1 minute read

Islamic Mysticism in Asia

The Sufi Path

Sufis believe that average human beings are unable to understand the true nature of spirituality because of their petty concerns. The quest for spiritual understanding in Sufism is seen as a path that each Sufi must travel under the guidance of a teacher or master. This path has many stages, the number and names of which vary according to the school of Sufi thought.

The Sufi path relies on the use of meditation to accomplish its goals. The various Sufi forms of mediation are called zikr (or dhikr). Zikr literally means "repetition," "remembrance," "utterance," or "mentioning" and is a term that appears several times in the Koran. At its most basic level, Sufi zikr consists of repeating one of God's names over and over. In Islam, God is believed to have many names that describe some aspect of his nature. Of these, ninety-nine are considered special and are called the "Most Beautiful Names." The purpose of reciting these names is to concentrate wholly on what one is to lose all self-awareness by repeating the zikr formula enough times that it permeates one's entire being so that even if the person ceases to actively engage in zikr, it continues to be repeated in his heart.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Intuitionist logic to KabbalahIslamic Mysticism in Asia - History: Early Period, Doctrine And Practices, The Sufi Path, Impact On Literature And The Arts