The Question is What is Sufism and is Sufism Prohibited?The word Sufi was derived from an Arabic word “souf (wool)” and people who dressed up with wool in old islamic era were called Sufis. Our Last Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions often used to dress up with wool. Every Muslim preacher who followed sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ liked to wear wool. With the passage of time people who practiced and preached islam were identified by the word “Sufi” and these sufis spent there lives on the footsteps of the companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ ..In the terminologies of a scholar,“Sufism is a way in which sufis practice islam, what they preach with abnegation of materialist world and how they only spend their lives according to Quran and Sunnah. A lifestyle which was spent by companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. In Quran, the word for sufis is “Saleheen (الصالحین)”.
Direction of Sufism Actually Sufi is the only man who is always willing to fulfil Allah’s order and accept himself as a slave of Allah. He always feels that his creator is their for the creation and tries to get closer with him. He is humble and is always serving people because he knows that Allah is observing him. Sufis always try to do more as they are commanded by Allah because they leave behind the materialistic world and relations only for Allah and his Last Prophet ﷺ. Most of them also migrated from their cities, homes, and countries for the sake of Islamic preachings and never went back. Their lodgements were in hills, jungles and riversides mostly, they used to live there till their deaths and most of them went to cities near by and preached islam. During prayer most of the Sufis used to fall in a Beautiful trance because of Allah’s blessings. Followers copied them and started to trance with sufis. These people were highly educated and productive with good moralities and always practiced what they were preached. Sufis wrote many books in different languages for humanity and convinced people with their positive gestures and hundreds of people accepted islam. There were many islamic and formal institutes for studies opened by sufis such as Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Gillani and Moulana Shah Wali Muhammad Qadeeri. These sufis also provided free food supplies for poor people and built buildings, bridges, mosques, wells, teaching and charitable works and made Autism Centre for poor affected children, such as Shah Dola Gurjarti and Mevlana Rumi.They were Shepherds of their flock of people, prevented them from mis-guidance and made them busy in religious work, such as building mosques, institutes and in studies. The whole group including Sufis used to live like a tribe.
Sufis CultureSufis started to spread over the world for preaching islam and islamic brotherhood with love and devotion through different types of Tariq’ah. They sank in remembrance of Allah, even their bodies started doing Zikr which is why when people saw them they also started follow them. The chastity is very important in the life of sufis and they are very careful of this from the very first day. Sufis had their own culture which is known as Tariq’ah (Arabic word: طريقة) path towards Allah, which they conceived from their Sufi Chain (forefathers). There are many types of Tariq’ahs but well-known are only four Qadri, Chishti, Soharwardi and Naqshbandi (sufism orders) which were started by Hazrat Abu’Baker who was a companion of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. In sufi tariq’ah there are many types and ways, mid-night prayers (Salah, recite Quran, Zikr and meditations) to remember Allah. Sufis also used to lead the group in sufism through “Halqa” in which sufis, their followers and students gathered and prayed together in congregation. Today those tariq’ahs are active in different places of the world.
There are some cultural influences in Sufism(islam and mysticism ) from different parts of the world which is now a part of Sufism and because of this people get even more attached with Sufism.Sufi instruments differ from culture to culture. In Turkey, Iran and North Africa, the most prominent instrument is the Ney which is the reed flute, usually used during the traditional Sema, the Ney is accompanied by string instruments like the ‘saz’ , the ‘santoor’ and the ‘rabab’. There is also the ‘Oud’ and the ‘kopuz’ but for beats, they have the ‘duff’ or the ‘tef’. This one is my all time favourite, it really shakes the heart and soul.In the South Asian Sufi culture, you will find that the harmonium takes an important position in Sufi music which is mostly in the form of a qawwali. A Qawwali is a style of singing that was started by a man named “Amir Khusro” who migrated to sub-continent from Persia. Qawwalis are sung by trained qawwali singers and this requires rigourous classical Indian musical training from a very young age. The qawwali is accompanied by the ‘tabla’ and a lot of rhythmic clapping in the background by accompanying singers. Here’s an example of a qawwali by one of my favourite Sufi singer from Pakistan, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan:
Sufism In Modren Era
In the modern era sufism exists in special Sufi lodgements with the same tariq’ah and teachings but often modern sufis are busy in welfare work and many of them just “teach and learn” but they don’t “preach what they practice” because of their worldly necessities. Actually often modern Sufis try to avoid the struggle rather they only handle the old traditions in their tariq’ah because of their limited abilities and survival needs. But on another hand many sufis have the same tariq’ah of “preaching what they practice” and these are very unique and precious because of their loyalty and devotion like old sufis.
Is Sufism Prohibited In Islam?I leave this decision to my readers that Is Sufism and Sufis Prohibited in islam? or is “Sufism” the purest form of Muslims and Islam.Extremist groups of Muslims are accusing Sufis, Fundamentalists and the humble groups therefore, claiming themselves as Sufis.”Islam never promotes Extremism and only talks about fundamentalism.