ALLAH says in Quran,
“Wa maa Khalakthul jinna wal insa illa li ya’budoon”
i.e., I have not created the jinns and humans except for worshipping (ME). (Al Quran 51:56).
However Sufis interpret, ‘ya’budoon‘ (worshipping) as ‘ya’reefoon‘ (knowing) as is substantiated by the famous Hadith Qudsi which reads,
“Kuntu kanzan makhfiyya fa Ahbabthu an u’rafa fa khalaqthul khalqa”
(ALLAH says, ” I was a hidden treasure. I wanted to be known and so created the creation“).
Hence, the very purpose of our creation is to know Him. Now the question arises, how to know Him? There is a famous Hadith Ihsaan in answer to this question and which also forms the basis of Sufi path.
PROPHET MOHAMMED (Peace And Blessings Of ALLAH Be Upon Him) says:
“Worship ALLAH as if you see Him,
and if you cannot achieve this state then at least feel as HE is seeing you“
This is the beginning of search for GOD or an ultimate experience of finding oneself in real terms as basically, one’s own existence makes him aware of everything in and around him. Sufis refer first part of Hadith as Mushahada, while the second part as “Muraqba“. It can also be inferred from this Hadith that Mushahada is superior to Muraqba. To attain to that state, Sufis practice Dhikr, Ashghaal etc. to purify their souls. However, it does not mean that they do not observe other Islamic practices, rather on the contrary only then Salaat, Sum, Zakaat and Hajj become meaningful otherwise these pillars of Islam remain just the superficial acts without any power of transforming a human life.