In the Name of the Most Beloved
Islamic Mysticism (‘Irfan) in less than 500 words
Islamic Mysticism is the witness of immediate union of the human soul with the Ultimate Reality or God.
· ‘Irfan’. Literally meaning ‘sweet fragrance’ or intuitive knowledge. A person who is practicing Irfan is called an Arif.
Two Branches of Islamic Mysticism
· Theoretical Mysticism: The system of witnessing the reality of the existence as it is in relation to God, the world and the man by the means of intuitive knowledge.
· Practical Mysticism: In practical Mysticism there is a path and a destination and the mystic is a wayfarer. The journey begins with the first station ‘Awakening’ and ends when the lovers’ meet at ‘Monotheism’. Thus, Practical Mysticism is a lifetime endeavour to reach the peak of Monotheism in order to witness God.
The differences between Islamic Philosophy & Islamic Mysticism
· Philosophy is based on rationality, logical and sound arguments, whereas Mysticism is based on inner purification and intuition.
· In philosophy both God and the world are real, whereas in Mysticism God is the only real Existence.
· Knowing the reality is the perfection of man in philosophy, whereas witnessing the reality and the union with it is the perfection of man in Mysticism.
Shari’at (Islamic Canon Law), Tariqat (the Path) and Haqiqat (The Reality): Shari’at is like medicine, Tariqat is like taking medication and Haqiat is like a cure. There is no contradiction between the three notions.
The Fundamental Elements of Islamic Mysticism
· Unity of Existence: ‘Unity of Existence’ is the central mystical ideology which attempts at overcoming the gap between self and Unity. The concept of ‘Unity of Existence’ is founded by ‘Ibn Arabi, the founder of Theoretical Mysticism in Islam died in 1240.
· Inner Intuition: Mystics claim that man can enjoy a type of knowledge which is much more advanced than acquired knowledge and rationalism. They call it an inner intuitive knowledge by the only means of which an inner vision of God and Ultimate Reality is possible.
· The Evergreen Garden of Love
In Islamic Mysticism Love is the music and the fuel of life. According to a prophetic saying: “Is religion other than love?!”
Man’s romantic experience of love is an impure shadow of pure divine love.
Love is the elixir of life and those who taste it will never die.