Essential Sufism
The definitive compendium of Sufi wisdom, 'Essential Sufism' draws together more than three hundred fables, poems and prayers that reveal the luminous spirit of Islamic mysticism. Embracing all eras and highlighting the many faces of Sufism, this collection provides a matchless overview of the complex, rich traditional that has touched a dozen cultures and endured for more than fifteen hundred years.Selected works from ancient prophets and sages to contemporary Sufi poets and teachers – including Ibn, Arabi, al-Ghazzali, Hafiz, Attar, Koranic writers, and, of course, the enduringly popular Rumi – make up a delectable feast of writings that will be treasured by devoted Sufi lovers as it will stir the souls of newcomers to this mystical, passionate faith."A treasure of jewels in the tradition of Sufi soul-work. I really love and value this book."COLEMAN BARKS, author of 'The Essential Rumi'

Essential Sufism Details

TitleEssential Sufism
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 17th, 1999
PublisherHarperOne
ISBN006251475X
ISBN-139780062514752
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreReligion, Islam, Philosophy, Spirituality, Nonfiction, History

Essential Sufism Review

  • Dina Salaymeh
    January 14, 2015
    There is an Arabic saying that goes: "The neighborhood piper is never perceived as gleeful!". I'm afraid that the western world has benefited from the Sufi well of wisdom far more than the Islamic world has, for the last century at least. It's such a shame that we don't see the value of the knowledge of all those holy men and women as much as we should. Unfortunately we are busy labeling, judging and separating while missing the true essence of Islamic spirituality in a time that we need it most There is an Arabic saying that goes: "The neighborhood piper is never perceived as gleeful!". I'm afraid that the western world has benefited from the Sufi well of wisdom far more than the Islamic world has, for the last century at least. It's such a shame that we don't see the value of the knowledge of all those holy men and women as much as we should. Unfortunately we are busy labeling, judging and separating while missing the true essence of Islamic spirituality in a time that we need it most. Many of us label these saints as weak, emotional, passive and sometimes even as heretics at the extreme. I believe that it is a necessity today for us to return to the beautiful essence of our beautiful religion of love stripping naked of creeds, schools of thought, and beliefs. This book was given to me as a gift from a dear friend who got it for me from Europe, and here I am a few miles away from Mecca reading this beautiful collection of gems and treasures that flew to my hands all the way from Munich, Germany. This alone is astonishing and requires contemplation!
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  • Natalie Pavlis
    January 29, 2014
    "For one moment sink into the ocean of God, and do not suppose that one hair of your head shall be moistened by the water of the seven seas." Hafiz
  • Ian Banker
    June 2, 2015
    I picked up this book from a library not thinking much of it, but it was a great and very insightful read. It did seem a little dull at times, mostly due to my small attention span, but the book does require a little bit of effort to get through. It shows a very interesting take on not only Islam, but Mysticism as a whole. The book touches on virtually all aspects of Sufism. It's virtues, it's practices, it's views on God, Satan, Death, How one should know God, etc. An example of the insight thi I picked up this book from a library not thinking much of it, but it was a great and very insightful read. It did seem a little dull at times, mostly due to my small attention span, but the book does require a little bit of effort to get through. It shows a very interesting take on not only Islam, but Mysticism as a whole. The book touches on virtually all aspects of Sufism. It's virtues, it's practices, it's views on God, Satan, Death, How one should know God, etc. An example of the insight this book has to offer is that of their views on Satan. In the Judaeo-Christian (though mainly Christian) sense, Satan is seen as this terrible being that want's to undermine humankind and to tempt us and stray us from our path, as we are what made him the fallen angel he is. Thus it is our duty as humans to resist temptations. Sufis would say that because god is all powerful, Satan could not have said that he would not bow down to humans had god not told him to, and even though there is no possibility of him ever regaining his former status, he loves god, and challenges us to strive to our fullest. Satan is a necessary stepping stone for Humankind to triumph over, and that is his purpose in life. This kind of outlook resembles that of Buddhism more than it does the other two main monotheistic religions. That is what I find so intriguing about it. It resembles the doctrines of other mystical religions, but shares the core and fundamental beliefs of one of the most (from a western perspective anyway) non-mystical and controversial religions. As a belief, I love a lot of what it is saying (despite the fact that I may disagree with some things it says) and I think that from whatever religious background you come from, something can be learned from this book. Absolutely Amazing.
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  • Mohammad Ali Abedi
    August 1, 2013
    This book was excellent. It contained quotations from Sufi sages separated into different topics. I never finished the book and the story for not finishing it itself was in a way Sufi in itself.I am a member of Couchsurfing.com, a site devoted to bringing travelers together in a form of host-guest relationship. If you are traveling to any country, contact a member and ask to stay in their place. A great idea with a brilliant philosophy behind it! I opened my home to two travelers, a Hungarian an This book was excellent. It contained quotations from Sufi sages separated into different topics. I never finished the book and the story for not finishing it itself was in a way Sufi in itself.I am a member of Couchsurfing.com, a site devoted to bringing travelers together in a form of host-guest relationship. If you are traveling to any country, contact a member and ask to stay in their place. A great idea with a brilliant philosophy behind it! I opened my home to two travelers, a Hungarian and a Czech. The Hungarian, David, had an interesting story behind his travel. He was in his early thirties and had a life that society would consider successful. Educated, high-paying job, a strong relationship with his girlfriend, good friends, but something was gnawing him. He wasn’t satisfied. He decided to give it all up and go on a five year global journey. It took him five months to reach Tehran from Europe, because he’d take his time, mainly walking or taking rides, but never taking planes. I hosted him for a day, and we talked till late, exchanging stories and philosophies. The next day, David and his friend, packed, took their traveling walking stick, and headed out. They slept on Friday and left on Saturday so when I was coming back from work on Saturday, I noticed David immersed in the book. So I gifted it to him, hoping that the words from Sufi masters gives him solace during his travels and helps him find whatever he is seeking.
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  • Minci (Ayurveda) Ahmetovic
    November 13, 2016
    There are 100s of ways to kiss the ground With Sufis mode of knowing God is intuitive rather than factual. Object of religious life is not altered states but altered traits of character. God consciousness is incomplete until integrated with daily life. The strongest emotion in heart is love much in society represses it. Sufism is a way of love/devotion/knowledge. fasting is a difficult practice intended to help M remain aware of the conflicting forces of lower/higher natures. God sent humanity h There are 100s of ways to kiss the ground With Sufis mode of knowing God is intuitive rather than factual. Object of religious life is not altered states but altered traits of character. God consciousness is incomplete until integrated with daily life. The strongest emotion in heart is love much in society represses it. Sufism is a way of love/devotion/knowledge. fasting is a difficult practice intended to help M remain aware of the conflicting forces of lower/higher natures. God sent humanity here to earth to learn. We can find within ourselves all that we need/want. God placed wisdom seeds in humanity. There are winds which may blow candle out. If you have a lantern with glass protecting the flame candle will continue to burn safely. Various prophets/spiritual teachers are like light bulbs-illuminate a room. When you serve the created you serve the CreatorTo find your way in the desert you need to know it intimately, or need a guide who knows the destination/is familiar with the local landmarks. When you serve one of God`s servants you serve G. Best of human beings - the one useful to others.The lowest self, is dominated by pride, egotism and totally self-centered greed/lust leads away from Thruth it is the ego or lower personality made of impulses, drives to satisfy desires they dominate reason or judgement and are defined by forces in ones nature- the highest level is pure self - at this level there is no duality no separation from God.The self comes from interaction of body and soul., Arabic term for breath, soul, essence and nature.At level of commanding self, people are like addicts who are in denial. Their lives are dominated by negative traits and habits. Regretful Self - people who have not developed beyond the first level are unaware/unconscious. As the light of faith grows, insight dawns. Battle between self, lower self and the soul continues through life. Question is who will educate whom?Inspired Self, what is essential here is to live in terms of higher values. Person who is at this stage seems to be emotionally mature/respectable/respected. Self Pleasing to God means inner marriage of self/soul. At earlier stages people struggle with the world because they experience multiplicity. Broken mirror creates thousand different reflections of a single image. If the mirror could be whole again, it would then reflect single, unified image. If you could get rid of yourself just once, the secret of secrets would open to you. The face of the unknown hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception.It might be possible to diagnose onself,treat simple problems one cannot operate on onself. In the West, seekers are often attracted to those who write/speak beautifully about great truths. Teaching is in itself an expression of Divine will. Common Sufi metaphor for patience is that of ripened fruit. None of us know how much time we have. Death is inevitable, everyone dies. Remembering that one will live more consciously/responsibly. No one knows when the time will come. To be a dervish means to be a lump of sifted earth, with a little water sprinkled on top. It means to be something that neither harms the soles of the feet nor leaves the trail of dust behindSufis only discipline those desires in discordance with the religious life/dictates of sound reasonSufi way is a path seeking the Divine while still being actively engaged in the worldEngagement provides opportunities for spiritual growth/practice love/awareness/generosity, non-attachment.One of the greatest services we can perform is to help heal injured hearts of others. Our hands are made to lift up those who have fallen to wipe tears of those who are suffering from the trials of this world.World is like a scrim a temporary creation beyond which can be seen the stage on which at another time other players will be mounted and other actors will performEach time we pierce a veil, we come a little closer to our own spiritual center - each time a painted image deludes us we drift farther away from ourselvesTask for Sufi: develop ability to recognize/remember Thruth 2.help others to do the same. Look to what you do, for that is what you are worth, true labor means neither fasting nor prayerPrecondition is to know yourself. He who does not know cannot find, and he who does not find cannot be.Soul should take care of the body just as the pilgrim on his way to Mecca takes care of his camelOne necessity is when man is awake he will have the means to profit by his wakefulnessKingdom of God is what there is to win, that is within. Kindness to evil men is like injury to good men so you just take consequences.Men whose hearts are changed by money are not learned.Everything in the world of existence has an end and a goal. The end is maturity the goal is freedom. Completing the circle of existence is freedom.Do not buy the enmity of one man for the love of a thousand menFollow a sin with a good deedThis world is a place of preparation where one is given many lessons and passes many tests. Choose less over more in it. Be satisfied with what you have even if it is less than others have - in fact prefer to have less.What is bad is what you do with world when you become blind to truth and totally consumed by your desires, lust and ambition for it. The goods of this world are not harmful in themselves but only when you let them render your forgetful, disobedient and unaware of Lord. SELF-DECEPTION AND SELF-KNOWLEDGEThe places to which we ourselves are blind are often visible to others astonishingly.Sword of self-knowledge, the ability to see onself clearly, spans the abyss of ignorance. Below are the swirling fires of ego while fogs of delusion and self-deception flow in from every side. In spite of the dangers, there is guidance... those who have gone before have left signposts teachings and writings that instruct us in ways that awaken, train capacity to remember, enable us to hold ourselves correctly as we move towards the light.Teachers serves student, not by holding his hand and walking the across a chasm, but by supporting rediscovery of that part of ourselves that knows where to put our feet.Helping us to reconnect with our inner wisdom. The highest function of the soul is perception of the truth.People ignore the fact that the law does not tell us to uproot these passions but to restrain them within due limits (anger, lust, hypocrisy), by avoiding the great sins, we may obtain forgiveness of the smaller ones. Nafs is used in sense which incites to wrongdoing egotism/selfishness/greed/unending desire for more things/arrogance/conceit.Lower self is a process created by interaction of the soul/body. They are pure and blameless in themselves. When our soul becomes embodied we forget our self-nature, we become attached to this world and develop qualities as greed, lust and pride. If we were of s single mind, there would be no struggle. But our minds are split. Even when we are convinced of what is right, our lower self tries to get us to do the opposite. Even when we see clearly, our lower self leads us to forget. Your lower self is that dragon/savage/bloody tyrant. It is not dead, merely frozen. Keep it in the snow of self-discipline. Let it remain dormant. Should it be released, it will devour youFor Sufis, God is found in the world, this world does not stand between us and God unless we put it there. Everything in this world can remind us of God. All the world`s beauty reminds us of supreme Artist. Love around us, parents/children/lovers is a sign of Beloved. Beduin: If you see the tracks of a camel in the desert do you have to wait to see camel itself before believing it exists?All that we behold and perceive by our senses bears undeniable witness to God existence: stone/clod/plants/tress/living creatures/heavens/earth/stars, dry land/ocean. We are chief witness to Him. As the bat sees only at night/cannot see in the daytime bc of sight weakness dazzled by the light human mind is too weak to behold full glory of Divine Majesty. Someone who truly trusts in God plants seeds in the belly of this earth, than puts his affairs in the hand Sustainer. Do what you should do when you should do it. Refuse to do what you should not do. When it is not clear wait until you are sure. How can we learn from mistakes until we are wise enough to look at them clearly? Humility/self-awareness are among the prerequisites to wisdom. Action:final essential component of the wisdom. Knowledge not acted upon is merely a collection of facts.When we act on our knowledge, we open ourselves to wisdom.Asking good questions is half of learning.True knowledge comes from the light of certainty by which God enlightens the heart. Then you will behold the spiritual world and by the power of that light all the veils between you and that world will be removed. Possessors/seekers of knowledge are the only two group of any use to humanity.Wealth and poverty are divine gifts. Wealth is corrupted by forgetfulness poverty by greed.He whose reason prevails over his passions is higher than the angels and he whose passion prevails over his reason is lower than the beast.Seek thruth you will find it in yourself, therefore know yourself. Seek the company of the wise. Agree with what they say for one understands only that with which one agrees. Be sincere in what you say. No deceit or fraud should enter your thoughts. Do not belittle anyone/anything, everyone in inner being wishes for the same thing. Do not touch anything that is not yours. Avoid crowded places. Even in such places try to be yourself That is the place where thruth is manifested. Your currency on this Path is resolution/faith. You are taught according to it. When you come asking sugar they examine your bag to see what its capacity is and they measure accordingly. Guard heart from heedlessness protect your lower self from desires, your intellect from ignorance, you will be admitted into the company of the vigilant. It is a duty for everyone to seek knowledge - knowledge of yourself.These sayings provide another reminder that real wisdom is timeless. Divine breezes from your Lord waft through the days of your life. Listen - be aware of them.The first stage of worship is silence.Bring goodness and high principles among people.Wish for others what you wish for yourself. Success will follow patience, opening will follow hardship, ease will follow difficulties.Be pious in your inner self and outer life.The most ignorant among you is the one who does not learn from the changes in the world.Follow truthfulness even if you think it may harm you, it never harms but instead saves.Generations before you were destroyed because they declined to punish the powerful thieves yet they were relentless in punishing small pickpockets.Avoid noise, excessive talking, too many questions/answers, wasting your wealth.6 conditions so that I may promise you paradise: be thrutful, do not break promises, return whatever you are given to safeguard, keep yourself from impure friendships, keep your eyes from unfair glances, your hands from worthless actions.God! guide us to equilibrium...True wealth is not abundance in property but a generous heart.Whenever God loves a devotee he subjects him to ordeals. Should he endure patiently, He singles him out. Should he be content, God purifies him. "I was a hidden treasure. I longed to be known., so I created all of creation"LOVE AND OPEN HEARTWe all had spiritual experiences, perhaps have not had always words for these experiences so we may not have recognized them for what they were.It may that during times of spiritual experiences, we are most truly ourselves. We have placed in you a substance, a seeking, a yearning. We are watching over it, and will not let it be lost but will bring it to the destined place. The sight of someone eating will not appease your hunger. The spiritual experience of others cannot satisfy your yearning. OPENING THE HEART/CONTEMPLATION AND KNOWLEDGEOpening the heart means coming closer to God. "I who cannot be fit into universes, fit into the heart of sincere believer" The heart is the temple that can house God. When you go out, He will come in. Within you, when you are free from yourself He will show his beauty. Do not sell the skin of a bear before you caught the bear.The fool does more harm through his ignorance, than do the wicked through their wickednessHow to attain to spiritual heights: whitening the heart, by prayers and by not darkening papers by writing. You found fault with his pronunciation but ignored the purity/excellence of his heart. We cherish a contrite heart much more than correct pronunciation of words. Body until its end is in continuous transformation whereas the spirit never changes. It cannot be identified with anything else other than the body in which it inhabits. There is no identification without appearance. It is essential for the spirit to have a form. Yet if the spirit becomes fully identified with a specific body it cannot return to its origin. Little of what we think we know intellectually can be used to bake Divine Bread.When one is lifted out of the sleep of forgetfulness one knows that there is something far beyond the food that satisfies intellectual hunger, that transcends desire to know ingredients in a loaf of bread or the number of fat grams in a serving of butter.It takes a while longer before the full extent of the miracle that has happened to me today becomes accessible to my conscious knowledge as well.Whatever we wish to know well we must love. Study without love leads to shallow superficial understanding - real mastery comes from love. The one who was burned by the soup blows on yogurt. Whatever our past hurts and fears of future pain, we must learn to love again. We also fear love because it may transform us.You may try a hundred things but love alone will release you from yourself. So never flee from love - not even from love in an earthly guise.Love is to see what is good and beautiful in everything. It is to learn from everything, to see gifts of God and His generosity in everything. To be thankful for His bounties. Be the captive of love in order to be truly free from coldness and worship of self. Although you may attempt to do hundreds of things in this world, only love will give you release from the bondage of yourself. God`s most effective, strongest creation is love (Rumi)Those who do not want to change let them sleep.Our Beloved is with us, but this world cuts us off from Him. You can give yourself first aid putting a bandage on a wound, but you cannot operate on yourself. Fundamental changes that the path requires in the student`s worldview/behaviour resemble a major operation. Very personality features that the students holds tightest to, with which he/she most strongly identifies on this level are also the ones that prevent the student from becoming fully what he/she potentially is.Rumi: It is necessary to make so great an effort that you are not left standing in order that you may recognize what it is that will remain. I seek only those who know how to reach the Thruth. Someone who draws your attention to unpleasant habit or a negative feature of your character so that you can cleanse yourself of it is like one who warns you of snake/scorpio under your robe.Open criticism incites defiance and stubborness.Maturity cannot be achieved alone. There is a need for guidance and discipline. The path is unknown and full of danger, night is dark, dangers include preoccupations with selfishness, false vision, arrest in development, fixation in particular state. Do what one teaches and do not allow one`s actions contradict one`s words. Everyone believes him/herself capable of mastering every discipline, no matter how complex, and the most simple/foolish are usually most pleased with their intellect.Do not be burden to others. Real seeker not false to himself, will always meet with thruth bc it is his own real faith, his own sincerity in ernest seeking that will become his torch.The Real One will turn the false teacher into a real teacher because Reality is greater than falsehood. Only the ignorant mistake any work for useful work.You must do as I have done - Dive into the Sea and wait patiently until you obtain your pearl. Perform duties fully, be extremely polite, well behaved everywhere and in all what you do. Be a blazing fire of thruth, be a beauteous bossom of love, and be a soothing balm of peace with your spiritual light dispel darkness of ignorance, dissolve clouds of discord/war, spread goodwill, peace and harmony, Never seek any help/charity/favours from anyone except GodDo not worry! Harvest what you can and leave the rest to Me. We are means of reaching the goal. It is necessary seekers should cut themselves away from us and think only of the goal.Find a cure for a sickness of ignorance by which you take imagination to be reality, from which you suffer all your life. Search for a cure day/night, until you feel secure from all you fear.You need to conquer your mind/desires/karmic habits/everything else besides God Almighty. Your tongue sings God`s praises, but your heart protests against His decree. Faith without prayer is beneficial-prayer without faith confers to no benefit. Holy war against our enemies: own selves, hatred, jealousy, greed. Whatever impression come up, you face it forthrightly, shining the light of your consciousness on it. approach the moment of prayer as free as possible of the past. We must always be in a state of preparation. It is art of staying awake. Sit alone in a quiet place free of any preoccupation even reciting the Koran/thinking about its meaning. Whatever you can do to make spiritual initiation/progress do it today. The disciple`s attempt to purify the heart is like the person ordered to uprrot the tree. The longer he waits to become more powerful, he leaves the tree to grow, and stronger it becomes while he only becomes weaker. Uprooting is more difficult.The sultan lives in the place of your being. Know yourself so that you will not be ashamed when you meet Him. Do not look down on anything.Know right jfrom wrong, just from unjust. The human being is built from the brick of lawful sustenance and the mortar of the advice of the wise. Be conscious. Take advice from what you see. Listen to your conscience. Talk with reason. Behave correctly even when you are by yourself. Know that the thruth is with you always everywhere. Strive not to be a storyteller, but to reach a point where others would tell stories about you. It is harmful to avoid thought of death. You have come into this world for particular task,that is your purpose.To feed arrogant with humility is like giving them poison,it only feeds their arrogance.Your mother looked out for you to live, while you are waiting for her to die.To honor My servant is to honor Me.You must be awake to the needs of moment-if we are asleep we will never know what is required of us. Everything is infused with God, a reflection of Divine. When deep inside of you there is a loaded gun how can you have God? Through rising above obstacles, we are able to rise to where he cannot go,stepping over him in our ascent to our higher nature.Devil forces us to remain awake. Would we ever have learned to walk if our parents continued to carry us everywhere? Unless we recognize transformational nature of work we need to do, we are fated to waste all our efforts. Errors are numerous in this world we may at least avoid acquiring new. Nothing goes with you except the sum of what your life has been.Richer life becomes if we are able to gain perspective beforehand.
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  • Deborah Palmer
    May 29, 2009
    Just started reading this book. I want to learn more about Sufism since it is a theme echoed over a over by Gibran, Pamuk and of course its founder the great poet Rumi. I love the concept of becoming "One with the Beloved". In my opinion Pamuk corrupts Sufism and Mystics. Orhan Pamuk’s books present a distorted view of Dervishes and Sufis, especially the novel, My Name is Red. He reduces these holy men to their baser instincts.Of course as a Christian my ultimate Spiritual Goal is to become one Just started reading this book. I want to learn more about Sufism since it is a theme echoed over a over by Gibran, Pamuk and of course its founder the great poet Rumi. I love the concept of becoming "One with the Beloved". In my opinion Pamuk corrupts Sufism and Mystics. Orhan Pamuk’s books present a distorted view of Dervishes and Sufis, especially the novel, My Name is Red. He reduces these holy men to their baser instincts.Of course as a Christian my ultimate Spiritual Goal is to become one with Jesus Christ. Over the years as I think back I believe I have found elements of Sufism in the writings of Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama and I'm sure that as I read more of Dr. Edward Said I will find it there also. Perhaps it is also in Buddhism, I must look at my Buddhist scriptures.The theme of Being One with the Beloved resonates with me as a Christian because you find this concept in the Bible. Jesus spoke that He and the Father were One. The Epistles constantly speak about being reunited with God, being more like the Father, losing yourself in Him.I'm the type of Christian who believes one can incorporate the best of other faiths without losing or rejecting one's own belief system. As I get older I lean towards to the Gospel of Inclusion. Besides on Judgement Day we will all answer to God no matter what our faith or belief.Saturday, May 30, 2009The aphorisms in this book remind me very much of the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. Proverbs is known as the book of Wisdom. I keep refering to the Bible because this is my faith and my frame of reference. As I read about the Sufis and Dervishes I think about Jesus disciples and how he sent them out to preach the gospel and heal the sick. Jesus told them to take nothing with them except the clothes on their back. I believe the scripture states that the workman is worthy of his hire. The went from town to town, house to house spreading the Good News. Whoever had ears to hear received it, those who did not Jesus told them to shake the dust off their sandals as they left that particular village. I am just speculating but maybe Rumi and other Sufis were inspired by Jesus, his disciples and the apostles.Another similarity I found was the mention of the Redemptive Names of God. Christians also have this.________________________________________Eight Redemptive Names of GodJEHOVAH-JIREH "The Lord our provider" - This is also the name Abraham gave to the place where the Lord provided a sacrifice in place of Isaac. (Gen. 22:14). JEHOVAH-NISSI "Our banner, a banner of love and protection" - Also the name Moses gave to the altar he built after defeating the Amalekites (Ex. 17:15). JEHOVAH-SHALOM"Our perfect peace" - Also the name Gideon gave to the altar he built at Ophrah (Judges 6:24) JEHOVAH-TSID-KENU"The Lord is our righteousness" - The name is applied to a future Davidic king who would lead his people to do what is right and thus bring peace (Jeremiah 23:6) and to the restored city of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:16). The name is possibly a play on the name of Zedekiah ("Righteous [is:] the Lord") who reigned from 597 to 587 B.C.. JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH"The One Who is with us everywhere for He is Omnipresent" - The Jerusalem of Ezekiel's vision (see Ezekiel 48:35 margin) was known by this name. Compare text at Isaiah 60:19-20 and Revelation 21:3. JEHOVAH-SABAOTH"The Lord of Hosts, our Protector." C.H. Spurgeon said this about the phrase "The Lord of Hosts: The Lord rules the angels, the stars, the elements, and all the hosts of Heaven; and the Heaven of heavens is under His sway... [the Lord:] is on our side -- our august Ally; woe unto those who fight against Him, for they shall flee like smoke before the wind when He gives the word to scatter them."See text at Psalm 46:7. JEHOVAH-RAAH"Our Shepherd Who tenderly leads us, loves us and will keep us safe." - the famous Psalm 23 tells us that "The Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want...." Being illustrated as a shepherd implies a relationship with His sheep (His believers). The term shepherd appears approximately 80 times in the Scriptures, denoting meanings of: feeder, keeper, companion, friend, pastor and herdsman. JEHOVAH RAPHA "I am the Lord Your Physician or I am the Lord Your Healer - this name especially was a Name God prophetically spoke about Himself, not one that someone gave Him. Exodus 15:26Sunday, May 31, 2009Just wanted to add that some of themed echo the Song of Solomon which contrasts romantic love between Solomon and his Ethiopian wife to his Love and search for God. Also in regards to mystics whether Sufi or Christian, "One cannot be so Heavenly bound that you are no earthly good". Props to my former Pastor, Rev. A.R. Bernard!!The Mystic experience can also be found heavily in the Catholic Church. There are many famous Catholic Mystics; St. Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, etc... Many Catholic Mystics have had the experience of Stigmata, actually having the wounds of Christ on their physical bodies. Some have actually a type of ecstasy something similar to an out of body experience, perhaps a suspension of natural time where one is present with the Lord. In my brief study of Eastern and Western Mysticism the Path Chooses the Believer not the Believer the Path. I think ones personality also lends itself to a mystical experience.
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  • Alex Kartelias
    January 5, 2014
    A great collection of quatations from Sufi poets and philosophers. From a perennialist perspective, there are so many parallels between Sufism and Buddhism- I don't see how Rumi and The Buddha wouldn't get along. Dealing with subjects such as teachers, praying, love, humor, daily life, death and God, the two editors pick the best quotes that show Sufism from many different perspectives. At the beginning, they go through the theory and practice of Islam, Muhammad's life and teachings and discuss A great collection of quatations from Sufi poets and philosophers. From a perennialist perspective, there are so many parallels between Sufism and Buddhism- I don't see how Rumi and The Buddha wouldn't get along. Dealing with subjects such as teachers, praying, love, humor, daily life, death and God, the two editors pick the best quotes that show Sufism from many different perspectives. At the beginning, they go through the theory and practice of Islam, Muhammad's life and teachings and discuss its relationship to Sufism. Each section is introduced by the authors, giving a clear explanation to a 21st century western audience. I personally like Rumi's, Muhammad's, Al- Ghazzali's and Attar's words- definetly hit home. Wether you're a Muslim, Christian or skeptic, I think everyone will find something enlightening about the wisdom of the Sufi's.
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  • So Hakim
    January 24, 2015
    Basically a quotebook. Nuggets of wisdom from who's who in Islamic mysticism including the Prophet, Caliph Ali, to latter figures like Rumi, Rabia, and Al-Ghazali.As someone who has been reading a bit about mysticism, including those of Christian Desert Fathers, it's odd how two religions often clashed (viz. Islam & Christianity) actually speak identical language. Mystical language, that is. Obviously not ritually and theologically -- they are worlds apart. In term of communing with God, tho Basically a quotebook. Nuggets of wisdom from who's who in Islamic mysticism including the Prophet, Caliph Ali, to latter figures like Rumi, Rabia, and Al-Ghazali.As someone who has been reading a bit about mysticism, including those of Christian Desert Fathers, it's odd how two religions often clashed (viz. Islam & Christianity) actually speak identical language. Mystical language, that is. Obviously not ritually and theologically -- they are worlds apart. In term of communing with God, though, sometimes a Dervish's quote sounds like what could be uttered by Coptic monk. Fruits of the same tree...
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  • Bobby
    December 14, 2007
    Great Book for people who aren't slave bound to a specific creed. The author is rather luring as he provocatively sheds light on Sufism. The book profiles the important teachers, artists, and philosophers of Sufism. It also goes on to explore the basic traditions and the history of Sufi through traditional poems, texts, prayers, proverbs, essays, and meditation. And finally the exploration of the relationship between sufism to modern Islam. Very clear and concise, and easily understood.Share thi Great Book for people who aren't slave bound to a specific creed. The author is rather luring as he provocatively sheds light on Sufism. The book profiles the important teachers, artists, and philosophers of Sufism. It also goes on to explore the basic traditions and the history of Sufi through traditional poems, texts, prayers, proverbs, essays, and meditation. And finally the exploration of the relationship between sufism to modern Islam. Very clear and concise, and easily understood.Share this review Edit this review
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  • Michael Graber
    September 26, 2011
    What a treasure trove of wisdom and inspiration. Sufi saints, poets, mystics, and scholars are gathered and grouped in themed categories by two renowned therapists who are also practicing Sufis. The authors set the stage for each category so well that you sense your whole being must listen. This book is great for both curious gazers as well as those far down the Sufi path.
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  • Ron Krumpos
    July 4, 2014
    "Essential Sufism" is one of the books in the primary bibliography of my free ebook on comparative mysticism. "The greatest achievement in life" at suprarational.org/gail2012.pdf has been reviewed on Goodreads.James Fadiman has actively participated in my email forum for professors who teach mysticism at universities on six continents.
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  • Akshay
    September 5, 2015
    Unconventional in its approach, the book is a nice introduction to sufi philosophy through thoughts, poetry and fables from leading figures including Rumi. Categorization and important notes provides well laid narrative to various intellectuals and their ideas, with seemingly numerous parallels from other religions. A compact but good read on mysticism and binding of some great thoughts.
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  • Mona
    July 2, 2014
    It is a wonderful book about Sufism and all its fundamental.I learned a lot plus I felt this book cleaned my soul and show me the real meaning of how to love God and how to show him your lovenothing worth to live for than to have faith to God and he will show you his love and the shining of his glory.
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  • Michael
    January 3, 2009
    All-purpose Sufi wisdom. There are some great sufi parables in here and the book suprisingly contained a lot of humor. I guess to laugh, is also a sufi trait. Favorite parable in book is the one about the man who sought the three greatest pleasures in life, the sufi response was eating, drinking and breaking wind.
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  • Cairo Hamdy
    June 2, 2016
    When I was flipping through it at the bookstore, I was honestly a little disappointed at first. I had thought that the way of writing would be a little different. However, when I actually began reading the book itself, I came to love it. The content was interesting and I was able to understand certain aspects of Sufism better. Great book! :)
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  • Jennifer
    February 22, 2013
    I read this for a Religion class in college. It is a great introduction to Sufism. The book is divided into sections and definitely does not have to be read in order. It is full of good quotes and parables. I, like many other reviewers, was surprised by how funny I found some of the passages. Overall a great book.
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  • Imran
    June 26, 2007
    Each chapter starts with classic (most of them) calligraphy whose beauty is a prelude for the wonderful quotes. The only reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars is because you have to have some knowledge to remove the orthodox from unorthodox quotes.
  • Susannah
    May 13, 2009
    Like the introduction says I must agree - this is material too rich to gorge on - but great for a bit of "daily snacking." The Buddhist philosophy stretched my mind, it was profoundly intellectual. This stuff warms my heart, and, challenges my little head too.
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  • Trisha Keiman
    March 5, 2009
    This is a great book to educate oneself on sufism. It gives all the fables, poems and prayers and also introduces you to the ancient prophets and sages as well as sufi poets and teachers like hafiz and attar and the all famous rumi. My favorite.
  • Pamela Sloss
    October 4, 2012
    This is a great book which provides the reader an introduction to Sufism. The book provides wisdom and parables that will enhance any open-minded reader's life. This books makes the reader reflect. It's a great addition to a scholarly collection.
  • Omar Qureshi
    September 3, 2014
    The actual translations of Sufi work were outstanding. The prose that preceded them was generally uninformative.
  • Wyatt Walton
    October 2, 2013
    A wonderful book full of inspiration. Great for anyone needing guidance, a few laughs(there is a "comedy" chapter), and restoration.
  • Shauli Chaudhuri
    January 26, 2013
    Not really the essentials but a good book of quotes that sheds some (few) light on Sufism
  • Omar
    June 8, 2009
    lovely book, bits of quotes..
  • Cat
    December 2, 2010
    one of my absolute favorites!!
  • Ruta Juzulenaite
    December 31, 2014
    beautifull collection of inspired art- and good example how faith can be inspirational, not destructive
  • Nesma Malaika
    January 8, 2016
    Enjoyed reading this book. It's filled with beautiful quotes that fill you with inner peace and humility.
  • Maitha Alhosani
    April 3, 2016
    Due to my Sufism course I had to read several books related to Sufism and this one is definitely my favorite.
  • Nisma
    March 23, 2011
    Enlightning ! :-)
  • Karen
    April 20, 2012
    A good little book of quotes on Sufism. It's entertaining as well as informing. A good start for learning about the Sufi religion.
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