- "Sufism and Faith," by Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, on page 51, M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications, Riverside, CA. Copyright 2003.
No, Sufism dates back to the advent of Islam. In fact, Hazrat Oveys Gharani, the founder of the M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi® School of Islamic Sufism®, was a contemporary of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Although never having met the Prophet in person, Hazrat Oveys cognized him through his heart. Before his passing, Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) directed Omar (the second Caliph) and Imam Ali (the first Imam of the Shi'a) to take his Cloak to Yemen to Oveys, saying, "follow the way of Oveys, he is the pre-emptor of my genus." An unbroken succession of such heart-to-heart cognition has continued since the time of Hazrat Oveys to the Sufi Master, Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha.
1. Hazrat Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha (1998), Al-Salat Reality of Prayer in Islam, MTO Shahmaghsoudi, p. 98
In order to answer this question, we should define the two terms “Sufism” and “Islam.” The most appropriate definition for Sufism is Erfan, which comes from an Arabic root meaning “cognition.” It means full understanding of a topic without any remaining unknowns. This happens through inner experience, not through scholarship. Islam translates to “submission” and is a state of being in which the individual has cognized truth and is acting according to that knowledge. Therefore, Sufism is a method of education that leads to knowledge, and thus, submission to that knowledge.
Contrary to the understanding many people in society, Islam is not meant to be an institutional religion. In reality, it is that state of cognition and submission that only a few individuals, called prophets, have reached. The aim of any seeker of truth should be to achieve this exalted state of submission.
In his book Theory "I" Hazrat Pir states, "Sufism is the Reality of Religion. By this I mean experiencing God in ones inner self, submitting to Him, and loving Him with one's mind, heart, and soul until no other but the beloved remains." The word "Islam" means submission and a Muslim is defined as one who is submitted to the ultimate knowledge of God.
1. Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha (2002), Theory "I", M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi®. p. 121. Print.
Tamarkoz® is a combination of concentration and meditative movements. According to Sufi teachings, the body contains thirteen electromagnetic energy centers, the strongest being in the heart. Tamarkoz® focuses on tapping into these centers through the harmony of breath, movement, and meditation. Read more...
Salaat, or prayer, is an important Sufi practice. The word Salaat means "to call" and the practice of Salaat brings one closer to God. The five daily prayers express the seeker's consant yearning for this closeness. Read more...
Zikr means "remembrance" and is best translated to Sufi Chanting. Practicing Zikr activates the energy fields of the body and allows the body to become a magnet, attracting energy and cognizing the reality of the inner self. Read more...
Fasting is done in the month of Ramadan, as well as three days out of each month during the year. In not partaking in food and drink, in limiting the senses, the fasting individual may focus all their energy on cultivating oneness with God. Read more...
The concept of guidance permeates our society at many levels; parents guide their children, school teachers guide students, coaches guide athletes, mentors guide mentees, senior employees guide junior ones, and so on. A person who wants to become an expert at anything looks for someone who has already become an expert in order to receive guidance. As Rumi has said, "Whoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for a two-day journey." The guided person puts in the necessary effort while following the advice and wisdom of the guide.
In the same way, a seeker of self-knowledge seeks a guide, someone who has gone down the path successfully, is aware of the challenges, and knows what is needed to cognize the reality of "I". In Sufism, the teacher (or Pir), guides the student by highlighting the mental limitations that the individual has created and giving recommendations about purification methods. In this way, the Pir teaches the student how to bring forth his/her fullest potential.
1. Jalalu'ddin Rumi, The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi (Book IV). Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson. (Gibb Memorial Trust, 1930)
Strength lies not in hiding from the temptations of the material world, but in understanding and withstanding them. The sanctuary of the human is in his/her heart - this should be their refuge. This does not mean one should separate themselves from society, but that he/she should not partake of their bad habits.
With this gender equality, female practitioners of M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi® School of Islamic Sufism® enjoy the freedom of assuming any role available; and indeed, women serve as instructors, researchers, recite the Qur'an, lead Zikr, teach Tamarkoz® (Sufi meditation) classes, and are active in all aspects of the School.