“Spiritual Journey” is an agreeable luminous joyful and spiritual sacred truth. This truth has been proclaimed taught and described in thousands of books written by the scholars among the people of illumination and those who have had unfolded to them the reality of creation who have told us of that truth.
“Spiritual Journey” is the path followed by an individual who having been able to free himself or herself from human vices and weaknesses in order to acquire angelic qualities and conduct pleasing to God lives in accordance with the requirements of God’s knowledge and love and in the resulting spiritual delight that ensues.
“Spiritual Journey” requires the strict observance of all religious obligations an austere lifestyle and the renunciation of carnal desires. Through this method of spiritual self-discipline the individual’s heart is purified and his or her senses and faculties are employed in the way of God which means that the traveler can now begin to live on a spiritual level.
“Spiritual Journey” also enables individuals through the constant worship of God to deepen their awareness of themselves as devotees of God. Through the renunciation of this transient material world as well as the desires and emotions it engenders they awaken to the reality of the other world which is turned toward God’s Divine Beautiful Names. “Spiritual Journey” allows individuals to develop the moral dimension of one’s existence and enables the acquisition of a strong heartfelt and personally experienced conviction of the articles of faith that before had only been accepted superficially.
The principles of “Spiritual Journey” or “Sufism” may be listed as follows:
– Reaching true belief in God’s Divine Oneness and living in accordance with its demands.
– Heeding the Divine Speech discerning and then obeying the commands of the Divine Power and Will as they relate to the universe (the laws of creation and life).
– Overflowing with Divine Love and getting along with all other beings in the realization (originating from Divine Love) that the universe is a cradle of brotherhood.
– Giving preference or precedence to the well-being and happiness of others.
– Acting in accord with the demands of the Divine Will not with the demands of our own will and living in a manner that reflects our self-annihilation in God and subsistence with Him.
– Being open to love spiritual yearning delight and ecstasy.
– Being able to discern what is in hearts or minds through facial expressions and the inner. Divine mysteries and meanings of surface events.
– Visiting spiritual places and associating with people who encourage the avoidance of sin and striving in the way of God.
– Being content with permitted pleasures and not taking even a single step toward that which is not permitted.
– Struggling continuously against worldly ambitions and illusions which lead us to believe that this world is eternal.
– Never forgetting that salvation is possible only through certainty or conviction of the truth of religious beliefs and conduct sincerity or purity of intention and the sole desire to please God.
Two other elements may be added: acquiring knowledge and understanding of the religious and Gnostic sciences and following a perfected spiritual master’s guidance. Both of these are of considerable significance in the Naqshbandiyah Sufi order.
It may be useful to discuss “Spiritual Journey” according to the following basic concepts which often form the core of books written on good morals manners and asceticism and which are viewed as the sites of the “Prophetic Truth” in one’s heart. They can also be considered lights by which to know and follow the spiritual path leading to God.
The first and foremost of these concepts is wakefulness which is alluded to in the Prophetic saying: My eyes sleep but my heart does not. The one of the most important person of the journey says: Men are asleep. They wake up when they die. The many other stages on this path will be discussed at some length in this book.
By M. Fethullah Gulen