The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

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Social Gathekas

Religious Gathekas

The Message Papers

The Healing Papers

Vol. 1, The Way of Illumination

Vol. 1, The Inner Life

Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

Vol. 3, Education

Vol. 3, Life's Creative Forces: Rasa Shastra

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

Vol. 4, Healing And The Mind World

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

Vol. 4, The Mind-World

Vol. 5, A Sufi Message Of Spiritual Liberty

Vol. 5, Aqibat, Life After Death

Vol. 5, The Phenomenon of the Soul

Vol. 5, Love, Human and Divine

Vol. 5, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen

Vol. 5, Metaphysics, The Experience of the Soul Through the Different Planes of Existence

Vol. 6, The Alchemy of Happiness

Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

Vol. 8a, Sufi Teachings

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Vol. 10, Sufi Mysticism

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

Vol. 10, Sufi Poetry

Vol. 10, Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Vol. 10, The Problem of the Day

Vol. 11, Philosophy

Vol. 11, Psychology

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

Vol. 12, The Vision of God and Man

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

Vol. 12, Four Plays

Vol. 13, Gathas

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

By Date



The Message

Free Will and Destiny in the Message

What is the Message?

Lecture for Mureeds and Friends

Wakening to the Message

Aspects of the Sufi Message

The Message

Relationship Between Murshid and Mureed

Personalities of the Servants of God

Our Efforts in Constructing

Teaching Given by Murshid to his Mureeds

Ways of Receiving the Message

The Path of Attainment

Interest and Indifference

The Call from Above

The Message


Spiritual and Religious Movements

Peculiarity of the Great Masters

Abraham, Moses and Muhammad

Four Questions

The Spreading of the Message

Jelal-ud-din Rumi

Peculiarities of the Six Great Religions

Belief and Faith

"Superhuman" and Hierarchy

Faith and Doubt

Divine Guidance

The Prophetic Life

There are two Kinds Among the Souls

The Messenger

The Message Which has Come in all Ages

The Sufi Message

The Message

Questions Concerning the Message

The Inner School

The Duty of Happiness

Five Things Necessary for a Student



Developing Faith

The Message Papers

Faith and Doubt

August 17, 1926

Beloved Ones of God,

Faith and doubt are as the light and the darkness. The moments of faith are like the moments of the day, and the moments of doubt are like the moments of the night. And as day and night both come in life, so the hours of faith and hours of darkness also come. And yet it is the seeking of the soul to reach that stage where it feels faith, and it is the nature of the soul to gather around itself doubts. Therefore the soul attracts both faith and doubt. If it happens to attract doubts more, then more doubts will be gathered. If it attracts faith, then more and more faith will come.

Doubts are likened to the clouds. If there is one cloud, it will attract more clouds; and if there are clouds gathered together, still more clouds will be attracted to join them. And if there is one current of the sun shooting through the clouds it will scatter them. Once they are scattered, they will be scattered more and more, and more and more light will manifest to view. Doubts cover faith, but faith breaks doubts. Therefore faith is more dependable, and doubts only come and go.

It would not be an exaggeration if I said that doubt is a disease, a disease which takes away faith. It would be more appropriate to say that doubt is the rust that eats the iron-like faith. It is very easy to allow doubts to work, and it is difficult to keep faith. However much a person may be evolved, there comes a time when doubts take hold of him. And the moments when the person is in doubt the light of intelligence disappears.

Therefore there is a constant conflict between doubt and faith. If there was not this enemy who always fought with faith, man could have done great things, wonderful things; every man would have done miracles, every man would have been perfect. But that shows that the greater your faith, the greater a person you are; the more deeply rooted your faith, the higher you reach.

One might ask: is it possible to develop faith? Is it possible to find faith? Yes. In every person there is a spark of faith somewhere hidden. But sometimes it is so covered and clouded and buried that it needs digging out. And what is it buried with? With the sand of doubts. As soon as the sand is removed, then faith, like water, springs up.

One can study this principle in a child; a child is born with faith. When you say, "This is water; this is bread; this is father; this is mother," the child does not refuse, the child does not say, "This is not so." The child at once takes it that it is so. It is afterwards that doubts begin to come, when the infant is grown up and hears a story and says, "But is it real?" Then doubts begin. Very often worldly knowledge gives more and more doubts; the experiences of worldly life make one doubt more and more. And when doubt becomes predominant in a person's nature, then he doubts everything and everyone.

He doubts those who should not be doubted and he doubts those who can be doubted: there is always a doubt before his eyes. No sooner does he cast his glance upon a person than the cloud of doubt stands between them. In this way inspiration is lost, power is lost, personality is lost; man has become a machine, a feelings are, what your being is, how much you are evolved, how deeply you feel, what your principles are, what your thoughts are. What he is concerned with is if you will sign the paper, if you will stamp that paper at once, and if there are two witnesses who see it at the same time!

It does not matter what you are, who you are, as long as the paper is perfect. We are coming to mechanical perfection. Worldly, earthly perfection is what we seek after. Five hundred years ago (this shows how gradually the world has changed) a Hindustani poet wrote, "Those days have passed when there was a value attached to man's personality." And that is so. It has been going downwards for some centuries. It seems that man has no trust, no faith in another man. What he trusts is the written word.

In the Greek story of Orpheus and Eurydice there is a beautiful teaching on this subject. The first part of the story is that Orpheus loved Eurydice, who was among the degenerated people. This shows that love even tried to raise a soul thrown down so deep in the depth of the earth. And then Orpheus knew that Eurydice was taken to the other world, and he began to sing a song by the power of which he won the gods of the lower worlds. And that shows us what power the word has, what power sound has, and how it appeals to cosmic forces.

The gods of the lower world were the cosmic forces, planetary influences, the conditions which were destined, the spirits, the powers that held in their hands the rein of the destiny. Orpheus in Arabic means "the knower," "the one who has the knowledge of life." In Arabic the knowledge of life is called "Arifat," and the knower is called "Arif." This also shows us that the real knowledge is the knowledge of sound, the knowledge of rhythm, the knowledge of word and of note. It is this knowledge which gives mastery in the higher or mystical or psychological music. As Wagner says, "Who has the knowledge of sound knows everything." Orpheus pleased the gods of the lower world, and they gave him the promise, "Eurydice will follow you, she follows you. The condition is that you will not look back."

Now this is the point which is concerned with the subject: that faith should be continued to the end. And there is another point: that one may have faith when climbing a hundred steps. One may go with faith ninety-five steps, and one may lose it at that time. With four steps still to be climbed one may lose faith, doubt may come, and the whole journey may be spoiled. And it very often happens in the lives of so many people that they are face to face with their success, and yet they fail. They have just approached what they wanted and then they lose.

In nearly every person's life you see it, and the greater the person the more you see this. Because the greater the person the more powerful his faith, and therefore he is able to see the value of faith. And at the same time it is just like sending a kite so far, and before it reached further it drops. And that enemy which causes this is doubt. As Orpheus went by the power of faith, Eurydice was drawn; his faith was drawing Eurydice. As he went forward in faith, so Eurydice was coming, following him. He could have gone to the other side of the world and Eurydice would have followed him. As much faith he had, so far Eurydice followed him. And there came doubt, the worst enemy of man, and said, "Look if she is really there." As soon as he turned back Mercury was there to lift her up and take her away.

One might do something for his whole life and accomplish it to a great extent. And by the lack of a little more faith one would lose it, and all that was done might be spoiled in a moment's time. How long does it take for a house to be built, and how long does it take to destroy it? How long does it take to make a business really prosperous, and how long does it take to fail? One moment. When one learns this principle and thinks on it, one begins to see that the whole world, with all that we hear and see and touch and feel, all this is illusion in the face of faith. Faith alone is reality; and compared with faith all else is unreal. But since we do not see faith with our own eyes, it is very difficult to call faith real and all else unreal. Because we don't see faith, our eyes cannot see it and we don't know where it is.

Developing Faith

And now a question: how can one find faith in oneself, how can one develop faith?

  1. One can find faith by practicing self-confidence as the first thing, having self confidence even in the smallest thing. And today most of us have the habit, especially here, to say with everything, "perhaps. " It seems that a new word has come, and in French it is most used. For everything they say "perhaps," "perhaps it will happen." It is a kind of polite word, or a word of refined people, to show themselves pessimistic. I can see their reason, because they think that it is fanatical, it is presumptuous and it is simple to say, "It will be," or, "It will come," or, "It will be accomplished," or, "It will be fulfilled."

    But to say "perhaps" makes us free from responsibility, of having committed ourselves. The more pessimistic a person, the more "perhapses" he uses. And this "perhaps" has gone so deep in souls today that they cannot find faith.

  2. And after one's self-confidence is developed, the second thing is to trust another with closed eyes. And one might think that this is not always practical, and one might think that it might lead one to great loss. But at the same time, even that loss will be a gain, and even a thousand gains compared with the loss of faith will be as nothing. A person is richer if he has trusted someone and lost something than if he had not trusted someone and had something preserved that will one day be taken away from him. He could just as well have given it up.

    But you might say that every person who is simple is inclined to trust another. Yes. But the difference between the wise person who trusts bravely and the simple person who trusts readily is a great difference. The wise person who trusts, if he is influenced by another person saying, "You may not or you must not trust a certain person," or even if he had a certain proof, even then that habit of trusting would remain with him. But that simple person, as soon as you say, "Oh, but what are you doing? You are trusting somebody who is not trustworthy," his trust will change. That is the difference between the wise person and the foolish person. The foolish person trusts because he does not know better; the wise person trusts because he knows that to trust is the best.

  3. And the third step toward the development of faith is trust in the unseen, which is called trust in God. That when you do not see before you any sign of something that should happen and yet you think, "Yes, it must happen, it will happen, it certainly must happen," and you have no doubt, then your trust is in God.

The first principle of the Sufi Message is faith. It is not occult study only, it is not scientific analysis, nor is it psychic phenomena. The first lesson of the Message is faith. And it is with faith that the Message will be spread. And we shall each work in our own way in serving, in spreading the Message. And it is with faith that the Message of God will be fulfilled. God Bless You.