Living Sufism today

Excerpts from the public conference of Sheikh Aly N’Daw, 19 March 2011, Reunion Island 

Sufism is known as the esoteric part of Islam. How, then, can we live Sufism in this century? First of all, from a Sufi perspective, I’d say that it is not merely a question of how to live Sufism today, but how to live the esoteric aspect of all other faiths in our times.

We can recall the words of Ibn Arabi who said : “My heart has become capable of all forms it is a pasture for the gazelle, a syna­gogue for the Jew, a mosque for the Muslim and a church for the Christian…” A heart capable of all forms means that it is a heart that has been well nurtured. According to Rumi, it is a heart which has been visited 11. Rumi said that this is love – love came, emptied him of himself and filled him with the Friend. Who is the Friend? It’s God. Here, we can see a metaphysical reality where there are two processes occurring simultaneously. On one hand, he is being emptied and, on the other, he is being filled. The two go hand in hand.

So now, to live Sufism in our time means taking the path of living Sufism in such a way that it is no longer a mere name for us, but a reality. Hence it is an invitation to achieving the true imitation of the Prophets (pbut), not as portrayed by the religious institutions, but like the Peacemakers have shown. This is the true message of the Prophets (pbut). These teachings show that, depending on one’s faith, a Muslim can awaken the Quranic Being within, a Jew can awaken the Hebraic Being, a Christian can awaken the Evangelic Being. In this way one can realise one’s will, like Mother Teresa, Muham­mad Yunus and all other Peacemakers. We therefore have a choice – we can either stay at the level of dual consciousness or rise to the level of the consciousness of the Prophets (pbuh).

The entire conference is available
in the book “Sufism Today