Return, return, whoever you are, return
Whether an infidel or an idol worshipper, return.
This door, our house, is not a house of despair
Even if you broke your repentance a thousand times, return.
– Hazrat Abu-Saeed Abul-Kahyr (967-1049)
Sufism is way beyond the realm of words to be explained. It is an ineffable experience. An experience of carrying a soul overfilled with love and wisdom within the body. The world of a Sufi is a universe within, a universe full of love, tolerance, forgiveness and practices that aim at direct communion with the God. Sufism cannot be found in books and read on pages. It is carried from one chest to another. The Master Hazrat Shams Tabriz once took all the inherited-books of Maulana Rumi and threw them in the well of water. What was that? Perhaps, a way to instill in Rumi the wisdom of reading inner book of love, which all of us carry within our souls.
Sufism is the mystical dimension of Islam where the values of love, kindness and peace are embraced by the seekers – people of the heart. Love of God and fellow humans fills the cup of heart, which is already emptied of all the self and ego left in a seeker, to become the part of a whole. The great Sufi saint and master Sheikh Bayazid Bastami rightly commented on being a Sufi that ‘A Sufi, belongs to the sect of God’
Longing and burning in the love of God without expectations of rewards and fear of hell, is where Sufism begins. Annihilating all the ‘self’ in the love of God is how a Sufi achieves nearness to the beloved. Pir o Murshid Hazrat Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki (Ra) calls upon the heart and asks it to refrain from lamenting about the pain of love.
Ey dil az Eshqi shifa ma-talab
Dard mi-kash zi kas dawa ma-talab
O, heart don’t ask for healing from loving,
Bear the pain, don’t ask for the medicine.
Sufism may have broadened into various orders and silsilas but to me there is only one order of Sufism, the Love of God. However, the times are changing and the real essence of Sufism is extinguishing. Many impure innovations have been brought into the folds of Sufism for personal gains and fame. Politically driven Sufism to counter other ideologies and help the rulers legitimize different sorts of injustice is on a rise. I completely agree with the careful remark of Sufi Master Abu’l Hasam Busanji who said, ‘Sufism was once a reality without a name and today it is a name without a reality.’
It is fortunate enough that many people are extremely curious to know about Sufism but the milestone from curiosity to becoming a seeker is crossed by very few. The difficulties of loving, without having an ounce of self left within, are achieved by very few.
It gives me immense pleasure that Muse India decided to bring out an issue on ‘Sufism and Sufi Literature’. The issue carries authors from all over the world without the confines of manmade boundaries and with different views on different philosophies of Sufism and mysticism. We present different aspects on the life and writings of Sufi Saint and poet Maulana Jalalludin Balkhi Rumi, Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah and Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, Hazrat Sayid Meher Ali Shah along many other interesting essays on Sufi philosophies. This issue also carries both upcoming and known poets who are writing on mysticism and universal love. To continue the tradition, after this issue we at the Muse India will be carrying articles and poems on spirituality, mysticism and Sufism on regular basis in the general issues as well.
We hope that you will enjoy this collection of Sufi writings and pray that it brings moments of solace and peace to your soul. We also pray for love to prevail over everything else. Amen.