The Sufi movement founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan, emphasis a profound intimate relationship with God. Sufis believe that in the genuine search for true knowledge, a believer can experience the divine presence of God in this lifetime. The teacher will transmit divine light into the heart of the student(s) attached to him to lead them into a mystic initiation into the holy realm of direct communion with God. The ultimate goal of the Sufis is to completely lose their sense of self identity and be completely unionized with God. Sufis further believe that religion (faith in God) is a way of life and not rites and practices (fasting, praying and giving alms) without spirituality. Therefore repentance, fine character and devotion to good virtues are highly practiced in Sufism.
Al Husayn Ibn Mansur Al Hallaj (857 – 922 AD), was a Sufi master and a wandering preacher who was charged with heresy and executed for his Sufi belief in the supreme oneness with God. In one instance he said “Ana al haqq” which meant “I am the light” or “I am God”. Such statements needed mystic insight to grasp and at the time were very offensive because many people could not understand. When Al Hallaj failed to recant this and many similar teachings, he was prosecuted and sent to a Baghdad prison before he was publicly dismembered in 922 AD.
Abu Hamid Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al Ghazali (1058 – 1111 AD), a great scholar of religion, philosophy and a man with a deep love for truth and an independent mind was able to combine the various aspects of Sufism and the Sharia laws that were of great significance in the integration of the Sufis and mainstream Islam. Al Ghazali was the first author to formally include Sufism in his works. He wrote many books including; The alchemy of happiness and Methodology for the worshippers in which he renounced bias and encouraged open mindedness in all Muslims. These books greatly fostered mutual acceptance between Sufism and orthodox Islam.