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About Sufism

Sufism: the Way of Love

There is within the heart of each human being a desire for and aspiration towards the sacred. According to the sufi tradition, this desire is nothing other than Love. An encounter with sufism enables us to rekindle this flame, to nurture it and to help it grow by enlarging our ability to love and our capacity for love. When the heart, fuelled by the sacred breath found in the spiritual teachings of the sufi teachings, takes its subsistence from the divine lights, it becomes part of the universal prayer of creation which is nothing other than the breath of the Merciful.

 

Spiritual Knowledge

Spiritual taste, drunkenness and the unveiling of the invisible world are the profound manifestations of spiritual knowledge. These manifestations are the fruits of an intensive work on the spiritual level, and this very possibility is in itself a gift from God’s generosity. The first whispers of love eventually lead to sufi spiritual knowledge; the ego is alchemically transformed to become a refined soul and, ultimately, a purified spirit. For the sufis, knowledge equates proximity with the Beloved. The closer we are to the divine Presence, the greater our knowledge. The further we go away from this Presence, the thicker the veil.

 

The Spiritual Path

The sufi spiritual path (or the path of initiation) is a journey through the many states inherent to our being. Following the first impulse of love towards the Beloved, spiritual knowledge unveils itself to the seeker step by step, as a consequence of the many states experienced in this journey. Echoing the awareness of the divine Presence, he experiences different states on a daily basis, from openness, to contraction, to nostalgia, to reverential fear, to annihilation, to great bursts of joy. In reality, these experiences are bridges between our invisible center and the divine principal and will be expressed outwardly by laughter, joy, shouts, or states of drunkenness or sadness. This meeting with the divine is expressed in infinite ways; the Sufis also use the term climate of being to describe these expressions.



 

 

Sufi Poetry

 

To best describe and convey the love felt by the lover (the seeker) towards his Beloved (God), a love whose purpose is a return to Being, Sufis have a predilection for poetry, as much for its symbolic dimension as for its rhythm and musicality. Beyond this fervor of love, the greater themes evoked in this poetry are the sadness felt because of separation or the joy in union, the lacks inherent to the selfish soul or the subtlety contained in spiritual knowledge, the proper manner with which to knock on the divine door or the nobleness of character in our interaction with our fellow beings. The variety and depth of the subject matter make this poetry a real treasure house of spiritual teachings. Ultimately though, one is reminded that words cannot properly convey real spiritual knowledge and the divine reality!

 

 

 

The Sama’
When the soul shouts, and finds expression in verses that are modulated, chanted in rhythm and when voices are in tune with each other, sufi poetry becomes sufi singing. And when this shout, this burst of nostalgia from the soul, is accompanied by musical instruments, we listen to sufi music. Both are part of what is called Sama’, which means spiritual audition. For the sufi seeker, the Sama’ is an invitation to listen attentively and properly. Inner audition is done by means of the heart and it is through the practice of Sama’ that the seeker comes to the realization that all that is contained in the universe is nothing else than Sama’. Isn’t written in the sacred texts that all of Creation sings the praise of the Beloved?

 

Sufi Humor

Humor is another means by which the sufi tradition awakens us to the spiritual world. It is a very subtle humor that underlines the detours taken by obstinate soul on its way to its greater destiny. The seeker will take an honest look at his situation, and laugh at his shortcomings. Then, this subtle humor will bring him to consider in a somewhat lighter fashion the knotted situations brought about by his alter ego, because he understands that this alter ego is none other than himself. Finally, once the seeker has been purified by the requirements of the path, he is invited to taste proximity with his Beloved. If, for certain people this proximity may seem improper, for those brought close, this proximity is nothing other than love and complicity. Sufi humor is an important tool in the seeker’s learning process. It is not cynical and teasing, but is used to help the soul to rise towards the higher spheres of divine presence. Seen from this perspective, it is a serious matter!