Sufis journey the inner path

In the memoir Eat, Pray, Love, writer Elizabeth Gilbert gives up her entire way of life to spend a year … Continued

In the memoir Eat, Pray, Love, writer Elizabeth Gilbert gives up her entire way of life to spend a year traveling the world, finding spiritual enlightenment along the way. Julia Roberts, who plays Gilbert’s character in the movie version out this week, apparently found enlightenment of her own through the role, revealing that she has become a practicing Hindu.
 
As Joan Ball asks in a Guest Voices post, “Is it possible to live a life of deep, transformational faith without dropping everything and hitting the road?”
 
In your tradition, what is the aim of the spiritual journey? 

The Sufis refer to the spiritual journey as tariqah, literally “the path.” What they mean is that the road to self-annihilation and communion with God is, in fact, a road. It has stages and obstacles that must be overcome, after which the Sufi experiences higher and higher levels of existence until he gets to the end of the path, whereupon he becomes “one with God.” That said, Sufis acknowledge that very few “get to the end” as it were. But that is irrelevant because the only thing that matters is traveling the path. And it doesn’t even matter what path one chooses, so long as a path is chosen. The Sufi says that all paths ultimately lead to God, and that while some are better than others, the path itself (by which they mean the religion tradition you choose) is immaterial. It is the journey that’s important.

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  • dangeroustalk

    There are many people these days that have rightfully rejected organized religion but are still in search for some kind of spirituality and/or transcendence. These people often take the idea of a spiritual journey literally. For some reason, many people seem to think that places are magical and that if they stand in the right spot they will transcend their routine lives and gain some sort of divine knowledge and/or wisdom. The fact is that knowledge comes from vigorous study, experimentation, observation, and critical thinking. Wisdom comes from self-examination and the application of what we have learned through the knowledge that we have gained. We can’t cheat the process by traveling to mystical places or claiming divine knowledge/wisdom without being able to demonstrate such things. You can read the rest of my response to this topic:I will be responding to every issue posted in the ‘On Faith’ section. If you would like to be notified when my new response is up, please subscribe.

  • AKafir

    The Sufis praise Muhammad and his Quran no end. And Allah in the Quran clearly tellsThe Sufis deny and have denied explicitly that they claim “the path itself (by which they mean the religion tradition you choose) is immaterial.” Only Mansur al-Haj chose to be beheaded by the Muslims rather than compromise his tongue and lie to save his life. Rumi, Naqshbandhi, and many others all compromised and swore up and down that only Islam was the path. So much so that they asserted that Allah loved Muhammad so much that Allah created the Noor (light) of Muhammad before he created anything else. Sufis are simple and plain lying huksters is obvious to anyone who has spent reading their claims and then their actions in Islamic History.