Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
In answer to Saly’s two comments on The Merciful Heart post below, I offer the following. As to the great Muslim that killed the mouse, I do not know his heart, and he may have truly felt it was an act of compassion. I cannot judge him. But here is a true story that happened a few weeks ago.
When I walked into the kitchen of the khaniqah in New York City before majlis, the twice-weekly gathering for dhikr (or zekr), I noticed that there were many ants all over the counter by the windows. They had apparently found a way in through a tiny opening left by the air conditioner placed in the window. I asked the Dood i Dar, the tea-master, if she was spraying or had set any ant traps. “The place is clean, there is no food for them and they will leave soon,” she said, picking up a book and slamming it down on the table. I laughed and hugged her. She way trying to scare the ants away with a loud noise.
She would not kill them. That is my answer too. After majlis, almost all the ants were gone. Alhamdulillah!
As for an introduction to the Sufi path, “Sufism for Dummies,” well, I am just as much of a dummy as anyone. All I can tell you is that I feel love and compassion a great deal more than I did before I became a darvish, when I was cooking in the stew of my own nafs. So love is the answer, I think, to your question.
“Know, O darvish, that love is the foundation and principle of the way to God, and that all states and stations are stages of love, which is not destructible so long as the path itself remains in existence. Do not ask for explanations. Love cannot be explained. The explanation of love is not love, for love is beyond mere words…”
The above quote (from Master of the Jinn) says it far better than I can. In writing the book, I could not bring myself (actually, I did not dare) to put words onto even a fictional Sufi Master’s tongue, so almost all the words he speaks in the book are paraphrased from real Sufi Masters. I forget which one said the above, but the words are true in my experience.
I began to be interested in the Sufi path by reading Sufi tales. Tales of the Dervishes, by Idris Shah, was the first, then Sa’di, Attar, Rumi, and on and on. They give you an idea of what is possible to every human being if he/she has the inclination and intention. And my heart loved them. Many can be read online, and the books are inexpensive to buy.
There is an excerpt of Master of the Jinn that appeared in the Autumn, 2005 issue of Sufi magazine that was also published on the Persian Mirror website. It gives an idea of a zekr, and the Sufi path guided by a Master. For what it’s worth, here is a link. http://www.persianmirror.com/community/2005/books/masterofthejinn.cfm