Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, is often defined as the internalization and intensification of Islamic faith and practice. The Sufi constantly struggle to be aware of God's presence, emphasizing contemplation over action, spiritual development over legalism, and soul-cultivation over social interaction. In contrast to the academic exercises of theology and jurisprudence, which depend on reason, Sufism depends on emotion and imagination in the divine-human relationship. Sufism is not related to the Sunni/Shii division, schools of jurisprudence, social class, gender, geography or family connections. It is closely associated with popular religion and orthodox expressions of Islamic teachings. It has been rejected and supported by the state.
Sufism consists of a series of rituals that are usually based on prayers, poems and selections from the Koran, and methodical repetitions of divine names or Koranic formulas, such as the shahadah. In communal meetings, Sufis perform dhikr aloud, often with musical accompaniments. The specific structure and format of the daily exercises and devotional activities were established by the founder of each order as a special spiritual path.
The founder is the spiritual guide for all followers, who took a special oath of obedience as their master. The ritual transmission record was kept through a formal chain of spiritual descent known as silsilah, which dates back to the founder and then generally to Muhammad. Leadership was transmitted within a family line or on the basis of spiritual antiquity within the tariqah or order. The typical initiation rite transmits a blessing or barakah to the disciple, transforming his soul.
Sufism has its roots in the Koran, the revealed book that was granted to Muhammad who has been considered the last of mankind’s prophets. It is said that there have been 124,000 prophets and that each of them has its specific message at the necessary time. This chain includes both those of the so-called biblical tradition and the members of the religions of the East. Muhammad is considered the seal of prophecy.
Although the origin and core of Sufism is concentrated in the revelation of the Koran, it has gathered and integrated influences from other traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient Christianity. For example, some forms of Sufi mantras were provided by Central Asian Sufi.
The term Sufism comes from the West. The original word is of Sufi origin, and as for its etymological origin in Arabic language there are different opinions. Its origin is given as an answer in the search for the human spirit. In the fourth century of the hegira, some famous Gnostics defined Sufism as “a reality without form”.
It originated in the eighth century, when Muslim groups reacted to the growing attraction for the earthly goods of Islam and began to draw attention to the importance of the spirit and moral purification. During the 9th century, Sufism developed as a kind of mystical doctrine, with direct communion with God as its ideal.
In the 12th century, Sufism ceased to be a heritage and became a complex popular movement. The Sufi insistence on the knowledge and love of God increased the attractiveness of Islam and could extend beyond the Middle East, reaching Africa and East Asia.
The Sufis believe that God is responsible for all their acts, that if it were not so, then they would be equal to God, doing what they want. In this way, God is the responsible light to guide them through every thought and every work.
Some of the best-known books regarding Sufism are the following:
The most recognized phrases of Sufism are mentioned below.
Historically, Sufi orders have been responsible for facilitating interregional interaction, education and travel, and have supported reform, spiritual revival and missionary activities. They have also provided good organization and support to movements resisting foreign government throughout the Islamic world.
Written expressions have also been important and include hagiographies, poetry and literature describing the seasons of spiritual ascent on the way to God and the psychological transformations that accompany them. Sufism offers methodical and specialized discussions about ritual, behavior, morality, Koranic exegesis, and the nature of God and the world.