Sufism Information

Sufism or taṣawwuf is the inner, mystical dimension of Islam, particularly Sunni although with some Shia orders. Ibn Arabi has propagated the mysterious concept of sufism in Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a ṣūfī , though some adherents of the tradition reserve this term only for those practitioners who have attained the goals of the Sufi tradition. Another name used for the Sufi seeker is Dervish. Sufism helped Islam to spread in India but it corrupted the ideology of Islam taught by Muhammad .

Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the renowned Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one’s inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."

During the primary stages of Sufism, Sufis were characterised by their particular attachment to dhikr "remembrance " and asceticism. Sufism arose among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate . The Sufi movement has spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish and a dozen other languages.ṭuruq "Orders", which are either Sunnī or Shī‘ī in doctrine, mostly trace their origins from the Islamic Prophet Muhammad through his cousin ‘Alī, with the notable exception of the Naqshbandi who trace their origins through the first Caliph, Abu Bakr.

Wikipedia, Sufism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufism (as of Apr 8, 2010)

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