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Sufism is the school of divine ethics, and the master of the Path attempts to decorate the sufi's heart with divine attributes.

In truth, the master of the Path is like an alchemist who transmutes the traveler's copper-like heart into gold through the alchemy of his attention and teaching. The fire needed to smelt the copper of the heart, and thereby transmute it into gold through the master's alchemy, is called devotion (eradat). Without the fire of devotion, the copper of the heart will not burn, nor will the master's alchemy take effect:

Humans and angels all exist
     becuase of love;
Show your devotion so that you may reap
     the blessing of this love.

The more scorching the fire of this devotion is, the sooner the master's alchemy will take effect. This is why the great sufis have always emphasized that unless one purifies one's devotion towards the master, thereby drawing his attention, even years of asceticism and spiritual struggle will lead nowhere.

Know then that you should surrender to a perfect master with your heart and soul so that the master, through the alchemy of his attention, will be able to transmute your copper-like heart into gold, decorating your heart with divine attributes and ethics. Only in this way will your self finally be taken away, such that only He remains.

Article taken from Sufi Journal, Issue 35, 1997


Other Writings by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh

  • Chivalry

    Before Islam appeared, the tradition of chivalry (javanmardi) in the Middle East was maintained through the training of men to be chevaliers (javanmardan).
    Read more

  • Love and the Heart

    Listen to the heart and the tale it tells: How could he content with God complain? He speaks of submission and contentment, Not of possessing more or less. His every moment is full of joy, For at every instant he is with God.
    Read more

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