Sufism is a philosophy and way of life that focuses on personal experience with God, contemplation and awareness. It is often misunderstood as a sect of Islam but is actually a broader style of worship that transcends sects and directs followers’ attention inward.
Sufi beliefs and practices vary from region to region, but the core principles of the movement are universal. These include remembrance of God, love for him and a quest for purity.
Sufism and Islamic Mysticism: Exploring the Relationship between the Two
The term Sufism comes from the Arabic words suf, meaning “religious” and fasl, meaning “worship” or “adoration.” It refers to a group of Muslim believers who practice a variety of spiritual techniques to connect with God. The movement has spread throughout the world, particularly in Central Asia, Turkey, Indonesia and southeastern Europe.
It is a challenging path to achieve the knowledge of God, requiring initiates to purify their hearts from other attachments and resist carnal inclinations. They are guided by their teachers and masters in learning the fundamental principles of Sufism and practicing them.
This can be achieved through the cultivation of a strong conviction of the truths of Islam. It also involves the rigorous observance of sharia, the rules of the Islamic religion.
Initiates of Sufism usually go through several stages to become masters. Masters are known as shaykh, and they are revered for their wisdom and guidance. They are often honored with large tombs and are treated as saints after death.