What is Sufism? Part 5: The Word (Kalma)

by Navid Zaidi

The soul, after leaving the body, mind and senses, comes in contact with the Ultimate Reality in the form of an unstruck melody. Sufi saints have called this unstruck melody, the Word or Kalma.

The Word is the unspoken, unwritten Cosmic Law. It is the creative power of the Lord which abides not only in the universe but also within man. The entire existence comes into being through the operation of the Word.

Bulleh Shah says:

اسی عاجز وچ کوٹ عِلم دے
اوسے آندے وچ قلم دے
بن کلمے دے ناہیں کم دے
باجھوں کلمے پار نہیں

We are powerless in the fortress of learning,
This learning has made us prisoners of the pen;
We are worthless without the Word,
And without the Word we cannot cross.

The Bible says:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word (Kalma) is the personal property of every human being, but it is hidden. It is only by eliminating the ego that the Word is realized. The Word is primordial, all-pervading, all-powerful and all-knowing. The entire existence comes into being through the operation of this Word. And it is through the experience of this Word that a person can assimilate life and power and achieve a free personality.

The praise of the Word is found in all mystic traditions, whether in the East or the West, in one religion or another.

The ancient Greek sages have given the name ‘Logos’ to the Word.

The Hindu yogis have called the Word by many names. They have regarded it as the Creative Power of the universe.

In the religious system founded by Zoroaster in Persia, the Word has been called ‘Sarosh‘. It has been considered as the ultimate divine power, from which has emanated the entire Creation.

In the Chinese philosophical and religious system of Taoism, high praise has been showered on the greatness of the Tao. The Tao is primeval, and it is indescribable in words. The Tao has been identified with God Himself. It has also been called the Path, the Word, Discrimination, Decree, the Principle that moves the mind and the world, and so on. It has been regarded as the creative, the preservative and the destructive ground of the universe.

In the Hebrew language the word ‘Memra’ has been used for Logos of the Greeks and for Kalma of the Muslims. Some scholars have traced its origin to the word ‘Amar’ of the Armenian language, which stands for ‘Word’ or ‘Speech’. This binds the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims in one chain from the spiritual point of view.

In the Quran, the Kalma or the Word has been called all-powerful. Whatever it commands, comes to pass. The Word of God is True. On whomsoever God is merciful, He sends his Kalma through His command. The Sufis have accepted the Kalma as the creative power of the world and written profusely about it.

The writings of the Sufis are replete with praise of the Word, and on its practice are based their main teachings. The Word is not only the Creative Power, but is also immanent in everything. And, above all, it resides within every person.

Says Guru Nanak:

From the Word comes the earth, from the Word comes the sky, from the Word spreads light all around. The whole creation rests on the Word, and this Word, O Nanak, resides within man.

This entry was posted in Classic Poetry, Classic Teaching, Navid Zaidi, Original Essays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What is Sufism? Part 5: The Word (Kalma)

  1. White Pearl says:

    It was a knowledgeable read ! I Love sufism and Love to read things said by Sufis. This blog is a great place to read everything related to my interest ! Love the blog following it 🙂

    • sufiways says:

      Thank you very much for your encouraging remarks. We are not any experts, just seekers and learners. We appreciate that you take the time to read our posts. If you have any suggestions or ideas on improvement, please let us know.

      • White Pearl says:

        I am too a seeker and learner like you. I love your approach and I will definitely let you know if I have any suggestion 🙂 Keep up the good work !

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