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Mike Shreve was a teacher of yoga at four universities. (The portrait above was drawn by one of his students in 1970.) Then a spiritual rebirth brought him into a real relationship with God and drastically changed his heart, his life and his belief system.  Read his story here.

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TheTrueLight.Net
Site Completed–10/15/01
Major Revision—5/28/03
Last Updated–03/19/09

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Mike Shreve.
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Sufism (Mystical Islam)

Around the ninth century Sufism began to grow out of the ground of the Muslim faith. The Arabic word sufi means "mystic." It stems from suf, meaning "wool"-most likely an allusion to the traditional woolen garment that early Muslim ascetics wore. Others contend is comes from the Arabic word tassawuf meaning "purification." Though most Muslims teach a transcendent God, beyond personal encounter, the Sufi Muslims believe otherwise. They pursue mystical experiences with Allah through various means, especially a whirling kind of dance designed to project the worshipper into a trancelike state of blissful union with God. Other practices include fikr (meditation) and dhikr (the remembrance of God by frequent repetition of his names). Being a lover of the Beloved (God) is the emphasis in Sufism.

Sufis have long been noted for their spiritual "love poetry' concerning this theme. The Qur'an is revered, though Sufis add levels of symbolic, inner meanings. Though many ascetics are found among Sufis, still, this religion does not "demand' an ascetic-like withdrawal from the world. Rather, it emphasizes the goal of seeking God while involved in the world. Sheikh Muzaffer explains, "Keep your hands busy with your duties in this world, and your heart busy with God."1 There are many different Sufi brotherhoods. Given the emphasis of "dying to self' in Sufism, possibly the best description of this religious group is enigmatic statement-"The Sufi is the one who is not."2


1 James Fadiman and Robert Grager, Essential Sufism (Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 1998) p. 35.

2 Abu al-Hasan Kharaqani, in Jami, Nafahat, p. 298; quoted in Carl W. Ernst, Ph. D., The Shambhala Guide to Sufism (Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, 1997) p. 228.


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"In Search of the True Light" ©2002 copyright by Mike Shreve.
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