Sufism and the Kabbalah
Abdul Qadir al Jilani, the founder of one of the most influential Sufi orders in Islamic history, the Qadiriyyah, according to a famous Jewish historian, was a secret Jew. Chacham Israel Joseph Benjamin II wrote Eight Years in Asia and Africa from 1846 to 1855, in which he reported that there was a mosque in Baghdad where the grave of the great Marabut (Sufi mystic) Abdul Qadir is a highly venerated, and mentioned that, “the Mosque was a Synagogue before,” and that “the Marabut was nothing less than the famous Talmudist Joseph Hagueliti.”
His report is enlightening, as it has been claimed by occultists that the Qadiriyya Sufi order are the origin of the Rosicrucians, who in turn gave birth to the Freemasons. According to Rosicrucian tradition, an Egyptian “priest” named Ormus Christianized the Egyptian mysteries. This is to be understood to refer to Hermeticism, which was mistakenly believed to represent an ancient Egyptian “wisdom.” This Gnostic tradition then supposedly survived in Egypt, where it was kept by the “Knights of Palestine.” They were also known as the “Brethren of the Rosy Cross of the Orient.”
This notion of “Eastern mystics,” with whom the Knights Templar came into contact during the Crusades, is a reference to the Asiatic Brethren of the tenth century, who despite their outward allegiance to Islam, were highly regarded by Kabbalists over the centuries. The Asiatic Brethren, like much of the occult in Islam, derived their influenced from the so-called Sabians of Harran in southeastern Turkey, who preserved the traditions of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism. The ideas of the Brethren of Sincerity reflected elements of Pythagorean, Neoplatonic and Magian traditions, which they attributed to a common origin, with Jewish roots.
Mystical tradition also purports that the Zohar, the preeminent Kabbalistic text, written in the thirteenth century, was based on an earlier “Arabic Kabbalah” of the Brethren of Sincerity. The Brethren of Sincerity and other Sufi mystics were widely studied by later Jewish mystics, such as Abraham Ibn Ezra, Moses Maimonides, Judah Halevi, Bahya Ibn Pakuda, and Ibn Gabirol, the philosopher who most personified the interweaving of Judaism and Islam. An eleventh century Spanish Jew, Ibn Gabirol assimilated ideas from the Brethren of Sincerity to such an extent that they was his primary source of inspiration after the Bible. He also followed the teachings of the tenth century Sufi mystic Mohammed Ibn Masarra (883–931 AD), who had introduced Sufism to Spain.
Ibn Gabirol, along with Ibn Arabi, was considered one of the two great followers of Ibn Masarra. Ibn Arabi (1165 – 1240) was the Arabic philosopher most responsible for the fusion of Sufism with Neoplatonic thought. He was heavily influenced by the Brethren of Sincerity, and formulated many of the ideas that became central to the Zohar.
Al Jilani was condemned for harboring heretical works in his school, particularly the writings of the Brethren of Sincerity. According to David Margoliouth, al Jilani’s fame among his followers in some cases nearly displaced that of the Prophet Muhammed, and he is regularly styled the Sultan of the Saints. His reputation attracted numerous pupils from all parts of the Islamic world, and his persuasive rhetoric is said to have converted many Jews and Christians to Islam.
The legend of Jilani’s life and career were largely embellished by his successors. For example, his pedigree was traced on his father’s side in the direct line to Hasan, grandson of the Prophet. But the pedigree was shown to be a fabrication of his grandson, to whom numerous fictions can be traced. The list of his performed miracles began at the earliest while only a child, when he was to have begun a fast by refusing the breast of his mother. He was believed to be able to punish distant sinners and assist the oppressed in a miraculous manner, walk on water and move through air. Angels and Jinn, and even the Prophet Muhammed himself, it was said, would appear at his meetings and express their appreciation.
Jilani also claimed to have come into contact with the mysterious figure of al Khidr, meaning “the Green One.” Though not mentioned by that name in the Quran, al Khidr is identified with a figure met by Moses. But the name Khidr is found only in Hadith literature.
The figure of Khidr originated most likely from Jewish legends and is associated with the Muslim Mahdi, in the same way that the prophet Elijah is associated with the Jewish Messiah. Elijah is an important figure of the Kabbalah, where numerous leading Kabbalists claimed to preach a higher knowledge of the Torah directly inspired by the prophet through a “revelation of Elijah” (gilluy 'eliyahu). The Zohar was ascribed to Shimon bar Yochai, a rabbi of the second century who, according to Jewish legend, was inspired by the Prophet Elijah to write the work.
Khidr also shows certain affinities with the ancient pagan dying-god by also representing fertility, which is offered as the reason for his association with the color green. Likewise, Elijah’s association with fertility and rain production is widespread in Biblical and rabbinic literature. Khidr is recognized as associated with the Green Man motif, which is often related to fertility deities found in different cultures throughout the world.
The figure of al Khidr has its equivalent in the cult of Saint George, shared by Christian, Jews as well as Muslims. There is a tradition in the Holy Land of Christians and Muslims going to an Eastern Orthodox shrine of Saint George at Beith Jala, with Jews also attending the site in the belief that the prophet Elijah was buried there. These Muslims worshipped this same Saint George or Elijah as the Sufi figure of al Khidr, a tradition which was found throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Asia Minor.
Historians note that the origin of Saint George is in Cappadocia and is similar to the ancient god named Dionysus-Sabazios, who was usually depicted riding on horseback. George’s mother was from Lydda, Palestine, but he was a Cappadocian born in Cilicia, the heartland of the Mithraic Mysteries during Hellenistic times, and its capital city of Tarsus was the birthplace as well of the apostle Paul. Saint George is also the origin of the knightly tale of rescuing a maiden from a dragon. The legend is not a Christian story at all, but is a Christian adaptation of the typical duel of the Middle Eastern dying-god, like Baal, against the Sea-Dragon, or Zeus against Typhon the Titan.
A further identification with the dying-god and the Kabbalistic concept of the Primordial Adam, or Adam Kadmon, and later Metatron, is found in al Khidr’s identification in Sufism with the concept of the Qutb, meaning “pole” or “axis” and with Hermes. This idea of the perfect man among the Sufis is recognized by scholars as dating back to ancient Magian and Gnostic sources, and the notion is traced by Gilles Quispel to Kabbalistic conceptions concerning the primordial Adam.
Idries Shah, secretary and companion to Gerald Gardner, the founder of the modern religion of witchcraft known as Wicca, and close associate of the godfather of twentieth century Satanism, Aleister Crowley, claimed the Rosicrucians derived from the influence of the Qadiriyya Sufi order. Christian Rosenkreutz would have supposedly come into contact with the Qadiriyya during his travels in the Middle East. Al Jilani, the founder of the Qadiriyya, was known as the “Rose of Baghdad.” The rose became the symbol of his order and a rose of green and white cloth with a six-pointed star in the middle is traditionally worn in the cap of Qadiriyya dervishes. According to Shah:
Ignorance of this background is responsible for much useless speculation about such entities as the Rosicrucians who merely repeated in their claims the possession of the ancient teaching which is contained in the parallel development called alchemy, and which was also announced by Friar Bacon [Francis Bacon], himself claimed as a Rosicrucian and alchemist and illuminate. The origins of all these societies in Sufism is the answer to the question as to which of them did Bacon belong, and what the secret doctrine really was. Much other Rosicrucian symbolism is Sufic.
Although Shah’s works have been criticized by Orientalist scholars, he was chiefly responsible for popularizing his version of Sufism in the West, which was a thinly disguise Luciferianism. The introduction to Shah’s book The Sufis, was written by Robert Graves, author of The White Goddess, a key book for modern Pagans and Wiccans. Graves’ introduction described Shah as being “in the senior male line of descent from the prophet Mohammed” and as having inherited “secret mysteries from the Caliphs, his ancestors. He is, in fact, a Grand Sheikh of the Sufi Tariqa…” Graves confessed, however, that this was “misleading: he is one of us, not a Moslem personage.”
Shah was also a member of the Club of Rome and, as reported by Robert Dreyfuss in Hostage to Khomeini, worked with the Muslim Brotherhood in London. Shah, like Bennett, Gurdjieff, Graves and the Naqshabandi Sufi order, represent the strange contribution of Sufism to the activities of the CIA, particularly through their association with MK-Ultra, and the hokey mysticism of the Esalen Institute, which has been the key organization behind the rise of the New Age movement.
Shah was also a close associate of John G. Bennett, former head of British intelligence in Istanbul, and protégé of “rascal mystic” and spy, George Gurdjieff, who claimed to derive his teachings from Sufi masters in Central Asia, known as the Sarmoung Brotherhood. Gurdjieff was instructed in Sufi secrets by Abdullah Faizi ad Daghestani (1891-1973), Shaykh of the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi order, in Damascus. Daghestani was also the teacher of Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani, leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order, who along with his son-in-law and deputy Sheikh Hisham Kabbani, who are key agents in the convergence of Sufi ideas and the New Age movement.
Sheikh Kabbani supervises Sunnah.org, which touts itself as one of the top Islamic websites in the world. Also associated with Kabbani’s wing of Shaikh Haqqani’s Naqshbandi-Haqqani order is Stephen “Suleyman” Schwartz, Jewish convert to Islam and author who has been published in a variety of media, including The Wall Street Journal. Schwartz wrote in article in the Huffington Post, “Islamic Sufism and Jewish Kabbalah: Shining a Light on Their Hidden History,” where according to him, “Islamic Sufism and Jewish Kabbalah -- that are so close to one another that the presumption of mutual influence is inescapable.”
Shah claimed that it is from Sufism that Freemasonry derived its central tenet, which is that the world can be united in the acceptance of a single esoteric tradition (the Kabbalah), which is supposedly the root of all exoteric faiths. Therefore, according to Shah:
The connection between the ancient practical philosophies and the present ones is seen to have been based upon the higher level unity of knowledge, not upon appearances. This explains why the Muslim Rumi has Christian, Zoroastrian and other disciples; why the great Sufi ‘invisible teacher’ Khidr is said to be a Jew; why the Mogul Prince Dara Shikoh identified Sufi teaching in the Hindu Vedas, yet himself remained a member of the Qadiri Order; how Pythagoras and Solomon can be said to be Sufi teachers. It also explains why Sufis will accept some alchemists to have been Sufis, as well as understanding the underlying developmental factors in Rumi’s evolutionary philosophy, or Hallaj’s ‘Christianity’; why, indeed, Jesus is said to stand, in a sense, at the head of the Sufis.
This is the ancient secret which Freemasons believe they inherited from the Templars by way of the Sufis. The ultimate mystery learned is the central teaching of the Kabbalah, that man is God. Robert Graves, in his introduction to Shah’s The Sufis, explains that the real builders of Freemasonry were, “not Solomon’s Israelite subjects or Phoenician allies as is supposed, Abdul Malik’s Sufi architects who built the dome of the rock on the ruins of Solomon’s temple, and their successors. Their names included Thuban Abdel Falz (‘Izz’) and his ‘great grandson’ Maaruf, the son (disciple) of David of Tay, whose Sufic code name was Solomon, because he was the ‘son of David’.” Therefore, the universalism of the Sufis is found in Freemasonry, as explained in The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, by Manly Palmer Hall:
The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth.
 Allan H. Greenfield, The Roots of Modern Magick: 1700 thru 2000. (Manutius Press, 2006) p. 137.
 George Sarton, A History of Science (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1959) p. 246; Yves Marquet, "Ikhwan al-Safa", Encyclopedia of Islam, rev. ed. (London: Luzac, 1971) p. 1074
 Ibn Rajab, Dhayl (i. 415-20). Laoust, H.. "Ibn al-Dhawzi,” Encyclopedia of Islam. Brill Online, 2012.
 Abraham Elqayam, Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam.
 Brannon Wheeler, Moses in the Qur'an and Islamic Exegesis (London: Routledge/Curzon, 2002), p. 24.
 Richard G. Hovannisian and Georges Sabagh, Religion and Culture in Medieval Islam. (Cambridge University Press, 200) pp 109-110.
 Joel L. Kraemer, Philosophy in the Renaissance of Islam: Abū Sulaymān Al-Sijistānī and His Circle. (Leiden, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1986), p. 301 n. 85.
 Idries Shah, The Sufis, p. 390.
 Paul O'Prey, Between Moon and Moon – Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1946–1972, (Hutchinson, 1984), pp. 213–215.
 Shah, The Way of the Sufi, p. 124-5
 Manly Palmer Hall, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, (The Philosophical Research Society, 1940), p. 65.