Sufism beliefs

All Sufi orders trace most of their original precepts from Muhammad through his cousin and son-in-law Aliwith the notable exception of the Naqshbandi order, who trace their original precepts to Muhammad through his companion and father-in-law, Abu Bakr. It has historically been mistaken as a sect of Islam, when it is in fact a religious order for any Islamic denomination.

sufism beliefs

Although the overwhelming majority of Sufis, both pre-modern and modern, were and are adherents of Sunni Islamthere also developed certain strands of Sufi practice within the ambit of Shia Islam during the late medieval period, particularly after the forced conversion of Iran from majority Sunni to Shia.

Although Sufis were opposed to dry legalism, they strictly observed Islamic law and belonged to various schools of Islamic jurisprudence and theology.

Sufis have been characterized by their asceticismespecially by their attachment to dhikrthe practice of remembrance of God, often performed after prayers. Despite a relative decline of Sufi orders in the modern era and criticism of some aspects of Sufism by modernist thinkers and conservative SalafistsSufism has continued to play an important role in the Islamic world, and has also influenced various forms of spirituality in the West.

The Arabic word tasawwuf lit. Many other terms that described particular spiritual qualities and roles were used instead in more practical contexts. Some modern scholars have used other definitions of Sufism such as "intensification of Islamic faith and practice" [27] and "process of realizing ethical and spiritual ideals".

The term Sufism was originally introduced into European languages in the 18th century by Orientalist scholars, who viewed it mainly as an intellectual doctrine and literary tradition at variance with what they saw as sterile monotheism of Islam. In modern scholarly usage the term serves to describe a wide range of social, cultural, political and religious phenomena associated with Sufis.

These two explanations were combined by the Sufi al-Rudhabari d.

Who Are Sufi Muslims and Why Do Some Extremists Hate Them?

These men and women who sat at al-Masjid an-Nabawi are considered by some to be the first Sufis. According to Carl W. Ernst the earliest figures of Sufism are Muhammad himself and his companions Sahabah. By pledging allegiance to Muhammad, the Sahabah had committed themselves to the service of God. It is through Muhammad that Sufis aim to learn about, understand and connect with God. Such a concept may be understood by the hadithwhich Sufis regard to be authentic, in which Muhammad said, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate".

Furthermore, Junayd of Baghdad regarded Ali as sheikh of the principals and practices of Tasawwuf. Historian Jonathan A. Brown notes that during the lifetime of Muhammad, some companions were more inclined than others to "intensive devotion, pious abstemiousness and pondering the divine mysteries" more than Islam required, such as Abu Dhar al-Ghifari.

Hasan al-Basria tabiis considered a "founding figure" in the "science of purifying the heart". Practitioners of Sufism hold that in its early stages of development Sufism effectively referred to nothing more than the internalization of Islam. Modern academics and scholars have rejected early Orientalist theories asserting a non-Islamic origin of Sufism, [19] The consensus is that it emerged in Western Asia.

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Many have asserted Sufism to be unique within the confines of the Islamic religion, and contend that Sufism developed from people like Bayazid Bastamiwho, in his utmost reverence to the sunnahrefused to eat a watermelon because he did not find any proof that Muhammad ever ate it. Over the years, Sufi orders have influenced and been adopted by various Shi'i movements, especially Isma'ilismwhich led to the Safaviyya order's conversion to Shia Islam from Sunni Islam and the spread of Twelverism throughout Iran.

Existing in both Sunni and Shia Islam, Sufism is not a distinct sect, as is sometimes erroneously assumed, but a method of approaching or a way of understanding the religion, which strives to take the regular practice of the religion to the "supererogatory level" through simultaneously "fulfilling As a mystic and ascetic aspect of Islam, it is considered as the part of Islamic teaching that deals with the purification of the inner self.

By focusing on the more spiritual aspects of religion, Sufis strive to obtain direct experience of God by making use of "intuitive and emotional faculties" that one must be trained to use.

sufism beliefs

Ibn Taymiyya's Sufi inclinations and his reverence for Sufis like Abdul-Qadir Gilani can also be seen in his hundred-page commentary on Futuh al-ghaybcovering only five of the seventy-eight sermons of the book, but showing that he considered tasawwuf essential within the life of the Islamic community. In his commentary, Ibn Taymiyya stresses that the primacy of the sharia forms the soundest tradition in tasawwufand to argue this point he lists over a dozen early masters, as well as more contemporary shaykhs like his fellow Hanbalisal-Ansari al-Harawi and Abdul-Qadir, and the latter's own shaykh, Hammad al-Dabbas the upright.

The vicissitudes of life, family affairs and financial constraints engulfed my life and deprived me of the congenial solitude. The heavy odds confronted me and provided me with few moments for my pursuits. This state of affairs lasted for ten years, but whenever I had some spare and congenial moments I resorted to my intrinsic proclivity.

During these turbulent years, numerous astonishing and indescribable secrets of life were unveiled to me. I was convinced that the group of Aulia holy mystics is the only truthful group who follow the right path, display best conduct and surpass all sages in their wisdom and insight. They derive all their overt or covert behaviour from the illumining guidance of the holy Prophet, the only guidance worth quest and pursuit.

In the eleventh-century, Sufism, which had previously been a less "codified" trend in Islamic piety, began to be "ordered and crystallized" into orders which have continued until the present day.

Sufi Beliefs

All these orders were founded by a major Islamic scholar, and some of the largest and most widespread included the Qadiriyya after Abdul-Qadir Gilani [d.Sufism is less an Islamic sect than a mystical way of approaching the Islamic faith. It has been defined as "mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God.

Islamic mystics are called Sufis and their way of life is Sufism also spelled Sufiism. The Persian equivalent is darvish. These are the roots of the English terms fakir and dervish, used interchangeably for an Islamic mystic. Toggle navigation. Glossary of Sufism Definitions of terms related to Sufism.

History of Sufism Sufism has been a prominent movement within Islam throughout most of its history. It grew out of an early ascetic movement within Islam, which sought to counteract the worldliness that came with the rapid expansion of the Muslim community Sufi Beliefs Sufi beliefs are based firmly in orthodox Islam and the text of the Quran, although a few Sufi teachers have strayed too close to monism or pantheism to remain within the orthodox fold Sufi Practices Sufi practices have their foundation in purity of life, strict obedience to Islamic law and imitation of the Prophet.

Through self-denial, careful introspection and mental struggle, Sufis hope to purify the self from all selfishness, thus attaining ikhlas, absolute purity of intention and act Timeline of Sufism The history of Sufism at a glance. Accessed 26 Nov. The Whirling Dervishes of Rumi. Godlas, Alan. Schimmel, Annemarie. Related Content. The Winged Heart of Sufism.

Accessed 15 Apr.Strict obedience to the religious law and imitation of the Prophet were basic for the mystics. Tawakkul trust in God was sometimes practiced to such an extent that every thought of tomorrow was considered irreligious.

The mystics realized that beyond the knowledge of outward sciences intuitive knowledge was required in order to receive that illumination to which reason has no access. Mystics who expressed in their poetry their disinterest in, and even contempt of, the traditional formal religions never forgot that Islam is the highest manifestation of divine wisdom. The idea of the manifestation of divine wisdom was also connected with the person of the Prophet Muhammad. Though early Sufism had concentrated upon the relation between God and the soul, from onward a strong Muhammad-mysticism developed.

In its fullness such light radiated from the historical Muhammad and is partaken of by his posterity and by the saints; for Muhammad has the aspect of sanctity in addition to that of prophecy.

Female saints are found all over the Islamic world. Saint worship is contrary to Islam, which does not admit of any mediating role for human beings between humanity and God; but the cult of living and even more of dead saints—visiting their tombs to take vows there—responded to the feeling of the masses, and thus a number of pre- Islamic customs were absorbed into Islam under the cover of mysticism.

Many great saints, however, considered miracle working as a dangerous trap on the path that might distract the Sufi from his real goal. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. Load Next Page. More About.British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Sufism is Islamic mysticism.

sufism beliefs

This article provides a description of Sufism and information about its history and practice. Non-Muslims often mistake Sufism as a sect of Islam.

Sufism is more accurately described as an aspect or dimension of Islam. Sufi orders Tariqas can be found in Sunni, Shia and other Islamic groups. Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century Arab historian, described Sufism as:.

Sufis are emphatic that Islamic knowledge should be learned from teachers and not exclusively from books. Tariqas can trace their teachers back through the generations to the Prophet himself.

Modelling themselves on their teachers, students hope that they too will glean something of the Prophetic character. Although Sufis are relatively few in number they have shaped Islamic thought and history. Sufis were influential in spreading Islam particularly to the furthest outposts of the Muslim world in Africa, India and the Far East. In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed.

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Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. Several origins of the word 'sufi' have been suggested. It may derive from the word for 'wool' and the woollen garments worn by early Sufis.

It may also have connections with the word for 'purity' and another suggestion is that it has links with the Greek 'sophia' or wisdom. However throughout history a Sufi was most often understood to be a person of religious learning who aspires to be close to Allah. They understand their purpose in life from the verse of the Qur'an :.

In pursuit of this goal of worshipping Allah, Sufis belong to Tariqas, or orders, established in the first few centuries after the Prophet's death. These orders have a master who will teach sacred knowledge to others in the group.

Although Tariqas have a long history, in recent times some Muslims have questioned the necessity of Tariqas arguing that they were alien to the Prophet himself. Sufis make a convincing defence from the Qur'an and Sunna what the Prophet said, did, agreed to or condemned.

Sufis acknowledge that Tariqas were not established at the time of the Prophet. They consider that the Prophet his companions and their immediate successors, the first three generations, embodied Islamic mysticism but the phenomenon was too general to have a specific name.Sufism is a way of life in which a deeper identity is discovered and lived. This deeper identity, beyond the already known personality, is in harmony with all that exists.

This deeper identity, or essential self, has abilities of awareness, action, creativity and love that are far beyond the abilities of the superficial personality.

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Eventually it is understood that these abilities belong to a greater life and being which we individualize in our own unique way while never being separate from it. Sufism is less a doctrine or a belief system than an experience and way of life. It is a tradition of enlightenment that carries the essential truth forward through time. Tradition, however, must be conceived in a vital and dynamic sense.

Its expression must not remain limited to the religious and cultural forms of the past. The truth of Sufism requires reformulation and fresh expression in every age.

Reformulation does not mean that Sufism will compromise its challenge to a stubbornly materialistic society. It is and must be a way out of the labyrinth of a secular, commercial culture. Most importantly, however, it is an invitation to meaningfulness and well-being. Sufism, as we know it, developed within the cultural matrix of Islam. The Islamic revelation presented itself as the expression of the essential message brought to humanity by the prophets of all ages.

Sufism understands itself to be the wisdom realized by the great prophets — explicitly including Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon, and Abraham, among others, and implicitly including other unnamed enlightened beings of every culture. In the Western world today diverse groups exist under the name of Sufism. On the one hand there are those who would say that no true Sufism can exist without appreciation and practice of the principles of Islam.

We could say that there are those who accept Sufism as both form and essence, and there are others who are Sufi in essence but not in form. Historically, Sufism was not conceived as separate from the essence of Islam.

sufism beliefs

Its teachers all traced their enlightenment through a chain of transmission going back to Muhammad. Most often they represented the highest achievements within Islamic culture and were a force of tolerance and moderation.Sufismmystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God.

It consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of humanity and of God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world. Though the roots of Islamic mysticism formerly were supposed to have stemmed from various non-Islamic sources in ancient Europe and even Indiait now seems established that the movement grew out of early Islamic asceticism that developed as a counterweight to the increasing worldliness of the expanding Muslim community; only later were foreign elements that were compatible with mystical theology and practices adopted and made to conform to Islam.

By educating the masses and deepening the spiritual concerns of the Muslims, Sufism has played an important role in the formation of Muslim society. Opposed to the dry casuistry of the lawyer-divines, the mystics nevertheless scrupulously observed the commands of the divine law. The Sufis have been further responsible for a large-scale missionary activity all over the world, which still continues.

Sufis have elaborated the image of the Prophet Muhammad —the founder of Islam—and have thus largely influenced Muslim piety by their Muhammad-mysticism. Sufi vocabulary is important in Persian and other literatures related to it, such as TurkishUrduSindhi, Pashto, and Punjabi.

Through the poetry of these literatures, mystical ideas spread widely among the Muslims. In some countries Sufi leaders were also active politically. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Sufism Islam. Written By: Annemarie Schimmel. See Article History. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.

Subscribe today. Load Next Page. More About.Sufism is a mystical form of Islam, a school of practice that emphasizes the inward search for God and shuns materialism. Its modern-day adherents cherish tolerance and pluralism, qualities that in many religions unsettle extremists. But Sufism, often known as Islamic mysticism, has come under violent attack in recent years. The attack followed several assaults on Sufi shrines in Pakistan over the past year carried out by Sunni extremists.

The vast majority of Sufis are Sunni, though some are Shiite. What is this form of Islamic belief, and why has it come under assault?

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Sufism, known as tasawwuf in the Arabic-speaking world, is a form of Islamic mysticism that emphasizes introspection and spiritual closeness with God. Followers try to get closer to God by seeking spiritual learning known as tariqa. The myths people have about Sufis are analogous to the myths people have about Muslims.

For a time, beginning in the 12th century, Sufism was a mainstay of the social order for Islamic civilization, and since that time it has spread throughout the Muslim world, and to China, West Africa and the United States. As Sufism spread, it adapted elements of local culture and belief, making it a popular practice. Alexander D. Knysh explained, leading to this style of worship becoming synonymous with peace-loving Islam.

While some Muslims view Sufis as quirky, even eccentric, some fundamentalists and extremists see Sufism as a threat, and its adherents as heretics or apostates. In February, militants aligned with the Islamic State attacked worshipers at the tomb of a Sufi philosopher in a remote part of southern Pakistan, killing more than 80 people, whom the militants described as polytheists.

Sufis praying at the tombs of saints — a practice core to the group — have also been attacked in India and the Middle East. The Islamic State targets Sufis because it believes that only a fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam is valid. Some fundamentalists see the reverence for saints, which is common in Shiite Islam, as a form of idolatry, because in their view it shows devotion to something other than the worship of a singular God.

Some consider Sufis to be apostate, because saints were not part of the original practice of Islam at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, who died in Knysh explained.

Even though Sunni hard-liners have long viewed Sufis as well as Shiites as heretical, terrorist networks like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have debated whether killing them is justified.

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When a branch of Al Qaeda captured northern Mali inmilitants used pickaxes and bulldozers to destroy the ancient mausoleums of Sufi saints in Timbuktu. But documents recovered in northern Mali revealed that the militants in Mali had acted without the permission of their leaders, who wrote to express their dismay, arguing that the destruction — while theologically justified — was unwise because it caused the population to turn against them.

Though Al Qaeda has also targeted Sufi sites, the Islamic State has set itself apart by calling for brutal attacks against Sufis.