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Re: Theos-World RE: Where does the word Sufi originate ?

Nov 15, 2002 02:28 PM
by Morten Nymann Olesen

Hi Dallas and all of you,

Thanks for your very kind answer Dallas.

The following could maybe enhance something, while keeping in mind, that I
hold the below word "Sufi" to be the same as the word "Theosophist" - as the
Ancient Wisdom Teaching of all ages past:

The Sufis are also called -
"heart spies", "the lovers", "the builders", "the people of truth", "the
near ones", "the Masters", "the pillars", "the rose", --- or ---
"Mutassawif", "the Blamworhty", "those in white clothes" (a kind of
'clairvoyant' version), ...etc.
The Sufis claim that a certain kind of mental and other activity can
produce, under special conditions and with perticular efforts, what is
termed a higher working of the mind, leading to special perceptions whose
apparatus is latent in the ordinary man, Sufism is therefore the
transcending of ordinary limitations

It would maybe reduce the problems of the student to learn that it is said,
with all the authority of the Jewish Encyclopedia, that the Hebrew experts
regard the Cabbala and the Hasidim, the Jewish mystics, as originating with
Sufism or a tradition identical with it.
(*Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. XI, pp. 579,580,581 et passim. Jewish sages
regarded by Western Scholars as following the Spanish Sufi Schools include:
Juda Halevi of Toledo, in his Cuzari; Moses ben Ezra of Granada; Josef ben
Zadiq of Cordoba, in his Microcosmus; Samuel ben Tibbon; Simtob ben
Neither would it encourage him/her to hear, that although the Sufis
themselves claim that their knowledge has existed for thousands of years,
they deny that is is - derivative, - affirming that it is equivalence of the
Hermetic, Phytagorean and Plantonic streams. (Identity of Sufi ideas with
ancient Egyptian, Phytagorean and Platonic schools noted; by M.A. Ubicini,
Letters on Turkey (London, 1856).

Our still uninitiated student may by now be thoroughly confues; but he/she
had a glimpse of the problems of studying Sufi ideas, even if only because
he for himself can witness for himself the unproductive struggle of the

Since Sufi study is carried out mainly by direct methods (and it has known
to be conveyed entirely by gesture, symbol and demonstration), when we lose
this element in our study, relying upon books, we must be at the mercy of
those who advance al kinds of subjective theories.
Serious problems in locating genuine and relevant Sufi ideas and practises
exist, too, for any student who has alreday met a watered-down, generalized
or partial variety of Sufism, wheather in the East or in the West. There are
many hundreds of people in America and Europe who practise 'dervish dance,
whirling or turning' in spite of the fact that it is psecifically on record
in easily accessible dervish litterature, that this practise was especially,
precribed, for local reasons, by Rumi (A great Sufi and poet; d. 1273) for
the people of Asia Minor in the region of Iconium.
(Shamsudin Ahmad El-Aflaki, Munaqib El-Arfin: trans. Redhouse as "The Acts
of Adepts" (London 1881); reprinted in facsimile ed. Kingston as "Legends
of the Sufis" (London 1965). See also El-Ghazali, "Alchemy of Happiness".)


There is the awkward fact, that the so-called Companions of the Bench - the
Ashab as-Safa - are traditionally soppposed to be the sufis of the time of
Mohammed (d. 632). It is said, that they formed themselves in to an esoteric
group in the year 623 A. D. And that their name is a derivation from the
phrase Ashab as-Safa.
"Sawfa" meaning "piety" and "saff" (contracted from the phrase 'First Rank
of the Worhty').

"saff" - "safran" - "sif" - "sign" - "design" .....

These are the words taken in part from the Afghan Sufi - Idries Shah
(d.1996), who lived England.

To the reader: Feel free to enlighten us all...

M. Sufilight with some new sounds of..."free cultural mixing"...<:-)

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: "AA-B-Study" <>
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2002 9:24 PM
Subject: Theos-World RE: Where does the word Sufi originate ?

> Nov 15 2002
> Re: "Sufi" -- ( also "white," and "pure")
> Dear Friend:
> Here is an entry from H P B's THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY p. 311
> SUFFISM (Gr.). From the root of Sophia, "Wisdom ". A mystical sect in
> Persia something like the Vedantins; though very strong in numbers,
> none but very intelligent men join it. They claim, and very justly,
> the possession of the esoteric philosophy and doctrine of true
> Mohammedanism. The Suffi (or Sofi) doctrine is a good deal in touch
> with Theosophy, inasmuch as it preaches one universal creed, and
> outward respect and tolerance for every popular exoteric faith. It is
> also in touch with Masonry. The Suffis have four degrees and four
> stages of initiation:1st, probationary, with a strict outward
> observance of Mussulman rites, the hidden meaning of each ceremony and
> dogma being explained to the candidate; 2nd, metaphysical training;
> 3rd, the "Wisdom" degree, when the candidate is initiated into the
> innermost nature of things; and 4 final Truth, when the Adept attains
> divine powers, and complete union with the One Universal Deity in
> ecstacy or SamÔdhi.
> Other references in the same book will be found on pp 36, 105, 118,
> 156, 158, 216,
> On p. 280 the mysterious force ROWANEE is mentioned and H P B prints
> there a contribution by W. W. W WESTCOTT
> ROWHANEE (Eg.) or Er-Roohanee. is the Magic of modern Egypt, supposed
> to proceed from Angels and Spirits, that is Genii, and by the use of
> the mystery names of Allah; they distinguish two forms-Ilwee, that is
> the Higher or White Magic; and Suflee and Sheytanee, the Lower or
> Black Demoniac Magic. There is also Es-Seemuja, which is deception or
> conjuring. Opinions differ as to the importance of a branch of Magic
> called Darb el Mendel, or as Barker calls it in English, the Mendal:
> by this is meant a form of artificial clairvoyance, exhibited by a
> young boy before puberty, or a virgin, who, as the result of
> self-fascination by gazing on a pool of ink in the hand, with
> coincident use of incense and incantation, sees certain scenes of real
> life passing over its surface. Many Eastern travellers have narrated
> instances, as E. W. Lane in his Modern Egyptians and his Thousand and
> One Nights, and E. B. Barker; the incidents have been introduced also
> into many works of fiction, such as Marryat's Phantom Ship, and a
> similar idea is interwoven with the story of Rose Mary and the Beryl
> stone, a poem by Rossetti. For a superficial attempt at explanation,
> see the Quarterly Review, No.117 [w.w.w.]
> In another place (same book, p. 105) H P B indicates there is a
> connection between the Sufis and the Druzes of Lebanon and Syria
> DRUZES . A large sect, numbering about 100,000 adherents, living on
> Mount Lebanon in Syria. Their rites are very mysterious, and no
> traveller, who has written anything about them, knows for a certainty
> the whole truth. They are the Sufis of Syria. They resent being called
> Druzes as an insult, but call themselves the "disciples of Hamsa ",
> their Messiah, who came to them in the ninth century from the "Land of
> the Word of God", which land and word they kept religiously secret.
> The Messiah to come will be the same Hamsa, but called Hakem-the
> All-Healer ". (See Isis Unveiled, II 308, et seq.)
> In the Glossary (p. 36) another reference associates them with the
> "Assassins"
> ASSASSINS . A masonic and mystic order founded by Hassan Sabah in
> Persia, in the eleventh century. The word is a European perversion of
> "Hassan ", which forms the chief part of the name.
> They were simply Sufis and addicted, according to the tradition, to
> hascheesl-eating, in order to bring about celestial visions. As shown
> by our late brother, Kenneth Mackenzie, "they were teachers of the
> secret doctrines of Islamism; they encouraged mathematics and
> philosophy, and produced many valuable works. The chief of the Order
> was called Sheik-el-Jebel, translated the 'Old Man of the Mountains',
> and, as their Grand Master, lie possessed power of life and death.'
> ( p. 36)
> Thus the secret "societies" including the ancient order of "Masons,"
> (builders, cosmocratores) was shown to be united in their teachings
> concerning the origins and purpose of the World and our universe.
> Another entry of interest is here given ( p. 37)
> ASSYRIAN HOLY SCRIPTURES. Orientalists show seven such hooks: the
> Books of Mamit, of Worship, of Interpretations, of Going to Hades; two
> Prayer Books (Kanmagarri and Kanmikri: Talbot) and the KantolitÚ, the
> lost Assyrian Psalter. (p. 37)
> ASSYRIAN TREE OF LIFE . "Asherah" (q.v.). It is translated in the
> Bible by "grove ' and occurs 30 times. It is called an "idol"; and
> Maachah, the grandmother of Asa, King of Jerusalem, is accused of
> having made for herself such an idol, which was a lingham. For
> centuries this was a religious rite in JudŠa. But the original Asherah
> was a pillar with seven branches on each side surmounted by a globular
> flower with three projecting rays, and no phallic stone, as the Jews
> made of it, but a metaphysical symbol. "Merciful One, who dead to life
> raises! was the prayer uttered before the Asherah, on the banks of the
> Euphrates. The "Merciful One ", was neither the personal god of the
> Jews who brought the "grove" from their captivity, nor any extra-
> Further investigation shows a relationship with "Hamsa" as follows:
> (p. 134)
> HAMSA OR HANSA (Sk.) "Swan or goose", according to the Orientalists ;
> a mystical bird in Occultism analogous to the Rosicrucian Pelican.
> Tile sacred mystic name which, when preceded by that of KALA (infinite
> time), i.e. Kalahansa, is name of Parabrahm ; meaning the " Bird out
> of space and time". Hence BrahmÔ (male)is called Hansa Vahana "the
> Vehicle of Hansa (the Bird). We find the same idea in the Zohar, where
> Ain Suph (the endless and infinite) is said to descend into the
> universe, for purposes of manifestation, using Adam Kadmon (Humanity)
> as a chariot or vehicle.
> HAMSA (Arab.). The founder of the mystic sect of the Druzes of Mount
> Lebanon. (See "Druzes" .) [ see above ] (see MAHATMA LETTERS p. 116,
> Modern Panarion p. 375, S D II p. 27; H P B Articles III 281...
> "Lamas and Druzes" -- showing a relationship with the Tibetan
> Esoteric philosophies.
> ISIS UNVEILED makes a very interesting reading if one is in search of
> evidence relating to the past of Theosophy as seen in and at the base
> of every ancient Theogony, Religion or Secret Society. These were
> also closely related to the Egyptian and Greek MYSTERIES.
> Best wishes
> Dallas
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Morten Nymann Olesen []
> Sent: Friday, November 15, 2002 9:38 AM
> To: Theos-Talk
> Subject: Theos-World The word Sufi...
> Hi all of you,
> It is said that the word "Sufi" is a new one.
> It is said to have German origin from year 1821.
> The book by the author F.A.G. Th÷luck is titled: "Ssufismus sive
> Theosophia Persarum pantheistica" (Berlin 1821) - yes - in latin
> The book has a title with the word Theosophy in it, and that is
> interesting.
> As H. P. Blavatsky uses the word "sufi", it could be interesting
> to know in which books she has read that term --- if any reading took
> place at all.
> Someone says that the word has a distinct sound called 'SSSUUUFFF'.
> Do any of you have anything on this ?
> from
> M. Sufilight
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
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