Communion with God
Very often, Sayyadina Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam would sob all night in his prayers to God, and God would reward him with a glimpse of Inner Vision. According to Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam, the highest purpose of knowledge is the awakening of latent spiritual faculties whereby one is enabled to discover his true and inner self. It is to this inner self that God reveals Himself when the self disappears in the vision of the “All Absorbing Reality.” Hadrat Ali Radi Allahu ta’ala anhu often observed that man could have the joy and wonder of communion with God if one abandoned pride, disciplined the flash, overcame lust and submitted to the Will of God. He exhorted people in his various sermons to not indulge in gross licentiousness which had characterized Arab society in the “Days of Ignorance.” But should instead live in piety and simplicity as enjoined by Islam. Sayyadina Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam said,
“Man is a wave in the boundless Sea of God. As long as man’s vision is clouded by ignorance and sensuality he will consider himself to be a separate entity, different from God. But when the veil between him and God is lifted, he will then know what he really is. The wave will then merge with the ocean.”
Sayyadina Alialayhis ‘salam held that enlightenment is needed so that one can first get to know himself. Only then would he get to know God. Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam held that to this end religious exercises must be practised. The Sufism for which Hadrat Ali [i]alayhis ‘salam[/i] stood, derived its strength from the Shari’ah. Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam preached that any form of knowledge which failed to show the Infinite Reality in man was useless, because it could not fill that vacuum in which the aching soul in every individual was so pathetically conscious. Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam wanted men to be virtuous as virtues purify the soul, and it is only the purified soul that can be the recipient of spiritual enlightenment. This is the doctrine of Inner Light which was the enunciated by Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam as the core of Sufi thought. Accordingly, Hadrat Ali alayhis ‘salam is acknowledged as the “father of Sufism” and the prince of saints.