Principles of Sufism is a quarterly column with inspirational words of wisdom from the Executive Editor of Sufism: An Inquiry, Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha.

Infinite Are the Rules of Existence
From Vol. 10, No. 1

When We Need More Prayers
From Vol. 9, No. 4

Religion and Non-Violence
From Vol. 8, No. 3

Contact Us:
Sufism Journal
14 Commercial Blvd.
Suite 101
Novato, California
94949   USA
Tel: +1 415 382 SUFI
Tel: +1 415 382 7834


The Sufism Journal is a publication
of the International Association of
, a non-profit organization
affiliated with the United Nations.

The various articles presented
here represent the individual
views of their authors. SUFISM
does not imply any gender bias
by the use of feminine or
masculine terms, nouns
and/or pronouns.

© Sufism Journal and the
International Association of
Sufism. All rights reserved.


Principles of Sufism
from Vol. 5, No. 1


by Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha

How does one begin to travel the path of the spiritual journey? For many, whose conception of spirituality consists more in feelings than ideas and truths, the question does not arise at all: One simply wanders here and there, guided by one's own inner impressions of a sense of enlightenment descending. But for

Sufis, the question is a vital one, because for Sufism religion is neither more nor less than truth. To be precise, religion is an accurate calculation of principles and practices that ends in the understanding of the self and ultimately the Divine as all there is. This central truth is the foundation of Islam, stated as there is nought but the Divine--la illaha illa Allah.

To journey forward along the spiritual path under the guidance of a truthful teacher is a challenge by itself; yet it presupposes the greater challenge of making oneself ready for such a journey. To qualify oneself for spiritual traveling the individual must look inside and ask: What is it that I am really looking for; how resolved am I to accomplish my goal; is it really necessary for me to understand and learn about the Divine; and what could guide me through this path of mystery?

Today, students and those who are interested in undertaking the journey of spirituality often seem more immediately interested in the

teachers and their qualifications, rather than in their own inner being and qualities. The factor fundamental to the pursuit of any spiritual journey is the presupposition of a qualified student--that is to say, a student who is truthful in the heartand willing to take the step.

The Koran states: There

The Koran states:
There is no coercian in religion.
Such a truth should open up for us
new doors to understanding religion.
How can anyone be forced
to be attracted to a beloved,
and how can anyone become
a follower of a principle,
if the motivation is not already
always present in his heart?
is no coercian in religion. Such a truth should open up for us new doors to understanding religion. How can anyone be forced to be attracted to a beloved, and how can anyone become a follower of a principle, if the motivation is not already alwasy present in his heart?

The principles and practice of Sufism point towards disciplines whose goals are the understanding of the essence of self, disciplines which direct the spiritual traveller towards the path of inwardly understanding and experienceing the Divine and the unity. There must be that magnetic attraction between the sender and the receiver, the follower and that which is followed: and ultimately between the lover and the beloved.

Understanding the rules and the laws of the Divine is a necessary beginning if one is to undertake the journey of the truth of religion. To pursue such an understanding the presence of a teacher who knows the way is one of the essential elements. There is a close correspondence between the two. Since the rule of balance or harmony is one of the most basic laws of being, ordering the universe surrounding us, therefore the purer the intention of the student, the more truthful shall be the teacher to guide him. Such a law makes it essential for any student of the heart to closely review his own will, and make certain that truthful intention exists in his heart before taking the first steps along the path of greater spiritual truth.

Assuming that one has a worthy intention at heart, nonetheless a beginner is unable to directly understand and become united with the Divine. One needs a medium to guide one along through the journey of soul.


To read the rest of this article,
or order Volume 5, Number 1
from our Archive Page

Volume 5, Number 1 contains this column by the executive editor of Sufism, An Inquiry.

Dr. Seyedeh Angha's book, Principles of Sufism, may be purchased by clicking on the cover image that appears at the start of this article, or by visiting our Sufism Bookstore.