What is Sufism?

Bektashi CalligraphySomehow—by a Power of surpassing might—we have been summoned from nonexistence into being, thrust into bodies of fine-woven stardust, and set loose on the face of a world of sky, ocean, and earth. What are we to make of this chance?

For the materialist the world is a playground in which to collect shiny trinkets. The intellectual prefers to assemble facts and build up towers of theory. The poet cares neither for trinkets nor facts, but runs after beauty.

And what is the Sufi’s quest?

The Sufi seeks the presence, in this world, of the One from whom the world has come. The Sufi remembers that we are not here for ourselves, but for the One to whom we belong.

To remember this is to lay down one’s worries and grudges, and uplift one’s gaze to the One who has always been, will ever be, and is, here and now, at the center of everything.

Flowing endlessly from this One the Sufi discovers a force, an emotion, which will not fit into the narrow boxes of human language. The closest we can come to naming it is to speak of “love.”

There is no higher calling than to make one’s life a pure channel for this primal force, the compassion and yearning that has given rise to all that is. Sufism is the path of purification and remembrance by which the heart is made its vessel.