Sofi or Sufi. The term “Sufism” is derived from Arabic suf, and means “wool,” which refers to the plain wool worn by the early Sufis (“wool-clad”).  With Ibn Masarra there was a “brief flowering” of Sufism in Spain, and later Spanish Sufis reflected his influence on them. Almost all existing Sufi orders today trace their roots and chain of transmission ( silsila ) back to Muhammad, via one of these orders. , Not long after the death of Ibn ‘Arabi, al-Andalus experienced a “spiritual aridity” in the mid-fourteenth century. Nor are the Sufis a sect, being bound by no religious dogma however tenuous and using no regular place of worship. Currently active Sufi academics and publishers include Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee, Abdal Hakim Murad, Syed Waheed Ashraf and the Franco-Moroccan Faouzi Skali. He synthesised the disciplines of the three major Sufi orders namely Qadari, Chisti and Naqshbandi with a view to unite the Muslim society against the Hindus. , A group of Sufi masters who defended the works of theosophists such as Ghazali and al-Qushayri began emerging in the late eleventh and early- to mid-twelfth centuries. 1 The Origin and Evolution of Sufism By Dr. Farida Khanam Sufism (tasawwuf) is the name given to mysticism in Islam. Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha. A minority is apt to fence itself off from the crowd. I am not from the Eastor the West, not out of the ocean or upfrom the ground, not natural or ethereal, notcomposed of elements at all. It came to India before the establishment of the Sultanate of Delhi but after the foundation of the Turkish rule, a large Group of Sufis form different Islamic countries migrated to India and established them-selves in many parts of Hindustan. Every age of the world has seen awakened souls, and as it is impossible to limit wisdom to any one period or place, so it is impossible to date the origin of Sufism. Sufis strive to constantly be aware of God's presence, stressing contemplation over action, spiritual development over legalism, and cultivation of the soul over social interaction. In the medieval Indian environment Sufism was the most interesting aspect of Islam. The traditional view is that Sufism is the mystical school of Islam and had its beginnings in the first centuries following the life of the Prophet Mohammad. History of Sufism follows a long period of evolution since the time of the prophet. It has been revealed more clearly and spread more widely from time to time as the world has evolved. (from his introduction to Idries Shah's "The Sufis"). However Islamic scholars predating the Islamic Golden Age were referred to as Sufis, like Hasan of Basra. The Origin of the School of Sufism.  According to the late medieval mystic Jami, Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (died c. 716) was the first person to be called a "Sufi".. If they call Islam the "shell" of Sufism, this is because they believe Sufism to be the secret teaching within all religions. Many people began to read and translate the works of philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. In reality Christ was not a Christian nor was Mohammed a Muslim, they were Sufis. Akbar used to visit the shrine every year. The earliest known theory of conscious evolution is of Sufi origin... Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not HinduBuddhist, Sufi, or Zen.  Also at this time, eastern Sufism was developing more as a communal movement, whereas that of the West (including in al-Andalus), it remained largely an individual pursuit. Even though Sufi Saints had existed even before Prophet Muhammad, they were not known or recognised as Sufis at that that time. From the original root many derivations can be traced; among them the Greek word Sophia is one of the most interesting. The word Sufi is most likely to be derived from the Arabic word "soof", meaning wool. They even dislike being given any inclusive name which might force them into doctrinal conformity. When he was instructed by his teacher in 1907 to bring Sufism to the West, he articulated a "message of spiritual liberty" which reflects the universal, inclusive nature of Sufism.  He belonged to what Spanish scholar of Islam, Miguel Asin Palacios, termed the "School of Almeria," so named for its geographical location. ‘Saf’ and ‘Suf. Some sources state that Sufism is the inner dimensions of the teachings of Muhammad whereas others say that Sufism emerged during the Islamic Golden Age from about the 8th to 10th centuries. The following article is taken from the journal Sufism: An Inquiry.. There is a significant social dimension to Islamic mysticism that must be explored if the picture is to be complete. Andalusi Sufism was at its peak at this time. But the greater number consider that it arose contemporary to the teaching of Zoroaster. See Introduction in "Great Sufi Poets of The Punjab" by R. M. Chopra, 1999, Iran Society, Calcutta. A number of western converts to Islam have also embraced Sufism, sometimes resulting in considerable syncretism or generic spiritualism detached from Islam, as in the case of "Universal Sufism" or the writings of René Guénon or G. I. Gurdjieff. It was patronized by the Mughal rulers, as its founder was their ancestral Pir (Spiritual guide). Other noteworthy Sufi teachers who were active in the West include Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, Inayat Khan, Nazim Al-Haqqani, Javad Nurbakhsh, Bulent Rauf, Irina Tweedie, Idries Shah and Muzaffer Ozak. Sufism arose from within Islam in the … "Sufi" is no more than a nickname, like "Quaker," which they accept good-humoredly. however, have rejected early Orientalist theories asserting a non-Islamic origin of Sufism, Carl Ernst states that the tendency to try and disassociate Islam from Sufism was an attempt by Orientalists to create a divide between what they found attractive within Islamic civilization (i.e. The Origin of the Word Tasawouf. Not any religionor cultural system. Though awareness of this secret quality or instinct can be sharpened by close contact with Sufis of experience, there are no hierarchical degrees among them, only a general undisputed recognition of greater or lesser capacity. The roots and practices of Sufism. Sufism, mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. As he noted: "Every age of the world has seen awakened souls, and as it is impossible to limit wisdom to any one period or place, so it is impossible to date the origin of Sufism.". Its origin is given as an answer in the search for the human spirit. Sufism, known as tasawwuf in the Arabic-speaking world, is a form of Islamic mysticism that emphasizes introspection and spiritual closeness with God. Sufism suffered setbacks in North Africa during the colonial period; the life of the Algerian Sufi master Emir Abd al-Qadir is instructive in this regard. 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. This is because of the Sufi habit of wearing woolen coats, a designation of their initiation into the Sufi order. In the 20th century some more modernist Muslims have called Sufism a superstitious religion that holds back Islamic achievement in the fields of science and technology.. Abu l-‘Abbas ibn al-‘Arif (1088-1141) was one of the most prominent Sufis in Spain and one of the earliest ones during Sufism's peak in the peninsula. Baha-ud-Din Naqshband (1318-1389) of Turkestan founded Naqshbandi order of Sufism. The Sufis are an ancient spiritual freemasonry whose origins have never been traced or dated; nor do they themselves take much interest in such researches, being content to point out the occurrence of their own way of thought in different regions and periods. This is why the interior reality of Sufism (tasawwuf) characterizes the practices of the ascetics of the first generations even though the term ‘Sufism… Mbacke suggests that one reason Sufism has taken hold in Senegal is because it can accommodate local beliefs and customs, which tend toward the mystical.. Origin of Sufism goes a rather long way back in history and is often said to be as old as humanity itself. Sufism existed as an individual inner practice of Muslims since early Islamic history. The mystics have, therefore, usually imparted their ideas to a chosen few only, to those whom they could trust, who were ready for initiation and discipleship. We find among the Zoroastrians, Hatim, the best known Sufi of his time. From their practice of constantly meditating on the words in the Qurʾān (the Islamic holy book) about Doomsday, the ascetics became known as “those who always The calamity through which the world has lately passed, and the problems of the present difficult situations are due to the existence of boundaries; this fact is already clear to many. Its disciples remained loyal to the throne because of the common Turkic origin. He authored the Khal al-Na’lain, which Ibn ‘Arabi would later write a commentary on. Sufi seeks to find direct connection and spiritual experience with God by turning the heart away from all things worldly and focusing entirely on God. In the eleventh century, Sufi orders (Tariqa) were instrumental in the institutional spread of Sufism. According to Ibn Khaldun Sufism was already practiced by the Sahaba, but with the spread of material tendencies, the term Sufi was just applied to those who emphasize the spiritual practice of Islam. There have been hundreds of theories regarding the origin of Sufism, however none has been clearly distinguished for having referred to a specific date regarding the origin of Sufism, or a specific person to be credited with the first use of the word Sufi.  According to Ibn ‘Arabi, the main practices of Andalusi Sufis included ascesis, poverty, and devotion to the Qur’an. , Sufism was an important factor in the historical spread of Islam, and in the creation of regional Islamic cultures, especially in Africa and Asia. The history of Sufism is much more than the history of mystical theory and expression. In the fourth century of the hegira, some famous Gnostics defined Sufism as “a reality without form”. Some sources state that Sufism is the inner dimensions of the teachings of Muhammad whereas others say that Sufism emerged during the Islamic Golden Age from about the 8th to 10th centuries. There is disagreement among religious scholars and Sufis themselves about the origins of Sufism.  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. , By the twelfth century, shifts towards the acceptance—or at least tolerance—of philosophy and Sufism into what had previously been strictly orthodox beliefs were occurring. Sufism is a Muslim movement whose followers seek to find divine truth and love through direct encounters with God. While the Indian Subcontinent branches of the order did not survive into modern times, the order later spread into the Ottoman Empire and became influential there after it came under persecution by the rise of the Safavid Shahs during the sixteenth century.. Sufism Islamic mysticism, often referred to as the internalization and intensification of Islamic faith and practice. , Beginning in the 9th century and continuing throughout the 10th century, al-Andalus was home to fairly strict, orthodox beliefs and practices. The Khalwati order was founded by Umar al-Khalwati, an Azerbaijani Sufi known for undertaking long solitary retreats in the wilderness of Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran. The following article is taken from the journal Sufism: An Inquiry.. A majority of scholars believe that the word “Tasawouf” derives from the word “suf”, which means wool. What makes them so difficult to discuss is that their mutual recognition cannot be explained in ordinary moral or psychological terms—whoever understands it is himself a Sufi. The one exception to that trend was Ibn Abbad al-Rundi (1332-1390), a member of the Shadhiliyya order who was born in Ronda and whose scholarship brought together mystical and juridical paths. It is these roots that gathered into the trunk known as Islamic Sufism. Even many of the early Ṣūfīs, individualists though they were, sought out the advice and counsel of their fellow wayfarers.  The effects of his thought and that of his disciples would appear again in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries amidst later Sufis such as Ibn Arabi. The Suharawardi order was started by Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi, a Persian Sufi born in Sohrevard near Zanjan in Iran, and brought to India by Baha-ud-din Zakariya of Multan. The individual is offered a "secret garden" for the growth of his understanding, but never required to become a monk, nun or hermit, like the more conventional mystics; and he thereafter claims to be enlightened by actual experience—"he who tastes, knows"—not by philosophic argument. Khwaja Razi-ud-Din Muhammad Baqi Billah whose tomb is in Delhi, introduced the Naqshbandi order in India. pure people who meditated on a carpet. Their expression of wisdom has differed to suit their environments, but their understanding of life has been one and the same. However Islamic scholars predating the Islamic Golden Age were referred to as Sufis, like Hasan of Basra. Sofi is used to designate the followers of Sufism, particularly by speakers of Persian and Turkish. Some scholars say Sufism is derived from the word Ahl al-Suffa , or the People of the Bench, which refers to the platform on which the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the believers used to sit while worshipping God. After Ibn Masarra's death, in 940 his followers fell under heavy persecution under the jurists who destroyed Ibn Masarra's works and also forced his followers to recant. The term Sufism comes from the West. It also explains why Sufis will accept some alchemists to have been Sufis, as well as understanding the underlying developmental factors in Rumi's evolutionary philosophy, or Hallaj's 'Christianity'; why, indeed, Jesus is said to stand, in a sense, at the head of the Sufis. Some European scholars find the origin of this philosophy in the teaching Of Islam, others connect it with Buddhism. Victor Danner - "The Islamic Tradition: An introduction." The world has called them Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish, or Islamic mystics, and the followers of each religion have claimed them as their own. Chopra, R. M., "SUFISM" (Origin, Growth, Eclipse, Resurgence), 2016, Anuradha Prakashan, New Delhi. The wise, whatever their faith, have always been able to meet each other beyond those boundaries of external forms and conventions, which are natural and necessary to human life, but which none the less separate humanity. Learn more.  Ibn Tufail introduced the element of Sufism into this philosophical way of thinking. To be "in the world, but not of it," free from ambition, greed, intellectual pride, blind obedience to custom, or awe of persons higher in rank—that is the Sufi's ideal. Bridging the gulf between the Islamic clerics and Sufis, Wali Ullah infused new vigour in practice of Naqshbandi Sufi order. The germ of Sufism is said to have existed from the beginning of the human creation, for wisdom is the heritage of all; therefore no one person can be said to be its propounder.  His works in Andalusia focused mainly on the perfect human individual, monastic metaphysics, and mystical path to spiritual and intellectual perfection. There is another view, however, that traces the pre-Islamic roots of Sufism back through the early Christian mystics of Syria and Egypt, to the Essenes, the ancient Pythagorean orders, and the mystery schools of the Egyptians and Zoroastrians, among others. The original word is of Sufi origin, and as for its etymological origin in Arabic language there are different opinions. Others use the term Sufi. It was a reality without a name which was practiced in the daily lives of the companions … History and theology History and theology. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a disciple of Khwaja Usman Harooni, the propounder of this order, introduced it in India. Of them the Chishti order is the most visible.  Hosein Nasr states that non-Islamic origin theories are false according to the point of view of Sufism. The connection between the ancient practical philosophies and the present ones is seen to have been based upon the higher-level unity of knowledge, not upon appearances. February 1988. It was only a few centuries later that they came to be known as Sufis. History. By pledging allegiance to Muhammad, the Sahabah had committed themselves to the service of God. Sufism takes away the boundaries which divide different faiths by bringing into full light the underlying wisdom in which they are all united. Wonder,A garden among the flames!My heart can take onAny form:A meadow for gazelles,A cloister for monks,For the idols, sacred ground,Ka'ba for the circling pilgrim,the tables for the Torah,the scrolls of the Qur'an.My creed is love;Wherever its caravan turns along the way,That is my belief,My faith. He came to India from Afghanistan with the army of Shihab-ud-Din Ghuri in 1192 AD and started living permanently in Ajmer from 1195. This is the origin of the English phrase "whirling dervish." Origin of Sufism The origin of Sufism is difficult to trace, a riddle unsolved. Before the time of Mohammed they were called Ekuanul Safa, Brothers of Purity, but after his coming they were named by him Sahabi Safa, Knights of Purity. At the forefront of the philosophical movement in Spain were Ibn Bajjah, Ibn Tufail, Ibn Rushd, and a Jewish scholar named Ibn Maimun. In later centuries, especially the twelfth and thirteenth, Sufism became more accepted and somewhat assimilated into Andalusi Islam. Sufis respect the rituals of religion insofar as these further social harmony, but broaden religion's doctrinal basis wherever possible and define its myths in a higher sense—for instance, explaining angels as representations of man's higher faculties. The first stage of Sufism appeared in pious circles as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad period (661–749). 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