By Rachid Acim
By Rachid Acim
Beni Mellal, Morocco – If you were asked to assess pure honey, would you taste a portion of it or would you naively describe it? Would you report what the layman said about it or would you call for the bees to testify to it? Of course, not all honey is pure and not all honey is digestible and tasty.
Smart people might ask about the beekeeper first and, they would ask about the circumstances under which the bees have grazed and grown, the kind of food they had been offered and the kind of nectar they had used to produce honey.
If the beekeeper is not trustworthy in the tribe, the honey will follow suit. Also, if the bees are fed granulated sugar, then the honey produced will be a fake and will never serve in any curing process. That honey is nothing but sugar with another format.
I have wittingly brought the following image of honey to expound more on how the Sufi experience tastes in the company of the Alive Sufi Master. It is as delicious as pure honey described above.
But the problem is a serious one. Many people keep criticizing the great Sufi heritage we are boasting of among nations and they forget that the basic essence of Sufism is in everyone of us. By nature, we are all Sufis whether we accept it or decline. I shall fully explain why.
Gone are the days when the Sufis would renounce the world and consecrate most of their time to the worship of the divineom away from the tumult of the city. They no longer put on shabby clothes to suggest ascetic attitudes towards life.
Instead, they put on the best of clothes, hold the best social positions, and function in their societies positively together with their fellows.
It may be ridiculous to attack or dare render the Sufi experience a mere trivia. Honey entails taste and Sufism entails the real experience with the authentic Sufi master, whose look can take you from the realms of darkness and heedlessness to the realms of enlightenment and perfection.
Only there you can behold beauty. True, Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty.
Not all people have this charisma. Some people may be keen on lecturing and consequently having more fanatic followers clapping for their unparalleled eloquence in speech, their art of convincing and debating issues at work or in the street tactfully. However, the knowledge of the Alive Sufi Master is a special and excepetional one.
The Alive Sufi Master drinks from the ocean of the divine. He does not speak but his spiritual stations tell more about his good essence. He is a good manifestation of the divine.
The question here is not what your ears can capture from sweet words or common-sense phrases, but what can your heart tell upon beholding a noble man who is incorporating a true wisdom not found in scholastic books. A wisdom which can hardly circulate amidst people.
Hearsays are not appreciated here.
Such men are needed in our life. They are the life blood of any prosperous society and they exist everywhere and at any time. If you see them, you cry regretfully for the passing days spent in the dark.
This is indeed the currency of Sufism, still deemed an exotic aspect in religion. But let us make it clear. Sufism is ethics and ethics is Sufism. If you believe in ethical values, you are a true Sufi.
The definitions given to this mysterious doctrine are multiple. It will be therefore unfair to sum up Sufi Masters’ experiences in one sentence and thereby ascertain that this is Sufism and that a shere heresy.
In matters of religion, people maintain some positive jealousy, which can result in disastrous aftermaths in religion itself. There is not any consensus among religious scholars about what can make true Sufism and what cannot. It should be underlined that the heart, being the abode of the divine, can either comfort or discomfort one in any given human experience.
Some scholars, unfortunately, have been very concerned with the surface of the coin. They have never been in the company of any master, and they dare speak about Sufism proudly. They throw up incendiary criticisms at the Sufi folks, ridiculing all Sufi practices ranging from total absorption in the divine to ecstasy and enjoyment with the new self purged from earthly dirt.
If we ponder upon the issue, we shall conclude that we are all Sufis by nature. If you are harmless to your friends, then you are a Sufi. If you do not cheat and you do not lie, you are a Sufi. If you have emptied your heart from all else but the Absolute Truth, then you are a Sufi. Additionally, if you managed to respect all creatures, and to see in them the Creator, you are a Sufi.
Sorry to say this. Sufism is not an ink splashed on paper. It is not a commodity to be advertized. It is not a knowledge that you may accumulate from books. It does not have to do with the mind’s understanding, but there is ample room for the heart to play its leading role, speak loudly and to converse with the divine more proudly.
This is why all Sufis, nearly with no exception, agree that Sufism revolves around the heart. By this, the Sufi education starts from the heart and it ends at the heart.
As long as the physical body needs to be nurtured, the heart needs to be fed spiritually to feel and welcome the divine deep inside. The Prophetic Tradition, in which the Almighty said. “Neither My Heavens nor My Earths can contain Me, but the heart of my faithful believer can,” was not said randomly.
There is certainly a Prophetic call and invitation for all human beings to safeguard this heart from certain contagious maladies. It is quite the same. If one feels sick, one had better visit a specialized doctor.
The dermatologist can never help the deaf. In turn, the ophthalmologist will never be of any help to the dumb or to the one-eyed.
There should be a respect in the specialties. What we have said about illnesses goes for learning particular subjects. Thus, we will never expect of a teacher of French to teach Epicurean philosophy or Euclidean geometry.
If we build our knowledge on this logic, we shall conclude that Sufism presupposes the existence of the true living master, the Prophetic heir who is more experienced in curing the inner maladies of the heart.
That’s what Sufism is and what’s ethics is all about.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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