The reading talks of how to lead a religious (Islam) way of life. The word ‘path’ suggests that the only way to attain religious righteousness is through following the words of the Lord. The article states clearly that there is no other way to God except through the path. The path (also known as tariqa) is the path on which mystiques walk.
It is the path that comes from the sharia. This is the God-given highway on which every Muslim is supposed to walk. The book also states or rather concludes that all religious foundations (be it Christianity or any other) have a path set out and on which all must walk in order to reach their intended spiritual destination.
Most important points
One important concept that is expressed in the reading is repentance. Schimmel states that “when you seek God, seek him in your heart. He is not in Jerusalem, in Mecca or in the Hajj” (106). The author also states that “one has to work day and night to plough and to clean the soul” (Schimmel 107).
The article talks of the importance of repentance to the soul. One should repent from deep within and repentance should not be an external entity. God does not exist in a particular place such as in a building. God dwells in the soul. One needs spiritual cleansing to ensure freedom from the ills of the world.
The article states that without the mystical or rather the conviction of the soul, all exercises towards achieving religious cleanliness is futile. The pilgrimage to the ‘qaaba’ in Mecca is only a sign of conviction but it should never be taken as a complete act of gaining purity before God.
This is because those who Know God best are those who struggle most to follow his commands and religiously follow the laws of the prophets of the lord. The very beginning of the path is the tauba. It means to turn away from sin and to desist from every worldly demand. The reading speaks of ‘ikhlas’. This means absolute sincerity before the lord. The adept should turn with their entire beings towards the lord God.
The statement that one has to work day and night to plough and clean the soul is of great significance. It speaks of absolute conviction. Turning away from sin (also referred to as tauba) is a quality that, according to the reading, can be attained through external sources such as reading the works of the prophets or those written by saints on pieces of papers. Tauba can even be gained from listening to profane words, which are understood in religious sense.
Every form that is hidden in a person’s heart will be exposed on that Day of Judgment. On this day, only those who have been serving in truth and sincerity shall be upheld as conquerors of the world and gainers of spiritual eternity.
Even though hell and heaven did not matter to the devotees of the mystical love, they were very aware that their deeds would be laid bare on that fateful day when all men shall be held accountable for their deeds. God never rejects his people even if repentance is done severally. The article states that people should never exhaust from repenting since God never tires from forgiving his people’s sins.
Schimmel, Annemarie. Mystical dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975. Print.