Sufism has been defined in many ways. Some see it as the definition of esthetical, symbolical, and philosophical.
The definition of esthetical Shibli summarizes it as always being together with God or in His presence, so that no worldly or other-worldly aim is even entertained. Abu Muhammad Jarir describes Sufism as resisting the temptations of the carnal, (evil-commanding) self (nafs al-ammara) and evil qualities, and acquiring laudable moral qualities. Junayd al-Baghdadi, a famous Sufi master gives the impression that he sees Sufism as an attribute where the servant or the Divine? And he responded in reality and in essence His Divine and it is attributes of the servant only in form.
b. Symbolical approach
Martin lings in his book of “What is Sufism” gave a very beautiful description of Sufism through two symbols or image. He divided into two symbols, the symbol of ocean and the symbol of the garden. Talking about the symbol of the ocean, the prayer Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi says, “Enter me, o Lord into deep ocean of throne infinite Oneness. The ocean is the symbol of the Divine in its infinity and depth. And from this ocean comes the waves. The waves have two flows are waves and ebbing.
From time to time a revelation ‘flows’ like great tidal wave from the ocean of infinitude to the shares of our finite world, and Sufism is the vocation and the discipline and the science of plunging into the ebb of one these waves and infinite source. The Martin Lings gave a commentary on the expression of “from time to time” because the ocean at the symbol of the Divine who is beyond time and space has no common measure with its destination world which is symbolized by the shore.
The appearance of the Divine into time and space consequently means that He will appear in a certain moment in history. This also means that the temporality is bound to partake, mysteriously, of the eternal, just as its finiteness is bound to partake of the infinite.
Another imprint of the eternal present upon it will be that it is always flowing and always ebbing in the sense. The waves are symbols of revelation. All the waves come from one single ocean. Therefore, there is only one wave, but there can never be the same.
The vast majority of believers are exclusively concerned with the water which the water which the wave deposits in these receptacles and which constitutes the formal aspect of religion. The Martin Lings, raised a very essential question which is at the same the essential answer to the question of “what is Sufism?” What is it in the mystic that can ebb with the ebbing wave? The ocean is within as well as without, and the path of the mystic is the gradual awakening as it were ‘backwards’ in the direction of the root of one’s being, a remembrance.
c. Philosophical approach
One of the philosophical approach logic is the mind one definition or logical definition. According to explanation Harun Nasution there are the same point between philosophy and Sufism. Philosophy is the process of searching the God with aql, whereas Sufism is the process of searching the God with soul. According to some of the philosopher, aql is that part of soul by which it “think” or “knows” and as such is the antithesis of perception. Some other say that aql is not regarded as a part of the soul at all, which is then restricted to the lower mental functions, but as an incorruptible substance differing in kind from the soul. Aql is also called “the representative” or “the messenger” of God in the world. Subject matter its Sufism, they concern on al-Haq, discourse proposition “asma wa sifat of God.” After build concept we make a proposition must relationship with subject matter. And The subject matter Sufism is Wujud al-Haq itself.
Origin and Original
These two words are closely related. The original comes from the origin. When explaining the word “original” Martin Lings says: The word “original” has become with meanings which do not touch the essence of originality but who are limited to one of its consequences, namely difference, the quality of being unusual or extraordinary. The original is that which springs directly from the origin or source. Like pure uncontaminated water has not yet undergone any ‘side influences.’
Originality is thus related to inspiration, and above all to revelation, for the origin is transcendent, being beyond this world, in the domain. “Ultimately the origin in no less than the absolute, the infinite and the eternal where the Divine name “the originator” in Arabic al-Badi, which is can also be translated “the marvelous”
It is from this ocean of infinite possibility that the great tidal waves of revelation flow each marvelously different from the others because it bears the imprint of the one and only from which it springs, this imprint being the quality of uniqueness, and each profoundly the same because the essential content of its message is the one and only truth.
Originality is the guarantee of both authenticity of which and effectuality. Authenticity of which orthodoxy is as it were the earthy face is constituted by the flow of the wave that is the direct provenance of the revelation from its Divine origin. The Metaphysical Origin is form limited substance not limited substance not limited like our eyes can see anything.
The Historical Unfolding
The historical unfolding is the period of consciousness. In this period appearance the consciousness of Divine Mushadah. There are three maqam in the historical unfolding. The first maqam al-Wilayah (witnessing the esoteric). Second, maqam expression al-nubuwwah (prophetic period Mecca and Madine). And the last maqam expression al-risalah (past prophetic). Through maqam al-wilayah the human being witnessing the al-haqiqah (esoteric), through maqam al-nubuwwah (prophetic period) the human being expressing the at-tariqah, and through maqam al-risalah the human being expressing al-syariah. In the maqam al-risalah God talk in the human being languages and tajalli in the form of human being languages.
Sufism using power faculty to understand reality
The Sufism using power faculty to understand reality by method unveiling (al-kasb). Sometimes Sufism called the nature of the sacred science (scientia sacra) or knowledge by presence (al- ilm al-huduri). The organ of knowledge by presence is the heart. There are two kinds of al-kasf. Al-Kasf al-suri (the formal sensible unveiling) and al-Kasf al-ma’nawi (the supra formal unveiling)
God in Sufism (the Content of Sufism)
If one were to ask what is metaphysic, the primary answer would be the science the primary answer would be the science of the real or more specifically the knowledge by means of which man is able to distinguish between the real and the illusory and to know things in the illusory and to know things in their essence or as they are which means ultimately to know them in divinity.
The knowledge of the principle is at once the absolute and infinite reality is the heart of metaphysics while the distinction between levels of universal and cosmic existence, including both the macrocosm and the microcosm, are like its limbs.
The principle (al-asl)
The principle is reality is contrast to all that appears as real but which is not reality in the ultimately. The God of analysis and the God of realization this discourse is related to the epistemological foundation of Sufism. Cosmology in Sufism is something organizes great beautifully, whereas cosmos in Sufism is spiritual travelling.
Anthropology in Sufism
Modern approach/What’s man?
Object of study/analysis (philosophy)
Traditional approach (Sufism)
Who am I? Know who is really are, journey (prepare your mind and prepare your soul). Sufism is experience or understanding yourself. When you know you, you know him (man arafa nafsahu faqad arafa rabbahu). Traditional approach is transmition from God or when you say me, gradually, step by step you know the name a lot of something.
Rediscovering original face
When you are talk about man this is related to consciousness and the concept of perfect man (insane kamil). Insane kamil divided into macrocosm and microcosm. Macrocosm is universal manifestation. The first manifestation is wahidiyah and ahadiyah. One of quality insane kamil is vicegerent (khalifah). All of vicegerent God in the world is insane kamil like tree, cats, house etc. microcosm is individual, whereas consciousness that he’s insane kami with suluk.
Bagir, Muhammad, An Introduction to Mysticism, (Jakarta: MA Preliminary Icas-
Paramadina University, 2009
Gulen M. Fethullah, Key concepts in the practice of Sufism; Emerald Hills of the
Heart, Rutherford USA: The Light, 2004
Mohaddes, Muhammad, Ph. D, An Introduction to Philosophy, Jakarta: MA Preliminary Icas-Paramadina University, 2009
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, World Spirituality, (New York: The Crossroad Publishing
Nasution, Harun, Islam Rasional: Gerakan dam Pemikiran, (Jakarta: Mizan, 1996
 M. Fethullah Gulen, Key concepts in the practice of Sufism; Emerald Hills of the Heart, (Rutherford USA: The Light, 2004), p. xiii.
 Muhammad Bagir , An Introduction to Mysticism, (Jakarta: MA Preliminary Icas-Paramadina University, 2009),
 The symbolical approach expresses Sufism through symbolism and imagery. The language of symbolism is sometimes very effective in disclosing the meaning of Sufism.
 According to Martin Lings Sufism is pervaded by what is sometimes called “the spirit of development.” See, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, World Spirituality, (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company
 See, Harun Nasution, Islam Rasional: Gerakan dam Pemikiran, (Jakarta: Mizan, 1996),
 Muhammad, Mohaddes , An Introduction to Philosophy, (Jakarta: MA Preliminary Icas-Paramadina University, 2009), p. 1.