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Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: Otto Wagner ()
Date: March 09, 2015 04:10AM


I don't know how I missed that!...

That's no wonder you are so dedicated. It's very interesting.

Why did you stop doing involuntary casework? What were the problems that you found?

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Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 09, 2015 07:23AM

Otto Wagner:

See []

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Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: b.f.m. ()
Date: March 10, 2015 12:10PM

I have a lot of friends who are in Sufi groups - I thought it was pretty this group the only known Sufi cult group? I don't know who my friends follow, I have never been invited to or asked to go to their meetings. They do a lot of Sufi dancing - is that the same kind of thing?

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Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: Otto Wagner ()
Date: March 11, 2015 07:30AM


The Sufi dance is also known as Dervish dancing, a type of trance in which one aims to be liberated from one's notion of self as the physical or mental body, and thus be enabled to meditate upon one's spiritual relationship with God.

It is an ancient spiritual practice that has now more or less become a custom or ritualistic ceremony devoid of remembrance of God. In some places in Turkey it has even become a sort of performance to attract tourists.

As with any authentic spiritual practice, there is exploitation by wolves in the guise of saintly or spiritual personalities. Such persons pose as teachers or gurus with the goal of gaining power over others.

However, just because people like this exist, doesn't mean that there are no real authentic spiritual personalities who are qualified to be teachers. One should be careful to use their common sense, and be observant of the people who are following the teacher figure. Usually, by observing the followers and getting to know them, one can get a good sense of how the teacher is. It is best to use your personal judgement with your experiences and observations, rather than just going on what someone else says, or what you find on the internet.

If you have many friends who are involved in a group, why not ask them questions about it? Why do they like it? What is their goal of the path? Does the goal seem to be self-serving(for example, a self-centered gain like going to heaven etc.) Or does it seem to focus on God? Do their answers make sense to you?

Best wishes.

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Big Buildings
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 13, 2015 10:55PM

"Ten dervishes can sleep on one rug, but two kings can not be accommodated in a whole kingdom."


The Bourbon kings became isolated at Versailles.

At Versailles and at the other palaces courtiers sometimes bankrupted
themselves to keep pace with the fashions.

Something to consider about Sufi shrines.

It is the norm in areas where Sufism is ancient that the shrines
are accessible to the public.

Persons who are not disciples (murids) of a sheikh, pir or murshid
will visit shrines. They will do so to obtain blessings, or seek
an appointment from the sheikh for advice.

In some areas the Sufi complex was a public kitchen (Langar) where
all, whether scholars or peasants, could meet on equal footing.


In practice, access to a pir for long term discipleship was
kept limited to a few. But access to the shrine was public.

To this day in Pakistan and India, people visit the shrines both for
prayer and for yearly festivals (urs) that at the most famous saints
shrines may draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.


For a detailed description of pilgrimage to a Pakistani sufi shrine,
one can read At the Shrine of the Red Sufi. The author, a German
fluent in Urdu, traveled with a group of dervishes to a famous shrine
and lived with them in their tent encampment near the shrine complex.


Pilgrims and petitioners donate what they could afford, ranging from
a few coins from the poor to larger donations of food and money from
the more affluent. These donations from the widow's mite to the lavish
donations and bequests from the wealth, all combined to support the shrines.

Some rulers and landlords gave land grants (wakf) in support of shrines.

So even when a Sufi shrine became palatial, it remained accessible
to all. The pir kept private only for his family and to teach favored
disciples, but to repeat the above, the shrine and its glories was accessible to all Muslims. A famous pir or sheikh taught disciples in private but
nevertheless made arrangements to great visitors in public audiences,
and preach publicly as well.

This public dimension was central, for to be a sufi was not to be a member
of an elite private club, but to serve Islam.

If the founder of a sufi order lies buried in a simple stone block tomb
(dargh) yet a successor has a palace built of expensive materials
so large that the winds get lost and the sun cannot enter --
priorities are comically amiss.

Especially if that expensive building is for members only --
this is a departure from Sufi praxis in the areas where Sufism itself originated and generated its customs (North Africa, Egypt, the Levant, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and East Asia.)

Next, consider this:

Expensive buildings may be a source of pride when first
in place. All is bright and new.

But long term, a big building may become a burden for the community.

When a big building is in place, its upkeep must
be paid for by current and future members of that community.

If a lot of white marble is used, regular cleaning will be needed.

Consider the continued upkeep needed for the Parthenon and for
the Taj Mahal. Automobile and factory exhaust can degrade
white marble, turning it yellow. Marble also corrodes when exposed to
petrol fumes.

That type of building may become a burden for successors -
future leaders and for the community.

Another outcome: once a grand new building is in place, the leader may become less accessible, may retreat to more isolated quarters. A degrading
competition for access to the leader may ensue.

This kind of intrigue and competition is a distraction from G-d.

The new building may lead to increasing social isolation for the leader and for senior members.

This in turn may lead to egotism. Members lower in the hierarchy may
be kept at a distance. Persons with a lot of money may be given
favored treatment on account of their wallets, rather than their
spiritual attainment.

A former member of a Hindu yoga group described the misery of this
competition and status tension.


As I am a natural leader and was really good at running the music department, I somehow acquired stature and power in the Ashram.

Because I was co-head of the department, I had a say in deciding who the lead chanters and musicians were, and sat them in the front row. This mattered little during the time that GM was gone, even though celebrities and VIPs visited and wanted to sit in the front, it really wasn’t a bit deal.

This all changed when GM returned to Fallsburg.

I don’t think GM liked the fact that my co-head and I had acquired the respect and cooperation of so many people while she was gone (It takes up to 80 musicians + to run all the music programs in the summer).

Things ran too smoothly, people were too happy. Although the musicians created beautiful, harmonious music, full of love and soul, they were not the young pretty things GM wanted in the front. Nor were they rich or famous.


An if a large building becomes costly, there may be pressure to
recruit new members, not for their spiritual acuity but to help
pay upkeep.

Persons who question whether the building was worth it may be marginalized.

So, if you are a mureed, and you find you are pressured to participate
in creation of a palace for your guru, look back at some of
the classical guidelines on how to assess a guru -- and also
the effects of the teaching.

This is offered not to preach but as a reminder of how Sufis all over
the world apply discernment.

Look at this and then ask if that building project is pleasing to G-d
or a manifestation of unbounded appetite.


Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2015 09:45PM by corboy.

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I know very well
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 26, 2015 10:30PM

If you are encouraged or told to meditate upon the guru's picture or image, that is a big warning. With time, one becomes emotionally attached to the guru and if this continues, one can risk merging sense of self with the guru.

Yes, these kinds of visualization exercises are venerable.

Yet venerable, ancient practices may be injurious.

If one has been wounded by a parent having been absent or rejecting, with
ones self inwardly fractured, meditation on the image of a guru via prescribed visualization exercises may cause one to feel healed.

But - feeling healed is not the same as being healed. Feelings can be misleading.

Many a recovering alcoholic or addict will tell us that he or she felt
lost, inadequate and that first hit of alcohol or drug gave the feeling
of wholeness. was the first step to enslavement to a substance,
not a true healing which gives autonomy and creates new character

With a prescribed guru meditation expecise, one may risk
becoming addicted and enslaved to that internalized image.

One also gets instant intimacy with the group with whom one shares
this very same visualization exercise. You all have the guru's picture
in your house, car, office.

And you all use the same soothing words to placate skeptical
family and co workers, the ones who just do not understand, poor

Meanwhile, to risk equating the guru's image with one's self image
carries the risk of being unable to imagine the guru
could ever be fallible or just plain wrong.

To have doubts means losing access to the image which gives you
relief -- and you risk losing all the friends who share this guru

If one is encouraged to further, to move from meditating upon the
image of the guru or teacher, to imagining the guru or teacher is
within you -- that is yet more potent.

This is downright dangerous if you were traumatized by having
a disrupted relationship with one or both parents.

For the hazard is that one becomes unable ever to imagine that the guru
could ever to give order for you or someone else to do something dangerous
or contrary to the teachings -- or contrary to the laws that govern
ethical behavior if one is a citizen or a licensed professional.

An additional danger.

If the living guru appoints an abusive successor, it is hard
to imagine the flawless guru made a mistake.

If a guru whose image you have internalized later develops
a medical condition that causes deterioration in psychological status and
becomes paranoid or abusively disinhibited, those who internalized
an image of this guru as perfect and loving may be unable to protect
themselves and others from this faltering guru's behavior.

One may slowly become terrified if this guru whose image one has obediently
internalized via prescribed visualization exercises, and yet one may
insist one isn't afraid, one loves this guru.

I do not know if this is done in G's group.

But if it is required in this or any group, beware. The risks
are extreme.

Someone may begin guru visualization exercises, telling himself
"I choose for myself, the guru doesn't tell me what to do, I want to do it anyway," while disavowing the extent to which his choices
have narrowed down to only those options approved of by the guru.

In the old days when communication and transportation were limited, and people had to work their asses off to get crops planted and harvested to prevent famines, it was not feasible for a single guru to make disruptive demands on someones work life and income.

And in ancient India, one could not have hundreds or thousands of people ditching their families and farms to go hang out at a guru's ashram.

Tyrannical gurus who demand endless amounts of human attention, time and money are dubious luxuries that only wealthy societies can afford.

In the old days, there would have been little tolerance for anyone who caused significant numbers of people to desert their farms. Few or no agricultural resources were available as insurance against famine.

A village with an excessively greedy guru would have been sucked dry of manpower and fiscal resources.

Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2015 01:51AM by corboy.

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Hazarat Inayat Khan - and onwards
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 04, 2015 05:13AM

"A distinct departure from traditional Chishti practice which recognizes
only two distinct levels of initiation".

A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity

Ph.D dissertation

By Zia Inayat-Khan (A descendant of Inayat Khan)










Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2015 10:16PM by corboy.

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Vietnam and the Draft
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 12, 2015 10:17PM

One person's anecdote.


In my teens I became a member of a Sufi Order in San Francisco, based on the teachings of an Indian guru, Meher Baba. That’s another story, but I was the test case in the Order to see if our beliefs could allow me to be a c/o (conscientious objector), and I did a lot of work on that, trying to make my case to my Preceptor and the Murshida, but that was denied. Meher Baba believed that war was divinely intentioned, and that a Sufi should obey the laws of the country in which he or she lived.

The following year the government instituted a lottery system of conscription, some said because the 2S college deferments were just too obviously biased toward the middle and upper classes.

Because I couldn’t be a c/o, and therefore would have to go if called to fight in a war I opposed, I was totally fucked-up anxious the night they posted the results in the Student Union on the Berkeley campus. As it turned out, my number was 210. I was relieved ? nothing was guaranteed but I thought I had a good chance.

My pal Rob drew down a 50, and he was a Sufi too and scared shitless. In the end Berkeley/Oakland easily made its quota because of all the enlistment from the poor, black and Hispanic, kids with no future. Even Rob was spared at number 50. That game was still rigged: economics, Mr Stupid


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2015 10:17PM by corboy.

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Re: A Sufi Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 26, 2015 01:12AM

Often you are in deep and emotionally invested before you are
allowed to do guru visualization exercises.

(Which means most of your social and perhaps business associations
are with the group. You may have become married to another group member.

Thus, even when your doubts pinch at you, you know you cannot leave without
incurring painful exit costs. Some groups push members to get married and
have children precisely for this reason -- though you will not be told so.

Private pain and doubt are are hidden behind a veil of smiles and roses.

From outside the emphasis on family values looks and feels cozy and wholesome. And photographs well. Photographs very well.)

So, until Management is sure you're in the right place and not likely to flee-- or laugh your ass off -- extreme guru pictures and the internalizing meditations are usually kept hidden.

Kept hidden as higher level practices and not revealed 'until one is ready'.
People already doing them are often told to keep this a secret.

Sooo if the friend who led you to join this group becomes distant and
secretive after you have joined the group, this may not be your fault.

It may be that your pal has been approved to do guru meditations that
he or she must conceal from you.

Or, for other reasons, Management may decide to split the two of you
up once this friend has recruited you into the group. You may be
conned into believing you did something to offend your buddy.

You may be ordered to avoid your buddy because he or she is 'having
a bad time and needs solitude'.

So long as you are an outsider or a low ranking initiate, you may see pictures of the guru, but these will be reassuring, with master or guru in normal

Only those members thoroughly indoctrinated will
be allowed to see such and own portraits of the guru or teacher
wearing clothing and jewelry that obscenely expensive -- and worse yet --

Great care must be taken to ensure that such portraits are seen
only by members who are thoroughly indoctrinated.

If someone who is 'half baked' were to see those pictures, it would
be a tip off that the group is unhealthily submissive to a monarchical

A monarchical leader who has bad taste.

Yet worse, a monarchical leader who not only has bad taste - but
bad taste that is expensive.

The great fear of an authoritarian, pseudo spiritual group is not
hostility or persecution.

Nope. The worst outcome for such a group and its leader
is to be revealed as.....ridiculous.

For members to encounter outside friends and co-workers who
would say, "Your leader dresses like THAT?? Bwaaahaaahaaa!"

How do freeborn citizens wind up in a predicament of groveling
in front of a ridiculously and expensively dressed Master?

A possible entry point is to invite people to meditate on an image of the titular deity venerated by the teacher or upon a picture of the teachers own guru.

(This is actually normative in various Hindu sects)

If someone shows any sign of being amused or made edgy by this exercise, those
persons will not be allowed to get a glimpse of the higher level practices --
and those who do the practices may be told they will suffer penalties
of they let out a peep. Later, if the leader suffers a hangnail
word may go out that a disciple's negative thinking caused this misfortune.

(Because most have silent doubts when living under authoritarian leaders,
this is an effective way to guilt trip practitioners. Any Pre Vatican II
Catholic can describe this.)

But to turn a living guru into one's monarch and turn oneself into the guru's slave -- that is what is hazardous.

Meanwhile, one may believe these exercises are empowering, rather than
enslaving. Any misgivings are shoved to one side.

These guru devotions, the rationalizations that they are empowering, one's
worries that they are enslaving -- all this may produce a split, a fracture, a schism in one's inner life.

This becomes something to be ashamed of, something the leaders will
guilt trip you about, if you confess this during any required
progress reports.

If guru devotion generates this type of split in one's inner life this will
be overlaid upon whatever inner fracturing brought you to this very same
guru for healing.


"..beliefs in illusions (whether theatrical religious or traditiona)l always rest on a delicate balance between faith and disavowal. Moreover even after such illusions have been exposed, a former believer retains some version of his old faith,a version expressed by in what Mannoni observed to be a common formulation

"Je sai bien, mai quand meme..."

That is, "I know very well that this illusion is only an illusion, but nevertheless some part of me still believes it." Wile Mannoni makes an
analogy between this diluted belief and superstition and fetishism, it also seems to approximate the double system of consciousness operating in
those moviegoers who "know very well" that onscreen events are not
"real" but become absorbed in them as though they were.

A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1980 By Robert Beverley Ray, page 36.


Further citations



Though Ray does not say so, this might be applicable to guru generated
theatre, as well as movie going.

A chronic process of inner disavowal of one's emotions may develop -- to
suppress dissent within ones self.

The stress of splitting off large portions of ones inner life may
lead to dissociation, which in turn may be mistaken for spiritual progress.

You may become harsh in cracking down on doubts expressed by others in the
group -- precisely because these threaten to validate misgivings you
already harbor within yourself. may reject or drop contact with skeptical friends outside of the

By contrast, the dervish Sufis made --and make-- no secret of being ridiculous and outrageous.

They do not behave respectably while hiding weirdness behind closed doors.

Most important of all -- each dervish bears the consequences. Outsiders
know the risks attendant upon living as a dervish. In today's Pakistan,
Sufis risk death from Islamic militant killjoys.

The vulnerable dervishes make easy targets.

Around the 11th century CE, just at the time when Sufism had become respectable and even prestigious,was when the dervishes stepped
forth in groups of their own to make their claim that this success
was a sell out.

In God's Unruly Friends, Karamustafa informs us that by the 12th century, Sufism lost its strangeness, lost its liminal frontier quality

Some context. By the 10th century, culminating in the 13th century, Sufism
had become a stable social catagory, an identity.

It had lost its radical strangeness by becoming a means to social success.
This process toward Sufism as a social identity, rather than a private
devotional stance began in Khurasan in the 9th to 10th centuries.

This process toward a stable social identity began when when various Sufi authors wrote How To manuals.

These took the forms of books, many books.

All this took place in an Islamic context.

Islam is the religion of the book.

To gain respect, the 9th century Sufis began to the beginning of an entire Sufi literature.

But this required a command of language sophisticated enough to provide
a vocabulary that could be used to name and describe the stages of spiritual practice and identify the inner states the aspirant might encounter.

Before one can write a guide book, one needs a language. A terminology
must be developed.

The earlier Sufi authors gained a command of Arabic and of Persian literature through writing treatises reflecting on the esoteric
dimensions of the Koranic texts, the traditions (Hadith) and Islamic law (Shariat). This provided the vocabulary and the metaphors that made possible
the creation of the first Sufi literature.


The practice manuals lwere part of a process that gave Sufism a reassuring social identity -- made them part of the Establishment.


Newly organized brotherhoods (11th to 12th century) served to disperse Sunni Islam.

So -- Sufi literature and the Sufi culture did not begin with Rumi. It did not begin with Hafiz.


Later, we see the development of Sufi pirs and murshids as "accessible grandees" giving reassurance to poorer visitors - not initiated disciples,
but persons seeking reassurance, advice, talismans.


Note 'accessibility'.

In some cases this accessibility could lead to a sufi group taking on so many features of local praxis that it became an 'independent religion' and ceased to be muslim.


Nile Green does not pursue the topic.

We readers can ask whther in such a case of extreme hybridisation, the result, after some centuries of drift, could be called Sufi.

Names matter. A name that applies to everything means nothing.

So the late 11th century, Sufism was Sufism was no longer a fringe movement but had become socially respectable and in some areas Sufis were part of the social elite.

Many pirs, murshids and sheikhs were given subsidies and land grants by rulers, became leaders of important political factions.

When Rumi's father fled with his family to escape the Mongols in Persia and
arrived in Konya Turkey, the family benefitted from protection of the local

It is in this context that the complaint was made that sufism had been a reality withouta name, but was now (12th century CE - onwards)
a name with no reality.

Respectable lodges had become high status institutions. Many had splendid
buildings, endowed by rulers.

To protest the comforts and prestige enjoyed by the formalized tariqas, radical renunciates emerged in the 12th to 13th centuries.

These dervishes became so numerous that some formed into large bands, taking to the roads, swarming into towns. They begged, sang, danced, wore bizarre clothing - and sometimes no clothing at all.

Some respectable scholars become maverick dervishes. Poets celebrated the dervishes in Persian poetry and dervishes appear in Persian paintings.

The dervish message: there was more to being Sufi than upward
social mobility. There was more to seeking God than being sweet, clean
and polite.

Dervishes were the frontier in human form.


To this day, many Sufi renunciates do all they can to look crazy

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2015 08:59PM by corboy.

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Early Sufi Manuals Now In English
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 29, 2015 10:20PM

We can never and must never forget what what is called Sufism
developed within the context of both Islamic praxis and of early Islamic
education and urban life.

Islamic education was saturated with the Koran; basic education consisted
of learning to read and chant the Koran, and one memorized the texts which defined the Muslim faith.

There are romantic stories that the sufi path begins with the tearing up of books and the breaking of inkwells.

But in the centuries when Sufism developed and was practiced, an aspirant,
would have memorized much of the Koran, in some cases, all of it, by the time
he finished what we would call grammar school.

A well educated man would have memorized the more important traditions (Hadiths).

An aspirant would have arrived at the front porch of a Master's house or lodge
having memorized texts of the Muslim faith.

One cannot tear up what one has memorized.

The master student relationship would have taken place in a culture
in one was surrounded day and night by the sounds of the Koran; the call to
prayer five times a day; the noise from the schools in which the boys
chanted the religious texts.

Though Nile Green does not say so, it is worth speculating that the
many prescriptions that one must obey one's Sufi master or risk damnation
may also have arisen in a social context.

In much of the world, certainly in the Near East, Iran, the Indian subcontinent
and North Africa, one's identity was firmly rooted in regional and tribal

Blood feuds between tribes could persist for generations.

As late as the 1870s, Doughty reports that Shia Muslim pilgrims
had to camp at the rear of the Haj pilgrimage caravan to Mecca to

Arabia Deserta, 1888, frequent reprints)
prevent quarrels beteen Shia and Sunni pilgrims. (Doughty, Arabia
In Arabian Sands, Theisinger describes the tensions of blood feuds
in Oman.

For a study group
to remain stable, a master had to have enough authority to override
tensions if two men from warring tribes appeared in the same study group.

A master would have needed to hold a firm hand to prevent a student from
feeling free to attack an enemy tribesman if the latter visited town
or appeared in a pilgrim camp.

Persons from warring tribes and quarreling sects shared room at the same
Sufi study circle.

If , the one way to prevent quarrels, prevent and foster group
cohesion was for all to agree to one common denominator: complete obedience
to the master.

Feuds, often quite murderous, are part of life among the Pashtun tribes
of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to this day.

The mere hint of an insult demanded immediate rebuke, if not retaliation
or a man lost respect and would be preyed upon by others. Pecking order,
literally with a vengeance.

The US military must take this into account when in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Sufi master needed to back up his authority with extraordinary supernatural
sanctions to keep his students under control - to keep them from
quarreling with each other, and not to attack outsiders.

A master would have lost the trust of the local governor if he failed to
keep his men under control.

In short, it is worth considering that Sufism originated in parts of the world where multigeneration blood feuds were a way of life.

So it is worth considering whether, to cut through this and control his students, a Sufi master had,
to be quite blunt, be able to instill not only reverence and love
but also...FEAR.

The aspirations of mystical groups may be universal, but the cultures
in which such groups originated are different.

A blood feud culture
will shape its mystical group quite differently and generate
different codes of discipline than a mystical tradition that originated'
in a society that had been stable and docile for centuries (China,

By contrast, Americans are usually socialized to be law abiding,
accountable not to clan loyalty but to the laws of the land.

We are socialized, usually to let bygones be bygones. Areas in the US
where blood feuds take place are the most wounded and tragic areas
in the US.

But...Americans who present themselves as candidates for Sufi intiation
are usually quite nice, law abiding people.

Most Americans do not appear at a master's doorstep wearing gang colors
and with pistols stuffed into their waistbands!

When a sufi master (real or self proclaimed) demands obedience and claims
you will go to hell if you disobey or leave, this may lead to a quite
toxic regression into slavishness when directed to American initiates.

* It was one thing for a proud young man of royal Bedu blood a man
who knew his father, and his entire paternal lineage back 10
generatiosns to renounce his claims to precedence and restitution and humbly ask admission from a Master.

* It is different for an American, already polite, perhaps burdened by
self hatred, already disinclined to trust his own perceptions due
to a father's abandonment of him to grovel to a Master and promise
unquestioning obedience.

That hypothetical Bedu aspirant knew his paternal roots to his fingertips and had
an internalized identity that was rock solid, perhaps too solid.
That Bedu aspirant would have had social position and power,
endured circumcision at age 7, known how to ride on raids to help
his father and uncles. That Bedu aspirant would have had rites of
passage into manhood.

That tribesman would have fasted from food and water for 40 days at
Ramadan each year. Most Americans know nothing of this. When a Sufi
ecstatic talks of fasting and renunciation, that is the context.

Most Americans know little of this.

The hypothetical American aspirant has a fragility. With rare
exceptions, he has not had a chance to test himself in adversity
and develop a sure knowledge of his capacities. He will have inner
doubts, an inner shakiness that might
be colonized and devoured by an equally wounded American Sufi master
whose own parents may have abandoned him -- emotionally or physically.

As noted above, and described by Nile Green, in his book, Sufism: A Global History, by the tenth century, an important group of Sufis in Eastern Persia (Khurasan)supplemented earlier Sufi commentary on Koran and Hadith and Shariat by creating something new - a specialist Sufi literature. This took the form of master's biographies, were manuals of courtesy and descriptions of the stages of esoteric insight.

These manuals and the later examples of this pedagogical genre make constant reference to the .Koran and Hadith, while describing Sufi masters and giving advice to aspirants (saliks).

Two of early Sufi manuals:

Al-Qushyari's Epistle on Sufism -- transl by Alexandra D. Knysh


The Revelation of the Veiled) of Ali b. 'Uthman al-Jullabi Hujwiri
transl by Reynold A. Nicholson (various editions).


It is from books of this kind that one can learn what actual sufi 'stories' were like.

And in these two early manuals one can find many of the famous quotations ., such as the one attributed to an eartly Sufi "Sufism was once a reality without
a name; now it is a name without a reality

These two manuals and the manuals written later, aided in creating Sufi 'norms'.

Such books were portable, could be carried with the Koran and Hadith by Sufi missionaries and when the latter were called before nervous local leaders, the books could be inspected by the local mullahs and used to demonstrate that Sufis not merely faithful Muslims but exemplary Muslims.

Exemplary Muslims who were accountable to a tradition of written texts. These early books were a sort of community credential. And manuals made
it possible to create norms that could be passed from one generation
of practitioner to the next.

It was on the foundation provided by the early practice manuals
that a Sufi culture developed one which made possible the creation of
entirely new genres of poetry and music, even miracle stories and saints biographies.

A teacher or disciple who went out of control could be rebuked and
in the manuals could be referred to when arbitrating such disputes.

Edited 11 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2015 10:54PM by corboy.

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