‘What is Sufism?’: Fariduddin Ayaz
– In the present politicalclimate of Pakistan. . . . . what is the attitude oforthodox 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’ butA therapy for humanity. It’s a path of spiritual growthfor human beings. You are asking about Sufiinstitutions, brotherhoods or ‘orders’. There is a huge difference betweeninstitutions and Sufism. – Like the gap betweenthe Kabir Panth and living Kabir. – Absolutely! We needto understand this. Who Kabir is, and what you’re recording –the gap is as wide as the earth and sky!What the monasteries and institutesteach in the name of Sufism. . . . . is not Sufism at all. First let us understand theboundaries of what Sufism is. In all human beings, no matter to whichreligion 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 entirescope of these three questions. Sufism tells a person who she is. . . . . where she has come from. . . . . and then tells herwhere she has to go. . . . . and how she must preparefor the journey to get there. What she must carry along,what strengths she must acquire. In this sense Sufism is nottied to any religion or sect. It is relevant for allof humanity. Very few know the realmeaning 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 whosit on a dais or platform’. – I’ve heard that it comes fromthe word for ‘wool’. . . ‘soof’. Yes, that’s anotherinterpretation. 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 commonfor all of humanity. Whether you’re Muslim, Hindu or Christian,an animal. . . it doesn’t matter!Why clean up the soul? So that itcan journey back to where it came from. All the systems and ritualsthat have been made. . . In Sufism there is no ritual,no chanting at all. There is no ritual ordaily incantation. That means practices likechanting 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 thatveil or curtain. . . . . after a long journey when he comes toface that curtain from where he came. . . . . what does he findbehind the curtain? Himself. He has reached thevery 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 thisphilosophy in orthodox Islam?- There is nothing orthodox in Islam. Since I have studiedcomparative religion. . . . . I’m aware that whether it isIslam, 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 thosewho trade in the principles of religion. Those who want to twistreligion 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 whoeducated me, used to say. . . . . that the word ‘Allah’ toois just a symbol. Allah, the creator of this universe,cannot be bound in any way. So you think you can bind himin these few letters? No!Try to understand, there isa ‘three dimensional view’. To see something just from thefront, you need two eyes. When everything can be seen fromat least six different sides. Front, back, right, left, up, down. So to see something fully,you need twelve eyes!What do you think you willsee 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 anotherthing ‘baseerat’ which is. . . . . your inner eye, the eye of your soul,which can ‘see’ from all sides. Say there is an earthen potin your house. And you have seenthe pot from all sides. You’ve taken waterfrom 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 fullawareness, we shut our eyes. Don’t we do that?If you’re recalling the routeto go somewhere, you close your eyes. To truly see,we close our eyes!To close your eyes, you must let go ofyour body, your name. . . this world. To really see somethingyou have to become it. Kabir and his ilksaw the nature of reality wholly. . . . . from all sides,and they realised. . . After a long time, oh Faiz, I realisedthat I myself was the One. . . . . whose name I chantedin prayer day and night!The One whose name I used to chant,when I looked closely. . . . . turned out to be myself!There is nothingin a mirror. The real thing isoutside it. Sort out your own self,and you’ll see that in the mirror. . . whose name I chantedin 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 shrineI am the idol, I myself the priestArguments don’t interest meNor techniques of practiceAbsorbed in seeing the selfI stay with my head bowed‘Marakib’ means the effortto 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 realisedthat 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 theguru bring you to?In front of the mirror. “Look into this!” he said. “You wouldn’t haveunderstood this earlier. “After this long education, you’re readyto 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.