Sufism

Sufism

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Sufism or is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a . Another name for a Sufi is Dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

.

Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi
Darqawa
The Darqawiyya or Darqawa Sufi order was a revivalist branch of the Shadhiliyah brotherhood. The Darqawa consisted of the followers of Sheikh Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi . The movement, which became one of the leading orders in Morocco, exalted poverty and asceticism. It gained widespread support...

 Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine
Divine presence
Divine presence, presence of God, or simply presence is a concept in religion, spirituality, and theology that deals with the omnipotent ability of a god and/or gods to be "present" with human beings...

, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."

Classical Sufis were characterised by their attachment to dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 (a practice of repeating the names of God) and asceticism
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

. Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE). Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages. "Orders" (ṭuruq
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

), which are either Sunnī or Shī'ī or mixed in doctrine, trace many of their original precepts from the Islamic Prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 through his cousin 'Alī
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 who trace their origins through the first Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

. Other exclusive schools of Sufism
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

 describe themselves as distinctly Sufi. Modern Sufis often perform dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 after the conclusion of prayers.

Some mainstream scholars of Islam define sufism as simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam. René Guénon in 'Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism ' (Sophia Perennis 2003) contended that Sufism was the esoteric aspect of Islam supported and complemented by exoteric practices and Islamic law. However, according to Idries Shah
Idries Shah
Idries Shah , also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi , was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.Born in India, the descendant of a...

, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions, save for perhaps Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

; likewise, some Muslims consider Sufism outside the sphere of Islam.

Etymology and origin of the term


Two origins of the word 'sufi' have been suggested. Commonly, the lexical root of the word is traced to , which in Arabic means "purity". Another origin is , "wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

", referring to the simple cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore.

The two were combined by the Sufi al-Rudhabari who said, "The Sufi is the one who wears wool on top of purity." The wool cloaks were sometimes a designation of their initiation into the Sufi order. Others have suggested that word comes from the term ('the people of the bench'), who were a group of impoverished companions of the Prophet Muhammad who held regular gatherings of
{{cleanup|date=January 2011}}
{{npov|date=October 2011}}
{{Islam}}
Sufism or {{transl|ar|DIN|taṣawwuf}} ({{lang-ar|تصوّف}}) is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of
Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a {{transl|ar|DIN|ṣūfī}} ({{lang|fa|صُوفِيّ}}). Another name for a Sufi is Dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

.

Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi
Darqawa
The Darqawiyya or Darqawa Sufi order was a revivalist branch of the Shadhiliyah brotherhood. The Darqawa consisted of the followers of Sheikh Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi . The movement, which became one of the leading orders in Morocco, exalted poverty and asceticism. It gained widespread support...

 Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine
Divine presence
Divine presence, presence of God, or simply presence is a concept in religion, spirituality, and theology that deals with the omnipotent ability of a god and/or gods to be "present" with human beings...

, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."

Classical Sufis were characterised by their attachment to dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 (a practice of repeating the names of God) and asceticism
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

. Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE). Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages. "Orders" (ṭuruq
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

), which are either Sunnī or Shī'ī or mixed in doctrine, trace many of their original precepts from the Islamic Prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 through his cousin 'Alī
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 who trace their origins through the first Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

. Other exclusive schools of Sufism
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

 describe themselves as distinctly Sufi. Modern Sufis often perform dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 after the conclusion of prayers.

Some mainstream scholars of Islam define sufism as simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam. René Guénon in 'Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism ' (Sophia Perennis 2003) contended that Sufism was the esoteric aspect of Islam supported and complemented by exoteric practices and Islamic law. However, according to Idries Shah
Idries Shah
Idries Shah , also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi , was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.Born in India, the descendant of a...

, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions, save for perhaps Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

; likewise, some Muslims consider Sufism outside the sphere of Islam.

Etymology and origin of the term


Two origins of the word 'sufi' have been suggested. Commonly, the lexical root of the word is traced to {{transl|ar|DIN|ṣafā}} ({{lang|ar|صَفا}}), which in Arabic means "purity". Another origin is {{transl|ar|DIN|ṣūf}} ({{lang|ar|صُوف}}), "wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

", referring to the simple cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore.

The two were combined by the Sufi al-Rudhabari who said, "The Sufi is the one who wears wool on top of purity." The wool cloaks were sometimes a designation of their initiation into the Sufi order{{Citation needed|date=January 2011}}. Others have suggested that word comes from the term {{transl|ar|DIN|ahl aṣ-ṣuffah}} ('the people of the bench'), who were a group of impoverished companions of the Prophet Muhammad who held regular gatherings of
{{cleanup|date=January 2011}}
{{npov|date=October 2011}}
{{Islam}}
Sufism or {{transl|ar|DIN|taṣawwuf}} ({{lang-ar|تصوّف}}) is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of
Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a {{transl|ar|DIN|ṣūfī}} ({{lang|fa|صُوفِيّ}}). Another name for a Sufi is Dervish
Dervish
A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

.

Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi
Darqawa
The Darqawiyya or Darqawa Sufi order was a revivalist branch of the Shadhiliyah brotherhood. The Darqawa consisted of the followers of Sheikh Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi . The movement, which became one of the leading orders in Morocco, exalted poverty and asceticism. It gained widespread support...

 Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine
Divine presence
Divine presence, presence of God, or simply presence is a concept in religion, spirituality, and theology that deals with the omnipotent ability of a god and/or gods to be "present" with human beings...

, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."

Classical Sufis were characterised by their attachment to dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 (a practice of repeating the names of God) and asceticism
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

. Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE). Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages. "Orders" (ṭuruq
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

), which are either Sunnī or Shī'ī or mixed in doctrine, trace many of their original precepts from the Islamic Prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 through his cousin 'Alī
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 who trace their origins through the first Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

. Other exclusive schools of Sufism
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

 describe themselves as distinctly Sufi. Modern Sufis often perform dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 after the conclusion of prayers.

Some mainstream scholars of Islam define sufism as simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam. René Guénon in 'Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism ' (Sophia Perennis 2003) contended that Sufism was the esoteric aspect of Islam supported and complemented by exoteric practices and Islamic law. However, according to Idries Shah
Idries Shah
Idries Shah , also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi , was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.Born in India, the descendant of a...

, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions, save for perhaps Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

; likewise, some Muslims consider Sufism outside the sphere of Islam.

Etymology and origin of the term


Two origins of the word 'sufi' have been suggested. Commonly, the lexical root of the word is traced to {{transl|ar|DIN|ṣafā}} ({{lang|ar|صَفا}}), which in Arabic means "purity". Another origin is {{transl|ar|DIN|ṣūf}} ({{lang|ar|صُوف}}), "wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

", referring to the simple cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore.

The two were combined by the Sufi al-Rudhabari who said, "The Sufi is the one who wears wool on top of purity." The wool cloaks were sometimes a designation of their initiation into the Sufi order{{Citation needed|date=January 2011}}. Others have suggested that word comes from the term {{transl|ar|DIN|ahl aṣ-ṣuffah}} ('the people of the bench'), who were a group of impoverished companions of the Prophet Muhammad who held regular gatherings of {{transl
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

.

According to the medieval Iranian scholar Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī the word sūfi is a derivation from the Greek word
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 "sofia" ({{lang|el|σοφία}}), meaning wisdom.

Basic views


While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and hope to become close to God in Paradise—after death and after the "Final Judgment"—Sufis also believe that it is possible to draw closer to God and to more fully embrace the Divine Presence
Divine presence
Divine presence, presence of God, or simply presence is a concept in religion, spirituality, and theology that deals with the omnipotent ability of a god and/or gods to be "present" with human beings...

 in this life. The chief aim of all Sufis is to seek the pleasing of God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of fitra
Fitra
Fitra, or fitrah , is an Arabic word meaning ‘disposition’, ‘nature’, ‘constitution’, or ‘instinct’. In a mystical context, it can connote intuition or insight...

, described in the Qur'an. In this state nothing one does defies God, and all is undertaken with the single motivation of love of God
Ishq
' , Dari "eshq" Persian eshgh, Turkish aşk, , Azerbaijani , means "love". The word is derived from ‘ashiqah, a vine: the common belief is that when love takes its root in the heart of a lover, everything other than God is effaced. In Islam's Sufi and mystic doctrine it is a concept which refers to...

. A secondary consequence of this is that the seeker may be led to abandon all notions of dualism or multiplicity, including a conception of an individual self
Self (philosophy)
The philosophy of self defines the essential qualities that make one person distinct from all others. There have been numerous approaches to defining these qualities. The self is the idea of a unified being which is the source of consciousness. Moreover, this self is the agent responsible for the...

, and to realize the Divine Unity
Tawhid
Tawhid is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion's most fundamental concept and holds God is one and unique ....

.{{Citation needed|date=January 2010}}

Thus, Sufism has been characterized{{By whom|date=November 2009}} as the science of the states of the lower self (the ego), and the way of purifying this lower self of its reprehensible traits, while adorning it instead with what is praiseworthy, whether or not this process of cleansing and purifying the heart is in time rewarded by esoteric knowledge of God. This can be conceived in terms of two basic types of law (fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

), an outer law concerned with actions, and an inner law concerned with the human heart.{{Citation needed|date=November 2009}} The outer law consists of rules pertaining to worship, transactions, marriage, judicial rulings, and criminal law—what is often referred to, a bit too broadly, as qanun
Qanun
Qanun refers to laws promulgated by Muslim sovereigns, in particular the Ottoman Sultans, in contrast to shari'a, the body of law elaborated by Muslim jurists. It comes from the Greek word kanon...

. The inner law of Sufism consists of rules about repentance from sin, the purging of contemptible qualities and evil traits of character, and adornment with virtues and good character.

Sufism, which is a general term for Muslim mysticism, was originally a response to the increasing worldly power of Islamic leaders as the religion spread during the 8th Century and their corresponding shift in focus towards materialistic and political concerns.{{Citation needed|date=January 2011}} In particular, Harun al-Rashid
Harun al-Rashid
Hārūn al-Rashīd was the fifth Arab Abbasid Caliph in Iraq. He was born in Rey, Iran, close to modern Tehran. His birth date remains a point of discussion, though, as various sources give the dates from 763 to 766)....

, the fifth Abbasid Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, attracted negative attention for his lavish lifestyle, including gold and silver tableware, an extensive harem and numerous slaves and retainers, that stood in contrast to the relative simplicity of Muhammad's life.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}}

The typical early Sufi lived in a cell of a mosque and taught a small band of disciples. The extent to which Sufism was influenced by Buddhist and Hindu mysticism, and by the example of Christian hermits and monks, is disputed, but self-discipline and concentration on God quickly led to the belief that by quelling the self and through loving ardour for God it is possible to maintain a union with the divine in which the human self melts away.

Teaching


To enter the way of Sufism, the seeker begins by finding a teacher, as the connection to the teacher is considered necessary for the growth of the pupil. The teacher, to be genuine, must have received the authorization to teach (ijazah
Ijazah
An ijazah is a certificate used primarily by Sunni Muslims to indicate that one has been authorized by a higher authority to transmit a certain subject or text of Islamic knowledge...

) from another Master of the Way, in an unbroken succession (silsilah
Silsilah
Silsila is an Arabic word meaning chain, often used in various senses of lineage. In particular, it may be translated as " order" or "genealogy". It is derived from the notion of apostolic succession.- Historical importance :...

) leading back to Sufism's origin with Muhammad.{{Dubious|date=January 2011}}{{Citation needed|date=January 2011}} It is the transmission of the divine light from the teacher's heart to the heart of the student, rather than of worldly knowledge transmitted from mouth to ear, that allows the adept to progress. In addition, the genuine teacher will be utterly strict in his adherence to the Divine Law.

Scholars and adherents of Sufism are unanimous in agreeing that Sufism cannot be learned through books.{{Dubious|date=November 2009}} To reach the highest levels of success in Sufism typically requires that the disciple live with and serve the teacher for many, many years.{{Citation needed|date=November 2009}} For instance, Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari was the founder of what would become the Naqshbandi. He was born in Bukhara which is located in Uzbekistan...

, who gave his name to the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 Order, served his first teacher, Sayyid Muhammad Baba As-Samasi, for 20 years, until as-Samasi died. He subsequently served several other teachers for lengthy periods of time. The extreme arduousness of his spiritual preparation is illustrated by his service, as directed by his teacher, to the weak and needy members of his community in a state of complete humility and tolerance for many years. When he believed this mission to be concluded, his teacher next directed him to care for animals, curing their sicknesses, cleaning their wounds, and assisting them in finding provision. After many years of this he was next instructed to spend many years in the care of dogs in a state of humility, and to ask them for support.

As a further example, the prospective adherent of the Mevlevi
Mevlevi
The Mevlevi Order, or the Mevlevilik or Mevleviye are a Sufi order founded in Konya by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. They are also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as a form...

 Order would have been ordered to serve in the kitchens of a hospice for the poor for 1,001 days prior to being accepted for spiritual instruction, and a further 1,001 days in solitary retreat as a precondition of completing that instruction.

Some teachers, especially when addressing more general audiences, or mixed groups of Muslims and non-Muslims, make extensive use of parable
Parable
A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human...

, allegory
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

, and metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

. Although approaches to teaching vary among different Sufi orders, Sufism as a whole is primarily concerned with direct personal experience, and as such has sometimes been compared to other, non-Islamic forms of mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 (e.g., as in the books of Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Seyyed Hossein Nasr is an Iranian University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, and a prominent Islamic philosopher...

).

Origins


In its early stages of development Sufism effectively referred to nothing more than the internalization of Islam. According to one perspective, it is directly from the Qur'an, constantly recited, meditated, and experienced, that Sufism proceeded, in its origin and its development. Others have held that Sufism is the strict emulation of the way of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, through which the heart's connection to the Divine is strengthened.

From the traditional Sufi point of view, the esoteric teachings of Sufism were transmitted from Muhammad to those who had the capacity to acquire the direct experiential gnosis
Gnosis
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

 of God, which was passed on from teacher to student through the centuries. Some of this transmission is summarized in texts, but most is not. Important contributions in writing are attributed to Uwais al-Qarni
Uwais al-Qarni
Uwais Qarni, known also as Saint Uwais Qarni was a Muslim mystic, martyr and philosopher of Yemen who lived during the lifetime of Muhammad, but never met Muhammad personally. As reported by the renowned historical scholar Ibn Battuta, Uwais' tomb is found in Ar-Raqqah, Syria, where he was killed...

, Harrm bin Hian, Hasan Basri and Sayid ibn al-Mussib, who are regarded as the first Sufis in the earliest generations of Islam. Harith al-Muhasibi
Harith al-Muhasibi
al-Muhasibi was the founder of the Baghdad School of Islamic philosophy, and a teacher of the Sufi masters Junayd al-Baghdadi and Sari al-Saqti....

 was the first one to write about moral psychology. Rabia Basri was a Sufi known for her love and passion for God, expressed through her poetry. Bayazid Bastami
Bayazid Bastami
Bayazid Bastami , also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, was a Persian Sufi born in Bastam, Iran.- Background :...

 was among the first theorists of Sufism; he concerned himself with fanā
Fanaa (Sufism)
Fanaa is the Sufi term for dissolution. It means to dissolve the self, while remaining physically alive. Persons having entered this enlightenment state obtain awareness of the intrinsecal unity between Allah and all that exists, including the individual's mind.- External links :* *...

and baqā
Baqaa
Baqaa, with literal meaning of permanency, is a term in Sufi philosophy which describes a particular state of life with God, through God, in God, and for God. It is the summit of the mystical manazil, that is, the destination or the abode...

, the state of annihilating the self in the presence of the divine, accompanied by clarity concerning worldly
World (theology)
-Christian views on the World:In Christianity, the concept connotes the fallen and corrupt world order of human society. The world is frequently cited alongside the flesh and the Devil as a source of temptation that Christians should flee...

 phenomena derived from that perspective.

Sufism had a long history already before the subsequent institutionalization of Sufi teachings into devotional orders (tarîqât) in the early Middle Ages. Almost all extant Sufi orders trace their chains of transmission (silsila) back to Muhammad via his cousin and son-in-law Ali. The Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 order is a notable exception to this rule, as it traces the origin of its teachings from Muhammad to the first Islamic Caliph Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

.

Different devotional styles and traditions developed over time, reflecting the perspectives of different masters and the accumulated cultural wisdom of the orders. Typically all of these concerned themselves with the understanding of subtle knowledge (gnosis
Gnosis
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

), education of the heart to purify it of baser instincts, the love of God, and approaching God through a well-described hierarchy of enduring spiritual stations (maqâmât) and more transient spiritual states (ahwâl).

Formalization of doctrine


Towards the end of the first millennium CE, a number of manuals began to be written summarizing the doctrines of Sufism and describing some typical Sufi practices. Two of the most famous of these are now available in English translation: the Kashf al-Mahjûb of Hujwiri, and the Risâla of Qushayri.

Two of Imam Al Ghazali's greatest treatises, the "Revival of Religious Sciences" and the "Alchemy of Happiness," argued that Sufism originated from the Qur'an and was thus compatible with mainstream Islamic thought, and did not in any way contradict Islamic Law—being instead necessary to its complete fulfillment. This became the mainstream position among Islamic scholars for centuries, challenged only recently on the basis of selective use of a limited body of texts {{Like what?|date=December 2010}}. Ongoing efforts by both traditionally trained Muslim scholars and Western academics are making Imam Al-Ghazali's works available in English translation for the first time, allowing English-speaking readers to judge for themselves the compatibility of Islamic Law and Sufi doctrine.


Growth of Sufi influence in Islamic cultures


The spread of Sufism has been considered a definitive factor in the spread of Islam, and in the creation of integrally Islamic cultures, especially in Africa and Asia. Recent academic work on these topics has focused on the role of Sufism in creating and propagating the culture of the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 world, and in resisting European imperialism in North Africa and South Asia.

Between the 13th and 16th centuries CE, Sufism produced a flourishing intellectual culture throughout the Islamic world, a "Golden Age" whose physical artifacts are still present. In many places, a lodge (known variously as a zaouia
Zaouia
A zaouia or zawiya is an Islamic religious school or monastery. The term is Maghrebi and West African, roughly corresponding to the Eastern term madrassa...

, khanqah
Khanqah
A Khanqah, Khaniqah , ribat, zawiya, or tekke is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa, and is a place for spiritual retreat and character reformation...

, or tekke) would be endowed through a pious foundation in perpetuity (waqf
Waqf
A waqf also spelled wakf formally known as wakf-alal-aulad is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The donated assets are held by a charitable trust...

) to provide a gathering place for Sufi adepts, as well as lodging for itinerant seekers of knowledge. The same system of endowments could also be used to pay for a complex of buildings, such as that surrounding the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, including a lodge for Sufi seekers, a hospice
Hospice
Hospice is a type of care and a philosophy of care which focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's symptoms.In the United States and Canada:*Gentiva Health Services, national provider of hospice and home health services...

 with kitchens where these seekers could serve the poor and/or complete a period of initiation, a library, and other structures. No important domain in the civilization of Islam remained unaffected by Sufism in this period.

Contemporary Sufism


Current Sufi orders include Ba 'Alawiyya, Chishti, Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

, Nimatullahi, Oveyssi, Qadiria Boutshishia, Qadiriyyah, Qalandariyya, Sarwari Qadiri
Sarwari Qadiri
The Sarwari Qadiriyya Sufi Order is combination of two Arabic words Sarwari and Qadiriyya.First part Sarwari is derived from an Arabic word Sarwar which is associated with Prophet Muhammad.The second word Qadiriyya The Sarwari Qadiriyya Sufi Order is combination of two Arabic words Sarwari and...

, Shadhliyya
Shadhili
The Shadhili Tariqa is a Sufi order of Sunni Islam founded by Abul Hasan Ali ash-Shadhili. Followers of the Shadhiliya are known as Shadhilis....

 and Suhrawardiyya
Suhrawardiyya
Suhrawardy redirects here. For the East Bengali politician and Prime Minister of Pakistan, see Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. The well-known Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi "the Executed" , the Shia founder of Illuminationism, is unconnected....

.

Sufism is popular in such African countries as Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

, where it is seen as a mystical expression of Islam. Sufism is traditional in Morocco but has seen a growing revival with the renewal of sufism around contemporary spiritual teachers such as Sidi Hamza al Qadiri al Boutshishi. Mbacke suggests that one reason Sufism has taken hold in Senegal is because it can accommodate local beliefs and customs, which tend toward the mystical.

The life of the Algerian Sufi master Emir Abd al-Qadir is instructive in this regard. Notable as well are the lives of Amadou Bamba
Amadou Bamba
Ahmadou Bamba, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacké , was a Muslim Sufi religious leader in Senegal and the founder of the large Mouride Brotherhood Ahmadou Bamba, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacké (1853-1927) (Aamadu Bamba Mbàkke in Wolof, Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥabīb Allāh also known as Khadīmu...

 and Hajj Umar Tall
Umar Tall
El Hadj Umar ibn Sa'id Tall , , born in what is now actual Senegal was a West African political leader, Islamic scholar, and Toucouleur military commander who founded a brief empire encompassing much of what is now Guinea, Senegal, and Mali.-Name:Umar Tall's name is spelled variously: in...

 in sub-Saharan Africa, and Sheikh Mansur
Sheikh Mansur
Sheikh al-Mansur was a Chechen leader who led the resistance against Catherine the Great's imperialist expansion into the Caucasus during the late 18th century. He remains a legendary national hero of the Chechen people....

 Ushurma and Imam Shamil
Imam Shamil
Imam Shamil also spelled Shamyl, Schamil, Schamyl or Shameel was an Avar political and religious leader of the Muslim tribes of the Northern Caucasus...

 in the Caucasus region. In the twentieth century some more modernist Muslims have called Sufism a superstitious religion that holds back Islamic achievement in the fields of science and technology.

For a more thorough, though incomplete, summary of currently active groups and teachers, readers are referred to links in the site of Dr. Alan Godlas of the University of Georgia.

A number of Westerners have embarked with varying degrees of success on the path of Sufism. One of the first to return to Europe as an official representative of a Sufi order, and with the specific purpose to spread Sufism in Western Europe, was the Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

-born wandering Sufi Abd al-Hadi Aqhili
Ivan Aguéli
Ivan Aguéli also named Sheikh 'Abd al-Hādī 'Aqīlī upon his acceptance of Islam, was a Swedish wandering Sufi, painter and author. As a devotee of Ibn Arabi, his metaphysics applied to the study of Islamic esoterism and its similarities with other esoteric traditions of the world...

 (also known as Ivan Aguéli). René Guénon the French scholar became a sufi in the early twentieth century and was known as Sheikh Abdul Wahid Yahya. His manifold writings defined the practice of sufism as the essence of Islam but also pointed to the universality of its message. Other spiritualists as for instance G. I. Gurdjieff
G. I. Gurdjieff
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff according to Gurdjieff's principles and instructions, or the "Fourth Way."At one point he described his teaching as "esoteric Christianity."...

. may or may not conform to the tenets of Sufism as understood by orthodox Muslims.

Other noteworthy Sufi teachers who were active in the West in recent years include Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen was a saintly Tamil-speaking teacher and Sufi mystic from the island of Sri Lanka who first came to the United States on October 11, 1971 and established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship in Philadelphia...

, Inayat Khan
Inayat Khan
Inayat Khan was an exemplar of Universal Sufism and founder of the "Sufi Order in the West" in 1914 . Later, in 1923, the Sufi Order of the London period was dissolved into a new organization formed under Swiss law and called the "International Sufi Movement"...

, Nazim Al-Haqqani
Nazim Al-Haqqani
Mehmet Nâzım Adil / Sha'ban 26, 1340 AH), complete Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Qubrusi al-Haqqani, best known as Shaykh Nazim, is a Turkish Cypriot Sufi and leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order....

, Javad Nurbakhsh
Javad Nurbakhsh
Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh was the Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order from 1953 until his death. He was also a psychiatrist and a successful writer in the fields of both psychiatry and Sufi mysticism.-Iran:...

, Bulent Rauf
Bulent Rauf
Bulent Rauf was a Turkish-British mystic, spiritual teacher, translator and author. From 1945 to the early sixties, he was married to Princess Faiza, sister of King Farouk of Egypt....

, Irina Tweedie
Irina Tweedie
Irina Tweedie was a Teacher of the Naqshbandiyya- Mujadiddiya Sufi Order.Born in Russia and studied in Vienna and Paris, Irina Tweedie married a British naval officer after the Second World War, who then died in 1954. His death launched her on a spiritual quest that led her to India in 1959...

, Idries Shah
Idries Shah
Idries Shah , also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi , was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.Born in India, the descendant of a...

 and Muzaffer Ozak
Muzaffer Ozak
Muzaffer Ozak was one of the head sheikhs of the Halveti-Jerrahi order of Dervishes, a traditional muslim Sufi order from Istanbul...

.

Currently active Sufi academics and publishers include Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi mystic and lineage successor in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Sufi Order. He is an extensive lecturer and author of several books about Sufism, mysticism, dreamwork and spirituality.- History:...

, Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Nuh Ha Mim Keller is an American Muslim translator of Islamic books and a specialist in Islamic law, as well as being authorised by Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri as a sheikh in sufism in the Shadhili Order...

, Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee
Nooruddeen Durkee
Shaykh Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee is a Muslim scholar, thinker, author, translator and the khalifah for North America of the Shadhdhuli School for Tranquility of Being and the Illumination of Hearts, Green Mountain Branch. Nooruddeen Durkee became a Muslim in his early thirties in al-Quds,...

, Abdal Hakim Murad and the Franco-Moroccan Faouzi Skali.

Theoretical perspectives in Sufism


Traditional Islamic scholars have recognized two major branches within the practice of Sufism, and use this as one key to differentiating among the approaches of different masters and devotional lineages.

On the one hand there is the order from the signs to the Signifier (or from the arts to the Artisan). In this branch, the seeker begins by purifying the lower self of every corrupting influence that stands in the way of recognizing all of creation as the work of God, as God's active Self-disclosure or theophany. This is the way of Imam Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali
Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī , known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia was a Persian Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic....

 and of the majority of the Sufi orders.

On the other hand there is the order from the Signifier to His signs, from the Artisan to His works. In this branch the seeker experiences divine attraction (jadhba), and is able to enter the order with a glimpse of its endpoint, of direct apprehension of the Divine Presence towards which all spiritual striving is directed. This does not replace the striving to purify the heart, as in the other branch; it simply stems from a different point of entry into the path. This is the way primarily of the masters of the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 and Shadhili
Shadhili
The Shadhili Tariqa is a Sufi order of Sunni Islam founded by Abul Hasan Ali ash-Shadhili. Followers of the Shadhiliya are known as Shadhilis....

 orders.

Contemporary scholars may also recognize a third branch, attributed to the late Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 scholar Said Nursi
Said Nursî
Bediuzzaman Said Nursî ,commonly known as Bediüzzaman , which means "The Wonder of the Age" was a Muslim scholar who wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur'anic commentary exceeding six thousand pages. . He was born in Nurs, a village in the Ottoman Bitlis Province in eastern Anatolia. He...

 and explicated in his vast Qur'an commentary called the Risale-i Nur
Risale-i Nur
The Risale-i Nur Collection is an approximately six-thousand-page tafsir on the Qur'an written by Said Nursi between the 1910s and 1950s in accordance with the mentality of the age...

. This approach entails strict adherence to the way of Muhammad, in the understanding that this wont, or sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

, proposes a complete devotional spirituality adequate to those without access to a master of the Sufi way.

Contributions to other domains of scholarship


Sufism has contributed significantly to the elaboration of theoretical perspectives in many domains of intellectual endeavor. For instance, the doctrine of "subtle centers" or centers of subtle cognition (known as Lataif-e-sitta
Lataif-e-sitta
Lataif-as-Sitta are psychospiritual "organs" or, sometimes, faculties of sensory and suprasensory perception in Sufi psychology. They are thought to be parts of the self in a similar manner to the way glands and organs are part of the body...

) addresses the matter of the awakening of spiritual intuition in ways that some consider similar to certain models of chakra
Chakra
Chakra is a concept originating in Hindu texts, featured in tantric and yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Its name derives from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "turning" .Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices...

in Hinduism. In general, these subtle centers or latâ'if are thought of as faculties that are to be purified sequentially in order to bring the seeker's wayfaring to completion. A concise and useful summary of this system from a living exponent of this tradition has been published by Muhammad Emin Er
Muhammad Emin Er
Muhammad Emin Er is an Islamic scholar trained in the Ottoman tradition. A former student of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, he is one of a very small number of such scholars still alive...

.

Sufi psychology
Sufi psychology
There are three central ideas in Sufi Islamic psychology, which are the Nafs , the Qalb and the Ruh . The origin and basis of these terms is Qur'anic and they have been expounded upon by centuries of Sufic commentaries.-Overview:Nafs is considered to be the lowest principle of man...

 has influenced many areas of thinking both within and outside of Islam, drawing primarily upon three concepts. Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ja'far al-Sadiq
Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq was a descendant of Muhammad and a prominent Muslim jurist. He is revered as an Imam by the adherents of Shi'a Islam and as a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Sunni Muslims. The Shi'a Muslims consider him to be the sixth Imam or leader and spiritual...

 (both an imam
Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

 in the Shia tradition and a respected scholar and link in chains of Sufi transmission in all Islamic sects) held that human beings are dominated by a lower self called the nafs
Nafs
Nafs is an Arabic word which occurs in the Qur'an and means self, psyche, ego or soul. In its unrefined state, "the ego is the lowest dimension of man's inward existence, his animal and satanic nature." Nafs is an important concept in the Islamic tradition, especially within Sufism and the...

, a faculty of spiritual intuition called the qalb
Qalb
قلب is an Arabic word meaning "Heart". It is the second among the six purities or Lataif-e-sitta in Sufi philosophy.-Sixteen stages of Taming Qalb:To attend Tasfiya-e-Qalb, the Salik needs to achieve the following sixteen goals.#Zuhd or abstention from evil...

or spiritual heart, and a spirit or soul called ruh
Ruh
Rūḥ is an Arabic word meaning spirit. It is the third among the six purities or Lataif-e-sitta-Thirteen stages of taming ruh:To attend Tajalliy-e-Ruh, the Salik needs to achieve the following thirteen.#Iradah or Commitment with God...

. These interact in various ways, producing the spiritual types of the tyrant (dominated by nafs), the person of faith and moderation (dominated by the spiritual heart), and the person lost in love for God (dominated by the ruh).

Of note with regard to the spread of Sufi psychology in the West is Robert Frager
Robert Frager
Robert Frager is a Harvard-trained psychologist. He is the past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and the founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where he is currently Director of the Spiritual Guidance program and professor of Psychology.-Life:Frager is...

, a Sufi teacher authorized in the Halveti Jerrahi
Jerrahi
The Jerrahi are a Sufi tariqah derived from the Halveti order. Their founder was Muhammad Nureddin al-Jerrahi, who died in Istanbul and is buried at the site of his tekke in Karagumruk - Istanbul...

 order. Frager was a trained psychologist, born in the United States, who converted to Islam in the course of his practice of Sufism and wrote extensively on Sufism and psychology.

Sufi cosmology
Sufi cosmology
Sufi cosmology is a general term for cosmological doctrines associated with the mysticism of Sufism. These may differ from place to place, order to order and time to time, but overall show the influence of several different cosmographies:...

 and Sufi metaphysics are also noteworthy areas of intellectual accomplishment.

Sufi practices



The devotional practices of Sufis vary widely. This is because an acknowledged and authorized master of the Sufi path is in effect a physician of the heart, able to diagnose the seeker's impediments to knowledge and pure intention in serving God, and to prescribe to the seeker a course of treatment appropriate to his or her maladies. The consensus among Sufi scholars is that the seeker cannot self-diagnose, and that it can be extremely harmful to undertake any of these practices alone and without formal authorization.

Prerequisites to practice include rigorous adherence to Islamic norms (ritual prayer in its five prescribed times each day, the fast of Ramadan, and so forth). Additionally, the seeker ought to be firmly grounded in supererogatory practices known from the life of Muhammad (such as the "sunna prayers"). This is in accordance with the words, attributed to God, of the following, a famous Hadith Qudsi:


My servant draws near to Me through nothing I love more than that which I have made obligatory for him. My servant never ceases drawing near to Me through supererogatory works until I love him. Then, when I love him, I am his hearing through which he hears, his sight through which he sees, his hand through which he grasps, and his foot through which he walks.


It is also necessary for the seeker to have a correct creed (Aqidah), and to embrace with certainty its tenets. The seeker must also, of necessity, turn away from sins, love of this world, the love of company and renown, obedience to satanic impulse, and the promptings of the lower self. (The way in which this purification of the heart is achieved is outlined in certain books, but must be prescribed in detail by a Sufi master.) The seeker must also be trained to prevent the corruption of those good deeds which have accrued to his or her credit by overcoming the traps of ostentation, pride, arrogance, envy, and long hopes (meaning the hope for a long life allowing us to mend our ways later, rather than immediately, here and now).

Sufi practices, while attractive to some, are not a means for gaining knowledge. The traditional scholars of Sufism hold it as absolutely axiomatic that knowledge of God is not a psychological state generated through breath control. Thus, practice of "techniques" is not the cause, but instead the occasion for such knowledge to be obtained (if at all), given proper prerequisites and proper guidance by a master of the way. Furthermore, the emphasis on practices may obscure a far more important fact: The seeker is, in a sense, to become a broken person, stripped of all habits through the practice of (in the words of Imam Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali
Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī , known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia was a Persian Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic....

 words) solitude, silence, sleeplessness, and hunger.

Magic has also been a part of Sufi practice, notably in India. This practice intensified during the declining years of Sufism in India when The Sufi orders grew steadily in wealth and in political influence while their spirituality gradually declined as they concentrated on Saint worship, miracle working, magic and superstition. The external religious practices were neglected, morals declined and learning was despised. The element of magic in Sufism in India possibly drew from the occult practices in the Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

. The most famous of all Sufis, Mansur Al-Hallaj
Mansur Al-Hallaj
Mansur al-Hallaj was a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer and pious teacher of Sufism most famous for his poetry, accusation of heresy and for his execution at the orders of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir after a long, drawn-out investigation.-Early life:Al-Hallaj was born around 858 in Fars...

 (d. 922), visited Sindh in order to study "Indian Magic." He not only accepted Hindu ideas of cosmogony
Cosmogony
Cosmogony, or cosmogeny, is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of the universe, or about how reality came to be. The word comes from the Greek κοσμογονία , from κόσμος "cosmos, the world", and the root of γίνομαι / γέγονα "to be born, come about"...

 and of divine descent but he also seems to have believed in the Transmigration of the soul.

Dhikr


{{Main|Dhikr}}

Dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 is the remembrance of God commanded in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 for all Muslims through a specific devotional act, such as the repetition of divine names, supplications and aphorisms from hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 literature and the Qur'an. More generally, dhikr takes a wide range and various layers of meaning. This includes dhikr as any activity in which the Muslim maintains awareness of God. To engage in dhikr is to practice consciousness of the Divine Presence and love, or "to seek a state of godwariness". The Qur'an refers to Muhammad as the very embodiment of dhikr of God (65:10-11). Some types of dhikr are prescribed for all Muslims, and do not require Sufi initiation or the prescription of a Sufi master because they are deemed to be good for every seeker under every circumstance.

Some Sufi orders engage in ritualized dhikr ceremonies, or sema
Sema
Sama is a Sufi ceremony performed as dhikr. Sama means "listening", while dhikr means "remembrance". These rituals often includes singing, playing instruments, dancing, recitation of poetry and prayers, wearing symbolic attire, and other rituals...

. Sema includes various forms of worship such as: recitation
Recitation
A recitation is a presentation made by a student to demonstrate knowledge of a subject or to provide instruction to others. In some academic institutions the term is used for a presentation by a teaching assistant or instructor, under the guidance of a senior faculty member, that supplements...

, singing
Singing
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both tonality and rhythm. One who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music known as songs that can be sung either with or without accompaniment by musical instruments...

 (the most well known being the Qawwali
Qawwali
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, Hyderabad, Delhi, and other parts of northern India...

 music of the Indian subcontinent), instrumental music, dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

 (most famously the Sufi whirling
Sufi whirling
Sufi whirling , is a form of Sama or physicaly active meditation which orginated among Sufis, and which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a customary dance performed within the Sema, or worship ceremony, through which dervishes aim to reach the source of all...

 of the Mevlevi order), incense
Incense
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

, meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, ecstasy
Religious ecstasy
Religious ecstasy is an altered state of consciousness characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness which is frequently accompanied by visions and emotional/intuitive euphoria...

, and trance
Altered state of consciousness
An altered state of consciousness , also named altered state of mind, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking beta wave state. The expression was used as early as 1966 by Arnold M. Ludwig and brought into common usage from 1969 by Charles Tart: it describes induced...

.

Some Sufi orders stress and place extensive reliance upon Dhikr. This practice of Dhikr is called Dhikr-e-Qulb (remembrance of Allah by Heartbeats). The basic idea in this practice is to visualize the Arabic name of God, Allah, as having been written on the disciple's heart.

Muraqaba


{{Main|Muraqaba}}
The practice of muraqaba can be likened to the practices of meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 attested in many faith communities. The word muraqaba is derived from the same root (r-q-b) occurring as one of the 99 Names of God in the Qur'an, al-Raqîb, meaning "the Vigilant" and attested in verse 4: 1 of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. Through muraqaba, a person watches over or takes care of the spiritual heart, acquires knowledge about it, and becomes attuned to the Divine Presence, which is ever vigilant.

While variation exists, one description of the practice within a Naqshbandi lineage reads as follows:


He is to collect all of his bodily senses in concentration, and to cut himself off from all preoccupation and notions that inflict themselves upon the heart. And thus he is to turn his full consciousness towards God Most High while saying three times: "Ilahî anta maqsûdî wa-ridâka matlûbî—my God, you are my Goal and Your good pleasure is what I seek." Then he brings to his heart the Name of the Essence—Allâh—and as it courses through his heart he remains attentive to its meaning, which is "Essence without likeness." The seeker remains aware that He is Present, Watchful, Encompassing of all, thereby exemplifying the meaning of his saying (may God bless him and grant him peace): "Worship God as though you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He sees you." And likewise the prophetic tradition: "The most favored level of faith is to know that God is witness over you, wherever you may be."

Visitation


In popular Sufism (i.e., devotional practices that have achieved currency in world cultures through Sufi influence), one common practice is to visit the tombs of saints, great scholars, and righteous people. This is a particularly common practice in South Asia, where famous tombs include those of Khoja Afāq, near Kashgar
Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

, in China; Lal Shahbaz Qalander, in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Pakistan; Moinuddin Chishti
Moinuddin Chishti
Sultan-ul-Hind, Moinuddin Chishti was born in 1141 and died in 1230 CE. Also known as Gharīb Nawāz "Benefactor of the Poor" , he is the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order of the Indian Subcontinent. He introduced and established the order in South Asia...

 in Ajmer
Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Likewise, in Fez
Fes, Morocco
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

, Morocco, a popular destination for such pious visitation is the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
The Zaouia Moulay Idriss II is a zaouia in Fes, Morocco, dedicated to and tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fes for the second time in 810....

 and the yearly visitation to see the current Sheikh of the Qadiri Boutchichi Tariqah
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

, Sheikh Sidi Hamza al Qadiri al Boutchichi to celebrate the Mawlid
Mawlid
Mawlid or sometimes ميلاد , mīlād is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal,...

 (which is usually televised on Morrocan National television).

Persecution


The government of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 is considering an outright ban on Sufism, according to the 2009 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
It also reports:
In February 2009, at least 40 Sufis in Isfahan were arrested after protesting the destruction of a Sufi place of worship; all were released within days.
In January, Jamshid Lak, a Gonabadi Dervish from the Nematollahi Sufi order, one of the country's largest Sufi sects, was flogged 74 times after being convicted in 2006 of slander following his public allegation of ill-treatment by a Ministry of Intelligence official.
In late December 2008, after the closure of a Sufi place of worship, authorities arrested without charge at least six members of the Gonabadi Dervishes on Kish Island and confiscated their books and computer equipment; their status is unknown.
In November 2008, Amir Ali Mohammad Labaf was sentenced to a five-year prison term, 74 lashes, and internal exile to the southeastern town of Babak
Babak
Babak may refer to:* Babak Khorramdin , the leader of Khurramites movement who fought against the Abbasid Caliphate.*Babak *Babak Castle*Shahr-e-Babak in Kerman Province*Babek , Azerbaijan*Babek Rayon, Azerbaijan...

 for spreading lies, based on his membership in the Nematollahi Gonabadi Sufi order.
In October, at least seven Sufi Muslims in Isfahan, and five others in Karaj
Karaj
Karaj is a city in and the capital of Karaj County, Alborz Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 1,377,450, in 385,955 families, , making it the fifth-largest city in Iran after Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Tabriz.) It is situated west of Tehran, at the foothills of the Alborz...

, were arrested because of their affiliation with the Nematollahi Gonabadi Sufi order; they remain in detention.
In November 2007, clashes in the western city of Borujerd
Borujerd
Borujerd is a city in and capital of Borujerd County, Lorestan Province in western Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 227,547, in 59,388 families....

 between security forces and followers of a mystic Sufi order resulted in dozens of injuries and the arrests of approximately 180 Sufi Muslims. The clashes occurred after authorities began bulldozing a Sufi monastery. It is unclear how many remain in detention or if any charges have been brought against those arrested. During the past year, there were numerous reports of Shi'a clerics and prayer leaders, particularly in Qom
Qom
Qom is a city in Iran. It lies by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 957,496, in 241,827 families. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River....

, denouncing Sufism and the activities of Sufi Muslims in the country in both sermons and public statements.

Sufism and Islamic law



Scholars and adherents of Sufism sometimes describe Sufism in terms of a threefold approach to God as explained by a tradition (hadîth
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

) attributed to Muhammad,"The Canon is my word, the order is my deed, and the truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

 is my interior state".
{{citation}} Sufis believe the canon, order and truth are mutually interdependent. The order, the 'path' on which the mystics walk, has been defined as 'the path which comes out of the Canon, for the main road is called branch, the path, tariq.' No mystical experience can be realized if the binding injunctions of the Canon are not followed faithfully first. The path, order, however, is narrower and more difficult to walk. It leads the adept, called sâlik (wayfarer), in his sulûk (wayfaring), through different stations (maqâmât) until he reaches his goal, the perfect tawhîd, the existential confession that God is One. Shaykh al-Akbar Muhiuddeen Ibn Arabi mentions," When we see someone in this Community who claims to be able to guide others to God, but is remiss in but one rule of the Sacred Law - even if he manifests miracles that stagger the mind - asserting that his shortcoming is a special dispensation for him, we do not even turn to look at him, for such a person is not a sheikh, nor is he speaking the truth, for no one is entrusted with the secrets of God Most High save one in whom the ordinances of the Sacred Law are preserved. (Jami' karamat al-awliya')".

The Amman Message, a detailed statement issued by 200 leading Islamic scholars in 2005 in Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, and adopted by the Islamic world's political and temporal leaderships at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005, and by six other international Islamic scholarly assemblies including the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah, in July 2006, specifically recognized the validity of Sufism as a part of Islam.

Traditional Islamic thought and Sufism


The literature of Sufism emphasizes highly subjective matters that resist outside observation, such as the subtle states of the heart. Often these resist direct reference or description, with the consequence that the authors of various Sufi treatises took recourse to allegorical language. For instance, much Sufi poetry refers to intoxication, which Islam expressly forbids. This usage of indirect language and the existence of interpretations by people who had no training in Islam or Sufism led to doubts being cast over the validity of Sufism as a part of Islam. Also, some groups emerged that considered themselves above the Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 and discussed Sufism as a method of bypassing the rules of Islam in order to attain salvation directly. This was disapproved of by traditional scholars.

For these and other reasons, the relationship between traditional Islamic scholars and Sufism is complex and a range of scholarly opinion on Sufism in Islam has been the norm. Some scholars, such as Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali
Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī , known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia was a Persian Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic....

, helped its propagation while other scholars opposed it. W. Chittick
William Chittick
William C. Chittick is a leading translator and interpreter of classical Islamic philosophical and mystical texts. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on Rumi and Ibn 'Arabi, and has written extensively on the school of Ibn 'Arabi, Islamic philosophy, Shi'ism, and Islamic...

 explains the position of Sufism and Sufis this way:

{{quote|In short, Muslim scholars who focused their energies on understanding the normative guidelines for the body came to be known as jurists, and those who held that the most important task was to train the mind in achieving correct understanding came to be divided into three main schools of thought: theology, philosophy, and Sufism. This leaves us with the third domain of human existence, the spirit. Most Muslims who devoted their major efforts to developing the spiritual dimensions of the human person came to be known as Sufis.}}

Traditional and Neo-Sufi groups



The traditional Sufi orders, which are in majority, emphasize the role of Sufism as a spiritual discipline within Islam. Therefore, the Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 (traditional Islamic law) and the Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

 are seen as crucial for any Sufi aspirant. One proof traditional orders assert is that almost all the famous Sufi masters of the past Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

s were experts in Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 and were renowned as people with great Iman (faith) and excellent practice. Many were also Qadi
Qadi
Qadi is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law appointed by the ruler of a Muslim country. Because Islam makes no distinction between religious and secular domains, qadis traditionally have jurisdiction over all legal matters involving Muslims...

s (Sharia law judges) in courts. They held that Sufism was never distinct from Islam and to fully comprehend and practice Sufism one must be an observant Muslim.

In recent decades there has been a growth of neo-Sufi movements in the West. Examples include the Universal Sufism
Universal Sufism
Universal Sufism is a universalist spiritual movement founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan while traveling throughout the West between 1910 and 1926, based on unity of all people and religions and the presence of spiritual guidance in all people, places and things. It is to some extent influenced by the ...

 movement, the Golden Sufi Center, the Sufi Foundation of America, the neo-sufism of Idries Shah
Idries Shah
Idries Shah , also known as Idris Shah, né Sayed Idries el-Hashimi , was an author and teacher in the Sufi tradition who wrote over three dozen critically acclaimed books on topics ranging from psychology and spirituality to travelogues and culture studies.Born in India, the descendant of a...

, the International Association of Sufism
International Association of Sufism
International Association of Sufism is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that brings together scholars, educators, translators, and artists interested in the discipline of Sufism...

, and Sufism Reoriented
Sufism Reoriented
Sufism Reoriented is an American school of spiritual training headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, established by Meher Baba in 1952. In November of that year he signed The Chartered Guidance from Meher Baba for the Reorientation of Sufism. He appointed Ivy O...

, which was chartered by the spiritual teacher Meher Baba
Meher Baba
Meher Baba , , born Merwan Sheriar Irani, was an Indian mystic and spiritual master who declared publicly in 1954 that he was the Avatar of the age....

. Rumi has become one of the most widely read poets in the United States, thanks largely to the interpretative translations published by Coleman Barks
Coleman Barks
Coleman Barks is an American poet. Although he neither speaks nor reads Persian, he is nonetheless renowned as an interpreter of Rumi and other mystic poets of Persia.- Biographical notes:...

.

Islamic positions on non-Islamic Sufi groups


{{Unreferenced section|date=October 2008}}
{{Unbalanced|date=May 2009}}

The use of the title Sufi by non-traditional groups to refer to themselves, and their appropriation of traditional Sufi masters (most notably Jalaluddin Rumi) as sources of authority or inspiration, is not accepted by some Muslims who are Sufi adherents.

Many of the great Sufi masters of the present and the past instruct that: one needs the form of the religious practices and the outer dimension of the religion to fulfill the goals of the inner dimension of Sufism (Proximity to God). The exoteric practices prescribed by God contain inner meanings and provide the means for transformation with the proper spiritual guidance of a master. It is thought that through the forms of the ritual and prescribed Islamic practices (prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, charity and affirmation of Divine Unity) the soul may be purified and one may then begin to embark on the mystical quest. In fact it is considered psychologically dangerous by some Sufi masters to participate in Sufi practices, such as "dhikr", without adhering to the outer aspects of Islam, which add spiritual balance and grounding to the practice.

Some traditional Sufis also object to interpretations of classical Sufis texts by writers who have no grounding in the traditional Islamic sciences and therefore no prerequisites for understanding such texts. These are considered by certain conventional Islamic scholars as beyond the pale of the religion. However, there are Islamic Sufi groups that are open to non-Muslim participation.

Preeminent Sufis



Abul Hasan al-Shadhili


Abul Hasan al-Shadhili (died 1258 CE), the founder of the Shadhili
Shadhili
The Shadhili Tariqa is a Sufi order of Sunni Islam founded by Abul Hasan Ali ash-Shadhili. Followers of the Shadhiliya are known as Shadhilis....

yya Sufi order, introduced dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

 jahri
(The method of remembering Allah through loud means). Sufi orders generally preach to deny oneself and to destroy the ego-self (nafs) and its worldly desires. This is sometimes characterized as the "Order of Patience-Tariqus Sabr". In contrary Imam Shadhili taught that his followers need not abstain from what Islam has not forbidden, but to be grateful for what God has bestowed upon them. This notion known as the "Order of Gratitude-Tariqush Shukr" was espoused by Imam Shadhili. Imam Shadhili gave eighteen valuable hizbs (litanies) to his followers out of which the notable Hizbul Bahr is recited worldwide even today.

Bayazid Bastami


Bayazid Bastami
Bayazid Bastami
Bayazid Bastami , also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, was a Persian Sufi born in Bastam, Iran.- Background :...

 (died 874 CE) is considered to be "of the six bright stars in the firmament of the Prophet", and a link in the Golden Chain of the Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi spiritual orders of Sufi Islam. It is considered to be a "Potent" order.The Naqshbandi order is over 1,300 years old, and is active today...

 Tariqah. He is regarded as the first mystic to openly speak of the annihilation (fanā') of the base self in the Divine, whereby the mystic becomes fully absorbed to the point of becoming unaware of himself or the objects around him. Every existing thing seems to vanish, and he feels free of every barrier that could stand in the way of his viewing the Remembered One. In one of these states, Bastami cried out: "Praise to Me, for My greatest Glory!" His belief in the unity of all religions became apparent when asked the question: "How does Islam view other religions?" His reply was "All are vehicles and a path to God's Divine Presence."

Ibn Arabi



Muhyiddin Muhammad b. 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

 (or Ibn al-'Arabi) AH 561- AH 638 (July 28, 1165 – Damascus November 10, 1240) is considered to be one of the most important Sufi masters, although he never founded any order (tariqa). His writings, especially al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya and Fusus al-hikam, have been studied within all the Sufi orders as the clearest expression of tawhid (Divine Unity), though because of their recondite nature they were often only given to initiates. Later those who followed his teaching became known as the school of wahdat al-wujud (the Oneness of Being). He himself considered his writings to have been divinely inspired. As he expressed the Way to one of his close disciples, his legacy is that 'you should never ever abandon your servanthood (ubudiyya), and that there may never be in your soul a longing for any existing thing'.

Junayd Baghdadi


Junayd Baghdadi
Junayd Baghdadi
Junayd of Baghdad was one of the most famous of the early Persian Muslim mystics, or Sufis, of Islam and is a central figure in the golden chain of many Sufi orders. Junayd taught in Baghdad throughout his spiritual lifetime and was an important figure in the development of central Sufi doctrine...

 (830-910 CE) was one of the great early Sufis, and is a central figure in the golden chain of many Sufi orders. He laid the groundwork for sober mysticism in contrast to that of God-intoxicated Sufis like al-Hallaj, Bayazid Bastami and Abusaeid Abolkheir. During the trial of al-Hallaj, his former disciple, the Caliph of the time demanded his fatwa. In response, he issued this fatwa: "From the outward appearance he is to die and we judge according to the outward appearance and God knows better". He is referred to by Sufis as Sayyid-ut Taifa, i.e. the leader of the group. He lived and died in the city of Baghdad.

Mansur al-Hallaj


Mansur al-Hallaj
Mansur Al-Hallaj
Mansur al-Hallaj was a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer and pious teacher of Sufism most famous for his poetry, accusation of heresy and for his execution at the orders of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir after a long, drawn-out investigation.-Early life:Al-Hallaj was born around 858 in Fars...

  (died 922 CE) is renowned for his claim "Ana-l-Haqq" (I am The Truth). His refusal to recant this utterance, which was regarded as apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

, led to a long trial. He was imprisoned for 11 years in a Baghdad prison, before being tortured and publicly dismembered on March 26, 922. He is still revered by Sufis for his willingness to embrace torture and death rather than recant. It is said that during his prayers, he would say "O Lord! You are the guide of those who are passing through the Valley of Bewilderment. If I am a heretic, enlarge my heresy."

Perception outside Islam



Sufi mysticism has long exercised a fascination upon the Western world, and especially its orientalist scholars. Figures like Rumi have become household names in the United States, where Sufism is perceived as quietist and less political.

The Islamic Institute in Mannheim, Germany, which works towards the integration of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Muslims, sees Sufism as particularly suited for interreligious dialogue and intercultural harmonisation in democratic and pluralist societies; it has described Sufism as a symbol of tolerance and humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 – nondogmatic, flexible and non-violent.

Influence of Sufism on Judaism


{{See also|Jewish philosophy}}
A great influence was exercised by Sufism upon the ethical writings of Jews in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. In the first writing of this kind, we see "Kitab al-Hidayah ila Fara'iḍ al-Ḳulub", Duties of the Heart, of Bahya ibn Pakuda. This book was translated by Judah ibn Tibbon into Hebrew under the title "Ḥovot ha-Levavot".{{quote|The precepts prescribed by the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 number 613 only; those dictated by the intellect are innumerable.}}This was precisely the argument used by the Sufis against their adversaries, the Ulamas. The arrangement of the book seems to have been inspired by Sufism. Its ten sections correspond to the ten stages through which the Sufi had to pass in order to attain that true and passionate love of God which is the aim and goal of all ethical self-discipline. A considerable amount of Sufi ideas entered the Jewish mainstream through Bahya ibn Paquda
Bahya ibn Paquda
Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paquda was a Jewish philosopher and rabbi who lived at Zaragoza, Spain, in the first half of the eleventh century...

's work, which remains one of the most popular ethical treatises in Judaism.

It is noteworthy that in the ethical writings of the Sufis Al-Kusajri and Al-Harawi there are sections which treat of the same subjects as those treated in the "Ḥovot ha-Lebabot" and which bear the same titles: e.g., "Bab al-Tawakkul"; "Bab al-Taubah"; "Bab al-Muḥasabah"; "Bab al-Tawaḍu'"; "Bab al-Zuhd". In the ninth gate, Baḥya directly quotes sayings of the Sufis, whom he calls Perushim. However, the author of the Ḥovot ha-Levavot did not go so far as to approve of the asceticism of the Sufis, although he showed a marked predilection for their ethical principles.

The Jewish writer Abraham bar Ḥiyya teaches the asceticism of the Sufis. His distinction with regard to the observance of Jewish law by various classes of men is essentially a Sufic theory. According to it there are four principal degrees of human perfection or sanctity; namely: of "Shari'ah," i.e., of strict obedience to all ritual laws of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, such as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, almsgiving, ablution, etc., which is the lowest degree of worship, and is attainable by all of Ṭariqah, which is accessible only to a higher class of men who, while strictly adhering to the outward or ceremonial injunctions of religion, rise to an inward perception of mental power and virtue necessary for the nearer approach to the Divinity of "Ḥaḳikah," the degree attained by those who, through continuous contemplation and inward devotion, have risen to the true perception of the nature of the visible and invisible; who, in fact, have recognized the Godhead, and through this knowledge have succeeded in establishing an ecstatic relation to it; and of the "Ma'arifah," in which state man communicates directly with the Deity.

Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon
Avraham son of Rambam
Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon was the son of Maimonides who succeeded his father as Nagid of the Egyptian Jewish community....

, the son of the Jewish philosopher Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

, believed that Sufi practices and doctrines continue the tradition of the Biblical prophets. He introduced into the Jewish prayer such practices as reciting God's names (dhikr
Dhikr
Dhikr , plural ; ), is an Islamic devotional act, typically involving the repetition of the Names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur'an. Dhikr is usually done individually, but in some Sufi orders it is instituted as a ceremonial activity...

), prostration , stretching out hands, kneeling, ablution of the feet. Some of these Sufi-Jewish practices are still observed in a few Oriental synagogues
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

.

Abraham Maimuni's principal work is originally composed in Judeo-Arabic and entitled "כתאב כפיא אלעאבדין" Kitāb Kifāyah al-'Ābidīn ("A Comprehensive Guide for the Servants of God"). From the extant surviving portion it is conjectured that Maimuni's treatise was three times as long as his father's Guide for the Perplexed. In the book, Maimuni evidences a great appreciation for, and affinity to, Sufism. Followers of his path continued to foster a Jewish-Sufi form of pietism for at least a century, and he is rightly considered the founder of this pietistic school, which was centered in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

The followers of this path, which they called, interchangeably, Hasidism (not to confuse with the latter Jewish Hasidic movement) or Sufism (Tasawwuf), practiced spiritual retreats, solitude, fasting and sleep deprivation.The Jewish Sufis maintained their own brotherhood, guided by a religious leader - like a Sufi sheikh
Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

.

Abraham Maimuni's two sons, Obadyah and David, continued to lead this Jewish-Sufi brotherhood. Obadyah Maimonides wrote Al-Mawala Al Hawdiyya ("The Treatise of the Pool") - an ethico-mystical manual based on the typically Sufi comparison of the heart to a pool that must be cleansed before it can experience the Divine.

The Maimonidean legacy extended right through to the 15th century with the 5th generation of Maimonidean Sufis, David ben Joshua Maimonides, who wrote
Al-Mursid ila al-Tafarrud (The Guide to Detachment), which includes numerous extracts of Suhrawardi
Suhrawardi
Suhrawardi or al-Suhrawardi is a name that may refer to:** Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi , Iranian philosopher also known as Sohrevardi* The Suhrawardiyya order of Sufism...

{{Disambiguation needed|date=June 2011}}'s
Kalimat at-Tasawwuf.

Films


Bab'Aziz
Bab'Aziz
Bab'Aziz, or, Bab'Aziz: Le prince qui contemplait son âme is a 2005 film by Tunisian writer and director Nacer Khemir. It stars Parviz Shahinkhou, Maryam Hamid, Hossein Panahi, Nessim Khaloul, Mohamed Graïaa, Maryam Mohaid and Golshifteh Farahani...

(2005), a film by Tunisian director Nacer Khemir
Nacer Khemir
Nacer Khemir , born in 1948 in Korba, Tunisia, is a Tunisian writer, artist, storyteller, and filmmaker.-Biography:From an early age, Khemir was fascinated by classical Arabic culture and by storytelling...

, draws heavily on the Sufi tradition, containing quotes from Sufi poets such as Rumi and depicting an ecstatic Sufi dance.

In
Monsieur Ibrahim
Monsieur Ibrahim
Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran , also known as Monsieur Ibrahim in English, is a 2003 French movie starring Omar Sharif, and directed by François Dupeyron. The movie is based on a book and a play by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt.-Plot:...

(2003), Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

's character professes to be a Muslim in the Sufi tradition.

In
The Jewel of the Nile
The Jewel of the Nile
The Jewel of the Nile is a 1985 romantic adventure film, and a sequel to the 1984 film Romancing the Stone, with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito reprising their roles...

(1985), the eponymous Jewel is a Sufi holy man.

The 2007 short film
Vishwaas Ki Goonj (The Echo Of Faith), highlights the universal message of Sufism.

Newer production companies and directors are beginning to produce films that emphasize a Sufi sensibility.

Music


Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

, on her 1994 record
Bedtime Stories
Bedtime Stories (Madonna album)
Bedtime Stories is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on October 25, 1994 by Maverick Records. Madonna collaborated with Dallas Austin, Babyface, Dave "Jam" Hall and Nellee Hooper, deciding to move into a more R&B direction...

, sings a song called "Bedtime Story" that discusses achieving a high unconsciousness level. The video for the song shows an ecstatic Sufi ritual with many dervishes dancing, Arabic calligraphy and some other Sufi elements. In her 1998 song "Bittersweet", she recites Rumi's poem by the same name. In her 2001 Drowned World Tour, Madonna sang the song "Secret" showing rituals from many religions, including a Sufi dance.

Singer/songwriter Loreena McKennitt
Loreena McKennitt
Loreena Isabel Irene McKennitt, CM, OM, is a Canadian singer, composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist who writes, records and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. McKennitt is known for her refined, clear soprano vocals...

's record The Mask and Mirror
The Mask and Mirror
The Mask and Mirror is an album by Loreena McKennitt that was released in 1994. The album has been certified Gold in the United States.- Overview :Like most of Loreena McKennitt's albums, The Mask and Mirror is heavily influenced by her travels...

(1994) has a song called "The Mystic's Dream" that is influenced by Sufi music and poetry. The band mewithoutYou
MewithoutYou
Me Without You, stylized as mewithoutYou and abbreviated as mwY, is an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band consists of vocalist Aaron Weiss, guitarist Michael Weiss, bassist Greg Jehanian and drummer Rickie Mazzotta. MewithoutYou's music is generally dominated by...

 has made references to Sufi parables, including the name of their album
It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright  (2009). Lead singer Aaron Weiss claims this influence comes from his parents, who are both Sufi converts.

Lalan Fakir and Kazi Nazrul Islam
Kazi Nazrul Islam
Kazi Nazrul Islam , sobriquet Bidrohi Kobi, was a Bengali poet, musician and revolutionary who pioneered poetic works espousing intense spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. His poetry and nationalist activism earned him the popular title of Bidrohi Kobi...

 scored several Sufi songs. Famous Sufi singers from the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 include Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kailash Kher, Alam Lohar
Alam Lohar
Muhammad Alam Lohar was a prominent Punjabi folk music singer of Pakistan.He died in 1979 in an accident. He is also credited with popularizing the term and song Jugni.-Early life:...

 and Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen
Abida Parveen , is a Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music . She sings mainly ghazals, Urdu love songs, and her forte, Kafis, a solo genre accompanied by percussion and harmonium, using a repertoire of songs by Sufi poets...

. A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman
Allah Rakha Rahman is an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, record producer, musician, and philanthropist. Described as the world's most prominent and prolific film composer by Time, his works are notable for integrating eastern classical music with electronic music sounds, world music genres and...

, the Oscar-winning Indian musician has several compositions which draw inspiration from the Sufi genre; one example is the filmi qawwali
Filmi qawwali
Filmi qawwali is a form of qawwali music found in the Lollywood and Bollywood film industries.It represents a distinct sub-genre of film music, although it usually bears little resemblance to traditional qawwali, which is the devotional music of the Sufis...

, Khwaja Mere Khwaja in the 2008 Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 film
Jodhaa Akbar and Arziyan, a qawwali
Qawwali
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, Hyderabad, Delhi, and other parts of northern India...

in Delhi 6 (2009), dedicated to Delhi's 13th century Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya
Nizamuddin Auliya
Sultan-ul-Mashaikh, Mehboob-e-Ilahi, Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin Auliya , also known as Hazrat Nizamuddin, was a famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order in the Indian Subcontinent, an order that believed in drawing close to God through renunciation of the world and service to...

.

Junoon, a band from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, created the genre of Sufi rock
Sufi rock
Sufi rock is a subgenre of rock music that combines rock with classical sufi music traditions. It emerged in the early 1990s and became widely popular in the late 1990s in Pakistan. The term "sufi rock" was coined in 1993 by writer Nadeem F...

 by combining elements of modern hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 and traditional folk music with Sufi poetry.

Richard Thompson is a practicing Sufi and once lived in a Sufi commune in East Anglia with his first wife and young family.

Tori Amos
Tori Amos
Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

 makes a reference to Sufis in her song "Cruel".

Arabian Peninsula

  • Abdallah Bin Bayyah
    Abdallah Bin Bayyah
    Shaykh Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah He was born in Mauritania. Currently he teaches at King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia. He is a specialist in all four traditional Sunni schools, with an emphasis on the Maliki school of Madh'hab....

     (b. 1935) – Saudi Arabia
  • Habib Ali al-Jifri
    Habib Ali al-Jifri
    Habib Ali Zain al-`Abideen al-Jifri is an Islamic scholar from Hadhramaut, Yemen of the Shafi'i school of fiqh, and the Ashari school of aqida.-Background:...

     (b. 1971) – Yemen
  • Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki
    Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki
    Shaykh al-Sharif Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Alawi ibn Abbas ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Maliki al-Hasani al-'Idrisi al-Makki was a prominent Sunni Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia. He was born in Mecca to a family of well known scholars who, like himself, taught in the Sacred Mosque...

     (1944–2004) – Saudi Arabia

Greater Levant and Africa

  • Abd al-Hamid Kishk
    Abd al-Hamid Kishk
    Sheikh Abdul-Hamid Kishk was a well-known Egyptian preacher, scholar of Islam, activist, and author. He was a graduate of the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo and was said to be known for his humour, popular sermons, and for "his outspoken stance against" music, restrictions on...

     (1933–1996) – Egypt
  • Abdalqadir as-Sufi (b. 1930) – South Africa
  • Gibril Fouad Haddad
    Gibril Haddad
    -Biography:Born in 1960 in Beirut, Lebanon, Haddad studied French Literature at Columbia University. After studying in Damascus, Syria, from 1997 to 2006, he currently lives in Brunei and is an Islamic author and translator....

     (b. 1960) – Lebanon
  • Muhammad ibn al-Habib
    Muhammad Ibn al-Habib
    Sayyidi Muhammad ibn al-Habib ibn as-Siddiq al-Amghari al-Idrisi al-Hasani was an Islamic teacher, author, and shaykh of the Darqawa tariqa in Morocco.-Background:...

     (1876-1972) – Morocco
  • Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy
    Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy
    Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy was an influential Islamic scholar in Egypt. From 1986 to 1996, he was the grand Mufti of Egypt...

     (1928–2010) – Egypt
  • Nuh Ha Mim Keller
    Nuh Ha Mim Keller
    Nuh Ha Mim Keller is an American Muslim translator of Islamic books and a specialist in Islamic law, as well as being authorised by Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri as a sheikh in sufism in the Shadhili Order...

     (b. 1954) – Jordan
  • Wahba Zuhayli
    Wahba Zuhayli
    Dr. Professor Sheikh Wahba Mustafa al-Zuhayli born in Dair Atiah, Syria is a prominent yet somewhat controversial Syrian professor and Islamic scholar specializing in Islamic law and legal philosophy. He is also currently a preacher at Badr Mosque in Dair Atiah. He is the author of scores of...

     (b. 1932) – Syria

Western Europe

  • Abdal Hakim Murad (b. 1960) – UK
  • Frithjof Schuon
    Frithjof Schuon
    Frithjof Schuon, was a native of Switzerland born to German parents in Basel, Switzerland. He is known as a philosopher, metaphysician and author of numerous books on religion and spirituality....

     (1907–1998) – Switzerland
  • Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
    Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
    Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi mystic and lineage successor in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Sufi Order. He is an extensive lecturer and author of several books about Sufism, mysticism, dreamwork and spirituality.- History:...

     (b. 1953) – UK
  • Martin Lings
    Martin Lings
    Martin Lings was an English Muslim writer and scholar, a student and follower of Frithjof Schuon, and Shakespearean scholar...

     (1909–2005) – UK
  • Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada
    Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada
    Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada, in Jhang, Pakistan, is a shaykh in the Chishti Nizami Sufi Order and author of devotional books on Islam.He is a graduate of DMG Bhera and the University of the Punjab...

     (b. 1946) – UK

Eastern Europe

  • Hüseyin Hilmi Işık
    Huseyin Hilmi Isik
    Huseyin Hilmi Isik was a Turkish, Sunni Islamic Scholar.Işık was born in Eyyub Sultan, Istanbul. He was educated at Halicioglu Military High School, and went on to become the first engineer of chemistry in Turkey. Işık received religious education from profound mujtahid Abdulhakim Arvasi...

     (1911–2001) – Turkey
  • Mustafa Cerić (b. 1952) – Bosnia
  • Necip Fazıl Kısakürek
    Necip Fazil Kisakürek
    Ahmet Necip Fazıl Kısakürek was a Turkish poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher and activist. He is also known with his initials NFK...

     (1904–1983) – Turkey
  • Said Afandi al-Chirkawi
    Shaykh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi
    Said Afandi al-Chirkawi , 21 October 1937, Chirkey, Dagestan — scholar in Shafii mazhab, spiritual master.- Biography :He was born in 1937 in the village of Chirkey, Buynaksky District, Republic of Dagestan...

     (b. 1937) – Dagestan, Russia
  • Said Nursî
    Said Nursî
    Bediuzzaman Said Nursî ,commonly known as Bediüzzaman , which means "The Wonder of the Age" was a Muslim scholar who wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur'anic commentary exceeding six thousand pages. . He was born in Nurs, a village in the Ottoman Bitlis Province in eastern Anatolia. He...

     (1878–1960) – Turkey

North America

  • Hamza Yusuf
    Hamza Yusuf
    Hamza Yusuf Hanson is an Islamic scholar of the Sunni tradition, and co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, United States. He is an American convert to Islam, and is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders,...

     (b. 1960) – U.S.
  • Hisham Kabbani
    Hisham Kabbani
    Muhammad Hisham Kabbani is a prominent Lebanese-American Sufi Muslim. Kabbani advocates an understanding of Islam described by his supporters as fundamentally based on peace, tolerance, respect and love. Kabbani has been an outspoken critic of extremism as well as the Wahabi doctrine...

     (b. 1945) – U.S.
  • M. A. Muqtedar Khan
    M. A. Muqtedar Khan
    Dr. M. A. Muqtedar Khan [محمد عبد المقتدر خان] is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, a Sufi and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He is also the founding Director of the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Delaware...

     (b. 1966) – U.S.
  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr
    Seyyed Hossein Nasr
    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is an Iranian University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, and a prominent Islamic philosopher...

     (b. 1933) – U.S.
  • Zaid Shakir
    Zaid Shakir
    Zaid Salim Shakir is a prominent American Islamic scholar and writer who is a co-founder, , and faculty member, of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, United States, where he teaches courses on Arabic, Law, History, and Islamic Spirituality...

     (b. 1956) – U.S.

South Asia

  • Abdul Latif Chowdhury Fultali
    Saheb Qibla Fultali
    Abdul Latif Chowdhury , widely known as Saheb Qiblah Fultali, was an Islamic scholar of theology, philosopher, qira'at/tajweed teacher, murshid/pir, spiritual esotericist, philanthropist, and spiritual leader.-Background:...

     (1913–2008) – Bangladesh
  • Akhtar Raza Khan (b. 1943) – India
  • Meher Ali Shah
    Pir Meher Ali Shah
    Pir Syed Meher Ali Shah Gilani was born 14 April 1859 in Golra Sharif, which is located midway between Rawalpindi and Islamabad, in present-day Pakistan. The time just before his birth saw the Indian Rebellion of 1857 fought between the British and the sepoys allied with seven of the Princely...

     (1859–1937) – India
  • Qamaruzzaman Azmi
    Qamaruzzaman Azmi
    .Allama Maulana Qamaruzzaman Azmi is a prominent scholar in the Ahle sunnah wal jamah and Sufism. Millions of people across the Indian Sub-Continent, Middle East, Europe, America and Canada revere and respect him...

     (b. 1946) – India
  • Shibli Nomani
    Shibli Nomani
    Allamah Shibli Nomani was a respected scholar of Islam from Indian subcontinent during British Raj. He was born at Bindwal in Azamgarh district of present-day Uttar Pradesh. He is known for the founding the Shibli National College in 1883 and the Darul Mussanifin in Azamgarh...

     (1857–1914) – India
  • Tahir-ul-Qadri
    Tahir-ul-Qadri
    Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri is a Pakistani Sufi scholar and former professor of international constitutional law at the University of the Punjab....

     (b. 1951) – Pakistan

Eastern and Central Asia

  • Abdul Aleem Siddiqi (1892–1954) – Singapore
  • Muhammad Ma Jian
    Muhammad Ma Jian
    Muhammad Ma Jian was a Chinese Islamic scholar and translator.Born in Shadian village, Gejiu, Yunnan, Ma Jian went to Shanghai to pursue his studies in 1928. In 1931, he left China for Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt as a member of the first group of government-sponsored Chinese students to...

     (1906–1978) – China
  • Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas
    Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas
    Syed Muhammad al Naquib bin Ali al-Attas is a prominent contemporary Muslim philosopher and thinker from Malaysia. He is one of the few contemporary scholars who is thoroughly rooted in the traditional Islamic sciences and who is equally competent in theology, philosophy, metaphysics, history, and...

     (b. 1931) – Malaysia

See also


{{Portal|Sufism}}
  • Index of Sufism-related articles
  • Islam
    Islam
    Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

  • Tariqa
  • Tawassul
    Tawassul
    Tawassul is the Islamic understanding of intercession. It is a religious practice in which a Muslim seeks nearness to Allah. A rough translation would be: "To draw near to what one seeks after and to approach that which one desires." The exact definition and method of tawassul is a matter of...

    , a religious practice in which a Muslim seeks nearness to God

Additional reading


{{Commons category|Sufism}}
  • Abun-Nasr, Jamil. Muslim Communities of Grace: The Sufi Brotherhoods in Islamic Religious Life. London, Hurst, 2007.
  • Al-Badawi, Mostafa. Sufi Sage of Arabia. Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2005.
  • Algan, Refik & Camille Adams Helminski, translators, Rumi's Sun: The Teachings of Shams of Tabriz, (Sandpoint, ID:Morning Light Press, 2008) ISBN 978-1-59675-020-3
  • Ali-Shah, Omar. The Rules or Secrets of the Naqshbandi Order, Tractus Publishers, 1992, ISBN 978-2-909347-09-7.
  • Angha, Nader. "Sufism: A Bridge Between Religions". MTO Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 2002, ISBN 0-910735-55-7
  • Angha, Nader. "Sufism: The Lecture Series". MTO Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 1997, ISBN 978-0910735742.
  • Angha, Nader. "Peace". MTO Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 1994, ISBN 978-0910735995.
  • Aractingi, Jean-Marc and Christian Lochon, Secrets initiatiques en Islam et rituels maçonniques-Ismaéliens, Druzes, Alaouites,Confréries soufies; éd. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2008 (ISBN 978-2-296-06536-9).
  • Arberry, A.J.. Mystical Poems of Rumi, Vols. 1&2. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Austin, R.W.J.. Sufis of Andalusia, Gloustershire: Beshara Publications, 1988.
  • Azeemi,Khwaja Shamsuddin. Muraqaba: Art and Science of Sufi Meditation, Houston:Plato Publishing,Inc., 2005, ISBN 0975887548.
  • Barks, Coleman & John Moyne, translators, The Drowned Book: Ecstatic & Earthy Reflections of Bahauddin, the Father of Rumi, (NY: HarperCollins, 2004) ISBN 0-06-075063-4
  • Bewley, Aisha. The Darqawi Way. London: Diwan Press, 1981.
  • Burckhardt, Titus
    Titus Burckhardt
    Titus Burckhardt , a German Swiss, was born in Florence, Italy in 1908 and died in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1984. He devoted all his life to the study and exposition of the different aspects of Wisdom and Tradition.He was an eminent member of the "traditionalist school" of twentieth-century authors...

    .
    An Introduction to Sufi Doctrine. Lahore: 1963.
  • Chopra, R M, "Great Sufi Poets of The Punjab", Iran Society, Calcutta, 1999.
  • Colby, Frederick. The Subtleties of the Ascension: Lata'if Al-Miraj: Early Mystical Sayings on Muhammad's Heavenly Journey. City: Fons Vitae, 2006.
  • Dahlén, Ashk, Sufi Islam, The World's Religions: Continuities and Transformations, ed. Peter B. Clarke & Peter Beyer, New York, 2008.
  • Emin Er, Muhammad. Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the Sufi Path, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 9780981519616.
  • Emin Er, Muhammad. The Soul of Islam: Essential Doctrines and Beliefs, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 9780981519609.
  • Ernst, Carl. The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. HarperOne, 1999.
  • Fadiman, James and Frager, Robert. Essential Sufism. Boulder: Shambhala, 1997.
  • Farzan, Massud. The Tale of the Reed Pipe. New York: Dutton, 1974.
  • Gowins, Phillip. Sufism—A Path for Today: The Sovereign Soul. New Delhi: Readworthy Publications (P) Ltd., 2008. ISBN 9788189973490
  • Khan, Hazrat Inayat. "Part VI, Sufism". The Sufi message, Volume IX—The Unity of Religious Ideals
  • Koc, Dogan, "Gulen's Interpretation Of Sufism", Second International Conference on Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gülen Movement in Thought and Practice, December 2008
  • Lewinsohn (ed.), The Heritage of Sufism, Volume I: Classical Persian Sufism from its Origins to Rumi (700-1300).
  • Michon, Jean-Louis. The Autobiography (Fahrasa) of a Moroccan Soufi: Ahmad Ibn 'Ajiba (1747–1809). Louisville: Fons Vitae, 1999.
  • Nurbakhsh, Javad, What is Sufism? electronic text derived from The Path, Khaniqahi Nimatullahi Publications, London, 2003 ISBN 0-933546-70-X.
  • Rahimi, Sadeq (2007). Intimate Exteriority: Sufi Space as Sanctuary for Injured Subjectivities in Turkey., Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 46, No. 3, September 2007; pp. 409–422
  • Schimmel, Annemarie, Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983. ISBN 0-8078-1223-4
  • Schmidle, Nicholas, "Pakistan's Sufis Preach Faith and Ecstasy", Smithsonian magazine
    Smithsonian (magazine)
    Smithsonian is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The first issue was published in 1970.-History:...

    , December 2008
  • Shah, Idries. The Sufis. New York: Anchor Books, 1971, ISBN 0385079664.
  • Shaikh Sharfuddin Maneri. Letters from a Sufi Teacher. Mountain View, CA: Golden Elixir Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9843082-4-8.
  • Seker, Nimet. Jewish and Muslim Mysticism: Jewish Mystics on the Sufi Path Qantara.de April 2010
  • Wilcox, Lynn. "Women and the Holy Qur'an: a Sufi Perspective". MTO Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 1998, ISBN 0-910735-65-4

External links


{{Wikibooks|Sufism}}

{{Sufism}}
{{Islam topics|state=collapsed}}