THE SUFI APPROACH TO TEACHING ISLAM
IS THROUGH SPIRITUAL HEALING AND WORLD PEACE
In the Sufi way, Islam means the True Surrender of the body, mind, heart, and soul to Al-llah! alone, and seeing the religious teaching of the Divine way of life as a way of Mercy and a Healing unto all the worlds. Spiritual healing is considered to be the necessary (and much forgotten) art of finding in oneself the divine permission to allow the heart to heal itself from the causes of emotional and physical difficulties.
In the Islamic civilization, the science of spiritual healing was a specific focus of the Sufis, and the point of the study and practice of Sufism, or Tasawwuf. It was also considered an obligation, since the spiritual healing of prisoners would lead to their willful conversion and genuine trustworthiness . It is also worthy of note that, without any doubt, Sufism was the most influential means of promoting the Islamic revelation in the whole course if Islamic History. Almost all Muslims know that, except for the few who prefer to believe that the only way they will get their way is to dominate others. This attitude, and that is exactly what it is, speaks volumes to the process by which they themselves were taught.
This healing can be accomplished by discovering the lurking causes of fear and misunder-standing and bringing them into the present light of God, or by discovering and bringing into current reasoning the absolute truth of Al-llah!, and allowing ourselves to rise to the occasion, or both. Both are effective, and in either case the purpose of dispelling the debilitating effects of ignorance is accomplished.
We are all captives of our limited knowledge of Islam and what it means to us personally. We are either afraid of it completely, or enslaved by it completely, or somewhere in between. But in reality, Islam is the teaching of an all-inclusive Unity. It embraces all people, learned and ignorant, sick or healthy, frustrated or secure. Why is it that the great Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi wrote "Come, come, whoever you are"?
In the Islamic civilization, enlightened Muslims, healers, philosophers, theologians, doctors of medicine and students, have unanimously seen the people in the world as simply captives of their own knowledge, however partial, of their selves, their true nature and their purpose on earth and in this life. They all considered the true jihad, the jihad al akbar, or greater struggle, to be the one of realization and self-mastery, through study, practice and education. To remind and be reminded, to liberate and enlighten oneself and others with the teachings of the Divine Revelation.
The problem is now that a large segment of Muslims are caught in a similar captivity, that of an "Islamic" ideology, an ideology that sees "us" (Muslims) as right, and "them" ("non-Muslims") as wrong. This is an ideology of duality, not Unity. And such an ideology only leads to conflict. It simply points out differences, and sees confrontation and domination as the only, and correct, means to resolution. But the real point of Islam (Surrender) is to see Unity, the Oneness of God, to unify, and not to separate.
It could easily be that the person judged as "unbeliever" could rethink and find himself in the Garden, whereas the self-righteous and self-appointed "judge" could be found incorrect in his judgement and in his limited evaluation of God's Holy Plan, and then find himself in the Fire of grief and woe.
If we Muslims simply see ourselves as healers, not warriors, and see Islam as the medicine, not the weapon, and learn to apply it, like all medicines, with a judicious perspective on the nature of the disease, then we will be successful in our endeavors to have the world understand the benefits and healing nature of Islam.
So the Sufi approach to Islam and spiritual healing is to know first the Reality, or in Arabic, the Haqiqat, the "Reality" of God, the "Truth of Al-llah!", and from that all else follows. Concepts of relative unimportance will dissolve, incorrect assumptions will disperse, and false responsibilities will be released. In short, limiting belief systems will be re-evaluated and dismissed as no longer useful, and functional, liberating realizations will take their place. This transformation is depicted in Qur`an in the phrase, "Truth (reality) hath come and falsehood (illusion) must perish."
True Sufis consider this to be the highest obligation, for they know firsthand and have witnessed in themselves and others the powerful transformative effects of real Surrender (Islam) learned at the hand of a qualified teacher. And never in the course of history has there been a greater need for the simple understanding of the Islamic approach to spiritual health, personal happiness and social harmony than now.
The pathway to this knowledge of certainty consists of three levels. They are learning, witnessing and knowing, and often the learning is confused with the knowing, but the truly deciding factor is the actual witnessing. Witnessing has three equivalent levels also, and they are hearing, seeing, and knowing.
The only real touchstone to absolute certainty is the teacher himself. He can tell you for sure the level of your experience of witnessing. We can easily confuse learning or having learned knowledge with knowing the reality, but the knowing to which we refer is a full-body realization that manifests by the heart speaking the real truth at all times.
There are as many ways to know God as there are human hearts.
The Purpose of the Teacher
But the "search" is not really for inward knowledge, as is often supposed (even though we will become more aware of it as our confidence increases in the course of it), for the inward knowing is always there, but for the outward reflection/confirmation of the inward knowing. And 'knowledge', in this light, can be defined as "that which confirms" (Ar: Sadaqah - confirmation, a charity from Al-llah!, as is all outward existence), and "that which is in confirmation of" a knowing, something which is already "known". This declassifies much of the presumed corpus of "knowledge" to the realm of mere information.
In Reality, that which is being quested is an inner certainty - certitude, by means of a positive and irrefutable outward confirmation. What we truly desire, need and seek above all else is a reflection of our inward sense of worth, the truth of somehow really being real, a validation of the reality of our own personal existence. In other words, a "reality check". The Sufi "way" is nothing but a continuance of the confirmation and support for the knowledge of God's goodness and benevolent intent within you.
On the Need for Self-Affirmation and the Rise of Religious Fundamentalism
The absence of a reality check is reflected in the need for self-affirmation. This need for self-affirmation is reflected in the outward clinging to conviction. The need to be convinced is a reflection of the need for certainty. But in many cases the need for it is so great as to disallow any further search after some facsimile is acquired, and there is a myriad of inconsistent convictions to be had. All falsehood is but an inadequate reflection of truth, and must in time perish as a consequence of its very nature.
This accounts for the rising phenomenon of religious fundamentalism, and it can also be related to another theme, that of Suicide as a search, and the Loss of Reality.
There is truth in all falsehood, as falsehood is for the most part but a fictitious, inadequate reflection of truth and must in time dissolve as a consequence of its very nature. The fear of this knowledge of the ultimate dissolution (of falsehood, ego) is the cause for the reasoning that it requires religious struggle to keep it alive.