If anybody asks you, “What is Sufism?” … you may answer: “Sufism is the religion of the
heart, the religion in which the most important thing is to seek God in the heart of
Hazrat Inayat Khan
The heart is the wellspring of our deepest motivations, a container for love. The goal of Sufism is to develop the capacity of the heart—the capacity to hold all the complexities of life in a matrix of love—and to discover the divinity inherent in all of creation. Sufism is not a religion in the sense of being a system of beliefs, separable from other religions, but a school of experience focused on the cultivation of the heart and the deepening of awareness through the practice of prayer, meditation and spiritual inquiry. The Sufism of the Inayati Order is universalist in its acceptance of all people and paths leading to the unfoldment of the light and power latent in the human being.
One of the words to which the term ‘Sufi’ is related is the Greek Sophia, meaning wisdom; wisdom is the knowledge acquired from within and without. Therefore Sufism is not only an intuitive knowledge nor is it only a knowledge acquired from the outer life of the world. Sufism in itself is not a religion nor even a cult with a distinct or definite doctrine. No better explanation of Sufism can be given than by saying that any person who has knowledge of both outer and inner life is a Sufi. Thus there has never in any period of the world’s history been a founder of Sufism, yet Sufism has existed at all times.
As far as we can find out there have been many esoteric schools since the time of Abraham; and many of them have been called Sufi schools. The Sufi schools of Arabia, absorbed Arabic culture and were largely metaphysical. The Sufi schools of Persia developed more of the literary aspect, and the Sufi schools of India developed the meditative faculty. But the truth and the ideal have remained the same, as the central theme of Sufism, in all these schools. Several exist even now, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that there are millions of souls, followers of different religions, who are benefited by the wisdom of these schools.
The present-day Sufi Movement is a movement of members of different nations and races united together in the ideal of wisdom; they believe that wisdom does not belong to any particular religion or race, but to the human race as a whole. It is a divine property which mankind has inherited, and it is in this realisation that the Sufis, in spite of belonging to different nationalities, races, beliefs, and faiths, still unite and work for humanity in the ideal of wisdom.
Hazrat Inayat Khan
I who am Divine am truly in you.
I can never be sundered from you:
However far we be parted,
never can we be separated.
I am in you and you are in Me.
We could not be any closer.
We two are fused into one,
poured into a single mould.
we shall remain
Mechthild of Magdeburg
In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque,
a church, where I kneel.
Prayer should bring us to an altar
where no walls or names exist.
Rabi’a of Basra
“Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
and endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that though, they should learn
how to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain, the snow and the moon.”
I don’t ask for the sights in front of me to change,
only the depth of my seeing.
From the moment of Time’s first-drawn breath,
Love resides in us,
A treasure locked into the heart’s hidden vault;
Before the first seed broke open the rose bed of Being, An inner lark soared through your meadows, Heading toward Home.
What can I do but thank you, one hundred times?
Sufi woman poet, Persia (19th Century)