Sufism: Its Mystical Contribution To An Understanding Of The Islamic God

2332 words - 9 pages

2.3 A God to be Remembered: The Sufi Practice of Dhikr

In an interview on the Sufi concept of God’s oneness conducted in 2011, contemporary mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee emphasised the ‘forgetfulness’ of today’s society. In the context of Sufism, this ‘forgetfulness does not refer to mere absent-mindedness but a kind of perpetual and periodic obliviousness to the centrality of God and the divine spark within. The goal of the Sufi then, is to maintain a constant state of remembrance of God through the recitation of His ninety-nine names – a practice known as dhikr. Although often occurring in the form of silent and prolonged meditation on God, the most popularized form of dhikr amongst the majority of Sufi sects includes a group of Sufis gathering together and chanting the names of God in unison, often falling into a trance or state of ecstasy (Gilchrist 1986: 5). In a further explanation of the mystical significance of dhikr, Ernst (1997: 93) quotes a prominent Egyptian Sufi, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah of Alexandria in saying that dhikr is a “multileveled process…beginning with the tongue as the outermost, then engaging the heart, the soul, the spirit, the intellect, and the innermost conscience.” This explanation presents dhikr as a concentrated process and a form of discipline – a meditation that’s driven by spiritual fervour to experience the presence of God and indulge in the divine ecstasy like one would indulge in good wine. Indeed these dhikr ceremonies are often accompanied by “whirling dervishes” where mystics spin around repeatedly with their arms outstretched, dancing (so to speak) to the sound of the chanting and musical accompaniment. This practice of whirling serves to imitate the movement of the cosmos and its cyclical animation that stems from a sense of dynamic divinity, existing at its very core (Gilchrist 1986). In this way, Sufis become active participants in the very nature of God and in the motion of the world of which they form an inextricable part. Similar states of ecstasy are reached in the same way in Pentecostal or charismatic branches of Christianity where believers, filled with the Holy Spirit become enraptured and as if drunk, begin to speak strange utterances known as the divine language of tongues (referred to as shathiyyat in Arabic (Ernst 1997: 117)). These practices shed light on the nature of the divine from the perspective of the mystic. It is as if God consciousness and a divine connection can be reached by touching the inner workings of the spirit, by grasping at the core of one’s emotions, mental capabilities and spirituality in order to access what is already there – the divine spark that unifies God with mankind. The God of the Sufis exists beyond human egotism, beyond any normal state of consciousness – beyond the conventional. These trance-like experiences may occasionally be granted to a Muslim by spontaneous “divine grace” (Ernst 1997: 116) as in the case of the famous Luri tribesman who, when having...

Find Another Essay On Sufism: Its Mystical Contribution to an Understanding of the Islamic God

The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society

3253 words - 13 pages The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society Functionalists have constructed two questions to help them research education. The first question is. "What are the functions of education for society as a whole?" and the second question is. "What are the functional relationships between the education system and other parts of the social system". Firstly

The Service of the River and Its Contribution to Death

918 words - 4 pages gigantic tale, to the Erebus and Terror, bound on other conquests- and that never returned” (Conrad 104). The “Golden Hind” (104) speaks of the idea of patriotism and its contribution to its nation’s accomplishments. The quotation tells the reader that the “Golden Hind” and “Sir Francis Drake” (104) sail around the world and brought back “spices, precious metals, jewels, silks, fine porcelains, and irreplaceable maps” (“Sir Francis Drake”). However

Islamic Images of God

1663 words - 7 pages discuss and get the understanding that we need. The Islamic Image of God. There is one thing I noticed when I started writing my essay in the research Muslims set themselves apart from anyone else. Muslims reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Muslims are not allowed to visualize God as

Understanding the Concept of God

3568 words - 14 pages Understanding the Concept of God As mere humans, we tend to forget things said as time goes by. Our own ability to keep promises that we make can weaken over time. This is not

An Instrument of life; Hamlet's contribution to the play

975 words - 4 pages vulnerable to its control. This control has led Hamlet to act outside of character and in an extremely peculiar fashion. Hamlet is an instrument of his father, his own self, and of sanity.The appearances of the Ghost, although sporadic, do not come without meaning. Hamlet Senior, arguably, is one of Shakespeare's finest creations. The character was molded using the Elizabethan view on death and apparitions. Such belief stated hauntings had a

Critically examine the contribution of Jean Piaget to our understanding of child development

1317 words - 5 pages This essay shall examine the contribution of Jean Piaget to our understanding of child development. Until the mid 1900's psychologists had no useful theory for explaining how children's minds change as they age. Psychologists interested in this field either has to study it in relation to behaviourism, which emphasises that children merely receive information from the environment, or in relation to the IQ testing approach, which emphasises

The Contribution of a Biological Perspective to our Understanding of Behaviour

1427 words - 6 pages The Contribution of a Biological Perspective to our Understanding of Behaviour The importance of Biology within the field of psychology has been and continues to be widely debated. Some scientists such as Francis Crick, believe that explanations for psychological differences can only be found by the means of studying the biology of the brain and genes, this belief is known as reductionism. However most

The Contribution of Split-Brain Studies to Our Understanding of Brain Functioning

1349 words - 5 pages Pinel., 2009). Nonetheless, Sperry and Gazaaniga (1967 in Pinel.,2009) began a series of commisurotomies . They found that after the operation split-brain patients displayed two separate minds, each with its own abilities to learn and comprehend, to experience emotion and behavior and to form memories. One experimental technique used to evaluate split-brain studies in terms of providing us with an understanding of how the brain is

Labelling Theories' Contribution to the Sociological Understanding of Crime and Deviance

1575 words - 6 pages Labelling Theories' Contribution to the Sociological Understanding of Crime and Deviance Becker is the main sociologist studying labelling theory on deviance, he argues that 'social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance.' Meaning acts only become deviant when observers perceive it and define it as deviant. An example of this would be the act of nudity, it is accepted in the

What Contribution Did Jean Piaget Make To The Understanding Of Child Development

2112 words - 9 pages stage is evident and these are secondary circular reactions. The infant begins to differentiate between its own body and the environment around it. Piaget observed an infant aged 5 months, when he put a doll at the same level as the infant the activity of her feet augmented. Interestingly, when the doll is removed, the child occupies herself differently until again the doll is given to her (Piaget 1936, p.182)In the fourth sub stage

Understanding the Elements of Eco-Sanitation Toilets as One Contribution to Productive Waste Management

1734 words - 7 pages Waste Management. The WASTE suggested an emerging new product to the CAPS –a new way of managing excreta, and this was the Eco-Sanitation Toilet System. Their pilot project was in Batangas City, where they installed the Eco-San Toilets on four indigent households. Although only one out of four of their toilets functioned properly due to incorrect and neglected structural designs, they were able to reconstruct and improve its system later on

Similar Essays

Islamic Understanding Of The Relationship Between God And Humanity

1583 words - 6 pages The translation of Islam is 'submission' and this is the meaning of the religion to Muslims. Muslims believe that their lives must be in complete obedience to God and that they should always strive to please God. It is this principle that is the basis of the Islamic relationship between humanity and God.The effort made by Muslims to be obedient to God throughout their lifetimes is a struggle. Muslims are fighting a constant battle to submit

Sufism The Islamic Mysticism Essay

1922 words - 8 pages )Sufi's believe that God remains hidden, so that people don't complain to Him (this however is not an Islamic belief). In Islam, God's presence isn't seen, because He has too much power for the human eyes to see. Sufi's also believe that pain increases the devotion to God. To get close to God, one must experience pain. To suffer pain is a true test of faith. Life becomes a test for that person, and if he or she remains close to God, then he or she

Islamic Contribution To The West Essay

5594 words - 22 pages Islamic Contributions to the WestIntroductionIn this talk I would like to give an idea about the cultural contribution of the Islamic civilization to the West, the Islamic origins of modern science and civilization and the ascendancy of the Islamic science and learning for about 600 years in the world.Therefore I'll talk about the beginning of the Islamicization of the West, of the Influence of Muslims on Western philosophy, rationalism

Islamic Contribution To The West Essay

5594 words - 22 pages Islamic Contributions to the WestIntroductionIn this talk I would like to give an idea about the cultural contribution of the Islamic civilization to the West, the Islamic origins of modern science and civilization and the ascendancy of the Islamic science and learning for about 600 years in the world.Therefore I'll talk about the beginning of the Islamicization of the West, of the Influence of Muslims on Western philosophy, rationalism