What is Sufism?
What are practitioners of Sufism called?
When did Sufism emerge in Islamic history?
What is tasawwuf?
What is the role of Sufism in spreading Islam?
What is the relationship between Sufi orders and Islamic law?
What is neo-Sufism?
What is dhikr?
Who is considered one of the most important Sufi masters?
Sufism: A Brief Overview
- Sufism is a mystic body of religious practice found mainly within Sunni Islam.
- It is characterized by a focus on Islamic purification, spirituality, ritualism, asceticism and esotericism.
- Practitioners of Sufism are referred to as "Sufis" and historically typically belonged to "orders" known as tariqa.
- Sufism emerged early on in Islamic history, partly as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661–750) and mainly under the tutelage of Hasan Al-Basri.
- Sufis strictly observed Islamic law and belonged to various schools of Islamic jurisprudence and theology.
- Sufism has played an important role in spreading Islam through their missionary and educational activities.
- Sufism has continued to play an important role in the Islamic world, especially in the neo-traditionalist strand of Sunni Islam.
- The Arabic word tasawwuf generally translated as Sufism, is commonly defined by Western authors as Islamic mysticism.
- Sufi orders meet for spiritual sessions in meeting places known as zawiyas, khanqahs or tekke.
- Sufism is not a distinct sect 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".
- Tasawwuf is regarded as a science of the soul that has always been an integral part of Orthodox Islam.
- Sufism has influenced and been adopted by various Shia movements, especially Isma'ilism.Overview of Sufism in Islamic history, including the formalization of doctrine and growth of influence from the 11th century onwards, and the role of Sufism in creating and propagating Islamic cultures in Africa and Asia.
Discussion of the decline of Sufi orders in the early 20th century due to opposition from Islamic reformers and Westernizing national governments, and the subsequent revival and continued importance of Sufism in the modern Muslim world.
Descriptions of various Sufi orders, including their legal affiliations and geographic spread.
The relationship of Sufi orders to modern societies, and the criticism and support they have received from governments and other groups.
The aims and objectives of Sufism, including seeking the pleasing of God and restoring the primordial state of fitra, and the inner and outer laws of Sufism.
Teachings of Sufism, including the transmission of divine light from teacher to student, the concept of the Perfect Man, and the importance of personal experience.
Discussion of the role of Muhammad in Sufism, including the strong devotion to him as the prime personality of spiritual greatness.Sufism: Beliefs, Practices, and the Role of Saints
Sufis consider the sunnah of Muhammad integral to their belief and practice, with some Sufi figures being so devoted to it that they refused to eat certain foods.
The al-Kawākib ad-Durrīya fī Madḥ Khayr al-Barīya ('The Celestial Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation'), commonly referred to as Qaṣīdat al-Burda ('Poem of the Mantle'), is a widely recited and sung poem extensively praising Muhammad.
According to Ibn Arabi, Islam is the best religion because of Muhammad, who is the supreme human being and master of all creatures, and the primary role model for human beings to emulate.
Sufism leads the adept, called salik or "wayfarer," in his sulûk or "road" through different stations until he reaches the perfect tawhid, the existential confession that God is One, and the sharia, tariqa, and haqiqa are mutually interdependent.
Malik, one of the founders of the four schools of Sunni law, was a strong proponent of combining the inward science of mystical knowledge with the outward science of jurisprudence.
The Amman Message recognized the validity of Sufism as a part of Islam, and it was adopted by the Islamic world's political and temporal leaderships.
The relationship between traditional Islamic scholars and Sufism is complex, and a range of scholarly opinion on Sufism in Islam has been the norm.
Persians played a major role in systematizing Islamic mysticism, and Persian Sufi poets include Rumi, Attar, and Hafez.
Neo-Sufism refers to reformist currents among 18th-century Sufi orders that sought to reassert the importance of Islamic law as the basis for inner spirituality and social activism. In recent times, it has been used to describe various forms of Sufi-influenced spirituality in the West.
Sufi practices include rigorous adherence to Islamic norms, supererogatory practices from the life of Muhammad, and purification of the heart through solitude, silence, sleeplessness, and hunger.
Dhikr is the remembrance of Allah through a specific devotional act, and some Sufi orders engage in ritualized dhikr ceremonies, or sema.
Muraqaba is a form of meditation practiced by Sufis.
Sufi whirling is a form of physically active meditation that aims to reach the source of all perfection through abandoning one's nafs and focusing on God.Sufism: Visitation, Miracles, Shrines, Theoretical perspectives, Contributions to other domains of scholarship, Prominent Sufis
Visitation to the tombs of saints, scholars, and righteous people is a common practice in popular Sufism, particularly in South Asia.
Karamat refers to supernatural wonders performed by Muslim saints, and it has been a requirement in Sunni Islam to have a belief in the miracles of saints.
Dargahs are shrines built over the grave of a revered religious figure, often a Sufi saint or dervish, and they often include a mosque, meeting rooms, and other community buildings.
Traditional Islamic scholars recognize two major branches within the practice of Sufism, one being the order from signs to the Signifier and the other being the order from the Signifier to his signs.
Sufism has contributed significantly to the elaboration of theoretical perspectives in many domains of intellectual endeavor, including Sufi psychology, cosmology, and metaphysics.
Abdul-Qadir Gilani, Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili, Ahmad Al-Tijani, Bayazid Bastami, Sayyed Badiuddin, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Ibn Arabi, Junayd of Baghdad, Mansur Al-Hallaj, and Moinuddin Chishti are some of the prominent Sufis.
Abdul-Qadir Gilani is the founder of the Qadiri order, while Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili introduced dhikr jahri and taught his followers to be grateful for what God has bestowed upon them.
Ahmad Al-Tijani is the founder of the Tijaniyya Sufi order, while Bayazid Bastami is known for his devout commitment to the Sunnah and his dedication to fundamental Islamic principles and practices.
Sayyed Badiuddin founded the Madariyya Silsila, and Bawa Muhaiyaddeen spent the rest of his life preaching, healing, and comforting the many souls that came to see him.
Ibn Arabi is considered to be one of the most important Sufi masters, while Mansur Al-Hallaj is renowned for his claim, Ana-l-Haqq ("I am The Truth"), his ecstatic Sufism, and state trial.
Moinuddin Chishti is the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order, and he introduced and established the order in the Indian subcontinent.
How much do you know about Sufism? Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the history, beliefs, practices, and prominent figures of this mystic body of religious practice found mainly within Sunni Islam. From the emergence of Sufism in Islamic history to the role of saints and the contributions of Sufi scholars to other domains of scholarship, this quiz will challenge and expand your understanding of this important aspect of Islamic spirituality. Whether you are a student of religion or simply interested in learning more
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