Christian Witness

Lesson 1

Why Study Sufism?

Why should a Christian study Sufism?  What is the point if, as Christians, we know that what Sufism teaches is not what Christ taught?  For one thing, many Christians do not know what Sufism teaches.  For example, when the Sufi mentions the term “God”, he does not wish to convey the God of Christianity.  Sufis do not recognize the Trinity or the resurrection of Christ.  Also, Sufis mistakenly believe that man can be absorbed into God, that a Sufi can become God by losing his individuality into God.  Christ did not teach this. 

Christians also need to know what Sufism is to fulfill our witness.  We carry Jesus’ light to the world.  We have to be able to carry that light to rebut the darkness of the Sufi message.  Darkness?  Yes.  If Christ is the light of the world, and He is, then any teaching that is counter to that light is a teaching based in darkness.  Christians should be able to expose Sufism for what it is.  We are bearers of the light.  Where there is light darkness evanesces.

Yes, Sufism is making inroads into the West mainly because people are not aware exactly what Sufism teaches.  The following is an attempt in a nutshell to teach what Sufism does profess and to contrast that teaching with what Christ taught. The contrast will be evident by my comments in bold type.  It is my hope that you do not derive the impression from what I write that Sufism is all bad.  It is not.  Some of what Sufis teach can prick the mind and make one think.  Their writings concerning love and their poetry do have a touch of the divine; however, intellectually—the doctrines they espouse—are far from the truth.  They are close to Christ but deny His teaching in its entirety, making them so very far from Him. 

To reach the Sufi, a Christian must show him what is meant by agape love and teach it in patience.  The Sufi professes love…yet, he does not know the depth and breadth of the love of Christ.  Show the Sufi that love and he will fall to his knees and worship Jesus…he will come to Him with tears in his eyes for he will have found what his heart truly seeks--God.


Questions for review:

Why should a Christian study Sufism? 

What can a Christian learn from Sufism?

How should a Christian introduce Christ to a Sufi?

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Lesson 2


The word Sufi is derived from the Arabic word 'suf' which means ' wool ' and which refers to the coarse woolen robes that were worn by the Prophet Muhammad and by his close companions. The goal of a Sufi is none other than God arrived at by mystical means. There are signs of God everywhere in the universe and in man.

Universal Sufism

Universal Sufism is usually seen in relation to Islam. There is a major line of Non-Islamic or offshoot-Islamic Sufi thought that sees Sufism as predating Islam and being in fact universal and, therefore, independent of the Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.  This view of Sufism has been popular in the West and has been always opposed by Traditional Sufis who practice it in the framework of Islam. Major exponents of this universal Sufism were Inayat Khan and Idries Shah. (Excerpts of Inayat Khan’s and Idries Shah’s writing are included in the readings section of these lessons.) It was Idries Shah who died in 1996 who greatly extended the western knowledge of the Sufi teachings.  His most famous work is “Sufism”.

There is also an attempt to reconsider Sufism in contemporary Muslim thought. According to this view, Sufism represents the core sense of Islam that gives insight to Allah and His creation. In Bangladesh, there is a young group, named 'Sanskriti O Biddya CharchaPit', that claims Sufi insight is the core of Islamicity and that it could help to realize the cosmos that includes not only religiosity but also polity. This attempt could be marked as 'de-divinization of Sufism'.

The Pseudo-Sufis

Over the centuries, as the Sufi orders grew, the Sufi masters were generally recognized in the Islamic world as sages and men of wisdom and grace, enjoying the esteem of the general populace.

The growing social prestige of the Sufis attracted self-seekers who posed as Sufis and dervishes and embarked upon exploiting the goodwill of the people. These pretenders indulged in superstitious practices, neglected moral order and religious ordinances, and boasted of their ignorance and lack of learning. In order to cover their own lack of discipline and dedication to the goal, some of these charlatans even tried to cut Sufism from its very roots--namely, the Qur'an and the practice of the Prophet.

According to the Sufi, the acts of these pseudo-Sufis never altered the true course of Sufism. The heart of Sufism supposedly has remained pure, well guarded by the traditional practice of the initiation of a seeker into a Sufi order by a Sufi master. The master's authority had properly been passed upon him by a previous master through the investiture of the traditional mantle of authority, symbolized by the presentation of a patched cloth. The Sufi believes that this initiation is supported by the tree of lineage going back through all the previous masters to the Prophet (this is suspect) from whom the authority to instruct in the esoteric doctrine originated. Even today, this is the general practice of all the recognized Sufi orders, those recognized by Islamic Sufis.  Islamic Sufis do not recognize Universal Sufism as being true Sufism.

It is Sufi masters such as al-Junayd, al-Ghazzali, Ibn Arabi, Shaykh Abdul-Karim al-Jili, Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, and Jalaluddin Rumi, among others, who devoted their lives to spreading Sufi philosophy among all men, irrespective of man's geographical, social, religious and racial origin. Even though Sufis do not recognize what Jesus taught concerning Himself, they have softened the legalistic and myopic tendencies of the corpus of Islam.  This is to their credit. 

The Qur'anic Roots of Sufism?

Sufis believe that Sufism really has its roots in the Qur'an and in the religious experience of the Prophet Muhammad.  But this is not true.  Sufism has its roots in the teachings of Plotinus, not the Qur’an.  Even though Sufis claim that the kernel of Sufi teaching comes from Mohammad, be assured that this is not the case.  

Sufis state that their knowledge of God comes from the Qur'an directly, but again this is not true. The claim that their direct experience of God has always been the Qur'an is dubious.  Sufis teach that the Qur'an contains instructions suitable to man with varying levels of spirituality. It satisfies those who are content with merely exoteric practices, but also contains the deepest and most profound esoteric meaning for those who desire a closer, more mystical relationship with God.  According to what Christ taught, there is no esoteric teaching—He taught his disciples all that enabled them to become one with the Father and one with Him.  The Holy Spirit teaches the disciple what he/she needed to know.

The Qur'anic verses which are the favorites of the Sufis include:

"We [God] are closer to him [man] than his jugular vein."

"Say, surely we belong to God and to Him do we return."

"He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden."

"God is the light of the heavens and the earth."

Sufis believe that such verses are limitless in their depth, scope and meaning, and man may draw from them as much mystical meaning as he has the capacity to understand.

The Sufis claim that God says in the Qur'an that He sent His Prophet Muhammad first and foremost as a Mercy unto all peoples. Men of different levels of spiritual understanding, Sufis maintain, may avail themselves of this Mercy according to their various capacities. It is surprising though, that no mention is made of Christ.  Was it not Christ who died as expiation for the sins of Man?  Did not Christ forgive man’s sins?  Muhammad was only a man who could not forgive any man’s sin.  He even claimed that He was only a man.  Can a man, however pious, provide even divine mercy to his fellow man, if in essence he cannot obviate sin?  The Prophet is, which Sufis and Muslims would strongly disagree, not of the same stature as Christ.  Christ had the power to forgive sins.  Only God can do so.  Muhammad did not have that power.  He could not and did not forgive anyone.  Make your own conclusion.

The Prophet Mohammed and his close associates did (as Sufis maintain) keep long night vigils and practiced voluntary fasts during most days. He never ate barley bread (the staple food of his day) on three consecutive days, and he never even touched a loaf of wheat bread -- which was a luxury. One of his favorite sayings was "Poverty is my pride," and this saying came to be quoted in every manual of Sufi doctrine, making the rule of poverty a basic characteristic of Sufi life. But it must be remembered that poverty in itself will get no one closer to God.  To pride oneself for being poor materially is a sign of foolishness.  Piety does not consist in the amount of or lack of money.  True piety consists in recognizing the Truth and living in the Truth.  The Sufis, since they do not accept the wholeness of Christ--His teaching in its entirety, the Truth--cannot make a true claim to Piety.

Questions for review:

What is a Sufi?

Sufis claim that what they teach originates in Islam.  Why is this not the case?  From where did Sufism originate?

Who do the Sufis claim is the Mercy of God?  How do Sufis view Christ?

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Lesson 3

The Origin and Essence of Man

A Sufi believes that man is the mystery of God. For a mysterious purpose, man was outwardly created of clay and God breathed life into him, and all of the angels were commanded to prostrate themselves before him. As the Qur'an, which the Sufi believes is the highest form of revelation, (but the Christian deems it otherwise) declares:

"And remember when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo I am creating a mortal out of potter's clay. So when I have made him and shaped him and have breathed into him of My Spirit, do ye fall down prostrating yourself unto him."

The Sufi believes that it is this Divine Spirit which is the essence of man. The body is merely the outward physical form which contains the Divine spark.  They believe that the body is made of the material elements fire, earth, air and water, and has five external senses -- sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch; and five internal faculties -- discursive thinking, imagination, doubting, memory and longing. All these powers, that is, both the external senses and the internal faculties, serve the heart. By the 'heart' it is not meant the physical organ that pumps blood, and which is possessed by both man and animals. Rather, 'heart' to the Sufi means the Divine spark that distinguishes man from the animals. Unlike the physical heart that dies and decomposes with the rest of the physical body, the Divine spark or heart is indivisible and transcends death, so the Sufi believes, because its origin is in the spiritual world.

Man: the Microcosm

The Sufi believes that the position of man in the universe is most important. Man is the microcosm, that is, a miniature universe. As such, he comprises in his outward or physical aspect all the elements found in the universe. In his inner aspect, he contains the potential qualities of all creation from the lowest to the highest, that is, animal, satanic and angelic. He shares the qualities of lust and selfishness with the pigs; the qualities of jealousy and anger with the dogs; his cunning and deceit with Satan; his power and his spiritual light with the angels. But, what, as the Sufi believes, is more important is that through love and devotion to God man can rise even higher than the angels, for he is the mystery of God before whom the angels were commanded to fall in prostration. He was given command over the whole universe.

Sufis cite this declaration in The Qur'an to buttress their belief concerning man:

"It is God who created the heavens and the earth and sent down out of heaven water, wherewith He brought forth fruits to be your sustenance, and He subjected to you the ships to run upon the sea at His commandment, and He subjected to you the rivers, and He subjected to you the sun and moon constant upon their courses, and He subjected to you the night and the day and gave you all you asked Him."

Although the universe was created for the service of man, the Sufi holds that man was created for the service of God and for that purpose alone. To the extent that man deviates from that purpose, he becomes unworthy of Divine guidance and favor. (See how this differs from the teaching of Christianity, which teaches that even though man is unworthy of God, God came to man anyway.) Consequently, he is left to his own devices with all his enormous powers, which, under the influence of his animal and satanic qualities, are capable of dragging him to the lowest of the low.

Purpose of Life

Sufis believe that Sufism helps man to be increasingly aware of his purpose of life -- namely, unfailing service to his Lord and Creator. It is a path traveled under the guidance of a Sufi master, who is able to deliver man from the narrow confines of the material world into the limitless reality of a spiritual life, wherein he can experience the Divine spark which eternally shines within him. (The Sufi master is confined to what he himself believes.  There are no Sufi masters who recognize what Christ taught about Himself.  We must remember this.  Christ taught that by and through him ONLY will man come to the Father.  There is a reason for this teaching.  Christ is the Son of God.  In studying Sufism remember this, and you will not be swayed by the Sufi argument.)

It is most important, Sufis believe, to understand that material man acquires his knowledge generally through the five external senses and five inner faculties referred to earlier. The spiritual man, on the other hand, has in addition to these a number of other means of acquiring knowledge, such as prophetic dreams and inspirations from beyond the material world. To the extent that a man adheres to the truth in his waking state, his dreams too disclose a similar degree of certainty. The Prophet Mohammed expressed this in the saying: "The more truthful a man, the more prophetic his dreams."

Although knowledge through dreams comes in a state of sleep, insights through inspirations are gained in a state of wakefulness. The shaykh, or the Sufi teacher, interprets the dreams of a disciple, helps him to understand his inspirations, and resolves his doubts and uncertainties.

(Jesus never taught that it is beneficial to interpret dreams in order to arrive at ones purpose in life.  Some dreams have no meaning whatsoever. 

It is true that the purpose of life is to view life in the context of God; however, it is not true that a man needs a spiritual guide—one particular teacher—to interpret what life means.  The meaning of life is found through faith in God, through studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and congregating with other Christians.) 

Question for review:

According to the Sufi, what is man?

What is man’s purpose in life, according to the Sufi?  How does this differ from how a Christian views man’s purpose in life?

What is a Shaykh? Does a Christian need a spiritual guide, a person to whom a Christian needs to submit? 

What are dreams to the Sufi?  What are they to the Christian?

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Lesson 4

The History and Methodology of Sufism

Sufism is an esoteric doctrine transmitted by word of mouth, and sometimes without even a spoken or written word, by an authorized teacher to a disciple, and from disciple to another disciple, in confidence. These secret instructions (Jesus taught openly to all who would hear, making is teaching historically reliable.  There is no secret teaching in the message of Christ.) are acted upon by a disciple with perfect faith in the teacher. The disciple gives a report of his condition and experience in confidence to his teacher and receives another set of instructions most suitable to his state.

It is only the writings of the Sufi teachers, who speak from within the tradition, that allow an outsider a glimpse of Sufism. One of the greatest Sufi scholars of all times was al-Ghazzali. He lived in the later eleventh and early twelfth centuries. He wrote his famous work The Revival of the Sciences of Religion in Arabic, with an abridged form, The Alchemy of Happiness, in Persian. These works were followed by the other writings and poetry by such Sufi teachers as Abdul-Karim al-Jili, Ibn Arabi, Suhrawardi, the famous Chishti saints, Hafiz, Sadi, Rumi and so many other Sufi poets.

Whilst the Sufi teachers wrote, there was an immense upsurge of open Sufi activity under the auspices of different Sufi orders in all parts of the Islamic world. Each Sufi order constituted a focal point of activity, from which Sufi teachings were carried to the mass of the population by the representatives of the head of the order. The Sufi organizations constituted the social cement of the society in which they lived. Because of the strength of this social cement, Islamic civilization was able not only to withstand many political upheavals, but it also acted as a civilizing influence on the powers that were responsible for these upheavals.

The Spiritual Mentor (shaykh)

Sufis believe that a disciple needs to have a shaykh. If a man does not have a shaykh, Satan becomes his shaykh and lures him back into the temptation of his ego and finally destroys him in confusion and error. (This is not true, of course.  Christ did not have a shaykh.  Who taught Him? Did He not say that God provided Him the teaching?  Christ also said to call no man teacher or Rabbi.  There is only one teacher, and that is God through the Holy Spirit.) A disciple keeps unwavering faith in the words of his shaykh and receives infinite love and care from him. The relationship is strictly based on the pattern of the Prophet Mohammed’s relations with his companions which, according to Sufis, enjoyed Divine support. To quote the Qur'an:

"Now there has come to you a messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is your suffering; anxious is he over you, gentle to the believers, compassionate."


Significance of Remembrance

Sufis live with an ever increasing awareness of God. One aspect of this awareness is the practice of zikr. Zikr means 'remembering God,' usually by pronouncing His name or by uttering a number of recognized formulae. The Qur'an repeatedly admonishes Muslims to celebrate the praises of God and to do this often. Remembering the name of God brings satisfaction and comfort to a Muslim’s heart. The following verse of the Qur'an reveals the significance of zikr:

"Recite that which has been revealed to you of the scripture, and observe prayer. For prayer restrains one from lewdness and iniquity, but remembrance of God is the greatest virtue."

In one passage of the Qur'an, the importance of zikr is enhanced to such an extent that a response to it from God is assured:


"Therefore remember Me, and I will remember you."  (We must pose this question:  Does God, who is omniscient, have the nature of forgetfulness?  Does what God is capable of doing depend upon what man will or will not do?  No.) 


The Qur'an warns those who neglect zikr: "Whoso blinds himself to the remembrance of the All Merciful, to him we assign Satan for a comrade and debar them from the way, and yet they think they are guided." Again, "Be not as those who forgot God, and so He caused them to forget their own souls. Those, they are ungodly." The key to human happiness lies in the remembrance of God, as in the Qur'anic verse: "Verily, in the remembrance of God do hearts find peace."


Do not allow this statement above to deceive.  Jesus Christ is Son of God, God-Man.  Remembrance of God is the remembrance of Christ.  Christians perform this act whenever they pick up the Bible to read, whenever they pray, whenever the name of Jesus is mentioned, and whenever they celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  True remembrance of God is remembrance of Christ.  What Mohammed teaches in the Koran is good as far as it goes.  Christians must make remembrance of God top priority.  However, Muslims do not equate Christ with God.  Therefore, their remembrance is not true remembrance.  Mohammed did not make claims to Divinity.  Christ, however, did make such claims.  Remembrance of God is remembrance of Christ--His Life, His Teaching, His Death, His Resurrection, and His Ascension.


Suluk: The Spiritual Journey

This brings us to say something about Sufi discipline. According to Sufis, the first and foremost requirement is the purification of the soul. (Take notice.  The Sufi attempts to purify his soul.  In effect, the Sufi depends upon works—his own effort.  Christians should know that man cannot purify his soul.  A man can do nothing save depend on Christ, which is saying that man cannot do this without divine assistance.  Sufi discipline, though it does have merit, cannot get one any closer to God.  St. Paul taught this in his epistles.) The process is generally a long and said to be a difficult one. It consists of either three stages or seven stages, depending upon which Sufi order one is learning the discipline.  (The Seven Stages are listed later in this lesson.)

1. The Carnal Soul:

In the first stage, one struggles against the carnal soul or nafs al-ammara as it is called by the Sufis. Nafs al-ammara is the tendency in man to disobey God, and to take pleasure in evil deeds and thought. This inclines man towards gossip, backbiting, vain talk, pride, selfishness, lust, hatred and jealousy. The struggle to overcome nafs al-ammara involves the purifying of the body, tongue, mind and heart.

a) The body is purified by keeping it free from dirt, by preserving its members from harm and by not indulging in sexual license.

b) The tongue must be purified by restraining it from backbiting, malicious gossip and vain talk, or from using it to alter the truth.

c) The mind must be purified by abstaining from suspicion, plotting and thinking ill of others.

d) The heart must be purified by keeping it free from lust, jealousy, greed, selfishness, hatred and pride.

e) In this stage, a Sufi is to constantly examine the motives of his likes and dislikes.

2. The Reproaching Soul:

When he has subjugated the carnal soul, nafs al-ammara, the Sufi enters upon the second stage of purification in which he is able to respond readily to the call of the reproaching soul which is called nafs al-lawwama. It is the nafs al-lawwama which reproaches man for his evil deeds and impels him to acts of mercy and generosity.

3. The Contented Soul:

After this stage has become firmly established in him, the Sufi enters the third stage which is known as the station of the contented soul, nafs al-mutma'inna. In this stage, the Sufi develops to the fullest the tendency to obey God and to act in perfect harmony with His commandments. Here the soul is reconciled with all other stations of the path, such as poverty, patience, gratitude and trust in God. Here the soul finds perfect satisfaction in being governed by the heart, the Divine spark in man. Here the Sufi becomes truly free from fear and grief. As Sufis cite the words stated in the Qur'an, "Lo, indeed, the friends of God have no fear, nor are they grieved." Fear and grief are qualities of man, and, according to the Sufis, friends of God are relieved of the burden of these qualities. Fearlessly, and with the strength of faith, they invite man to God, the source of man's creation and the goal of his life.

The Sufi would say that here lies the difference between a true teacher and a false one -- the true teacher invites man to God, and the pretender invites man to himself. [Then again, we must recall the words of Christ in paraphrase, “We are to call no man teacher.”  Christ said this because the Father will draw a person to Christ, Christ will open this person’s heart to Him, and then the Holy Spirit will enter this person’s heart and teach this person what he needs to know.  The true teacher, then, is the Holy Spirit sent by Christ after one recognizes the Son for who He is and allows Christ to reach him.  (Some would say that this allowing of Christ to enter into one’s life is a form of work.  It is not.  It is faith.) The Sufi makes no mention of the Holy Spirit because they do not accept the teaching of the Trinity.]

In this stage of the contented soul, a Sufi is said to be filled with love, mercy, kindness, and a burning zeal to help others. In order to reach this high station, a Sufi must constantly strive to control his ego, to curb his anger and impatience. He must eat less, sleep less, talk less, and deny himself the pleasure of other people's company. Sometimes he withdraws completely from the worldly activities and occupies himself entirely with the remembrance of God and meditation. This withdrawal is counterproductive to spiritual grow, however.  If man is God’s highest creation as can be gleaned from reading the Koran, why would one wish to withdraw from God’s highest creation?  The Sufi practice here appears to be a form of self-indulgence.

The Sufi believes that as he makes progress spiritually, (One does not make his own progress spiritually.  Progress is accorded to man at the will of God.  Works very seldom lead to lasting spiritual growth.) he is able to extend the length of his periods of seclusion, culminating in retreats of forty days' duration. In this seclusion, the Sufi fasts during the day, breaking his fast after sunset with only a small piece of bread and some water. During the nights, he keeps constant vigil and chants a selected verse from the Qur'an 125,000 times. The verse usually chanted is: "There is no God but Thou, the Holy Lord. I am indeed one of the evil doers." Or, "Say, He, Allah is One. Allah is Sufficient unto Himself."

(What is to be gained by this seclusion and this chanting, really?  All this does is supposedly quiet the mind.  Buddhists practice this sort of repetition, too.  The source of Truth, Jesus Christ, never dictated that man should repeat the same words over and over again in the mind.  Is it not better to give of yourself to the poor, needy; to give of yourself to the rich who do not know God the teaching of God rather than to sit in a secluded spot somewhere chanting your heart away hoping that God will count that activity as righteousness?  To seclude from the world is opposite to what God wants one who knows the Truth to do.  We are to be a light to the world.  We are to light the way.  One does not hide a light in a bushel basket.  One shines the light in the environs of a darkened humanity.  And one gets that light from Jesus Christ.  Sufis may be in error here, do you not think?)

Meditation, Ecstasy, States, Stations and Ascension

The various stages on the mystical path are known as maqamat, the “stations” or “stages”, which can be supposedly be reached by any Sufi by means of prayer, fasting, meditation, and the hal or “mystical state”, which may be vouchsafed to the Sufi by the Grace of God but is not attainable by the mystic's own efforts. (The Sufi performs exercises to attain to absorption into God yet the mystical state is given to a Sufi by God without the Sufi’s effort.  This is not logical.  Why perform practices to attain to absorption into God if God will give one the mystical experience without any effort on a Sufis’ part?  If the mystical state is given by God, would not God give a person the means to absorb into Him?  One can not purchase God nearness by means of works.  This derives from Grace through faith, a Christian concept.)

 A Sufi may be blessed (There is no corroborative evidence that any Sufi has ascended into heaven.  However, the Disciples of Christ saw Jesus’ Ascension.  There were eye witnesses of Christ’s Ascension.)by an experience which reveals to his soul the reality of the whole universe, from the lowest layer of earth to the highest heaven. This experience is called mi'raj or the “ascension.” In this, a Sufi attests that it is generally accompanied by the spirit of his shaykh, and supposedly comes in contact with the spirits of other sheikhs and prophets. Various stations are also supposedly revealed to him with different colors and lights.   

The Sufi Seven Spiritual Stages to Absorption into God

(The following stages, we must remember, are what the Sufi believes, which from a Christian viewpoint can not be accepted as credible.  Jesus, the embodiment of Truth, never taught a solipsistic means to attain absorption into God.  Since this teaching is foreign to what Christ taught, and Christ Himself said the He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, if follows then that what the Sufis teach here is also foreign to the Truth, does it not?)

The Seven Stages (the three stages were listed previously) with a short explanation are as follows:

Talab (yearning).  Yearning for union with God, according to the Sufi, involves renunciation of worldly things.  This stage comes before a Sufi can commence the second stage which is Ishq (love).

Ishq demands an overwhelming desire and love for the goal, which according to the Sufi, is union with God.  One must be so in love with God that every other desire must be burned away, including learning or knowledge, hope or even concern for worldly virtue.  The Sufi believes this is total sacrifice.

Marfat (enlightenment) is the next stage.  At this particular stage the Sufi believes that the devotee begins to see God in every particle of the world, of God’s creation.  The devotee’s mind is said to be afire with the awareness of the Supreme Immanence in the entire world around him.  The devotee does not sleep but passes his days and nights in bewilderment and absorption. 

The stage after Marfat is Istaghirak, or fana (which will be explained in greater detail of this listing), the annihilation of the egoistic and egotistic self that follows the practice of intense spiritual exercises.  Fana has come to mean several things, but in Istaghirak it implies that state of the mind as the “dark night of the soul.”  To lose sight of Marfat is to enter a dark night of the soul where a person, according to the Sufi, experiences agony.

The next stage is called, by the Sufi, Tawhid (unity consciousness).  The Sufi claims to experience God as timeless and permeating Unity amid a world of multiplicity.  This state has been described by Sufis as similar to having one’s identity consumed in the fire of Supreme Consciousness.

Hairat (amazement) is the next stage.  This stage occurs, according to the Sufi, when one is struck dumb by the glorious perception of the divine. The Sufi devotee lives in a dreamy state even though he walks, talks, and otherwise functions in the world about him.  This trance state is supposed to evolve into higher spiritual awareness. 

The last stage is Fuqr Wa Fana (annihilation).  This stage purportedly involves the total loss of the earthly self and body consciousness.

Extinction (fana) and subsistence (baqa):

One of the important phases of Sufi experience, as listed above, which is attained by the Grace of God by a traveler on the mystical path as believed by the Sufi is the state of fana fi Allah, 'extinction of the self in God', (the 7th stage above) which is the transition to the state of baqa billah or the 'eternal life in union with God.' By passing away from self, the individual does not cease to exist (If the self is no more, if it is extinct, then how can one experience anything?  Who experiences what? Think about it.  There is no self to experience anything.  If there is absorption in God, the individual is no more.  This teaching is not logical.  We must always remember that God is a God of logical order.) but is permitted to enjoy the supreme mystical experience in union with God. (Christians should not place credence in this teaching.  There can be no union with God…in this union the Sufis teach that man becomes absorbed in God, that man loses his individuality into God.  Christ never…and I repeat…never!! taught this.  Knowledge of God comes from its source, Jesus Christ.  Since Jesus never taught absorption into God, then the teaching of the Sufis has to be held suspect as false.  Jesus is Truth, and Truth would teach Truth, would it not?) He is fully absorbed into the Love of God which gives him an everlasting awareness of the all-pervading presence of God. (Again, this cannot be true, if there is extinction of self and absorption into God, there is no one to experience anything.  This is basic common sense and founded on logic.)

This Sufi doctrine is further explained in a tradition (which must be oral, because this is not in the Koran) of the Prophet which states that God said:

Nothing is more pleasing to Me as a means for My slave to draw near unto Me than the worship I have made binding upon him. And My slave does not cease to draw near unto Me with added devotions of his free will until I Love him. And when I Love him, I am the Hearing wherewith he hears, and the Sight wherewith he sees, and the Hand wherewith he smites, and the Foot whereon he walks.

 (Even this does not sanction what the Sufis teach.  God can experience through what man experiences without man being absorbed into God. In fact, if man were to be absorbed into God, God could not experience what man would be experiencing.  God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He can experience what man experiences without man even attempting to be absorbed into Him.  Sufism is placing a power unto man what God has not given him.  Man cannot determine through his actions, however pious they may be, whether or not he/she will ever be given access to God.  It is God’s prerogative to give unto man what He so wills.  Sufis are audacious.  They appear to believe that a person can, through his will and a method devised by him, become absorbed into God.  So, beware!  The Sufis do not know what they think they know.)

Sufis state that most Sufis who have gone through this experience of the seven stages have preferred to live eternally in the greatest depth of silence which transcends all forms and sounds. Yet a few others have produced works of unsurpassed glory, especially in the fields of literature and music, which have crowned the culture of the entire Islamic world. Their works have inspired Sufis and non-Sufis for generations. As the great Persian Sufi poet, Hafiz of Shiraz, who is fondly remembered by Sufis as the “tongue of the unseen”, said centuries ago for all times: "He whose heart is alive with love, never dies."  


A Christian should know, however, that this is not the case.  Jesus made eternal life conditional on belief in Him.  He is the only religious figure who has the authority to do this.  No matter what the form of concern a man has for another man, no matter how compassionate a person may be, if that individual does not believe what Jesus taught about Himself and attempt to live a life as Jesus taught one to live—that person will die not only a physical death but a spiritual death, in that the life after death experienced by that person will not be that as taught by Jesus.  One cannot be with God after death if one rejects God in this life.  Eternal life is to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ.   To know means to accept and follow in His love.


The Sufis do teach to love one another.  This, it is true, is what Christ taught.  But Eternal Life does not depend on how much one loves his brother.  We are to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  This is the sum of the Law and the Prophets.  However, we do not love God by frowning on the teaching of His Son.  Remember, Jesus taught that the Father and the Son are one.  He wants all mankind to be one with the Father, Him, and Holy Spirit.  But no man can be one with God if that person rejects the teaching of Christ.  God is Love.  Jesus therefore is Love.  If a person rejects Jesus for a Sufi teacher, is not that person rejecting Love.  Can a person truly love if he/she rejects Love?  Sufis teach men to love, yet they themselves reject the personification of Love in Jesus.  Can they really teach man to love if they reject the source of that love?  Sufis say that they do not reject Christ.  Some of what they say is true—but they do reject that Christ is the Son of God, they reject His death on the Cross, they reject His resurrection in bodily form, and they reject His Ascension. (If He did not resurrect in bodily form His body could not ascend into heaven.)  In effect, the Sufis accept Christ’s moral teachings and his miracles, but make Him to be a liar in that Jesus predicted his resurrection.  What the Sufis attempt to do is make Jesus appear to be as they are and nothing more.  Christians should know better.  There is now no excuse for not knowing. 

Sufi Cosmology

Although there is no consensus with regard to Sufi cosmology, one can disentangle various threads that led to the bringing together of more or less coherent doctrines.  We must remember that this is what the Sufis believe, and since Sufis do not recognize what Jesus taught about Himself as being true, should not be taken as truth. 

The first thread is based on purely Qur’anic notions of the Afterworld, the Hidden or Divine Darkness and seven-storied Universe explicitly referenced in the Qur’an (and cherished in prophet Mohammad’s “Miraj” or ascent to God’s face -- the powerful spiritual motif that inspired generations of later Sufis and ordinary believers). However, these relatively simple Qur’anic concepts that gave basic structure to the Islamic worldview had soon become exposed to Neo-Platonist and Gnostic influences, as well as Zoroastrian religious imagery. Because of this, Sufism developed a jumble of frequently contradictory cosmological doctrines. Nevertheless, one can point out a few basic features:

The Sufi cosmology is not a uniform and coherent doctrine and is abstruse—difficult to understand.  (One need not understand it because this cosmology had no practical spiritual purpose.) Practitioners of Sufism were not much bothered with the inconsistencies and contradictions that arose due to juxtaposition and superposition of at least three different cosmographies, but should have been: the Ishraqi visionary universe, the Neo-Platonist view of the cosmos cherished by Islamic philosophers and the Hermetic-Ptolemaic view. All these doctrines (and each one of them claiming to be impeccably orthodox) were freely mixed and juxtaposed, frequently with confusing results.  This made and still makes Sufism very difficult to comprehend for the average person.  It is as though no thought was given to common people who lacked philosophic inclinations.  Thanks be to God that Christ’s teaching is simple to understand.  Truth is simple.  Man-made ideas fog the truth. If teaching cannot be conveyed to the average person, then what good is it?

Sufi Psychology

The term "Sufi psychology" is a deceptive one, because it implies that there is a relatively homogenous doctrine of the psyche the majority of the Sufis would subscribe to. This is not the case. However, one can point out the terms most frequently used and expand on the meanings of these notions.  We must remember, again, that this teaching is peculiar to the Sufi way.  It has little significance for spiritual growth.  I say this because Christ never taught any of this.

Drawing from Qur'anic verses, virtually all Sufis distinguish between Nafs, Qalb, Sirr and Ruh. These concepts designate various psycho-spiritual "organs" or, sometimes, faculties of sensory and supra-sensory perception.

Nafs is usually translated as soul or psyche. Some Sufis consider under the term "Nafs" the entirety of psychological processes, encompassing the entire mental, emotional and volitional life; however, the majority of Islamic-based Sufis are of the opinion that Nafs is a "lower", egotistical and passionate human nature that, along with Tab (physical nature), comprises vegetative and animal aspects of human life. Synonyms for Nafs are devil, passion, greed, avarice, ego-centeredness, etc. The central aim of the Sufi path is transformation of Nafs from its deplorable state of ego-centeredness through various spiritual stages to the purity and submission to the will of God. Although the majority of the Sufi orders have adopted convenient 7 maqams, listed previously, (maqams are permanent stages on the voyage towards spiritual transformation), and some still operate with 3 stages (also listed previously), the picture should be clear: the Sufi’s journey begins with Nafs-I-Ammare (self-accusing soul) and ends in Nafs-I-Mutma’inna (satisfied soul)-although some Sufis’ final stage is, in their technical vocabulary, Nafs-I-Safiya wa Kamila (soul restful and perfected in God’s presence).

The next term, Qalb, stands for heart. In Sufi terminology, this spiritual heart (not to be confused with the pump in the chest) is described in several different ways. For some, it is the seat of beatific vision. Other Sufis consider it the gate of Divine love. For the majority it is the battleground of two warring parties: those of Nafs and Ruh, or spirit. In short, cleansing of the heart is a necessary spiritual discipline for travelers on the Sufi path. The term for this process is Tazkiah-I-Qalb and the aim is the erasure of everything that stands in the way of God’s purifying love.

The third faculty is Sirr, or "the secret", located for the majority of Sufis in the middle of the chest. Emptying of the Sirr is basically attainted by focusing on God’s names and attributes in perpetual remembrance (Dhikr), hence diverting one’s attention from the mundane aspects of human life and fixing it on the spiritual realm. The "emptying" signifies negation and obliteration of ego-centered human proclivities.

Ruh, or spirit, is the fourth "entity" and the second contender in the battle for human life. It can be viewed as the dormant spiritual faculty that needs to be worked upon by constant vigil and prayer in order to achieve the Illumination of the spirit.

In these four "organs" or faculties: Nafs, Qalb, Sirr and Ruh, the basic orthodox Sufi psychology is contained. The purification of elementary passionate nature followed by cleansing of the spiritual heart so that it may acquire a mirror-like purity of reflection and become the receptacle of God’s love, fortified by emptying of self-centered drives and remembrance of God’s attributes, ending in illumination of the spirit- this is the essential Sufi spiritual journey. (We must remember, however, that if one accepts Christ, the purported Sufi spiritual journey is bootless.  Why go through all of this which, by the way, comes with no guarantee, when acceptance of Christ provides God’s love and a guarantee of eternal life?  God does not require one to have a mirror-like purity of heart for Him to love us.  God loves us in spite of the fact that we do not have a mirror-like purity of heart.  Acceptance of Christ is the true start on the spiritual journey.  There is no need to trek the convoluted Sufi path.  To any thinking man, this is, as they say, a “no brainer.”)

Sufi development also involves the purported awakening in a certain order what are known as the spiritual centers of perception that lie dormant in every person. The term is roughly translated as "subtlety" or "light". Each center is associated with a particular color and general area of the body, as well as often times with a particular prophet. The help of a guide is considered necessary to help activate these centers. The activation of all these "centers" is part of the special, inner methodology of the Sufi way or "Work".  After undergoing this process, the devotee is said to reach a certain type of "completion" or becomes the Complete Man. (How can one become the complete man when a person does not know Christ, which means no knowledge of God?  Sufism assumes a power that it does not possess.)

The first center, Qalb, or spiritual heart is variously described. For some, it is the seat of beatific vision. Others consider it the gate of Divine love. Its location is roughly the left side of the body, is often associated with yellow and is given the name, mind. The second center, Ruh, or spirit, is connected with the right side of the chest and is of the color red.

The third faculty Sirr, or secret, is located in the solar plexus and is associated with the color white. The fourth center, Khafi, mysterious or intuition, is situated in the forehead between the eyes and is black. The fifth center, Ikhfa, or deeply hidden, indicating a deep perception of consciousness, alternates its location between the center of the chest and inside the brain. It is associated with the color green. A preliminary center is located under the navel. A seventh center is said to exist but is only known to the true sage or one who has developed all the others. Through these "organs" or faculties: Qalb, Ruh, Sirr, Khafi, Ikfa and so on, the basic Sufi psychology is outlined.  It bears some resemblance to the schema known as the Kabala in Judaism or to the Chakra system in Hindu mysticism, none of which will lead one to the truth.

Orders of Sufism

There are numerous orders of Sufism in the world.  Below is a list of the most widely known.  The order in which these Sufi groups are listed is random.

Zahediyeh Order       Safaviyeh Order      Naqshbandi Order     Mevlevi Order        Bektashi Order

Chisht Order             Halveti Order           Jerrahi Order             Nimatalahi Order        Qadiri Order

Rufi Order                                                 Noori Order                                     Suhrawardiyya Order

Questions for review:

Why do Sufis teach through a spiritual mentor, a Shaykh?  Can you think of reasons why having a spiritual mentor would not be beneficial to a person?

What is Zikr?  Do Christians practice Zikr?  If so, how?  If not, why?

Why does the Sufi meditate?  Can meditation lead to selfishness?  Can prayer lead one also down the road to selfishness?

The Sufi has a delineated path to supposedly reach God, with either three or seven stages.  These ways to God are difficult to master, so it would appear.  Does the Sufi way bring one to Christ?  What is Christ’s way?

Sufi psychology and cosmology are complex.  A child cannot understand them.  Can knowing all this bring one closer to God?  Does the Sufi way lead one to Christ?

Email question answers to for comments to:


Lesson 5

Sufi Writings

Sufism is an elaborate form of mysticism, so it is essential that Sufism be studied by perusing the writings of its adherents since most of what is imparted to a student is oral or passed in silence (it is claimed).  Included below are samples of the writing of some Sufi masters.  Christians can profit from reading these and other writings.  To be able to reach the Sufi with Christ’s message, the Christian needs to understand from where the Sufi is coming from.

Excerpts of Sufi Writing: Al Ghazzali and Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

[Bold faced writing in parentheses is my comments.  Please remember that the Sufi, when he speaks of knowing God, means something entirely different than the Christian concept.  Sufis believe that man can become absorbed into God.  They claim that man can have direct knowledge of God and lose all sense of individuality.  This runs counter to what the Bible teaches.  The Bible teaches that God is above the knowledge of man…man cannot know God directly and cannot be absorbed into God.  Man can only catch glimpses of God, as did Moses.  If man could know God directly he would perish. His mind would not be able to function.  It would be the same as trying to place all the knowledge contained in a main frame computer into the hard disk of small desktop model.  It cannot be done.]


Alchemy of Happiness




It is a well-known saying of the Prophet that "He who knows himself, knows God"; that is, by contemplation of his own being and attributes man arrives at some knowledge of God. But since many who contemplate themselves do not find God, it follows that there must be some special way of doing so. As a matter of fact, there are two methods of arriving at this knowledge, but one is so abstruse that it is not adapted to ordinary intelligences, and therefore is better left unexplained. The other method is as follows: When a man considers himself he knows that there was a time when he was non-existent, as it is written in the Koran: "Does it not occur to man that there was a time when he was nothing?" Further, he know that he was made out of a drop of water in which there was neither intellect, nor hearing, sight, head, hands, feet, etc. From this it is obvious that, whatever degree of perfection he may have arrived at, he did not make himself, nor can he now make a single hair.

How much more helpless, then, was his condition when he was a mere drop of water! Thus, as we have seen in the first chapter, he finds in his own being reflected in miniature, so to speak, the power, wisdom and love of the Creator. If all the sages of the world were assembled, and their lives prolonged for an indefinite time, they could not effect any improvement in the construction of a single part of the body.

For instance, in the adaptation of the front and side-teeth to the mastication of food, and in the construction of the tongue, salivating glands, and the throat for its deglutition, we find a contrivance which cannot be improved upon. Similarly, whoever considers his hand, with its five fingers of unequal lengths, four of them with three joints and the thumb with only two, and the way in which it can be used for grasping, or for carrying, or for smiting, will frankly acknowledge that no amount of human wisdom could better it by altering the number and arrangement of the fingers, or in any other way.

When a man further considers how his various wants of food, lodging, etc., are amply supplied from the storehouse of creation, he becomes aware that God's mercy is as great as His power and wisdom, as He has Himself said, "My mercy is greater than My wrath," and according to the Prophet's saying, "God is more tender to His servants than a mother to her suckling-child." Thus from his own creation man comes to know God's existence, from the wonders of his bodily frame God's power and wisdom, and from the ample provision made for his various needs God's love. In this way the knowledge of oneself becomes a key to the knowledge of God.

Not only are man's attributes a reflection of God's attributes, but the mode of existence of man's soul affords some insight into God's mode of existence. That is to say, both God and the soul are not invisible, indivisible, unconfined by space and time and outside the categories of quantity and quality; nor can the ideas of shape, color, or size attach to them. People find it hard to form a conception of such realities as are devoid of quality and quantity, etc., but a similar difficulty attaches to the conception of our everyday feelings, such as anger, pain, pleasure, or love. They are thought-concepts, and cannot be cognized by the senses; whereas quality, quantity, etc., are sense-concepts. Just as the ear cannot take cognizance of color, or the eye of sound, so, in conceiving of the ultimate realities, God and the soul, we find ourselves in a region in which sense-concepts can bear no part. So much, however, we can see, that, as God is Ruler of the universe, and being Himself beyond space and time, quantity and quality, governs things that are so conditioned, so the soul rules the body and its members, being itself invisible, indivisible, and unlocated in any special part. For how can the indivisible be located in that which is divisible? From all this we see how true is the saying of the Prophet, "God created man in His own likeness."

And, as we arrive at some knowledge of God's essence and attributes from the contemplation of the soul's essence and attributes, so we come to understand God's method of working and government and delegation of power to angelic forces, etc., by observing how each of us governs his own little kingdom. To take a simple instance: suppose a man wishes to write the name of God. First of all the wish is conceived in his heart, it is then conveyed to the brain by the vital spirits, the form of the word "God" takes shape in the thought-chambers of the brain, thence it travels by the nerve-channels, and sets in motion the fingers, which in their turn set in motion the pen, and thus the name "God" is traced on paper exactly as it had been conceived in the writer's brain. Similarly, when God wills a thing it appears in the spiritual plane, which in the Koran is called "The Throne"[1]; from the throne it passes, by a spiritual current, to a lower plane called "The Chair"[2]; then the shape of it appears on the "Tablet of Destiny"[3]; whence, by the mediation of the forces called "angels," it assumes actuality, and appears on the earth in the form of plants, trees, and animals, representing the will and thought of God, as the written letters represent the wish conceived in the heart and the shape present in the brain of the writer. (This is not taught in the Bible and should be viewed as mere conjecture..  I do not see why an angel would have to be involved in the creation of a tree, a plant, or an animal.)

No one can understand a king but a king; therefore, God has made each of us a king in miniature, so to speak, over a kingdom which is an infinitely reduced copy of His own. In the kingdom of man, God's "throne" is represented by the soul, the Archangel by the heart, "the chair" by the brain, "the tablet" by the treasure-chamber of thought. The soul, itself unlocated and indivisible, governs the body as God governs the universe. In short, each of us is entrusted with a little kingdom, and charged not to be careless in the administration of it.

As regards the recognition of God's providence, there are many degrees of Knowledge. The mere physicist is like an ant who, crawling on a sheet of paper and observing black letters spreading over it, should refer the cause to the pen alone. The astronomer is like an ant of somewhat wider vision that should catch sight of the fingers moving the pen, i.e., he knows that the elements are under the power of the stars, but he does not know that the stars are under the power of the angels. (Here again this is conjecture.  Why would God need angels to help him guide the stars in their appointed paths?)  Thus, owing to the different degrees of perception in people, disputes must arise in tracing effects to causes. Those whose eyes never see beyond the world of phenomena are like those who mistake servants of the lowest rank for the king. The laws of phenomena must be constant, or there could be no such thing as science; but it is a great error to mistake the slaves for the master.

As long as this difference in the perceptive faculty of observers exists, disputes must necessarily go on. It is as if some blind men, hearing that an elephant had come to their town, should go and examine it. The only knowledge of it which they can obtain comes through the sense of touch: so one handles the animal's leg, another his tusk, another his ear, and, according to their several perceptions, pronounce it to be a column, a thick pole, or a, quilt, each taking a part for the whole. So the physicist and astronomer confound the laws they perceive with the Lawgiver. (Man actually makes what is observable over a period a time into a law.  There is no law geared to repeated observation.  If something different occurs not according to the dictate of man-made law that particular occurrence, which is itself an observable phenomenon as was all the other observable phenomena, is held to be false.  It does not accord to all other observations of man concerning such.)  A similar mistake is attributed to Abraham in the Koran, where it is related that he turned successively to stars, moon, and sun as the objects of his worship, till grown aware of Him who made all these, he exclaimed, "I love not them that set."

We have a common instance of this referring to second causes what ought to be referred to the First Cause in the case of so-called illness. For instance, if a man ceases to take any interest in worldly matters, conceives a distaste for common pleasures, and appears sunk in depression, the doctor will say, "This is a case of melancholy, and requires such and such a prescription." The physicist will say, "This is a dryness of the brain caused by hot weather and cannot be relieved till the air becomes moist." The astrologer will attribute it to some particular conjunction or opposition of planets. "Thus far their wisdom reaches," says the Koran. It does not occur to them that what has really happened is this: that the Almighty has a concern for the welfare of that man, and has therefore commanded His servants, the planets or the elements, to produce such a condition in him that he may turn away from the world to his Maker. (This is not true.  God does not cause sickness in man so the man will turn to God.  However, many times a man who becomes ill has time to reflect upon his condition and does turn to God for assistance.  This writer is confusing cause and effect.) The knowledge of this fact (This is not a fact.  It is merely the author’s interpretation.) is a lustrous pearl from the ocean of inspirational knowledge, to which all other forms of knowledge are as islands in the sea.

The doctor, physicist, and astrologer are doubtless right each in his particular branch of knowledge, but they do not see that illness is, so to speak, a cord of love by which God draws to Himself the saints concerning whom He has: said, "I was sick and ye visited Me not." (This writer is exemplifying Christ; however, Sufis do not accept the teaching of Christ in its entirety.  Sufis do this. They bring in Christ when it serves their purpose, but brush Him aside when Christ does not serve the Sufis purpose.) Illness itself is one of those forms of experience by which man arrives at the knowledge of God, (Not in all cases.  It can be just as well a means for one to reject God, as you are aware.)as He says by the mouth of His Prophet, "Sicknesses themselves are My servants, and are attached to My chosen."  (Not true in its entirety, therefore, not true in an absolute sense.)

The foregoing remarks may enable us to enter a little more fully into the meaning of those exclamations so often on the lips of the Faithful: "God is holy," "Praise be to God," "There is no God but God," "God is great." Concerning the last we may say that it does not mean that God is greater than creation, for creation is His manifestation as light manifests the sun, and it would not be correct to say that the sun is greater than its own light. It rather means that God's greatness immeasurably transcends our cognitive faculties, and that we can only form a very dim and imperfect idea of it. If a child asks us to explain to him the pleasure which exists in wielding sovereignty, we may say it is like the pleasure he feels in playing bat and ball, though in reality the two have nothing in common except that they both come under the category of pleasure. Thus, the exclamation "God is great" means that His greatness far exceeds all our powers of comprehension. Moreover, such imperfect knowledge of God as we can attain to is not a mere speculative knowledge, but must be accompanied by devotion and worship. When a man dies he has to do with God alone, and if we have to live with a person, our happiness entirely depends on the degree of affection we feel towards him. Love is the seed of happiness, and love to God is fostered and developed by worship. Such worship and constant remembrance of God implies a certain degree of austerity and curbing of bodily appetites. Not that a man is intended altogether to abolish these, for then the human race would perish. But strict limits must be set to their indulgence, and as a man is not the best judge in his own case as to what these limits should be, he had better consult some spiritual guide on the subject. Such spiritual guides are the prophets, and the laws which they have laid down under divine inspiration prescribe the limits which must be observed in these matters. He who transgresses these limits "wrongs his own soul," as it is written in the Koran. (Sufis, Muslims, claim that Jesus is a prophet and nothing more.  You must realize that when a Sufi says “Prophet” he is claiming that Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Mohammed are equal.  Christians know that this is not the case.  Jesus made claim to divinity.  The other mentioned men did not do this.)

Notwithstanding this clear pronouncement of the Koran there are those who, through their ignorance of God, (Who can be more ignorant of God than one who does not believe what Christ said about Himself? He said, as examples: “…I am the living bread that came down from heaven; I am the bread of life; I am the light of the world; I have come into the world as a light; If any man is thirsty let him come to Me to drink; If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water; I am the gate.  Whoever enters through me will be saved; I am the gate for the sheep; I am the resurrection and the life; I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me; I am the true vine and you are the branches.  Jesus also called himself the Lord of the Sabbath.”  The Koran does not teach what Christ said about Himself.  Being ignorant of the Koran, therefore, will not do anyone any harm as far as for growing spiritually.  One needs only to know Christ and grow in His love.) do transgress these limits, and this ignorance may be due to several different causes: Firstly, there are some who, failing to find God by observation, conclude that there is no God and that this world of wonders made itself, or existed from everlasting. They are like a man who, seeing a beautifully written letter, should suppose that it had written itself without a writer, or had always existed. People in this state of mind are so far gone in error that it is of little use to argue with them. Such are some of the physicists and astronomers to whom we referred above.

Some, through ignorance of the real nature of the soul, repudiate the doctrine of a future life, in which man will be called to account and be rewarded or punished. They regard themselves as no better than animals or vegetables and equally perishable. Some, on the other hand, believe in God and a future life but with a weak belief. They say to themselves, "God is great and independent of us; our worship or abstinence from worship is a matter of entire indifference to Him." Their state of mind is like that of a sick man who, when prescribed a certain regime by his doctor, should say, "Well, if I follow it or don't follow it, what does it matter to the doctor?" It certainly does not matter to the doctor, but the patient may destroy himself by his disobedience. Just as surely as unchecked sickness of body ends in bodily death, so does uncured disease of the soul end in future misery, according to the saying of the Koran, "Only those shall be saved who come to God with a sound heart." (This is not what Christ taught.  He taught that one must come to Him.  Jesus and God are not different.)

A fourth kind of unbelievers are those who say, "The Law tells us to abstain from anger, lust, and hypocrisy. This is plainly impossible, for man is created with these qualities inherent in him. You might as well tell us to make black white." These foolish people ignore the fact that the law does not tell us to uproot these passions, but to restrain them within due limits, so that, by avoiding the greater sins, we may obtain forgiveness of the smaller ones. Even the Prophet of God said, "I am a man like you, and get angry like others"; and in the Koran it is written, "God loves those who swallow down their anger," not those who have no anger at all. (Jesus was without sin, sinless.  Only one without sin can forgive sin.  Jesus claimed divinity.  It is true that Mohammed sinned.  He could not forgive the sin of anyone, even of himself.  Jesus can forgive sin because He is God.  Also, all anger is not sin.  God’s anger is not sin.  His wrath is not sin.  There is a righteous anger that originates in God.  Jesus showed this anger at the money changers and trafficking in the Temple.)

A fifth class lay stress on the beneficence of God, and ignore His justice, saying to themselves, "Well, whatever we do, God is merciful." They do not consider that, though God is merciful, thousands of human beings perish miserably in hunger and disease. They know that whosoever wishes for a livelihood, or for wealth, or learning, must not merely say, "God is merciful," but must exert himself. Although the Koran says, "Every living creature's support comes from God," it is also written, "Man obtains nothing except by striving." (This is not true. Man cannot strive to get into heaven.  Man cannot strive for God’s favor.  Man can do nothing to get to God because it has been done by Christ’s dying on the Cross.  Christ accepted death on a Cross to save each and every one of us.  All we need do is turn to Him.  Some would say this turning is an act of works.  Not so.  This turning is a nascent act of faith.) The fact is, such teaching is really from the devil, and such people only speak with their lips and not with their heart.

A sixth class claim to have reached such a degree of sanctity that sin cannot affect them. Yet, if you treat one of them with disrespect, he will bear a grudge against you for years, and if one of them be deprived of a morsel of food which he thinks his due, the whole world will appear dark and narrow to him. Even if any of them do really conquer their passions, they have no right to make such a claim, for the prophets, the highest of human kind, constantly confessed and bewailed their sins. Some of them had such a dread of sin that they even abstained from lawful things; thus, it is related of the Prophet that, one day, when a date had been brought to him he would not eat it, as he was not sure that it had been lawfully obtained. Whereas these free-livers will swallow gallons of wine and claim (I shudder as I write) to be superior to the Prophet whose sanctity was endangered by a date, while theirs is unaffected by all that wine! Surely they deserve that the devil should drag them down to perdition. Real saints know that he who does not master his appetites does not deserve the name of a man, and that the true Moslem is one who will cheerfully acknowledge the limits imposed by the Law. He who endeavors, on whatever pretext, to ignore its obligations is certainly under Satanic influence, and should be talked to, not with a pen, but with a sword. (This Sufi certainly is not writing by way of compassion or love.  A Christian could never write something like what was just written.  Christians are to love their enemies.  Who can be a greater enemy to a Christian than Satan?  However, when one understands that love drives Satan away, to love Satan is to destroy him.) These pseudo-mystics sometimes pretend to be drowned in a sea of wonder, but if you ask them what they are wondering at they do not know. They should be told to wonder as much as they please, but at the same time to remember that the Almighty is their Creator and that they are His servants.

(A seventh class claim that Christ is did not resurrect, that He was only a prophet; that He did not die on the cross.  These are the Muslims and Sufis of today and days past.  They too, are in error; they are blind to the truth of Christ because they close their eyes to what He taught about Himself.  Of all the above, those who deny what Christ taught about Himself are the worse off.  Christ said that if one refuses to accept Him that person will die in his sin.  He will die a spiritual death.)

Chapter 8


The love of God is the highest of all topics, and is the final aim to which we have been tending hitherto. We have spoken of spiritual dangers as they hinder the love of God in a man's heart, and we have spoken of various good qualities as being the necessary preliminaries to it. Human perfection resides in this, that the love of God should conquer a man's heart and possess it wholly, and even if it does not possess it wholly it should predominate in the heart over the love of all other things. Nevertheless, rightly to understand the love of God is so difficult a matter that one sect of theologians have altogether denied that man can love a Being who is not of his own species, and they have defined the love of God as consisting merely in obedience. Those who hold such views do not know what real religion is.

All Moslems are agreed that the love of God is a duty. (Christians also place high emphasis on Love of God, which is Love of His Son, Jesus.) God says concerning the believers, "He loves them and they love Him," and the Prophet (Mohammed) said, "Till a man loves God and His Prophet more than anything else he has not the right faith." (We are to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves.  Moslems and Sufis do not believe that Jesus is God’s Son.  It appears that they view Jesus with less respect than a man who sinned.  Mohammed, we must remember, claimed only to be a man; whereas Christ made claims to divinity.  Those who know the truth see the truth in Christ.  They come to Him and Christ accepts them as coming not only to Him but to the Father.  We can say that to come to Christ is to come to God.  But to come to Mohammed is to come to a man, by Muslim’s admission, who was capable of sinning and did sin.)  When the angel of death came to take the soul of Abraham the latter said, "Have you ever seen a friend take his friend's life?" God answered him, "Have you ever seen a friend unwilling to see his friend?" Then Abraham said, "O Azrael! Take my soul!" (There is nothing in the Koran that corroborates this.  Most Sufis, not all though, embellish their teachings with stories that can not be corroborated even in their Holy Book.) The following prayer was taught by the Prophet to his companions, "O God, grant me to love Thee and to love those who love Thee, and whatsoever brings me nearer to Thy love, and make Thy love more precious to me than cold water to the thirsty." Hassan Basri used to say, "He who knows God loves Him, and he who knows the world hates it." (God’s love is Jesus Christ.  God is love.  Love is Jesus. Jesus—God with us.  He who knows love loves God and His Son.  He who does not love Jesus does not love God.  To love Jesus and to love God is to do what Jesus commanded.  His major commandment was to accept His teaching.  To accept who He said He was, the Son of Man and the Son of God.  To love God is to accept the teaching of His Son, Jesus.  Now, Muslims and Sufis do not do this. They refuse to accept that Jesus is God’s son.  So how can it be said that they love God with their whole heart, soul and mind, and their neighbor as themselves?  Sufis should not write about love because they don’t recognize Love.  They fail to see that Jesus was the personification of Love and is Love.

We come now to treat of love in its essential nature. Love may be defined as an inclination to that which is pleasant. (The highest form of love is to die for one’s friends.  How can suffering ever be viewed as pleasant?  It cannot.  Sacrifice is not necessarily pleasant.  Jesus’ agony on the Cross certainly was not pleasant.  Yet, His action was the highest form of Love.  This Sufi writer does not know love, so how can he even attempt to write about it in all its veracity?) This is apparent in the case of the five senses, each of which may be said to love that which gives it delight; thus the eye loves beautiful forms, the ear music, etc. This is a kind of love we share with the animals. But there is a sixth sense, or faculty of perception, implanted in the heart, which animals do not possess, through which we become aware of spiritual beauty and excellence. Thus, a man who is only acquainted with sensuous delights cannot understand what the Prophet meant when he said he loved prayer more than perfumes or women, though the last two were also pleasant to him. But he whose inner eye is opened to behold the beauty and perfection of God will despise all outward sights in comparison, however fair they may be.

The former kind of man will say that beauty resides in red-and-white complexions, well-proportioned limbs, and so forth, but he will be blind to moral beauty, such as men refer to when they speak of such and such a man as possessing a "beautiful" character. But those possessed of inner perception find it quite possible to love the departed great, such as the Caliphs Omar and Abu Bakr, on account of their noble qualities, though their bodies have long been mingled with the dust. Such love is directed not towards any outward form, but towards the inner character. Even when we wish to excite love in a child towards any one, we do not describe their outward beauty of form, etc., but their inner excellences.

When we apply this principle to the love of God we shall find that He alone is worthy of our love, and that, if any one loves Him not, it is because he does not know Him. Whatever we love in any one we love because it is a reflection of Him. It is for this reason that we love Muhammad, because he is the Prophet and the Beloved of God, and the love of learned and pious men is really the love of God. We shall see this more clearly if we consider what the causes which excite love are.  (No mention here of Christ, even though Muslims do count Him as the first Muslim, even before Mohammed.  Sufis do not wish to recognize Christ.  To do so would be for them a revelation of the grandest measure.  They would have to relinquish all what they think they know about love, God, and place Christ first in their lives.  This they cannot do…they will die in their sins.  These are not my words…they are Christ’s words.)

The first cause is this, that man loves himself and the perfection of his own nature. (Many do not love themselves and fail to see the perfection of their own nature.  Human nature has little perfection in it, save that mankind was formed by the perfect being, God.) This leads him directly to the love of God, for man's very existence and man's attributes are nothing else but the gift of God, but for whose grace and kindness man would never have emerged from behind the curtain of non-existence into the visible world. Man's preservation and eventual attainment to perfection are also entirely dependent upon the grace of God. It would indeed be a wonder if one should take refuge from the heat of the sun under the shadow of a tree and not be grateful to the tree, without which there would be no shadow. Precisely in the same way, were it not for God, man would have neither existence nor attributes at all; wherefore, then, should he not love God, unless he be ignorant of Him? Doubtless fools cannot love Him, for the lover of Him springs directly from the knowledge of Him, and whence should a fool have knowledge? (Christ warned not to call anyone a “fool”.  Here this Sufi is calling those who do not know God fools.  One must show the love of God to those who are ignorant of God.  You cannot do this and have a person ignorant of God accept what is said of God if he has been called a fool by you.  It does not work that way.  No one likes to be called a fool by anyone.)

The second cause of this love is that man loves his benefactor, and in truth his only Benefactor is God, for whatever kindness he receives from any fellow-creature is due to the immediate instigation of God. Whatever motive may have prompted the kindness he receives from another, whether the desire to gain religious merit or a good name, God is the Agent who set that motive to work.

The third cause is the love that is aroused by contemplation of the attributes of God, His power and wisdom, of which human power and wisdom are but the feeblest reflections. This love is akin to that we feel to the great and good men of the past, such as the Imam Malik and the Imam Shafi, (Christians could name the late pope of the Catholic Church) though we never expect to receive any personal benefits from them, and, is therefore a more disinterested kind of love. God said to the Prophet David, "That servant is dearest to Me who does not seek Me from fear of punishment or hope of reward, but to pay the debt due to My Deity." And in the Psalms it is written, "Who is a greater transgressor than he who worships Me from fear of hell or hope of heaven? If I had created neither, should I not then have deserved to be worshipped?"

The fourth cause of this love is the affinity between man and God, which is referred to in the saying of the Prophet, "Verily God created man in His own likeness." Furthermore, God has said, "My servant seeks proximity to Me, that I may make him My friend, and when I have made him My friend I become his ear, his eye, his tongue." Again, God said to Moses, "I was sick, and thou didst not visit Me?" Moses replied, "O God! You are Lord of heaven and earth: how could You be sick?" (Where is the author getting his information here?  from the Koran? He does not list a reference.   The Bible does not relate this conversation, unless I have overlooked a passage, but I do not think I have.  Sufis do, on occasion, state that God said this and that, but fail to cite any reference so that what they write can be confirmed.)

God said, "A certain servant of Mine was sick; had you visited him, you would have visited Me."(I think the author is confusing what Christ said and attested that to Moses.  I am not aware of any such passage in the Bible whereby God speaks to Moses in this way.  And if God supposedly spoke to Mohammed, then why did not the author give reference.)

This is a somewhat dangerous topic to dwell upon, as it is beyond the understanding of common people, and even intelligent men have stumbled in treating of it, and come to believe in incarnation and union with God. (This author is demeaning what Christ taught as is attested in the Bible.  Sufis do not believe in the Incarnation.) Still, the affinity which does exist between man and God disposes of the objection of those theologians mentioned above, who maintain that man cannot love a Being who is not of his own species. However great the distance between them, man can love God because of the affinity indicated in the saying, "God created man in His own likeness." (This should be, “His own Image”.  The author is stating that this teaching came expressly from the Koran.  However, this was taught by the Jews long before the Koran.  This teaching is in the Old Testament of the Bible.)

The Vision of God

All Moslems profess to believe that the Vision of God is the summit of human felicity, because it is so stated in the Law; but with many this is a mere lip-profession which arouses no emotion in their hearts. This is quite natural, for how can a man long for a thing of which he has no knowledge? We will endeavor to show briefly why the Vision of God is the greatest happiness to which a man can attain.  (Christians have the vision of God in the form of Jesus.  It is true that the vision of God brings to man, once he recognizes it, the greatest happiness.  It is ironic that this author speaks of the vision of God, yet fails to see God in Jesus Christ.  The Glory and Vision of God is to be seen in the life and work of Jesus Christ.   Sufis fail to see this, so how can they truthfully speak about “seeing” the vision of God.  They deny the vision given to them.  Sufis and Muslims have blinders on their eyes.  The Vision of God is Jesus the Christ.)

In the first place, every one of man's faculties has its appropriate function which it delights to fulfill. This holds good of them all, from the lowest bodily appetite to the highest form of intellectual apprehension. But even a comparatively low form of mental exertion affords greater pleasure than the satisfaction of bodily appetites. (This is not true for all men.  This is a generalization which cannot be substantiated by observable fact.  Some people do not wish to think.) Thus, if a man happens to be absorbed in a game of chess, he will not come to his meal, though repeatedly summoned. And the higher the subject-matter of our knowledge, the greater is our delight in it; (again a generalization not substantiated by observable facts.) for instance, we would take more pleasure in knowing the secrets of a king than the secrets of a vizier. Seeing, then, that God is the highest possible object of knowledge, the knowledge of Him must afford more delight than any other. He who knows God, even in this world, dwells, as it were, in a paradise, "the breadth of which is as the breadth of the heavens and the earth,"[1] a, paradise the fruits of which no envy can prevent him plucking, and the extent of which is not narrowed by the multitude of those who, occupy it.

But the delight of knowledge still falls short of the delight of vision, just as our pleasure in thinking of those we love is much less than the pleasure afforded by the actual sight of them. Our imprisonment in bodies of clay and water, and entanglement in the things of sense constitute a veil which hides the Vision of God from us, (Again the Vision of God is in the life and work of Jesus the Christ.  His yoke is not heavy.  All who come to Him see God.  There is no need for an inner vision of God when there has been sent to man an outer vision of the inner reality.)  although it does not prevent our attaining to some knowledge of Him. For this reason God said to Moses on Mount Sinai, "Thou shalt not see Me."

The truth of the matter is this, that, just as the seed of man becomes a man, and a buried date stone becomes a palm-tree, so the knowledge of God acquired on earth will in the next world change into the Vision of God, (This is not true.  All depends upon acceptance of what Christ taught about Himself.  Christ is the Vision of God.  Sufis do not know this.) and he who has never learnt the knowledge will never have the Vision. This Vision will not be shared alike by all who know, but their discernment of it will vary exactly as their knowledge. God is one, but He will be seen in many different ways, (This again is not true.  It is true that God is one, but He can be seen only by one way—in Jesus Christ.) just as one object is reflected in different ways by different mirrors, some showing it straight, and some distorted, some clearly and some dimly. A mirror may be so crooked as to make even a beautiful form appear misshapen, and a man may carry into the next world a heart so dark and distorted that the sight which will be a source of peace and joy to others will be to him a source of misery. He, in whose heart the love of God has prevailed over all else, will derive more joy from this vision than he in whose heart it has not so prevailed; just as in the case of two men with equally powerful eyesight, gazing on a beautiful face, he who already loves the possessor of that face will rejoice in beholding it more than he who does not. For perfect happiness mere knowledge is not enough, unaccompanied by love, and the love of God cannot take possession of a man's heart till it be purified from love of the world, which purification can only be effected by abstinence and austerity. While he is in this world a man's condition with regard to the Vision of God is like that of a lover who should see his Beloved's face in the twilight, while his clothes are infested with hornets and scorpions, which continually torment him. But should the sun arise and reveal his Beloved's face in all its beauty, and the noxious vermin leave off molesting him, then the lover's joy will be like that of God's servant, who, released from the twilight and the tormenting trials of this world, beholds Him without a veil. Abu Suleiman said, "He who is busy with himself now will be busy with himself then, and he who is occupied with God now will be occupied with Him then."  (Sufis dwell on the vision of God, the lover of God, etc.  However, they do fail to see the true Vision of God in Jesus.  Sufis appear to chase a self-made dream (vision) of God.  It is self-made.  They chase after a dream of their own making, yet fail to see the reality of the vision of God right before their eyes in the life, love, and work of Jesus the Christ.  Why chase a dream when reality will get one to the goal so much faster?  If the goal is to know God, to love Him, then one should turn to Jesus Christ.  He is the vision the Sufis unknowingly chase, He is the goal that the Sufi aims for.  Sufis need to stop dreaming and come down to earth.  Christ, God, visited earth 2000+ years ago.  God was here…Immanuel--with us God.  I am not belittling the Sufi.  His search is earnest.  However, his search for the vision is superfluous and not needed.  The Vision of God that the Sufi seeks is Jesus in the flesh.)

Yahya Ibn Muaz relates, "I watched Bayazid Bistami at prayer through one entire night. When he had finished he stood up and said, 'O Lord! some of Thy servants have asked and obtained of Thee the power to perform miracles, to walk on the sea, and to fly in the air, (I ask you, can this be true?  Fly in the air?  Has anyone ever seen anyone fly in the air?  Is there any corroborating evidence of this?  No.), but this I do not ask; some have asked and obtained treasures, but these I do not ask.' Then he turned, and, seeing me, said, 'Are you there, Yahya?' I replied, 'Yes.' He asked, 'Since when? I answered, 'For a long time.' I then asked him to reveal to me some of his spiritual experiences. 'I will reveal,' he answered, 'what is lawful to tell you. The Almighty showed me His kingdom, from its loftiest to its lowest; He raised me above the throne and the seat and all the seven heavens. (Again, is there any proof?) Then He said, "Ask of me whatsoever thing thou desire." I answered, "Lord! I wish for nothing beside Thee." '"Verily," He said, "thou art My servant.'"

On another occasion Bayazid said, "Were God to offer thee the intimacy with Himself of Abraham, the power in prayer of Moses, the spirituality of Jesus, yet keep thy face directed to Him only, for He has treasures surpassing even these." One day a friend said to him, "For thirty years I have fasted by day and prayed by night and have found none of that spiritual joy of which you speak." Bayazid answered, "If you fasted and prayed for three hundred years, you would never find it." "How is that?" asked the other. "Because," said Bayazid, "your selfishness is acting as a veil between you and God." "Tell me, then, the cure." "It is a cure which you cannot carry out." However, as his friend pressed him to reveal it, Bayazid said, "Go to the nearest barber and have your beard shaved; strip yourself of your clothes, with the exception of a girdle round your loins. Take a horse's nosebag full of walnuts, hang it round your neck, go into the bazaar and cry out, 'Any boy who gives me a slap on the nape of my neck shall have a walnut.' Then, in this manner, go where the Cadi and the doctors of the law are sitting." "Bless my soul!" said his friend, "I really can't do that; do suggest some other remedy." "This is the indispensable preliminary to a cure," answered Bayazid, "but, as I told you, you are incurable."

The reason Bayazid indicated this method of cure for want of relish in devotion was that his friend was an ambitious seeker after place and honor. Ambition and pride are diseases which can only be cured in some such way. God said unto Jesus, "O Jesus! When I see in My servants' hearts pure love for Myself unmixed with any selfish desire concerning this world or the next, I act as guardian over that love."(This was not recorded by the Apostles, or found in the Bible.  Where is this writer getting his material?) Again, when people asked Jesus "What is the highest work of all?" he answered, "To love God and to be resigned to His will." (Jesus did not say this.  This is not recorded in the Bible.  What Jesus did say is, “…love God with all your heart, your soul and your mind, and your neighbor as yourself….”  Sufis tend to fabricate sayings and attribute some of them to Jesus.)The saint Rabia was once asked whether she loved the Prophet: "The love of the Creator," she said, "has prevented my loving the creature." Ibrahim Ben Adham, in his prayers, said, "O God! In my eyes heaven itself is less than a gnat in comparison with the love of Thee and the joy of Thy remembrance which thou hast granted me."

He who supposes that it is possible to enjoy happiness in the next world apart from the love of God is far gone in error, for the very essence of the future life is to arrive at God as at an object of desire long aimed at and attained through countless obstacles. This enjoyment of God is happiness. But if he had no delight in God before, he will not delight in Him then, and if his joy in God was but slight before it will be but slight then. In brief, our future happiness will be in strict proportion to the degree in which we have loved God here. (This is not what Jesus taught.  The criminal who was crucified on a cross along with Jesus, the man who recognized Jesus as who He said He was, did not delight in God on earth.  However, because the man recognized Jesus and accepted him before he died, Jesus allowed him to enter Paradise.  Happiness depends upon the recognition of Jesus as Immanuel, with us God.  It does not depend upon the degree to which we loved God here.  We must always remember that the opening of Heaven’s Gate depends upon God’s grace.  There are no degrees to the love of God.  We love God or we do not.  We cannot show God that we love Him.  That would be a form of works, would it not?  Do you think God is impressed with what we do to show our love for Him?  When we recognize God’s Son as God, happiness comes.  Happiness comes from God.  We cannot earn it.  It is a gift.  The Sufi here portrays happiness as something one can achieve or work at during one’s lifetime. This is wrong thinking.)

But (and may God preserve us from such a doom!) if in a man's heart there has been growing up a love of what is opposed to God, the conditions of the next life will be altogether alien to him, and that which will cause joy to others will to him cause misery.

This may be illustrated by the following anecdote: A certain scavenger went into the perfume-sellers' bazaar, and, smelling the sweet scents, fell down unconscious. People came round him and sprinkled rose-water upon him and held musk to his nose, but he only became worse. At last one came who had been a scavenger himself; he held a little filth under the man's nose and he revived instantly, exclaiming, with a sigh of satisfaction, "Ah! This is perfume indeed!" Thus in the next life a worldling will no longer find the filthy lucre and the filthy pleasures of the world; the spiritual joys of that world will be altogether alien to him and but increase his wretchedness. For the next world is a world of Spirit and of the manifestation of the Beauty of God; happy is that man who has aimed at and acquired affinity with it. All austerities, devotions, studies have the acquirement of that affinity for their aim, and that affinity is love. (These are works.  One does not acquire spiritual attainment by working at it.  If this Sufi knew the Truth, he would know that the working for spirituality is bootless.  The message of Christ is the opposite of what this Sufi is attempting to teach here.  Man can do nothing to attain spiritual insight and spiritual truth.  Christ has done this for us.  One needs only to come to Christ for spiritual happiness.)This is the meaning of that saying of the Koran, "He who has purified his soul is happy." (He who has seen Christ as He is, he is Happy.  Why?  When one sees Christ and comes to Him, Christ along with the Holy Spirit purifies the soul.  Again, one can do nothing to grow spiritually without Christ.  Sufism does not help one come to Christ.  Sufism is a hindrance.) Sins and lusts directly oppose the attainment of this affinity; therefore the Koran goes on to say, "And he who has corrupted his soul is miserable." Those who are gifted with spiritual insight have really grasped this truth as a fact of experience, and not a merely traditional maxim. Their clear perception of it leads them to the conviction that he by whom it was spoken was a prophet indeed, just as a man who has studied medicine knows when he is listening to a physician. This is a kind of certainty which requires no support from miracles such as the conversion of a rod into a snake, the credit of which may be shaken by apparently equally extraordinary miracles performed by magicians.

The Signs of the Love of God

Many claim to love God, but each should examine himself as to the genuineness of the love which he professes. The first test is this: he should not dislike the thought of death, for no friend shrinks from going to see a friend. The Prophet said, "Whoever wishes to see God, God wishes to see him." It is true a sincere lover of God may shrink from the thought of death coming before he has finished his preparation for the next world, but if he is sincere, he will be diligent in making such preparation.

The second test of sincerity is that a man should be willing to sacrifice his will to God's, should cleave to what brings him nearer to God, and should shun what places him at a distance from God. (This Sufi is right.  One should come to Christ and learn from Him.  His yoke is light.  Any one who shrinks from coming to Christ is not sincere in his desire to come closer to God.  Why do not the Sufis understand this?  No one can come to God if that person does not come to Christ.  I must say, coming to Mohammed is not coming to Jesus Christ.  Coming to a Sufi teacher is not coming to Jesus Christ.)The fact of a man's sinning is no proof that he does not love God at all, but it proves that he does not love Him with his whole heart. The saint Fudhail said to a certain man, "If any one asks you whether you love God, keep silent; for if you say, 'I do not love Him,' you are an infidel; and if you say, 'I do,' your deeds contradict you."

The third test is that the remembrance of God should always remain fresh in a man's heart without effort, for what a man loves he constantly remembers, and if his love is perfect he never forgets it. It is possible, however, that, while the love of God does not take the first place in a man's heart, the love of the love of God may, for love is one thing and the love of love another.

The fourth test is that he will love the Koran, which is the Word of God, and Muhammad, who is the Prophet of God; if his love is really strong, he will love all men, for all are God's servants, nay, his love will embrace the whole creation, for he who loves any one loves the works he composes and his handwriting.  (This is false!  Christ is the Word of God.  One must remember that the Sufi does not accept the crux of teaching of Jesus.  To love God is to accept the teaching of the Son of God.  Not to accept the teaching of the Son of God is tantamount to not accepting God.  If one does not accept God, the Logos, the Word in Christ, how can one say that he loves God?  He does not love God.  Love of God is to love His Son, to accept His teaching, and to live by that teaching.)

The fifth test is that he will be covetous of retirement and privacy for purposes of devotion; he will long for the approach of night, so that he may hold intercourse with his Friend without let or hindrance. If he prefers conversation by day and sleep at night to such retirement, then, his love is imperfect. God said to David, "Be not too intimate with men; for two kinds of persons are excluded from My presence: those who are earnest in seeking reward and slack when they obtain it, and those who prefer their own thoughts to the remembrance of Me. The sign of My displeasure is that I leave such to themselves."  (From where did this Sufi obtain this quote? It is not to be found in the Bible.  And I do not recall reading it in the Koran.)

In truth, if the love of God really takes possession of the heart all other love is excluded. (This is false.  Christ taught that we are to love, not only God, but our neighbor.)One of the children of Israel was in the habit of praying at night, but, observing that a bird sang in a certain tree very sweetly, he began to pray under that tree, in order to have the pleasure of listening to the bird. God told David to go and say to him, "Thou hast mingled the love of a melodious bird with the love of Me; thy rank among the saints is lowered." (Again, the Sufi appears to be attributing to David what David did not say.  Where did this Sufi obtain the quote?   Also, it is appropriate to love what God has created as long as one does not show lack of love to the Creator.  God delights in that man delights in His creation.  Was not the melody of the bird created to provide man enjoyment in this life?) On the other hand, some have loved God with such intensity that, while they were engaged in devotion, their houses have caught fire and they have not noticed it.

A sixth test is that worship becomes easy. A certain saint said, "During one space of thirty years I performed my night-devotions with great difficulty, but during a second space of thirty years they became a delight." When love to God is complete no joy is equal to the joy of worship.

The seventh test is that lovers of God will love those who obey Him and hate the infidels and the disobedient, (This is false.  Christ taught to love those who would persecute us.  We are to love those who do not believe in Christ.  We are not to hate anyone.  We are to lovingly abide.  Muslims and Sufis do not know of this type of love.  It is the love that Christ imparts.)as the Koran says: "They are strenuous against the unbelievers and merciful to each other." The Prophet once asked God and said, "O Lord! who are Thy lovers?" and the answer came, "Those who cleave to Me as a child to its mother, take refuge in the remembrance of Me as a bird seeks the shelter of its nest, and are as angry at the sight of sin as an angry lion who fears nothing."  (Christ’s love surpasses anything that is portrayed in Sufism and Islam.  This is the Truth.)


Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan


Beloved ones of God, you may belong to any race, cast, creed, or nation, still you are all impartially beloved by God. You may be a believer or an unbeliever in the Supreme Being, but He cares not. His mercy and grace flow through all His powers, without distinction of friend or foe.

“Every leaf of tree, Allah's praise displays,
Only the pious mind can hear their sacred lays.'

The sun, moon, and stars give light; the timely change of seasons promotes health and cheerfulness; the rain grows corn, fruits, and flowers; and the alternation of day and night provides the opportunity for work and rest.

'Earth, water, fire and air,
All work harmoniously.
For thee they always food prepare,
Thou shouldst not eat unthankfully.
For how each day the sun shines and serves,
All praise from thee Allah deserves.”

If you study your own body, you will find its mechanism to be the original model of the artificial mechanism of the world. Art and science fail if compared with that of His nature. The ear, eyes, and all other organs, how perfectly they are adapted in shape and mechanism to the purpose which they must serve! How liberally the needs of life, water, air, and food are supplied; even milk is prepared in the mother's breast for the unborn infant. Should we not appreciate the liberality of the Creator, and thank him each moment with all humility and gratitude? 'Praise be to Allah, the worship of whom is the means of drawing closer to Him, and the giving of thanks to whom involves an increase of benefits. Every breath which is inhaled prolongs life, and when exhaled it quickens the frame. In every breath, therefore, two blessings are contained, and for every blessing a separate thanksgiving is due' (Sa'di).

He has fashioned and molded you after His own image, and made you the highest of all beings and the pride of the universe, having given you command over all other beings of both worlds. As is said in the Qur'an, 'Do you not see that Allah has subjected all things on earth to you?' And at the same time He has given you, by His grace, the attributes of humanity: kindness, gratitude, faithfulness, justice, modesty, piety, sympathy, reverence, bravery, patience, love, knowledge, and wisdom. This is an open proof of your being the real object of creation and the most beloved of God.


The word Sufi is derived from Safa meaning pure, purified of ignorance, superstition, dogmatism, egotism, and fanaticism, as well as free from limitations of caste, creed, race, and nation. The Sufis believe in God as the Absolute, the only Being; and that all creation is the manifestation of His nature. (Many Sufis also believe that God and nature are not separate, that in a mystical way nature and God are one.  This is not true.)

There have been Sufis at all periods of human history. Though they have lived in different parts of the world, speaking different languages and born into different faiths and beliefs, they have recognized and sympathized with each other, through the oneness of their understanding. Yet with their deep knowledge of the world and of spiritual mysteries, they have concealed their beliefs from the multitude, and have pursued in secret their way of attainment to the highest bliss.


Sufis, who had received spiritual training from all previous prophets and leaders, likewise received training from Mohammed. The openness of Mohammed's essential teachings paved the way for them to come forward into the world without the interference they had previously experienced, and a mystic order called the Saheba-e-Safa, Knights of Purity, was inaugurated by the Prophet, and afterwards was carried on by Ali and Siddiq. The lives of these knights were extraordinary in their wisdom, piety, bravery, spirituality, and great charity of heart. This order was carried on by their successors, who were called Pir-o-Murshid, Shaikh, etc., one after another, duly connected as links in a chain. (This chain does not include Christ, however.  Since it does not include the Son of God, the chain has a very weak link.  The absence of the Son of God in this so-called spiritual chain is its weakest link, so to speak.)

The spiritual bond between them is a miraculous force of divine illumination, and is experienced by worthy initiates of the Sufi Order; just as the electric current runs through all connected lamps and lights them. (Again, divine illumination comes from Christ, who claimed and proved by His works His divinity.  There is not a Sufi who has made claim to divinity and corroborated that claim by any type of public showing in the form of, let us say, raising one from the dead, or even forgiving one his/her sins.  Sufis cannot forgive sin…this rests in the “power” of the Son.)By this means the higher development is attained without great efforts. Sufism was unostentatiously practiced in Arabia during the period of Sahabis, Taba'in, and Taba'-i-taba'in. Charity, piety, spirituality, and bravery are the real proofs of Sufi advancement.

The sensational Sufi movements which took place in Persia in the later periods, have won all the credit of Sufism for the Persians, and Sufism came to be regarded as a Persian philosophy. Imam al-Ghazali, Juneyd-e Baghdadi, Farid-ud-Din 'Attar had taken the lead in advancing Sufism in the world at large. Shams-e-Tabré z, Sa'di, Khagani, Firdausi, Omar Khayyá m, Abdul Ala and other great Sufi poets, have very substantially established the reputation of Sufism by their inspired poetical works on divine wisdom. Sa'adi's works (Gulistan and Bostan) illuminate the intellect; the Divan of Hafiz expands the heart with divine love; Jelal-ud-Din Rumi's poems, the Masnavi e Ma'navi inspire the soul.  (What is the reputation of Sufism?  Sufism refutes the most important teachings of Christ, His death and resurrection.)

These works were originally composed in Persian, but are now translated into many other languages. They have been a most important source of education for humanity, and are studied as the most popular treatises on the divine wisdom of the East. (Divine wisdom would not reject the teachings of the Son of God.  Do not be hoodwinked.  Sufism is not divine wisdom.)

The spiritual part of Sufism was most miraculously realized by Abdul Qadir Jilani, Moin-ud-Din Chishti, Bahaud-Din Naqshband, Shihab-ud-Din Sohrawardi, and others.

India, being greatly addicted to philosophy, was well suited for Sufism, where, in ancient and modern records, a great many Sufis with miraculous careers are to be found. The tombs of Moin-ud-Din Chishti, Nizam-ud-Din, Sharif-ud-Din, Bandeh Navaz, Mohammed Gauth, are visited with much reverence and devotion by people of various nations and many beliefs, in thankful remembrance of their great careers. (Again, the Sufis died and are buried.  Christ died, resurrected and ascended into heaven.  Christ’s resurrection and ascension are not fairy tales.  There were eyewitnesses to these Christ events.  And the witnesses are reputable.  Who attests for the miraculous careers of the Sufis?  What miracles did they perform?  Writing poetry is not miraculous.  Love, though its essence is of God, is not a miracle of any Sufi.  Again, a Sufi has not resurrected from the dead.  A Sufi does not have the “power” to forgive sin.  A Sufi has not come down from heaven.  A Sufi has not seen God.  Only the one who has come from heaven has seen God.  Christ claimed to come from heaven.  He claimed to divinity.  It is right for this Sufi to claim that Sufism is a philosophy.  This claim is true.  Sufism is nothing more than a philosophy.  Any intelligent man can write philosophy.  Only one has claimed to deity.  That one is Jesus Christ.)

Sufism, as a religious philosophy of love, harmony, and beauty, aims at expanding the soul of man until the realization of the beauty of all creation enables him to become as perfect an expression of divine harmony as possible. (What is divine harmony?  Is it not to be at one with God?  It is not to be absorbed into God, but to be at one with Him.  And how can one be at one with God if that person is not at one with Christ?  It is impossible. )It is therefore natural that the Sufi Order should stand foremost as a spiritual power in the East, and that it is rapidly becoming recognized in the West. (The western mind does not know the basis of Sufi thought.  Sufi thought is antithetical to the Christian message.  Once the mind of any one realizes the falsehood on which Sufism is built, that mind will reject Sufism.  I, a former student of Sufism, rejected it flatly when I learned the depth of the message of Christ.  Make no mistake, my reader; Sufism will not bring you closer to God.  It cannot because it rejects the heart of God, Jesus Christ.)

Many Sufi saints have attained what is known as God-consciousness, which is the most all-inclusive realization of the meaning of the word 'good' attainable by man. (Sufi saints cannot know God-consciousness if they reject consciously the teaching of Jesus Christ.  The Sufis do this repeatedly.  If a person wishes to attain that which is good, it is best to study Christ’s teachings and the words of His Apostles.  No one knows the Father but the Son and those to whom the Son wishes the Father to be known.  One cannot hope to know God without recognizing His Son and following Him.) Strictly speaking, Sufism is neither a religion nor a philosophy; it is neither theism nor atheism, but stands between the two and fills the gap. Among the religious, Sufis are considered to be free-thinkers; while among intellectual philosophers they are considered religious, because they make use of subtler principles in life to elevate the soul than can readily be followed by material logic. (Sufis are free thinkers.  They believe they are at liberty to reject what the Bible and Christ taught to fit their so-called spiritual philosophy.  There can be no spirituality without Christ.)

Sufis have in many cases realized and shown the greatest perfection in humanity. (There is not one Sufi who has not sinned.  There is not one Sufi who has come to Christ to ask forgiveness of sin.  To come to Christ would mean that what the Sufi thinks is wrong.  They cannot do this and remain true to their so-called spiritual philosophy.  I am not denigrating the Sufi…I am only airing what is the truth.) And among the lives of the Sufi saints may be found some of the most divine models of human perfection in all capacities, from a king to a laborer. The idea that Sufism sprang from Islam or from any other religion, is not necessarily true; yet it may rightly be called the spirit of Islam, as well as the pure essence of all religions and philosophies. (It is not the pure essence of Christianity.  What this Sufi is stating is falsehood.  The pure essence of Christianity is Christ.  Sufism pays short shrift to much of what Christ taught about Himself.)

A true Sufi remains in the thought of truth continually, sees the truth in all things and never becomes prejudiced, but cultivates affection for all beings. (This is what the Sufi wants all to believe.  However, it is not true.  The Sufi, as I have written above, does not see the truth in Christ.  If a Sufi does not see the truth in Christ—and the Sufi does not—then the Sufi does not see the truth in all things.  A Sufi accomplishes the divine journey (The divine journey starts with Christ.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  The spiritual journey begins and ends with Christ) and reaches the highest grade of Baqa during this life, but people of all beliefs arrive, eventually, at the same level of understanding and realization which Sufism represents. (Christians surpass the understanding and the realization that Sufism affords if Christians remain steadfast to Christ and to the love that He lived, and practice that love in their daily walk.  Sufism is not superior to Christianity and Sufis are not superior to Christians.  If anything, if we should so claim, Christians are superior to the Sufis in that Christians recognize the Son of God and worship Him, whereas Sufis recognize their own philosophy and want others to worship them—they want students to bow to them.  There are no Sufi saints.  To be a saint one must be holy, set apart to God.  How can a Sufi, who does not recognize the teaching of Christ [what He taught about Himself], arrogate to himself sainthood.  This again is impossible.  One cannot reject Christ and be a saint.  It is even difficult not to reject Christ and still be saint.  So what this Sufi is saying should not be taken seriously.)

Sufism contains all branches of mysticism, such as psychology, occultism, spiritualism, clairvoyance, clairaudience, intuition, inspiration, etc., but that which a Sufi particularly wishes to acquire is not necessarily any of the above-named powers; because the object of all these powers is towards greater individuality, and individuality itself is only a hindrance on the Sufi's path towards the accomplishment of his highest perfection. Therefore the main object of initiation in the Sufi Order is to cultivate the heart through renunciation and resignation, that it may be pure enough to sow the seed of divine love and realize the highest truth and wisdom, theoretically and practically, thereby attaining the highest attributes of humanity. (The highest truth is that Jesus is the Son of God, and one should follow Him.  Sufis do not teach this, so how is it possible for them to realize the highest truth and wisdom?  Through their austerities and methods the Sufi may be able to tame his passions; however, he will still not acquire true wisdom.  Wisdom is to know God and his Son.  God is a triune God, which Sufis deny.  They deny what God in essence is, so they cannot “see” wisdom in its true light.  It is impossible for them to do so.)

Divine perfection is perfection in all powers and mysteries. All mysteries, powers, and realizations gradually manifest themselves to the Sufi through his natural development, without his specially striving for them. (This statement is not true.  The Sufi does not realize the truth in that the Sufi refuses to recognize the claims of Christ.  Since Sufi fails to realize this, in effect the Sufi forfeits the possibility that all mysteries, powers and realization will manifest.  The greatest mystery and realization is that Jesus Christ came from God, was of God, and was God in the flesh while He visited the earth centuries ago.)

Self-realization is the highest and most difficult attainment of all; it is impossible to acquire it in the manner of sciences and arts, and it is not possible to attain it as health, wealth, honor, and power can be obtained by certain means. For the sake of self-realization, thousands have renounced family and all worldly possessions, and kings their kingdoms, and they have retired to desert, jungle, or mountain fastness, striving to find in asceticism the secret of this bliss. (All useless effort.  You see, the Sufis failed to come to Christ.  Their self effort is in vain.  Works gets one nowhere.)


The greatest principle of Sufism is, 'Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Allah' (God is love, lover, and beloved).

When Ahad, the only Being, became conscious of his Wahdat, only existence, through His own consciousness, then' His predisposition of love made Him project Himself to establish His dual aspect, that He might be able to love someone. This made God the lover, and manifestation the beloved; the next inversion makes manifestation the lover, and God the beloved. This force of love has been working through several evolutions and involutions, which end in man who is the ultimate aim of God. The dual aspect of God is significant in Zát and Sifat, in spirit and matter, (God is not in matter. He created matter but is not in it.  This is a false teaching). and in the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms, wherein the two sexes, male and female, are clearly represented. The dual aspect of God (God does not have a dual aspect.  He has a triune aspect.  Do not fall for this. Matter is not an aspect of God.  Matter is a creation of God.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the nature [aspect] of God) is symbolized by each form of this wonderful world. This whole universe, internally and externally, is governed by the source of love, which is sometimes the cause and sometimes the effect. The producer and the product are one, and that One is nothing but love. (That one is God, who is more than love.  It is true that John stated God is love, and the one who does not love does not know God.  However, John did not say that God was only love and none other than love.  Justice and wisdom are attributes of God, among others.  To say that God is nothing but love is false.  The Sufi here, by the words he has used, is reducing God to only love.)


“A church, a temple or a Ka'ba stone,

Qur'an or Bible or a martyr's bone,

All these and more my heart can tolerate,

Since my religion now is Love alone”(Abul Ala).

Sufis take the course of love and devotion to accomplish their highest aim, because it is love which has brought man from the world of unity to the world of variety, and the same force can take him back again to the world of unity from that of variety.

'Love is the reduction of the universe to the single being, and the expansion of a single being, even to God' (Balzac). {To reduce the universe to a single being implies that God is in the material that He has created.  This is false.  God is not in His creation any more than an artist is in his painting.  The artist and his painting are separate.  God and his creation are separate.  Sufis do not understand this.  The universe cannot be reduced to love.  It can be said that Love, one aspect of God, did create the universe because God is love—though much more; however the universe and love are not one.  If one should contemplate what this Sufi has said, one can see the absurdity in the comment.}

Love is that state of mind in which the consciousness of the lover is merged in that of the object of his love; it produces in the lover all the attributes of humanity, such as resignation, renunciation, humility, kindness, contentment, patience, virtue, calmness, gentleness, charity, faithfulness, bravery, by which the devotee becomes harmonized with the Absolute. As one of God's beloved, a path is opened for his heavenly journey: at the end he arrives at oneness with God, and his whole individuality is dissolved in the ocean of eternal bliss where even the conception of God and man disappears.  (This is totally false.  Jesus taught to His disciples all that the Father related to Him.  Since Jesus is God incarnate in the flesh, would Jesus not have taught His disciples what He knew?  Jesus indicated that He held nothing back from His disciples.  Jesus never taught His disciples any of this, what I will call falderal.  Is a Sufi more knowledgeable about God than God Himself, more knowledgeable than the Son of God?    Remember Jesus claimed deity and provided evidence of that divinity through what He did while on the earth.  He also said that if you do not believe what He says about Himself, refer back to what He has done.  In other words, look at the miracles He performed.  He raised men from the dead, He healed men of leprosy.  He gave sight to men born blind. Sufis have not done this, for if one had, would not students have proclaimed it?  Would not a Sufi have done this publicly to attest to his spiritual attachment to God, to attest that the Sufi can teach such teaching with the “backing” of God?  It is true that an adulterous generation asks for a sign.  We live in adulterous times whereby men make false claims concerning truth to lead others to them.  Where is the Sufi proof?  Sufis make claims that cannot be substantiated!  A Sufi does not have superior knowledge when compared to Christ.  This teaching of becoming absorbed into God is false.)

“Although love is a sweet madness,

Yet all infirmities it heals.

Saints and sages have passed through it,

Love both to God and man appeals.”

(We know that love does not heal all infirmities.  What it does is allow one to bear all infirmities with faith and hope.)


Excerpts from








He is One, and number has no place in Him; He is Absolute, and dependence is far removed from Him; not that One which reason and understanding can know, not that Absolute which sense and imagination can recognize. He is not multitude, nor paucity; one multiplied by one remains one. In duality is only evil and error; in singleness is never any fault. (This is not true.  Duality must be present to know the difference between good and evil.  Good and evil are not one.  What the Sufi here is in effect saying is that God is good and evil.  But we should know that this is not the case.)

While multitude and confusion remain in thy heart, say thou 'One' or 'Two,'--what matter, for both are the same. (They are not the same.) Thou, the devil's pasture, know for certain what, and how much, and why, and how! (The Sufi here is calling us the devil’s pasture.  This is not true.  We are God’s pasture that happens to have a few weeds growing that can be eradicated with the aid of Christ and the Holy Spirit.) Have a care! His greatness comes not from multitude; His essence is above number and quality; the weak searcher may not ask 'Is it' or 'Who' concerning Him. No one has uttered the attributes of the Creator, HE,--quantity, quality, why, or what, who, and where. His hand is power, His face eternity; 'to come' is His wisdom, 'the descent' His gift; His two feet are the majesty of vengeance and dignity, His two fingers are the effective power of His command and will. All existences are subject to His omnipotence; all are present to Him, all seek Him; the motion of light is towards light-how can light be separated from the sun?  (Unfortunately, all do not seek God.  How can anyone write such a thing?)

In comparison with His existence eternity began but the day before yesterday; it came at dawn, but yet came late. How can His working be bounded by eternity? Eternity without beginning is a house-born slave of his; and think not nor imagine that eternity without end (is more), for eternity without end is like to eternity without beginning.

How shall He have a place, in size greater or smaller? for place itself has no place. How shall there be a place for the Creator of place, a heaven for the Maker of heaven himself? Place cannot attain to Him, nor time; narration can give no information of Him, nor observation. Not through columns is His state durable; His nature's being has its place in no habitation. (This is not true.  The Word in narration can and does give information concerning God.  Also, Christ stated that He has reserved a place for those who believe in Him.  Maybe this Sufi should study the Bible more?  It is evident that this Sufi does not know spiritual truth.)

O thou, who art in bondage to form and delineation, bound by 'He sat upon the throne'; form exists not apart from contingencies, and accords not with the majesty of the Eternal. Inasmuch as He was sculptor, He was not image; 'He sat' was, not throne, nor earth. Continue calling 'He sat' from thy inmost soul, but think not His essence is bound by dimensions; for 'He sat' is a verse of the Qur’an, and to say 'He has no place' is an article of faith. (False. He does have a place.  We do not know what this place is or where it is, but Christ has said that for those who have believed in Him, a place is reserved for them in Heaven.  Christ cannot lie because God cannot lie.  This Sufi, though he may not be intentional telling a lie, is fabricating a truth that is based on error.) The throne is like a ring outside a door; it knows not the attributes of Godhead. The word 'speech' is written in the Book; but shape and voice and form are far from Him; 'God descends' is written in tradition, but believe not thou that He comes and goes; the throne is mentioned in order to exalt it, the reference to the Ka`ba is to glorify it. To say 'He has no place' is the gist of religion; shake thy head, for it is a fitting opportunity for praise. They pursue Husain with enmity because 'Alî spoke the word 'He has no place.'

He made an earth for His creation in this form; behold how He has made a nest for thee! Yesterday the sky was not, to-day it is; again to-morrow it will not be,--yet He remains. He will fold up the veil of smoke in front of Him;--'On a day we will fold up the heavens;' (Qur. 21:103) breathe thou forth a groan. When the knowers of God live in Him, the Eternal, they cleave 'behold' and 'He' in two through the middle.  (Who is this “we” who will fold up the heavens?  If there is no Trinity, what is the Koran attempting to say?  Does this mean that God would need help from angels to fold up the heavens?  But God is omnipotent.  He needs no assistance from anyone to do anything.  There are traces in the Koran suggesting more than one person in the Godhead.  This is something that Muslims and Sufis should contemplate, but they do not.  Even Mohammed said that God is one; but the Koran is stating here that more than one will fold up the heavens.  Could Mohammed be in error here?  Muslims think not; however, Mohammed was merely a man subject to erroneous conclusions like any other man.  Mohammed did not claim deity as did Christ.)


The course of time is not the mould whence issues His eternal duration, nor temperament the cause of His beneficence; without His word (This does not refer to Christ, the Logos), time and temperament exist not, as apart from His favor the soul enters not the body. This and that both are wanting and worthless; that and this both are foolish and impotent. 'Old' and 'new' are words inapplicable to His essence; He is, for He consists not of any existences except Himself. His kingdom cannot be known to its limits, His nature cannot be described even to its beginning; His acts and His nature are beyond instrument and direction, for His Being is above 'Be' and 'He'.

Before thou wert in existence a greater than thou for thy sake brought together the causes that went to form thee; in one place under the heavens by the command and act of God were the four temperaments prepared; I their gathering together is a proof of His power; His power is the draughtsman of His wisdom. He who laid down the plan of thee without pen can also complete it without colors; within thee, not in yellow and white and red and black, God has portrayed His work; and without thee He has designed the spheres; of what?--of wind and water and fire and earth. The heavens will not for ever leave to thee thy colors,--yellow and black and red and white; (Sufis believe that there are four areas of the body, each area corresponding to a particular color) the spheres take back again their gifts, but the print of God remains for ever; He who without colors drew thy outlines will never take back from thee thy soul. By His creative power He brought thee under an obligation, for His grace has made thee an instrument I of expression of Himself; He said, 'I was a hidden treasure; creation was created that thou mightest know me; the eye like to a precious pearl through kâf and nûn He made a mouth filled with Yâ în.

Sew no purse and tear not thy veil; lick no plate and buy not blandishment. All things are contraries, but by the command of God all travel together on the same road; (Christians should know that this is not so.  For example, good and evil do not travel on the same road.) in the house of non-existence the plan of all is laid down for all eternity by the command of the Eternal; four essences, through the exertion of the seven stars, become the means of bodying forth the plan. Say, The world of evil and of good proceeds not except from Him and to Him, nay, is Himself. (Evil does not exist in God.  This is pure, I would say, foolishness.) All objects receive their outline and forms from Him, their material basis as well as their final shape. Element and material substance, the form and colors clothing the four elements,--all things know as limited and finite, as but a ladder for thy ascent to God.  (This Sufi’s writing is convoluted and hard to understand.  He is not propounding truth.  If you had noticed, He is mixing some truth about God’s nature with is own far-fetched thinking.  If you seek the Truth, go to Christ and learn from Him.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.)

Excerpts of Writing of Idries Shah

Many people only parrot what others teach and have lost their own the ability to think.  Some of what Sufis teach can prick the mind and make one think.  This is good.  The writings below are meant to make one think.  Think!

The Dance
A disciple had asked permission to take part in the "dance" of the Sufis. The Sheikh said: "Fast completely for three days. Then have luscious dishes cooked. If you then prefer the "dance", you may take part in it."

The Five Hundred Gold Pieces.
One of the Junaid's (teacher) followers came to him with a purse containing five hundred gold pieces.
"Have you any more money than this?" asked the Sufi.
"Yes, I have."
"Do you desire more?"
"Yes, I do."
"Then you must keep it, for you are more in need than I; for I have nothing and desire nothing. You have a great deal and still want more."

A Tree Freshly Rooted
A tree, freshly rooted, may be pulled up by one man on his own. Give it time, and it will not be moved, even with a crane.

The Test
It is related of Shaqiq of Balkh that he once said to his disciples: "I put my confidence in God and went through the wilderness with only a small coin in my pocket. I went on the Pilgrimage and came back, and the coin is still with me." One of the youths stood up and said to Shaqiq: "If you had a coin in your pocket, how could you say that you relied upon anything higher?" Shaqiq answered: "There is nothing for me to say, for this young man is right. When you rely upon the invisible world there is no place for anything, however small, as a provision!"

Tie two birds together.
They will not be able to fly, even though they now have four wings.


Question for review:

Why read the writings of Sufi Masters?  Can a Christian profit from reading what Sufis have written?

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