Sufi Science of the Soul

Science of the Soul and Metaphysics

When we talk about psychotherapy today, we generally mean a mode of non-medical treatment of mentally disturbed people that employs psychological methods. The mode of treatment may not be based upon a comprehensive theory of personality and may isolate a segment of human experience, concentrate upon it, and thus produce a "cure." "Cure" itself is a word that has a plenitude of meanings, with the result that no sensible or rational discussion of it can take place about it--unless one defines it as the removal of a symptom or the disappearance of a syndrome. Syndrome is another expression that psychiatrists use frequently but with their own personalized meaning.

Another aspect of modern psychotherapies is that they are not related to any metaphysical principles. Any reference to metaphysics, psychotherapists think, would vitiate the scientific character of their theories and would certainly create disorder in their practice--if it is not already in a state of confusion. By metaphysics, I do not mean the modern metaphysics which creates an endless chain of arguments and only sets up more puzzles rather than solving genuine problems. By metaphysics, I mean what René Guénon asserts, "In all true metaphysical conceptions it is necessary to take into account the inexpressible."

The Sufi science of the soul and the cure of its maladies, or psychotherapy, are, however, a mode of psychological treatment based on a metaphysics that embodies the principles of the Islamic tradition in the sense that tradition is used by such writers as Guénon and F. Schuon. The Islamic tradition points out that the origin of every soul is paradise. This archetypal reality is a "primordial idea" that is veiled in every soul. It can, however, manifest itself through spiritual practice based upon sustained invocation (dhikr), or repeated remembrance of the Supreme Name of God. In this way, the forgotten "trust" center of the personality becomes activated-a center that is both immanent and transcendent.

Traditional View of Personality

Traditional metaphysics has a clear theory of personality. Human personality, according to the Islamic tradition, has three aspects: spirit (ruh), heart (qalb), and soul (nafs). A distinction must be made among the following: (1) al-nafs al-hayawaniyyah--the animal soul, the soul as passively obedient to natural impulsions; (2) al-nafs al-ammarah--"the soul which commands," the passionate, egoistic soul; (3) al-nafs al-lawwamah--"the soul which blames," the soul aware of its own imperfections; and (4) al-nafs al-mutma'innah--"the soul at peace," the soul reintegrated in the Spirit and at rest in certainty. The last three of these expressions are from the Quran.


This view of the personality has been elaborated by various Sufi authorities and they have given a very clear account of human thought process and its stages. Thought passes through five stages before it becomes a decision. The first stage (hajis) is the stage of a passing thought. The second stage (khātir) is the stage at which the thought persists for some time. The third stage is hadith al-nafs, the inner dialogue that the ego has with its "soul" (nafs). The fourth stage (hamm) is reached when there is a readiness for decision, and the fifth stage ('azm) is the level of decision making itself. From the point of view of mental disease, the third stage is the most crucial one. It is the stage of inner verbalization or possibly subvocalization, and if one continues to talk to oneself mental disturbance is created. These inner stages have been described by a great Darqāwī Sufi, Shaykh Habīb of Tetuan, as "thought impulses." He says, "Beware of the deception of thought-impulses; they weaken good counsel and they are lies."

According to a tradition of the Prophet, "Allah has forgiven for my ummah those thoughts about which they talk to themselves, provided they do not express them." Sufis have commented on this saying and provided an analysis of man's thought process and if one enters into a state of murāqabah, or meditation on thought, he will find that thought is circular. It can, in fact, be regarded as a vicious circle. This vicious circle of thoughts can be broken only by entering into a higher circle. Therefore, many Sufis advise, "Take a sincere brother as your intimate. He will discriminate between the thought-impulses and dispel the source of doubt in you."

All subvocal verbalization implies a philosophical proposition and is an indication of a particular attitude to life. Such a verbalization may appear to be sheer nonsense, but if you analyze it, it turns out to be a serious expression of a latent attitude. It is really a statement of a philosophical proposition that expresses fear and anxiety.

From another perspective, the picture of human personality according to the Sufi point of view is this:

The spirit (al-ruh) and the soul (al-nafs) engage in the battle for the possession of their common son, the heart (al-qalb). This is a symbolical way of expressing the nature of the spirit, which is masculine and the nature of soul, which is feminine. By (al-rūh) we mean the intellectual principle which transcends the individual nature and al-nafs is the self-centered compulsive tendencies which are responsible for the diffuse and changeable nature of the "I". Al-qalb is the point of intersection of the "vertical" ray, which is al-rūh, with the horizontal plane, which is al-nafs.

The two contraries al-ruh and al-nafs try to capture the qalb. If the nafs wins the battle, the heart is "veiled" by her. The nafs is also interested in the nimble transitions of the conditions of the world. She passively clings to form which dissipates. There is a tradition of the Prophet according to which, "it should be known that there is a lump of flesh in the body of a man on which depends his being good or bad. When this piece of flesh is healthy, man remains (spiritually) healthy. When it is not healthy, man goes astray--and that lump of flesh is man's heart." Heart in this context should not be confused with either the physical heart, the human emotions, or the mind. It would be relevant here to quote F. Schuon, who has given an excellent account of the functions of the heart which are related to the intellect and intellectual intuition. He says: "Intellectual genius must not be confused with the mental acuteness of logicians. Intellectual intuition comprises essentially a contemplatively which in no way enters into the rational capacity, the latter being logical rather than contemplative. It is contemplative power, receptivity in respect of the light which distinguishes transcendent intelligence from reason." To understand the continuous temptation brought about by the nafs, it is necessary to delve further into the meaning of the heart and its nature.

The heart is the abode of Divine Light. Divine Knowledge can be attained through its activity. In the mortal human body, it is the only organ that is the locus of the energies one receives from the spiritual realm. It opens up ways for spiritual development. God has called it His own abode. The Prophet has said that heart is the house of God.

All hearts are only potentially the houses of God. Most hearts can never lift the veil of mundane passions and desire which cover the heart. Some Sufis describe it as being covered by the "rust" of earthly passions, which settles on the heart. This rust can be removed only by ardent and persistent invocation (dhikr). The nafs creates unbreakable bonds--passive habits and ambitions--while the Spirit unites, because it is above form. With a rapier like thrust it separates reality from appearance. If the Spirit wins the battle, the heart will be transformed into spirit and at the same time transmute its soul, suffusing her with spiritual light. Then the heart reveals itself; it becomes the tabernacle (mishkāt) of the Divine Mystery (sirr) in man. The heart can be quickened only by invocation and contemplation, by the attainment of virtues, and by realizing their relationship to metaphysics. Emotional conflicts, anxieties, worries, and almost all forms of neurosis can be outgrown by a change in cognitive reorientation and a shift in perspective. Whenever there is an anxiety, a free-floating state of fear expecting a disaster at every turn of the corner, and a sense of doom on waking up to a new dawn, there is a need for a deliberate and willful redirection of attention to the Absolute, to God. Very soon the invocation will capture the heart, and the invocation will become spontaneous. Energy will begin to flow to the spirit, and once the spirit is awakened and sharpened the temptations to worry will die out.

There is another function of the heart. There is, of course, the physical heart with its physiological functions, but the heart the Sufis talk about is the seat of Divine Knowledge and Love. In fact, the intellectual intuition that Schuon speaks about is equivalent to love as understood by the Sufis, the love that, according to Rumi in the prelude to his Mathnawi, is "the physician of all our maladies." This love is primarily the love of God. "The Eye of the Heart" begins to see the Eternal Essence. Only subsequently is it love for human beings and for existence in general. It is also love for nature, virgin nature in both its aspects--the aspect of beauty (jamāl) and the aspect of rigor (jalal). This love does not exclude the "wisdom of fear," which is an aspect of love for the awesome grandeur of the eternal Substance.

Sufi Practices and the Cure of the Soul

Strictly speaking, there can be no cure for the maladies of the soul unless the sick man enters into bayat with a master (receives spiritual initiation from him). Some Sufis say: "One who has no master, Satan is his master." Relationship with the master gives the novice a new sense of being, which gradually develops into a new consciousness and finally reaches beatitude. This relationship draws the novice from the turmoil of the world into the refuge provided by the master's spiritual presence and protection. This result demands, however, that two conditions be fulfilled: (1) confession and (2) compliance with the master's guidance. Confession consists in the statement of what the novice (murīd) experiences, his fears, his anxieties, and his problems. The master responds to the confession by guidance and provides directions with which the novice has to comply if he wants to emerge from his agony and suffering.

Prayer by itself cannot eliminate the imperfections and compulsive tendencies of the novice. Prayer awakens the "heart" but needs spiritual will (himmah), effort (mujāhadah), and meditation (murāqabah) on one's tendencies to heal one's sick soul. Meditation can be of two kinds: (1) takhliyah, that is, self-analysis with a view to obviating one's moral weaknesses; (2) tahliyah, that is, self-analysis with a view to strengthening one's virtues so that vices become weak and ultimately die out. Schuon has spoken of the six stations of wisdom, which are forms of meditation aiming at the spiritual development of the novice and complementing invocation. Sufi Masters takes up each imperfection of the novice separately and guides him toward its cure. The Master expects the novice to meditate on both his imperfection and the suggested cure. These and other methods employed by the Sufis have proved effective in bringing relief from suffering and inducing in the novices a sense of the sacred. But, as already mentioned, all these methods require a master, and the Sufi master has to be chosen with care and caution. Not everyone who claims to be a master is really so. Jalāl al-Dīn Rumi has, in fact, called some of these self-proclaimed masters "devils." The seeker has to realize that all genuine Sufi masters derive their authority from the Prophet Muhammad. The Quran refers to the Last Messenger in these words: "Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much" (XXXIII, 21).

On the Laylat al-mirāj (Night of Ascension) Muhammad ascended all the scales of being. His body was reabsorbed into the soul, soul into spirit, and spirit into Divine Presence. This re-absorption traces the stages of the Sufi path. The Prophet is the fount from which all orders of Sufism flow. The Sufi master is thus a representative of the Prophet, and allegiance (bayat) to him is indirectly bayat with the Prophet and finally with God. One who becomes a pilgrim on this path has to give his whole self to it. Piecemeal devotion is poor devotion. "Knowledge only saves us on condition that it enlists all that we are, only when it is a way which works and transforms and wounds our nature even as the plough wounds the soil-metaphysical knowledge is sacred. It is the right of the sacred things to require of man all that he is."

Within the context of the master-novice relationship, the novice turns a new leaf and begins a new life in order to have the ailments of his soul cured. He begins with repentance. The sura al-Qiyāmah (LXXV) begins with the following words:

Nay, I swear by the Day of Resurrection. Nay, I swear by the accusing soul.

The accusing or reproachful soul (al-nafs al-lawwāmah) is the soul that blames and is aware of its imperfections. It is the conscience, the inner voice, which persuades man to repent for his sins. Some Sufis have given a detailed account of the diverse aspects of this force.


Sufis of the Chishtiyyah order have described three kinds of repentance (tawbah): (1) Repentance of the present--which means that man should be penitent about his sins. (2) Repentance of the past--which reminds man of the need to give other people's rights to them. If one has reprimanded someone unduly, he should ask for forgiveness from the victim of his hostility. If one has committed adultery, he should seek forgiveness from God. (3) Repentance of the future--which means that one should decide not to commit any sin again. Sufis, however, do not ask their followers to dwell on their sins because dwelling on one's sins gives them a secret pleasure. It fulfills the neurotic need for self-persecution or masochism. The more one wallows in repentance on sins, the more one tends to repeat them. It is one instance of the general principle of enantiodromia enunciated by Heraclitus. The principle simply states that if you try to reach the extreme of anything, you will achieve the opposite. Quite a few people get involved in the vicious circle of creating self-defeating situations. It is, therefore, desirable that after a solemn resolve one may try to direct one's attention to the image of the shaykh and begin the invocation of the Supreme Name.

The main point of repentance is that it does not mean wallowing in penitence or self-pity or self-devaluation. As Rūmi points out, wallowing in penitence is itself a form of self-indulgence. The best time to start the process of spiritual transformation is the present--here and now. One who dwells on the past is driven to the past through regression. He who has the himmah (spiritual will) to transcend himself can alone be himself. It is quite probable that the novice may lapse into an old habit, but he can always return to the domain of the Spirit. As Abū Said Abi al-Khayr says: "If you have broken your vow of penitence a hundred times, return to the spiritual fold."

Time and again Sufis have emphasized that there is no need to despair even when one has broken one's vows of repentance a thousand times. One can begin again afresh, but sincerity and wholeheartedness are the principal conditions. "Believe that sins of a hundred worlds can be removed from the (Right) Path by one sigh of repentance." "Again if you come to the Right Path with sincerity for a moment, you will attain a hundred stations (of spiritually) every moment."

Sufis have always regarded repentance as a positive turning away from sin and directing one's vision toward God. The relative significance of repentance varies from one religion to another. Sufis, by and large, attach a great deal of importance to repentance, but they strongly discourage "wallowing in repentance" or enjoying repentance. When one is penitent, the Sufi way is to redirect one's will to invocation, persistent and ardent invocation.


The Quran refers to "disease" in various contexts. In the sura al-Baqarah (The Cow) there is a verse about the "sickness in the heart":

And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increases their disease. (II, 8-10)

Khwājah Abdallāh Ansāri in his voluminous commentary on the Quran has defined "disease" in various ways. In discussing the above verse, he defines it as follows:

It is a sickness which has no limit, and it is a pain which has no remedy. It is a night which has no dawn. What could be a more miserable state than the state of the hypocrite? That is a state of alienation from the beginning to the end. Today he is in an inward agony and tomorrow he will be in external despair.

In another place, Khwājah Ansāri explains disease as "doubt" and dissociation (nifāq), a condition from which modern man is suffering so grievously.

The first symptom of this "sickness" is alienation--from self, from society, from one's own history, and from one's cultural roots. Modern man is seeking a balm for his psychological wounds, but in all respects his solutions to problems themselves become problems. This is true of all fields today, be they economic, administrative, or psychological. Modern psychologists have called this phenomenon self-healing. Psychoanalysis has been facetiously defined as a disease of which it is supposed to be the cure.

objects and associate himself with people who possess a sacred presence. He, therefore, cannot perceive and experience the sacred. This desacralization has led to the spiritual impoverishment of the youth. A large number of young men and women throughout the world are seriously interested in the "return of the sacred."

The third symptom, which is derived from the first two, is what Guénon has called "dispersion into multiplicity." The attractive objects around him lure modern man in diverse and contrary directions, and each direction exercises such a fascination for him that he feels imprisoned in them. He would like to lead a single-directed and wholehearted life but fails to find a center.

A related symptom is the crisis of identity. Mass migration has accentuated this crisis. Immigrants in a new country, however affluent, feel empty within. Their inner conflicts generated by the process of adjustment to the new environment create in them a sense of meaninglessness of life. The "void" they feel within because of the nostalgia for the past and the environmental pressures goading them to move forward with the times are so acute that they affect their belief system, their morality, and their attitude toward life.


Sufis believe that these symptoms can be removed by a sustained effort (mujāhadah) to subordinate one's "thought-impulses" to the moral will and thus bring oneself closer to God. The Supreme Being is reflected in the Supreme Name, and invocation of the Supreme Name alone can bring relief to suffering. "Orison (dhikr) is a space into which no evil enters," says Schuon.

There are some other methods of helping the novice to overcome his or her diseases of the soul and emotional difficulties. They are, roughly speaking, the following:

(1) Therapy through Opposites. Some Sufis have advocated this mode especially for the cure of emotional disturbances caused by jealously and envy. A novice suffering from jealousy may be advised to talk affectionately and lovingly to the person toward whom he is jealous and say good things about him in public. In case he is not present in the vicinity, the novice should write to him an affectionate letter. Deliberate opposition to a negative conscious attitude has to be cultivated. The assumption is that the desire to love and to understand others is latent in all human beings; it has only to be brought into consciousness.

(2) Therapy through Similars. This form of therapy consists in pointing out to the novice that his experiences are not unique, especially when they are accompanied by a negative effect. A novice suffering from depression or anxiety may be given examples of other people suffering from similar maladies. This form of therapy induces in the novice a feeling of sharing and helps to alleviate the yoke of his isolation.

The first essential element of the Sufi science of the soul or psychotherapy is confession or admission of one's problems. Verbalization of one's thoughts and feelings, disturbing questions and problems need to be communicated to the master (murshid). As Hafiz Shirāzi has said, "He told the friend our spiritual condition. It is not possible to conceal one's pain from our real friends." After communication has been made to the master, it is imperative for the novice to comply with his instructions. These instructions or interventions are not authoritative commands, but they are based upon acceptance by the disciple. The master also accepts the condition of the novice. This mode of therapy is the most effective method for eliminating vices like pride, arrogance, and egotism. The worst form of pride is subliminal pride (kibr). A man who is very proud is likely to assume an air of humility and self-abnegation. If he declares in false humility, "I am an ignorant man, and the best therapy for him is to confirm his statement by saying, "Yes, you are an ignorant man." If he is genuinely humble, he will not be disturbed by this response. If his humility is only a pretense, however, he is likely to become furious. The motive for such a humble statement is to evoke a denial by others. Once this expectation is frustrated, the proud person is likely to be shaken out of his fake attitude. This mode is very much like Viktor Frankl's "paradoxical intention." But it is not a twentieth century invention. It was known to the Sufi masters who were fully aware that long morbid cogitations in turn breed more conflicts. These conflicts are relevant only to the passionate level of existence. Once one abandons that level and rises up to the higher level, the inner chatter and the corresponding conflicts are gradually diminished both in frequency and in intensity.

Some Sufis have advocated a dialogue with God every night before going to sleep. The novice has to confess all to God, verbalizing his main weaknesses. The confession has to be accompanied by a true statement that the novice will not persist in his sins. The point is that the novice should not make any false promises to God. If the novice feels helpless in the clutches of a bad habit, he should not make a promise to God that he will abandon the habit. By persisting in his dialogue, he will become more aware of the Divine Presence in his heart, and he is likely to muster inner strength to outgrow the disturbing habit. It has been observed by some Sufis, that quite a few novices have experienced an inner conversion by persisting in the dialogue with God and have thus abandoned unwholesome tendencies. But he also advises the novice to accept his states. It is only by acceptance that one can change.

The concept of acceptance as employed by Sufis is based upon the distinction between voluntary and involuntary thoughts. Strong and distracting thoughts impede concentration. Hadith al-nafs (or "inner chatter") generally obstructs free flow of invocation or meditation. But this obstruction is generally involuntary. The best way to outgrow it is to accept it, that is, neither to attempt to force it out of one's consciousness nor to pay heed to it. In other words, it is only by consciously ignoring it, that one can outgrow it. Shaykh al-Arabi al-Darqāwi says:

The sickness afflicting your heart, faqir, comes from the passions which pass through you; if you were to abandon them and concern yourself with what God orders for you, your heart would not suffer as it suffers now.... Each time your soul attacks you, if you were to be quick to do what God orders and abandon your will entirely to Him, you will be saved from psychic and satanic suggestions and from all your trials. But if you begin to reflect in these moments when your soul attacks you, to weigh the factors for or against, and sink into inner chatter, then psychic and satanic suggestions will flow back towards you in waves until you are overwhelmed and drowned, and no good will be left in you, but only evil.

The last and by far the most humanistic method is to imagine what the other man is feeling by saying to oneself, "Suppose I am this man, why should I be ranting and raging against something unimportant?" By this imaginative reversal one can empathically imagine the other man's emotional problems. As a result, one is likely to feel less concerned about how his behavior affects us. This is the essence of empathy, of putting oneself in another man's position. In personal relations, malice or hostility develops on account of misunderstanding. Such a reversal helps to remove the misunderstanding and thus eliminates the feeling of hostility. It may be mentioned that the gestalt psychologists employ this method for making a client aware of his repressed feelings.

Another aspect of Sufi treatment of the soul or psychotherapy is that it discourages statements of generalizations by the disciples. Generalizations are instances of thinking in connotation which keep the disciple in a state of vagueness and sometimes ambiguity. A Sufi master always requires denotation of specific instances and symptoms. If a novice writes to him, "I am depressed," the Sufi master wants to know the specific reason for depression and the context in which it occurs. It is only then that he gives guidance. Sufis also emphasize the value of prayer--prayers which are uttered in an attitude of humility, surrender, and helplessness before God. They also insist that special prayers should not be expressed in generalities but should be addressed to God in the form of specific requests.

Sufis realized that thinking in connotation is itself a sickness. It encourages ambiguous cogitations and is a rich source of exaggerations, overstatements, and understatements. It makes disciples confused and leads to other sicknesses like self-pity and seeking care and attention from others.

In modern times, Alfred Korzybski (in his Science and Sanity) and Samuel Hayakawa and others have built up a system of psychotherapy based upon the principle of reducing all connotations to denotations. The basis of their therapy, however, is materialistic and profane. It reduces all mental and spiritual processes to brain functions.

The question-and-answer method, which has been hallowed by its association with Socrates, is venerated by philosophers. This method has dominated European thought for centuries, but it is only in the present times that its limitations and the nature of its fascination have been determined. Psychoanalysts have explained children's questions as revealing their repressed impulses, and any literal understanding of these questions is regarded as self-defeating. Today psychologists, especially gestalt psychologists like Frederick Perls, regard the question-and-answer method as a torture game. They think that quite a few questions are disguised commands and that several others are ways of escaping an unpleasant situation.

During the spiritual guidance of their followers (muridin), some Sufi Masters always scrutinized the questions their novices asked him. If the question was rooted in the novice's experience, only then would they reply. If the question was general and not relevant to the novice's stage of spiritual development, they would dismiss the question as emanating from a "confused mind" or a mind that finds it irksome to meditate over the real problems and admonished them to refrain from asking such questions. The Sufi master thus teaches them the virtue of relevance.

The Goal of the Sufi Science of the Soul

"Sufi psychology does not separate the soul either from the metaphysical or from the cosmic order." Metaphysics provides the basis and qualitative criteria for psychology and cannot form a part of empirical psychology. Empirical psychology studies aspects of phenomena, psychic and behavioral, and seeks their immediate causes. This hunt for "causes" and "explanations" has produced a plethora of hypotheses and theories that are a source of confusion and bewilderment for the modern student. Sufi psychology, on the contrary, presents an adequate account of symbols and does not reduce them to the thought-impulses of a repressed mind and gives a living meaning to them by creating an attitude of reverence toward them.

The final aim of the Sufi science of the soul or psychotherapy is to create in the novice a sense of detachment from and noninvolvement in the world. The Sufi has to renounce his attachment to the world but not to abandon living fully. In fact, he has to reach that station wherein he finds himself in the presence of God. He begins to perceive reality in a new light, the light of God. In the process of the gradual unfolding of his spirit, he begins to be moved by symbols and integrates them into his life. Without an appreciation of symbols, no one can attain mental health. Without developing a capacity of discernment between truth and illusion, the sacred and the profane, beauty and ugliness, no one can claim to be normal. The spirit becomes open to the Infinite once the impediments of the psyche are removed.

The spiritual life is equivalent to symbolic life, regulated by the perception of different aspects of the Spirit. Different forms express different facets of reality. Man is the central expression of the Spirit on the earth. One aspect is revealed in the form of a tree of which the trunk symbolizes the axis of the Spirit passing through the whole hierarchy of the world while its branches and leaves correspond to the differentiation of the Spirit in the many states of existence. Similarly, some birds like the peacock and the dove reveal other aspects of the reality of the Spirit, and some Sufis have said that the most luminous of all symbols are "the shining stars, and the brilliant precious stones."

The norm of the human state is the saint, and only his soul can be said to be completely healthy, as it has become wed to the Spirit. Sufism sees the ordinary soul as being in a state of sickness resulting from separation from God and in turn causing the forgetfulness of God. There has, as a result, developed a vast Sufi science of the soul, whose aim is to reinstate man in his original perfection and to rid him of the often-neglected diseases that weigh upon his soul. Ultimately, only a science such as the Sufi science of the soul can succeed in curing the soul's diseases and in being an effective psychotherapy. Only the Spirit can cure the soul of its ills. Only the soul that is united with the Spirit possesses health; for it alone is the soul of man as God created him in his primordial perfection.



See J. Needleman, The Sword of Gnosis (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1974) 44.


"Tradition" is "truths or principles of a divine origin, revealed or unveiled to mankind... through various figures envisaged as messengers, prophets, avataras, the Logos or other transmitting agencies, along with all the ramifications and applications of these principles in different realms, including law and social structure, art, symbolism, the sciences, and embracing of course Supreme Knowledge along with the means of its attainment" ( S. H. Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred [ New York: Crossroad, 1981] 68).


The Quran states, "Lo! We offered the trust (amānah) unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it and man assumed it. Lo! He hath proven a tyrant and a fool" (XXXIII, 72).


See his Diwan (London: Diwan Press, 1982) 31.




Ibid., 255.


F. Schuon, Gnosis: Divine Wisdom, trans. G. E. H. Palmer (London: John Murray, 1959) 49.


See T. Burckhardt, An Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, trans. D. M. Matheson (Lahore: M. Ashraf, 1983) 27.


See Schuon, Stations of Wisdom, trans. G. E. H. Palmer (London: John Murray, 1961).


See M. Lings, What is Sufism? (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975) 35.


F. Schuon, Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts, trans. D. M. Matheson (London: Faber & Faber, 1953) 138.


Abd al-Majid Daryābādi, Tasawwuf-i-islam (Azamgarh, 1947) 177.


See Ansārī, Kashf al-asrār, ed. ʾA. A. Hikmat (Tehran: Dānishgāh, 1952-60) 1: 75.


J. Haley, Changing Families (New York: Grune & Stratton, 1970) 70.


Personal communication 1979.


See Letters of a Sufi Master, trans. T. Burckhardt (Bedfont, Middlesex: Perennial Books, 1969) 9.


Burckhardt, Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, 37.


By Mohammad Ajmal

Islamic Spirituality: Manifestations. Contributors: Seyyed Hossein Nasr - editor. Publisher: Crossroad. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1991.