus it is crucial for the true Sufi to
live by the Shariah, the core principle of Sufism. That is why
a Sufi can be seen as the Shariah's purity guard.
history of Daghestan shows, for instance, that at the times when
atheism propaganda was at its highest, Islam was best preserved
in those regions where sufi traditions were the strongest. In
the 19th - and at the beginning of the 20th centuries Sufism played
an important role in the history of Daghestan. Such prominent
figures as Muhammad al-Yaragi, Jamal ad-Din al-Kazikumukhi, imam
Gazi-Muhammad and Imam Shamil, imam Muhammad-hajji al-Salti and
many others, who headed the movement for the purity of the Shariah,
were murshids or Sufis, gone along the Path from the beginning
till the end. Islam's strong position in Daghestan can also be
accounted for by the strict adherence to the Sufi traditions and
enthusiasm of the local Sufi sheikhs.
Sufism is indeed the “heart” of the Shariah and the “soul"
of Islam. Sufism and the Shariah are inseparable, they are one
single whole. Together they lead the man towards perfection, towards
the knowledge of the beyond-sense existence (Ma'rifa) and finally
towards the Truth (Haqiqa).
would like to wish the mankind the sooner realization of the greatness
and the true purpose of Sufism - this priceless and sacred spiritual
experience of Islam.