a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Sufism Model 1.2

To: Tariqas Elist (and Usenet)
From: Haramullah 
Subject: Sufism Model 1.2 (940914) (9409.sufimdl.h)
Date: Revised 49940914

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
La ilaha illa 'Llah.  Assalam alaikum, my kin.

By Haramullah



A. Model (a suggested context for discussion)
B. Speculations on Relationships
C. Review of Tariqas Sufi Discussion List Progress
D. Deficiency (unchanged) 
E. Conclusion and Query (unchanged)


A. Model (a suggested context for discussion)

Given my state of understanding of 'sufism/Sufism', I present the 
following theory regarding its substance for your review.  Perhaps
it will stimulate an interesting conversation and clear up some of 
the arguments we seem to perpetuate:

DIAGRAM A: The faces of sufism

			            <--- Ex - Exotericism --->

|                             |
|  .   .   .   .   .   .   .  |
|                             |<--- Es - Esotericism
|  .   .   .   .   .   _______|_______
|                     |OOOOOOO|+++++++|
|  .   .   .   .   .  |OOOOOOO|+++++++|<--- S - Sufism
|                     |OOOOOOO|+++++++|
|  .   .   .   _______|_______|_______|______
|             |\     \|UUUUUUU|XXXXXXX|/    /|
|  .   .   .  | \     |UUUUUUU|XXXXXXX|    / |
|             |  \    |UUUUUUU|XXXXXXX|   /  |
|  .   .   .  |   \   |_______|_______|  /   |
|             |    \      \   |    /    /    |
|  .   .   .  |     \      \  |   /    /    /|
|             |\     \      \ |  /    /    / |
|_____________|_______________| /    /    /  |
              | /    /    /    /    /    /   |
              |/    /    /    /    /    /    |<--- s - sufism



Ex Exotericism (Includes all blank areas, areas with '/', '+' and 'X')
   This is composed of all strictly political and social entrapment 
   schemes by which individuals are divested of their personal power 
   and integrity through rigid and irrational adherence to verbal or 
   behavioral forms.  It is the devolution of all religion and it 
   approaches what I have come to identify as 'cults'.  This usually 
   includes strict hierarchy, extremist theoretic, and location of 
   authority within the social leader rather than in the divine or 
   within the individual.

      (blank) General Exotericism which does not associate with the
      terms 'sufism' or 'islam'.

   /  Exoteric sufism which does not identify itself as Islamic, yet 
      includes only 'shams', 'charlatans', and the leaders of 
      deceptive cults.

   +  Exoteric Islam which had no part of the pre-Islamic roots of 
      sufism.  These would be Sufis in name only and have no actual 
      connection to anything other than the politico-religious 
      aspects of Islam.

   X  Exoteric sufism, if it exists.  This would a devolution of 
      the pre-Islamic sufism which later associated with Islam.

Es Esotericism (Includes areas shaded by '.', '\', 'U' and 'O')
   This is composed of all traditions and processes which deal 
   with psycho-spiritual events/growth.  
   Included here would be traditional and some unorthodox 
   teachers and organizations, such as Zen Buddhism, Hindu 
   Vedanta, and perhaps such teachers as we have been discussing 
   such as Gurdjieff, Osho and Crowley.  These go by many names,
   not usually anything like 'sufism', though they may associate 
   themselves with it in some way.

   .  Esotericism without association to the terms 'islam' 
      or 'sufism', not necessarily involving itself with any 
      particular culture or time period.
   \  Esoteric sufism which does not identify itself as Islamic.

   U  Esotericism which derives its practices from within the 
      pre-Islamic sufi heritage, and which identifies as Muslim 
      (perhaps the various Orders).

   O  Esotericism which does not derive its practices from within 
      the pre-Islamic sufi heritage, yet which identifies as 

s  sufism (Includes areas shaded by '/', '\', 'U' and 'X'.)
   This represents the movement which predated the social tradition 
   of Islam and drew from various sources, including Christianity, 
   Neoplatonism, Gnosticism and Buddhism (I got these from 
   Nicholson, through I agree they are open to question).  
   This movement continues to this day and may or may not associate 
   itself with Islam, though it does indeed use the term 'sufism' to 
   describe itself.  Included here would be the groups which focus 
   on dance or on many traditions, perhaps including such heretics 
   as Idries Shah and the 'Urban Dervish'.

   Here it is broken down into the two main groupings, identified by 
   diagonal lines.  Those which are still alive in their retention 
   of what can only be called 'true' or 'valid teachings' fall within 
   'esotericism'.  Those which call themselves 'sufism' yet are not 
   either Islamic or anything more than political or business schemes 
   are now called strictly 'Exoteric'.  

S  Sufism (Includes areas shaded by '+', 'X', 'U' and 'O'.)
   This is the Muslim tradition of sufism, and it includes the four 
   Orthodox Orders (Chishti, Qadiri, Suhrawardi and Naqshbandi, 
   according to Shah in _The Way of the Sufi_).  I've designated 
   four divisions based on characteristics with respect to their
   esoteric content and association with the therm 'sufism'.

B. Speculations on Relationships

Ex - Exotericism (nonmystical/nonspiritual)
Es - Esotericism (neither 'islamic' nor 'sufism' by name)
S  - Sufism ('islamic' and 'sufism' by name)
s  - sufism (sufism, not 'islamic' by name)

Of these groupings, Es focuses on the mystical aspect 
of experience, s focusses on expression and experiment
which may lead to that experience, and S focusses on the
tradition and structure which gives rise to that expression.

In other words, S is a manifestation of s, and s of Es. Traditional
Islamic Sufism contains within it the capacity to experiment within 
certain limitations and makes possible a particular kind of mystical 
experience/exploration.  Of the multitudinous brands of 'sufism', 
many make the mystical experience available to their adherents.  

Esoteric schools aim at precisely this goal, though perhaps all of 
them may not do so with the same quality, while exoteric devolutions 
only serve to blemish the whole through mimicry and deceipt.

I am as yet unsure if there is an 'esoteric sufism'(s) which does
not identify as Islamic in the strict, religious sense, though
I gather that Sufi Order of the West does not require such an
identification as a condition of its membership.

C. Review of Tariqas Sufi Discussion List Progress

1) Various members of group #2 continue to claim that those 
outside the Islamic tradition "are not Sufis".  Given the 
terminology accepted in this model, they are correct.  They 
are not 'Sufis', but they may be 'sufis' (i.e. non-Muslims who 
associate with the label 'sufi').

2) Many have claimed that controversial writers, such as 
Aleister Crowley and gurus such as Osho are not 'sufis'.  Given 
the terminology accepted in this model, they are correct.  They 
are not 'sufis' in that they don't appear to identify strictly 
as such, but they may be 'esotericists' who claim to be involved 
with a similar (or the same) process AS 'sufism/Sufism' (in 
Crowley's case Hermeticism, in Osho's some nondescript 

3) I continue to hear recapitulation of the debate between
groups S and s, perhaps assisted by some from Es.  What I'd
rather see is the use of some sort of model (such as the one
presented here) as a focus for discussion of an historical 
analysis of sufism as it developed over time (including both 
controversial and conservative writers), as well as an 
examination of the traditional and unorthodox practices with 
included within ALL of the groups.


D. Deficiency (unchanged) 

1) To date there has not been a clear and adequate analysis of
the orthodox Sufi orders and their workings.

2) To date there has not been a clear and comprehensive evaluation
of the major groups which associate with the label 'sufism', even
if they don't consider themselves completely and solely 'Islamic'.

3) Little has been done to tie any of these groups together, showing
their influences (e.g. from Rumi or other orthodox Muslim Sufis) and
common histories.  Little has been done to show up their differences
in regard doctrine, practice or membership.

4) Little has been done to reveal the esoteric process as a basis
for Sufism, sufism and other mystical groups, at least not in this
mailgroup.  Authors such as Evelyn Underhill have written very wide-
ranging treatises on the subject, and surely there is much to draw

5) To date there has not been a listing of comparable traditions
and/or social organizations, such as Zen Buddhism and Hindu Vedanta.
Perhaps this lies outside the scope of this mailgroup, yet it would
seem valuable to gather an understanding of sufism not only by an
examination of that which lies within, but also of that which lies
without - comparison and analysis.


E. Conclusion and Query (unchanged)

There is much to be done.  This is only one model among many
possibilities.  Discussion regarding all of this would seem of
benefit to all sufis, let alone all Esotericists.  Below I offer
some queries from the context of this model for your contemplation
Perhaps they will illuminate some of the possible avenues of
of research from which we might benefit:

1) Is there a group in S (i.e. Sufism) which is not considered to
be part of s (i.e. one which does not use the term 'sufi' and is
yet considered 'Sufi' by the orthodox establishment?

Another way to ask this question would be, 'Is S a complete subset 
within s?'  Are all Sufis 'sufis'?

2) Are there ANY groups in S OR s which are not contained within
Es?  Is Es a universal for the others?

Another way to ask this question would be 'Are there any Sufis or
sufis who ARE Exotericists?'  Compare this to the possible statement 
that Freemasons are no longer religious or mystical.

Thank you for your time.  

Muhammad rasulu 'Llah.  Alaikum assalam, my kin.
Love is the law, love under will.

Revision 3
(c) 1994 
House of Kaos
871 Ironwood Drive
San Jose, CA 95125-2815

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races