The soul that denies true love as its motto
Were better unborn; its existence is dishonour.
So be drunk with love, for love is all there is.
Unless you deal with love, the way to God is closed.
These words were among the hundreds of poems written by Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi apostle of love. Such was Rumi’s status in previous centuries that his epic Masnavi was called ‘the Quran in Persian’. For those who have read his verse, it’s hard to understand how anyone could despise the beauty of Sufi Islam. Considering that the Sufis always presented themselves as the loyal heirs of the Prophet Mohammad, it’s even harder to understand why Muslims should despise them. And yet over the past century, wave after wave of Muslim reform and renewal movements have rejected almost every aspect of Sufi Islam. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – whose franchises have sentenced Sufis to death in Syria and bulldozed their shrines in Libya – is only the latest of these anti-Sufis.
Here are a few reasons. [Continue reading…]