I’ve felt drawn to tassawuf since I converted. Well, perhaps more accurately, I’ve felt that there was something lacking in the way I was learning Islam – introductary books and articles on Islam focus mainly on fiqh. And, while getting down the halal and haram are absolutely essential to tread the straight path, I was missing something. I wanted to develop my relationship with Allah (swt). Not in the cheesy “God is my homeboy” protestantishÂ way I taught as a camp counselor. No, I wanted to KNOW Allah (swt), to love Him, to worship Him in my every action.
Up until this point, I’ve been dabbling in tassawuf informally – doing random wirds, reading, making lots of dhikr, things that I think good sufis should do.Â But, I don’t think it’s enough. I’m getting to the point where I want to develop a relationship with a sheikh, to make bayah and to be guided in my spiritual development.Â But before I get to that point, there are a few things I have to deal with:
1. The husband. Despite the fact that his grandfather (or was it his great grandfather?) was a sufi sheikh, the husband is not a fan of sufism, to put it lightly. He’s ok with my dabbling in the area, and even jokingly refers to me as a sufi, but he doesn’t feel that it’s necessary to give bayah and to follow a sheikh. So, to that end, I need to…
2. Understand sufism in the context of Islamic history and development. While I am convinced that there is a sufism that is not bidah, etc etc etc, I’d like to be able to convince my husband of that as well. And since he is well read, I need to be well read in this area as well. This would all be so much easier if I had his support 100%. This is not to say that he’s being unsupportive, just skeptical.
3. Give 110% in ibadah. I still struggle with salat, although I’ve greatly improved in recent months. I need to get as close to perfecting it as I can on my own, before I seek to formally study sufism.
4. Actually find a tariqa/sheikh. How does one do this? There are no sheikhs in my area, heck, no sheikhs in the US that I know of that I would like to follow. There are two sheikhs who’s writings I really like, and who teach a sunnah approved sufism – Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi tariqa and Shaykh Nuh Keller of the Shadhili Tariqa. I know that there are some mureeds of Shaykh Nuh out there in cyberspace, and inshaAllah I’m going to see if I can get in contact with some sisters to find out more.
5. Take the Introduction to Islamic Spirituality courses at Sunnipath. This would allow me a chance to correspond with Shaykh Nuh, as well as get the basics down.
All right, there’s probably more I should do, but for right now, 5 things are probably enough to work on.