Sufism is about purification and union with God.
During Ramadan, it is an important time for us to contemplate Sufism and why we are on the Sufi path. The month of Ramadan is a time of deep spiritual purification. It's the time that Allah, Praise and Exalted is He, forgives our sins for the year and gives us freedom from the fire. Other than Hajj, it is the time of greatest purification and possibility for us if we use this time in the deep way.
In many ways Ramadan is one of the deepest expressions of Sufism. It is a part of our inner purification. Purification has several levels. The first level is to purify ones actions. This means to refrain from actions that are against the prophetic teachings and to engage in actions that are acceptable to the prophetic teachings. Sufis watch their actions carefully and when they find actions that are not right, they lovingly and with tenderness purify these actions from themselves with tawba, remembrance, and dua.
The next level of purification is the purification of the heart. Sufis know that to reach Union with God, purification of the heart is one of the key components. This means that if one finds judgment, hatred, rage, fear or other difficult states inside of themselves, that they purify them so that love, compassion, and forgiveness live within them instead. The Sufi is on the Sufi path to embody the praiseworthy qualities, which are the qualities that Allah reveals that belong to Him.
After the purification of the heart, the Sufi works to purify the soul. For it is only with the purification of the soul that the seeker can complete their return to Allah Most High. To purify the soul, one must first become conscious of their own soul and determine its nature or its qualities. Then when one finds qualities that are blameworthy, tawba and dua can be used to return the blameworthy qualities to the praiseworthy ones. If the seeker finds in their soul that their love is conditional and not carrying the mercy of God, then the qualities of al-Wadude and Ar-Rahim can be used to purify the love within their soul, so that the soul becomes radiant and complete with the beauty of the Divine Qualities of Love and Mercy!
Finally, as the traveler completes the purification of the soul, the Sun of Truth begins to rise within them and within their souls; the traveler then sees the beauty of the Light of Truth, the Haqiqah. They become intoxicated by this ecstasy and the purification reaches its zenith as the traveler leaves the attachment to the self and the soul. The Sufi then enters into the witnessing and experience of the Truth. The traveler has now purified oneself from the world and self and has become centered in the Real.
This person is now a “True Sufi” and has completed the journey to reach its finale. I pray that everyone has the fortitude, love, patience, willingness, and perseverance to complete their journey and to experience the reality of Truth (Haqiqah), and to know the ecstasy and beauty of the deep secret love.
Alhamdulillah. Ar- Rahman ar- Rahim.
Ibrahim Jaffe M.D.