Sufism – An Introduction to Mystical Islam

Sufism in an umbrella term for a variety of philosophical, social, and literary phenomena occurring within the Islamic world. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to a number of schools of Islamic mystical philosophy and theology, to religious orders and guilds that have greatly influenced the development of Islamic politics and society, and to the varied expressions of popular piety found throughout the Islamic world.

In a wider sense, Sufism is often seen as the spiritual muse behind much of pre-modern verse in the Islamic world, the idiom of much of popular Islamic piety, the primary social arena open to women’s religious participation, and a major force in the conversion of people to Islam in Africa and Asia.

Sufism has been referred to as Tazkiya Nafs (purity of soul) in the Quran. Islamic scholars and those who have learned Quran with translation know the connotation of this verse. “The Day when neither wealth nor sons will avail, But only he (will prosper) that comes to Allah with a purified heart”. Surah Ashurah, 26:88-89. Sufi orders served as educational institutions that fostered not only the religious sciences but also music and decorative arts. Sometimes Sufi leaders served as theologians and judges, combining within themselves scholastic and charismatic forms of leadership; at other times, they led the challenge against the legal and theological establishment.

Where Sufism Began:

The origins of Sufism lie in a very informal movement of personal piety that emerged in the first century of Islam. These earliest Sufis emphasized prayer, asceticism, and withdrawal from society. The term “Sufism” or tasawwuf, as the tradition is called in Arabic – may derive from the practice of wearing wool (suf in Arabic), or possibly from the Arabic word for purity (safa). The earliest Sufis spent almost all their waking hours in prayer, and frequently engaged in acts of self-mortification, such as starving themselves or staying up the entire night, as a form of prayer exercise. They renounced their connections to the world and possessed little apart from the clothes on their back. A large proportion of these early Sufis were women, several of whom, such as Rabia Basri, are revered to this day.

It is very likely that the Sufis adopted the practices of asceticism and the wearing of wool after observing the Christian ascetics of Syria and Palestine. Sufis, however, see the origins of their movement in the Quran and in the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him). They are quick to observe that Muhammad S.A.W. lived an extremely simple, almost ascetic life, and that he had a habit of withdrawing from Mecca to go and meditate in a cave. Indeed, it was while he was meditating in this manner that he received his first revelation. Sufis therefore see their practices as an imitation of Muhammad, and they hope to achieve the same close relationship with God as he did.

The Sufi Path:

Sufis believe that average human beings are unable to understand the true nature of spirituality because of their petty concerns. The quest for spiritual understanding in Sufism is seen as a path, which each Sufi must travel under the guidance of a teacher or master. This path has many stages, the number and names of which vary depending on the school of Sufi thought.

In most instances, the first stage on the Sufi path is learning the Quran with translation and then comes the stage of repentance. The Sufi is expected to repent of all the bad deeds he or she has committed in life and to take a vow to avoid all earthly pleasures. After having repented of the past, the Sufi is supposed to divest him or herself of earthly belongings, which even include attachment to friends and family. In practice, this process of material and emotional divestment is extremely difficult, often takes a long time, and requires strict meditational exercises under the directions of a master.

Sunless Tanning Lotions – The Anti-Aging Fake Bake that Looks Great

Sunless tanning is growing in popularity and is one that health-conscious people as well as doctors can agree on. Your “fake” tan or tan in a bottle can save your life. You are avoiding skin cancer from harmful UV rays. You will also look better as you age because your sunless tan requires no exposure to UV rays which are known to accelerate wrinkles and aging.

Sunless tanning [http://www.tanningskincare.com/Sunless_tan.htm] products are designed to be easy to apply although it may sometimes be a little time-consuming. If you do it regularly, you will find that it gets faster and easier. The tan lasts for about 8 or 9 days with most porducts, and you will have to reapply to maintain a tan. While it may seem like a lot of trouble, it is well worth it to protect your skin and your health. If a tan is really that important to you but you don’t want to increase your risk of sun damage, then you should not mind taking the extra time to apply sunless tanners.

If you haven’t tried sunless tanning lotions recently, you may not know how improved and advanced they have become. You no longer have to worry about turning yourself orange or looking like you need to bathe. Spotty, splotchy and orange sunless tanners are a thing of the past. Sunless tanners take about 3 to 4 hours to start developing and will reach peak coloration 24 hours after application. You get a great golden tan that appears natural as well. If you do use the tanning bed occasionally, you can use the sunless tanning products to maintain that tan so you spend less time in the damaging rays.

Sunless tanning is a great option for people who cannot tan in traditional sun UV rays. For example, people with fair skin, freckles, red hair or very light blonde hair can have difficulty tanning in natural sunlight. You should also avoid it if you have had sun damage in the past, a family history of skin cancer, are taking medications that increase your sensitivity to the sun and for several other reasons. Sunless tanners let these people get the look they want with no risk to their health.

The most important benefits to sunless tanning are the health benefits. It is a fact that exposure to UV rays causes skin cancer and creates signs of early aging with wrinkles and sun spots. Most people who are concerned with their looks enough to want a great tan will also be concerned about not getting early wrinkles and other signs of aging. Sunless tanning products are a great alternative to tanning beds and can help to maintain the look of a a healthy tanned appearance year-round without the associated risks and aging effects.

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Con Man’s Legal Phone Scam – 900 Phone Line Offer

Several of the 900-phone line operators are now offering to share the wealth: give you a chance to be just like them. They will set you up in business for yourself, the easy way: they will do all the work, and you sit back and enjoy the profits. They already have the facilities, and the phone operators / answerers / counselors–or whatever you would call these people–and are now extending the hand of friendship toward your wallet. “Sharemanship” you might otherwise call it.

For a little under $500 you can offer all the same “services they do. They will set you up with your very own 900-phone number turnkey-package business. The 3 best model packages from which you can choose, as the offering of your very own 900 service, are: 1. Matchmaker. Access their excellent staff of Dear Abby-type advisors to find kindred spirits of all kinds–from lovelorn to lovesick to love makers. 2. Psychic. Tap their mystic stable of Twilight Zone gurus who try to outdo Rod Serling in their vending of astrophysical counsel. 3. Adult. (Read, porno.) Self-explanatory.

You will be pleased to know that these lines will work for you 24 / 7. And, that their counselors are very skilled in piling up chargeable minutes, primary goal of the business–the average now being 10 minutes per call, on which they collect $2.99-$5.99 per minute, of which they will dispense $1.00 per minute to you for the use of your lines. You will have no worries to concern yourself with over maintenance, operations, management, of any kind. Your only function will be to–out of your own pocket–advertise. This is their idea of serving up a 7-course meal, consisting of a hot dog and 6-pack.

Why such generosity?

Simply because this sponge is nearly squeezed dry. These people have already tapped out their primary advertising media–underground newspapers, Howard Stern-type radio shows, and whacko internet sites–and are now beating the bushes for every last scrap of business to be had.

Hence, they would now like to invite you aboard their profit train, if you will bring with you, please, whatever new business you can drum up from your local newspaper classified ads, Kiwanis Club and high school year book associations, and shopping mall billboard postings.

Conversely, if you don’t, so what. At this point they’ve already got your up-front money. They can now merely ignore you and solicit the next candidate from their sucker list for this glorious no work / all play turnkey package business setup.

Would you have anything at all to gain from such a business association? If you don’t mind becoming known as a weirdo, con artist, or pornographer, maybe. Though doubtful. If you feel such a new identity added to your name in your community might be offensive to you, no. Remember a fundamental Law of Bureaucracy, which applies closely in this case: The solution to a problem creates a new problem.

A clear look proves that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. Even singularly, based on its earnings potential alone, such just seems to not be the case. You’d probably go about as far in life, with the same social acceptance, if you took a hit of acid, smoked a joint, and bummed some money from your mother.