Sufism is defined as “truth without form,” and the Sufi aspires to become “featureless and formless,” to be so lost in God that only He remains. But there are certain qualities that belong to these travelers on the path of love.
The Sufis are folk who have preferred God to everything, so that God has preferred them to everything.( DHÛ-L-NÛN )
The Sufi is he who aims, from at first, at reaching God, the Creative Truth. Until he has found what he seeks, he takes no rest, nor does he give heed to any person. For Thy sake I haste over land and water; over the plain I pass and the mountain I cleave and from everything I turn my face, until the time when I reach that place where I am alone with Thee. (AL-HALLÂJ )
When Abû Sa‘îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr was asked what Sufism entailed he replied: “Whatever you have in your mind— forget it; whatever you have in your hand—give it; what¬ever is to be your fate—face it!” (ABÛ SA‘ÎD IBN ABÎ-L-KHAYR)
“Dervishes” is a term which refers to holy poverty: “the poor man is not he whose hand is empty of provisions, but he whose nature is empty of desires.” (HUJWÎRÎ)
Dervish is a Persian term referring to a state of spiritual poverty. The early dervishes were wandering ascetics.
A dervish wearing a sackcloth coat and woolen cap once came to meet Master Abû ‘Alî. One of Abû ‘Alî’s disciples tried to humor him, saying, “How much did you purchase that sackcloth for?”
The dervish answered, “I purchased it for the sum of the world. I was offered the hereafter in exchange, but refused to trade.” (ABÛ ‘ALÎ AD-DAQQÂQ )
Four thousand years before God created these bodies, He created the souls and kept them beside Himself and shed a light upon them. He knew what quantity each soul received and He showed favor to each in proportion to its illumination. The souls remained all that time in light, until they became fully nourished. Those who in this world live in joy and agreement with one another must have been akin to one another in that place. Here they love one another and are called the friends of God, and they are brothers who love one another for God’s sake. These souls know one another by smell, like horses. (ABÛ SA‘ÎD IBN ABÎ-L-KHAYR)
There was a king, who, one day, entering his royal court, observed one person who among all those present, was not bowing down before him. Unnerved by the impudent act of this stranger in the hall, the king called out: “How dare you not bow down before me! Only God does not bow down before me, and there is nothing greater than God. Who then are you?” The tattered stranger answered with a smile, “I am that nothing.” (ANONYMOUS)
You too put your best foot forward. If you do not wish to, then follow your fantasies. But if you prefer the secrets of the love of your soul you will sacrifice everything. You will lose what you consider valuable, but you will soon hear the sacramental word “Enter.”(‘ATTÂR)
An intending disciple said to Dhû-l-Nûn, the Egyptian: “Above everything in this world I wish to enroll in the Path of Truth.”
Dhû-l-Nûn told him: “You can accompany our caravan only if you first accept two things. One is that you will have to do things which you do not want to do. The other is that you will not be permitted to do things which you desire to do. It is ‘wanting’ which stands between man and the Path of Truth.”( DHÛ-L-NÛN )
Know that when you learn to lose yourself, you will reach the Beloved. There is no other secret to be learnt, and more than that is not known to me.
A man came to Abû ‘Alî ad-Daqqâq and said, “I have come to you from a very distant place.”
Abû ‘Alî ad-Daqqâq replied, “Attaining knowledge of the path has nothing to do with traversing great distances and undergoing journeys. Separate from yourself even by one single step, and your goal will be reached.”(ABÛ ‘ALÎ AD-DAQQÂQ)
In your own land seek the hidden flame…. It is unworthy of man to borrow light from elsewhere. (AL-HALLÂJ)
When you seek God, seek Him in your heart—
He is not in Jerusalem, nor in Mecca nor in the hajj. (YÛNUS EMRE )
The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you Not knowing how blind I was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.(RÛMÎ)
When truth has taken hold of a heart she empties it of all but Herself.
One day a man from Mount Locam came to visit Sarî al-Saqatî.
“Sheikh So-and-So from Mount Locam greets you,” he said.
“He dwells in the mountains,” commented Sarî. “So his efforts amount to nothing. A man ought to be able to live in the midst of the market and be so preoccupied with God that not for a single minute is he absent from God.”(SARÎ)
The perfect mystic is not an ecstatic devotee lost in contemplation of Oneness, nor a saintly recluse shunning all commerce with mankind, but “the true saint” goes in and out amongst the people and eats and sleeps with them and buys and sells in the market and marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment. (ABÛ SA‘ÎD IBN ABÎ-L-KHAYR)
Everything in the world of existence has an end and a goal. The end is maturity and the goal is freedom. For example, fruit grows on the tree until it is ripe and then falls. The ripened fruit represents maturity, and the fallen fruit, freedom.
The final goal is returning to one’s origin. Everything which reaches its origin has reached its goal. A farmer sows grain in the ground and tends it. It begins to grow, eventually seeds, and again becomes grain. It has returned to its original form. The circle is complete. Completing the circle of existence is freedom.(NASAFÎ)
The inner pilgrim wraps himself in the light of the holy spirit, transforming his material shape into the inner essence, and circumambulating the shrine of the heart, inwardly reciting the name of God. He moves in circles because the path of the essence is not straight but circular. Its end is its beginning.
Dhû-l-Nûn was asked, “What is the end of the mystic?”
He answered, “When he is as he was where he was before he was.” (DHÛ-L-NÛN )
Do not take a step
on the path of love without a guide.
I have tried it
one hundred times and failed. (HÂFIZ)
Abû Sa‘îd was asked, “If someone wishes, is it possible to travel the mystic path without a teacher?”
The Sheikh replied, “It is impossible because someone is required to guide him along the way, someone who has already reached the goal travelling that path, who will tell him what are faults and what are virtues on this path. At each stage he will say this is the such-and-such stage, here one must remain a little longer. And if there is a dangerous place somewhere, he will tell him to be on his guard, and will give him kindly encouragement, so that travelling that path with a strengthened heart, he may reach the goal.
“When he has reached the goal he will find peace.” (ABÛ SA‘ÎD IBN ABÎ-L-KHAYR)
Abû Sa‘îd was asked, “Who is the spiritual guide who has attained to Truth, and who is the sincere disciple?”
The Sheikh replied, “The spiritual guide who attained to Truth is he in whom at least ten characteristics are found, as proof of his authenticity:
First, he must have become a goal, to be able to have a disciple.
Second, he must have travelled the mystic path himself, to be able to show the way.
Third, he must have become refined and educated, to be able to be an educator.
Fourth, he must be generous and devoid of self-impor¬tance, so that he can sacrifice wealth on behalf of the disciple.
Fifth, he must have no hand in the disciple’s wealth, so that he is not tempted to use it for himself.
Sixth, whenever he can give advice through a sign, he will not use direct expression.
Seventh, whenever he can educate through kindness, he will not use violence and harshness.
Eighth, whatever he orders, he has first accomplished himself.
Ninth, whatever he forbids the disciple, he has abstained from himself.
Tenth, he will not abandon for the world’s sake the disciple he accepts for the sake of God.
If the spiritual guide is like this and is adorned with these character traits, the disciple is bound to be sincere and a good traveller, for what appears in the disciple is the quality of the spiritual guide made manifest in the disciple.”
As for the sincere disciple, the Sheikh has said, “No less than the ten characteristics which I mention must be present in the sincere disciple, if he is to be worthy of discipleship:
First, he must be intelligent enough to understand the spiritual guide’s indications.
Second, he must be obedient in order to carry out the spiritual guide’s command.
Third, he must be sharp of hearing to perceive what the spiritual guide says.
Fourth, he must have an enlightened heart in order to see the spiritual guide’s greatness.
Fifth, he must be truthful, so that whatever he reports, he reports truthfully.
Sixth, he must be true to his word, so that whatever he says, he keeps his promise.
Seventh, he must be generous, so that whatever he has, he is able to give away.
Eighth, he must be discreet, so that he can keep a secret.
Ninth, he must be receptive to advice, so that he will accept the guide’s admonition.
Tenth, he must be chivalrous in order to sacrifice his own dear life on the mystic path.
Having these character traits, the disciple will more easily accomplish his journey and more quickly reach the goal set for him on the mystic path by the spiritual guide.” (ABÛ SA‘ÎD IBN ABÎ-L-KHAYR)
It should be borne in mind that the function of the disciple is to focus a stream of energy of some special kind upon the physical plane where it can become an attractive center of force and draw to itself similar types of ideas and thought currents, which are not strong enough to live by themselves or to make a sufficiently strong impact upon human consciousness.(IRINA TWEEDIE )
Love cannot be more or less for the Teacher. For him the very beginning and the end are the same; it is a closed circle. His love for the disciple does not go on increasing; for the disciple, of course, it is very different; he has to complete the whole circle…. As the disciple progresses he feels the Master nearer and nearer, as the time goes on. But the Master is not nearer; he was always near, only the disciple did not know it. (BHAI SAHIB)
God is nowhere. God can only be known through the Master. If you are being merged into the Teacher, you will know God. Only the Teacher is important for you. Only the Teacher. The Divine Master is complete in every way. By simply becoming like him one becomes complete in every way…. (BHAI SAHIB)
I am transcendent reality, and I am the tenuous thread that brings it very close. I am the secret of man in his very act of existing, and I am that invisible one who is the object of worship…. I am the Sheikh with the divine nature, and I am the guardian of the world of human nature. (JÎLÎ, ON KHIDR)
Saints are like rivers, they flow where they are directed…. If a Hint is there, I have to do it, and if I don’t, I am MADE to do it. A Divine Hint is an Order. Sometimes the Saints have to do things the people will misjudge, and which from the worldly point of view could be condemned, because the world judges by appearances. One important quality required on the Path is never to judge by appearances. More often than not things look different from what they really are. There is no good and evil for the Creator. Only human society makes it so. A Saint is beyond good and evil, but Saints are people of the highest morality and will never give a bad example. (BHAI SAHIB )
The saints of God are known by three signs: their thought is of God, their dwelling is in God, and their business is with God. (MA‘RÛF AL-KARKHÎ)
O you who stab the selfless one with the sword, you are stabbing yourself with it. Beware!
For the selfless one has passed away, he has become a mirror: naught is there but the image of another’s face.
If you spit at it, you spit at your own face; and if you strike the mirror, you strike yourself.
And if you see an ugly face in the mirror, ‘tis you; and if you see Jesus and Mary, ‘tis you. He is neither this nor that: he is pure and free from self; he puts your image before you. (RÛMÎ)