The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

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Social Gathekas

Religious Gathekas

The Message Papers

The Healing Papers

Vol. 1, The Way of Illumination

Vol. 1, The Inner Life

Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

Vol. 3, Education

Vol. 3, Life's Creative Forces: Rasa Shastra

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

Vol. 4, Healing And The Mind World

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

Vol. 4, The Mind-World

Vol. 5, A Sufi Message Of Spiritual Liberty

Vol. 5, Aqibat, Life After Death

Vol. 5, The Phenomenon of the Soul

Vol. 5, Love, Human and Divine

Vol. 5, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen

Vol. 5, Metaphysics, The Experience of the Soul Through the Different Planes of Existence

Vol. 6, The Alchemy of Happiness

Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

Vol. 8a, Sufi Teachings

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Vol. 10, Sufi Mysticism

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

Vol. 10, Sufi Poetry

Vol. 10, Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Vol. 10, The Problem of the Day

Vol. 11, Philosophy

Vol. 11, Psychology

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

Vol. 12, The Vision of God and Man

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

Vol. 12, Four Plays

Vol. 13, Gathas

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

By Date



1. Background on Sufism

2. Sufism--The Spirit of All Religions

3. Sufism--Beyond Religion

4. Sufism: Wisdom Of All Faiths

5. Different Schools of Sufism

6. The Intoxication of Life

8. The Path of Initiation

9. Reincarnation

9. The Interdependence of Life Within and Without

11. The Truth and the Way

12. Sufi Mysticism, I: The Mystic's Path in Life

13. Self-Realization: Awakening the Inner Senses

14. The Doctrine of Karma

15. The Law of Life: Inner Journey and Outer Action

16. Sufi Mysticism, II: The Use of the Mind to Gain Understanding

17. Sufi Mysticism, III: Preparing the Heart for the Path of Love

18. Sufi Mysticism, IV: Use of Repose to Communicate with the Self

19. Sufi Mysticsim, V: Realizing the Truth of Religion

20. Sufi Mysticism, VI: The Way Reached by Harmonious Action

21. Sufi Mysticism, VII: Human Actions Become Divine

22. The Ideals and Aim of the Sufi Movement

23. Working for the Sufi Message

24. The Need of Humanity in Our Day

25. The Duties of a Mureed

26. The Path of Discipleship

27. Divine Manner, I

28. Divine Manner, II

29. Our Sacred Task: The Message

30. Sufi Initiation

31. What is Wanted in Life?



Social Gathekas

22. The Ideals and Aim of the Sufi Movement

The word "Sufi" itself is significant since it comes from Sophos or Sophia which means wisdom -- wisdom not in the sense everyone understands, for in everyday language we confuse intellect with wisdom. Wisdom is not only intellectuality, but also that knowledge which comes from within combined with intellectuality.

Sufism, therefore, has never been in any period of history a religion with a certain creed; it has always been the essence of every religion and of all religions. When it was given to the world of Islam, it was presented by the great Sufis in Muslim terminology. Whenever the Sufi ideal is presented to a certain people, in order to make it intelligible to those people, it has been presented in the realm of their own understanding.

Sufism is not necessarily a dogma or a doctrine; it is neither a form nor a ceremony. This does not mean that a Sufi does not make use of a doctrine, dogma, ritual, or ceremony. Sufis make use of it but they are free from it. It is neither dogma, doctrine, ceremony, nor ritual that makes a Sufi a Sufi. It is wisdom alone which is the property of the Sufis; all other things Sufis use for their convenience and benefit. A Sufi is not against any creed, any doctrine, any dogma, any ritual, or any ceremony. Moreover, the Sufi is not even against the person who has no belief in God or spirit. For a Sufi has a great respect for each person.

The God of the Sufi is the God of all, his or her ideal and very being. The Christ of the Sufi is his or her ideal: therefore, no one's savior is foreign to a Sufi. The Sufi sees the beauty, greatness, and perfection of a human being in one's ideal. Therefore the Sufi does not mind if that ideal is called by one person, Buddha, by another person, Krishna, or by yet another, Mohammed. Names make little difference to the Sufi.

The Sufi's ideal does not belong to history or tradition; the Sufi's ideal belongs to the sacred sentiment of his or her heart. So how can the Sufi dispute and compare the ideals of the different creeds? They dispute historical and traditional points of view in vain without making an impression upon one another.

The idea of the Lord, the Lord in the form of each person, is the outcome of the deepest sentiment of devotion of the heart. An ideal like this cannot be disputed, argued about, or compared. A Sufi, therefore, considers the less spoken on the subject the better because the Sufi respects that one ideal which is called by different people different names.

To a Sufi, life, human nature, and nature all around is a revelation; it is all a sacred scripture. Does that mean that a Sufi does not look upon the sacred scriptures held in esteem by humanity? No. On the contrary, the Sufi holds them as sacred as do the followers of those scriptures, only the Sufi says that all scriptures are different interpretations of that one scripture which is before us constantly, as an open book, if we could only read and understand it.

The object of worship of the Sufi is beauty. Not only beauty in form and color and line, but beauty in all its aspects, from gross to fine. The moral for the Sufi is the understanding of harmony: in what way one can harmonize with one's soul and how one can harmonize with one's fellow human being. Instead of labeling one action as a sin and another action as a virtue, instead of arguing on the subject of the right and wrong of certain actions, the Sufi trains him or herself, as a musician trains his or her ear, to see what is harmonious and what lacks harmony in oneself and in one's dealings with others.

This continual development of understanding of the law of harmony produces in the Sufi that goodness which he or she calls divine. Harmony is the sign of life. What is life? Life, in poetic words, may be called love. The loveless heart may have all the religion and all the knowledge, yet it is dead. As the Bible says, "God is love." God is in the heart of each person, and the heart of each person is the highest heaven. When that heart is closed by the absence of love, then God is closed. When this heart is open, God is open, and one is alive from that time.

In action, conscience is the guide for a Sufi, and the Sufi seeks justice continually. No doubt, the Sufi's way of looking for justice is different from the way that everyone else adopts. Everyone examines whether another person treated them justly or unjustly. This is the way justice is sought by every soul, though this keeps the soul far away from the true justice. The Sufi understands only one justice, that is if one has been just, if one can be just, and if one can satisfy oneself with one's action. With this sense of justice, the Sufi is pleased, and that is the Sufi's path.

What is the highest aim of the Sufi? The Sufi's highest aim is to probe the depth of life, that he or she might penetrate that veil which keeps one ignorant of one's life's secret. This attainment the Sufi considers his or her greatest happiness; this seeking is the Sufi's seeking for God; in this realization the Sufi realizes truth; and in this truth one finds the peace which is the yearning of every soul.

Now, to explain in a few words our mission and work in the world.

  • Do we intend to do away with wars?
  • Do we intend to disarm the whole world?
  • Do we intend to make the whole world one nation?
  • Do we intend to make the whole humanity followers of one religion?
  • Do we intend to make all people spiritual?
  • Do we try to make all people wise?

We would be the first to accuse ourselves for such a presumption. The world is as it is. All different institutions and movements are working in whatever way they think best for humanity. Our work is a humble service to God and humanity: to call our friends to a right attitude, an attitude which will bring all different results. But we are not working for any particular result; we are working for the cause which will produce results. If the attitude will not change, even if better results are brought about, they will not last.

Therefore, we do not force doctrines, dogmas, or principles upon people. Our work is only to present that attitude which is a natural attitude and that every soul from its depth is seeking because it is not new to human nature.

The Sufi movement is a group of friends, belonging to different religions, different nations, and different races, who have united in wisdom and in understanding, to serve at this juncture. The only source of protection from which we draw the energy and the courage, is that one Source, the Source in whose service we devote our lives.