Where the term Sufism comes from



People have differed in the original meaning of the term “Sufism” many westerners who are Sufis claim that this term has nothing to do with Islam rather it existed way before Islam, neglecting the linguistic structure of the term “Sufim” which is related to the Arabic language without any shadow of a doubt. Others however acknowledged its relation to the Arabic language but insist its existant predate Islam. Obviously the opinion which is closer to the real meaning of Sufism in terms of language which is the main point of this short essay. Looking at both opinions we see both sides share the same term but differ in origin. We conclude from this reality that there is some kind of confusion of the true nature of Sufism and its relationship to its term. In other words they seem to deal with it as an ideology classified by the term…

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Where does the term Sufism come from

People have differed in the original meaning of the term “Sufism” many westerners who are Sufis claim that this term has nothing to do with Islam rather it existed way before Islam, neglecting the linguistic structure of the term “Sufism” which is related to the Arabic language without any shadow of a doubt. Others however acknowledged the term “Sufism” relation to the Arabic language but insist its existence predate Islam; in other words, they think that it is true that this term is related or derived from the Arabic but the path of self purification as an ideology predated Islam. Looking at both opinions we see that although both sides seem to share the same term “Sufism” and at the same time differ on its origin, but both have failed to differentiate between the origin of the term and origin of the actual path of self purification as an Ideology. We conclude from this reality that there is some kind of confusion between the true nature of Sufism as an Ideology and its relationship to its term. In other words they seem to deal with it as an ideology classified by the term Sufism. Where in reality Sufism is a spiritual path of the inner self and the individual desire to draw near the ultimate Truth, the Beloved. This fact alone should not allow to any title or term to obscure the the true nature of this path. However, it fair to say that Sufism as pure Ideology have predated Islam before it was even called Sufism. What really happen here in my opinion is that the term Sufism has become synonymous with this spiritual path which is shared by all people of diverse denominations. The reason for this fact is that Muslim philosophers have profoundly influenced this spiritual path-most likely before it is called Sufism- and consequently this path have inevitably adopted the Arabic term “Sufism” and have become attached to it. It is worth mentioning here is that the path of self purification in various cultures is still carries different terms, for example in Hindo philosophy it may be called Nervana and in Judaism may be called “qabbaalla”, in Christianity it may be called Rahbana, and in Islam it is called “tasawwuf- the act of self purification or as it is called in the west sufism”

Why is he term “Sufism” was adopted to represent the process of self purification?

Now based on what has been mentioned above, lets find out the true meaning of the term “Sufism”. The most common opinion is that the term “Sufism” comes from the term “soof-صوف, lit. means wool” in Arabic and the common understanding is that it is named after Imam Ali’s way of life as humble appearance where he was described as dressed in wool garment to prevent himself from falling into the comfort of this world so the wool garment on his skin is a good reminder of that. This understanding represent half of the true meaning of the reason of choosing the term Sufism to represent this spiritual path of the human soul. Yes it is true that this term is related to “wool” but what is the relationship between them. The answer to this question is by further examining the true meaning of the “soof صوف; wool” in Arabic. Now “soof صوف” represent the hair of lamb and we know that as a fact that the hair of lamb is very coarse in nature. Now the question to ask here is why the Arabs name the hair of the lamb to be soof صوف; wool. The answer to this question lies in the original meaning of the root word where the term soof صوف is derived from. The root word for sooph صوف، is “safa صفا , yasfu يصفو, safaa صفاء’” which literally mean to purify, to be pureو, purity respectfully.” Surprisingly this original meaning appear to be contradictory to the nature of the hair of the Lamb which is very coarse in nature. Now to explain this it seems that the Arabs wanted to find a proper name to the hair of the lamb which would appreciate its most notable benefits besides its usage in garments to provide heat against cold temperatures. So the Arabs have another use of this hair and that is as a tool of purification of water as a strainers. The environment of the desert did not make the wool (as garment) as an essential property of the wool rather their need for pure water was considered to be the most essential property of the hair of the lamb. Therefore they wanted to appreciate this fact about the hair of the lamb so they borrowed the root word “safa, yasfu-become pure, to be purified” and derived the term suf” which represent the material performs the act of purification. Hence the derived term “suf” was borrowed here to become the name for the hair of the lamb in other words the name suf was chosen in accordance to the purpose and function of the hair of the lamb and that is “to purify” the fluids. Now let s go back to the main issue and that is the true meaning of “Sufism” based on what has been established so far it became very clear that the Arabic term “Suf” was anglicized to become “Sufism” in accordance to the main purpose of this spiritual path which is to “purify the inner self” as the wool purify the fluids


Adill Hissan

اشارات عرفانية من آية البسملة القرآنية

:اكثر آية قرآنية يتفوَّه بها المسلمين ليلا ونهاراً هي الاية الكريمة التالية

“بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم”

والمعنى المتعارف لدى المسلمين العام ، بأستثناء القليل جداً ، هو ينبغي على المسلم ان يبتدئ اي قول او فعل بأسم الجلالة وهو ” الله” اي نقول ” بإسم الله الرحمن الرحيم” وهذا المعنى ليس باطلا ولكن هو جزء من المعنى المرتجى. والملاحظ هنا انني كتبت “إسم” وليس “بِسْم” اي وضعت حرف الألف بين حرف الباء والسين في كلمة “بِسْم” لأن هذا المعنى المتعارف لجملة “بِسْم الله” اي ان المفسرين يفترضون وجود حرف “الألف” بين الباء والسين في “بِسْم” ولكنهم يقولون بحذف الألف مع بقاء المعنى بأنه تعني “إسم” اي اسم الشئ.  والسؤال الذي اطرحه الان هو لو كان ان اسم العٓلم لفظ الجلالة “الله” هو اسمٌ للخالق كما هو معروف فهذا يعني اننا نقول “بأسم الاسم” لان ” الله” هو الاسم . ومثال ذلك عندما نعلم ان والد زيد هو محمود وأردنا ان نقوم بمشروع ما ونهديه الى والد زيد (محمود) عندئذ ٍ يمكن ان نقول ان هذا المشروع تمّ “بإسم والد زيد” ومن الخطأ ان نقول ” بإسم محمود” لان “محمود ” هو الاسم. والآن كيف نفهم معنى “بِسْم الله”
لقد اختلف مفسري القرآن ،المسلمين الأوائل،  في أصل كلمة “سْم” من ” بِسْم ” ولكنهم يتفقون على ان حرف الباء ليس من أصل الكلمة. و الاختلاف في أصل كلمة “سم”  على وجهين كما ذكره المارودي في تفسيره للقرآن

ألوجه الاول: أنه مشتق من السمة، وهي العلامة، لما في الاسم من تمييز المسمى، وهذا قول الفرَّاء.
والثاني: أنه مشتق من السمو، وهي الرفعة لأن الاسم يسمو بالمسمى فيرفعه من غيره، وهذا قول الخليل والزجَّاج.وفِي اعتقادي ان الوجه الاول وهو من “السمة” يتضمن الوجه الثاني ضرورةً

والآن لنرّكز على المعنى الاول وهو ان كلمة “سْم” مشتقة من السمة اي الصفة التي تُمٓيِّز الشئ عن غيره وأنّ الباء ليست من أصل الكلمة المعنية. وهذا المعنى أراه يتناغم مع المعنى المرتجى من عبارة “بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم” وبعبارة ثانية ان الاية تقول ان على الانسان ان يبدئ قوله او فعله ب ” صفة الله ” وهما “الرحمن الرحيم ” والنقطة المهمة هنا ان الاية قد أفردت صفتين من صفات الله الحسنى وبالتحديد صفة “الرحمن” وصفة ” الرحيم” وإفراد هاتان الصفتان ليس صدفة او بلاغة كلامية بل انها مصوغة من لدن حكيم خبير. وان هاتان الصفتان تمثل ثنائية رائعة تحمل معاني عرفانية جميلة. فليعلم الانسان انه اذا أراد ان يقول قول الحسنى او القيام بفعل الخير ينبغي ان يكون على وعي تام بأن القول او الفعل يكون من أجل الله بصفتيه الحسنى “الرحمن الرحيم” فأن كان كذلك فأن فعله وقوله يكون واقعٌ لا محالة في ثنائية “الرحمن الرحيم” ونلاحظ هنا ان ” الرحمن الرحيم ” لا يرتبطان بواو العطف وذلك يضيف معنى أعمق لجملة “الرحمن الرحيم” وذلك، والله اعلم، صفة الرحمن هي أصل الوجود وكل ما هو موجود يصدر عن “الرحمن ” ويكون في ظل “الرحيم” وهذه مشروطة بارادة الانسان. فإذا كان الانسان واعً لقيمومة الرحمن على الوجود ويتجلى ذلك في افعاله وأقواله بإرادته الحرّة فأن فعله وقوله سوف يكون ،لا محالة، في واحة المقدَّس المطلق والتي تمتاز بصفتان من صفاته الحسنى وهما “الرحمن” اي في “رحمانية الله” ويكون في ظلال “الرحيم” اي في “رحيمية الله” في آن واحد . أمّا اذا أراد الانسان ان يقول قول السوء ويقوم بفعل الشر فأن كان كذلك فأنه سوف يقع في ثنائية ” الشيطان الرجيم” حتى لو تفوّه بعبارة “بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم” .
وهكذا تتجلى عظمة آيات القرآن الكريم وبالتحديد هذه الاية الكريمة “بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم”

والله اعلم
عادل حسين

The notion of ”abrogation” in the Muslim belief system is one of the major root causes of Muslim terrorism today

Whatever verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten We bring one a better than it or like it. Do you know that God has power over all things? Quran, 2: 106

Before getting into my main subject matter I would like to point out to two important points, the first one is my severe criticism of the doctrine of Muslims is not a mere allegations  and blind attacks on their religious teachings. The main reason for that is it became obvious for everyone who wants to conduct an analytical overview of the reality of Muslim socio political situation will reach a reasonable conclusion that terrorism and violence is rooted in our faith, the doctrine of the Muslim religion.

The second point is that we must separate between the universal Islamic religion the upright (haneef) whose foundations laid down by Ibrahim (as), and between the organized religion founded by Muslim scholars. Thus, my words here and other articles directed to the belief system of our religion, the Muslim religion, which became fragmented into several mini religious groups’ condemns each other and their exclusivity to salvation is the hall mark of their doctrine.

My words here not directed towards the universal Islamic religion, which includes all of God’s creation, and that its criterion to salvation is engaging in good deeds and serving the human cause. Whereas the organized religion; the religion of Muslim scholars, it only includes its followers and its criterion to salvation is mere affiliation or verbal pronunciation of “shahada” or by being born into a Muslim parent.

Now I would like to discuss one of the most important subjects, which is in my opinion, it has a direct relationship to the dire socio-political situation of Muslims and Muslim global terrorism. This subject is the notion of “abrogation in the Quran” which is adopted by the vast majority of Muslim scholars from both major sects Sunni and Shiites. I truly believe that such approach towards the Quran represent the most damaging blow to the essential universal message of the Quran.

It is very regrettable to see that Muslim scholars by adopting this notion of abrogation, weather intended or not, this is for them to answer, it had led to the suspension of the message of peace and tolerance of the Quran. Unfortunately They advocate that all of the Qur’anic verses, which advocate peace, love and tolerance towards our fellow men abrogated with other sets of Quranic verses, which relate to war, violence and conflicts-neglecting their historical contexts.

Clearly, this well-established belief, abrogation, towards the Quran is nothing but an attempt to go around their inability to corrupt the text of the Quran simply because God Himself is guarding it from corruption as He SW clearly confirmed it in the Quran;

“Surely We have revealed the remembrance and that We will most surely be its guardian-15:9

furthemore, the other reason, for Muslim scholars, for adopting the notion of abrogation is, in my opinion, due to their failure to fully comprehend the true meaning of these Quranic verses which were alleged to be abrogated, some with good intentions and others are not.

Allow me to elaborate on the notion of Abrogation, in few words. Abrogation of Quranic verses, means, according to Muslim scholars, they contend that there are some Quranic verses abrogated-cancelled, by God, other Quranic verses due to various imagined reasons not sanctioned by God.  It is worth mentioning here that Muslim scholars differ on the specific abrogated Quranic verses. In other words, abrogated Quranic verses in respect to Sunni Muslim scholars may not be the same abrogated Quranic verses according to Shiite Muslim scholars.

Clearly, this disagreement pause a major problem and detrimental to the essence of the Quran and its textual integrity. This belief will represent mocking the final message of God to Mankind and it opens the door to attack the integrity of the Quran. Furthermore, it enables many scholars with deranged minds and selfish political ambitions to suspend many Quranic verses under the pretext of abrogation so that they can select some other verses as replacement to suit the dictates of their school of thoughts. Consequently, this grim reality led to the cancellation of many Quranic verses, which advocate peace, love and intolerance and replaced with other sets of verses that related to historical war and conflicts. In this short essay I will not go into details of the alleged abrogated verses, this can be pursuit by the reader, because it is beyond the scope of my essay.

Now I will attempt to challenge and refute the notion of abrogation within the Quran as advocated by the vast majority of Muslim scholars and to do that I will discuss the Quranic verse, which represents the backbone of this belief, the abrogation, where Muslim scholars deduced this notion of abrogation within the Quran. Please note that in my attempt here, I will not refer to Muslim traditions nor Muslim scholars opinions to refute the notion of abrogation rather I will solely depend on the Quran itself and nothing else because it is after all the victim and the most authentic source for any discussion.

Now let’s look at this verse under discussion is:

Whatever verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten We bring one a better than it or like it. Do you know that God has power over all things? 2: 106

Looking at this verse, 2:106 mentioned above, it is very clear that it allude to the notion of abrogation. The question to ask here, is this suggested abrogation in this verse is related to the Quranic verses or related to something else?

Before I answer this question, I would like to elaborate on this verse. Certainly if we look closely at this verse, we can establish two notions. The first one is “abrogation” and the second one is “forgetfulness” Surprisingly Muslim scholars do not refer to the second notion of “forgetfulness” rather they often focus on the first one, abrogation, as clearly stated, “cause to be forgotten

In other words, this verse, 2:106, we can clearly establish that abrogation is different from forgetfulness. The notion of “abrogation” means cancellation of one verse by another one where as the notion of “forgetfulness” means total removal of a verse from the memory of people; prophets, disciples, etc.. The reason I alluded to the this second notion of “forgetfullnes” or “casue to be forgotten” in verse 2:106, is that I believe that this particular notion exposes the fallacy of the alleged “abrogation”. I will explain this in the next few lines.

Now, is it logical to think that there are some verses revealed to the heart of the Prophet and then cancelled out by other verses; or to suggest that some verses revealed on the heart of the Prophet, whether he (as) conveyed them or not, and then God cause them to be forgotten and erase them from his memory or the memory of people. Certainly, this kind of scenario is an act can only come from someone who is limited in knowledge, unwise, or someone in vain, and God (SW) is free from such acts.

I believe that the abrogation attempt towards the Quran is clear violation of the integrity of the Quran and a devious attempt to maneuver around the impossibility of textual corruption of the Quran simply because that the textual integrity of the Quran is a task under taken by God Himself as He SW stated in 15:9 Quran

“It is We who revealed the remembrance and it We are its protector”

Now let’s assume that abrogation occurred, for the sake of argument, and let’s agree with this first notion of verse; abrogation within the Quran. But what about the second notion which is “forgetfulness” this follows that why would God erase a verse from the memory of the Prophet Muhamad AS and then restore it back again as stated in the verse under discussion, 2:106

 “……cause to be forgotten We bring one………. like it”

Isn’t this an amateurish and an unwise act and attributing negative characteristics to the Quran, and renders it as an average book lacks perfection and wisdom, where God the most high clearly refute any of these negative characteristics in the Quran, as seen in the following verse 11:1,

الَر كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ (11:1

Alif. Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture the verses whereof are perfected (through wisdom have been perfected) and then expounded. (It cometh ) from One Wise, Informed, – 11:1 

Looking closely at the this verse 11:1 above, we see very important fact regarding the main characteristics of the Quranic verses and that is refer to as “uhkimat” this Arabic term is derived from the root word “hakam” which means “he perfected, he ruled, he acted according to wisdom…” also we know the word “wisdom-alhikma”is also of the same root word of “hakama” and our word in the above verse 11:1; “u-hkima-t” furthermore the verse allude to another important fact and that is that the verses of the Quran are “perfected and then expounded” by the All-Wise and the All-informed”. This follows that Quranic verses are perfect and expounded to suit the ever changing of times and there is no need to abrogate nor to cause some verses to be forgotten as was the case in the previous revelations.

Now let me go back to my main question and that is how can we understand the concept of abrogation which is clearly alluded to in verse 2:106 keeping in mind that God describe His book to be perfected and wise; verse 11:1 above. Hence, it is reasonable to say that the abrogation or forgetfulness categorically did not occur in the Quran. Then where did the abrogation occur?

To answer this question we must examine the context of all verses preceded the verse under discussion 2:106. We can see that the overall context is dealing with the people of the book particularly the children of Israel. This follows that the abrogation occurred between the old testament and the new testament on one hand and the Quran on the other hand. In other words, there are some verses in the Old testament are abrogated in respect to the new testament this can be seen from the following verse where Jesus (as) clearly state this fact of abrogation:

وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَلِأُحِلَّ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَجِئْتُكُم بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ (3:50)

And [I have come] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains of the Torah, and to make lawful unto you some of the things which [aforetime] were forbidden to you. And I have come unto you with a message from your Sustainer; remain, then, conscious of God, and pay heed unto me. – 3:50 

This verse 3:50, clearly confirm beyond any shadow of a doubt that abrogation did occur between the Old testament and the new testament.

In conclusion, there are some verses contained in the previous revelation were abrogated; were not repeated again in the Quran but rather they were replace by other verses which better than them, and some other verses were revealed to the previous prophets but were forgotten and then God chose to restore them back again in His sw final book the Quran.; as clearly stated in the verse under discussion; 2:106:

Whatever verse We abrogate or cause to be forgotten We bring one a better than it or like it. Do you know that God has power over all things? Quran, 2: 106

In the near future I will expound on the consequences of the abrogation approach, and its impact on the world peace and the peaceful message of Islam.

Lastly, there is no abrogation within the Quran and unfortunately this false belief towards the Quran opened the door for the corruption of God’s final message and the pretext to devoid the Quran from its essence and consequently undermine the universal message of the Quran.

Adill Hissan

عادل حسين

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Universality of Isalm

Series of lectures about the universality of Islam in relation to Imam Hussain sacrifice on the plain of Karbala on the day of Ashura, during the day of Muharram.
These lectures are based on four notions; The Intellect, Ignorance, Knowledge, Religion and they are discussed from a Quranic perspective and supported by various Prophetic traditions and statements of Imam Ali (as). These lectures present psycho analysis of the Muslim mind in respect to Muslim extremism and Muslim terrorism, The lectures focuses on major notions of our humanity; these are the Intellect, ignorance, Knowledge, Religion; from Quranic and prophetic perspective

These are only two lectures out of 8 totals. The rest will be posted as they become available.

Galactic Embrace is only a Glorification of the Divine.


Galactic Embrace is only a Glorification of the Divine.

Love is the divine urge of the Cosmos to merge into the Ocean of the Beloved. And it is a true form of Glorifications of the Absolute.

All existents pursue Love merely as inevitable expression to embrace its real Cosmological self; although man, as free being, often embraces the illusionary forms of Love.

17:44 Glorifies Him, the seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein. And there is not a thing but glorifies in His praise; but ye understand not their Glorification. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving.

تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدَهِ وَلَـكِن لاَّ تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا 17:44


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Imam Hussain (AS),, The Champion of Freedom

I feel unworthy of writing about this tremendous personality, al-Hussain. I do not know how to introduce him. How could you really describe consciousness; how could you define honor; how could you explain patience. All such human values are unworthy of being synonymous with the reality of al-Hussain. Whatever is written about al-Hussain since his martyrdom until now and till the end of time, is truly a mere attempt of knowing what this universal idea, whom we call al-Hussain, is all about. Writing about someone like al-Hussain is like chasing after the “mirage” in the middle of the desert. As you know, conventionally, when introducing someone we usually tend to take the genealogy approach. We deliberately try to present the names of father, mother and whatever names that are related to the individual so that people may appreciate him or her. But this social norm of introduction may not be necessary in introducing someone like Imam Hussain(A.S).

Continue reading “Imam Hussain (AS),, The Champion of Freedom”