Zikr is a ritual of remembrance. A ritual is a combination lock. By performing the same movements, words, chants and intention as others have traditionally done in the past, we unlock a gateway to a timeless place that is inhabited by all the others who have performed and will perform the same ceremony throughout time.
Through that gateway we find all the Sufi shaykhs, teachers, prophets, and angels who may easily manifest themselves because our intention is to praise Allah, and our ceremony is a clear, clean and beautiful opening for them and for learning and unity to take place. Zikr is a uniting of our brothers and sisters of the Tariqat. It binds us in a timeless way in praising Allah. Imagine, for example, that we are with Mohammed, Peace be upon him, and are in a state of Remembrance guided by him.
Zikr is also what every living thing is doing, including the trees, the rocks, the wind, the angels.
It is also like a beacon of light that radiates in all directions for the good of humanity. It penetrates the darkness of this world like nothing else can. It is a uniting of hearts and minds, and as we chant Allahís powerful names, those aspects of Allah are brought into the circle of Zikr. At the heart of the world is a thirst for Allah. Zikr is the pure water that satisfies and feeds a soul-starved planet.
What is Sufism? How does one apply it?
The way of the dervish, now known as Sufism, has always been around. It really has no ‘start’ date. Though often invisible, Sufism’s impact on every culture is profound and continues to evolve.
The outward practice of Sufism changes according to the times and society. Since the beginning it has had various names and thousands of prophets and saints.
The specific form of Sufism adapts to one’s understanding and capacity. Therefore it cannot be nailed down into a specific shape. With that in mind, we offer this book as an indicator of where the heart might find solace. Through essays, dialogues, commentaries, poems and stories you may catch a glimpse of the Beloved and learn how to use your spiritual net to capture the evanescent Presence.
Two shop owners approached a Sufi Shaykh (guide of the path) and asked to be admitted to the tariqa (school of Sufism). The Shaykh said, “I don’t think this is the path for you. It is too difficult for merchants.”
They immediately replied, “No, Shaykh. We are very sincere and humble and wish to be Sufis.”
“All right,” said the Shaykh, “if that’s the case, take all your money and put it in a box and throw it off the pier.”
The two proprietors looked at each other, gulped and nodded. They then went back to their homes, found a box and put all their money into it, though they were a bit disturbed by the thought of losing all that money. However, they had said they were sincere, so they took the box of money to the pier. They stood there a while, considering: if they should, what they were doing, what if… and finally, tying a rope around the box, threw it into the lake, attaching the rope to one of the stanchions.
They returned to the shaykh but before they could speak he said, “Good. Now, throw the rope in.”
Sufism is an ancient learning and teaching technique. It existed before Islam, it flourished before Judaism, ripened before Egypt, Sumeria and Akkad. Its purpose has always been to enable you to shut your mind up and return to becoming an integrated human being. It has been known as Tariqa, Gnosticism, ‘the Path’, ‘The Way’, alchemy and many other names.
Shaykh Shahabuddin Suhrwardi says, “The term Sufi was first adopted by Abu Hashim, a Syrian Zahid (d. 780 AD).
Others say the seed of Sufism:
Was sown in the time of Adam
Germed in the time of Noah
Budded in the time of Hashim
Began to develop in the time of Moses
Reached maturity in the time of Christ
Produced pure wine in the time of Mohammed (pbuh).”2
Sufism adapts to the time, the place, the culture, the people and the language.
The principles are simple. The practice is difficult.
It is not meant to make you happy with yourself or make you more money. It is not about success. It is not about wealth or power.
It is about achieving contentment and peace within you. It is about contacting the Divine within and balancing your life so that you can achieve love within your heart, contentment and fulfillment.
It requires you to examine your habits and begin to exterminate them one by one. This is difficult and requires guidance. The path is strewn with hundreds of traps.
Because of these traps you will need help. You will need someone who can point out the traps. You can only reach that place through the services of a teacher who has been appointed by a guide and is accountable to that teacher.
You cannot do it yourself because you are in the way of yourself. To imagine that you can do it yourself is a trap.
To imagine that you are spiritual and are now capable of teaching others is also a trap.
There are many traps to achieving the goal of knowing the Divine within your heart.
Some other traps are to assume you can know the Divine by reading books, taking classes, dancing, whirling, chanting, drumming, healing, appearing to be holy, astrology, collecting mystic paintings, mystic jewelry, mystic rocks and other inventions. As long as there is a ‘you’ doing any of these things, you are still in the way. Only by getting out of the way is there a chance to attain union with the Divine.
The true Sufi or gnostic way is to learn how to remove the self with all its habits and opinions. Not everyone wants to do this. It requires a spiritual warrior: one who is not afraid to confront the worst enemy in the universe: yourself