Sufi Path of the Heart
Sufis are the seekers of the Truth. Sufism is a path of love to spiritual enlightenment. The Sufi notion of love embraces the entire universe and the creation. Sufis seek to transcend the intellectual knowledge attributed to the workings of the mind, and enter into the oneness through the heart. Sufis believe that a direct, personal experience of Divine could be achieved by practicing meditation and by leading a simple life. The practice and tradition of Sufism is about developing a deeper understanding about the nature of reality, abandoning our self-centered egotistical ways and embracing unity. Within Sufi traditions, meditation and prayer frequently take the form of singing, dancing, poetry, or other forms of artistic expression.
If light is in your heart, you will find your way home. – Rumi
The term could be derived from the word “suf” meaning “wool” in the sense of “cloak”, referring to the simple cloaks the original Sufis wore. Some believe that the word “Sufi” is derived from the word “sofia,” which means wisdom. The traditional view is that Sufism is the mystical school of Islam and had its beginnings in the first centuries following the life of the Prophet Mohammad. There is another view, however, that traces roots of Sufism back through the early mystics of Syria and Egypt, and to the Essenes among others. The germ of Sufism is said to have existed from the beginning of the human creation, for heart wisdom is the heritage of all. We can notice distinct heart wisdom teachings in many scriptures and writings. Sufis who are Muslim ascetics have similar lifestyles like the Indian Siddhas, the early Kabbalists, early Christian followers, and the Buddhist monks.
The Sufi responds with loving-kindness, for he sees everything in himself and himself in everything, expressing the highest form of love. Sufism encourages selfless service to others as part of pure devotion to the Divine. Sufi grows through love and releases the ego, coming to find the truth and then returning to be of service to the whole of creation. Important figures in Sufism include Ibn al’Arabi of Spain, Ibn al-Farid of Egypt, Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi of Persia, and Najmuddin Kubra of Central Asia among others. The well-known “Whirling Dervishes” are members of the Mevlevi order of Turkish Sufis, based on the teachings of the famous mystic Rumi (d.1273), who became one of the most popular poets in the world. The practice of spinning around is the group’s distinctive form of sama. Sufi’s may chant mantras that represent the name of God like Hu or Al-Haqq (the truth / reality).
According to the Naqshbandiya Sufi order there are 5 heart-based llataif:
1. Qalb (Heart), Adam, – represents knowledge, the light.
2. Sir (Secret), Noah- represents spiritual vision, faith.
3. Sirr e Sir (Secret of Secret), Moses- represents spiritual perfection, divine fire, the gate of truth, death of ego.
4. Khafa (Hidden), Jesus- represents the soul perfection, relationship with hidden knowledge, resurrection to divine.
5. Akhfa (Most Hidden), Prophet Mohamed- represents ascension, entering in the divine presence, protector.
5 heart lataif form 9 energy centers that hold the keys to untold abilities of mankind. If students are able to purify their body and soul from ego attributes, and keep themselves clean on their spiritual path, their Sufi teacher can help their heart to be lit by the saintly light of An-Nur. Sufi’s poetry talks about relationship of human and divine.
“In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows; the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?” -Rabi’a al-Basri
Rabia Basri was a female Sufi mystic, and she is remembered as one of the great saints of the 8th century.
“Detached You are, even from your being, and this being is nothing but You. Unmanifest, yet the manifest is naught but Your shadow. Moons, galaxies and worlds drunk from this cup. And the cupbearer is nowhere to be seen!”-Abu-Said Abil-Khei
“Beg for Love. Consider this burning, and those who burn, as gifts from the Friend. Nothing to learn. Too much has already been said. When you read a single page from the silent book of your heart, you will laugh at all this chattering, all this pretentious learning.” -Abu-Said Abil-Khei
“In the school of mind you learn a lot, and become a true scholar for many to look up to. In the school of Love, you become a child to learn again.” -Abu-Said Abil-Khei
“From the un-manifest I came,
And pitched my tent, in the Forest of Material existence.
I passed through mineral and vegetable kingdoms,
Then my mental equipment carried me into the animal kingdom;
Having reached there I crossed beyond it;
Then in the crystal clear shell of human heart I nursed the drop of self in a Pearl,
And in association with good men Wandered round the Prayer House,
And having experienced that, crossed beyond it;
Then I took the road that leads to Him,
And became a slave at His gate;
Then the duality disappeared
And I became absorbed in Him.” -Khwaja Abdullah Ansari
“The way to You lies clearly in my heart and cannot be seen or known to the mind. As my words turn to silence, Your sweetness surrounds me.” -Hakim Sanai
“Your heartrending fire made me bloom like a rose. I died at your feet and returned fast to life. My inborn freedom offered nothing in profit; but now I am free, since becoming your slave.” -Hakim Sanai
“Each who has seen Your beauty fine Utters honestly, ‘I have seen the Divine.’ Everywhere Your lovers wait for grace, Remove Your veil, reveal Your face! I am in the ocean and an ocean is in me; This is the experience of one who can see. He that leaps into the river of Unity, He speaks of union with his Beloved’s beauty.” -Ahmad Jam
“The sun can only be seen by the light of the sun. The more a man or woman knows, the greater the bewilderment, the closer to the sun the more dazzled, until a point is reached where one no longer is. A mystic knows without knowledge, without intuition or information, without contemplation or description or revelation. Mystics are not themselves. They do not exist in selves. They move as they are moved, talk as words come, see with sight that enters their eyes. I met a woman once and asked her where love had led her. “Fool, there’s no destination to arrive at. Loved one and lover and love are infinite.” -Farid ud-Din Attar
“I used to be wise and clever, just like you. I used to brush aside all the claims of the existence of love. Now that I’m lost, crazy and carefree, it seems I’ve been living this way all along.” -Rumi
“All those in love are ready to lose both worlds in one stroke, let go of a hundred years of life in one day, travel a thousand miles to experience a moment and lose a thousand lives for the sake of one heart. “ -Rumi
“Love is here; it is the blood in my veins, my skin. I am destroyed; He has filled me with Passion. His fire has flooded the nerves of my body. Who am I? Just my name; the rest is Him.” – Rumi
“Shall I tell you our secret?
We are charming thieves
who steal hearts and never fail
because we are the friends of the One.
The time for old preaching is over
we aim straight at the heart.
If the mind tries to sneak in and take over
we will string it up without delay.
We turn poison into medicine
and our sorrows into blessings.
All that was familiar, our loved ones and ourselves,
we had to leave behind.
Blessed is the poem that comes through me
but not of me because the sound of my own music
will drown the song of Love.” -Rumi
“Secretly we spoke, that wise one and me. I said, Tell me the secrets of the world. He said, Sh… Let silence Tell you the secrets of the world.”- Rumi, 13th century Turkey
“Books are composed by the sages who put black words on white pages; My sacred book’s chapters are all written in hearts that love truly.” -Yunus Emre
“Your love has wrested me away from me, You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave. Day and night I burn, gripped by agony, You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.” -Yunus Emre
“Come, let us all be friends for once,
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.” -Yunus Emre
“Your eye has not strength enough to gaze at the burning sun, but you can see its burning light by watching its reflection mirrored in the water. So the reflection of Absolute Being can be viewed in the mirror of Not-Being, for nonexistence, being opposite Reality, instantly catches its reflection.” -Mahmud Shabistari
“Where have you taken your sweet song? Come back and play me a tune. I never really cared for the things of this world. It was the glow of your presence that filled it with beauty.” -Hafez
Even in the earliest scripture of the Vedas, we can see the Sufi message:
“Find the eternal object of your quest within your soul. Enough have you wandered during The long period of your quest! Dark and weary must have been the ages of your searching in ignorance and groping in helplessness; At last when you turn your gaze inward, suddenly you realize that the bright light of faith and lasting truth was shining around you. With rapturous joy, you find the soul of the universe, the eternal object of your quest. Your searching mind at last finds the object of the search within your own heart. Your inner vision is illuminated by this new realization.” -Yajur Veda 32.11, India, ~ 1500 BC (and older)
“1. The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.
2. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.
3. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens loved you.
4. Draw me, we will run after you; the king brought me to his chambers. We will rejoice and be glad in you. We will recall your love more fragrant than wine; they have loved you sincerely.” -Hebrew Song of Songs, ~ 1000 BC
Corinthians 13.2, Bible: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
The author is initiated into Sufism by the Naqshbandiyya order and has studied Sufism. To enroll into a class on Sufism and Lataifs at DivineYu, please call (514) 999-4018 or send an email to email@example.com