What is Sufism?
Sufism is a spiritual path whose goal is direct knowledge of God. The term Sufism is thought to come from the Arabic word, safa, which means “purity.” The aim of Sufism is to purify the self, the heart, and the soul to come into Union with God.
The foundations of the Sufi path are relationship with one’s teacher, the practice of dhikr or remembrance of God, reading and writing the teachings, prayer and personal growth. Much of it is done in and through community. The practices are designed to carry the traveler through the stations of the self, heart, soul and secret. The Sufis say that these are the four layers of the heart the seeker must travel through in order to reach one’s essential self.
Sufism is a technology for the enlightenment of the heart. This science can lead you from the limits of your egoic self (the nafs) to the limitless secrets of Truth (al-Haqq) that exist inside you – leading to the Truth of who you are.
The Sufi way supports you to live your Truth as part of the world; with your family, in your job, through acts of kindness and caring and through helping anyone who needs help…to see the Truth inside everything. In this way everything becomes a prayer, whether cooking dinner, playing with your child, mowing the grass, talking to a business associate or sitting quietly in contemplation.
Our particular school of Sufism is known as the Shadhiliyya. There are many orders of Sufis such as the Chisti, Mevlevi, etc. The Shadhiliyya is one of the oldest and most respected schools within all of Sufism. For over 700 years an unbroken line of distinguished masters have protected the the teaching and continued to make it available. Shadhiliyya Sufism stresses a direct relationship between the individual and God, continuing to work in society and becoming leaders for good in our communities. Shadhiliyya Sufis use recitation, group practices and a close relationship with our spiritual Guide in order to bring about the desired spiritual growth in ourselves.
The Guide of the Shadhiliyya Sufis, Sidi Shakyh Muhammad al-Jamal, head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem and the Holy Land passed from this earth into the hands of his beloved God in 2015.