In a few words, Sufism is the mystical essence of Islam. Though over time religions assume the trappings of culture and the material world, mystical essence is the heart that beats at their core, and inspired from their foundation all that followed. So what is mysticism? The dictionary definition is:
'Belief in or experience of a reality surpassing normal human understanding or experience, especially a reality perceived as essential to the nature of life', or ' a system of contemplative prayer and spirituality aimed at achieving a direct intuitive experience of the divine.'
The definition of mysticism begs a further question, 'What is the divine?' Putting aside the more anthropomorphic interpretations with which we are familiar in the western world and which tend to be misleading, in Sufism, the divine is the energy or the force at the core of life and existence. It is truth, reality and unity. It is omnipresent and omnipotent. But importantly, with guidance, it can be experienced directly by each individual spiritual seeker - 'he who tastes knows'.
The divine has been given many names over the millennia of human existence. In Sufism as in Islam, we call it Allah. Ultimately, the Sufi path is a highly personal and experiential journey. It encompasses all aspects of life - from the practical and everyday to the highly esoteric and unfathomable. Progressively, it leads the seeker to his or her own direct experience of divine energy and unity.