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Suffer the Sufis in Pakistan and the World


The recent bombings of a Sufi shrine in Lahore, Pakistan, that killed and injured over 200 people, were sadly emblematic of a more broader and universal malaise against the Divine and spiritualism. As worshippers were seeking clarity and a more personal experience with God, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the tomb of the Persian Sufi Saint Syed Abul Hassan Bin Usman Bin Ali Al-Hajweri. This bombing follows a twin attack against two mosques belonging to the minority Ahmadi Community, and it occurs in the midst of an overly secular and militant empire trying to stamp its own image upon the region. Such acts are a universal sickness, since they inflict the Divine and disrupt humankinds longing to live in peace and be intimate with God, which is what Sufi's practice.

The Sufi Saint Al-Hajweri contributed to the spread of Sufism in Pakistan, emerging as a third tradition of Islam. He taught communion with God through meditation, fasting, and other rituals. Sufi Muslim mystics also pursued a life of simplicity, complete devotion to God, and believed divine love was the essence of the mystical experience.

(1) Rabiah al-Adawiyya, an early Sufi mystic, encouraged Muslims to love God selflessly and without hope of a reward. Ibn al-Arabi, known as the master of Islamic Sufi Mysticism, believed in "perpetual transformation," or when an individual is able to distinguish God's perspective in which all time is visible at once, from that of humanity's, which is trapped within the flow of time and which can see only that aspect of the Divine revealed in the moment.(2) Other Sufi mystics wrote great literary works and made tremendous contributions to the understanding of God too. While Matta ibn Yunus was translating the works of Aristotle into Arabic, and asserting that logic was a "universal grammar" that enables humanity to distinguish truth from falsehood,(3) Ibn Sina, a Sufi Islamic philosopher and physician, was preserving the works of Plato and Aristotle. He also tried to unite religious revelation and rational ideas. Sina's works, that synthesized Islamic doctrines and the Sharia law with Greek philosophy, became a foundation for many Western Christian philosophers and the establishment of European Scholasticism, or the university setting.(4) After describing his life as a search for truth from many sources, Al-Ghazali believed by developing ones inner spirit, humankind could experience and live in peace with God and with others.(5) Unfortunately, though, there appears to be little peace with God and others, especially in a world that devalues religious diversity, spiritualism, intellectualism, equality before God, and the pursuit of material simplicity. Al-Hajweri, who died in Lahore, wrote The Kashf Al Mahjub, or "Unveiling the Veiled." It maintains that while one can have a personal and mystical experience with God, one can never become God. Al Mahjub also taught that the outward observances of Islamic teachings were important, and a better understanding of God should be a silent understanding, one that is not boastful or prideful. In a world under assault by selfish arrogance, militarism, intolerance, and secular materialism, Al Mahjub's words and life are an inspiration. In debating Sufism, al Mahjub also believed mystics must always question why they worship and want to experience the Divine.

Despite her tremendous sufferings and persecutions, Al-adawiyya wrote, "...I worship You for Your own sake,...withhold not from me Your eternal beauty," If faith in God is not about experiencing God's majestic beauty and love, or if it is not about improving and humanizing one's life and the lives around them, then has faith been trapped or substituted with the destructive ideologies of secular materialism, ethnocentrism, and militarism? Just as Ibn al-Arabi believed, is faith perceiving God's perspective and truly understanding that the Divine is revealed in the moment, and in each other? Fanaticism and destroying human life not only robs humanity, but it distorts the true nature and purpose of the Divine.

Much like the rich and diverse faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam-including Sufism, Sunni and Shiite traditions, Sufis have greatly contributed to the world's understanding of God and humanity. Together with challenging the monopoly over God's accessibility, they have questioned partisan theologies and secular politics.

Since Sufism or tasawwuf, comes from the Arabic word for wool (suf), the earliest mystics' wore rough robes of white wool that symbolized their rejection of worldly secularism and their longing for spiritualism and union with God. With a vast history of love for others and the law, material simplicity, an inner desire for peace and understanding, and a mystical experience with the Divine, can Sufism help lead to a perpetual transformation of universal tranquility?

Until our "mirrors are polished," and we see our own reflection in others and are attuned with the multifaceted characteristics of the Divine, even to the point of realizing that there is no "other," that is, no duality but only unity in God,(6) suffer the Sufis in Pakistan and the world.

Suffer the Sufis in Pakistan and the World - Worldnews.com
I have said elsewhere of my deep respect for sufis like Rabiah, Malik Dinar and the fish guy who was also a good alchemist. Their practice of non-violence impressed me. RAbiah's sufism forbids the killing of sentient beings including animals. Her devotion was exemplary. Sufism being a form of Islamic mysticism is one of the most beautiful aspects of Islam. if there are some nuts out there trying to eliminate such beauty from the face of Islam, then they would be doing disservice to the religion they claim to love fanatically.