All the hundred and twenty four thousand prophets were sent to preach one word. They bade the people say 'Allah' and devote themselves to Him. Those who heard this word with the ear alone, let it go out by the other ear; but those who heard it with their souls imprinted it on their souls and repeated it until it penetrated their hearts and souls, and their whole being became this word. They were made independent of the pronunciation of the word, they were released from the sound and the letters. Having understood the spiritual meaning of this word, they became so absorbed in it that they were no more conscious of their own non-existence.
(Abu l'Fadl Hasan of Sarakhs; excerpted from Studies in Islamic Mysticism' by Reynold A. Nicholson)
Quote Source and Recommended Reading:
'Studies in Islamic Mysticism'
By Reynold A. Nicholson
Mysticism is such a vital element in Islam that without some understanding of its ideas and of the particular forms which they assume it is hard to penetrate below the surface of Muslim religious life. In this book, which was first published in 1921, Professor Nicholson examines the life, work and teaching of three of the most important of the early Súfís - the Persians Abú Sa'íd (937-1049) and Al-Jílí (1365-1406), and the Cairene Arab Ibnu l-Fárid (1182-1235). These great mystics were almost legendary figures; possessors of occult and mysterious powers, whose tombs became holy shrines. They were regarded in effect as saints, but saints canonised by the people while still living, not posthumously by the church. Súfism, as Professor Nicholson suggests, lies at the heart both of the religious philosophy and the popular religion of Islam.