Sufism has come
to mean a wide range of beliefs that center on the quest for personal
enlightenment in the union with God. Sufis are sometimes described as the
mystics of Islam, but Sufism fits awkwardly in the categories of religions.
Technically Sufism is a denomination of Islam, however there are many Sufis that
are not Muslims and there are many Muslims that are reluctant to consider Sufism
part of Islam. One of the few concepts that Sufis seem to agree on is that all
religions offer a path to salvation or enlightenment and that true God
realization, no matter how it is achieved, transcends the limitations and
classification of any religion. Basically, a saint in any religion is equal to a
saint in any other religion because they are inspired by the same Divine source.
Initially the term Sufi referred only to those who had achieved God realization,
but it has since come to be applied to anyone who follows that particular
spiritual path. The name Sufi comes from “suf,” the Arabic word for wool or
“saf,” the Persian word for pure. The dervishes or advanced students of Sufism
wore inexpensive wool clothes as part of their life of renunciation.
<>• ><>There is only one God, and that God
possesses everything. In some orders God is everything and nothing; all that we
can perceive and all that we cannot. • Since God is in your Heart, God is always very
close even when humanity is very far from God. Some Sufis believe that since God
is in all of us. To truly love God we must love every human and every component
of creation, which are considered to be aspects of God. • There are four Holy Scriptures
including the Torah, the Psalms of David, the Gospels of Jesus and the Qu'ran
(this is aligned with Islam so it may differ in some orders). There are also
hundreds of other works revealed by prophets including books by Sufi saints.
• Nothing happens without God’s will, and
Human will is very critical, but it exists within the context of Divine will.
• Because of God’s will, all things, good
and bad, are from God. • Life
as we know it is an illusion, and the true life revealed when we reach in the
hereafter. Some orders go as far as to describe this process of reality beyond
illusion as reincarnation, which is a distinct departure from mainstream Islam.