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

Nov 16, 2002 01:40 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen

Hi Netemara and all of you,

Well, according to my source Idries Shah the following could spark some
afterthought on the Syrian Druzes
which Dallas recently mentioned:

According to some authors, and they are in the majority, "Sufi" is traceable
to the Arabic word, pronounced
"Soof", which - litterally means "wool", referring to the material from
which the simple robes of the early Muslim mystics were made. These it is
further claimed, were made of wool in imitation of the dress of Christian
anchorites who abounded in the Syrian and Egyptian deserts and elsewhere in
the Near and Middle East.
("Wool is the garb of animals", "As-Suf libas al-Inam": Arabic quotation
from Hujwiri's "The revelation of the veiled"; See Sirdal Ikbal Ali Shah,
"Islamic Sufism" (London, 1933), p.17
But this definition, plusible though it may appear, will not solve our
problem as to name...Equally important lexicographers, however, stress that
'wool is the garb of animals' and emphasize that the Sufi objective is
towards the perfectioning or completing of human mind, not the emulation of
a herd; and that the Sufis, always highly conscious of symbolism, would
never adopt such a name. Furthermore...

(..and then we are given the story about "The Companions of the Bench",
which I recently emailed.)

Elsewhere: Sufi="wool". Externalists in the East and the West has often
adopted this etymology, which therefore often appears in reference books as
the derivation.
(The word "externalists" could be siad to unveil some truth.)

You can check this out: I
dries Shah was not just a half-learned scholar - he knew a trick or two on
wisdom for sure.

It is also said somewhere in some of the scriptures from The Middle East,
that the Armenian mystics wore white robes of wool - even before Christ
came along. Maybe some of the more wellread ones can confirm that.

But as stated by Idries Shah, - the sound of the word "Sufi" - i.e.
"SSSUUUFFF" is maybe the key to the mystery.
You know - sounds makes a certain penetration upon the brain. And those
suited for the word "SUF" etc. they could be said to be the ones who get
aquainted with the teaching.

M. Sufilight with himself entangled in Wool...>:-)

----- Original Message -----
From: "netemara888" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, November 16, 2002 1:10 AM
Subject: Re: Theos-World RE: Where does the word Sufi originate ?

I just posted that on another forum that Sufi comes from sufl which
means 'wool' like the woolen clothes they wore, as a retro to simple
clothing in expressing direct displeasure over the rich caliphs and
their fine clothing. That was from one reference source. I don't know
if it is true or not.


-- In theos-talk@y..., "Morten Nymann Olesen" <global-theosophy@a...>
> 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
> termed a higher working of the mind, leading to special perceptions
> 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
> 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
> regarded by Western Scholars as following the Spanish Sufi Schools
> 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
> Falaquera.*)
> Neither would it encourage him/her to hear, that although the Sufis
> themselves claim that their knowledge has existed for thousands of
> 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.
> Letters on Turkey (London, 1856).
> Our still uninitiated student may by now be thoroughly confues; but
> had a glimpse of the problems of studying Sufi ideas, even if only
> he for himself can witness for himself the unproductive struggle of
> scholastics.
> ...
> 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
> exist, too, for any student who has alreday met a watered-down,
> 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
> whirling or turning' in spite of the fact that it is psecifically
on record
> in easily accessible dervish litterature, that this practise was
> 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
> ******
> 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
> 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...
> from
> M. Sufilight with some new sounds of..."free cultural mixing"...<:-)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <dalval14@e...>
> To: "AA-B-Study" <study@b...>
> 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
> > none but very intelligent men join it. They claim, and very
> > the possession of the esoteric philosophy and doctrine of true
> > Mohammedanism. The Suffi (or Sofi) doctrine is a good deal in
> > 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
> > 3rd, the "Wisdom" degree, when the candidate is initiated into the
> > innermost nature of things; and 4 final Truth, when the Adept
> > 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,
> > 156, 158, 216,
> >
> > On p. 280 the mysterious force ROWANEE is mentioned and H P B
> > there a contribution by W. W. W WESTCOTT
> >
> > ROWHANEE (Eg.) or Er-Roohanee. is the Magic of modern Egypt,
> > to proceed from Angels and Spirits, that is Genii, and by the use
> > 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
> > called Darb el Mendel, or as Barker calls it in English, the
> > 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
> > life passing over its surface. Many Eastern travellers have
> > instances, as E. W. Lane in his Modern Egyptians and his Thousand
> > One Nights, and E. B. Barker; the incidents have been introduced
> > 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
> > stone, a poem by Rossetti. For a superficial attempt at
> > 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
> > Mount Lebanon in Syria. Their rites are very mysterious, and no
> > traveller, who has written anything about them, knows for a
> > the whole truth. They are the Sufis of Syria. They resent being
> > 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
> > 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
> > "Assassins"
> >
> > ASSASSINS . A masonic and mystic order founded by Hassan Sabah
> > 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,
> > hascheesl-eating, in order to bring about celestial visions. As
> > 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
> > was called Sheik-el-Jebel, translated the 'Old Man of the
> > and, as their Grand Master, lie possessed power of life and
> > ( p. 36)
> >
> > Thus the secret "societies" including the ancient order
of "Masons,"
> > (builders, cosmocratores) was shown to be united in their
> > 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,
> > 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
> > was a pillar with seven branches on each side surmounted by a
> > flower with three projecting rays, and no phallic stone, as the
> > made of it, but a metaphysical symbol. "Merciful One, who dead to
> > raises! was the prayer uttered before the Asherah, on the banks
of the
> > Euphrates. The "Merciful One ", was neither the personal god of
> > Jews who brought the "grove" from their captivity, nor any extra-
> >
> > Further investigation shows a relationship with "Hamsa" as
> > (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
> > time), i.e. Kalahansa, is name of Parabrahm ; meaning the " Bird
> > 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,
> > Ain Suph (the endless and infinite) is said to descend into the
> > universe, for purposes of manifestation, using Adam Kadmon
> > as a chariot or vehicle.
> >
> > HAMSA (Arab.). The founder of the mystic sect of the Druzes of
> > Lebanon. (See "Druzes" .) [ see above ] (see MAHATMA LETTERS p.
> > Modern Panarion p. 375, S D II p. 27; H P B Articles III
> > "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
> > 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 [mailto:global-theosophy@a...]
> > 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
> > 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
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
> >
> >
> >

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

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