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Editor's Note is a quarterly column with inspirational words of wisdom from the Editor-in-Chief of Sufism: An Inquiry, Shah Nazar Seyed
Dr. Ali Kianfar

Can We Step Beyond Our

Editor's Note
from Vol. 9, No. 4

An Essential Principle of Sufi Teaching
Editor's Note
from Vol. 6, No. 3

Tariquat: Way
Editor's Note from
Vol.8, No.2


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Knowledge is the light
that God pours
into the heart
of whoever He Desires

From Vol. 2, No. 2

by Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar

It has been said that the human mind and the agents of thought are unable to understand and think of the Essence of God.

According to the Sufi teachers, knowledge is a divine ray that enters the heart of the salek after his participation in correct practice and worshiping and meditating out of love. Mind will also be

illuminated by this knowledge through the salek's striving and finally the striving human being will become the manifestation of that knowledge.

This way of understanding leads us to put aside our ordinary way of thinking about what knowledge is. This is no easy task, so bound up are we in our ways of thinking. We can state the realization that knowledge, according to Sufis, must be discovered, that the center for its discovery is heart, and God is its provider. But when we try to truly understand even this simple statement, we realize the extent to which our thinking about knowledge is narrowly circumscribed. This is why divine knowledge has been called the knowledge of heart in Sufism, to express its radical difference from the knowledge of mind or acquired knowlege which is the knowledge learned through mental perceptions where the organs of the senses work as the providers.

Philosophers and experimental scientists have believed that acquired knowledge is a relative knowledge since the agents that gather this knowledge the human sense have as their role the experience of the surface of things. Their various findings are compared only relative to one another, for the sake of a reasonable conclusion. Such relative knowledge is general information and lacks absolute result since a future finding may change any present conclusion. Therefore, relative knowledge will not lead us to the reality of things as those things really are.

On the contrary, the knowledge of Sufis, the knowledge of the heart, has always had the absolute authority that derives from being outside the world of change. It is a fixed and unchangeable knowledge that has been instructed and explained by Sufis over fourteen centureis. Sufi findings and discoveries are so unique and powerful that they have the character of rules and laws for those who enter an inner path. Sufi masters have invited humanity to these instruction in order that all may discover and share in the knowledge of heart. The method of their striving, their beliefs and their harmony and balance are very close to those of the prophets. For example, the life story of Christ and his faithfulness even in the face of danger and finally his crucifixion are very similar to that of Mansur al-Hallaj, the great Sufi of the eighth century.

When Mansur announced, "I am the truth" he was accused of blasphemy and was sentenced to death by those who did not understand the implications of his statement that even an individual human being can so realize truth as to become its expression. Statements such as "I am the truth," or "the kingdom of the heavens is like a grain of mustard seed . . ." have been announced as well by other spiritual teachers who make these statements worthy of analysis and understanding. And indeed, much understanding is vital to realize the truth of heart, to go beyond the mere repetition of the words of the great individuals. When Mansur announces, "I am the
After advancing to the
highest possible scientific
discovery, the human being
will finally confess that heart
is the center of knowledge
truth," the truth he utters must necessarily require much more for its understanding thn the truths of daily life, or even the complex truths of science. Yet like all tellers of truth, he has the ability to prove such a statement to those capable of understanding.

In the history of Sufism there have been many events such as that of Mansur. Sufis have always been considered revolutionaries of their times, and as such have been oppressed by people's empty words and superficial science . . .

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