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Crucible of Light: Sufi Terms Illuminated

The Crucible of Light provides definitions for more than 150 fundamental Sufi concepts and terms. In the style of his groundbreaking Sufi Symbolism series, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh illustrates each concept with examples culled from the classical writings of Persian Sufism; however, this time he introduces each entry with his own clear explanation. This work is therfore an indispensable tool for any serious study of the writings of the most influential masters of the Sufi tradition. It is certain to be a source of joy and inspiration for all lovers of spirituality in general.

Excerpt from Crucible of Light: Sufi Terms Illuminated

Service (khidmat bi khalq)

Author: By observing devotion to God you are serving yourself, whereas by serving others you make God content. This is why sufi masters consider the fundamental spiritual practice to be service to others.

Spiritual practice

     means service to others,

it does not mean rosary,

      prayer-carpet or cloak


One day Adu Sa'id b. Abi l-Khayr was addressing an assembly in Nishapur, in the course of which he declared, "The khanaqah from top to bottom is filled with jewels, scattered all over. Why don't you pick them up?"

Those assembled all looked around, thinking they would see actual jewels to gather up. When they found nothing, they exclaimed they saw no jewels.

"Service!" cried the master. "Service!"

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