From the Muslims I learned from the extraordinary pluralism of the Koran, the fact that the Koran endorses every single one of the major world faiths, but I was particularly enthralled by the Sufi tradition, the mystical tradition of Islam, which is so open to other religious faiths.
The Sufis have a saying: "Praise Allah, and tie your camel to a post." This brings together both parts of practice: pray, yes, but also make sure that you do what is necessary in the world.
Scholars of the East and West have heroically consecrated their whole working lives to making available, by means of their own disciplines, Sufi literary and philosophical material to the world at large. In many cases they have faithfully recorded the Sufis' own reiteration that the Way of the Sufis cannot be understood by means of the intellect or by ordinary book learning.
The Sufi way is through knowledge and practice, not through intellect and talk.
The Sufi is One who does not care when something is taken from him, but who does not cease to seek for what he has not.
There is a succession of experiences which together constitute the educational and developmental ripening of the learner, according to the Sufis. People who think that each gain is the goal itself will freeze at any such stage, and cannot learn through successive and superseding lessons.
We view Sufism not as an ideology that molds people to the right way of belief or action, but as an art or science that can exert a beneficial influence on individuals and societies, in accordance with the needs of those individuals and societies ... Sufi study and development gives one capacities one did not have before.
It is the message, not the man, which is important to the Sufis.
The union of the mind and intuition which brings about illumination, and the development which the Sufis seek, is based upon love.
Like the bat, the Sufi is asleep to 'things of the day' - the familiar struggle for existence which the ordinary man finds all-important - and vigilant while others are asleep. In other words, he keeps awake the spiritual attention dormant in others. That 'mankind sleeps in a nightmare of unfulfillment' is a commonplace of Sufi literature
The Way of the Sufis cannot be understood by means of the intellect or by ordinary book learning.
The sufis believe that they can experience something more complete.
The main problem is that most commentators are accustomed to thinking of spiritual schools as 'systems', which are more or less alike, and which depend upon dogma and ritual: and especially upon repetition and the application of continual and standardised pressures upon their followers.The Sufi way, except in degenerate forms which are not to be classified as Sufic, is entirely different from this.
Most mystics do not want to read religious wisdom; they want to be it. A postcard of a beautiful lake is not a beautiful lake, and Sufis may be defined as those who dance in the lake.
The Sufis say there are three ways to know fire - by hearing it described, by seeing it, or by being burned.
The religion of the Sufi is the religion of the heart. The principal moral of the Sufi is to consider the heart of others, so that in the pleasure and displeasure of his fellow-man he sees the pleasure and displeasure of God.
Sufis teach that we first must battle and destroy the evil within ourselves by shining upon it the good within, and then we learn to battle the evil in others by helping their higher selves gain control of their lower selves.
I read, read enormously on all different fields of Islamic thought, from philosophy to Islamic literature, poetry, exegeses, knowledge of the Hadith, the teachings of the prophet. That's how I trained myself. And then I was appointed imam by a Sufi master from Istanbul, Turkey.
The Sufis advise us to speak only after our words have managed to pass through three gates. At the first gate, we ask ourselves, 'Are these words true?' If so, we let them pass on; if not, back they go. At the second gate, we ask, 'Are the necessary?' At the last gate, we ask, 'Are they kind?'
A Sufi manual, the Kashf-al-Mahjub, says that, towards the end of his journey, the dervish becomes the Way not the wayfarer, i.e. a place over which something is passing, not a traveller following his own free will.
When I was a boy in Desuq, Egypt, a city on the Rosetta branch of the Nile, about 50 miles east of Alexandria, my family lived steps away from the local landmark, a mosque named for a 13th-century Sufi sheik.
I'm a Sufi Muslim, I would say. I believe in using the medium to create a good vibration because art is so important to society. Some projects I don't do because I feel that it's going to create a bad vibe. I don't do propaganda films that are anti another religion, anti-Muslim or anti-Hindu.
My mother's belief in spiritual healers grew stronger after our family went through a rough patch following my father's death. Sufi saint Karimullah Shah Kadri changed our lives, and all of us converted to Sufism. But it wasn't an instantaneous decision - it took us 10 years to convert. The change in religion was like washing away the past.
There is a wonderful ancient Sufi saying which I'm going to paraphrase slightly. It says, 'When the heart weeps for what it has lost,' in this case 'heart' means 'ego,' 'when the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found.'
Everyone in Iran is perceived to be a child with a paternal authority vested in the Guardian Council and the Sufi elders. They're supposed to be grateful. They can never for a moment not be afforded this wonderful protection. The father who will never go away. The father who will never quit caring for them.
My house was a guest house of many Jaina saints, Hindu monks, Sufi mystics, because my grandfather was interested in all of these people.
Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real sufis just laugh: nothing tyrannizes their hearts. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl
My friend, the sufi is the friend of the present moment. To say tomorrow is not our way.
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not of the East, nor of the West.... My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
You must go to Mahometanism, to Buddhism, to the East, to the Sufis Fakirs, to Pantheism, for the right growth of mysticism.
I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.
The great Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi once advised his students to write down the three things they most wanted in life. If any item on the list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness.