Sufism, or Taṣawwuf(Arabic:
الْتَّصَوُّف), variously defined as "Islamic
mysticism", "the inward dimension of
Islam" or "the phenomenon of mysticism within
Islam", is mysticism in Islam, "characterized
... [by particular] values, ritual practices, doctrines and
institutions" which began very early in Islamic
history and represents "the main manifestation and the most
important and central crystallization of" mystical practice in
Islam. Practitioners of
Sufism have been
referred to as "Sufis" (from صُوفِيّ ṣūfiyy /
Historically, Sufis have often belonged to different ṭuruq or
"orders" – congregations formed around a grand master referred to as
a wali who traces a direct chain of successive teachers back to the
Islamic prophet, Muhammad. These orders meet for spiritual
sessions (majalis) in meeting places known as zawiyas, khanqahs or
tekke. They strive for ihsan (perfection of worship), as
detailed in a hadith: "
Ihsan is to worship
Allah as if you see Him; if
you can't see Him, surely He sees you." Sufis regard
Muhammad as al-Insān al-Kāmil, the primary perfect man who
exemplifies the morality of God, and see him as their
leader and prime spiritual guide.
Sufi orders trace most of their original precepts from Muhammad
through his cousin and son-in-law Ali, with the notable exception of
Although the overwhelming majority of Sufis, both pre-modern and
modern, were and are adherents of Sunni Islam, there also developed
certain strands of
Sufi practice within the ambit of
the late medieval period, particularly after the forced conversion of
Iran from majority Sunni to Shia. Traditional
during the first five centuries of
Islam were all based in Sunni
Islam. Although Sufis were opposed to dry legalism, they strictly
Islamic law and belonged to various schools of Islamic
jurisprudence and theology.
Sufis have been characterized by their asceticism, especially by their
attachment to dhikr, the practice of remembrance of God, often
performed after prayers. They gained adherents among a
Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early
Umayyad Caliphate (661–750)
and have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium,
initially expressing their beliefs in Arabic and later expanding into
Persian, Turkish, and Urdu, among others. Sufis played an
important role in the formation of Muslim societies through their
missionary and educational activities. According to
William Chittick, "In a broad sense,
Sufism can be described as the
interiorization, and intensification of
Islamic faith and
Despite a relative decline of
Sufi orders in the modern era and
criticism of some aspects of
Sufism by modernist thinkers and
Sufism has continued to play an important role
Islamic world, and has also influenced various forms of
spirituality in the West.
Book: IslamBook: QuranBook: HadithBook: Sahabah
Islamic MythologyBook: Angels in IslamBook: The
IslamBook: TIMELINE OF MUSLIM HISTORY
3.2 As an
3.3 Formalization of doctrine
3.4 Growth of influence
3.5 Modern era
4 Aims and objectives
Sufi beliefs about Muhammad
Islamic thought and Sufism
5 Theoretical perspectives
5.1 Contributions to other domains of scholarship
6 Devotional practices of Sufis
9 Prominent Sufis
9.1 Abdul-Qadir Gilani
9.2 Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili
9.3 Ahmad al-Tijani
9.4 Bayazid Bastami
9.5 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
9.6 Ibn Arabi
9.7 Junayd of Baghdad
9.8 Mansur Al-Hallaj
9.9 Moinuddin Chishti
9.10 Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya
12 Symbols associated with the
13.1 Perception outside Islam
13.2 Influence on Judaism
14 In popular culture
16 See also
19 External links
The Arabic word tasawwuf (lit. being or becoming a Sufi), generally
translated as Sufism, is commonly defined by Western authors as
Islamic mysticism. The Arabic term sufi has
been used in
Islamic literature with a wide range of meanings, by both
proponents and opponents of Sufism. Classical
which stressed certain teachings and practices of the
Quran and the
sunnah (exemplary teachings and practices of the
Muhammad), gave definitions of tasawwuf that described ethical and
spiritual goals[note 1] and functioned as teaching tools for
their attainment. Many other terms that described particular spiritual
qualities and roles were used instead in more practical
Some modern scholars have used other definitions of
Sufism such as
Islamic faith and practice" and
"process of realizing ethical and spiritual ideals".
Sufism was originally introduced into European languages in
the 18th century by Orientalist scholars, who viewed it mainly as an
intellectual doctrine and literary tradition at variance with what
they saw as sterile monotheism of Islam. In modern scholarly usage the
term serves to describe a wide range of social, cultural, political
and religious phenomena associated with Sufis.
The original meaning of sufi seems to have been "one who wears wool
(ṣūf)", and the Encyclopaedia of
Islam calls other etymological
hypotheses "untenable". Woollen clothes were
traditionally associated with ascetics and mystics.
Ibn Khaldun both rejected all possibilities other than
ṣūf on linguistic grounds.
Another explanation traces the lexical root of the word to ṣafā
(صفاء), which in Arabic means "purity", and in this context
another similar idea of tasawuf as considered in
Islam is tazkiyah
(تزكية, meaning: self-purification), which is also widely
includently used in sufism. These two explanations were combined by
Sufi al-Rudhabari (d. 322 AH), who said, "The
Sufi is the one who
wears wool on top of purity".
Others have suggested that the word comes from the term ahl
aṣ-ṣuffah ("the people of the suffah or the bench"), who were a
group of impoverished companions of
Muhammad who held regular
gatherings of dhikr, one of the most prominent companion among them
was Abu Huraira. These men and women who sat at al-Masjid an-Nabawi
are considered by some to be the first Sufis.
Main article: History of Sufism
Ali is considered to be the "Father of Sufism" in Islam.
Carl W. Ernst the earliest figures of
Sufism are Muhammad
himself and his companions (Sahabah).
Sufi orders are
based on the "bay‘ah" (بَيْعَة bay‘ah, مُبَايَعَة
mubāya‘ah "pledge, allegiance") that was given to
Muhammad by his
Ṣahabah. By pledging allegiance to Muhammad, the
committed themselves to the service of
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Verily, those who give Bai'âh (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) they are
giving Bai'âh (pledge) to Allâh. The Hand of Allâh is over their
hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own
harm, and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allâh, He
will bestow on him a great reward. — [Translation of Quran, 48:10]
Sufis believe that by giving bayʿah (pledging allegiance) to a
Sufi shaykh, one is pledging allegiance to Muhammad;
therefore, a spiritual connection between the seeker and
established. It is through
Muhammad that Sufis aim to learn about,
understand and connect with God. Ali is regarded as one of
the major figures amongst the Sahaba who have directly pledged
allegiance to Muhammad, and Sufis maintain that through Ali, knowledge
Muhammad and a connection with
Muhammad may be attained. Such a
concept may be understood by the hadith, which Sufis regard to be
authentic, in which
Muhammad said, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali
is its gate". Eminent Sufis such as
Ali Hujwiri refer to
Ali as having a very high ranking in Tasawwuf. Furthermore, Junayd of
Baghdad regarded Ali as sheikh of the principals and practices of
Jonathan A.C. Brown notes that during the lifetime of
Muhammad, some companions were more inclined than others to "intensive
devotion, pious abstemiousness and pondering the divine mysteries"
Islam required, such as Abu Dhar al-Ghifari. Hasan al-Basri,
a tabi, is considered a "founding figure" in the "science of purifying
Sufism hold that 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. Other
practitioners have held that
Sufism is the strict emulation of the way
of Muhammad, through which the heart's connection to the Divine is
Modern academics and scholars have rejected early Orientalist theories
asserting a non-
Islamic origin of Sufism, The consensus is
that it emerged in Western Asia. Many have asserted
Sufism to be
unique within the confines of the
Islamic religion, and contend that
Sufism developed from people like Bayazid Bastami, who, in his utmost
reverence to the sunnah, refused to eat a watermelon because he did
not find any proof that
Muhammad ever ate it.
According to the late medieval mystic Jami, Abd-
al-Hanafiyyah (died c. 716) was the first person to be called a
Important contributions in writing are attributed to Uwais al-Qarani,
Hasan of Basra, Harith al-Muhasibi,
Abu Nasr as-Sarraj and Said ibn
al-Musayyib. Ruwaym, from the second generation of Sufis
in Baghdad, was also an influential early
figure, as was Junayd of Baghdad; a number of
early practitioners of
Sufism were disciples of one of the
Sufism had a long history already before the subsequent
Sufi teachings into devotional orders
(tarîqât) in the early Middle Ages. The
is a notable exception to general rule of orders tracing their
spiritual lineage through Muhammad's grandsons, as it traces the
origin of its teachings from
Muhammad to the first
Islamic Caliph, Abu
Over the years,
Sufi orders have influenced and been adopted by
various Shi'i movements, especially Isma'ilism, which led to the
Safaviyya order's conversion to
Islam from Sunni
Islam and the
spread of Twelverism throughout Iran.
Sufi orders include
Ba 'Alawiyya, Badawiyya, Bektashi, Burhaniyya, Chishti, Khalwati,
Mevlevi, Naqshbandi, Ni'matullāhī, Uwaisi, Qadiriyya, Qalandariyya,
Rifa'i, Sarwari Qadiri, Shadhiliyya, Suhrawardiyya, Tijaniyyah, Zinda
Shah Madariya, and others.
Dancing dervishes, by
Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād
Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād (c. 1480/1490)
Existing in both Sunni and
Sufism is not a distinct sect,
as is sometimes erroneously assumed, but a method of approaching or a
way of understanding the religion, which strives to take the regular
practice of the religion to the "supererogatory level" through
simultaneously "fulfilling ... [the obligatory] religious
duties" and finding a "way and a means of striking a root
through the 'narrow gate' in the depth of the soul out into the domain
of the pure arid unimprisonable Spirit which itself opens out on to
the Divinity." Academic studies of Sufism
confirm that Sufism, as a separate tradition from
Islam apart from
so-called pure Islam, is frequently a product of Western orientalism
As a mystic and ascetic aspect of Islam, it is considered as the part
Islamic teaching that deals with the purification of the inner
self. By focusing on the more spiritual aspects of religion, Sufis
strive to obtain direct experience of
God by making use of "intuitive
and emotional faculties" that one must be trained to use.
Tasawwuf is regarded as a science of the soul that has always been an
integral part of Orthodox Islam. In his Al-Risala
al-Safadiyya, ibn Taymiyyah describes the Sufis as those who belong to
the path of the Sunna and represent it in their teachings and
Sufi inclinations and his reverence for Sufis like
Abdul-Qadir Gilani can also be seen in his hundred-page commentary on
Futuh al-ghayb, covering only five of the seventy-eight sermons of the
book, but showing that he considered tasawwuf essential within the
life of the
In his commentary, Ibn Taymiyya stresses that the primacy of the
sharia forms the soundest tradition in tasawwuf, and to argue this
point he lists over a dozen early masters, as well as more
contemporary shaykhs like his fellow Hanbalis, al-Ansari al-Harawi and
Abdul-Qadir, and the latter's own shaykh, Hammad al-Dabbas the
upright. He cites the early shaykhs (shuyukh al-salaf) such as
Al-Fuḍayl ibn ‘Iyāḍ, Ibrahim ibn Adham, Ma`ruf al-Karkhi, Sirri
Saqti, Junayd of Baghdad, and others of the early teachers, as well as
Abdul-Qadir Gilani, Hammad, Abu al-Bayan and others of the later
masters— that they do not permit the followers of the
Sufi path to
depart from the divinely legislated command and prohibition.
Ghazali narrates in Al-Munqidh min al-dalal:
The vicissitudes of life, family affairs and financial constraints
engulfed my life and deprived me of the congenial solitude. The heavy
odds confronted me and provided me with few moments for my pursuits.
This state of affairs lasted for ten years, but whenever I had some
spare and congenial moments I resorted to my intrinsic proclivity.
During these turbulent years, numerous astonishing and indescribable
secrets of life were unveiled to me. I was convinced that the group of
Aulia (holy mystics) is the only truthful group who follow the right
path, display best conduct and surpass all sages in their wisdom and
insight. They derive all their overt or covert behaviour from the
illumining guidance of the holy Prophet, the only guidance worth quest
and pursuit.
Formalization of doctrine
Sufi in Ecstasy in a Landscape. Iran,
Isfahan (c. 1650-1660)
In the eleventh-century, Sufism, which had previously been a less
"codified" trend in
Islamic piety, began to be "ordered and
crystallized" into orders which have continued until the present day.
All these orders were founded by a major
Islamic scholar, and some of
the largest and most widespread included the
Abdul-Qadir Gilani [d. 1166]), the Rifa'iyya (after Ahmed al-Rifa'i
[d. 1182]), the Chishtiyya (after
Moinuddin Chishti [d. 1236]), the
Shadiliyya (after Abul Hasan ash-
Shadhili [d. 1258]), the Hamadaniyyah
(after Sayyid Ali Hamadani [d. 1384], the Naqshbandiyya (after
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari [d. 1389]). Contrary to
popular perception in the West, however, neither the
founders of these orders nor their followers ever considered
themselves to be anything other than orthodox Sunni
Muslims, and in fact all of these orders were attached to
one of the four orthodox legal schools of Sunni
Islam. Thus, the
Qadiriyya order was Hanbali,
with its founder, Abdul-Qadir Gilani, being a renowned jurist; the
Chishtiyya was Hanafi; the
Shadiliyya order was Maliki; and the
Naqshbandiyya order was Hanafi. Thus, it is precisely
because it is historically proven that "many of the most eminent
Islamic orthodoxy, such as Abdul-Qadir Gilani, Ghazali,
and the Sultan Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn (Saladin) were connected with
Sufism" that the popular studies of writers like Idries
Shah are continuously disregarded by scholars as conveying the
fallacious image that "Sufism" is somehow distinct from
Towards the end of the first millennium, a number of manuals began to
be written summarizing the doctrines of
Sufism and describing some
Sufi practices. Two of the most famous of these are now
available in English translation: the
Kashf al-Mahjûb of Ali Hujwiri
and the Risâla of Al-Qushayri.
Two of al-Ghazali's greatest treatises are the Revival of Religious
Sciences and what he termed "its essence", the Kimiya-yi sa'ādat. He
Sufism originated from the
Qur'an and thus was compatible
Islamic thought and did not in any way contradict
Islamic Law—being instead necessary to its complete fulfillment.
Ongoing efforts by both traditionally trained Muslim scholars and
Western academics are making al-Ghazali's works more widely available
in English translation, allowing English-speaking readers to judge for
themselves the compatibility of
Islamic Law and
Sufi doctrine. Several
sections of the Revival of Religious Sciences have been published in
translation by the
Islamic Texts Society. An abridged
translation (from an
Urdu translation) of The Alchemy of Happiness was
published by Claud Field (.mw-parser-output cite.citation
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Muhammad Asim Bilal
Growth of influence
Mughal miniature dated from the early 1620s depicting the Mughal
Jahangir (d. 1627) preferring an audience with
Sufi saint to
his contemporaries, the
Ottoman Sultan and the
King of England
King of England James I
(d. 1625); the picture is inscribed in Persian: "Though outwardly
shahs stand before him, he fixes his gazes on dervishes."
Sufism became “an incredibly important part of
Islam” and "one of the most widespread and omnipresent aspects of
Muslim life" in
Islamic civilization from the early medieval period
onwards, when it began to permeate nearly all
major aspects of Sunni
Islamic life in regions stretching from India
Iraq to the
Balkans and Senegal.
The rise of
Islamic civilization coincides strongly with the spread of
Sufi philosophy in Islam. The spread of
Sufism has been considered a
definitive factor in the spread of Islam, and in the creation of
Islamic cultures, especially in Africa and
Senussi tribes of
Libya and the
Sudan are one of the
strongest adherents of Sufism.
Sufi poets and philosophers such as
Khoja Akhmet Yassawi, Rumi, and
Attar of Nishapur
Attar of Nishapur (c. 1145 – c.
1221) greatly enhanced the spread of
Islamic culture in Anatolia,
Central Asia, and South Asia.
played a role in creating and propagating the culture of the Ottoman
world, and in resisting European imperialism in North
Africa and South Asia.
Between the 13th and 16th centuries,
Sufism produced a flourishing
intellectual culture throughout the
Islamic world, a “Golden Age”
whose physical artifacts survive. In many
places a person or group would endow a waqf to maintain a lodge (known
variously as a zawiya, khanqah, or tekke) to provide a gathering place
Sufi adepts, as well as lodging for itinerant seekers of
knowledge. The same system of endowments could also pay for a complex
of buildings, such as that surrounding the
Süleymaniye Mosque in
Istanbul, including a lodge for
Sufi seekers, a hospice 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
Sufi teachers and orders from more literalist and
legalist strains of
Islam existed in various forms throughout Islamic
history. It took on a particularly violent form in the 18th century
with the emergence of the
Around the turn of the 20th century,
Sufi rituals and doctrines also
came under sustained criticism from modernist
liberal nationalists, and, some decades later, socialist movements in
the Muslim world.
Sufi orders were accused of fostering popular
superstitions, resisting modern intellectual attitudes, and standing
in the way of progressive reforms. Ideological attacks on
reinforced by agrarian and educational reforms, as well as new forms
of taxation, which were instituted by Westernizing national
governments, undermining the economic foundations of
Sufi orders. The
extent to which
Sufi orders declined in the first half of the 20th
century varied from country to country, but by the middle of the
century the very survival of the orders and traditional
appeared doubtful to many observers.
However, defying these predictions,
Sufi orders have
continued to play a major role in the Muslim world, also expanding
into Muslim-minority countries. Its ability to articulate an inclusive
Islamic identity with greater emphasis on personal and small-group
piety has made
Sufism especially well-suited for contexts
characterized by religious pluralism and secularist
In the modern world, the classical interpretation of Sunni orthodoxy,
which sees in
Sufism an essential dimension of
Islam alongside the
disciplines of jurisprudence and theology, is represented by
institutions such as Egypt's
Al-Azhar University and Zaytuna College,
with Al-Azhar's current Grand Imam
Ahmed el-Tayeb recently defining
"Sunni orthodoxy" as being a follower "of any of the four schools of
[legal] thought (Hanafi, Shafi’i,
Maliki or Hanbali) and ... [also]
Sufism of Imam
Junayd of Baghdad
Junayd of Baghdad in doctrines, manners and
Sufi Tanoura twirling in Muizz Street, Cairo
Sufi orders include Alians,
Bektashi Order, Mevlevi Order, Ba
'Alawiyya, Chishti Order, Jerrahi, Naqshbandi, Mujaddidi,
Ni'matullāhī, Qadiriyya, Qalandariyya, Sarwari Qadiriyya,
Shadhiliyya, Suhrawardiyya, Saifiah (Naqshbandiah), and
Uwaisi. The relationship of
Sufi orders to modern
societies is usually defined by their relationship to
Persia together have been a center for many
and orders. The
Bektashi were closely affiliated with the Ottoman
Janissaries and are the heart of Turkey's large and mostly liberal
Alevi population. They have spread westwards to Cyprus, Greece,
Albania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Kosovo, and, more recently, to the United States, via Albania.
Sufism is popular in such African countries as Egypt, Tunisia,
Algeria, Morocco, and Senegal, 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
contemporary spiritual teachers such as Hamza al Qadiri al Boutchichi.
Mbacke suggests that one reason
Sufism has taken hold in
because it can accommodate local beliefs and customs, which tend
toward the mystical.
The life of the Algerian
Abdelkader El Djezairi
Abdelkader El Djezairi is
instructive in this regard. Notable as well are the lives
Amadou Bamba and
El Hadj Umar Tall in West Africa, and Sheikh
Imam Shamil in the Caucasus. In the twentieth century, some
Muslims have called
Sufism a superstitious religion which holds back
Islamic achievement in the fields of science and
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
Sufism in Western Europe, was the Swedish-born wandering
Sufi Ivan Aguéli. René Guénon, the French scholar, became a
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, such as George Gurdjieff, may or may not conform to the
Sufism as understood by orthodox Muslims.
Sufi teachers who have been active in the West in
recent years include Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Inayat Khan, Nazim Al-Haqqani,
Muhammad Alauddin Siddiqui, Javad Nurbakhsh, Bulent Rauf, Irina
Tweedie, Idries Shah, Muzaffer Ozak, Nahid Angha, and Ali Kianfar.
Sufi academics and publishers include Llewellyn
Vaughan-Lee, Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee, Waheed
Ashraf, Omer Tarin, Ahmed abdu r Rashid and Timothy Winter.
Aims and objectives
Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam
Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam located in Multan, Pakistan. Known for
its multitude of
Multan is nicknamed the “City of
Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to
hope to become close to
God in Paradise—after death and after the
Last Judgment—Sufis also believe that it is possible to draw closer
God and to more fully embrace the divine presence in this
life. The chief aim of all Sufis is to seek the pleasing
God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of
To Sufis, the outer law consists of rules pertaining to worship,
transactions, marriage, judicial rulings, and criminal law—what is
often referred to, broadly, as "qanun". 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.
Sidi Boumediene Mosque
Sidi Boumediene Mosque in Tlemcen, Algeria, built to
honor the 12th-century
Sufi master Abu Madyan
To the Sufi, it is the transmission of divine light from the teacher's
heart to the heart of the student, rather than worldly knowledge, that
allows the adept to progress. They further believe that the teacher
should attempt inerrantly to follow the Divine Law.
Moojan Momen "one of the most important doctrines of
Sufism is the concept of al-Insan al-Kamil "the Perfect Man". This
doctrine states that there will always exist upon the earth a "Qutb"
(Pole or Axis of the Universe)—a man who is the perfect channel of
God to man and in a state of wilayah (sanctity, being under
the protection of Allah). The concept of the
Qutb is similar to
that of the Shi'i Imam. However, this belief
Sufism in "direct conflict" with
Shia Islam, since both the Qutb
(who for most
Sufi orders is the head of the order) and the Imam
fulfill the role of "the purveyor of spiritual guidance and of Allah's
grace to mankind". The vow of obedience to the
Qutb which is
taken by Sufis is considered incompatible with devotion to the
As a further example, the prospective adherent of the Mevlevi Order
would have been ordered to serve in the kitchens of a hospice for the
poor for 1001 days prior to being accepted for spiritual instruction,
and a further 1,001 days in solitary retreat as a precondition of
completing that instruction.
The Darbar Sharif of Shams Ali Qalandar, located in Hujra Shah
Some teachers, especially when addressing more general audiences, or
mixed groups of
Muslims and non-Muslims, make extensive use of
parable, allegory, and metaphor. Although approaches to
teaching vary among different
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
(e.g., as in the books of Hossein Nasr).
Sufi believe that to reach the highest levels of success in
Sufism typically requires that the disciple live with and serve the
teacher for a long period of time. An example is the folk
story about Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, who gave his name to the
Naqshbandi Order. He is believed to have served his first teacher,
Muhammad Baba As-Samasi, for 20 years, until as-Samasi died. He
is said to then have served several other teachers for lengthy periods
of time. He is said to have helped the poorer members of the community
for many years and after this concluded his teacher directed him to
care for animals cleaning their wounds, and assisting
His [Muhammad's] aspiration preceded all other aspirations, his
existence preceded nothingness, and his name preceded the Pen, because
he existed before all peoples. There is not in the horizons, beyond
the horizons or below the horizons, anyone more elegant, more noble,
more knowing, more just, more fearsome, or more compassionate, than
the subject of this tale. He is the leader of created beings, the one
"whose name is glorious Ahmad"[Quran 61:6].
Muhammad is an exceptionally strong practice within
Sufism. Sufis have historically revered
Muhammad as the
prime personality of spiritual greatness. The
Sufi poet Saadi Shirazi
stated, "He who chooses a path contrary to that of the prophet, shall
never reach the destination. O Saadi, do not think that one can treat
that way of purity except in the wake of the chosen one."
Rumi attributes his self-control and abstinence from worldly desires
as qualities attained by him through the guidance of Muhammad. Rumi
states, "I 'sewed' my two eyes shut from [desires for] this world and
the next – this I learned from Muhammad." Ibn Arabi
Muhammad as the greatest man and states, "Muhammad's wisdom is
uniqueness (fardiya) because he is the most perfect existent creature
of this human species. For this reason, the command began with him and
was sealed with him. He was a Prophet while Adam was between water and
clay, and his elemental structure is the Seal of the
Attar of Nishapur
Attar of Nishapur claimed that he praised
Muhammad in such a manner that was not done before by any poet, in his
book the Ilahi-nama. Fariduddin Attar stated, "
the exemplar to both worlds, the guide of the descendants of Adam. He
is the sun of creation, the moon of the celestial spheres, the
all-seeing eye...The seven heavens and the eight gardens of paradise
were created for him, he is both the eye and the light in the light of
our eyes." Sufis have historically stressed the importance
of Muhammad's perfection and his ability to intercede. The persona of
Muhammad has historically been and remains an integral and critical
Sufi belief and practice.
Bayazid Bastami is
recorded to have been so devoted to the sunnah of
Muhammad that he
refused to eat a watermelon because he could not establish that
Muhammad ever ate one.
The name of
Muhammad in Arabic calligraphy. Sufis believe the name
Muhammad is holy and sacred.
In the 13th century, a
Sufi poet from Egypt, Al-Busiri, wrote the
al-Kawākib ad-Durrīya fī Madḥ Khayr al-Barīya (The Celestial
Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation) commonly referred to as
Qaṣīdat al-Burda ("Poem of the Mantle"), in which he extensively
praised Muhammad. This poem is still widely recited and
Sufi groups all over the world.
Sufi beliefs about Muhammad
According to Ibn Arabi,
Islam is the best religion because of
Ibn Arabi regards that the first entity that was
brought into existence is the reality or essence of Muhammad
Ibn Arabi regards
Muhammad as the
supreme human being and master of all creatures.
Muhammad is therefore
the primary role model for human beings to aspire to
Ibn Arabi believes that God's attributes and
names are manifested in this world and that the most complete and
perfect display of these divine attributes and names are seen in
Ibn Arabi believes that one may see
God in the
mirror of Muhammad, meaning that the divine attributes of
manifested through Muhammad.
Ibn Arabi maintains that
Muhammad is the best proof of
God and by knowing
Muhammad one knows
Ibn Arabi also maintains that
Muhammad is the master
of all of humanity in both this world and the afterlife. In this view,
Islam is the best religion, because
Muhammad is Islam.
Sufis maintain that
Muhammad is Al-Insān al-Kāmil. Sufis believe
that aid and support may be received from Muhammad, even today. Sufis
Muhammad listens to them when they call upon him. Sufis
strive towards having a relationship with
Muhammad and seeking to see
Muhammad in a dream is a common
Tomb of Salim Chishti, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Sufis believe the sharia (exoteric "canon"), tariqa ("order") and
haqiqa ("truth") are mutually interdependent. Sufism
leads the adept, called salik or "wayfarer", in his sulûk or "road"
through different stations (maqaam) until he reaches his goal, the
perfect tawhid, the existential confession that
Ibn Arabi says, "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. (Jamiʿ karamat
Amman Message, a detailed statement issued by 200 leading Islamic
scholars in 2005 in Amman, specifically recognized the validity of
Sufism as a part of Islam. This was adopted by the
political and temporal leaderships at the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005, and by six other
Islamic scholarly assemblies including the International
Fiqh Academy of Jeddah, in July 2006. The definition of Sufism
can vary drastically between different traditions (what may be
intended is simple tazkiah as opposed to the various manifestations of
Sufism around the
Islamic thought and Sufism
Tomb of Sayyid Ali Hamadani, Kulob, Tajikistan
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
Islam expressly forbids. This usage of indirect
language and the existence of interpretations by people who had no
Sufism led to doubts being cast over the validity
Sufism as a part of Islam. Also, some groups emerged that
considered themselves above the sharia 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
Islam has been the norm. Some scholars, such as
Al-Ghazali, helped its propagation while other scholars opposed it.
William Chittick explains the position of
Sufism and Sufis this way:
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
devoted their major efforts to developing the spiritual dimensions of
the human person came to be known as Sufis.
The mausoleum (gongbei) of
Ma Laichi in Linxia City, China
The term "neo-Sufism" was originally coined by
Fazlur Rahman and used
by other scholars to describe reformist currents among 18th century
Sufi orders, whose goal was to remove some of the more ecstatic and
pantheistic elements of the
Sufi tradition and reassert the importance
Islamic law as the basis for inner spirituality and social
activism. In recent times, it has been
increasingly used by scholars like Mark Sedgwick in another sense, to
describe various forms of Sufi-influenced spirituality in the West, in
particular the deconfessionalized spiritual movements which emphasize
universal elements of the
Sufi tradition and de-emphasize its Islamic
context. Such groups include The
in the West, founded by Inayat Khan, which teaches the essential unity
of all faiths, and accepts members of all creeds.
Sufism Reoriented is
an offshoot of it charted by the syncretistic teacher Meher Baba. The
Sufi Center exists in England, Switzerland and the United
States. It was founded by
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee to continue the work
of his teacher Irina Tweedie, herself a practitioner of both Hinduism
and neo-Sufism. Other Western
Sufi organisations include the Sufi
Foundation of America and the International Association of Sufism.
The works of Al-
Ghazali firmly defended the concepts of Sufism
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
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
Ghazali and of the majority of the
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 and Shadhili
Contemporary scholars may also recognize a third branch, attributed to
the late Ottoman scholar
Said Nursi and explicated in his vast Qur'an
commentary called the Risale-i Nur. This approach entails strict
adherence to the way of Muhammad, in the understanding that this wont,
or sunnah, proposes a complete devotional spirituality adequate to
those without access to a master of the
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) addresses the matter of the awakening of spiritual
intuition. 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.
Sufi psychology has influenced many areas of thinking both within and
outside of Islam, drawing primarily upon three concepts. Ja'far
al-Sadiq (both an imam 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 (self,
ego, person), a faculty of spiritual intuition called the qalb
(heart), and ruh (soul). 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, a
Sufi teacher authorized in the
order. Frager was a trained psychologist, born in the United States,
who converted to
Islam in the course of his practice of
wrote extensively on
Sufism and psychology.
Sufi cosmology and
Sufi metaphysics are also noteworthy areas of
intellectual accomplishment.
Devotional practices of Sufis
Sufi gathering engaged in dhikr
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
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
(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 "sunnah prayers"). This is in accordance with the words,
attributed to God, of the following, a famous
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) solitude, silence, sleeplessness, and hunger.
Magic may have also been a part of some
Sufi practices, notably in
Main article: Dhikr
The name of
Allah as written on the disciple's heart, according to
Dhikr is the remembrance of
Allah commanded in the
Qur'an for all
Muslims through a specific devotional act, such as the repetition of
divine names, supplications and aphorisms from hadith literature and
the Quran. 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 Allah. To engage in dhikr is to
practice consciousness of the Divine Presence and love, or "to seek a
state of godwariness". The
Quran refers to
Muhammad as the very
embodiment of dhikr of
Allah (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.
The dhikr may slightly vary among each order. Some Sufi
orders engage in ritualized dhikr ceremonies, or sema.
Sema includes various forms of worship such as recitation, singing
(the most well known being the
Qawwali music of the Indian
subcontinent), instrumental music, dance (most famously the Sufi
whirling of the Mevlevi order), incense, meditation, ecstasy, and
Sufi orders stress and place extensive reliance upon dhikr. This
practice of dhikr is called
Dhikr-e-Qulb (invocation of
the heartbeats). The basic idea in this practice is to visualize the
Allah as having been written on the disciple's heart.
Main article: Muraqaba
The practice of muraqaba can be likened to the practices of meditation
attested in many faith communities.
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): "
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".
Whirling Dervishes, at
Rumi Fest 2007
Sufi whirling (or
Sufi spinning) is a form of Sama or physically
active meditation which originated among Sufis, and which is still
practised by the
Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a
customary dance performed within the sema, through which dervishes
(also called semazens, from Persian سماعزن) aim to reach the
source of all perfection, or kemal. This is sought through abandoning
one's nafs, egos or personal desires, by listening to the music,
focusing on God, and spinning one's body in repetitive circles, which
has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System
orbiting the sun.
As explained by Sufis:
In the symbolism of the
Sema ritual, the semazen's camel's hair hat
(sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt
(tennure) represents the ego's shroud. By removing his black cloak
(hırka), he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of
the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to
represent the number one, thus testifying to God's unity. While
whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky,
ready to receive God's beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes
are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God's
spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from
right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with
love. The human being has been created with love in order to love.
Rumi says, "All loves are a bridge to Divine
love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!"
Qawwali is a form of
Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia,
usually performed at dargahs.
Amir Khusrow is said to have
infused Persian, Arabic Turkish and Indian classical musical styles to
create the genre in the 13th century. The songs are classified into
hamd, na'at, manqabat, marsiya or ghazal, among others. The songs
lasting for about 15 to 30 minutes, are performed by a group of
singers, and instruments including the harmonium, tabla and dholak are
used. Pakistani singing maestro
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is credited with
popularizing qawwali all over the world.
Persian miniature depicting the medieval saint and mystic Ahmad
Ghazali (d. 1123), brother of the famous Abu Hamid al-
1111), talking to a disciple, from the Meetings of the Lovers (1552)
Main article: Wali
Walī (Arabic: ولي, plural ʾawliyāʾ أولياء) is an
Arabic word whose literal meanings include "custodian", "protector",
"helper", and "friend." In the vernacular, it is most
commonly used by
Muslims to indicate an
Islamic saint, otherwise
referred to by the more literal "friend of
God." In the traditional
Islamic understanding of saints, the saint is portrayed as someone
"marked by [special] divine favor ... [and] holiness", and who is
specifically "chosen by
God and endowed with exceptional gifts, such
as the ability to work miracles." The doctrine of saints
was articulated by
Islamic scholars very early on in Muslim
particular verses of the
Quran and certain hadith were interpreted by
early Muslim thinkers as "documentary evidence" of the
existence of saints.
Since the first Muslim hagiographies were written during the period
Sufism began its rapid expansion, many of the figures who later
came to be regarded as the major saints in Sunni
Islam were the early
Sufi mystics, like
Hasan of Basra
Hasan of Basra (d. 728),
Farqad Sabakhi (d. 729),
Dawud Tai (d. 777-81)
Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya (d. 801),
Maruf Karkhi (d.
Junayd of Baghdad
Junayd of Baghdad (d. 910). From the twelfth to
the fourteenth century, "the general veneration of saints, among both
people and sovereigns, reached its definitive form with the
Sufism ... into orders or brotherhoods."
In the common expressions of
Islamic piety of this period, the saint
was understood to be "a contemplative whose state of spiritual
perfection ... [found] permanent expression in the teaching bequeathed
to his disciples."
Main article: Ziyara
Sufi mosque in Esfahan, Iran
Sufism (i.e. devotional practices that have achieved
currency in world cultures through
Sufi influence), one common
practice is to visit or make pilgrimages to the tombs of saints,
renowned scholars, and righteous people. This is a particularly common
practice in South Asia, where famous tombs include such saints as
Sayyid Ali Hamadani in Kulob, Tajikistan; Afāq Khoja, near Kashgar,
Lal Shahbaz Qalandar
Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh; Ali Hujwari in Lahore, Pakistan;
Bahauddin Zakariya in
Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer,
Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi, India; and
Shah Jalal in Sylhet,
Likewise, in Fez, Morocco, a popular destination for such pious
visitation is the
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II and the yearly visitation to
see the current
Sheikh of the Qadiri Boutchichi Tariqah,
Hamza al Qadiri al Boutchichi to celebrate the
Mawlid (which is
usually televised on Moroccan National television).[citation
Main article: Karamat
Islamic mysticism, karamat (Arabic: کرامات karāmāt,
pl. of کرامة karāmah, lit. generosity,
high-mindedness) refers to supernatural wonders performed
by Muslim saints. In the technical vocabulary of
sciences, the singular form karama has a sense similar to charism, a
favor or spiritual gift freely bestowed by God. The
marvels ascribed to
Islamic saints have included supernatural physical
actions, predictions of the future, and "interpretation of the secrets
of hearts". Historically, a "belief in the miracles of
saints (karāmāt al-awliyāʾ, literally 'marvels of the friends [of
God]')" has been "a requirement in Sunni Islam."
Main article: Persecution of Sufis
See also: Sufi–Salafi relations
Persecution of Sufis
Persecution of Sufis and
Sufism has included destruction of Sufi
shrines and mosques, suppression of orders, and discrimination against
adherents in a number of Muslim-majority countries. The Turkish
Republican state banned all
Sufi orders and abolished their
institutions in 1925 after Sufis opposed the new secular order. The
Islamic Republic has harassed
Shia Sufis, reportedly for their
lack of support for the government doctrine of "governance of the
jurist" (i.e., that the supreme
Shiite jurist should be the nation's
In most other Muslim countries, attacks on Sufis and especially their
shrines have come from
Salafis who believe that practices such as
celebration of the birthdays of
Sufi saints, and dhikr ("remembrance"
of God) ceremonies are bid‘ah or impure innovation, and polytheistic
At least 305 people were killed and more than 100 wounded during a
November 2017 attack on a mosque in Sinai.
Geometric tiling on the underside of the dome of Hafiz Shirazi's
tomb in Shiraz
Abdul-Qadir Gilani (1077–1166) was a Persian
Hanbali jurist and Sufi
based in Baghdad.
Qadiriyya was his patronym. Gilani spent his early
life in Na'if, the town of his birth. There, he pursued the study of
Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi
Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi gave Gilani lessons in fiqh.
He was given lessons about hadith by Abu Bakr ibn Muzaffar. He was
given lessons about
Tafsir by Abu
Muhammad Ja'far, a commentator. His
Sufi spiritual instructor was Abu'l-Khair Hammad ibn Muslim al-Dabbas.
After completing his education, Gilani left Baghdad. He spent
twenty-five years as a reclusive wanderer in the desert regions of
Iraq. In 1127, Gilani returned to
Baghdad and began to preach to the
public. He joined the teaching staff of the school belonging to his
own teacher, Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi, and was popular with
students. In the morning he taught hadith and tafsir, and in the
afternoon he held discourse on the science of the heart and the
virtues of the Quran.
Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili
Abul Hasan ash-
Shadhili (died 1258), the founder of the Shadhiliyya
order, introduced dhikr jahri (the remembrance of
God out loud, as
opposed to the silent dhikr). He taught that his followers need not
abstain from what
Islam has not forbidden, but to be grateful for what
God has bestowed upon them, in contrast to the majority
of Sufis, who preach to deny oneself and to destroy the ego-self
(nafs) "Order of Patience" (Tariqus-Sabr),
Shadhiliyya is formulated
to be "Order of Gratitude" (Tariqush-Shukr). Imam
Shadhili also gave
eighteen valuable hizbs (litanies) to his followers out of which the
notable Hizb al-Bahr is recited worldwide even today.
A manuscript of
Shams al-Ma'arif (The
the Sun of Gnosis), was written by the Algerian
Sufi master Ahmad
al-Buni during the 12th century.
Abu al-ʿAbbâs Ahmad ibn
Muhammad at-Tijânî or Ahmed Tijani
(1735–1815), in Arabic سيدي أحمد التجاني (Sidi Ahmed
Tijani), is the founder of the
Sufi order. He was born in a
Berber family, in Aïn Madhi,
Algeria and died in Fez,
Morocco at the age of 80.
Bayazid Bastami is a very well recognized and influential Sufi
personality. Bastami was born in 804 in Bastam. Bayazid is regarded
for his devout commitment to the
Sunnah and his dedication to
Islamic principals and practices.
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (died 1986) is a
Sheikh from Sri Lanka. He was
first found by a group of religious pilgrims in the early 1900s
meditating in the jungles of Kataragama in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Awed
and inspired by his personality and the depth of his wisdom, he was
invited to a nearby village. Since that time, people of all walks of
life from paupers to prime ministers belonging to all religious and
ethnic backgrounds have flocked to see
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen to
seek comfort, guidance and help.
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen tirelessly
spent the rest of his life preaching, healing and comforting the many
souls that came to see him.
Muhammad b. 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi (or Ibn al-'Arabi) (AH 561 –
AH 638; July 28, 1165 – 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 servant-hood (ʿubudiyya), and that there may never be in your
soul a longing for any existing thing'.
Junayd of Baghdad
Junayd al-Baghdadi (830–910) was one of the great early Sufis. His
order was Junaidia, which links to 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 (died 922) is renowned for his claim, Ana-l-Haqq ("I
am The Truth"). His refusal to recant this utterance, which was
regarded as apostasy, 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".
Sufi prayer book from the Chishti order
Moinuddin Chishti was born in 1141 and died in 1236. Also known
as Gharīb Nawāz ("Benefactor of the Poor"), he is the most famous
Sufi saint of the Chishti Order.
Moinuddin Chishti introduced and
established the order in the Indian subcontinent. The initial
spiritual chain or silsila of the Chishti order in India, comprising
Moinuddin Chishti, Bakhtiyar Kaki, Baba Farid,
Nizamuddin Auliya (each
successive person being the disciple of the previous one), constitutes
Sufi saints of Indian history. Moinuddin Chishtī turned
towards India, reputedly after a dream in which
Muhammad blessed him
to do so. After a brief stay at Lahore, he reached
Ajmer along with
Muhammad Ghori, and settled down there. In
Ajmer, he attracted a substantial following, acquiring a great deal of
respect amongst the residents of the city. Moinuddin Chishtī
Sufi Sulh-e-Kul (peace to all) concept to promote
Muslims and non-Muslims.[citation
Depiction of Rabi'a grinding grain from a Persian dictionary
Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya or Rabia of
Basra (died 801) was a mystic who
represents countercultural elements of Sufism, especially with regards
to the status and power of women. Prominent
Sufi leader Hasan of Basra
is said to have castigated himself before her superior merits and
sincere virtues. Rabi'a was born of very poor origin, but
was captured by bandits at a later age and sold into slavery. She was
however released by her master when he awoke one night to see the
light of sanctity shining above her head. Rabi'a
al-Adawiyya is known for her teachings and emphasis on the centrality
of the love of
God to a holy life. She is said to have
proclaimed, running down the streets of Basra, Iraq:
O God! If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, and if I
worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise. But if I
worship You for Your Own sake, grudge me not Your everlasting
Beauty.— Rabi'a al-Adawiyya
She died in
Jerusalem and is thought to have been buried in the Chapel
of the Ascension.
Dargah (Persian: درگاه dargâh or درگه dargah, also in
Urdu) is a shrine built over the grave of a revered religious figure,
Sufi saint or dervish. Sufis often visit the shrine for
ziyarat, a term associated with religious visits and pilgrimages.
Dargahs are often associated with
Sufi eating and meeting rooms and
hostels, called khanqah or hospices. They usually include a mosque,
Islamic religious schools (madrassas), residences for a
teacher or caretaker, hospitals, and other buildings for community
Tariqa and List of
"Tariqat" in the Four Spiritual Stations: The Four Stations, sharia,
tariqa, haqiqa. The fourth station, marifa, which is considered
"unseen", is actually the center of the haqiqa region. It is the
essence of all four stations.
Tariqa is used for a school or order of Sufism, or especially
for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order
with the aim of seeking ḥaqīqah (ultimate truth). A tariqa has a
murshid (guide) who plays the role of leader or spiritual director.
The members or followers of a tariqa are known as murīdīn (singular
murīd), meaning "desirous", viz. "desiring the knowledge of knowing
God and loving God".
Main article: Bektashi
Bektashi Order was founded in the 13th century by the Islamic
saint Haji Bektash Veli, and greatly influenced during its fomulative
period by the Hurufi Ali al-'Ala in the 15th century and reorganized
Balım Sultan in the 16th century.
Main article: Chishti Order
Chishti Order (Persian: چشتیہ) was founded by
Abu Ishaq Shami ("the Syrian"; died 941) who brought Sufism
to the town of Chisht, some 95 miles east of
Herat in present-day
Afghanistan. Before returning to the Levant, Shami initiated, trained
and deputized the son of the local
Emir (Khwaja) Abu Ahmad
966). Under the leadership of Abu Ahmad's descendants, the Chishtiyya
as they are also known, flourished as a regional mystical order.
Main article: Kubrawiya
Kubrawiya order is a
Sufi order ("tariqa") named after its
13th-century founder Najmuddin Kubra. The
Sufi order was
founded in the 13th century by
Najmuddin Kubra in
Bukhara in modern
Mongols had captured
Bukhara in 1221,
they committed genocide and killed nearly the whole population. Sheikh
Nadjm ed-Din Kubra was among those killed by the Mongols.
Main article: Mawlawiyyah
Mevlevi Order is better known in the West as the "whirling
Main article: Muridiyya
Mouride is a large
Sufi order most prominent in
The Gambia, with headquarters in the holy city of Touba,
Main article: Naqshbandi
Naqshbandi order is one of the major
Sufi orders of Islam,
previously known as Siddiqiyya as the order stems from Mohammad
through Abū Bakr as-Șiddīq. It is considered by some to be a
"sober" order known for its silent dhikr (remembrance of God) rather
than the vocalized forms of dhikr common in other orders. The word
"Naqshbandi" (نقشبندی) is Persian, taken from the name of the
founder of the order, Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari. Some have said
that the translation means "related to the image-maker", some also
consider it to mean "Pattern Maker" rather than "image maker", and
interpret "Naqshbandi" to mean "Reformer of Patterns", and others
consider it to mean "Way of the Chain" or "Silsilat al-dhahab".
Main article: Nimatullahi
Ni'matullāhī order is the most widespread
Sufi order of Persia
today. It was founded by Shah Ni'matullah
Wali (died 1367), established and transformed from his inheritance of
the Ma'rufiyyah circle. There are several suborders in
existence today, the most known and influential in the West following
the lineage of Dr.
Javad Nurbakhsh who brought the order to the West
following the 1979 Revolution in Iran.
Main article: Qadiriyyah
The Qadiri Order is one of the oldest
Sufi Orders. It derives its name
Abdul-Qadir Gilani (1077–1166), a native of the Iranian
province of Gīlān. The order is one of the most widespread of the
Sufi orders in the
Islamic world, and has a huge presence in Central
Asia, Pakistan, Turkey,
Balkans and much of East and West Africa. The
Qadiriyyah have not developed any distinctive doctrines or teachings
outside of mainstream Islam. They believe in the fundamental
principles of Islam, but interpreted through mystical experience.
Main article: Senussi
Senussi is a religious-political
Sufi order established by Muhammad
ibn Ali as-Senussi.
Muhammad ibn Ali as-
Senussi founded this movement
due to his criticism of the Egyptian ulema. Originally from Mecca,
Senussi left due to pressure from Wahhabis to leave and settled in
Cyrenaica where he was well received. Idris bin Muhammad
Senussi was later recognized as
Cyrenaica and eventually became King of Libya. The
monarchy was abolished by
Muammar Gaddafi but, a third of Libyan still
claim to be Senussi.
Main article: Shadhili
Shadhili is a
Sufi order founded by Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili.
Ikhwans (Murids - followers) of the
Shadhiliyya are often known as
Shadhilis. Fassiya a branch of Shadhiliyya
founded by Imam al Fassi of Makkah is the widely practiced
in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan,
Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, Indonesia and other middle east
Main article: Suhrawardiyya
Suhrawardiyya order (Arabic: سهروردية) is a Sufi
order founded by
Abu al-Najib al-Suhrawardi
Abu al-Najib al-Suhrawardi (1097–1168). The order
was formalized by his nephew, Shahab al-Din Abu Hafs Umar Suhrawardi.
Main article: Tijaniyyah
Tijaniyyah order attach a large importance to culture and
education, and emphasize the individual adhesion of the disciple
Symbols associated with the
Sufi Order. Inscription : Ali
Wali Ullah (Ali
is the Authority of
Allah on the Earth).
The Golden Chain of the
The symbolic emblem of the
Seal of the Chishti Order
Grave of Ma Yuanzhang, the
Sufi Grand Master, in China
Allah's essence within a disciple's heart, associated with the Sarwari
Mirror calligraphy, symbolizing the
Bektashi Order of the Dervish
Symbol of the Mevlevi Order
Safaviyya star from ceiling of Shah Mosque, Isfahan
A symbol from the Mughal Empire: an amulet comprising magic squares,
Quranic verses (including Al-Baqara 255 (Throne Verse) (2:255) running
around the frame), and invocations to God, with a depiction of
Zulfiqar at the center
Perception outside Islam
Sufi performance on a Friday in Sudan
Sufi mysticism has long exercised a fascination upon the Western
world, and especially its Orientalist scholars. Figures
Rumi have become well known in the United States, where
perceived as a peaceful and apolitical form of
Islam. Orientalists have proposed a variety
of diverse theories pertaining to the nature of Sufism, such as it
being influenced by
Neoplatonism or as an Aryan historical reaction
against "Semitic" cultural influence.
Hossein Nasr states
that the preceding theories are false according to the point of view
A 17th-century miniature of Nasreddin, a Seljuk satirical figure,
currently in the
Topkapı Palace Museum Library
Islamic Institute in Mannheim, Germany, which works towards the
Europe 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—nondogmatic, flexible and
non-violent. According to Philip Jenkins, a Professor at
Baylor University, "the Sufis are much more than tactical allies for
the West: they are, potentially, the greatest hope for pluralism and
democracy within Muslim nations." Likewise, several governments and
organisations have advocated the promotion of
Sufism as a means of
combating intolerant and violent strains of Islam. For
example, the Chinese and Russian governments openly favor
Sufism as the best means of protecting against Islamist subversion.
The British government, especially following the 7 July 2005 London
bombings, has favoured
Sufi groups in its battle against Muslim
extremist currents. The influential RAND Corporation, an American
think-tank, issued a major report titled "Building Moderate Muslim
Networks," which urged the US government to form links with and
bolster Muslim groups that opposed Islamist extremism.
The report stressed the
Sufi role as moderate traditionalists open to
change, and thus as allies against violence.
News organisations such as the BBC, Economist and Boston Globe have
Sufism as a means to deal with violent Muslim
Idries Shah states that
Sufism is universal in nature, its roots
predating the rise of
Islam and Christianity. He quotes
Suhrawardi as saying that "this [Sufism] was a form of wisdom known to
and practiced by a succession of sages including the mysterious
ancient Hermes of Egypt.", and that
Ibn al-Farid "stresses that Sufism
lies behind and before systematization; that 'our wine existed before
what you call the grape and the vine' (the school and the
system)..." Shah's views have however been rejected by
modern scholars. Such modern trends of neo-Sufis in
Western countries allow non-
Muslims to receive "instructions on
Sufi path", not without opposition by
consider such instruction outside the sphere of
Influence on Judaism
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Islam are monotheistic. There is evidence that Sufism
did influence the development of some schools of
Jewish philosophy and
ethics. In the first writing of this kind, we see "Kitab al-Hidayah
ila Fara'iḍ al-Ḳulub", Duties of the Heart, of Bahya ibn Paquda.
This book was translated by
Judah ibn Tibbon into
Hebrew under the
title "Ḥōḇōṯ Ha-lleḇāḇōṯ".The precepts
prescribed by the
Torah number 613 only; those dictated by the
intellect are innumerable.
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 Ḥōḇōṯ Ha-lleḇāḇōṯ did not
go so far as to approve of the asceticism of the Sufis, although he
showed a marked predilection for their ethical principles.
Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon, the son of the
Maimonides, believed that
Sufi practices and doctrines continue the
tradition of the Biblical prophets. See Sefer Hammaspiq,
"Happerishuth", Chapter 11 ("Ha-mmaʿaḇāq") s.v. hithbonen efo
be-masoreth mufla'a zo, citing the Talmudic explanation of Jeremiah
13:27 in Chagigah 5b; in Rabbi Yaakov Wincelberg's translation, "The
Way of Serving God" (Feldheim), p. 429 and above, p. 427.
Also see ibid., Chapter 10 ("Iqquḇim"), s.v. wa-halo yoḏeʾaʿ
atta; in "The Way of Serving God", p. 371.
Abraham Maimuni's principal work is originally composed in
Judeo-Arabic and entitled "כתאב כפאיה 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.
The followers of this path, which they called, interchangeably,
Hasidism (not to be confused with the [later]
Jewish Hasidic movement)
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
Jewish Encyclopedia in its entry on
Sufism states that the revival
Jewish mysticism in Muslim countries is probably due to the spread
Sufism in the same geographical areas. The entry details many
parallels to Sufic concepts found in the writings of prominent
Kabbalists during the Golden age of
Jewish culture in
In popular culture
In 2005, Indian musician
Rabbi Shergill released a
Sufi rock song
called "Bulla Ki Jaana", which became a chart-topper in
The 13h century Persian poet Rumi, is considered one of the most
influential figures of Sufism, as well as one of the greatest poets of
all time. He has become one of the most widely read poets in the
United States, thanks largely to the interpretative translations
published by Coleman Barks. Elif Şafak's novel The Forty
Rules of Love is a fictionalized account of Rumi's encounter with the
Persian dervish Shams Tabrizi.
Allama Iqbal, one of the greatest
Urdu poets has discussed Sufism,
Islam in his English work The Reconstruction of
Religious Thought in Islam.
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Sultan Bahu of the Sarwari Qadiri
Khwaja Ghulam Farid
Khwaja Ghulam Farid at Mithankot
Sufi mosque in Srinagar, Kashmir
Mosque of Touba, home of the
Sufi order of Senegal
Syed Faiz-ul Hassan Shah
Syed Faiz-ul Hassan Shah and
Muhammad Amin Shah Sani in Allo
Wali tomb, south of Karima, Sudan
Rumi Museum in Konya, Turkey
An illustration of Ibrahima Fall, leader of the
Mazar e Soltani, Bidokht, Gonabad County.
Shrine of four Qutbs
(masters) of the
Tomb of Syed
Muhammad Jewan Shah Naqvi in Allo Mahar, Sialkot.
Mausoleum of Makhdoom Shah Daulat (d. 1608). Ibrahim Khan, the
Mughal governor of Bihar, completed his mausoleum in 1616 during the
reign of the
Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
The shrine of Shah Arzani constructed during the reign of the Mughal
Pir Dastgir from the Mughal Empire
Sheykh of the
Marabout of West Africa
Saint Murtuza Quadari located at western side
Index of Sufism-related articles
List of modern
The following are among definitions of
Sufism quoted in an early Sufi
treatise by Abu Nasr as-Sarraj:
Sufism is that you should be with God--without any
attachment." (Junayd of Baghdad)
Sufism consists of abandoning oneself to
accordance with what
God wills." (
Ruwaym ibn Ahmad)
Sufism is that you should not possess anything nor
should anything possess you." (Samnun)
Sufism consists of entering every exalted quality
(khulq) and leaving behind every despicable quality." (Abu Muhammad
Sufism is that at each moment the servant should
be in accord with what is most appropriate (awla) at that moment."
('Amr ibn 'Uthman al-Makki)
^ Qamar-ul Huda (2003), Striving for Divine Union: Spiritual Exercises
for Suhraward Sufis, RoutledgeCurzon, pp. 1–4,
^ a b Martin Lings, What is Sufism? (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 2005;
first imp. 1983, second imp. 1999), p.15
^ Titus Burckhardt, Art of Islam: Language and Meaning (Bloomington:
World Wisdom, 2009), p. 223
^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ed. William
C. Chittick (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2007), p. 74
^ a b c d e f g Massington, L., Radtke, B., Chittick, W. C., Jong, F.
de, Lewisohn, L., Zarcone, Th., Ernst, C, Aubin, Françoise and J.O.
Hunwick, “Taṣawwuf”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition,
edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel,
^ Martin Lings, What is Sufism? (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 2005; first
imp. 1983, second imp. 1999), p.12: "Mystics on the other hand-and
Sufism is a kind of mysticism-are by definition concerned above all
with 'the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven'".
^ Knysh, Alexander D., “Ṣūfism and the Qurʾān”, in:
Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe,
Georgetown University, Washington DC.
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2007). Chittick, William C. (ed.). The
Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr. The perennial philosophy series.
Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom, Inc. p. 74.
ISBN 9781933316383. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
Sufism is the esoteric
or inward dimension of
Islamic esoterism is, however [...]
not exhausted by
Sufism [...] but the main manifestation and the most
important and central crystallization of
Islamic esotericism is to be
found in Sufism.
^ Shah, Idries (1964–2014). The Sufis. ISF Publishing. p. 30.
ISBN 978-1784790035. According to Idries Shah,
Sufism is as old
as Adam and is the essence of all religions, monotheistic or not. See
^ Editors, The (2014-02-04). "tariqa | Islam". Britannica.com.
Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ Glassé 2008, p. 499.
^ Bin Jamil Zeno,
Muhammad (1996). The Pillars of
Islam & Iman.
Darussalam. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-9960-897-12-7.
^ a b c d e f g Fitzpatrick & Walker 2014, p. 446.
^ Schimmel, Annemarie (2014-11-25). "
Sufism | Islam".
Britannica.com. Retrieved 2018-06-26. Opposed to the dry casuistry of
the lawyer-divines, the mystics nevertheless scrupulously observed the
commands of the divine law. [...] the mystics belonged to all schools
Islamic law and theology of the times.
Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection (2007) by Muhyiddin
Ibn 'Arabi, Suha Taji-Farouki
G. R Hawting (2002). The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate
661-750. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-203-13700-0.
^ Sells 1996, p. 1.
^ Schimmel, Annemarie (2014-11-25). "Sufism". Britannica.com.
^ Chittick 2007, p. 22.
^ a b c d William C. Chittick (2009). "Sufism. ṢūfĪ Thought and
John L. Esposito
John L. Esposito (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the
Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
^ a b c d
Carl W. Ernst (2004). "Tasawwuf". In Richard C. Martin
(ed.). Encyclopedia of
Islam and the Muslim World. MacMillan Reference
^ Alan Godlas. "Sufism, Sufis, and
Sufi Orders: Sufism's Many Paths".
University of Georgia (personal website).
^ William C. Chittick (2009). "Sufism. Sūfī Thought and Practice".
John L. Esposito
John L. Esposito (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic
World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
^ a b Massington, L., Radtke, B., Chittick, W.C., Jong, F. de.,
Lewisohn, L., Zarcone, Th., Ernst, C, Aubin, Françoise and J.O.
Hunwick. "Taṣawwuf". In P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E.
van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs (eds.). Encyclopaedia of
Islam (2nd ed.).
Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_1188.CS1 maint: Uses authors
^ a b Rashid Ahmad Jullundhry, Qur'anic Exegesis in Classical
Literature, pg. 56. New Westminster: The Other Press, 2010.
Sufi Tradition Guidebook of Daily Practices and
Devotions, p. 83,
Muhammad Hisham Kabbani,
Sufism in Islam". Mac.abc.se. Archived from the original on April
17, 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
^ The Bloomsbury Companion to
Islamic Studies by Clinton Bennett, p
^ "Origin of sufism – Qadiri".
Sufi Way. 2003. Retrieved 13 August
^ a b "Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Ali, The Father of
Alim.org". Retrieved 27 September 2014.
^ a b
Carl W. Ernst (2003), Tasawwuf [Sufism], Encyclopedia of Islam
and the Muslim World
^ Taking Initiation (Bay'ah),
Hisham Kabbani (June 2004), Classical
Islam and the
Islamic Supreme Council of America,
p. 644, ISBN 9781930409231
^ "Taking Initiation (Bay'ah) The Naqshbandiyya Nazimiyya
Sufism and Spirituality". naqshbandi.org. Retrieved
Shaykh Tariq Knecht (2018-11-09), Journal of a
Sufi Odyssey, Tauba
Press, ISBN 9781450554398
^ Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and
Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications.
p. 58. ISBN 978-1780744209. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
^ IslamOnline.net Archived July 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
^ Massignon, Louis. Essai sur les origines du lexique technique de la
mystique musulmane. Paris: Vrin, 1954. p. 104.
^ Imam Birgivi, The Path of Muhammad, WorldWisdom,
^ a b  Encyclopædia Britannica, Retrieved on August 1st, 2016
^ a b Chittick 2007.
^ Nasr, Hossein (1993). An Introduction to
Doctrines. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-1515-3.
^ Karamustafa, Ahmet (2007).
Sufism The Formative Period. Berkeley:
University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520252691.
^ Ridgeon, Lloyd (2010). Morals and
Mysticism in Persian Sufism: A
History of Sufi-Futuwwat in Iran. Routledge.
ISBN 978-1-136-97058-0., p. 32
^ Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, translated by William
McGuckin de Slane. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain
and Ireland. Sold by
Institut de France
Institut de France and Royal Library of Belgium.
Vol. 3, p. 209.
^ Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Sufism: The Formative Period, pg. 58.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.
^ J. Spencer Trimingham, The
Sufi Orders in Islam, Oxford University
Press, ISBN 978-0-19-512058-5.
Muhammad Hisham (2004). Classical
Islam and the Naqshbandi
Islamic Supreme Council of America. p. 557.
^ Daftary Farhad 2013 A History of Shi'i
Islam New York NY I.B.
Tauris and Co ltd. page 28 ISBN 9780300035315 4/8/2015
^ a b c The Jamaat Tableegh and the Deobandis by Sajid Abdul Kayum,
Chapter 1: Overview and Background.
^ a b "Dr. Jonathan AC Brown - What is Sufism?". youtube.com. 13 May
^ Michael S. Pittman Classical
Spirituality in Contemporary America:
The Confluence and Contribution of G.I. Gurdjieff and Sufism
Bloomsbury Publishing ISBN 978-1-441-13113-3
^ Trimingham (1998), p. 1
^ Faridi, Shaikh Shahidullah. "The Meaning of Tasawwuf".
www.masud.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ed. William
C. Chittick (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2007), p. 76
^ a b Martin Lings, What is Sufism? (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 2005;
first imp. 1983, second imp. 1999), p.16
^ a b "Is orthodox
Islam possible without Sufism? -
Murad (Dr. Timothy Winter)". youtube.com. 13 May 2015.
^ a b "Profile of
Muhammad Al-Tayyeb on The Muslim 500".
The Muslim 500: The World's Most Influential Muslims. Archived from
the original on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
^ Massington, L., Radtke, B., Chittick, W.C., Jong, F. de., Lewisohn,
L., Zarcone, Th., Ernst, C, Aubin, Françoise and J.O. Hunwick,
“Taṣawwuf”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited
by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P.
Heinrichs; q.v. "Hanafi," "Hanbali," and "Maliki," and under
"mysticism in..." for each.
^ a b Titus Burckhardt, Introduction to
Sufi Doctrine (Bloomington:
World Wisdom, 2008, p. 4, note 2
^ Martin Lings, What is Sufism? (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 2005; first
imp. 1983, second imp. 1999), pp. 16-17
^ "Caner Dagli, "Rumi, the Qur'an, and Heterodoxy," note on Facebook".
facebook.com. 6 January 2015.
^ Rozina Ali, "The Erasure of
Islam from the Poetry of Rumi," The New
Yorker, Jan. 5 2017
^ The most recent version of the Risâla is the translation of
Alexander Knysh, Al-Qushayri's Epistle on Sufism: Al-risala
Al-qushayriyya Fi 'ilm Al-tasawwuf (ISBN 978-1859641866). Earlier
translations include a partial version by Rabia Terri Harris (Sufi
Book of Spiritual Ascent) and complete versions by Harris, and Barbara
R. Von Schlegell.
^ "Home". Fons Vitae. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ The Alchemy of Happiness at archive.org
Jonathan A.C. Brown - What is Sufism?". youtube.com. 27
^ For the pre-modern era, see Vincent J. Cornell, Realm of the Saint:
Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism, ISBN 978-0-292-71209-6;
and for the colonial era, Knut Vikyr,
Sufi and Scholar on the Desert
Muhammad B. Oali Al-Sanusi and His Brotherhood,
^ Leonard Lewisohn, The Legacy of Medieval Persian Sufism,
Nimatullahi Publications, 1992.
^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization,
HarperSanFrancisco, 2003. (Ch. 1)
^ Dina Le Gall, A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandis in the Ottoman World,
1450–1700, ISBN 978-0-7914-6245-4.
^ Arthur F. Buehler,
Sufi Heirs of the Prophet: The Indian
Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating
^ Victor Danner, The
Islamic Tradition: An introduction. Amity House.
^ a b c John O. Voll (2009). "ṢūfĪ Orders". In John L. Esposito
(ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the
Islamic 9.3World. Oxford: Oxford
^ Knysh, Alexander (2010). "Sufism". In Robert Irwin (ed.). The New
Cambridge History of Islam. Volume 4:
Islamic Cultures and Societies
to the End of the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge University Press.
^ Masatoshi Kisaichi, "The Burhami order and
Islamic resurgence in
modern Egypt." Popular Movements and Democratization in the Islamic
World, pg. 57. Part of the New Horizons in
Islamic Studies series. Ed.
Masatoshi Kisaichi. London: Routledge, 2006. ISBN 9781134150618
^ Babou 2007, p. 184–6.
^ Mbacké & Hunwick 2005.
^ Chodkiewicz 1995, p. introduction.
Sufism – Oxford
Islamic Studies Online".
oxfordislamicstudies.com. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
^ "Sufism, Sufis, and
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Retrieved 26 August 2015.
^ Abul Hasan ash-
Shadhili (1993). The School of the Shadhdhuliyyah.
Islamic Texts Society. ISBN 978-0-946621-57-6.
Muhammad Emin Er, Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the
Sufi Path, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6
^ Abdullah Nur ad-Din Durkee, The School of the Shadhdhuliyyah, Volume
One: Orisons; see also
Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Classical Islam
Sufi Tradition, ISBN 978-1-930409-23-1, which
reproduces the spiritual lineage (silsila) of a living
^ a b Momen, Moojan (1985). An Introduction to Shiʻi Islam: The
History and Doctrines of
Twelver Shiʻism. Yale University Press.
ISBN 978-0-300-03531-5., page 209
^ Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman Madzillah-ul-Aqdus (2015). Sultan Bahoo:
The Life and Teachings. Sultan ul Faqr Publications.
Muhammad Emin Er, Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to
Sufi Path, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6,
for a detailed description of the practices and preconditions of this
sort of spiritual retreat.
^ See examples provided by Muzaffar Ozak in Irshad: Wisdom of a Sufi
Master, addressed to a general audience rather than specifically to
his own students.
^ Knysh, Alexander. "Sufism".
Islamic cultures and societies to the
end of the eighteenth century. Irwin, Robert, 1946-. Cambridge.
ISBN 9781139056144. OCLC 742957142.
Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Classical
Islam and the Naqshbandi
Sufi Tradition, ISBN 978-1-930409-23-1
Carl W. Ernst (2010), p. 125
^ a b
Carl W. Ernst (2010-04-19), The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad,
Muḥammad as the Pole of Existence, Cambridge University Press,
p. 130, ISBN 9781139828383
^ Gholamreza Aavani, Glorification of the Prophet
Muhammad in the
Poems of Sa'adi, p. 4
^ Gamard 2004, p. 169.
^ Ibn Arabi, The Seals of Wisdom (Fusus al-Hikam), Aisha Bewley
^ Fariduddin Attar, Ilahi-nama – The
Book of God, John Andrew Boyle
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praise save only I.
^ Fariduddin Attar, Ilahi-nama – The
Book of God, John Andrew Boyle
^ The Signs of a Sincere Lover (PDF), p. 91
^ a b Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych (2010), The Mantle Odes: Arabic
Praise Poems to the Prophet Muhammad, Indiana University Press,
Muhammad Emin Er, The Soul of Islam: Essential Doctrines and
Beliefs, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-0-9.
^ Schimmel 2013, p. 99.
^ (source: [pp. 778–795 of The Reliance of the Traveller, by Shaykh
Nuh Ha Meem Keller])
Amman Message Summary. Retrieved on Feb 2, 2010.
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^ a b Julia Howell. "
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^ a b
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Sufi Order, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6
^ For a systematic description of the diseases of the heart that are
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ad-Din Durkee, The School of the Shadhdhuliyyah, Volume One: Orisons,
Muhammad Emin Er, al-Wasilat al-Fasila, unpublished MS.
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Psychology of Growth, Balance, and Harmony,
^ Hakim Moinuddin Chisti, The
^ For an introduction to the normative creed of
Islam as espoused by
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al-Tahawi, ISBN 978-0-9702843-9-6, and Ahmad Ibn Muhammad
Maghnisawi, Imam Abu Hanifa's Al-
Fiqh Al-Akbar Explained,
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Emin Er, The Soul of Islam: Essential Doctrines and Beliefs, Shifâ
Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-0-9.
^ See in particular the introduction by T. J. Winter to Abu Hamid
Muhammad al-Ghazali, Al-
Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on
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Religious Sciences, ISBN 978-0-946621-43-9.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sufism.
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