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The Message of Sufism

The essential message of Sufism, a message holding true for all sufis, is this; to remember God and serve others.

Remembrance of God

The purpose of remembering God is to focus the sufi solely on Divine Unity. To achieve such constant consciousness of God or Absolute Being, the sufi strives to let go of the consciousness of other things, to gradually forget anything other than God, until one can exclaim:

All that I’ve read and known I have forgotten:
     Only awareness of the Friend now remains constant.

Bayazid had a disciple who had remained with him for 20 years. Each time the disciple came to Bayazid the master would ask the man his name. After two decades of this, the disciple one day ventured to suggest that Bayazid was merely poking fun at him by asking his name time after time.

"My boy", replied the master, "I’m not making fun of you. It is just that only God’s Name ever comes to me, sweeping all other names from my heart. Thus, as soon as I hear your name each day, I forget it."

Service to Others

When one becomes a sufi and loves god, that person loves all beings as manifestations of God and serves them. Devotional practice, spiritual striving and ascetic discipline are all for the sake of purifying oneself, not because God needs them. Service to others, though, means service to God. A true sufi strives to make the hearts of others joyful so that god will be pleased. In effect, this means serving God. That is, if you wish to serve God, the Beloved, you must serve others:

Devotional practice has nothing to do
     with rosary, prayer-rug or robe;
The true practices of devotion
     is but serving others.

Thus, in summary, the sincere sufi is one who inwardly remembers God while outwardly serving others.

Article taken from Sufi Journal, Issue 57, 2003

Other Articles in this Category

  • Who is a Sufi?

    The sufi is a lover of God, and like any other lover, he proves his love by constant remembrance of his Beloved. This constant attention to God has two effects: One outward and the other inward.
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  • Sufism Today

    In view of the common misunderstandings that exist today regarding Sufism, Dr. Javad Nirbakhsh decided it would be appropriate to provide some clarification of certain fundamental points. People should be aware that Sufism today differs considerably from that of a thousand years ago.
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  • Sincerity

    The capital of the Path is, in truth, nothing other than sincerity. Sincerity has been defined as 'showing yourself as you really are' and 'being inwardly what you show yourself to be'.
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  • Love

    All human beings during their lives experience love and friendship to some extent. Human love can be classified into three basic categories according to its intensity, quality and limitations.
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