Emergence of Sufism in Muslim Societies – Essay Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper “ Emergence of Sufism in Muslim Societies ” is a thrilling variant of an essay on religion and theology. Sufism refers to the inner, mystical aspect of Islam. Known as taṣawwuf in Arabic, it is a belief and practice where Muslims seek to establish the truth of divine knowledge and love through direct personal awareness of God (Hoffman-Ladd, 1992). It is known as Sufism within western languages from the start of the 19th century and is derived from the Arabic word ṣūfī, which also refers to its practitioners.

Ṣūfī originates from the word ṣūf, which means wool hence Sufism literary means to dress in wool, referring to the woolen garments worn by the early Islamic ascetics who adhered to abstinence from worldly pleasures. Sufism is divided into several orders, known as ṭuruq in Arabic, which are congregations that follow one master and usually meet to have spiritual lessons in places called zawiya or tekke. Most of these orders could be followers of the two main doctrines, the Sunnī or Shī'ī, or follow a mixed doctrine of both. The major orders include Qalandariyya, Ba 'Alawiyya, Nimatullahi, Khalwati, Qadiriyyah, Oveyssi, Qadiria Boutshishia, Shadhiliyya, Naqshbandi, Sarwari Qadiri, Chishti, and Suhrawardiyya.

All these orders or paths are intended to establish the nature of God and that of humanity as well as assist the awareness of the existence of divine wisdom and love in the world. Sufism means an extensive assortment of convictions that focus on the pursuit of individual clarification in the union in the company of God. Sometimes, Sufis are seen as the spiritualists of Islam; however, Sufism suits inelegantly in the kinds of beliefs.

Precisely Sufism is a value of Islam, even though there are numerous Sufis, who are non-Muslims (Margaret, 1994). In addition, there are numerous Muslims, which are disinclined to regard as the Sufism element of Islam. Among some ideologies, which Sufis tend to consent on is that each religion gives an alleyway to deliverance or illumination as well as that factual God apprehension, regardless of how it is attained, exceeds the restrictions as well as categorization of whichever faith. A saint in whichever faith is identical to a saint in whichever other faith since they are motivated by alike Divine foundation.

Originally, the word Sufi only referred to those that had attained God's comprehension, however, it has come to be utilized to anybody that follows that specific spiritual way. Since the word Sufi originates from “ sufe, ” an Arabic word that signifies wool or else “ safe, ” a Persian name that means pure, advanced Sufism students wear low-priced wool garments as a part of their denial life (Ahmad, 2002). All Sufis consider themselves the original proponents of Ihsan, a fundamental aspect of Islam that focuses on the perfection of worship that the prophet Muhammad was revealed to by Gabriel.

Despite this historical link to the founder of Islam, Sufism continues to be opposed by both the Salafist and Wahhabi Muslims (Weismann, 2005). Leading scholars of Islam describe Sufism just as the name was given to the inner mystical aspect of Islam that is supported by the various outward practices undertaken in Islam. It is their view that to be a Sufi, one has to be a Muslim because the various methods adhered to in Sufism cannot operate effectively without an affiliation to Islam (Tanvir, 2006).

Opposition to Sufism is also based on a view by some Muslims who feel that Sufism is an aspect that is outside Islam. The proponents of Sufism are keen to point out the need for asceticism in order for one to be able to abandon all worldly pleasures and be able to pursue a spiritual life. This is because Muhammad viewed his life on earth like that of a traveler who was resting for some time under a tree shade and would then rise and move on.

He lived a simple life even after he became the ruler of Arabia where he continued to wear old izaars and would sleep on a mat that was made from coarse straw. Muhammad led by example and would eat few times a day as well as preferred wearing his old izaars even when he was presented with a new izar and therefore was able to advise Muslims to have simple lives. In the present day, Muslims are encouraged to follow a similar life where they expected to create a balance in life through living to their fullest but also knowing that life is a journey and that they are one earth just for some time (Tanvir, 2006).


Ahmad, F. (2002). The Impact of Sufism on Muslims in Pre-colonial Malaysia: An Overview of Interpretations. Islamic Studies, Vol. 41, No. 3 pp. 467-493.

Bonner, A. (2004). An Islamic Reformation in Turkey. Middle East Policy, Vol 11, Issue 1, pp 84–97.

Carl, W. E. (2005). Situating Sufism and Yoga. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 15, pp 15-43.

Hamid, A. (1976). The Naqshbandī Order: A Preliminary Survey of Its History and Significance. Studia Islamica, No. 44 pp. 123-152

Hoffman-Ladd, J. (1992). Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism. International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol 24, pp 615-637.

Margaret, M. (1994). Sufi Organizations and Structures of Authority in Medieval Nishapur. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 26, pp 427-442.

The Nile, G. (2004). Emerging Approaches to the Sufi Traditions of South Asia: Between Texts, Territories, and the Transcendent. South Asia Research vol. 24 no. 2 123-148.

Rahimi, S. (2007). Intimate Exteriority: Sufi Space as Sanctuary for Injured Subjectivities in Turkey. Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 409–422

Tanvir, A. (2006). Sufism in History and its Relationship with Power. Islamic Studies, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 221-268.

Weismann, I. (2005). The Politics of Popular Religion: Sufis, Salafis, and Muslim Brothers in 20th-Century Hamah. International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1 pp. 39-58.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us