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Observations placeholder

Shah, Idries – The Sufis - QSS and Alif Ba Lam



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Sufis – Idries Shah

In initiatory words, the Abjad provides even more profound meanings, familiar to every practicing Sufi. No person may be a teacher of Sufism unless he has himself been through the succession of experiences which are essential. When he has been through these, he is changed, so that he remains an ordinary human being only in the obvious sense. His functions have changed, and he is now a "herdsman."

What is it that gives him that character? It is a cognition which is called "certitude," which the Sufi illuminate the "arrived man," or "whole one," now possesses. In this he differs from the ordinary man, who is a prey to the fluctuations of his own lack of stabilization. This is  expressed in the derivations of the word for certitude.

Certitude stands for infallible guidance, and the word for it is yaqina, formed of the elements YQN. These are transposed into 160, split again into 100 and 60, reconverted into QSS.

The dictionary shows that this word stands for "taking the marrow out of a bone."

It can also mean "herdsman," or "to become a priest," Sufis therefore consider that the essence of certitude and its expression is the "retrieving of the very marrow, the shepherding of others, the exercising the commanding authority and endowment usually invested in what is called a priest in mechanical religion."

It may be noted that the Sufi cannot benefit another person beyond the extent to which his function is acknowledged by that person. As a shepherd he can look after the external needs of a flock; as a priest he has the inner qualities to cater for their essential progress. This, to the Sufi, is the meaning of priest - that he should have arrived at some sort of certitude which places him into contact with a greater dimension, not that he should be mechanically created by order or study. A priest is the result of a development. 

No such priests exist in familiar religion.

The source of the experience

Shah, Idries

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps