Friday, June 27, 2008

Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis

In the Name of the Transcendent, the Holy

Jesus, as a Prophet of God, manifested the human qualities of sincerity, purity, love and charity. Prophet Muhammad always referred to him as a brother and Quran makes repeated mention of him with the highest praise. The Sufis have attempted to preserve the memory of Jesus as he really was, alive in their minds, and in the minds of others, and to keep him in their hearts. In Sufi literature, Jesus is the paragon of a perfect human being and the example par excellence of a true master. Throughout the centuries, the master of sufism presented him as a perfect sufi.

The hermitage of Jesus
.... Is the Sufi's table spread;
Take heed, o sick one,
.... Never forsake this doorway.
- Rumi, Mathnawi

:: The Spiritual Station of Jesus
The gnostics amongst the Sufis distinguished four kinds of sainthood (welayat, literally means friendship with God):
1. that which is the inner dimension of prophethood (nabowwat).
2. that which is confined to (moqayyaedah) a given prophet.
3. that which is absolute (motlaqah) within every prophet.
4. that which is common (ammah) that is, attainable by all who seek it.

The sufis say that the common sainthood began with Adam and ended with Jesus, who is the Seal of Common Sainthood.

:: The Way of Jesus and His Methods
The way of Jesus was the path of striving, of seclusion and of self-abnegation. In a sufi manner, he enjoyed solitude and disliked ceremony, being detached from the world and its attraction.

Jesus sought, by seclusion,
To set the world aside;

Till his Beloved conceded him closeness

To his heart's desires.

- Sa'di, Qasaed

Hasan Basri said of Jesus that he dressed in coarse wool, ate what he could pluck from trees and slept wherever night found him.

Jesus was the ascetic among the prophets, attaining the highest station of asceticism (zuhd), which is total abandonment of the world. Jesus was dedicated to poverty (faqr), and his practice of poverty is proverbial.

Junaid said, "The sufi is one whose heart, like Abraham's, has become immune from attachment to the world and complies with God's command; and whose submission is that of Ishmael, and whose sorrow is that of David, and whose poverty is that of Jesus, and whose patience is that of Job, and whose yearning is that of Moses engaged in prayer of supplication and whose sincerity is that of Mohammad."

It is written that Jesus, son of Mary, never settled down and was forever wandering from place to place. When asked why, he replied in humble heart, 'Perhaps I might set foot one day where a saint has trod and stepping in his tracks, find intercession.'

Attar in his Diwan writes:
If for only a moment you free yourself
From this prison all around you,
You will be like Jesus,

Unique in detachment.

:: Jesus Patchwork Cloak of Wool
Jesus, son of Mary, had a patchwork cloak, which he wore when he ascended into heaven. One of the masters of the Path once said that he had seen him in a dream, wearing that same old patchy woolen cloak, and that beams of light shone from every patch. He explained, "I cried, O Christ, how come these beams of light from your dress?" And he replied, "These are the rays of my misery. Every rip and tear which I had to mend, the Good Lord turned to light, representing all the pangs of suffering which have strung my heart." - Hojwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub

:: The Dream of Jesus by Hasan ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad
Hasan the son of Ali and Fatima, dreamed one night that he saw Jesus, son of Mary, whom he asked, 'As I would like to obtain a ring, what should I have inscribed upon it?' Jesus replied, 'Put, "There is no divine reality but God, the true and clear Sovereign". That is what is said at the end of the Gospel.

Were the Holy Spirit to favour us once
More by its Grace, others too would
Perform all the works of Christ.
- Hafez

Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis# Credit: Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis
by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, may God sanctify his Sirr.

# Related:
. Jesus, the Sufi Master
. Jesus, the Murshid
. What Jesus run away from?
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