mysticism is not of the non-dualistic variety like Vedanta or Buddhism, but emphasizes
nearness to God. This I gathered from an American who studied with some of the leading
Sufis in North Africa and Europe, particularly the followers of Sheikh Al-Allawi. The
highest stage of Sufism called fana, has sometimes been equated with Nirvana of the
Buddhists or realization of Brahman of the Hindus because it means annihilation.
Yet to most Sufis it means annihilation of any separate will apart
from Allah. It does not mean complete mergence into Allah or the experience "I am
Allah". It means becoming wholly dependent upon Allah and recognizing oneself to be a
servant of God. Sufi attainment usually consists of going to the higher regions of Heaven
or Paradise and being close to God.
They seldom recognize the Self (Atman) as the ultimate
spiritual Reality and when they do it may be owing to a Vedantic influence. Some
Sufis, particularly in India, have freely mingled with yogis but they are exceptional.
Most Sufis themselves like to discriminate their approach from yogic spirituality, which
they see as too otherworldly. Sufi spirituality is more practically oriented, more in the
world, and done by householders.