The Sarmoun Sufi Way
For The Twenty-First Century
by Qutub Sarmouni

The Sufi Way is of incredible significance and urgent importance for the inner development of both spiritual individuals and advanced hidden groups or communities on the Earth as the horribly difficult Twenty-First Century unfolds itself.  Outer political and military conflict and government oppression make it increasingly dubious and dangerous for Westerners to be in any way identified with Islam or with Muslim people or groups.  It is also a great stupidity for Sufis in the East to try and detach overtly from Islam and promote a universal spiritual path.  Therefore, Sufism in the non-Islamic West is going ever farther away from Islamic Sufism in the East.  This gap is widening under the pressures of the time-condition.  What is therefore needed is a new realism about all this which will by necessity question and overthrow many common assumptions about the Sufi Way in both the West and the East.  It is therefore my cosmic duty to point out some simple things to my Sufi friends and would-be students in both the West and the East.  Here, therefore, is an emergent working definition of The Way of Ways that requires the greatest possible understanding in these urgent days of increasing conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims, between Upstream Oil Suppliers and Downstream Oil Consumers.


A Sarmouni is a Sufi who is not a Muslim and who carries out his spiritual learning or teaching with non-Muslims;  A Sufi is a Sarmouni who is ostensibly a Muslim and who carries out his spiritual learning or teaching with Muslims.


A Sufi is covertly universal and is not personally identified with Islam.  A Sarmouni is overtly universal and is not personally identified with Christianity or Atheism, nor with Islam or any other dogmatic religion as such.


Only those who understand and work with the above definitions can help the Sarmoun Sufi Way survive and thrive through the Twenty-First Century and beyond.  Any adherent of either the Sarmouni Way in the West or the Sufi Way in the East who insists on an identification personally with the religion of Islam will fail in his or her development toward oneness with God.  The Sarmouni Way and the Sufi Way are mirror sisters of one another.  But many, out of stupidity and mechanical cultural conditioning will fail to understand this emergent principle.  They will work against The Way in the name of The Way.  Their social identity and authority are more important to them than their inner development.  So, why does this happen? 


To answer this, we must look deeply into an article by Nawab Mohammed Ali Shah, which was published in the book of Idries Shah, The Way of The Sufi (Jonathan Cape, 1968), and which article is entitled,



Nawab: “Real teaching starts with the Guardians, Lords of Knowledge and Understanding.  It does not start with Love, Effort, or Action, because real love, effort and action are made possible only through real knowledge.”


Qutub:  The Guardians, the Lords of Knowledge and Understanding, are Ultraterrestrial Intelligences, God-realized Masters, Real People.  They have no self-limiting identification with any Earthbound culture, spiritual tradition or occult path.  They are sometimes called the Great White Brotherhood whose members are wrongly identified by the Theosophists and not identified overtly by Sufis or anyone else.  These Real People are members to various degrees of the Invisible Spiritual Government.  They are certainly not limited to Islamic Sufis operating from Central Asia, which are just one of their branches.

What does characterize the Guardians more than anything else is their real, cosmic, Knowledge.  They understand the evolution of the humanity of the Earth in the Total Universe, the Omniverse.  They understand Evolution and Involution.  They understand the deities of systems.  They understand reincarnation and causal karmic law.  They understand Recursion of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.  They have no cultural prejudice.  They understand real Cosmic Language, as well as Twilight Language.  They know there is nothing completely holy in Earthbound languages like Arabic, Hebrew or Sanskrit.  They also have contact and telepathic communion with advanced Extraterrestrial Intelligences from the Galaxy and the Total Universe.  

There are deeply important spiritual, occult and cosmic questions that no prejudiced, culture-bound and false Spiritual Master (Sufi, Sarmouni or other) can possibly answer.  This is because the factor of Cosmic Knowledge and Cosmic Consciousness is missing.  In such a case, it always turns out that there has been an exclusive fixation on Love, Effort or Action.


Nawab:  But when too many slightly covetous people appear or remain in a community, they turn methods into beliefs, and believe what they should practice.”


Qutub:   Covetous people without real knowledge, understanding or correct sense of direction can be very greedy to make rapid progress.  Lacking a necessary level of intuition, thinking, orientation and attunement, they develop an erroneous force of belief and commitment.  They think and talk about things they should be privately and personally practicing and realizing; they practice emotionally and fervently together the things they should be questioning as to current and correct relevance or workability.  Also, their presiding leader or teacher is unenlightened or he would not be accepting such covetous and ignorant maniacs in his circle.  They only work with him where he encourages their prejudices and expectations; he only works with them in a way that reinforces his own prejudices and sense of his own authority of his beliefs and limited experiences.  So, Nawab rightly says:


Nawab:  “There are two conditions which can lead to the perishing of a group.  In the first, there is too much insincerity in the people in charge.  In the other, a little insincerity spread among all the members constitutes the equivalent of one or more wholly selfish people.”


Qutub:   Pretentious leaders and selfish, insincere followers are always a vicious reinforcing causal feedback loop.  One side is not possible without the other.  Real and sincere leadership will dismiss the false followers and patiently await future situations without the “urge to teach”.  Real and sincere followers will abandon the pretentious and incompetent leader and go in search of the real teaching Master – but they will certainly not just scatter themselves into bragging that they are “liberated from a cult” and “no longer need a Teacher”, which is what happens when a real teacher dismisses or causes false followers to decide to leave.


Nawab:  The insincerity flaw retards the progress of the leaders and the others alike.  Only searching self-examination can reveal it to them.  If it were not for this flaw, they and the community would have arrived at their destination.  It is well known, of course, that the worse the degree of self-esteem, the less able is the victim to detect it, or even contemplate it.”


Qutub:   If anything, this flaw of self-esteem, of false authority, pretence and insincerity, has never been more glaring and incorrigible than in leaders of Sufi groups in the United Kingdom, both on and off the Web.  Quite recently there have been massive demonstrations of anal-territorial behavior when a new Sufi website with interesting new perspectives emerged on the Web.  The various leaders of Sufi groups and forums should know better, but they obviously never bothered to read the writings of Idries Shah deeply enough or long enough for adequate penetration of their consciousness.  They are too busy feeling like experts in the Teaching to examine themselves as to their actual motivations and assumptions behind their behavior.  They need to get out of the Sufi business and into the Sarmouni Way.


Nawab:  To revert to the behaviour of the infected group:

These individuals and their followers choose thoughts and actions which themselves smother most of the hope of success in human fulfilment.  They may try to form a permanent organization to aim for enlightenment.  They probably subject everyone to the same exercises and observances.  Forgetting the original intention, they turn practices and illustrative tales into a sort of history, which they try to teach.  If they possess literature and contemporary memories of teachers (‘Masters’), they use them to bolster a belief in their own rightness and the correctness of their procedures.  They frequently use but a single method of interpreting literature and tradition, training people and not enabling them to become illumined.”


Qutub:   Again, this is what we increasingly see in both the West and the East today in both the non-Islamic Sarmouni zone and the Islamic Sufi zone.  And, again, it is particularly glaring in present Sufi group and forum leaders who were associated with the work of Idries Shah and who therefore should know better.  It is a calamity and is leading more and more Sufi groups to compromise important principles to bolster their self-esteem, leading into evolutionary stagnation and even societal danger for their adherents or members.  They desperately need, for instance, to up-date their perspective on the Sarmouni/Sufi West/East interface, as I have pointed out.  But they do not want any God-conscious individual from beyond their obsolete “authority” pointing this out to them.  And it is just the beginning of new perspectives that need to be received and assimilated.


Nawab:  “The Centre has by this stage effectively disappeared.  The work has instead become a kind of kingdom, intent upon conserving but not knowing what to conserve.  The leaders and their adherents remain frozenly attached to this body, making it a place of imitation which conserves minor or irrelevant outward forms.  They generally esteem, under other names, raw emotionality.”


Qutub:   Since the death of Idries Shah, things that were of major importance and great relevance under his personal and direct management have indeed become “minor or irrelevant outward forms”.  Other things of emergent major importance and tremendous relevance are, however, being kept on the back burner or even dismissed altogether.  The longer this goes on, the worse things are going to get.

Anyone in the West, for instance, who are wallowing in an exclusive emotional identification with Islam or Eastern cultural forms of Sufism are being very foolish indeed.  This especially applies to “Sufi” so-called “Masters”, “Guides”, “Teachers”, “Humble Deputies” or “Representatives” in North America or Great Britain.  The time is coming soon when angry mobs are going to violently attack Islamic Sufi “cults” in the West.  Such “Sufi” leaders should close down their groups immediately and get out of their “Sufi Teacher” roles.  The situation is becoming like the early twentieth century when the government of Turkey decided to become an all-out secular and modern “European” nation, whereupon they set about destroying all the Sufi centers in Turkey they could identify as such.

 “Sufi” leaders in the West will learn to become non-Islamic “Sarmoun” students with a more universal and cosmic perspective or they may find themselves treated as potential “terrorists”.  Are you listening?  If you, Sufi Teacher in the West, are listening, you will give up trying to teach.  In fact, you will seek higher contacts with higher people than you have ever known or considered.  The situation is that serious.


Nawab:  Concurrently, there comes into being over-veneration of men, of groups and legend, and hostility toward others, and sometimes impatience.  What was originally a unity splits into groups of varying interpretation or concentration, generally useless, and observations which are inaccurate.  By this point almost all reality and potentiality have departed.  The community has been effectively invaded and possessed without this development having been registered by its members.  The truth may be obscured by the continued use, by the ‘lame’ community, of words and outward aspects, biographical reminiscences, and other facets of the original knowledge.  Certainly its members will believe that by these tokens they are continuing on the right path.

Their only hope of retrieval is in the exercise of concentrated efforts towards sincerity.”


Qutub:   The social self surrounds itself with a set of defensive routines and “undiscussables” to protect its social identity in the spiritual field, which is its pretence, its insincerity.  The espoused theory is evolutionary development of self and others under the influence of the self, but the theory-in-use is insincerity and exploitation based on recent “Sufi” history, as with associates and adherents of Idries Shah in the United Kingdom and America.


Nawab:  “This pattern is one reason why from time to time the Guardians must emerge and announce to the possessors of ears the renewal of the high tradition by means of apposite working.  By now, naturally, to the strayed ones, these words will sound strange or inimical, like the speech of reason seems to the demented – absurd.”


Qutub:   I have recently announced the apposite working for the Sufi Way in the West as what I am calling the non-Islamic Sarmouni Way.  This Way of Ways operates through all spiritual traditions on Earth and in deep accord with fundamental Sufi principles.  This of course is “apposite” with what Idries Shah seemed to be doing, so I sound “absurd”.  Not only that, I have been “exposed” as a “Westerner” and a “management consultant”, as if the Way could not possibly have born real fruit in a non-Islamic Western body after half a century of projecting the Way in the West to non-Muslims!  So those without God-consciousness are claiming I have no God-consciousness; those without Cosmic Consciousness are claiming I have no Cosmic Consciousness.  The “proof” of the "apposite working” can be found only in the incipient superconsciousness or intuitive higher awareness of all those concerned.  It is not a thing of the habitual judgment patterns of so-called “authentic authorities”.


Nawab:  One result of the condition is that the Guardians incur, variously, both over-enthusiastic support and also opposition to themselves in different sections of their audience.  Both reactions are unpromising, if expected, signs, just as objectionable as apathy.”


Qutub:   What can be observed with real consciousness is that all the emotionally hopeful, emotionally negative and emotionally fleeting or apathetic visitors to my website, The Sufi Master, are showing a distinct lack of real consciousness or ability to learn from interactive questioning of the oracle or reading of the articles.  No fees are charged, for I am not after money for my spiritual perspective; no name and address are given, for I am not after followers to form a group or cult; no real identity is given, but instead I use a pseudonym to preserve my anonymity for I am not after fame among savages.  As Rumi said,

 “Do not look at me, but take what is in my hand”.


Nawab:  Working together, the parties must overcome these tendencies if success in reviving the teaching is to be achieved.”


Qutub:   Forming the firm opinions and convictions or anti-opinions and anti-convictions toward the emergent non-Islamic Sarmouni Way is not the needed “working together”.  But if all concerned parties will have an intuitively deep Heart-to-Heart discussion about this article and its commentary, which is a discussion in the intuitive awareness in the Language of the Heart, there will be better decisions about what to do about all this.  It will also become more clear why emotionally concerned personal attention exchanges with myself are entirely useless and unnecessary.  Also, my professional life and identity will be kept segregated from my spiritual task and identity.  All genuine Sarmounis and Sufis have always done this from the beginning.  Bahaudin Naqshband, like myself, lived a double life of a businessman and the Teacher of the Age.  He and I are of the same fundamental approach.  The presence and functions of a Teacher of the Age are not understood until the usual and typical misunderstandings are no longer being exercised.


Nawab:  This is the story of every age upon Earth.  The only real variant is the time-span during which the behaviour takes place.”


Qutub:   In this case, what is usually a much longer cycle is just a few years after the passing of Idries Shah.


Nawab:  Those who have only a little knowledge, and think that they have more than ordinary folk, are no less open to reason and to teaching than those who have no knowledge at all of the Tradition.  This irony is a further complication”.


Qutub:   Exclusive prejudice always believes that greater, wider and deeper knowledge is a useless impediment.  This attitude destroys intuitive awareness.


Nawab:  “And yet they are better able to make progress in the Way once the outer husk of ageing has been softened.  They sometimes retain potentialities whose presence involves us in a chance to offer rescue.  It is in the furtherance of this duty, based upon our knowledge of the Tradition, the teaching and the conditions of individuals and groups, that we can exercise skill, action, love and effort.”


Qutub:   Each and every Westerner involved with the Sufi approach to higher human evolution should review the factors that caused their involvement in the first place.  This must go deeper than defenses and rationalizations.  What was valid in the original aspiration and sense of direction has become distorted and buried under other things.  Retrieval requires the removal of such unproductive accumulations and habits.


Nawab:  When the husk of people or groupings is too hardened, such individuals and communities will remain like hard nuts which are being rapidly carried down a river, heedlessly.  The water of compassion and understanding will not be able to soften them enough to help them sprout into seedlings before they reach a dam where they will pile up, abandoned and, unfortunately, uncomprehending.”


Qutub:   In the present situation in America, the United Kingdom and Europe, the “dam” is the Web, where each “Sufi” grouping stakes out their sociological territory.  Of course they also continue to meet together physically, but uselessly, for they are working with yesterday’s projection of the Teaching.