How To Recognize A Sufi Master
by Qutub Sarmouni

The Sufi is known by his functional presence, not by his appearance, region of physical origin by birth or his outward profession or role in life.  Recognition, in fact, is not possible by the material brain of the modern superficial seeker who wants to be shown “miracles”.  Recognition is nothing less than a Divine Gift that strikes the Heart of a sincere and worthy seeker, like an inward lightning flash that opens the Eye of the Heart for a few moments as an intuitive certainty, and which opens the Ear of the Heart so that the seeker can hear the Language of the Heart as an inner communication from the Sufi.  If one cannot hear the Silence of the Teaching Master, it will be useless to hear his outer words or read his writings, for outer words and writings always fall mainly on the material brain, creating doubts, confusion, arguments and meaningless gossip.


Idries Shah, in his book, Thinkers of the East, has given an illuminating teaching story on this subject:


Merchant of Secrets


A mystical Master, as soon as he attained the secret knowledge of the Inner Truth which few people find, settled in Basra.

There he started a business and over the years his affairs prospered.

A dervish who had known him in former years and yet was himself still on the road of the Seeker called upon him one day.

‘How sad to see that you have abandoned the Search and the Mystic Way,’ said the dervish.  The merchant-sage smiled, but said nothing on this subject.

The dervish passed on his way, and often afterwards spoke in his lectures of the one-time Sufi who had settled for the lower aim of commerce, being, it seemed, lacking in the necessary resolution to complete the journey.

But this wanderer at length fell in with Khidr, the secret Guide, and begged him to direct him to the Sage of the Epoch from whom he could obtain enlightenment.

Khidr said:

‘Go and sit at the feet of such-and-such a merchant, performing whatever menial task he needs done.’

The dervish was amazed.  ‘But how can he be one of the Elect, let alone the Great Teacher of the Age?’ he stammered.

‘Because,’ said Khidr, ‘when he gained illumination he also achieved objective knowledge of the world.  He saw clearly for the first time that saintly behaviour attracts the greedy posing as the spiritual, and repels the sincere who have no taste for outwardness.  I showed him how religious teachers may be drowned by their followers.  So he teaches in secret, and looks, to the superficial, like a mere merchant.’


The reader of this article may want to take note that there is no advertisement for some come-one-come-all “Sufi Course” on this Website nor any e-mail or other address inviting random correspondence or personal contact with myself.


A dear old friend and disciple of mine from ancient times, Bhagawan Osho Rajneesh (who in his previous incarnation was Lal Shabaz Qalandar) has written in his book, The Sufis, Volume 1,

“The people who are in search of instant enlightenment cannot have contact with a Sufi.  That’s why Sufis go on hiding themselves.  They don’t declare themselves, they remain invisible.  They are available only to those who really search, who really seek.  It is very difficult to find a Sufi Master, and he may be living just in your neighbourhood.  He may be doing such an ordinary thing you cannot believe it.  He may be a weaver or he may be a shoemaker or he may be running a hotel, or any kind of work.  You cannot suspect that a Sufi Master lives just at the corner.  And you may come across him every day and you will not have any idea who this man is….”


The Sufi cannot teach or transmit to self-selected, brain-centered random seekers of the kind who congregate in Web Forums for shallow social excitement about The Way.  If hundreds of such people could personally access him; wanting miraculous help for their sexual, financial and self-esteem problems and confusions; he would have no time or energy for real teaching and transmitting to real students or disciples.  Only those who are brought by extraordinary means can be given extraordinary teachings.  Those who seek to find The Extraordinary through ordinary means available to the unworthy only show their own unworthiness.


Even an extraordinary Sufi like Idries Shah himself once made this mistake of seeking the extraordinary through ordinary means.  He once tried through ordinary channels to find the extraordinary and greatly hidden book of Starry Magick called the Necronomicon of Abdul Al-Hazred.  He searched in ordinary places, such as the libraries of Deobund in India, Al-Azhar in Egypt, and the Library of the Holy City of Mecca.  Why would such places be keeping such an “unholy” work of an “infidel magician”?  It is known in some occult circles in the West that he never found that ultimately significant source book of Western Magick (based on Sumerian traditions), though he wrote more than one volume of his own on the subject, only scratching the surface.


Anyone who wants to prepare themselves inwardly to get from God the blessing of recognition of a Sufi Master should seriously and extensively question the Sufi Oracle on this Website, paying the deepest attention to the most unpleasant or off-putting answers that are received, for it is those answers in particular which will most effectively scrape rust off the inner mirror of the Heart, thus allowing for some receptivity of inner guidance and a viable sense of direction.  The Oracle allows the Heart to learn how to get past the clever, witty and snotty brain of the unreal seeker so that the real Seeker may emerge, for, in highest truth, He is the Seeker and He is the Sought.  He and He alone is the means by which He is found.  All real seekers are His business with Himself.  The outer judgments of outer brains as to the relative worth of this or that outwardly known teacher or controversial figure, are worthless and a veil.  It is only through the Real that the Real is seen.  Real people are brought into relational connections or activities with other Real People through the Power of the Real.  When that happens, it is called Jam, the Real Togetherness of the Real.  The proof of the Real cannot be found anywhere but in the Real.  Even when the unreal are shown proof, or some sign or indication of it, they cannot see it or accept it, so it is a waste of time.  The Real is hidden from the Unreal naturally without having to make an effort to hide!


The Secret Protects Itself