Western Sufism and gnosis
DOI link for Western Sufism and gnosis
Western Sufism and gnosis book
Gnosis in the sense of marifa, the soul's experience of the divine that is related to what some call the "mystical experience," has always been important in Sufism. Gnosis has been understood by some Western Sufis to mean not the soul's experience of the divine but a hidden system of knowledge and practice of which Sufism is one instance. The term "gnosis" is widely used among both Western Sufis and Western scholars as the translation of the Arabic term marifa, which has the general meaning of "knowledge" and which in a Sufi context denotes direct knowledge of God, either through mystical union or immediately preparatory to this. Western Sufism took concrete form in 1910–1911, almost simultaneously in San Francisco and in Paris, with two distinct groups that were unrelated to each other, both of which were related to Theosophy. It seems that Gnosis has a significance in Western culture that transcends particular conceptions.