Concepts in Sufism
Allah says in a hadith qudsi (holy tradition, a saying attributed to, or anecdote regarding Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him], according to traditional eyewitness accounts), "I created some of My servants for my zat (essence; person)." The Sufi’s goal in life is to achieve an intimate understanding of and love for God. Tasawwuf, known in the West as Sufism, is a process of attaining closeness to the Creator through love, which is attained by purification of the nafs (egoistic or animalistic nature). Such a loving relationship with Allah, held by many prophets and other saintly individuals throughout history, may be achieved by anyone who sincerely wishes for it and is willing to undertake the discipline necessary to achieve that state.
The underlying tenet of Sufism is that human beings were created to know Allah and to manifest His attributes while living on this earth. Tasawwuf is a method and way of life that enables one to become insan-i kamil, a true human being who has realized intimacy with his Creator. When his or her spiritual potential has been achieved, a human being is fit to be Allah’s khalifa (deputy) on earth, as Allah intended, according to the Holy Qur’an.
Every human being is equipped with the inner circuitry that joins him with the divine. Many experience moments of truth, when the circuits light up and knowledge of the absolute becomes manifest. While these times of heightened awareness may pass as quickly as they come, the method of tasawwuf is designed to enable the seeker to forge a pure and permanent connection, to gain eternal life while living on this earth.
The word "concepts" does not fully describe the topics treated here. A better description would be "facets of consciousness" that the student of Sufism experiences as he or she travels along the Sufi path. Many of the topics in this section of the website are excerpts from the book The Sun Will Rise in The West by Shaykh Taner Ansari. This book is recommended to readers for a detailed and comprehensive explanation of Sufism that is especially tailored to the Western mindset.
Please note that the use of the masculine pronouns in some of these writings is purely for convenience. The Sufi path is open to women and men alike. Likewise, there is no gender implication in the Arabic name "Allah."