Today, I would like to bring to your attention, the mind-baffling Sufi ritual practices that is beyond rational explanation or mind over matter. This special ritual is carried out by the Sufis at the height of their devotion to God. Some Sufis explain that during the height of their conviction, they enter into a state of "wajd" or "haal" which means that ecstacy. They further explain that this state of mind is not accessible to lay persons but only to those at the height of their passion can tread.
Who are these Sufis or why do they indulge in such a practice? When did this start? Who started it? What brings rise to such practice? Are such practices accepted by Muslims in all parts of the world? Some of the answers to these questions are given & some are contained in the video clip below.
Sufism started after the demise of Prophet Muhammad at 632AD. It started as an organised movement among various Muslim groups who felt that orthodox Islam to be Spiritually stifling & wanted more from what they believe Islam could offer. The objective is basically aimed to seek divine love, gain the wisdom of the world & knowledge through direct personal experience of God. Their practice consist of a variety of mystical paths designed to bring mankind closer to nature & God. In my earlier posting, I introduced the Sufi dance & now to these rituals which shows of the variety of paths within Sufism. There exists 2 central Sufi concepts, which are "tawakkal" meaning the total reliance of God & "dhikr" which means perpetual remembrance of God.
The philosophers, Al-Ghazali & Al-Farabi practiced Sufism & contributed to it's mystical doctrines. Meanwhile, among the lady practitioner, stands out Rabia al-Adawiya that dates back to the 8th Century. She lived in Basra, Iraq and rejected worship that is motivated by the desire for Heavenly Rewards or Fear of Punishments. Instead, she insisted on the Love of God as the sole valid form of adoration.
While all this are being said, Sufism also faces growing opposition from the orthodox clerics. In 874AD, al-Bistami advocated a concept called fana (the dissolution into the divine). This concept was later used & propagated by Hallaj "in the declaration of his unity with God". And this declaration by Hallaj got him into grave trouble where he was executed in 922AD.
The practice of contemporary Sufi orders & sub-orders vary but most include the recitation of the name of God or of certain phrases from the Quran as a way to overcome the pull of the lower-self, enabling the soul to experience the higher reality which the soul naturally seeks. Within Sufism, there is a complex system of initiation & progression towards the divine.
Sufism had made a significant contributions to the spread of Islam & the development of various aspects of Islam civilization such as literature & calligraphy. Still, many conservative Muslims don't agree with many popular Sufi practices especially Saint worshiping, visiting the tombs of the Saints and it's incorporation of non-Islamic customs.
Piercing the nostrils, forearms, cheeks & tongues with sharp needles are normally done. In the following video, you will witness knives that are hammered deep into the skull. What is strange is that not a single drop oozes out from the insertion point. They are seen aware of their total surrounding & they remain unperturbed by the foreign object in their body. You cannot find any trace of pain reflected in their eyes. Normally, when the ritual is over, there won't be any puncture marks or scars left after the removal of the foreign object from their body.
Viewers discretion necessary. The following images may be gory or uncomfortable for viewing by those not accustomed to seeing foreign objects inserted to body & are adviced not to view them. Otherwise, this can be a good learning experience of the diverse culture, practice & faith of the inhabitants of our mother earth.