Sufism and Spiritual Life
ONE DAY IN LATE 1982 I was addressing a letter to a Turkish friend whom I had known as a mystic of deep spiritual experiences despite his seemingly worldly official occupation. The address was known to me, but suddenly I remembered that another friend interested in Sufism had been living in that very area and I wondered whether she, whom I had not remembered for years might still be alive. The next day, the telephone rang, and a Turkish woman's voice said that the very lady I had been remembering the previous day had asked her to see me. She came, an elegant woman in her forties, and in the course of our conversation I discovered that she had been blessed with extraordinary visions and dreams. We became good friends, and whenever her way led her to Germany she used to come and discuss problems of Sufism and Islamic doctrine with me, and I could not but marvel at the way she described what had illuminated her mind. Although she had never studied any of the great handbooks of mysticism or any of the major Sufi works in Turkish, her dreams and visions were completely in tune with those seen by the masters of the path in olden times, and her descriptions of visions of Mawlānā Rūmī or Shams-i Tabrīzī were marvelous and scaring at the same time. And what about the appearance of the Prophet to her mother when she was reluctant to let her daughter marry a non-Muslim? The vision urged her to give the girl freedom. (That the husband embraced Islam later on owing to an inner urge is another story.) In short, to meet this Turkish friend and her family made me feel once more that the Turkish experience of Islam, and of mystical Islam in particular, is something very special, and our discussions led me back to the 1950s when the religious life in the country was again becoming more visible and the observer could see how right Muhammad Iqbal was when he wrote, in the late 1930s: "It is claimed that the Turks have repudiated Islam. A greater lie was never told."
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Publication information: Book title: Islamic Spirituality:Manifestations. Contributors: Seyyed Hossein Nasr - Editor. Publisher: Crossroad Herder. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 223.
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