Knowledge of Spirituality and Sufism
Allahblessed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with two types of knowledge;
- One is the knowledge of the book (Ilm E Safina).
- Second is the knowledge of the inside knowledge of the heart and knowledge of spirituality and Sufism (Ilm E Sina).
Very few people receive this knowledge. Hazrat Ali (r.a) received the inner knowledge of Spirituality and Sufism from the prophet (pbuh). Hazrat Ali (r.a) was honored to receive the prophet’s mantle. Prophet Ali (RA) maintained all the deeds and virtues that affect a person’s soul and heart. He also maintained Sharia’s acts that increase a person’s spiritual power. Sometimes Hazrat Ali used to get engrossed in offering prayer so much that he could not even feel the pain and discomfort of someone pulling out an arrow that had already pierced his body. Most of the time, while offering prayer, he lost his consciousness and, after, sometimes regained his consciousness. He offers his prayer so much that it feels that he is not in this world; instead, he is in another world of spirituality.
While praying, his emotions were so intense that he would fall into a swoon. Once Abu Darda saw Hazrat Ali lying rigid on the prayer mat, he touched his body though Ali had breathed his last; when Hazrat Fatima (r.a) heard this news, he said that while praying, Hazrat Ali often became unconscious.
Lessons for Life from Hazrat Ali(RA):
Hazrat Ali often observed and felt that one could have the joy and wonder of communion with ALLAH if one disciplined the flash, abandoned pride, overcame lust, and submitted himself to the will of ALLAH. He told people in his various sermons not to indulge in gross licentiousness, which had characterized Arab society in the “Days of Ignorance.” He advised them to spend life in simplicity and to live in righteousness, as forbidden by Islam. Hazrat Ali said that man is like a wave in the boundless sea of God. As long as man’s vision is covered by sensuality and ignorance, he will consider himself to be a different entity, different from God. But when the veil between God and him is lifted, he will see what he is. Then the wave will emerge with the ocean.
According to Hazrat Ali that enlightenment is required first to get to know himself. Only then would he get to know Allah. Hazrat Ali said that religious exercises must be practiced to this end. The Spirituality and Sufism, for which Hazrat Ali stood, emerged its strength from the Sharia. Hazrat Ali said that any knowledge which failed to display the Countless Reality in man is of no use because it could not fill that vacuum in which the aching soul in every individual was so touchingly conscious.
Man to Purify the Soul:
Hazrat Ali wanted men to be righteous as righteousness purifies the soul. And it is only the clean soul that can be the receiver of mystical enlightenment. This is the principle of Inner Light which Hazrat Ali enunciated as the core of Sufi thought. Hazrat Ali is acknowledged as the “father of spirituality and Sufism” and the leader of saints.
Almost all Sufi orders trace their ancestry to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through Hazrat Ali. An exception is Naqshbandi, who goes through Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA). Even in this order, Hazrat Ja’far al-Sadiq (RA) is the great-grandson of Hazrat Ali. Sufis trust that Ali inherited from Muhammad (PBUH) the saintly power that makes the spiritual journey to God possible. Imam Ali characterizes the essence of the teachings of the School of Islamic Sufism. Sufis recite Manqabat Ali in praise of Ali after Hamd and Naat in their Qawwali.