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

23. Working for the Sufi Message

Sufism, in the meaning of the word, is wisdom; wisdom is a knowledge acquired from both within and without. Sufism is not only an intuitive knowledge, nor is it only knowledge acquired from life in the world outside. Sufism in itself is no religion, nor even a cult as a distinct or definite doctrine. No better explanation of Sufism can be given than by saying that any person who has a knowledge of life outside and within is a Sufi. Therefore there has not been, in any period of the world's history, a founder, or an exponent, of Sufism; yet Sufism has existed all the time.

As far as we can trace, we find that since the time of Abraham there have been esoteric schools; many of them were called Sufi schools. The Sufi schools of Arabia had a more metaphysical Arabic culture; the Sufi schools of Persia developed the literary aspect; the Sufi schools of India developed the meditative faculty. But the truth and the ideal have remained the same as the central theme of Sufism in all these schools. Different schools have been called by different names, but all are considered Sufi schools. These schools exist even now, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that there are millions of souls of the followers of different religions who benefit by the wisdom of these schools.

No doubt every school has its own method, and every method is colored by the personality of the leader. There are schools of dervishes and there are schools of fakirs; there are schools of salik, who teach moral culture with philosophical truth. But there the account of the ancient history of Sufism finishes.

Our movement is a movement of the members of different nations and different races united together in the ideal of wisdom. Wisdom does not belong to any particular religion or any particular race; wisdom belongs to the human race. It is a divine property, which everyone has inherited. In this realization we, in spite of different nationalities, races, beliefs, and faiths, still unite and work for humanity in the ideal of wisdom.

We have three aspects of our activity.

  1. One aspect of our activity is what we call the Sufi Order, in which a member is admitted by initiation. By this initiation to what school do we belong? We belong to the international school of the Sufi Order. What method is it? The Sufis of ancient times brought wisdom to the Muslim world and presented that wisdom in Muslim terminology. Our school today has a wider field of work, and we present it to the followers of all religions, as well as to those who perhaps have no religion, to both spiritual and material persons. Therefore the realm in which the esoteric school of the Sufi Order presents its method is necessarily different and distinct.

    Thus, the representatives of this school and those who are initiated have a more general idea of Sufism than those belonging to special schools, who have an idea of that particular section. Therefore you should not be surprised if one of our initiated members of the Sufi Order proved wider in outlook compared with a member of another school of Sufis, which is only a sectional school of Sufis. However, you will find the central theme the same. This I have not said in order for us to be proud of our broadness; it is only said in order that we may try in our life to keep up this ideal, and not fall short of that broad outlook and that broad ideal. Life on earth has a tendency to drag us to narrowness, so we must know that we have a continual fight all along our progress on the spiritual path.

  2. The second part of our work is the Universal Worship. No doubt religion is a subject most delicate to touch. The less spoken the better. Yet no one can live with food and without water, and so no one can live with only an esoteric ideal and without a religion. When someone says, "I will only live in the esoteric ideal and without the outer religion," that person may just as well say. "I will live in my soul and not be conscious of my body."

    Besides providing that religion destined to be the religion of today, the great work of this activity is to bring about the possibility of people of different religions worshiping together, for all worship one God. However great the possibility of opposition (every good work has to meet with opposition), nevertheless everyone with clear sense and a just and clear conscience will certainly approve of the idea behind it.

  3. Now the third idea is kinship. The need for this no one with any thought can deny, and the one who denies it does not know what he or she denies. The more one studies life in its deeper sense, the more one realizes that the whole of wisdom is summed up in the idea of kinship.

Beside all three special works that we are engaged in, our work is the Message. It is not a person-made scheme of work; it is destined by God. As mureeds advance, the one thing which will develop with their advancement is to be the real witness of the divine hand behind everything.

I engaged myself after having received the call, without anything before me or by my side to encourage me on this path. No words can explain how in this world of changes and difficulties I made my way. But at the same time I had within me that continual voice. That was all the consolation I had, without any encouragement that the outer world can offer.

Now you are beginning to see the evidences of it. If there are ninety-nine things to discourage you, there is still one thing now to encourage you. Think of your Murshid who made a way when there was nothing to encourage, nothing except discouragement. If you believe in the teaching and guidance and advice of your Murshid, you certainly will believe that it will not be even ten years before you will see the phenomenon becoming real.

It is not I that is speaking, it is the sphere! The sphere is continually speaking of the Message. It is the answer of God to humanity.

If there were five or five thousand or five million souls standing by my side, or if I were standing alone, I would say the same and think the same hope. I value the devotion and the trust of my mureeds at such a time when we are so few, because it is more valuable when we are poor and without any goods of this world, yet striving to serve humanity together, hand in hand.

You will see that our sincere answer to the divine call will prove to be more successful than if we had all the means that the world can offer. I want my mureeds to realize their responsibility, not allow themselves to be discouraged by anything, and to feel stronger for the very reason that we are small in number. Remember that unity is strength, and working for the unity of the world is greater strength still.