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The Sufi Message


Hazrat Inayat Khan


The message of the Sufi Movement is a call to humanity in general to unite in a world brotherhood beyond the boundaries of caste, creed, race, nation or religion. The Sufi Movement has no particular creed, dogma, or doctrine. Its philosophy teaches tolerance to all, and, above all things, understanding of one another, thereby awakening sympathy with one another, and the realization that the well-being of each depends upon the well-being of all.

The voice of God has always warned and guided man through the divine message given by the prophets and reformers of all ages, who came in answer to the need of man. Every religion, in whatever period it was given and accepted by the people, was an answer to the cry of humanity. As the rain falls from the clouds, drawn by the need of the plants and trees, so the divine message has ever responded to the longing of souls seeking guidance.

The battles that have been fought throughout the ages are chiefly caused by religious differences. The true religious ideal has as its principal aim the harmonizing of man in the unity of God. But it has always happened that the religious authorities have used religion for selfish purposes and thereby destroyed its purpose, turning the form of religion, which was a living spring of immortal life to souls, into a stagnant, dead form.

The increasing materialism and overpowering commercial influence, which has veiled the heart of humanity from Truth, has caused the greatest distress during the last few years. In spite of the great advancement of modern civilization man is beginning to doubt today whether humanity is really progressing. In point of fact, there is no doubt that humanity is progressing. The proof of progress is to be found in all the wonderful phenomena that have been created in the form of marvellous scientific inventions. But all these inventions have only helped to carry out the greatest disaster in the history of the world, a war that has swallowed up numberless lives, among them youths who had inherited the culture of many generations. In spite of the prosperity and flourishing condition that one sees, there is a total absence of the ideal. The minds of the generality seem to be centred in one thing only, and that is the struggle of life. Millions are busily occupied, physically and mentally, every moment of the day and night, in collecting wealth or treasure, the nature of which is to pass from hand to hand. As long as they have it in their possession there is a kind of intoxication; when it is lost there is nothing to hold on to. This has made man more avaricious in the strife of material life.

Today he is considered the most practical man who is most capable of guarding his own interests to the best advantage. The same is true of nations—each is working for its own interest. In any nation he who is called the man of the day is not the one who feels for the welfare of humanity, but the one who, exclusively, stands by the interest of his own party, community or nation. Patriotism can only be a virtue when used as a stepping-stone towards a universal brotherhood. It can be justifiable only if it is made a means to conserve forces in order to work for the welfare of all. But today patriotism has become a lock upon the hearts so that no alien may be admitted into a country, except only those of their own kind.

What is missing in modern education, in art and science, in the social, political and commercial life, is the ideal—the ideal which is the secret of heaven and earth, the mystery hidden behind both man and God. Man, with all he possesses in the objective world, is poor in the absence of the ideal, and it is that poverty which creates irritation, conflicts and disagreements, causing thereby wars and disasters of all kinds. Man’s greatest necessity today is the exploration of the human personality, to find there the latent inspiration and power, and upon this to build the whole structure of life. For life is not only to live, but to ennoble oneself and reach that perfection which is the innate yearning of the soul. The solution to the problem of the day is that the consciousness of humanity may be awakened to the divinity of man. The undertone of all religions is the realization of the One Life which culminates in the thought of Unity. It is to raise humanity to this consciousness that the efforts of the Sufi Movement are directed.

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