Though in a sense I grew up to appreciate Sufism, as it was my grandfather’s specialty, this book was my first real introduction to it’s poetry, wisdom and mysticism. The essence of any spiritual path is not in it’s history, it’s controversies or it’s mundane facts. The essence is the wisdom people have lived and been inspired by. Sufi mysticism is best known in the West through the work of Rumi, but in Essential Sufism he takes a back seat to such names as Hafiz, al-Ghazzali, Abu Sa’id, Junaid and more.
This is a compilation of quotes from fifteen centuries of Sufi mysticism, with an excellent introduction to Sufism by Robert Frager. Not to be passed over lightly, he really gives a an introduction to the spiritual path and it’s challenges from a Sufi perspective. Very valuable in it’s own right.
I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves:
Asking good questions is half of learning.
Muhammad (Essential Sufism)
A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.
Traditional (Essential Sufism)
Whatever you have in your mind – forget it;
Whatever you have in your hand – give it;
Whatever is to be your fate – face it!
Abu Sa’id (Essential Sufism)
Arrogance and conceit in a person may be recognized by three signs:
- When alone does he feel gloomy, and in company feel happy?
- When people praise him, does he perform more worship?
- When they speak badly of him, does he perform very little worship?
A seeker went to ask a sage for guidance on the Sufi way. The sage counseled,
“if you have never trodden the path of love, go away and fall in love;
then come back and see us.”
- Essential Sufism; James Fadiman (Editor), Robert Frager (Editor), Foreword by Huston Smith
- Paperback – Reprint
- English-language edition
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne (November 17, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006251475X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062514752
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches