Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Behind the Veil of Perception

This life has often been described as the journey of our eternal soul in a human body. It is short. So short that you can be holding on to the rope of life, content that it will continue to support your weight, only to suddenly find it being snatched from your very grip in a sudden pull, leaving you to fall in the abyss of death. Yet that is why life is so beautiful. And so precious. Because it offers us an unknown limited time to discover it’s purpose. Before the flashing lights inform a dazed audience that the game is over.

One always likes to talk about things that are close to their heart. I am not an Islamic religious scholar or an authority on Sufism. I am just another human being, fascinated by the mysteries of the universe. Another human being who in the pursuit of truth came across this treasure. Another human being whose soul was touched by the raw beauty in its teachings. And another human being who likes to share what has been a source of inspiration for them with anyone who cares to listen. Hoping it will bring a smile to their lips and light the flame of hope in their heart.
I was talking with someone with regards to this concept. They had come to pay their respect and offer their condolence regarding the passing away of my beloved mother. On enquiring how I was dealing with the pain, I told them I found peace when I read about the Sufi stream of Islam and its emphasis on Divine love or love for Allah. The person became notably perplexed, and without thinking spluttered out, ‘Sufism? Don’t tell me you have started drugs.’

Needless to say, I was offended. Indignant even. Then I realized. It’s not really their fault. The person seemed genuinely concerned. And the first thing that had come in to their mind was the cultural perception of Sufism in our society. Images conjured of people swirling around, lost in the rhythm of hypnotic beats, shabbily clad in green with numerous strings of beads around their necks, who had made shrines their second homes. Rumors, which maybe holding some truth, of how they relied on smoking drugs in order to reach their state of trance, in a way to find their pathway to the higher self that is God. Instances of how such ignorance may lead to drug abuse, leading to the person inevitably falling in the wrong path. The list can go on.
I am no one to judge another. And neither are you. The ability to judge lies with Allah. Because only He can see inside the soul of what that person may be going through, or the influences that may have lead him to that path. Maybe it is a path chosen by the soul in order to learn an important lesson in this life. Who knows. So I will refrain to comment on these people who are popularly becoming associated as ‘Sufis’. I will instead try to enlighten from my very humble source of knowledge what I believe to be the true aspect of Sufism.

The beauty of Sufism lies in its purity. It is the desire to understand the path leading to Allah, and knowing that the best way to get there is through Divine love and devotion. When someone is in love, they think about their beloved all the time, and there is a sincere desire to attain it. This is my simplified interpretation of the logic behind Sufism. Yet, to understand the beauty of Sufism, one had to learn from the master Sufi poet himself. One has to take a glimpse in to the treasure chest of the priceless words of the great Maulana Jalalludin Rumi.
Rumi highlights the beauty of Sufism with such intensity that it has at times the power to blind you with its light. Rumi shows how though we are always on the search for Allah, Allah is actually always with us.

The beauty of life lies in its multifaceted perception. I will reiterate, I am no Islamic scholar or even an authority on Sufism. Yet I am someone who highly respects and honors the purity of the Sufi stream of Islam. And I write this as a message so that my society can understand the beauty of Sufism lies in its purity. That to understand it, we should look at the Sufi masters such as Rumi. Sufism is too pure a path, too beautiful a truth and too sacred a view to be confused with cultural perceptions of drugs.

God bless.


  1. the beauty of sufisim is that it doesnt encourage people to blow themselves and others up!

  2. That too =b Although honestly no stream of Islam encourages that...it's just the weird crazy wrong interpretation by some fundamentalists. Hope they realize the truth in our religion some how, some day...

  3. I agree with Surreallist here. It's not Islam which teaches that but those who so-called 'practice it'.
    And sufism is so badly misunderstood.

    Follow button kidar hai?

  4. Hey Nas, thanks for dropping by my blog and for sharing your views on the subject. And I see you have also figured out where the follow button is =)

  5. I love the expression in your writing, your descrption of sufiism is so intense and thoughtful.

    Sufism has always been my inspiration and I and my cousin always ha debate on this topic as he has a ponit of view that sufism is not part of our DEEN as we are no where told in Quran to follow that path:S And I always keep defending... (do let me know if you figure out any quote from Quran, and tht is not for my belief but to shut mouths of others).

    And may your mom's soul rest in peace. For sure she will be with you for the rest of your life.

  6. Thank you Sibte for your prayers for mom, and also for liking my writing style. I will definitely let you know about any quotes I come across. Try reading Rumi, his teachings may help you get a better knowledge about Sufism which you can then hopefully share with your cousin, and maybe eventually inspire him to see the beauty in the concept of Divine love. InshAllah.

  7. Subjective lives create subjective minds which never have objective ability to judge each other. But most of them believes in they are objective enough to do this. What a pity that none of us, without exception, have ability to see reality as itself. Life is objective as much as black and white but we are blind and not intelligent enough to realise that single truth…

    With that perspective there is no shame to accept that something is your drug. Everyone has a drug, which is neither chemical nor physical, to cure their mind and to protect mental stability. Some are strong enough to make themselves even happy with it… absolute happy. For some i t is a piece of belief/faith, for another it is a piece of love… maybe hidden in a melody, in a painting, in a prayer or maybe even in a flower at back of garden.

    Off course, it is not good to see only “white side” of the world. But it is definitely necessary to not to see “black side” of few things. This unique personal drug even protects person from realising the “black side” of several crucial things and boosts the essence of happiness.

    One I had believed that realising the “black side” of everything and living without this personal drug is a proof of a strong intellectual mind. But I was wrong, since it is just a curse… reality itself…

  8. None of us have the ability to see reality as it 'self' because reality is created through our perceptions and hence it is different for each and every one of us. There is no absolute concept of reality. It can be subjective or objective. We have the power to choose how we want it to be.

    I agree with you Sorrow on everyone having a drug. You have put this concept beautifully. However it is when we try to stereotype drugs and associate it with something pure unnecessarily, then it becomes wrong. This again is an opinion and a perception, my view. I do like the idea of everyone having a drug that you suggested, and honestly I believe it's very true...

    Regarding life being black and white, life is full of colors too. Start seeing them and maybe reality will change from a curse in to a blessing. I definitely hope so =)