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Monday March 19th, 2012
Article: Sufism - A Short Introduction
Article Title: Sufism: A short Introduction
Chittick, William C. (2000) Sufism: A Short Introduction. Oxford: Oneworld. Chapters 1 &2.
Key Points from the Article:
- Often hear that Sufism is “mysticism” or “esoterism” or “spirituality,” usually with the adjective Islamic
tackled in front
- The religion of Islam can be understood in 3 dimensions: (Hadith of Gabriel)
Islam (submission) – tells us what’s right and wrong according to shariah
- Practices of the body
Iman (faith) – Belief in Allah and his Prophet
- How to understand world and self; corresponds to mind
Ihsan (doing the beautiful) – Achieving nearness to God as well as sincerity, love, virtue, and
perfection; corresponds to heart
-Three domains of faith (in terms of its objects):
-Prophet said, “Faith is to acknowledge with the heart, to voice with the tongue, and to act with the
- 3 domains: body, tongue, and heart.
- Faith’s inmost core is found only in the heart.
- Sufis: Show us things as they are, oh god. One does not see things as they are with the eyes or the
mind but rather with the core of the heart. From the heart, right seeing will then radiate forth and
permeate every pore of the body, determining thought and activity.
The Shahadah (Testimony of Faith):
- Sufism in this understanding can be viewed as an invisible spiritual presence that animates all
authentic expressions of Islam
- The Sufis have been doing the 3rd dimension of doing the beautiful in the social sphere displaying clear
expressions like dance, singing, etc.
Mercy and Wrath:
- Many Sufis reduce the basic archetypes for all plurality and multiplicity to two divine attributes:
Love and Mercy:
- To be the cause of creation
- Love is doing the beautiful
1st Shahadah “there is no God but God”: real (= God) vs. unreal (=universe).
- There is “no reality but God” and so called realities of our experience are secondary
2nd Shahadah “Muhammad is the Messenger of God”
- He is a clear designated manifestation of the One Real. He represents God more directly than
- Muhammad and the Quran are the guiding lights in the darkness of unreal things.
Each existent can be said to have two faces:
- Western Face: no trace of sun since it’s set
- Eastern Face: sun shining in its full glory
- Vast majority only see western face.
- They have no awareness that everything is a sign of God in which he is disclosing his own reality.