by Zakarya Anwar
In this article I wish to explain two simple things:
What is the way of the Sufi?
And what it means to be a Sufi Master?
The way of the Sufi is the path to achieving spiritual perfection through the alteration of oneself. This is done so that one can draw near to Allah, who is perfect. Therefore, by striving to achieve Spiritual Perfection, one draws nearer to Allah.
And so it is, that the Primary goal of Sufism is to transgress the barriers of ones self, to achieve the highest form of Spiritual wealth rather than that of this world.
The speed that one travels along ‘the way of Sufism' depends upon the amount of love ones heart holds for our divine creator, Allah-the Lord of the Worlds.
Sheikh Jalal Uddin Rumi, a leading poet of the thirteenth century, and a true Master of the Sufi way, once said, “A man's heart is like a piece of rusted iron. Leave it as it is and it will rust more, but if one places it in a furnace and tempers, purifies and polishes the iron, it will reflect the ‘unseen'.”
To reflect the love of Allah in ones heart - this is what it means to be a Sufi Master. To further your understanding upon the subject of Tasawwuf, or ‘The Sufi Way', I will relate to you a story written by Sheikh Rumi.
Long ago, the people of the lands of China and Greece came to a Sultan. The Chinese wanted to show their skills in art and said to the Sultan, “O Sultan, we are the greatest artists.” The Greeks however, did not agree, and they replied, “How can this be when we have greater skill and aesthetic sense?” The Sultan set them a challenge to settle the matter, putting each in a room, with only a curtain separating one group from the other.
The Chinese asked the Sultan for a hundred different colors, gold and silver, and jewels and gems of every kind. The Greeks on the other hand asked only for polish diligently. When both groups had finished, the Sultan entered the Chinese room. He stared at the paintings they had painted. He was awed by the sight.
The Greeks are the Sufi's who, without formal studying, have cleaned their souls of petty feelings, such as hate, greed, lust and envy. (Taken from Masnavi 1:3467-84)
This extract (loosely translated to make it simpler to understand) perfectly emphasizes on the analogy of the forging of ‘spiritual iron', as mentioned above.
I conclude this article by saying, that one must fight a spiritual battle against one's self or ones ego, in order to walk the Way of the Sufi. The going will be tough and the hardships will be many in number, but if one prays for help and guidance from the Creator of the Worlds, then if Allah Taa'la wills, this guidance and help will come in all its majesty and beauty, then only will you be truly successful. This, in essence, is what it means to be a ‘Sufi Master'.