At the Sufi Symposium, an event held in 2006 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sheikh Aly N’Daw was invited to speak.
The following are extracts from his talk, where he spoke about what peace is and what it means to be a Sufi.
What is Peace?
I have been brought up and educated all my life in French. Today, this is my first public speech in English. This, for me, is an act of peace. If peace means to avoid a battle, then I can say that today I avoid a battle by speaking another language. For, it is said that: “To speak the language of others is to avoid a battle”.Sheikh Aly N’Daw
Peace is not something new, it belongs to everyone. Our nature is peace. Everyone is peace by essence. However, maybe not everyone is a Sufi. So, who is a Sufi?
A Sufi is like the sun and the rain for mankind. Does the sun or the rain make any difference between the different people, countries, cultures and civilizations? No.
This is what the Sufi way is about. The Sufi is the one who makes no difference amongst differences, between black and white, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. The Sufi is like the earth – people bury all the unwanted waste in it but the earth gives back only good things.
*Sheikh Aly interacts with the audience and asks the following questions*:
Who knows a Sufi? Can you give me an example of a Sufi?
What is the aspect of their life that has marked you the most?
Who knows a Peacemaker? Who was their role model?
Can we say that they made any difference amongst differences?
Can we say that all of them are Sufis or not?
The true Sufi is like Ibn Arabi: at his death, Muslims, Jews and Christians all said that Ibn Arabi was from their community.
Ibn Arabi was a Muslim of the heart, a Muslim of Peace.
“The Sufi is a Being of service, who serves humankind regardless of differences, according to the model of the Prophets (peace be upon them). Service to humanity is the real purpose of life, our true mission as vice-gerents of the Divine on earth”.Sheikh Aly N’Daw