Principles of Sufism
Nahid Angha, Ph.D. I am Who I am, the One and Only
is strong. We profess, we acknowledge and we declare unity, so that not only we, but also the universe, all in one voice, recognize our uniqueness and become aware that such uniqueness begins with me and ends with me. If there is any hope for continuation beyond this life, each of us must come to say: “I am the essence and the core of that process.” In reality, our worship, our acknowledgment and our organization are not without reason. The world of the seen and unseen, the finite and infinite, must come together and all in one voice admit that: “I am who I am, the one and only, a unique, irreplaceable and essential part of this design.” It is from this platform that the Sufi journey begins. In the words of Omar Khayyam, 11th century Persian philosopher, mathematician and poet: When I was young my heart was searching For Your tablet and pen, heaven and hell. The Master called, the secret told, ‘You are the tablet and pen, heaven and hell, and all.’
Or in the words of Ali ibn Abi Talib, of 7th century Arabia, from whom many schools of Sufism originated: “You, the human being, you think of yourself as a small body, but know that a greater universe is wrapped within you.” It is from the station of microcosm that Sufi practitioners begin their journey towards understanding the macrocosm (and, of course, we
remember that these terms are limiting), and it is from the station of concentration or meditation that the great expansion of the heart’s knowledge will emerge. We human beings search to discover not only the beginning and the end destination, but also our own identity. Whether through science or religion, we want to make sure that this “I,” the “human self,” remains unique, essential, irreplaceable, and is noteworthy. What an amazing and daring pursuit! What a daring understanding and confession that I, the human self, exists, and exists in a defined dimension, against all odds – universe’s major energies, collisions, motions, sounds and lights – still standing and holding a defined space in the middle of time. In the middle of this universe and its galaxies and all around, the human self declares: “I am who I am, the one and only.” Not only that, as human beings, we also claim our universe within, a universe that becomes the platform from which a spiritual journey of understanding and awareness begins; a journey from the limited self to understanding the reality of the essence of all that exists, the absolute Self. Understanding that absolute Self within the confinements of this dimension - what an amazing discovery; what an amazing world of possibilities. Our deepest gratitude to those who have helped us discover and understand the universe within and without, the universe that becomes the platform for our love stories from where the spiritual journey begins, that holds the lover and beloved in union, and manifests the beauty of the nature that holds us.
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 4