The principles to be followed by Muslims calls for one to not only have the zeal but the interest in Islam so that their hearts can be purified. Religion should be such that religious principles are comprehended as right and not questioned after all the supreme being Allah is supposed to be Holy and right 2. In other words, though Muslims have never met Allah in person, they have to have faith in His religion and His teachings disseminated through prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him). In the above light, faith should be such that principles of religion are followed through reasoning and analysis2.
For example, people should not just follow Islam faith because many people are following it since they will not tolerate the mode of discipline and principles to be followed by the religion followers. Studies show that religions that dont challenge their followers to analyze their religion are not true religions 2 Perhaps the reason why there are so many cults around the world is because of such followers not questioning the principles behind their religion and ultimately may end up committing suicide thinking they are going to their supreme being.
In this light Sufism is about analyzing and reasoning about the Islam religion so that a Muslim is able to derive meaning from the religious teachings and practices. Knowledge of any kind is usually disseminated through writings and teachings of people so that people can store the knowledge in their minds and analyze the information 3. People cannot be able to know the truth if they dont have information. As stated earlier in this paper, Islam faith is all about submission and finding one self so that they can find Allah who is the Supreme Being.
The information people gather from Islam religious books and teachings is coupled with analysis and testing to find if it makes sense to the follower. People religious decisions are influenced by other peoples thoughts and writings. For instance, as truths come out from the Quran Islam followers are able to follow through and find themselves in the religious believes they believe in. According to Shah Naqshband, if a follower is confused about something that his Sheikh has said or even done, one should be patient until they get to understand what they have not understood.
For a Sufi follower, the acquired knowledge is what is more important since understanding is the one that leads to the self development of a person. The Islam faith is about realizing the truth of its teachings and principles 3. The same way, Sufism is also about finding the truth through ones experiences. For example, as one follows the principles of Islam, they get to realize the truth in those principles they follow. For instance, There are reasons why Muslims attend Hajji and seek to have pure hearts and life.
The whole experience of Hajji ensures that a Muslim ends up finding himself and gaining a higher level of maturity. Studies show that finding the truth of Islam principles comes through ones experiences since one cannot be taught to find the truth without working hard to find out such principles. A person finds the meaning of what they believe in if they can effectively analyze and reason through what they are thinking about. For example a Muslim cannot know the essence of visiting Hajji if they dont visit Mecca and follow all the procedures into achieving their self actualization in the religion they believe in.
However, this paper notes that Sufism does not mean that Muslims find the truth about their religion as single entities but through teachers who help them see the truth in Islamic teaching. 3 Sufism is about humbling oneself in a bid to appease the supreme being while at the same time ensuring spiritual and moral growth. For example to be a successful Sufi, one should practice Hosh dar Dam and ensure that remain in Gods presence with every breath4. In that manner, a seeker of truth will be able to spend all their life and time doing what is right and avoiding sin.
To be able to stay in Gods presence that means seekers have to seek forgiveness all the time so that they stay in unison with Gods teachings. In other words obedience is not an option in a successful Muslim which is also a core ingredient of Islam teachings. There are also other Islamic principles which constitute the actualization of a Sufi. For example, Nazar bar Kadam which means that one should not follow in paths which derail ones spiritual progress4. Sufism is about perfecting ones spiritual life through ensuring that they lead a straight light.
For example a sufi should be able to practice Khilawat dar Anjuman which means that one secludes himself away from people and spends time in remembrance of his God4. As Islam faithful have time in remembrance of their God they develop deeper insights of the relationship with God. Consequently, Sufis should practice Safar dar Watan so that they achieve Gods characteristics and banish their worldly desires. For example, they should not create doubts in their minds about their God but instead believe in His teaching and follow them accordingly.
Other studies show that spiritual knowledge cannot be transmitted through words 4. That means that knowledge is passed through heart to heart experiences. Sufism insists that seekers have to meet a physical master at least once. The master is to help the seeker in finding the truth. A Sufi master should be merciful when disseminating knowledge to the seeker which should be done in love4. When analyzing the Islamic faith, sheikhs usually teach Islam followers with love and passion which is not any different from the principles of Sufism.
Sufi seekers are Muslims who make a decision to go a step further and draw towards God by ensuring that they dont defy God since they love and seek Him. Drawing Gods presence close to oneself then also calls for actions and commitment to following righteous paths. Sufism insists on following Islamic ways. This study found out Sufism cannot be found in books but self experiences through seeking higher levels of morality. With such in mind, it can be asserted that Islam faith cannot be separated from Sufism since it also seeks for growth and development of Muslims.
The essence of a supreme being is such that, He does not need wealth since He created wealth at His own wish 4. In this light, Sufis do not have to crave for worldly wealth but instead seek to live in Godly ways. An analysis of why Sufism came to be shows that, many Muslim leaders had become entangled with the worldly desires and sought to live in impunity, and at the same time generate a lot of wealth. In the eyes of other Muslims who wanted to acquire higher levels of morality, they sought to seek and follow the truth instead of seeking for worldly desires.
Studies show that Muslim leaders who are philanthropists of Sufism started off as humble and pure of heart Muslims who would not follow the example of other selfish Muslim leaders. 5 Sufism is about being humble and seeking the ways of God so that one can live in unity with him. After all the wealth of this world is just temporary and seizes when one dies and goes to paradise. Islam faith does not in any way teach its followers to follow the ways of the world or haram but instead asks its followers to be decisive in following the teachings of Allah and Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon Him).
Conclusion This study found that there are many controversies surrounding the concept of Sufism in the Islam faith. For example there are those who believe that the concept was coined by followers outside the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) and the Quran. However, a analysis of the history and origin of Sufism states that, the concept came to be as a result of seekers of truth who wanted to achieve higher levels of morality. The essence of Muslim faith is to be submissive and at the same time find truth in the teachings of Islam.
In this light Sufism cannot be separated from the teachings of Islam. On the other hand, this study also found out that Sufism is about analyzing and reasoning Islam religious teachings to be able to find the truth. People seek a religion because they believe in it and love the Supreme Being associated with it. In this light, to achieve higher levels or morality and to be able to understand the truths of the religion it is mandatory be able to experience the truths in such teachings.
Sufism cannot be learned in books but rather can be experienced through following disciplined routines and practices as dictated in the Islamic Quran. Hence in conclusion, it can be argued that Sufism is the heart of Islam and it cannot be separated from Islamic teachings and principles.
Geocites (2009). Sufi Principles and Practices. Retrieved on 22nd February, 2009 from http://www. geocities. com/sufisaints/Principles. htm. Muhammad E (2008). Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the Sufi Path, Shifa Publishers.