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What Is Sufism?

Powerful Essays
Islam is a fast-growing monotheistic religion known for its diverse sects, and one of the most mystical branches among this group is Sufism. Sufism is defined more as a mystical dimension of Islam than a sect, where the followers involve in extreme situations to sacrifice themselves in union with god. Commonly, Sufis desire to find the divine truth through direct encounters with Allah. Many Muslims believe they are walking towards the pathway to full enlightenment. Though, Sufis intend to draw themselves closer to God and enhance their divinity. Over the past few decades, Sufism has gained popularity around the world due to its variety of devotional practices. Today, Sufism is categorized in structured orders (tariqahs) and, it contains its…show more content…
In the past few decades, Sufism has explored a wide spectrum in music, dance and other art forms, so the believers find a way to become closer to God. A Sufi individual believes that repeating the name of Allah would make him or her aware of God’s presence. Essentially, the practice of dhikr is believed to make one self-surrender to god’s will. Yse Tardan-Masquelier, Syrian philosopher defines dhikr as the “continuous recitation of the name of God” in which individuals spiritually dance to the rhythm of the Sufi music. For example, Sama (Sufi Whirling) is a popular form of mediation performed as dhikr, which enhances one’s passion for god. During Sama, the follower goes through various emotions like purifying their love and getting rid of their ego. Basically, the Sufi Whirling is viewed as a type of mediation that put the dancers in a stage of harmony while they feel they are spinning along with the universe (Easley). Sufi music embraces spiritual feelings that are inspired by famous Sufi poets. Most often, Sufi orders engage in various forms of worship such as singing, dancing and mediation. Ahmet T. Karamustafa explains that the heart of a Sufi individual is literally the “spiritual organ of God’s presence in the human person, and its chief sustenance was ‘recollection and invocation’ of God (dhikr) and perceiving God’s activity on earth through ‘hearing and vigilant…show more content…
In popular Sufism, a pilgrimage is the “ritual that orients the cosmos around a holy place and provides a way for participants to integrate themselves around symbols of transcendence” (Ernst). Pilgrimages to holy places is commonly practiced in South Asian countries. Sufis believe when they visit the tombs, they would receive spiritual blessings from the saint, who rests in the shrine. According to Ala’al-Dawla, a Sufi master of Kubrawi order in central Asia, “pilgrimage to tombs increase one’s spiritual concentration through contact with the earthly remains of a saint” (Ernst). Additionally, the individual seeks the path of enlightenment because they realize the importance of the pilgrimage by experiencing its struggles throughout. Once the pilgrims reach the shrine where the saint rests, they “express their love and respect for them by kissing and touching their eyes to the tombs” (Ernst). Whenever an individual travels to cities near a holy place, they often visit the tomb to kiss the saint’s feet. In fact, the essence of the pilgrimage can be felt by the individual at that moment because they have received the spiritual blessings from the saint. In addition, Sufis are usually very eager to receive the saint’s blessing because they believe the “spirits of the faithful are near their tombs” (Ernst). The pilgrimage to the tombs of saints forms an