Over the past decade, Sharon Marcus has established herself as an eminent Canadian author in writings related to the mystical branch of the Islamic spirituality known as Sufism. Marcus, a Toronto-based writer, has published 10 books through The Sufi Press, with her most recent, The Next Step: A Sufi Primer, perhaps the most enlightening, enriching and universally accessible of any of her works. The Next Step speaks eloquently to the Sufi experience, even as it reaches out with a welcoming hand, to those of other faiths who may be seeking a deeper understanding of Sufi spirituality and belief.
For more than three decades, Marcus has been a student and adherent of the teachings of the renowned Sufi master Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyadeen, who worked tirelessly until his death in 1986, to bring unity through knowledge and understanding, to the faithful of all global religions. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, himself the author of more than 20 books, spent his time on Earth awakening and strengthening faith in God within people's hearts. Many scholars and religious leaders from the Islamic, Judaic, Christian, and Hindu communities consider him to be a true saint.
The Next Step: A Sufi Primer acknowledges the journey we all must take in our lifetime, the journey of the human spirit and soul, where it might lead us. It acknowledges the true believer's deep love for God, the yearning to know Him, to return to His side, and to acknowledge that He is the beginning and the end of all things. The Next Step observes that this journey can, at times, be very much a struggle, but also that as we fall and perhaps fail, we must inevitably pick ourselves up and carry on, coming ever closer to the joy of wisdom, peace, and bliss, the hope of a oneness with God.
Over the course of its 243 pages, The Next Step takes followers on a journey of self-awareness on the path to God. As Marcus writes in the chapter called The Darkness Within: "There is a point in the life of each of us when we can stand back, look at what we are, and recognize the implications of specific choices we have made . . . There is a moment when we recognize responsibility for our state, when we notice with surprise how much is in our hands, has been determined by what we have intended and done." In a similar vein, as Marcus wrote in a previous publication, Sufi: "Faith and wisdom are profoundly intertwined; faith provides the solid root for wisdom’s growth and wisdom nourishes the soil in which faith can grow . . ."
Marcus is a masterful writer, eloquent in her words, sensitive and insightful in her thoughts and beliefs, appreciative of all that adherence to the teachings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen has offered her. Her intent in The Next Step is to honour the Sufi master as she tries to cast a net of knowledge, understanding and interaction among the faithful of all religions. This, then, is a book for the followers not only of Islam and Sufism, but also for those of all religions and beliefs.
The Next Step reminds us, once again, that on the path of life and within the human soul, we are all one – there is more, much more, that serves to unite us than divide us.
Previous publications by Sharon Marcus include: My Years with the Qutb: A Walk in Paradise; Five Times of Prayer; Sufi; Adam's Story; A Traveller's Notebook; The Sufi Experience; The Stradivarius Poems; The Boatman's Holiday; and Nonexistent Poems & Songs of Love.
The Sufi Press publishes poetry, fiction and non-fiction, each book in some way reflecting the informing experience of M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen’s mystical teachings.
The Next Step: a Sufi Primer
by Sharon Marcus
Date of Publication: April 30, 2011