The Mystics view of suffering

To the mystics, to control and to alleviate human suffering is a radiant type of prayer, and the best type of charity. They do not want to see suffering in any shape or form. Long before the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established, the mystics have shown utmost mercy and kindness to animals, and birds also.

It is said of a Sufi Saint, that, once some visitors came to him. He asked one of his disciples to spread the dining carpet and serve food. The guests took food. The dining carpet should have been folded after the food, but the host was surprised to see that it was not folded. He asked his disciple to fold it. The disciple however kept watching the dining carpet. The host again asked him to fold the dining carpet. This time he informed the host, his spiritual guide, that there were some ants on the dining carpet. As soon as they left the dining carpet, he would fold it. His spiritual guide was immensely pleased with the reply and said “verily, such a person deserves to be called a Sufi”.

In developing countries like India, there is a lot of preventable distress looming large on the horizon. Fire, famine and flood on the one hand, and dirt, disease and drought on the other hand, have deprived the people of the feeling of security. Being thus deprived of social, and economic security, they exist and drift. They, in fact, do not live. Take for instance malaria. Malaria has been the enemy number one of the rural masses. It has caused more harm than other catastrophes like fire.

Everyone of us, whether rich or poor, literate or illiterate is in a position to do something for others. If we give a smile, it is, also, a philanthropic act. If we give a word of comfort and cheer, it is, no doubt, a sublime gesture of goodwill and mutual understanding.

Let us resolve firmly, and make it our principle, that everyday, we will render some silent service to others without the hope of reward.

Humanism implies that we should learn to live for others. To a mystic, pain and pleasure imply a different connotation. Pain and pleasure are the two sides of a coin. Pain and pleasure are not lasting. They are short-lived and are fleeting.

A mystic is not the least afraid or worried of sorrow and suffering. To him, they are the gifts of the Friend. To him, sorrow and suffering are a test of his perseverance, power of endurance and patience.

To a mystic, it is only in suffering that we are purged and purified, and made strong, firm and determined to do His Will.

To a mystic, it is only when a person is put in the furnace of troubles, tribulations and suffering, that he becomes what he is capable of becoming.

Vermilion, when pressed, gives colour.  frankincense, when put on a fire gives fragrance.

Musk when rubbed gives its smell.

The wood of aloes, when burnt, gives off its smell.

Saffron, when rubbed, gives colour and fragrance.

Likewise, a person, when he undergoes suffering without grudge or murmur, attains perfect bliss, and becomes a different person from what he was before.

A mystic is not the least afraid of death.

Death, to him, is a means of getting eternal life.

Death is a bridge leading to the Friend.

A mystic yearns for self-earned peace.

Where there is hatred, thee is tension,

Where there is love, there is peace and co-operation,

Doubt should be replaced by faith,

Injustice and injury should be pardoned,

Despair should give place to hope,

Darkness should be replace by light.

They mystics hold that, unless we love, how can we be loved.

Unless we give, how can we receive.

Unless we pardon others, how can we be pardoned.

We should pray for greater understanding and appreciation of other people’s points of view.

It is not wise to throw stones from a glass house.

Instead of frittering out energy in frivolous pursuits and idle chatter, let us try to acquire and adopt an attitude towards life, which is at once, more refined, positive and informative. Organize by all means,

Pardon Week;

Forgiveness Week;

Charity Week;

Mutual help Week;

Every week should be, for you, a harbinger of better life, better living and better business.

If possible and convenient to you, try to go to the hospitals and serve, in whatever way you can, those suffering from some malady.

We should not be afraid of suffering. Suffering is a spice of life. To suffer is to be strong. 

Trials, tribulations, suffering and sorrow should be faced with a smile. They, in fact, are useful, as they serve as stern teachers. They impart to us the invaluable lessons of achieving success through patience. They mould us into a frame of mind which is conducive to simple living and high thinking.

Suffering and sorrow are useful as they develop character, lead us to the Fountain of Bliss, and introduce us to a type of virtuous life. They, above all, teach us patience and confer upon us Divine Grace and heavenly merit.

Let me tell you one important thing.

Unless you think well, you cannot act well, and unless you act well, you cannot live well.

It is better to forget the past. Learn to live in present. Instead of ‘taking arms against a sea of troubles’, take arms against malice, greed, lust, hatred, hypocrisy and ill-will.

Let us forget injury, and forego injustice. Let us be firm. Let us fulfill our promise.

A Day of Silence;

A Day  of Thanksgiving;

A Day of Forgiveness;

A Day of Self-introspection;

A  Day of Courtesy;

Everyone of us is in search of joy and happiness. People have different standards by which they judge happiness. To some, happiness lies in pomp, glory and show. There are others who hold that wealth is the perennial source of happiness. Such type of happiness is not lasting,enduring or durable. It is fleeting and short-lived.Such type of happiness is imaginary.

Real happiness is different. Let real happiness descend upon you, and sit with you and smile.

I tell you that happiness has no geographical boundaries.

It has no localities. It is neither provincial nor peculiar.

Real happiness demands a price. To be really happy, one must do his duty diligently and honestly, and dispense justice. 

The one aspiring for real happiness must be humble, meek, gentle, unassuming and simple.

Charity and love constitute other sources of real happiness. In order to enjoy real happiness, others should be made happy.

The tears in another’s eyes should be wiped away. The wounded heart should be healed. The bruised spirit  should be given the ointment of sympathy. Suffering should be shared. The tale of woe, wherever told, should be supplemented by the story of success and joy.

Vice should be abjured, and virtue should be extolled. Therein lies real happiness.

We must never detest suffering and sorrow. Our life may be distracted, disturbed, dark or gloomy, yet we must know and understand that the procession of our life has been ordered and arranged by the God of Infinite Mercy,Benevolence and Power.

Let us derive inspiration from what John Pomfret has said:

“Heaven is not always angry when He strikes, But most chastises those whom most He likes.”

Let us listen to the advice, given by an eminent poet, H.W.Longfellow:


” O fear not in a world like this,

And thou shalt know ere long,

Know how sublime a thing it is,

To suffer and be strong.”


This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : ‘Sufi’s Spirituality’ (Tasawwuf )  & in ‘Tasawwuf ‘(Path  of Mysticism). Alternatively you can subscribe to our blog for updates.

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