Although Sufism is unique in that it has won a pre-eminent place in Islamic culture through the unrelenting work of Sufi giants through the ages, its diversity of method are so strange and unfamiliar that it must be considered from a certain special viewpoint if it is properly to be understood. In adapting itself to the blindness and opposition of narrow-mindedness and constriction originating in limited minds, Sufism has taken as its province the area of life and action which is partially invisible to the ordinary person. In this short sketch I shall touch on some of these points. In conformity with the Sufi practice, no attempt is made to present the materials in accordance with the limited framework of ordinary literature.
Let us take the journey-motif of Sufism, as a start. Sufism is seen and described by Sufis as a journey, or a series of journeys. There is a path, and a Guide. What confuses the ordinary person about this journey is, for instance, is the journey literal or metaphorical? In fact it can be both. The Sufi aspirant may undertake long and trying journeys to obtain completion. There is an inner as well as an outer journey. Therefore a Sufi journey must be understood in both senses. This is a parallel to the tradition that there is a Great Struggle and a Lesser Struggle. One is of the body, the other of the mind.
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