Despite concerns modern orthodox Islam may have over its legitimacy, Sufism historically and to this day has played a vital and important role in preserving the teachings and essence of Islam. Sufism has often erroneously been described as the mystical branch of Islam. The true teachings of Islam are that life is inherently mystical, therefore to separate mysticism and the mundane is missing the point. The life of the Sufi is geared toward unifying these two perceptions into a unified reality to have direct experience of the Divine.
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THE SUFIC PATH IS THE PATH OF THE MESSENGER MUHAMMAD 
Blessings and peace be upon him.
THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM ARE:
1. Affirmation [shahadah] – that there is no plurality of Divinity but that The Divinity is singular and that Muhammad is the Messenger of The Divinity.
2. Prostration [salat] – ritually performed five times a day, from dawn to night.
3. Abstention [sawm] – To fast throughout the month of Ramadan each year, from dawn to sunset.
4. Benefaction [zakat] – a donation of 2% of one’s possessions and earnings throughout the year, to the needy.
5. Expedition [hajj] – the pilgrimage to the purified places of standing and circling and going between Safa and Marwa, in the ritual acts of ancient practice as performed by the Prophet Muhammad
This is not an ‘orthodox view’ – for that is not the language of Islam. This is not outward legalism, although it is structural. If you like, these obligatory practices are the skeleton of the body and tasawwuf (or sufism) is the blood that keeps the body alive. One without the other means death. The person of the sufic path – the mutasawwif affirms the need for form and orientation while in the world of phenomena and duality, otherwise we separate the world from the truth. It is not that the obligatory rites are some ‘outward’ practices and the sufic practice is some inner esotericism. This is the view of the people of duality. Rather, the people of the sufic path are lovers of Allah, so they do what is pleasing to Allah – and this path is derived from the Blessing of Creation, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. There can be no authentic spiritual path that does not come from the Source of Life itself, Allah, may He be exalted. Thus any authentic spiritual tradition traces back to a Prophet, be it Krishna, Buddha, or Muhammad. This is the Qur’anic guidance. All the Shaykhs of Sufism affirm the Unity and the submission to the practice (sunna) of the Prophet and have lived life in full accordance with the Islamic Sharia. The Venerable Master Muhammad ibn al-Habib, may Allah cover him in mercy, says in the Introduction to his blessed Diwan: ‘We praise Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, for the mysteries with which He has entrusted us, and for the knowledge, gnosis, and illumination He has bestowed on us. We render thanks to Him, may His Majesty be exalted, and bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, without partner, for this is the testimony of those of the people of Annihilation in the Unity (Tawhid) who have drawn close to Him. And we testify that our Lord Muhammad is His slave and Messenger whom Allah sent as a mercy to the whole of creation.’
The Path of Islam is a Way that brings together and unifies and harmonizes all the disparate and discordant elements of the human experience. Crucial to it, and central, and essential is the alchemical practice of the ritual prostrations that replace man in his true position among the stars by the movement of the Sun, and the Fast and Hajj which focus for him his place within the changing cycles of the lunar fasting and pilgrimage MARK the man, year. These acts of prostration, alter him, sculpt him, unfold his true nature with the same simplicity that washing and sitting and purring reveal the nature of the cat. Rumi, the great Master of Eastern Sufism has said that if a man truly the obligatory prostration he would stand in this world and performed bow into the next. In learning, all sciences radiate out from the primary obligatory science of ‘knowing how to behave towards the Creator and the creatures.’
“THE DEEN* OF ISLAM IS NOTHING BUT CORRECT BEHAVIOUR.”
To be a complete human being you must learn behavior too from the source, i.e. from the Creator Himself who asks through the medium of the Prophet what is expected of mankind. Correct social behavior begins on the prayer mat – for there you take upon yourself the act of orienting your being and submitting it to harmony and pattern, and awe of the Creator. Society as it is at present structured, or rather as it at present is slowly imploding – for its outward rigidity is marked by an inward collapse – is, according to the profoundest doctrines of Sufic teaching and Islam, based “on fantasy and sustained by fantasy”. “Truly man is at a loss” says Allah, may He be exalted, in His Qur’an [103;1-3]. The very foundation of what is taught to children in the present situation is an illusion about existence. The nature of man’s inner experiences, be they simply in his sleep or in his waking perceptions, is rendered meaningless in a world view that gives primacy to the material and solid world of phenomena, and reduces all inner experience to the realm of something called ‘subjective’. This comes near the nub of the whole affair, for it is essentially the nature of matter – of stuff, of forms, of creation itself that is the illusion.
Our psychology, our economic theory, our politics, our anthropology and our medicine – have all been based on a dualistic Cartesian view of reality, split down the middle – like poor modern man himself. The autistic child is the alienated result of all of our ‘civilisation’. It is to the unfortunate, conditioned creature, modern man – that Islam addresses itself with a view of reality that declares a Unity of Existence. That says ONE.
Inner & outer – ONE REALITY.
ISLAM IS THE SCIENCE OF WAKING UP.
Islam, means submission – accepting how things are, our place in the universe – recognizing harmony and being part of the harmony of the vast and beautiful creation of plants and planets. Islam means peace. The way of the world is the way of JAHILIYYA. Jahiliyya means pride and arrogance – which is ignorance itself. It is the political world of roles and power and status, wealth and possession. With Islam came another energy/process – HILM. Serenity, knowledge, wisdom, good nature. It is the spiritual, prophetic view of existence as a garden, to be tended and brought to fruit and flower. In the fantasy view of matter held by the world Jahiliyya – gold is to be desired and possessed, Lead is worthless. In the view of Islam/Hilm – gold is to be given, neither kept nor worn. Lead transmutes, for all matter is in Essence the same, only apparently different. And lead can therefore become gold. That is the alchemical practice. It applies to the self [ego], which seems gross and heavy and sees duality everywhere. By practice – it can become radiant, golden, and sublime.
The practice id Dhikrullah. Dhikr means invocation/remembering/calling upon Allah. It is the way to Unification. Experiential, direct, and resonant with energy. This is what man was created for – the Qur’an says ‘I have not created jinn and men except to glorify Me.’ And so: there are people of distraction, People who forget and people who remember. The somnambulists (‘Deaf dumb and blind’ says Qur’an) who go through life as if in a dream. The awakeners who rise from this sleep to a quite different experience of reality.
So, it depends what you want. And what you want you will certainly get. Here is the Way of the People of the Path. Of course there are as many paths as there are people. But how do you SEE that? This matter is beyond the thought process and begins where language ends. Such practice must be taught and it must come from the source itself. If you desire it – go towards it, here or elsewhere. As the Shaykh says in his Diwan: ‘The murid will gain a teacher in accordance with his own sincerity and strength of resolution.’ If you do not desire it – then go your way, and remember that the Prophet has said: ‘Love who you will, they will certainly die. Do as you will, you will be judged accordingly.’
 ADAPTED FROM “THE SUFIC PATH” (DIWAN PRESS) A PUBLICATION FROM THE EARLY 1970’S
* (exchange, or the debt – between man and his Creator, commonly mis-translated as religion)