The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

Volume

Sayings

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

THE SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS

Heading

Unity and Uniformity

Religion

The Sufi's Religion

The Aspects of Religion

How to Attain to Truth by Religion

Five Desires Answered by Religion

Law

Aspects of the Law of Religion

Prayer

The Effect of Prayer

The God Ideal

The Spiritual Hierarchy

The Master, the Saint, the Prophet

Prophets and Religions

The Symbology of Religious Ideas

The Message and the Messenger

Sufism

The Spirit of Sufism

The Sufi's Aim in Life

The Ideal of the Sufi

The Sufi Movement

The Universal Worship

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

The Ideal of the Sufi

Sufism has never in any period of history been a religion or a certain creed; it has always been considered as the essence of every religion and of all religions. Thus when it was given to the world of Islam, it was presented by the great Sufis in Muslim terminology. Whenever the Sufi ideal was presented to a certain people, it was presented in such a way as to make it intelligible to those people.

Sufism is neither a dogma nor a doctrine; it is neither a form nor a ceremony. This does not mean that a Sufi does not make use of a doctrine, a dogma, a ritual, or a ceremony. He makes use of them while at the same time remaining free from them. It is neither dogma, doctrine, ceremony, nor ritual that makes a Sufi a Sufi; it is wisdom alone which is his property, and all other things he uses for his convenience, his benefit. But a Sufi is not against any creed, doctrine, dogma, ritual, or ceremony; he is not even against the man who has no belief in God or spirit, For a Sufi has a great respect for man.

The God of the Sufi is the God of all, and He is his very being. The Christ is his ideal, and therefore no one's savior is foreign to a Sufi, for he sees the beauty and greatness and perfection of a human being in everyone's ideal. He does not mind if that ideal is called Buddha by one person, Krishna by another, and Mohammed by yet another; names make tittle difference to the Sufi; his ideal does not belong to history or tradition, but to the sacred feelings of his heart. So how can he compare the ideals of the different creeds which dispute in vain about historical and traditional points of view, without making any impression upon each other? The ideal of the Lord, the Lord in the form of man, is the outcome of his heart's deepest devotion. One cannot dispute and argue about an ideal like this, nor can it be compared; so the Sufi believes that the less spoken about this subject the better, for he respects that one ideal which people call by different names.

Life, human nature, the nature around us, are all a revelation to a Sufi. This does not mean that a Sufi has no respect for the sacred scriptures revered by humanity. On the contrary, he holds them as sacred as do the followers of those scriptures; but the Sufi says that all scriptures are only different interpretations of that one scripture which is constantly before us like an open book--if we could only read and understand it.

The Sufi's object of worship is beauty. Not only beauty in form and line and color, but beauty in all its aspects, from gross to fine.

What is the moral of the Sufi? Every religion, every creed, has certain moral teachings: that this particular principle is right, and that particular principle is wrong. No principle or action is in itself labelled by a Sufi as being either; it is its application which makes it right or wrong. The light which guides the Sufi on the path is his own conscience, and harmony is the justification which guides him onward step by step to his idealized goal. To harmonize with oneself is not sufficient; one must also harmonize with others in thought, speech, and action; that is the attitude of the Sufi.

The highest heaven of the Sufi is his own heart, and that which man generally knows as love, to a Sufi is God. Different people have thought of the Deity as the Creator, as the Judge, as the King, as the Supreme Being; but the Sufis call him the Beloved. Are there any dogmas, are there any rituals or ceremonies which may be called Sufi? There is nothing which restricts a Sufi, so that he can only be a Sufi by doing it. At the same time he is free to make use of any ritual, any ceremony that he thinks suited to his purpose.

How can the Sufi idea be made intelligible? Truth is that which can never be spoken in words, and that which can be spoken in words is not the truth. The ocean is the ocean; the ocean is not a few drops of water that one puts in a bottle. Just so truth cannot be limited by words: truth must be experienced, for it is natural that the knowledge of truth should come sooner or later. The disputes and discussions and arguments that people of different communities and creeds have with one another, do not interest the Sufi, for he sees the right in all things, and the wrong of certain things also.

There is no right that has no wrong side to it, nor is there any wrong that has not a right side to it. Very often a wrong turned inside out may appear right, and very often the right turned inside out may appear wrong. Therefore, as Christ said: judge not. The Sufi, if he judges at all, judges himself instead of others; his only concern is whether he himself is doing right. Nearly everyone judges others, but that is where people make a mistake. Few judge themselves, but the one who really does so has no time to judge others; there is too much to judge in himself, and this occupies him fully.

What the Sufi strives for is self-realization, and he arrives at this self-realization by means of his divine ideal, his God. By this he touches that truth which is the ultimate goal and the yearning of every soul. It is not only realization; it is a happiness which words cannot explain. It is that peace which is yearned for by every soul.

And how does he attain to it? By practicing the presence of God; by realizing the oneness of the whole being; by continually holding, every moment of the day, consciously or subconsciously, the truth before his vision, in spite of the waves of illusion which arise incessantly, diverting the glance of man from the absolute truth. And no matter what may be the name of any sect, cult, or creed, so long as the souls are striving towards that object, to a Sufi they are all Sufis. The attitude of the Sufi to all the different religions is one of respect. His religion is the service of humanity, and his only attainment is the realization of truth.