Essential Sufism

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The definitive compendium of Sufi wisdom, Essential Sufism draws together more than three hundred fables, poems, and prayers that reveal the luminous spirit of Islamic mysticism. Selected works from ancient prophets and sages to contemporary Sufi poets and teachers--including Lbn, Arabi, alGhazzali, Hafiz, Attar, and, of course the enduringly popular Rumi--make up a delectable feast of writings that will be as treasured by Sufi devotees as it will stir the souls of newcomers to ...
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Overview

The definitive compendium of Sufi wisdom, Essential Sufism draws together more than three hundred fables, poems, and prayers that reveal the luminous spirit of Islamic mysticism. Selected works from ancient prophets and sages to contemporary Sufi poets and teachers--including Lbn, Arabi, alGhazzali, Hafiz, Attar, and, of course the enduringly popular Rumi--make up a delectable feast of writings that will be as treasured by Sufi devotees as it will stir the souls of newcomers to this mystical, passionate faith.
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Editorial Reviews

Coleman Barks
A treasure of jewels in the tradition of Sufi soul-work. "I really love and value this book."
Body Mind Spirit
An awesome and eminently profound compendium of spiritual wisdom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785809067
  • Publisher: Book Sales, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/1998
  • Pages: 265
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Fager, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Sufi teacher, and author of two other books on Sufism, Love Is the Wine, and Heart, Self, and Soul: The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance, and Harmony.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Sufi way is not a path of retreat from the world but a way of seeking the Divine while still actively engaged in the world. Engagement in the world provides opportunities for spiritual growth, opportunities to practice love, awareness, generosity, and nonattachment. The Sufi approach is summarized by Sheikh Muzaffer, a modern Sufi teacher. "Keep your hands busy with your duties in this world, and your heart busy with God."

Our hearts have become frozen, armored against the pain and suffering we have all experienced in this world. With the help of a devoted teacher and sincere brothers and sisters along the path, we can defrost them.

Love, service, and compassion help us reopen our hearts and come closer to God. One of the greatest services we can perform is to help heal the injured hearts of others. Our hands are made to lift up those who have fallen, to wipe the tears of those who are suffering from the trials of this world. Sheikh Muzaffer also said, 'A kind word or glance softens your heart, and every hurtful word or act closes or hardens your heart."

There is a wisdom of the heart far different from the wisdom of the head. The head can be misled by appearances; the wise heart sees beyond outer forms to inner reality. As one Sufi master explained Sufism, "Anyone can learn the outer forms of prayer and worship. Sufism seeks to develop a heart that can pray." The stories, poetry, and prose that follow are from those who developed heart's wisdom. May their words touch our hearts as well.

The Sufi is absent from himself and present withGod.

Hujwiri      


The Sufis are those who have preferred God to everything, so that God has preferred them to everything.

Dhu-l-Nun      


We Sufis are lovers of beauty. Because we have renounced the world, it does not mean that we should look miserable. But neither do we want to stand out and attract undue attention....We behave like others, we dress like others. We are ordinary people, living ordinary lives. We will always obey the law of the land in which we live; but in reality we are beyond the laws of men, for we obey only the law of God. We surrendered somewhere: we are completely free!
Irina Tweedie      

If you are possessed of discernment joined with knowledge, seek the company of the dervishes and become one with them.
Associate with none but them.
Love of the dervishes is the key that opens the door of Paradise.
Those who walk on the Path have no longing after fine palaces and fair gardens.
In their hearts is nothing but the pain of yearning love for God.

Junaid      


The Sufis do not abandon this world, nor do they hold that human appetites must be done away with. They only discipline those desires that are in discordance with the religious life and the dictates of sound reason.

They don't throw away all things of this world, nor do they go after them with a vengeance. Rather, they know the true value and function of everything upon the earth. They save as much as is necessary. They eat as much as they need to stay healthy.

They nourish their bodies and simultaneously set their hearts free. God becomes the focal point toward which their whole being leans. God becomes the object of their continual adoration and contemplation.

al-Ghazzali      


The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.

Bayazid Bistami      


Whatever you have in your mind — forget it; whatever you have in your hand — give it; whatever is to be your fate — face it!

Abu Sa'id      


The Sufi acts according to whatever is most fitting to the moment.

Amr ibn Uthman al-Makki      


The Sufi is he whose thought keeps pace with his foot.

He is entirely present; his soul is where his body is, and his body where his soul is, and his soul where his foot is, and his foot where his soul is.

Hujwiri      


Today I am in such a shape
That I can't differentiate
The load from the donkey.
I am in such shape today,
That I don't know which is the thorn
And which is the rose.

My Love put me in this shape today.
I don't know who is the Lover
Or who is the Beloved.

Yesterday, drunkenness led me
To the door of the Love.
But today I can't find
The door or the house.

Last year I had two wings.
Fear and hope.
Today, I don't know of wings,
Don't know how to fly,
Don't know of my lost fears.

Rumi      


The journey from this world to the next (to give up worldly things for spiritual things) is easy for the believer. The journey from the creatures to the Creator is hard. The journey from the self to God is very hard. And to be able to abide in God is harder still.

Junaid      


Although there are some differences in the way things are done in the lodges of other Sufi orders, in essence they are not very different. There is no lack of love or respect between these various orders. They do not reject each other, or criticize each other. Nor do they claim to be closer to the Truth. Sometimes it is said, "The fountain from which I drank was here, and there are many other fountains if you are thirsty."

Murat Yagan      


A seeker went to ask a sage for guidance on the Sufi way. The sage counseled, "If you have never trodden the path of love, go away and fall in love; then come back and see us."

Jami      


"I" and "you" are but the lattices,
In the niches of a lamp
Through which the One Light shines.
"I" and "you" are the veil
Between heaven and earth;
Lift this veil and you will see
No longer the bonds of sects and creeds.

Shabistari      


Essential Sufism. Copyright © by Robert Frager. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Sufi Way 35
Ch. 2 Daily Life 45
Ch. 3 Self-Deception and Self-Knowledge 57
Ch. 4 The Lower Self 65
Ch. 5 The World, Mirror of the Divine 73
Ch. 6 Wisdom 79
Ch. 7 Hadith, the Words of the Prophet 87
Ch. 8 Spiritual Experience 95
Ch. 9 Opening the Heart 101
Ch. 10 Contemplation and Knowledge 107
Ch. 11 Love 113
Ch. 12 Teachers and Students 127
Ch. 13 Practices 151
Ch. 14 Sufi Humor 161
Ch. 15 Virtues 171
Ch. 16 How to Know God 197
Ch. 17 Prayer 203
Ch. 18 Remembrance of God 209
Ch. 19 Service 217
Ch. 20 God 227
Ch. 21 Satan 235
Ch. 22 Self-Transformation 243
Ch. 23 Death 251
A Note on the Texts and Calligraphy 257
Bibliography 259
Permission Acknowledgments 263
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