Sufism, also known as tasawwuf, is an Islamic spiritual tradition that emphasizes the inner dimensions of religion, such as personal devotion and mysticism. The word “sufi” comes from the Arabic word for “mystic,” and its practitioners are known as “Sufis.”
Sufism emerged as a distinct movement within Islam during the 8th and 9th centuries, and it is characterized by its emphasis on the direct personal experience of God, as well as its focus on the inner spiritual journey of the individual.
One of the key practices of Sufism is the cultivation of personal devotion to God through the repetition of divine names and phrases, known as zikr. This practice is believed to help purify the soul and bring the individual closer to God.
Source of Guidance
Sufism also places a great emphasis on the spiritual guide, or sheikh, who is considered to be an important source of guidance and wisdom for the aspiring mystic. The sheikh is considered to be someone who has already traversed the spiritual path and can help guide others toward spiritual realization.
Another important aspect of Sufism is the concept of purification of the soul, which is believed to be a necessary step for the individual to be able to have a direct personal experience of God. This process of purification is believed to involve the elimination of the ego and the cultivation of virtues such as humility, patience, and love.
Sufism also has a rich tradition of poetry and literature, which is often used as a tool for teaching and transmitting spiritual knowledge. The works of famous Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz are widely read and celebrated in the Muslim world and beyond.
Sufism has various Schools or Tariqa, like the Mevlevi Order, which is also known as the “whirling dervishes,” is known for its distinctive dance ceremony, which is performed as a form of devotional worship.
What is Sufism?
Sufism has had a profound influence on Islamic culture, particularly in the areas of music, poetry, and architecture. Some of the most iconic Islamic buildings, such as the Alhambra in Spain and the tomb of Jalaluddin Rumi in Turkey, were built by Sufis.
Despite its long history and wide influence, Sufism has been the subject of much controversy and debate within Islam. Some traditionalists view Sufism as a deviation from the true path of Islam, while others see it as a necessary complement to the exoteric aspects of religion.
In recent years, some extremist groups have targeted Sufi shrines and practitioners, considering the traditional and peaceful practices of Sufism as a threat to their beliefs.
In conclusion, Sufism is a spiritual tradition within Islam that emphasizes the inner dimensions of religion and personal devotion to God. It is characterized by practices such as zikr, the cultivation of virtues, and the guidance of a spiritual teacher. The tradition has had a significant influence on Islamic culture and it continues to be a subject of debate within the religion. Despite the recent attacks, Sufism continues to have a following all over the world, and its teachings and practices continue to provide spiritual guidance and inspiration to many.