The Sufi movement evolved out of Islam and led people on this inner journey, this place of inner surrender.
Over 1400 years ago the Prophet of Islam declared: “Whoever cognizes the true self has cognized God.” In Islam, the true self, or the “I,” is equated with the Divine. This is why Islam proclaims the Oneness of Existence --- la ilaha-illa’llah --- or, “there is no other but God.” This is the true human dignity granted to humans - that there is no separation between him and God. As stated in the Holy Qur’an (50:16), “I am closer to you than your jugular vein.”
This is the state of total freedom and love that has been amplified in the writings of the Sufi masters. The words of Imam Ali, the guiding light for humanity, attest to this genuine and sacred goal:
Islam is submission, and submission is stability and constancy in the true reality of Existence.
Submission is the vitality of Islam because of the dynamic evolution and revolution that takes place from the core of the believer’s heart, where all boundaries of separation and duality cease to exit.
In this truthfulness, the believer attests to the oneness of God. Attestation is not only verbal, but the believer’s body, mind, and heart –his entire being—must resonate with the presence of one God.
This method of purification through submission to God and annihilation in God was termed ma'rifa, meaning acquaintance and cognition. To be exact, the actual word for Sufism is irfan, derived from the word ma'rifa. Ma'rifa (cognition) refers to the state whereby nothing remains unknown to us about the subject of inquiry. In this context it refers to the cognition of oneself and the cognition of God. The one who teaches this method of cognition is known as the arif, or he who has attained the most exalted state of existence through annihilation and permanence in God.
Rumi was one of the great Sufis. He lived thirteen centuries into the Common Era, and spent the last 12 years of his life writing just one poem, the Masnavi, which is 64,000 lines long.