What is Sufism?
Sufism defines the inner dimensions of Islamic worship to what is known as Islamic mysticism, undergoing a reality that is beyond the rational sciences and thought and only through taste and experience. The Realities of Sufism gives the definition to almost anything there is to know about sufism in great detail refuting the false claims against what is true.
The book covers a wide range of practices and pre-requisites towards understanding the mystical arts in response to how to stop radical islam. The way it does this is by introducing to the world about the inner dimension of islam that acts as the essence within a form and struggle against the ego. The essence encompasses the intentions of one’s actions while the law and rules are what transforms what is potential to a realised form.
Inside the Mystical Arts
The Realities of Sufism is truly a “work of art” not only in a complimentary sense but also how it introduces how sufism is suppose to be approached. It takes away the skin and unfolds the spirit that hides within every human to realise and experience what is true not just by the intellect but simply by “being” and “becoming”.
The book overall argues the importance of essence and form focusing on the essence to not let the form be a moving corpse and really internalise. This is a fascinating statement from a piece of literature to how it responds to the purpose of religion in every living, developing, moral society.
The book prepares itself with prominent scholars of Islamic history from Al-Ghazali, Ibn ‘Ata’illah, Imam Shafi’i, the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, etc. to argue with the best of its capability to fight against radicalism and focus on the actual purpose that does not come from actions, but from within.
The Principles of Sufism includes the practices that are emphasised within sufism such as remembrance, pondering over nature, and pursuit of knowledge towards something beyond death, paradise. It introduces another dimension in which every religious person must recognise in order to complete their purpose.
What is truly fascinating the book points out is the ability of every human to recognise this spiritual essence or atleast something far beyond reason regardless of their religion. For example Sufism echoes the teachings of buddhism such as seperating from the world and focusing on within and unity. Why then does the book endorse exclusively islam as its standard towards its spiritual journey? The answer to that is universality.
The book points out that islam by its spiritual essence defines unity within diversity. This is a bold point because considering most religions have been introduced for a particular group or lineage whereas Islam was set for everyone. Though it was the Arabs that were given Islam it is not an Arabian tradition and today we may find that Arabs are not the largest muslim population (Study china for example, and in another book that discusses this is in Philosophy in the Islamic World).
The book emphasises that the practices of Islam were revealed to the porphet should only be a manifestation of what is true within. The ritual practices represents the essentiality but not the reason itself.
What to expect
The Realities of Sufism is set for anyone who wants to know what true sufism is about as it refutes alot of the pre-notions about sufism being a type of radical spiritualism. Sufism today is not only notorious amongst the mystics but also by islam and muslims themselves. This is due to extremeties that the word “sufi” represents. For example there will be sufis that exempt themselves from the ritual practices of islam revealed to and done by the Prophet and create their own type of worship by drinking alcohol, something that is considered forbidden in Islam.
The essence of sufism represnted in the book is struggling against ones own desires known as the “Ego”. The Ego plays the antagonist within sufism as something every muslim must avoid and struggle against. The Ego encompasses certain feelings such as jealousy, unjustified anger, ostentation etc. that exists within the spiritual heart.
That is the overall focus of Sufism which is struggling inward to better oneself for the purpose of Divine Pleasure and completeness. There is some echoes of buddhism here but there are certain extremities where Sufism, represented by the book, sets it’s foot on the ground. This is the idea of unison with the divine. The book is aware that there are some philosophical issues that is within debate about divine unison
The book argues that unison does not represent being in the same material as the divine but basically to withdraw from its own desires to fulfill the commands of the divine. It addresses it even in a philosophical way by saying that everything in nature acts as only a reflection to what is the truth but is not the truth itself. The book cleverly exemplifies this using the moon and the sun as being refelctions but not the same being.
The book is as previously stated, quite detailed and thick so if you are one to assess everything then it wll take alot of patience before the book addresses the issues. With that in mind the book will address quite a lot of issues pertaining to the false notions such as the boundaries in which sufism actually sets.
As represented by the book, i think it successfully addresses almost all issues against the credibility of sufism which is why the book becomes arguably a reliable source to anyone who is willing to study Sufism with a careful, and concise understanding the purpose.
Sufism entails the message of unity by the spirit which is one of the most fascinating conlusions that can be extracted from the book. What can be indirectly useful in the book is how it may address human development as a whole. If society cannot come together by any means of race or social status, then one can look within.
Though it expands from islamic teachings it can give the audience an understanding of why religions exists and what is its purpose in society. It may be hard considering non-muslims reading the book to understand however without getting in too much detail it encompasses the purpose of spiritual perfection in professional perfection such as not cheating in business, taking advantage of under-privileged etc.
To conclude, as stated repetitively, the book deserves its own credibility within understanding how religions work from the inside rather than taking it at face value. The principles of Sufism is also reccomended towards muslims that have a notorious view of sufism overall without fully understanding the message.
Sufism, or any spiritual endorsement if carried out right and successfully may play a larger role than modestly established today. It argues and introduces the new dimension in which everyone or any religious authority must evaluate in order to carry out human development whether spiritual or physical and arguably, this book is just that.