Chapter No. 3 Sufism and Priesthood

This objection is wrong that Sufism leads to priesthood and Sufis are prone to sloth. What about other people who don't work, don't provide for their children, their wives work and they

sit idle? Can all these people be declared as sufis?


Renunciation of the World

When a sufi comes into a shrine to develop his spiritual and hidden abilities and lives in the hostel of a shrine for a few years, the worldly people believe and say that a sufi has become a priest and hater of world. But when a student for the sake of worldly education, a car painter for the sake of car painting, servant for the sake of ruler's pleasure, a labourer for the sake of labour, a worker to work in factory - all these people remain absent from their homes and countries for years, no body says that they are priests and haters of world. A salik (novice of sufi'ism) observes his hidden conditions during his stay in the shrine. He gets the recognition of Allah and the sight of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) in his dream. He learns to serve God's creatures without any reward or praise. Ultimately he gets rid of fear and grief by becoming a true lover and devotee of Allah Taala. But pity is that such a person is termed as priest and hater of world.

Sufism is the essence of religion and it functions within the parameters of Islam. There is no priesthood in Islam. Like the students of other disciplines, a seeker of spirituality works day and night to learn sufism and when he completes his training, he gives up the life of asceticism and starts leading a worldly life.

The objection leveled against the seekers of spirituality is that they are world haters. But can we say Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh of Lahore and Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya are world haters?

Data Sahib's shrine is a source of illumination and pleasure for mankind. Thousands of people come to his shrine and eat there daily. Can we call this common feast a renunciation of world?

Sufism and Religions of the World.

How did sitfism start and what is the origin of it? Whatsoever has been written about it in the history is a mystery. It is reported that Sufism first of all appeared in Prussia when Zoroastrian beliefs were pervasive in the world and these spread from Syria and Egypt to Greece and China. When there beliefs along with the traditions came to India, they were termed as sufism.

Greek Mysticism

Sufi mysticism started in Greece due to a mythological character Armenians. At that time semiotic thoughts and Zarthushti beliefs were widespread in West Asia which gradually gained the form of general ceremonies.

The philosophic thoughts created misunderstanding regarding these ceremonies in the minds of the rationalists. On the one hand, they started looking for permanent values of good and evil and on the other, they searched the ways of preventing from evil. Armenians' spiritual views emerged in this context. By announcing the piety and purity as the foundation, he propagated personal experience and his intellectual dimensions. Armenians constructed shrines for the first time in history. He presented the view if spirit got freedom from physical and material confines, there will be increase in its powers. The methods which were introduced to get freedom from physical confines included the practices and training which were renunciatory in nature. Priesthood started in this way but it had no positive effect.

After Greece, the Pythagoras philosophy was established in Alexandria, which argued that God, spirit and body are three different things. God has imprisoned the spirit that i.e. the           absolute good in body. Therefore, spiritual culmination meant the mastery of physical feelings and desires and certain ceremonies came in vogue for the achievement of this culmination.

After Pythagoras, Platinius was great Greek Philosopher. In his eyes, God is superior to and beyond all things of the world. He believes that there are two worlds: one is the world of sensation and the other is the world of reason. Spirit belongs to the world of sensation.

Jewish Mysticism

Judaism emphasizes the observance of external ceremonies. Under the Greek influence, the mysticism that took birth in Judaism, is best represented by Hakim Fellow. Fellow creates the division between religion and philosophy. Therefore, there are two entities of God: One, God the creator and the other, absolute God. To the Jews, the God of Torah is God, the creator but real God is a separate entity who is beyond man's comprehension. The God creator is a means of observing real God.

Christian Mysticism

The Christian mysticism has its origin in the products of the Babylon and Egyptian civilization. According to the mystics, all events of the universe don't appear either due to the laws of nature or due to human will. Rather all events are the results of God's decisions. These mythological decisions are considered spiritual secrets.

 Hinduism and Mysticism

An impartial reader after reading the Vedas and statement of Bhagvad Gita comes to the conclusion that Hinduism is based on the oneness of God. As other prophets have preached oneness of God and the message of God, similarly there is an explicit message of the oneness of God in these two Hindu books. Whatsoever Krishan Jee has said, its essence is that evil and disorder should be abolished on earth and good should be propagated and promoted. Man has relationship with God and that relationship means that man is helpless and dependent on the providence of God. The attributes of creator are different from the attributes of creature. The separation from spirit causes evil and disorder and closeness to spirit causes such increase in power as it enables man to visit the upper world and to know the creator of earth and heaven as a result of his spiritual practice and training.

Everybody, more or less, is familiar with physical faculties but he does not know that physical faculty is governed by spirit. As long as, a man is unaware of the superiority of spirit, till then he remains imprisoned in mortal and decaying body.

Like other religions, the intellectuals of Hinduism have also interpreted religion according to their own views and incorporated the ceremonies which have no link with spiritual wazaifs (incantations). These views include the theory of transmigration. Because of this theory of transmigration, the terms like fusion and possession emerged. The true follower, and the elders of Hinduism tried to stop the influx of such false views of the religious intellectuals, but the minds of people did not support them. As a result, the element of idol worship dominated Hinduism. One of the biggest          causes of the culmination of idol worship is the mythological stories which have been inculcated on the minds of the masses after attributing them to gods and goddesses. But even now, the true followers of Hinduism are monotheists, and believe in the oneness of God. The monotheist Hindu men and women obey the teachings of Hazrat Noah (A.S)

Science and Sufism

Rois mentions somewhere that the best man who travels on the basis of his experience is the sufi. He tests his experiences and conditions against all types of external standards. His utmost try is to reach the ultimate reality and to describe that reality in common, comprehensible language. In other words, he should have power of observation and logic in his communication. Science argues the same thing. A statement is acceptable only when it is logical and a result of observation. It means that the logical procedure of philosophy, Sufism and science is same. Now it is the duty of science to trace the mystical happenings and present all these observations according to the scientific logic which are up to now limited to personal and individual observations.

According to William James, every mystical happening and experience is communicable. In this experience, the sufi realizes the mystical happenings which he undergoes, tries to communicate them in words but as he does not belong to the world of sense, he is unable to put his experiences in words. If we ponder over, we come to know that not only mystical happenings but every emotional experience i also personal. Therefore every emotional experience can't be passed on to other e.g. it is very difficult to teach the emotions of love to another person. Love is divorced from logic and experiences and happenings are also personal condition in which no other body shares.



Many a scholar has written a lot about spiritualism and pantheism. One school of thought is of the view that as saints often used to wear wooly dresses therefore people would call them sufis. Wool is called sauf in Arabic. They used to wear such a dress, for it had been the habit of many a prophet, saints and pious people. According to some people, as they have been associated with the Ashaab-e-suffa that is why they are called sufis; whereas according to yet another school of thought the word sufi is linked with suf a.... but all these explanations are not satisfactory.

In fact, the terminological meaning of Sufi'ism (tasawaf) is self­ cleansing. It is the name of a true spirit that is related to conscience and the light of conscience is always inherent. A sufi always thinks in the context of Allah. His talk moves around Allah. He lives with Allah and dies in the name of Allah. He recites His words and always praises Him and remains enmeshed in His love. He sacrifices everything in order to see and meet Allah.