Sufism for Non-Sufis?

Time to see what this Sufism thing is all about:

… And for those of you who are thinking “what the…??”, as it says in the background: keep calm and carry on 😉 objectivity is the key to understanding.

Before I begin, note the question mark in the title. The book is written to explore the place and compatibility of sufism in the modern day, not to propagate it.

I had written a long introduction to the book, but when I started reading Dr Sherman Jackson’s introduction, his words are more than adequate to explain why such a book has such importance today:

Sufism is the science of self-purification, not a sect nor badge of honour. It is a sacred knowledge teaching us two of the most important things of all; self-purification and self-discipline. Many great scholars of Islam have previously written on the topic including Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyah, Imam Ghazali and countless others. Ibn Taymiyyah was said to have had a tariqah (sufi path) and to have praised Imam Junaid: a renowned sufi scholar.

‘The mastery of nature is vainly
believed to be an adequate substitute for self-mastery’
– Reinhold Niebuhr

“Given the modern polemic around sufism, this alone might be enough to discourage many, especially non-sufis, from taking any interest in such a text. But Taaj Al’Aroos (The Bride Goom’s Crown) so quickly defies many of the criticisms and stereotypes popularized by Sufism’s modern opponents that it soon reveals many of these popular misgivings to be misplaced. At the same time, it challenges modern proponents of Sufism, by intimating alternatives to mysticism (particularly where it entails or implies pantheism) as the pivotal focus of the sufi enterprise.”

So… to begin the book 🙂


One of the most profound moments I have ever experienced. It is literally speaking to me, telling me to wake up. As I sat on the tube on my way back home, I opened my book on a crowded carriage and read the following:

“The Prophet (saw) said: “The poor among the believers will enter Paradise before the wealthy by 500 years” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]

This is because they excelled in this life in worship. You, on the other hand, abandon communal prayers and instead pray alone. And when you do pray, you prostrate like a rooster pecking the earth. But is it proper to present kings with anything other than that which is good and select? The poor only enter paradise first because they excelled in this life in serving the Master.

And by ‘poor’, we mean ‘steadfast’, those who persevere in the face of the bitterness of poverty, to the point that one of them may even rejoice at being afflicted with hardship, just as you rejoice upon finding prosperity. The poor’s entering Paradise before the wealthy is thus an indication of their patience in the face of poverty.”

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