Meaning and Importance of Development of Sufis Mysticism in Islam - Essay Example

Published: 2023-10-17
Meaning and Importance of Development of Sufis Mysticism in Islam - Essay Example
Essay type:  Compare and contrast
Categories:  Islam Muslim Comparative literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1110 words
10 min read

Religious belief differences can be ascribed to the enmity between the different groups in Islam. Although many people and scholars mistake Sufism as an Islamic sect, it refers to how Islamic beliefs are practiced among the different branches of Sunnis and Shias. Sufism is considered the mystical form of Islam focusing on the inward, such as God, and disregard for materialism. Sufism is also referred to by many scholars as Islam Mysticism. In the Arabic-speaking world, Sufism is known as tasawwuf. The Islam religion believers of the mystical belief seek to discover absolute love and acquaintance through God's know-how. The different stages of the development of mysticism are self-denial, classical mysticism characterized by divine love, and the rise of mystical orders.

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The origin of the word Sufism can be dated back in the 19th century, when the believers under this belief wore wool. The main reason why the believers wore wool was to show their disregard for materialism. Sufism has played a vital role in educating and expanding Muslim's spiritual concerns. It has been crucial in the formation of Muslim society. Sufis believers have undertaken the role of missionary work of spreading the beliefs and the teachings of the divine role of worshipping God and ignoring material things. They have also elaborated on the image of the Muhhamad, who was the founder of the Islam religion. Sufism has played a vital role in advocating for inner meditation and adherence to the law and also integrated mysticals from other religions and cultures. The basic Sufis believe in “ renunciation of worldly things, purification of the soul and mystical contemplation of God's nature Religious extremists and defenders of the Islam faith consider some of the fundamental beliefs in Sufism as idolatry as they consider the saints and other shrines such as tomb where those who practice these believes worship as polytheism.

According to Noyce, Rumi’s poetry is among the contributors to the successful preaching of Sufism.His poetry was known for the great imagery, culture, religion, and the great mastery of language. He advocated not to follow the Muslim Scholars blindly without forming a personal relationship with God. Rumi and his father, a Sufism scholar, were firm believers of the Quran but were opposed to the outwardly legal and ritual practice common during his time. His work focused on encouraging Muslims to experience life themselves instead of blindly following the written works. The whirling dervishes meant at removing any form of distractions.

Comparison of the Ideas of Suffisim With the Tenants of the Sunni and Shia Branches

According to Armanios, Sufism is not a sect in Islam but rather ideologies and believes incorporated in it. The majority of the Muslims in the world belong to the Sunni group, with only less than 15% associating themselves with the Shia branch. Although the ideologies and beliefs of the two groups vary, all the Muslim branches have a common faith in Muhammad as the prophet of Allah. The Sufism believes, and practices vary between the two branches of Islam. According to Armanios, “Sunni Muslims do not bestow upon human beings the exalted status given only to prophets in the Quran, in contrast to the Shiite veneration of imams The Sufism ideology of the saints is not acceptable to the Sunni, but it has been widely accepted in the Shia sect that considers most of the hadith in the Quran to be the Imams' words. The Shai imams are considered to be divinely inspired by the people who practice this branch of religion. Shai branch also considers Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law as the absolute leader and his descendants as the people who are the rightful heirs to the leadership position as opposed to the Sunni branch who believes that any pron can be a leader.Sufism practices and beliefs focus on the inward relationship with God, rather the outward adherence to the law. According to Armanios, "there are sources for the interpretation of the law, and these sources are similar among Shiites and Sunnis."

Why The Sunnis And Shias Executed and Fought Against The Beliefs of The Sufi

Over the past few years, Sufis have been targeted and persecuted by other Muslims who do not share in their beliefs.In the Sufis practices, mystical contemplation of God is permitted, and the believers worship either in physical places such as tombs and shrines or addressing saints. The Islam religion is monotheist in nature and only permits the worship and belief in one God. The physical representation of God's nature contradicts the divine Islamic teachings of only worshiping Allah and is considered idolatry. The main reason why the Sunnis and Shias fought against the Sufis' beliefs is the mystical contemplation in the mysticism.

Sunni believe that only their fundamentalist form of Islam valid. Therefore, the Sunni's religious extremist attacks on Sufis are based on the differences in their way of worship. According to Weigel, an attack on the tomb of one of the Sufis saints by the Sunnis was an indication that they do not approve of the form of worship that tends to glorify other things or people rather than God. Sunnis and Shia consider saints who are regarded as divine by Sufis, not part of Islam. In the Quran, since the prophet Muhammad the founder of the faith, saints were never mentioned. Therefore, the beliefs are considered a violation of the Islamic faith hence contributing to the attacks. Sufis are also considered as supporters of governments opposed by other Muslims leading to enmity between the groups.

How Sufism Compare with Mysticism of Christianity and Judaism

According to Ryce-Menuhin, Sufism, Christianity, and Judaism are monotheist religions who believe in God's divine nature and his love for human beings. The Mystics of Christianity and Judaism are contained in the bible, while in Sufism, they are composed in poetry form in the Quran. The three mystics focus on God's divine nature and the human soul, who has the responsibility of worshiping Him. The mysticism experience is different in the three religions. In Christianity, they are experienced by the monks while in Judaism and Sufism by the master, who have many followers.


Armanios, Febe. "Islam: Sunnis and Shiites." Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 2004.

Betts, Robert Brenton. The Sunni-Shi'a Divide: Islam's Internal Divisions and Their Global Consequences. Potomac Books, Inc., 2013.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and Giorgio De Santillana. Science and civilization in Islam. Vol. 16. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968.

Noyce, John. "The Enlightened Sufis." (2012).

Ryce-Menuhin, Joel, ed. Jung and the monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Psychology Press, 1994.

Weigel, Valentin. Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism: Foundations of Islamic Mystical Theology. Paulist Press, 2004.

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