The freedom of the Sufi

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The freedom of the Sufi Alan Schintzius 2/23/00 12:00 AM
The Freedom of the Sufi
by Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan
Sufism cannot be called a religion because it is free from principles,
distinctions and differences, the very basis on which religions are
founded; neither can it be called a philosophy, because philosophy teaches
the study of nature in its qualities and varieties, whereas Sufism teaches
unity. Therefore it may best be called simply the training of the view.
The word Sufi implies purity, and purity contains two qualities. Pure means
unmixed with any other element, or in other words that which exists in its
own element, unalloyed and unstained. The second quality of purity is great
Such is also the nature of the Sufi. In the first place he purifies himself
by keeping the vision of God constantly before him, not allowing the stains
of earthly differences and distinctions to be mirrored upon his heart, nor
good or bad society, nor intercourse with high- or low- class people. Nor
can a faith or a belief ever interfere with his purity.
The Sufi shows his universal brotherhood in his adaptability. Among
Christians he is a Christian, among Jews he is a Jew, among Muslims he is a
Muslim, among Hindus he is a Hindu; for he is one with all, and thus all
are with him. He allows everyone to join in his brotherhood, and in the
same way he allows himself to join in any other. He never questions, "What
is your creed or nation or religion?" Neither does he ask, "What are your
teachings or principles?"
Call him brother, he answers brother, and he means it. With regard to
principles, the Sufi has none, for sweetness may be beneficial to one and
harmful to another. Thus it is with all principles, good and bad, kind and
cruel. If we ask a soldier to be merciful during the battle, he will at
once be defeated. This shows that everyone has his own principle for each
action or situation. One person may believe in a certain principle, while
another may hold quite a contrary opinion. What one person may call good
another may call bad. One says a certain path is the right one, while
another takes the opposite direction. The Sufi, instead of becoming
centered in his likes and dislikes and limiting himself to a certain faith
or belief, reasoning out right and wrong, focuses his view on that of
another, and thus sees the reason why he believes and why he does not, why
something is right to one and wrong to another. He also understands why
that which is called good by some people may be called bad by others, and
thus by keeping his point of view under control he arrives at the true
height of wisdom."
An excerpt from an article entitled: "The Freedom of the Sufi" in THE
MESSAGE Vol. IX No. 3 May-June, 1983
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Alan Schintzius