This compilation of seven essays
provides an overview of the Sufi path. Descriptions are given of many of the
fundamental aspects of Sufism, including zekr, sama', the
relationship between master and disciple, the role of love in Sufism, and the
significance of the Sufi Khaniqah or meeting place. Also available in German,
Italia n and Spanish.
From the Back Cover:
The sufi is one who is a lover of the Truth, who by means of love and devotion moves toward the Truth, toward the Perfection which all are truly seeking. Having traveled the Spiritual Path Tariqat, the disciple becomes a perfect being and arrives at the threshold of the Truth Haqiqat.
One could liken the journey within the Haqiqat, within the Truth, to training in a divine university, known in Sufism as the "Tavern of Ruin". In this true center for higher education there are no professors, one's only guide being Absolute Love. Here one's only teacher is Love, one's books are Love, and one's being is Love.
Before a perfect being enters the "Tavern of Ruin", he or she can be defined. However, upon entering the Truth, such a being is indefinable, beyond the realm of words.
Footprints but come to the Ocean's shore. Therein, no trace remains. -- Rumi.
This book gives the reader a detailed description of the living practice of Sufism. Dr. Nurbakhsh describes what is involved in traveling the Sufi path and explains the five essential principles put into practice by the traveler:
The final chapter is entitled "Rules and Manners of Initiation into the Sufi path".
Spiritual Poverty is a cornerstone
of classical Sufi practice. The term faqir (poor man or woman) is often
used as a synonym for Sufi and darvish among the Sufis. The
first essay in this book documents the development of the meaning of spiritual
poverty in Sufism, followed by two essays which explore diverse definitions
of the terms darvish and Sufi in Islamic mystical texts.
Chapters 4 and 5 constitute the only comprehensive study in English of the various gradations of mystical states (ahwal) and the hierarchical levels of spiritual stations (maqamat) by the Sufis. The final chapters focus on the concept of the 'Eternal Now' (waqt) and discuss the significance of breath in the spiritual method of the Sufis.
Dr. Nurbakhsh has compiled in this
work numerous passages from the writings of the Sufi masters that express their
understanding and profound feeling for Jesus, representing an attitude that
has existed amongst the Sufi for centuries.
The Sufis expressed profound reverence for Jesus, regarding him as a perfect master. Despite the hostility which developed between Christian and later Muslim societies, Mohammad regarded Jesus as a brother, and the Koran refers to Jesus with the highest of praise.
This book presents a wealth of stories and poetry about Jesus, many of which are new to Christian readers. The inner meanings of Christian symbols are revealed here as they appear in Sufi mystical writings. This book will be stimulating to Christians and Muslims alike.
Masters of the Path is a series of biographies chronologically arranged - based on information from a variety of sources - which traces the selsela (spiritual chain of masters) of the Nimatullahi order over a span of 1100 years.
For Traditions of the Prophet, Dr. Nurbakhsh has gathered from the garden of prophetic traditions those sayings that are of particular importance for Sufis. Included along with the original Persian and Arabic text are excerpts from the great Sufi poets concerning these traditions.
Since in the Ocean of Divine Unity
neither "I" nor "you" exists, what meaning can "man" or "woman" possibly have?
First published in 1983, Sufi Women presents the biographies and anecdotes of over one hundred women followers and guides of various Sufi orders. Complied from a vast range, of primary sources in Arabic and Persian, (such as the Sefat as-safwat of Ebn Jawzi, the Nafahat al-ons of Jami, and many others) exclusively devoted to female spirituality and the feminine dimension of Sufism, is the only book in a European language to address the question of the spiritual attainment of women in Islam. These biographies, which demonstrate that in the inner life of Sufis there is no difference between men and women, constitute an important contribution both to women's studies as well as to the literature of Sufism in general. Included are the biographies of many great women throughout the history of Sufism, beginning with Rabe'a, in the second century after the Prophet, and concluding with Hayati, in the nineteenth century AD.
Though Satan was cursed and humiliated,
he was still the paragon of lovers in self sacrifice
Known by many names, the Great Satan, called 'Eblis' in the Koran, is considered by many to be the enemy of God. Dr. Nurbakhsh, drawing from the writings of 'Attar,Rumi, Jami, Ebn 'Arabi and other great Sufis, elucidates in this book the nature and significance of the fallen Angel in human form. This book draws together writings and stories about Satan by masters over centuries of the Sufi tradition.Many of the great Sufi mystics viewed Satan -- once supreme among the angels -- as a lover of God who refused to worship anyone but God.
According to Islamic tradition, when God shaped the first man from clay. He commanded the angels to bow down before Adam. Satan refused, and God banished him from His court of Nearness. Whether praising or blaming Satan for his refusal, the Sufis' discussion of Satan explores the dangers encountered by aspirants on the spiritual path. Their stories affirm Divine Unity, transcending the dualism of good and evil in popular imagination, and showing that in human experience, rather than a force outside ourselves, Satan symbolizes our self-deception when we heed pride or passions of the ego before truth in the heart.
This book presents the image of the dog as portrayed in Sufi literature, and is illustrated with Persian miniatures. In contrast to the prevailing Islamic view of the dog as a foul, vicious and unclean animal, the Sufis held the poverty and wretchedness of the dog in special esteem, considering themselves to be dogs -- or less than dogs -- in the lane of the Beloved. These stories communicate the value of humility, loyalty, and other praiseworthy qualities of the base animal nature of their own ego, and emphasize the value of training that tames wildness and makes even the dog useful to society.
A collection of poetry written by Dr. Nurbakhsh over the past twenty five years;it is printed with Persian and English calligraphy on facing pages. The author uses the grace of poetry to communicate inner experience of the heart's involvement with God. These poems are written to be sung wherever Sufis gather to 'drink the wine of Love'.
55 short poems featuring calligraphy in both Persian and English on facing pages. Written by Dr. Nurbakhsh, these poems are translated into colloquial English. They express the truths of spiritual love with powerful and eloquent clarity.
This volume contains essays on the
three principal concepts in the spiritual method and disciplines of Sufism.
The first essay introduces 'the science of Sufism', with definitions and explanations
of Sufism selected from the writings of the classical Sufi Masters, as well
as 53 explanations of the meaning of the term 'Sufi' --including many definitions
translated for the first time.
The second essay explores the Sufi concept of knowledge (ma'refat), and explains the difference between knowledge imparted through revelation and that accessible to reason. The final essay examines the various esoteric meanings and hierarchical levels of Divine Unity (tawhid), the goal of the Sufi Path
This volume presents writing of the
great Sufi Masters concerning ten spiritual 'stations' and 'states'
which are usually discussed in pairs. The spiritual traveler experiences these
inward transformations as opposites - like left and right feet -- which propel
and balance his movement on the path toward God. Like the wings of a bird, 'fear'
of lapsing from God,and 'hope' in Divine mercy aid the flight of beginners
in the Sufi path. Alternations of 'contraction' and 'expansion'
draw the heart of the intermediate aspirant away from himself and toward God.
'Gathering' absorbs the more advanced traveler toward God while 'dispersion'
scatters his attention back into the world. Although different masters have
been characterized by 'sobriety' or 'intoxication',and have
expressed preference for one or the other, these are shown to be spiritual states
bestowed by God and beyond personal choice.
Finally, the Sufis' 'annihilation' or passing away of the human side of their nature is followed by 'subsistence' through the attributes of God. These can be viewed as the end of the path to God and the beginning of the journey in God.
Through 'submission' to
God's will, the lover realizes 'contentment' with God regardless of
his circumstances. 'Absence from himself and the word prepare him for
'presence' with God. The sweetness of 'intimacy' with God's
beauty is contrasted with 'awe' of Divine majesty.
Mystics who approach inner certainty in God enjoy 'tranquility' and 'serenity'. Gradually, the trials of traveling through 'fluctuations' or constant changes of state temper the wayfarer's heart until it reaches 'stability' in perfection.
'Repentance' is viewed by Sufis as return toward God. Thus unswerving repentance leads to 'abstinence' from distractions, and the 'renunciation' of everything but God, creating the'wariness' that guards the wayfarer's heart from association with other than God. 'Humility' purifies the wayfarer of pride and anger. 'Humbleness' or abject humility describes the heart bent low before God's threshold, prepared for obedience. 'Sincerity', the key to the Path, purifies the seeker's intention.
This is a book about the stages of progress and development of the Sufi's psyche in its spiritual journey.It is the first English-language work to address and answer, within the framework of traditional Sufism, such fundamental questions as: "What is the spirit?" and "What is inner consciousness?". Most of the prose texts and poetic works presented in the book have been translated for the first time.
The contents are highly interesting
for everyone who wants to understand Persian and Persianate poetical symbolism...themes
are explained in their symbolic, religious sense and they are illustrated
by numerous verses from the works of the great mystical masters of Iran.
As for the translation of the verses... they are fair enough and certainly
better than most English versions of Oriental poetry.
Anne-Marie Schimmel, Harvard University
We are happy to record the
appearance of the 2nd volume of the Nurbakhsh Encyclopedia, which is devoted
to Love, and all its corollaries, that is, it covers the most important
aspect of Persian mystical poetry. As in the first volume, every concept
is explained not only by verses from the classical Persian poetry, but also
by prose treatises, and even a scholar who has worked in this field for
a long time will appreciate the subtle nuances of apparently synonymous
Anne-Marie Schimmel, Harvard University
The 3rd volume is devoted to Sufi terms concerning various types of devotion, religious experience, spiritual practices and theological dogmas as understood by the Sufis. The author reveals the inner meaning of many of the fundamental--but most often misunderstood-concepts of Islam, ranging from fasting to pilgrimage, from prophecy to infidelity, and from Hell to Paradise. Sufis' humanistic yet gnostic interpretations of these concepts split open the dry husks of ordinary religious language to reveal rich kernels of extraordinary truth. This source book demonstrates the profundity and sublimity of the Islamic spiritual tradition.
This volume defines the meanings
of flowers;lights;classifications of physical and spiritual places and positions;
birds and other animals in Sufi poetry. One chapter covers the symbolism of
alchemy, metals and another analyzes symbols concerning travel. The interior
dimension of these objects and beings from the physical world is revealed through
the source material cited by the author.
The general reader will be shown the metaphysical standpoint from which the Sufis behold the universe, and the scholar will be presented with great deal of material on those themes.
This book contains the proceedings of a conference organized by the Nimatullahi Order on "Classical Persian Sufism: From its Origin to Rumi", held at the George Washington University from 11-13 th May, 1992. The chapters in this book analyze such diverse themes as "Literary and Historical Beginnings", "Sufi Masters and Schools","Metaphysics and Hermeneutics", "Literature and Poetry","Divine Love, Sainthood, Spiritual Disciplines and Stations", and "Spiritual Chivalry and Malamati Spirituality". More than anything, this book is a revelation of the richness of the Sufi contribution to Persian culture, and captures well the mood of the mystics' meditative vision of Islam.