By Naguib Mahfouz
Sufism is one of my main sources of inspiration. At first, I approached it as a form of literary creativity with a spiritual twist, but then I got more involved. You don't need to be a hermit to discern the beauty of Sufism. Sufism makes you more accepting of people, more tolerant of life and its hardships. Some people use Sufism as an escape route, as a means of avoiding the complexities of life. For them, Sufism is a refuge into the inaccessible reaches of the spiritual world. For me, Sufism is a source of strength, a way of coping with the vicissitudes of life.
Sufism has influenced my style and subject matter. This is particularly true for Al- Tariq (The Road), Thartharah Fawq Al- Nil (Chatting on the Nile), Layali Alf Laylah (A Thousand Nights), and Malhamat Al-Harafish (Epic of the Ruffians). In all these works, I hail Sufism as something reinforcing life, not scorning it. I have read most Sufi writers and I still consult major Sufi works regularly. I find the Shiraz Songs, a collection of poetry by Hafiz, particularly compelling.
Based on an interview by Mohamed Salmawy.