The Meaning Of The Miraculous
by Qutub Sarmouni

In Idries Shah’s book, Wisdom of the Idiots, you will find the following story:


Hidden Miracles


Someone asked Fuwad Ashiq, a senior disciple of Bahaudin Naqshband’s:

“Can you tell me why it is that the Maulana conceals his miracles?  I have often seen him in places when others have testified that they were with him at the time elsewhere.  Similarly, when he cures someone by means of prayer, he may say, “It would have happened in any case”.  People who ask him favours, or who are favoured by his interest, gain great advantages in the world, but he denies his influence, or else attributes such events to coincidence or even to the work of others.”

Fuwad said:

 “I have myself observed this many times: indeed, since I am so often with him it is now a matter of my daily experience.  The reason is that miracles are the operation of ‘extraordinary service’.  They are not done to make people happy or sad.  If they impress, this impressing is going to make the childish person credulous and excited, instead of making him learn something.”


  It is clear from this story that our attitude toward The Miraculous is a major factor in our spiritual progress (or the lack of it), so we need to go into this a little more deeply and extensively even than the quoted story.


  It is a peculiar fact that throughout my own life as a Sufi, people have reported similar miracles about myself, including that I, like other genuine Sufis, am sometimes reported to “answer prayers made to God” or that I seem to know what virtually anyone has been doing, saying or even thinking, giving me a share in the all-knowingness of the Divine Being.  Like Naqshband (and other realized Sufis), I too generally downplay the miracles associated with my personal self, which is for the same reason.  If I were too readily and excitedly labeled a “miracle worker”, I would be inundated day and night by greedy and desperate people seeking advantageous miracles and I would be unable to do my actual Divine Work and complete my mission here on this confused and unhappy Earth of pitifully undeveloped, ignorant and pretentious human beings.


Another aspect of all this is that I have seen arrogant persons who are disrespectful toward myself (because they regard themselves as my spiritual superiors and competitors), willfully ignoring and denying obvious miracles that happen within and around my presence because to identify such miracles would destroy their position in the light of the fact that no miracles happen within and around their presence.  The sword of the miraculous therefore has two cutting edges:

A --    Those people who should not identify miracles with a Sufi because it would not bring them into real learning and development even though they are ready to be excited or greedy about miracles.

B --     Those people who should identify miracles with a Sufi because it would end their competitive arrogance and possibly help them enter for the first time in their life into genuine learning and development.


Sometimes I am asked how I regard my own miraculous quality (when I am not hiding it or downplaying it).  What I would like to say, from the standpoint of a Sufi, is this: The Divine Being and only That Being is miraculous.  Inner spiritual oneness with the Divine Being will therefore tend to trigger what we Sufis or Godmen regard as innocent miracles.  Yes, innocent.  One does not feel like a seperative ego or bodily self who is deliberately working miracles or seeking to achieve domination over others as a kind of Top Dog (Head Nafs).  The Nafs, the doglike nature, of greedy and desperate spiritual seekers is usually aching to have miracles worked on its behalf or to be itself regarded as miraculous.  The socially ambitious or doglike human “spiritual” person is most definitely not innocent.  Miracle-mongers therefore, just like miracle-deniers, are useless to their own learning and development.  Their only hope of progress is to learn from the Sufi, the attitude of the Sufi.  This attitude is that as a Sufi, one experiences miracles as side-effects of carrying on the Sufi task.  It is like being a captain at the helm of a ship he is steering on a certain course.  That the wake, the side-effect waves of the passage of his ship, may be upsetting or entertaining the little boats he passes by does not mean he is personally watching the wake his vessel is generating or that he is trying to make impressive waves to overwhelm little boats.  The perspective of the captain is on the big picture and the right direction.  This is the kind of innocence that needs to be understood.  It is about having a Higher Perspective.


I can also tell you (or anyone) who wants to hear it that if I or any Sufi become temporarily egomanic and try to deliberately, egocentrically force a miracle for some personal, undivine purpose, it more often than not cancels itself out and is actually blocked by the Divine.  The Divine is therefore not available for undivine purposes.  Any Sufi has had at some point in his or her life to learn how this works.  We can always review this principle at any time by making experiments.  So what does all this mean?  It means, among other things, that the miracle we want is rarely the miracle we need, if a miracle as such is actually needed.  Often it is not a miracle that is needed, but rather a wise acceptance of destiny, deeper study and meditation or correct self-effort, discipline or just doing some hard or difficult work because it is what is required.  For instance, I am writing this article with a normal effort.  I am not trying to make my thoughts miraculously appear on computer screen or paper.  If some thought needs to miraculously appear somewhere like the famous “prophecy of warning on the wall” for someone, then that will indeed happen, but it is not that I would personally, egocentrically think to myself, “I need to produce a warning on that person’s wall”.  On the other hand, I might in a state of Divine Oneness become aware of a Divine need for someone to get a helpful miraculous message, in which case this awareness might connect with the miraculous appearance of some writing.  If someone then asks me, “Did you make that miraculous writing appear on so-and-so’s wall?”, I would acknowledge a kind of impersonal and innocent responsibility for it within myself, but outwardly I would tend to say, “Who can say where it came from?  More importantly, did the person getting the miraculous warning really understand it, heed it and act rightly upon it?  The purpose of the miracle is more important than the sensational phenomenon of a miracle.”


In conclusion, keep in mind that I would not confirm my seemingly miraculous presence on Earth if I were not remaining anonymous here and writing under a pseudonym.  Try to understand what is really going on in and around the Sufi Way.  All this is about attunement, not about greedily seeking the Sufi or arrogantly denying the Sufi.