My vision of Cyprus – Island of Sufism
I would like to share with dear Readers of Cyprus Observer one of the innermost impressions that have formed my vision of North Cyprus.
To my mind, Cyprus is closely correlated with the concept of Sufism, which has influenced the mentality and spiritual development as of this island so of entire world. Many events occurring on Cyprus are devoted to Sufism. Moreover, North Cyprus has become a cradle of Sufism traditions for the whole island since the great Sheikh Nazim al-Qubrusi, being born in Larnaca, established his Sufi lodge and home in Lefke.
Mawlana Sheikh left island passing away to another world on the 7th of May, 2014, being the last Grand sheikh of the Most Distinguished Naqshbandi Tariqa. Last year thousands of prayers, national leaders and eminent personalities came to North Cyprus the same date to bid farewell to ecumenical Sufi. An event we could not disregard.
Having been to Sheikh Nazim`s monastery before he departed this life, I cannot forget my impressions. The very moment I saw the Great Teacher, I realized that it was he, Sheikh Nazim al Qubrusi, a spiritual leader of this mysterious island, whose energy and teachings helped so many people to find themselves and their new home in Lefke. I was impressed by the knowing look of His blue eyes, and the tenderness of His hands, which skin was like of new-born baby, and the energy that pulsated from His appearance. Sheikh Nazim bestowed his blessing on the visitors, who respectfully greeted Him coming to this community: «It is like a United Nations with myriad languages spoken at the same time», – some of them say.
To my mind, Cyprus – is an island of Sufism. It combines different cultures and unites nations mostly because of being under the auspices of such a spiritual brotherhood as Sufism. The theme of Peace is very relevant for Cyprus, that`s why there is a serious need in spreading philosophy of Sufism. Sheikh Nazim aimed to advocate Peace here, was a pacifist and believed in the cohabitation of Muslims and Christians. In the 2004 referendum in Cyprus, he strongly supported plan of uniting the island and even crossed to Greek Cyprus to meet with Greek clergymen opposed to this settlement plan.
The profile of the people Sheikh Nazim appealed to is extremely diverse – he was a man who globalized the Naqshbandi movement, influenced people of Muslim, Christian and Jewish upbringing, and was also relevant in a wide area from Indonesia to Latin America. Sheikh Nazim was able to reach out to the West, giving lectures in Germany, England, Netherlands. He also had links with British royal family – some lords and, presumably, Prince Charles have been among His followers. Significant fact: When Pope Benedict XVI visited Cyprus in 2010, he chose to meet not with the TRNC mufti, but Sheikh Nazim.
If you look on Cyprus on a map, you could notice that it is almost in the very center of the world. Cyprus has always been a crossroad of different cultures, and magnified the glory of Ottoman Empire, Venetians, Lusignans, British people, Turkish, becoming now the multicultural area of historical, cultural and natural value. But the heart of Cyprus itself– the soul of this island that radiates the aura of benevolence and has welcomed various cultures throughout the history – is in northern Cypriot town of Lefke. It is here where the Naqshbandi dervish monastery situated, whose disciples flock from all over the world, sharing the philosophy of equality of all religions and perceiving true Love and Aspiration to the Divinity to be a real spiritual path. This sacred place has bestowed Cyprus with such an energy that allowed many nations to nicely coexist and develop.
So, cognizing spiritual knowledge of Sufism, which source is in Lefke, the heart of island, we also discover more the sacramental mysteries of this blessed place from which the divine love and holy energy flow to other parts of the world – North Cyprus.
by Talsana Ramiros
Feature Writer & Musician