Flowers at Sheikh Abdullah’s birthday


Building Character

“ There is a marked difference between the conception held about ‘principles’ in the Western world and ‘principals’ as understood in Sufism. In the version of the Bible authorised by King James it is written that Jesus said, ‘To him that hath shall be given and to him that hath not it shall be taken away.’

Much speculation can be entered into in relation to the meaning of this sentence. The Sufis know very well that this is one of the great axioms of life and it is simply saying that if concentration is placed upon anything, the aspect on which it is placed gains in measure and stature to the detriment of other aspects which are neglected, because no emphasis of concentration is placed upon them. For example, the human brain is not like a computer although many people believe that in its construction the operation of the brain works similarly. When the brain is faced with something entirely new the process of learning to deal with the encounter enables a state of recognition to be established. When the encounter is repeated, the recognition is recalled and the process is strengthened and made easier by being made quicker. Each time the encounter is observed which is similar to the original one, the recognition becomes engraved more deeply in the mind, and the nerve mechanisms which were potentially available to provide a range of different recognitions, fall into disuse and become weakened.

Sufis work entirely using such principles, and when they build character into a pupil, they use such methods of building the character and for making it strong enough, yet flexible enough to be linked like the strands of a thread to other strands built up in a similar fashion in order to make a guide-line for carrying the pupil through life. When Western principles are conceived and imparted to society they are like isolated milestones in the mind designed to take people from one point to the next on the journey through life. In the average life the path is not always straight and the milestones can’t be seen in advance on the twisting, turning route.

If the classical story of Theseus and Ariadne is recalled, Ariadne, it will be remembered, provided a thread which enabled Theseus to find his way through the twists and turns of the maze which he had to travel in darkness to deal with the Minotaur. It also enabled him to return to the daylight at the entrance to the maze and it saved his life. Sufi principles are based upon this continuously flexible weaving together of principles which enable pupils’ consciousness to operate at many levels and communicate with others at the level at which they are capable of receiving the message that is being conveyed through the process of communication.”

~ Sheikh Abdullah Sirr Dan al-Jamal.