Who is a Sufi
by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh
The sufi is a lover of God, and like any other lover, he proves his love by constant remembrance of his Beloved. This constant attention to God has two effects: One outward and the other inward.
The inward effect is that the sufi’s remembrance distances him from the domain of ‘I and you’ and joins him with the realm of Unity, where the poet says:
I’ve thought of You so much
that I’ve become You head to toe;
Little by little ‘You’ arrived and ‘I’ departed.
Like the moth I fixed my eyes on Him;
Then I realized, I was all consumed.
The outward effect of this remembrance is that God’s attributes become gradually manifested in the sufi’s conduct, where the poet says:
God sat so long with my impressionable heart,
that it absorbed His ways and temperament
through and through.
In the first stage, which is the beginning of the journey towards God, the attainment of Unity, the sufi is harmless towards everyone, as the poet says:
Do not harm others whatever you do,
for on our path, there is no sin but this.
In the second stage, upon arrival at the threshold of Unity, the sufi is not offended by others, where the poet says:
Let’s keep the faith, put up with blame, and be content,
for on our path to take offense is unbelief.
In the third stage which is entry into the domain of Unity, the sufi responds with loving-kindness towards those who harm him, for he sees everything in himself and himself in everything, where the poet states:
Be like a tree spreading shade –
Yielding fruit to whomever throws a stone.
Article taken from Sufi Journal, Issue 41, 1999
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