‘What is Sufism?’: Fariduddin Ayaz

– In the present political
climate of Pakistan. . . . . what is the attitude of
orthodox Islam towards Sufi thought?Where does Sufism thrive?- First you must ask
‘What is Sufism?’Sufism is beyond the religion. Sufism is not an ‘ism’ but
A therapy for humanity. It’s a path of spiritual growth
for human beings. You are asking about Sufi
institutions, brotherhoods or ‘orders’. There is a huge difference between
institutions and Sufism. – Like the gap between
the Kabir Panth and living Kabir. – Absolutely! We need
to understand this. Who Kabir is, and what you’re recording –
the gap is as wide as the earth and sky!What the monasteries and institutes
teach in the name of Sufism. . . . . is not Sufism at all. First let us understand the
boundaries of what Sufism is. In all human beings, no matter to which
religion they belong, arise 3 questions. . . . . provided they are conscious,
intelligent and inquiring. . . . . three questions arise. . . Who is she? Where did she come from?
Where is she going?And Sufism covers the entire
scope of these three questions. Sufism tells a person who she is. . . . . where she has come from. . . . . and then tells her
where she has to go. . . . . and how she must prepare
for the journey to get there. What she must carry along,
what strengths she must acquire. In this sense Sufism is not
tied to any religion or sect. It is relevant for all
of humanity. Very few know the real
meaning of this Arabic word – ‘Sufi’. Basically it means – ‘saafa”Saafa’. . . ‘safaai’ or ‘cleaning up’,
just as you gestured!People interpret it differently,
as a dais or podium. Sufis being ‘those who
sit on a dais or platform’. – I’ve heard that it comes from
the word for ‘wool’. . . ‘soof’. Yes, that’s another
interpretation. But it really means ‘sa va fa. . . saafa’And ‘saafa’ means ‘cleaning up’.
Cleaning up what? The soul!When the soul gets clean,
so does the body and vice versa. The soul is common
for all of humanity. Whether you’re Muslim, Hindu or Christian,
an animal. . . it doesn’t matter!Why clean up the soul? So that it
can journey back to where it came from. All the systems and rituals
that have been made. . . In Sufism there is no ritual,
no chanting at all. There is no ritual or
daily incantation. That means practices like
chanting prayers, what we call ‘jaap’. Repeating a word endlessly like a mantra.
‘Maula maula maula maula’. Does Maula reside in that word?Maula is not in these letters.
He is beyond all this. So get out of the words. Now all words come to an end.
Now there is no need for words.
Now love is its own call,
and love calls for nothing.
So when a person becomes a Sufi. . . . . then he doesn’t need any religion. His religion is truth. Whatever name you want to give it.
If it’s true, it’s common to all. When a person makes spiritual progress,
he tries to find himself. And when he parts that
veil or curtain. . . . . after a long journey when he comes to
face that curtain from where he came. . . . . what does he find
behind the curtain? Himself. He has reached the
very place he came from. This is called ‘roohaani taskeen’
or spiritual satisfaction. When he gets this,
he isn’t bothered with externalities. – Is there acceptance of this
philosophy in orthodox Islam?- There is nothing orthodox in Islam. Since I have studied
comparative religion. . . . . I’m aware that whether it is
Islam, Christianity or Hinduism. . . . . there’s nothing orthodox in them.
They all have one common theme – truth. Nothing is orthodox in itself. It turns orthodox in the hands of those
who trade in the principles of religion. Those who want to twist
religion to their own ends. . . . . and label it with their personas,
that is called “orthodox”!’Mosque’ and ‘temple’ are symbols too. And speaking of symbols. . . . . my father who
educated me, used to say. . . . . that the word ‘Allah’ too
is just a symbol. Allah, the creator of this universe,
cannot be bound in any way. So you think you can bind him
in these few letters? No!Try to understand, there is
a ‘three dimensional view’. To see something just from the
front, you need two eyes. When everything can be seen from
at least six different sides. Front, back, right, left, up, down. So to see something fully,
you need twelve eyes!What do you think you will
see with just two eyes?The One who stands at infinity,
how will you see Him with these mere two eyes?’Basaarat’ cannot see Him,
for that you need ‘baseerat’. One thing is looking power, or sight,
the vision of your 2 eyes. And there is another
thing ‘baseerat’ which is. . . . . your inner eye, the eye of your soul,
which can ‘see’ from all sides. Say there is an earthen pot
in your house. And you have seen
the pot from all sides. You’ve taken water
from all sides. In your mind’s eye,
you can see it from all sides. But if you see it with these two eyes,
you’ll only see the front side. This is the foundation of Sufism,
of a true ‘seeing’ that. . . . . in order to see something with full
awareness, we shut our eyes. Don’t we do that?If you’re recalling the route
to go somewhere, you close your eyes. To truly see,
we close our eyes!To close your eyes, you must let go of
your body, your name. . . this world. To really see something
you have to become it. Kabir and his ilk
saw the nature of reality wholly. . . . . from all sides,
and they realised. . . After a long time, oh Faiz, I realised
that I myself was the One. . .
. . whose name I chanted
in prayer day and night!
The One whose name I used to chant,
when I looked closely. . . . . turned out to be myself!There is nothing
in a mirror. The real thing is
outside it. Sort out your own self,
and you’ll see that in the mirror. . . whose name I chanted
in prayer day and night!
– Is this by Faiz Ahmed Faiz?- No this is another Faiz. Whom should I worship?
To whom make an offering?
I am the beloved, I the shrine
I am the idol, I myself the priest
Arguments don’t interest me
Nor techniques of practice
Absorbed in seeing the self
I stay with my head bowed
‘Marakib’ means the effort
to understand the self. Who is looking? At whom?I am looking. At myself. The self is looking at itself. After a long time, oh Faiz, I realised
that I myself was the One. . .
Your coaching is over,
you found the right guru. . . . . you found the right path,
your awareness matured. . . . . then where did the
guru bring you to?In front of the mirror.
“Look into this!” he said. “You wouldn’t have
understood this earlier. “After this long education, you’re ready
to recognise yourself in the mirror. From the point of Oneness,
if we see. . . . . . there’s only One, One, One. . .
Everything is a manifestation of the One.

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