For me, Sufism—tasawwaf, ihsantazkiya—concerns the purification of the heart, striving to replace our egocentric egomania with God centeredness. With that understanding, I embrace it.

But, alas, in my wanders, I discover a Sufism which is all about the worship of pious men, or about wearing special costumes: mere dressing up. That is an understanding I disclaim absolutely.

In my view, a person who was truly practising taswawaf would never attribute to themselves such piety. You would never know that the true sufi was a sufi by the words of their tongue. They would shun all such ego. Better to say, “I am an aspiring sufi” perhaps. I aspire to be one who has mastered his soul and purified his heart.

But as for making bearded dolls out of clothes-pegs and green felt, or to prance around declaring, “I am a sufi”? Well, each to their own, but that is not the path as I understand it.

May the Lord of our souls purify our hearts, for “he is indeed successful who purifies it, and he is indeed a failure who neglects it.” If we are to embrace Sufism, let it be one grounded in our faith.

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