The True Mehdi Issue 03 - March | Page 6

SPOTLIGHT SPOTLIGHT WHAT IS SUFISM? A common misconception in the Western world is that Sufism is an unorthodox branch of Islam - meaning it is not generally accepted by the mainstream practitioners of the religion. S ome sects of Islam, such as Wahhabism, declare the Sufis to be heretics or allege that Sufis have made drastic, unauthorised innovations (bidd’ah) in the religion. However, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. Sufism has existed since the inception of Islam. In fact, it is very much a crucial part of the religion, without which a Muslim could not fully adopt the teachings of Prop het Mohammad (the Prophet of Islam). His Divine Eminence Gohar Shahi reveals that every Grand Messenger was granted two types of knowledge. One type of knowledge, the exoteric knowledge, was for the common public; the second type, esoteric knowledge, was confined to the elite of the religion. Those who only adopted exoteric knowledge were prone to losing their faith easily. Those who were recipients of Prophet Mohammad’s esoteric knowledge were marked in history as great saints of God. Abdul Qadir Jilani, Nizamuddin Auliya, Mevlana Rumi, Shams Tabrez, Mujaddid 6 THE TRUE MEHDI • ISSUE 03 • MAR 2017 Alif Thani, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Bayazid Bastami, Rabia Basri, Baba Farid, Bulleh Shah, Data Ali Hajweri and Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti are all examples of people who learnt the esoteric knowledge. The exoteric knowledge of Islam deals with societal conduct, your rights and responsibilities to others and the rituals of the religion. It is to do with the cleanliness of the exterior. This outer aspect of Islam is known as Sharia (the religious law). Sufism, the inner knowledge, has to do with connecting man with God through the enlightenment of the souls within you. In the Koran (the holiest scripture in Islam), there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the revival and enlightenment of the heart in order to become a true believer (Momin). It asserts that should God guide anyone, he guides them through the Spiritual Heart. [KORAN 18:14] Muslims also believe that the Koran was revealed unto the heart of Prophet Mohammad. [KORAN 2:197] Furthermore, numerous traditions of Prophet Mohammad mention the importance of the Spiritual Heart for seekers of God. 1 Read what Islam has to say about the Spiritual Heart in ‘Sufism: The Knowledge of the Heart’ on page 15. 1 THE TRUE MEHDI • ISSUE 03 • MAR 2017 7