Each friend represents in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
–Anaïs Nin, diary, March 1937
I have been blessed over the years to come across many people who I have learned a lot from. Some of them I have gotten a chance to meet in person. Others have through their works really opened my eyes to the world right in front of me and I share their works with you all here.
This list is a work in progress. Here are the people who you can expect to see in the days to come:
Some Words about Friendship and Sufism
HIGHLIGHTS: ISSUE 82 WINTER 2012
FRIENDSHIP by Alireza Nurbakhsh
The Sufis refer to God as the Friend (dūst). This is based on the Koranic verse yuhibbuhum wa yuhibbuhunah (God loves them and they love Him, 5:45), which is interpreted by the Sufis as meaning that it is God’s love for us that gives rise to our love for Him. Fakhruddin Iraqi, the 13th-century Persian Sufi, defines friendship with God as a relationship where God’s love precedes the spiritual traveller’s love for God. Put another way, God is the Friend because He instilled in us the experience of love and loving-kindness. One can interpret this to mean that from a Sufi point of view a friend is someone who leads us to experience love and friendliness.
But there is a deeper reason for referring to God as the Friend. This is, I believe, to highlight that through the act of friendship one can experience oneness. By this I mean the experience whereby we do not “see” ourselves as being separate from others. This gradual loss of focus on the self may begin with feeling empathy with others, then grow into a sense of identification with others and sometimes culminate in the experience of oneness, in which one is no longer conscious of any separation between oneself and other people. Muhammad Shirin Maghribi, the 14th-century Persian Sufi, has written the following poem about such an experience:
That spiritual friend knocked at my door last night.
“Who is it?” I asked. He answered, “Open the door. It is you!”
“How can I be You?” I asked. He answered, “We are one,
but the veil has hidden us in duality.”
We and I, he and you, have become the veil,
And how well this has veiled you from yourself!
If you wish to know how we and he and all are one,
Pass beyond this ‘I’, this ‘we’, this ‘you’.
The act of friendship is different from the act of loving. In a relationship of friendship both parties care for each other and give and receive benefits from each other. This reciprocity may not exist in the act of loving, for we may love someone without our beloved giving anything in return or even knowing that he or she is being loved by us
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