SOME OF THE ANCIENT SUFIS

 

Rabi’a Adawiyya

Rabia (717-810) was one of the earliest Sufis. She was concerned that her love for God should be totally disinterested, and wary that her acts of devotion should find a reward in the promise of a lovely afterlife, rather than in the intense encounter with the living Reality of the Divine.  In the book Women of Sufism (Shambhala, 2003. p. 27) , Camille Helminski writes that there a number of stories about Rabia’s never quite being able to go on the traditional pilgrimage to the Kaaba, and that ultimately the Kaaba had to come to her:  “Her difficulties in completing the pilgrimage seem to symbolize both the struggles of the mystic path and her own difficulty in coming to terms with the conventional Islamic community; and the Kaaba’s coming to her may also point to the truth that the last (as well as the first) step on that path is taken not by the mystic but by God.”

I love You with two loves- a selfish love
And a Love that You are worthy of.
As for the selfish love, it is that I think of You,
To the exclusion of everything else.
And as for the Love that You are worthy of, Ah! That I see only You!

Muinuddin Chishti

Muinuddin Chishti was a great saint who lived in India in the 13th century.  He sought to harmonize people from all religious and spiritual traditions, and emphasized the need to care for the needy as the first spiritual practice.

Muinuddin Chishti spent the greater part of his life traveling as a steward to  his Sufi teacher, Usman Harooni.  At one point, Usman shocked his disciples by abandoning his traditional Sufi practices and going off to worship the goddess Kali at a Hindu temple.  With the exception of Muinuddin Chishti , all of the other disciples abandoned Usman Harooni.  He stayed  true to his discipleship and absolute trust in his teacher, and went also to the temple for worship.  Subsequently, he carried on the Sufi teachings after Usman Harooni, and has attracted, over the centuries,  millions of people to spiritual knowledge. Today his dargah (tomb) in Ajmer, India  is a sacred shrine where healing, sustenance and inspiration are offered to people of all faiths and beliefs.

The following is from Muinuddin Chishti’s last talk, in 1233 A.D.
“Love all and hate none.
Mere talk of peace will avail you not.
Mere talk of God and religion will not take you far.
Bring out all of the latent powers of your being and reveal the full magnificence of your immortal Self.
Be surcharged with peace and joy, and scatter them where ever you are and wherever you go.
Be a blazing fire of truth, be a beauteous blossom of love and be a soothing balm of peace.
With your spiritual light, dispel the darkness of ignorance;
dissolve the clouds of discord and war and spread goodwill, peace and harmony among the people.


The principal thing that the Sufi message has brought to the world is tolerance for all faiths existing in the different parts of the world, followed by different people... The true religion to a Sufi is the sea of truth and all the different faiths are as its waves. The message of God from time to time comes as tides in the sea, but what remains always is the sea, the truth. Those who consider another on the wrong track they themselves are also not on the right track, for the one who is on the right track finds every road leading to the same goal sooner or later. The Sufi mission does not make converts to a certain faith to the exclusion of all faiths... Faith to a Sufi is a free ideal, not a captivity. Hazrat Inayat Khan