Roots And Practice Of Sufism

Roots And Practice Of Sufism

Sufism is commonly defined as Islamic mysticism, which helps Muslims to get closer to God through belief and practice. Every Muslim believes that they have to follow a specific path to get close to God and will meet Him on the day of judgment. This is the most fundamental part of Islamic belief. But in Sufism, you can get this closeness in this life as well. Sufis renounce worldly things and focus on purifying their soul by doing good deeds, meditation, chanting, and avoiding from ill-thoughts.

Roots of Sufism

Sufism is an ancient practice to get closer to God. In Islam, they believe it originated after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H), and since then, it has been spreading all over the world. The word Sufism is derived from the Arabic word “suf,” meaning wool that Sufis used to wear at that time. But it is also said that this word is taken from the Greek word Sofia, which means “wisdom.” Many scholars believe that Sufism has been with us from the start of human beings, and it has taken different shapes according to the people’s culture, location, and language.

People sometimes confuse sufism as a sect of Islam like Sunni and Shia. But it’s not a sect of Islam; it is way broader than the sect or geographical boundaries. Sufi orders (Tariqas) are found in all parts of the Muslim world. Each order is different from the others because of the difference in culture, language, and geography. So, you can see the Sufi order has a unique identity depending on its practice and structure.

The main components of structures are Murshid and Murid, which remain the same in every part of the world independent of the Sufi order. Murshid is the one who provides spiritual guidance, and Murid is the follower of the Murshid. Murid follows the practices and sayings of the Murshid. On the other hand, Murshid acts like a complete guide to help the Murid realize God. There is a term called silsilah, which helps prove the identity and legitimacy of the spiritual guides. If you follow the silsilah closely for successive generations, you can reach a famous Sufi, and even maybe Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself.

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Practices of Sufism

For Muslims, Quran contains all the knowledge and wisdom to attain everything they want. Sufis used Quran to practice different things to get closer to Allah. Quran has described the day of judgment to be difficult for disbelievers. Quran also says that Allah loves the righteous people, and they love Him. Sufis made love the base for attaining closeness to God. They strictly follow the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Sufis try hard to purify their souls from selfishness, the greed of wealth, and power, and thus they attain “Ikhlas,” which means a person with pure intention and act. Belief in God (Tawakkul) also is a critical part of spiritual life. Sufis has put all their faith in Allah, and they do not think or worry about the future, as even thought of the future is considered wrong. Fasting, little speaking, and less eating are also the cornerstones of spiritual life. 

Believing that there is only one God (Tauheed) is a primary concern for every Sufi, just like any Muslim. In the early days, Sufis used to show love and voluntarily give sacrifices as they assumed it was a way to get closer to God. The expressions were different and kept changing.

Nowadays, observance of dhikr is a central part of Sufism. This ritual involves meditation and remembering God in groups and individually. The rite of dhikr is mainly performed to cultivate a better connection with the Almighty. The concept of dhikr can be verified from Quran. Quran has instructed all Muslims to remember and recite the name of Allah and offer prayers to make a strong bond with God. This can also be achieved by other activities mentioned in Quran, which help in achieving a better connection with God.

Sufis engage in various activities like praying, fasting, celebrating the birthday of Muhammad (PBUH), meditation, avoiding ill thoughts, purifying intentions and acts, and many more. These activities differ from order to order, but the fundamentals remain the same. Some Sufi orders also use spiritual music and body movements that resemble dance to increase the experiential closeness to the divine.

While some find Sufism a great way to create a bond and get close to God, others find it irreligious. Some political Islamist groups and Salafi groups do not find Sufism beneficial for Muslims in any way. The Political Islamist groups say the spread of Sufism is not helping the Muslims suffering in various parts of the world. The Salafi groups have their own differences with Sufism.

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Different Sufi communities and places have been attacked in different parts of the world. In Iran, many people were imprisoned for following Sufi’s teaching. In Pakistan and Egypt, the Sufis shrine and mosque were attacked, which resulted in the loss of many precious lives.

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