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Eleonora Karamiants

 

Muslim Faith and the Nation of Islam

 

Dr. Laughlin

 

Winter, 2001

 

Sufism

 

Tasawuf, or Sufism is the esoteric school of Islam, founded on the

pursuit of spiritual truth as a definite goal to attain: the truth of

understanding reality as it truly is, as knowledge. When Sufism speaks

of understanding of insight that refers to the perfect

self-understanding that enchains the understanding of the Divine. Sufis

believe that it is the unique human right and privilege to be able to

find the way towards understanding and reality of the Divine.

 

The origins of Sufism still are a highly debated topic amongst scholars.

Some accounts refer the rise of the mystical school during reign of Abu

Bakr and later, Usman, other sources point at the flourishing in a

sinful abundance of wealth Umayyads’ regime, when Islam ceased

practicing spiritual, mental and physical rigors. However, another

version suggests the Prophet Muhammad to be the founder of Sufism. The

mysterious time he spent in mountains contemplating and, perhaps,

meditating before the encounter with divinity along with certain

quotations from Hadith, the compendium of stories and sayings of the

Prophet, permits a legitimate presumption that Muhammad, at least

indirectly correlates to the establishment of the esoteric school of

Islam. “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer”

(Ch.7, p.92) directly contradicts the custom of traditional praying at

mosque. Sufis cultivate the seed of a school of spiritual practice

based on knowledge of the self. Avoiding persuasive public prayers,

their gatherings were held in private. Instead of preaching in public,

these pious individuals were searches of truth and not rhetorical

opponents – “the first stage of worship is silence”(Ch.7. p.89.)

 

As the perceptive tools of ordinary mental logic are limited in their

ability to comprehend such a great and all-embracing subject based on

language alone cannot open any door to understanding such reality.

Instead such a path of understanding demands spiritual striving, the

understanding and the knowledge of the heart, in its quest to realize

the existence of the Divine.

 

Become a person of the heart,

 

or at least the devotee of one;

 

Or else, you will remain

 

Like a donkey stuck in the mud.

 

(Rumi, Ch.9, p.103)

 

Between God and a human lies nothing, except for artificial obstacles to

the unifying created by humanity. This veil hinders a seeker from

ascending to the level of Reality (Bayazid Bistami, Ch.10, p.111 top.)

If people were free from the limitations of the material and physical

tools that humankind possesses; thus, the immense and eternal unity of

all the Being, the Creator and His creations would become transparent.

According to Sufis, 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 the realization of its achievement. As al-Ghazzali

believes, when one’s heart is purified, the “light of divine secrets” is

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