Make your own free website on

The Object and Moral of Worship of the Sufi

Hazrat Inayat Khan

The object of worship of the Sufi is beauty, the moral of the Sufi is harmony and the goal of the Sufi is love in all its aspects, human and divine. The personality of the mystic, called in Sufi terms, "Aklak Allah", or Divine manner, is in the attunement of thought and action to the highest pitch of the soul. It is a manner free from pride, inspiring Godliness in all expression.

To a question regarding the speculative theory of reincarnation, according to which reincarnation is repeated numerous times till reaching perfection, the Sufi response could be formulated as follows:
When a seed is planted, after the blossoming of the plant, new seeds come forth and the same process repeats itself time and time. The seed is always one of the same species, yet it is never the same seed which was originally planted; and what is more, each seed is also indirectly the source of innumerable others. Therefore, one could not call this process reincarnation of an individual seed.

Is one a machine or an engineer? If a machine, one then lingers on for ever in mechanical irresponsibility. If an engineer, one becomes master of one's destiny, in which case one is responsible for any deeds that might weigh as heavy burdens on one's conscience.

Heaven and hell are the worlds of one's own conscience, and that which survives in the hereafter are those same worlds which we ourselves have created within ourselves here on this dense earth, where the laws of cause and effect are solid reality.

The Sufi understanding of the hereafter is best illustrated as being a gradual recognition of the illusory nature of all the experiences accumulated here on earth, through which the soul gains more and more clarity of consciousness, like a mirror upon which impressions have multiplied, yet the images have only reflected the surface without engraving any permanent image, leaving the mirror of the soul immaculate and pure.

Behind the rose lies its past, and ever since the seeds were first produced, the heritage which the rose reflects in fragrance and colour has been preserved. Although there might be another flower in the same garden, under the same sun and in the same air, yet its fragrance and colour are different. In the same way, spirituality expresses itself in different ways and different terms, although all mystics are inspired by one and the same truth. It is lack of understanding of this ideal of unity which has given rise to religious differences, and these have been the cause of battles fought throughout the ages.

Why does one seek for happiness when happiness in reality is one's own being? One seeks because one is still under the illusion of the false self. One often confuses truth with fact, but truth is of such a nature that it eventually uproots fact, which is often only illusion. If truth were so small as to be contained within the limitation of words, it could not be called truth.

All things appear different, depending on the angle from which they are considered, being only true to a certain extent in comparison to ultimate truth, which is beyond all speculative theory. When awakened from a dream one might be sorry for not having known the end of the story, and wish to go on dreaming. Similarly, in life, the intoxication of one's activities can be so enslaving that one easily overlooks their pointless nature.

Any role that we play as actor in the game of life soon becomes an intoxication. One clings to the illusion of one's identification in that spell, even when realising that one is the victim of a false image. Whatever be one's condition, whether bright or gloomy, as soon as one discovers that nothing is really absolute, one recognises that all is but a moment's game. All values are only worth what they are in comparison to others.

Good is not necessarily something which is stamped as such. That which is good at a certain time may be very wrong at another time; and that which one considers right could very well be considered wrong by another. nevertheless, the main thing to consider in all cases is certainly to make every effort to act rightly according to one's own conscience.

Consciousness is a spark of intelligence, and intelligence is the light of the soul itself. Therefore, the more the field of one's consciousness expands, the brighter the light and the broader becomes the outlook, whereas the smaller the field of consciousness, the dimmer is the light and the shallower is one's insight.
Consciousness is not tailored to a standard size of human thinking. Human thinking can expand to unlimited horizons. In other words, the mind occupies as much horizon of consciousness as one's thinking has expanded beyond the limitations of the self. This explains why the world can be as small as a lentil to one and to another it is as large as almighty space.

One cannot stop the natural course of life with either material or spiritual powers, just as one cannot hope to stop the rain because one is afraid of getting wet, but rather one could make use of an umbrella. In the same way, one cannot force others to act and think as one wishes, but one can certainly make very effort to first harmonise with oneself, so as to become an example for others who might be inspired thereby, rather than feel compelled to act and think as one wishes them to. Simple hints can prove in time to have the effect of subtle messages which unfold into truth for the one whose eyesight is keen.

That which one wants to hide most are one's own faults, but on the contrary, they should not be hidden but rather acknowledged, if one has any real desire to be free from them. By acknowledging one's faults, one destroys them or finds a way to improve on them.

While climbing the mountain, if constantly delayed by useless problems, one might never reach the top, and in the same way, in life, if one is constantly in strife over little things one loses the opportunity of accomplishing great things. Therefore one stays small and the other grows accordingly, and the higher one rises the larger is the horizon.

Resignation of the self is the outcome of the soul's evolution. It is the path of love and wisdom, feeling great happiness in giving, offering all without expecting anything in return. However, resignation cannot be a virtue if it is offered out of helplessness, weakness or defeat, but only if it is the result of mastery over the self. Conditions in life are not always mastered by conflict; if peace can be brought about, this is certainly preferable to a battle. The next step, however, is to rise above all that results in misunderstanding and useless conflict.

Whether one loves one's fellow humans or whether one loves God, when face to face with the sovereignty of love, all traces of the self as lover disappear in that light where there is neither 'mine' or 'thine'. Asceticism is certainly a means of developing inner realisation and experiencing ecstasy, but of what use is Samadhi if one is not human in spirit? Balance in all things is the greatest responsibility in the life of a mystic.

Some are deeply moved by beauty in music, poetry and art, whereas others are as dull as stone if something subtle is not yet awakened in their hearts. Just as smoke obscures the brightness of the flame, in the same manner the light of the soul is dulled by the consciousness of 'I'.

One judges others on grounds of that which one thinks as being right or wrong, but one does not realise that one's judgement is based on that which one has learned from others, whereas what is wrong for one person could very well be right for another. Besides, that which might be right at one time might be wrong at another time, and what is more, one's insight can change day by day in accordance with one's spiritual development.

Back to Islamic and Sufi Masters