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REPORT: Study session of the Interfaith Group for Sufi Studies

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    After a relatively long break, the interfaith group for Sufi studies renewed its activity on Thursday 2 January 2003. The session was led by Sheikh Ghassan
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2003
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      After a relatively long break, the interfaith group for Sufi studies
      renewed its activity on Thursday 2 January 2003. The session was led by
      Sheikh Ghassan Manasra who brought the story and teachings of the Sufi
      teacher Shihab A-din Suwahardi of the 13th century. Suwahardi, named
      after his village in the Iranian mountains - an area that its beauty gave
      inspiration to many Sufi poets and philosophers, was traveling from one
      place to another, seeking the truth everywhere. He was one of the first to
      integrate the Greek philosophy into Sufism. At that time, as it is today,
      there was tension between the Sharia people and the Sufis. While the
      Sharia people were focusing on the text of the Koran and Hadith, the Sufis
      emphasized that the text has many levels - including secrets planted in it
      by God for people who are worthy of finding them. The Sharia people
      accused Suwahardi that he was a follower of Plato and Aristotle. In the
      debate they had he managed to convince them in all their points but
      one. Due to that one point the issue was brought in front of Salah A-din
      who, despite his tendency to Sufism, did not want to loose the support of
      the Sharia people who were many more in number, and sentenced Suwahardi to
      death. But he allowed him to choose the way of his execution and Suwahardi
      chose to be left in a house with no food and died of hunger in the age of
      38. In his way of dieing he manifested his teaching that when a human
      learns to live in the spirit - he stops feeling with his five physical
      senses and starts feeling with his soul. This is the path to true
      life. The way to reach that stage is through solitude, when the detachment
      from everything else allows reconnecting with the self, and through
      fasting. On the immediate level the fast frees the person from the
      heaviness caused by eating. But more than a lesson to the body it is a
      lesson to the soul, that learns not to allow into the heart and mind
      anything and anyone but God.


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