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Sufism or Tasawwuf: A Sect of Islam

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“The knowledge of God cannot be obtained by seeking, but only those who seek it find it.”(Abu Yazid al-Bistami). This quote sums up the aim of Sufism which is that those who embark on a journey that consists of love and the remembrance of God and living a spiritual and devotional life will attain great reward. Islamic mysticism, otherwise known as Sufism or 'Tasawwuf' is the Islamic science of spirituality that aims to explore and search the 'truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God'. It involves various mystical paths that are aimed to determine the true essence of God and of humanity and also helps when encountering the 'divine love and wisdom in the world' (Sufism - Encyclopedia Britannica, 2012). Sufism is a mystical aspect or element rather than an Islamic sect. The term Sufism derives from the word 'Suf' which translates literally into 'wool' and 'Tasawwuf' which literally translates ' to dress in wool'. This usually refers to the garments worn by the ascetics that were made out of wool due to the simplicity and little cost. Also, Sufism is an aspect of Islamic knowledge which is concerned with the 'spiritual development' of a Sufi. The main role model of spirituality was the Prophet Muhammad simply because of his immense love for God, worship, spirituality, simplicity and God consciousness. The focus of Sufi scholars and mystics was the purification of the heart and the development of deep spirituality via submission to the Quran and Sunnah (Tasawwuf. Org- what is Tasawwuf, 2001).
Moreover in the eyes of Sufi mystics, Sufism is a form of Islamic piety, obedience and putting complete trust in God. In the words of an English poet William Cowper "a closer walk with God," became central for S...

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...in the remembrance of God in order to achieve higher levels of spirituality and reach an ecstatic state in order to realise the Divine Truth ( Richard, 1982).The Muslim community has condemned certain distinctive practices of Sufism as it is seen as blasphemous and are claimed to have deviated from the mainstream Islamic principles. However it would be wrong to claim that Muslims disapprove of every belief and practice of Sufism. Despite the rejection of some Sufi practices, the Muslim community does agree on some important beliefs such as Sufism places immense emphasis on spiritually awakening the heart and trying to purify the heart which should be the aim of every Muslim as they would all strive to gain the maximum reward from God. The following verse perfectly portrays this, ' truly who purifies the inner-self succeeds, and who corrupts it fails! - The Quran.