Islam is one of the largest religions in the world and also the fastest growing with a following of over 1.7 billion people. Muslims are divided into three main branches including the Sunni, the Shiite and the kharijita, which depend mainly on their origin. Muslims believe in one God, angels, Koran and Prophet Muhammad. They pray five times a day, give alms, fast in the holy month of Ramadan and make a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca as an act of worship. Another important aspect of Islam is an attempt to find a direct personal experience of God which is practiced by all branches of Islam. This act of driving the heart away from everything but God is known as Sufism in Islam.
Overview of Sufism
Sufism is an inner mystical dimension of Islam practiced by different turuqs which is a congregation formed around Mawla that traces their teachings to the Prophet Muhammad. Turuq meet for spiritual sessions called majlis in places known as Zawiyas or tekke. Sufi seeks to find a direct connection and a spiritual experience with God, removing the heart from all earthly things and focusing entirely on God. Sufi precepts can be traced by Muhammad through Ali who was his cousin and Naqshbandi who traces their originated from Muhammad through the Caliph Rashid. The Sufi followed one of the four madhbaas of Sunni Muslims and gained importance among Muslims in an attempt to combat worldliness in the Umayyad Caliphate between 660 and 750.
The term Sufism originates from the lists of the British East that wanted to separate what they considered attractive in Islam from what they thought was negative. However, Muslims have used the term Tasawwuf or Sufism to refer to the inner character of Islam supported by the external rituals of religion such as Sharia. So to be Muslim, he or she must be a true Sufi. Sufism is not a sect within an Islamic religion but a part of Islamic practice that focuses on the purification of the inner self. It focuses on more spiritual dimensions of religion and strives to achieve a direct encounter with God through the use of emotional faculties through regular practices.
History and diffusion of Sufism
Sufi orders are anchored in bayah or pledge of allegiance that is said to have been given to Prophet Muhammad by his companions (Sahabah). The Sahabah committed himself to serving God by committing fidelity to the Prophet. The first manuals containing Sufi doctrines and practices were written towards the end of the first millennium. Two of the noteworthy items include Kashf al-Mahjub and Risala. Sufism has produced a great culture in the Islamic world between the 13th and 16th centuries. During this time many places were equipped through waqf to provide an adequate meeting place for the adept and Sufi housing for those seeking Sufi knowledge. The same equipment was used in buildings such as the famous Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul. Sufism was fundamental for the growth and development of Islam and the creation of various Islamic practices, especially in Africa and Asia. Sufism experts say that the initial development period of Sufism was related to the internalization of Islam directed by the Koran, which was regularly recited, meditated and experimented. Sufism played an important point of contact between Hinduism and Islam in India during the pilgrimage to the Sanctuaries of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, who was the founder of the Chishtiyya order. More Hindus than Muslims were converted to Sufi practices during this period. meditated and experienced. Sufism played an important point of contact between Hinduism and Islam in India during the pilgrimage to the Sanctuaries of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, who was the founder of the Chishtiyya order. More Hindus than Muslims were converted to Sufi practices during this period. meditated and experienced. Sufism played an important point of contact between Hinduism and Islam in India during the pilgrimage to the Sanctuaries of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, who was the founder of the Chishtiyya order. More Hindus than Muslims were converted to Sufi practices during this period.
The conquest of South Asia by the Turks was accompanied by the Sufi mystic of the order Chashtiyya and spread its roots throughout India. Suhrawardi’s order was brought to India by Baha-Ud-din Zakariya of Multan. Other Sufi orders introduced in India in the 13th and 16th centuries include Naqshbandiyyah and Qadiriyyah. The modern Sufi order is composed of Ba’Alawiyya, Chishti, Khalwati, Naqshbandi, Sarwari Qadiri and other orders. Sufism is popular in countries like Morocco and Senegal, while it is traditional in Morocco. Sufism is popular in Senegal because it can host local cultures that lean towards the mystic. However, Sufism has suffered a beat of arrest in some North African countries and among modernist Muslims who consider it a superstitious practice that holds back Islamic progress in the field of technology and science. Some of the notable Sufis include Abul Hasan Ash-Shadhil who introduced dhikr, Bayazid Bastami, Ibn Arabi and Mansur Al-Hallaj among other notable Sufis.
Goals of Sufism
Sufism believes that one can enter the presence of God and embrace the divinity of the present life. The main objectives of Sufism are to try to please God by building in itself the primordial state of the fitra, as highlighted in the Koran. In teaching, Sufis believe that the passage of divine light comes from a teacher to the student through the heart rather than the knowledge of the world. Devotion to Muhammad is a definite purpose and an exceptional practice within the Sufis. Muhammad is revered because of his spiritual greatness. In fact, the Sufis believe that Islam is the best religion because of the Prophet Muhammad because he is the supreme and master of greatness. The Sufis also believe that Sharia, Tariqa and haqiqa are all independent.
Devotional practices of Sufism
The devotional practices of Sufism vary because of the recognized and authorized paths to reach spirituality. The requirement for the practice includes adherence to Islamic pillars, while researchers must also be rooted in the practices of the Prophet Muhammad’s way of life. The seeker must have the right creed and cling to his principles and move away from sin and love for this world and from obedience to satanic impulses. Other devotional practices include Dhikr (remembrance of Allah), Muraqaba (meditation), swirling Sufi (active physical meditation) and visit.