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Sufism is a system of esoteric philosophy commonly associated with Islam. In modern language it might also be referred to as "Islamic spirituality" or "Islamic mysticism".
Sufis believe that their teachings are the essence of every religion, and indeed of the evolution of humanity as a whole. The central concept in Sufism is "love". That love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe.
Since they believe that everything is a reflection of God, the school of Sufism practices to see the beauty inside the apparently ugly, and to open arms to what they believe as even the most evil one.
Although philosophies vary between different Sufi sects, Sufism as a whole is primarily concerned with direct personal experience, and as such is often compared to Zen Buddhism and Gnosticism. The following metaphor, credited to an unknown Sufi scholar, helps describe this line of thought. "There are three ways of knowing a thing. Take for instance a flame. One can be told of the flame, one can see the flame with his own eyes, and finally one can reach out and be burned by it. In this way, we Sufis seek to be burned by God."
A large part of Muslim literature comes from the Sufis, who created great books of poetry (which include for example the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Conference of the Birds and the Masnavi), all of which contain the profound, and hardly graspable, teachings of the Sufis.
Sufism is usually seen in relation to Islam. There is a major line of Non-Islamic or offshoot-Islamic Sufi thought that sees Sufism as predating Islam and being in fact universal and, therefore, independent of the Qur'an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. This view of Sufism has understandably been popular in the West and has been always opposed by Traditional Sufis who practice it in the framework of Islam.
Originally posted by theRiverGoddess
I know that Dr Bob Gibson is a follower and student of the Sufi teachings.
I think he has a website and I am sure it would be interesting.