Afdal al-Din Kashani (c. 12th century C.E.) was a Sufi mystic, poet and teacher. Although the information on his life is sparse, Kashani’s teaching focused on self-knowledge, or knowledge of the Self, and that the realization of the Divine can only take place through self-awareness, and that this in turn, can only be realized by the training of the soul. His tomb, located in the village Maraq, near Kashan, is still a place of pilgrimage.

To know oneself is to know the everlasting reality that is consciousness, and to know it is to be it.

Strive and become near to whatever you know to be better for self, and flee and seek distance from everything you recognize is bad for self.

No matter how clear things can appear to be, the self is clearer than the things.

The Sufis were the mystical dimension of Islam. As a consequence they were often banned from holy places or persecuted by traditional Muslims, despite their adherence to the same religious text and founder. The Sufis saw the Self and the Divine as one and the same. The omnipresent Allah, that permeated all creation, manifested in man in the form of his higher Self. Therefore, to know oneself and to know God were equivalent pursuits. Know Thyself was considered the path to God-realization.

Strive and become near to whatever you know to be better for self, and flee and seek distance from everything you recognize is bad for self. There is nothing more blessed than struggle.

Turn the face of searching totally toward the destination and objective of self.

The implications of equating the Self with God are significant: all one’s prayers to God are, in fact, prayers to one’s higher Self. All sacrifices made on Allah’s behalf are made for one’s higher Self. “To know oneself is to be oneself,” says Kashani. This implies that he who knows himself becomes God, the Lord of his own cosmos.

Thus, the worship of Muslims adhering to Sufism took a more internal and invisible form than popular Islam, for they directed their efforts of worship to an internal manifestation of Allah.


Further Reading:
Koran on Know Thyself
Prophet Muhammad on Know Thyself
Bayazid Bastami on Know Thyself