Sufi is from the Arabic word suf which means wool. This word is comes from the “Ahl-e-Sufa” or Ashab-e-Sufa (literally, ‘The People of the Bench’), a group of early Muslims who migrated from Mecca to Medina, and lived in the first mosque at Medina, near Mohammed. They worshipped all the time. They preferred the spiritual side over the materialistic. Mohammed was said to take special care of them. After his death, those he taught begin to teach his philosophies. This process has continued down to our present time. These teachers teach Sufism. The word “Sufi” was not well known when Mohammad was alive.
However, along with Sharia’t (Islamic Law), Tariqat (Sufism) was also in progress, but for some reasons they kept it a secret from others. There are numerous passages in which Mohammad displayed mystical inclinations and often retired to the cave of Hira for the purpose of devotions, meditation and contemplation. He had two types of revelations, one embodied in the Holy Quran, and the other illuminated his heart. The former was meant for all, the latter for a select few whose hearts could be illuminated with the Divine Light. The knowledge of the Holy Prophet was thus book knowledge (ilm-e-Safina), and heart knowledge (ilm-e-Sina).
Hazrat Ali was the most Gnostic Companions of Mohammad, and he preferred inner or knowledge than the outer knowledge, that’s why about him the Holy Prophet said: “I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is the gate. ” Once Hazrat Ali said: “I know God by God. ” When someone asked him whether he had seen God? Hazrat Ali said: “Verily I have seen God, for I could not worship Him unless I know Him. ” (sufipath) God is love and love is God. Anything other than that is not of God. Hatred, impurity, chauvinism, cruelty and the like are not real.
Only genuine love for God and God’s things, things that we can touch, see, feel, smell and taste are the goals of the Sufi. It is possible to experience God here on Earth, as long as one is on the path. To be on the path, one must use the terms and the books of the Sufis. We were created to have intimacy with God before the final judgment. They are being pulled by this force more and more each day. Everything is a sign of and for God because he created the world to worship him and to gravitate towards him. There are a variety of mystical paths in which one can embark on to get closer to him.
One must experience the fulfillment of the divine God. One must be in harmony with all that exists and create a deeper love and affinity than that of the common man. It is a way of live and one must constantly work toward that goal. It is not good to be obsessed with worldly goods because Sufism is about transcending such thoughts and letting go of materialism. This is not a paradox. This is what life is about for these people. Sufism is not Islamic. Many practice it without the special teaching s from Islam. Sufism has branched off into different teachings, which is acceptable by the Sufis who accept others and there are no rivals.
This makes Sufism more genuine because there is no competition or rivalry, which is a characteristic one associates with love in its purest form. We are not separate from the divine and idolatry is not tolerated. We practice this. Unity is the very essence of Sufism and Sufis see no difference between the worlds. There should be nothing that leads away from this and any form of self righteousness or the like is not a sign of a true Sufi. Remembering God is about remembering ourselves. There is no paradox. We are lost when we forget about God.