Leatham, Jeremy, et. al. "Sufism." Faithology.com. Faithology, 6 March 2013. Web. 5 December 2013.
Leatham, J., et. al. (2013, Mar 6). Sufism. Faithology.
Leatham, Jeremy, et. al. "Sufism" Faithology, LLC. Last modified March 6, 2013.
Faithology, LLC, 2012. (Accessed Dec 5, 2013).. Sufism.
- Ernst, Carl W. "Sufism." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2011. Web. 30 June 2011.
- Esposito, John L., ed. The Oxford History of Islam. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Questia. Web. 2 Aug. 2011.
- "The Future of the Global Muslim Population: Projections for 2010-2030." The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Pew Research Center, 2010. Web. 30 June 2011.
- "Islām." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 28 July 2011.
- "Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population." The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Pew Research Center, 2009. Web. 30 June 2011.
- Robinson, Chase F. "The Rise of Islam, 600-705." The Formation of the Islamic World Sixth to Eleventh
- "Sūfism." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 30 Jun. 2011.
- Last Updated: March 6, 2013
- Originally Published: July 23, 2012
Although numerous Sufi orders exist, reliable estimates of Muslims who practice Islam than adherence to an official system of doctrine or practice. This makes it difficult not only to estimate worldwide adherents to Sufism, but also, in some cases, to identify Sufis at all since they do not comprise a separate sect within Islam.are extremely difficult to obtain. Sufis can be , Shi'a, or neither, and they are distinguished more by their mystic approach to
Muslim ascetics from Arabia and Persia founded Sufism during the 7th century CE. As with Sunnism and Shi'ism, historians find it impossible to point to the precise moment of the founding of Sufism. Sufis also trace their belief system to Muhammad, either through 'Ali or Abu Bakr, and they believe that their practices conform to true Islam; however, as a distinct group within Islam, Sufism began to emerge in the latter half of the seventh century in opposition to the materialism, greed, and corruption perceived in the dynasty (661–750 CE).
Sufism grew fromto nearly a century later with an increased emphasis on the concept of divine love. As Sufism spread throughout Islam, it became recognized for its piety, psychological insight, emphasis on a personal relationship with God, and reflection and meditation as a way to God. For years, Sufis were organized into small, close circles, often led by a leader noted for particular insight. In the 12th century, however, formal orders began to take shape, some of which remain today.
Sufis may consider themselves Sunni or Shi'a (or, in some cases, neither), and they may hold any of the same major beliefs as those of either branch. However, Sufism is distinguished by its emphasis on divine love and view that mysticismis a path to God. Sufis also tend to practice a high level of self-denial, frowning upon materialism and lack of discipline. Although Sufis compose a relatively small movement within Islam, at least in terms of numbers, they have had a significant impact on Muslim history through their beliefs, literature, and missionary efforts.
Although Sufism as a whole lacks its own unified clergy or system of doctrines and practices, members of this movement are generally united in their belief that God and his love can be accessed most completely through self-denial and complete devotion. In their view, individuals must purify themselves from worldliness and selfishness through sacrifice and meditation. The path to God includes repentance, asceticism, and remembering him through chanting or singing certain names of God and passages from the Quran.
Because of their emphasis on direct contact with God, many Sufis eschew the formal and rigid sets of Islamic religious law, which have been established over time by the efforts of Muslim scholars to interpret the Quran,, and Muslim traditions. Instead, they strictly adhere to their own view of divine law, which they believe gives them access to and knowledge of the divine without the distractions or potential errors of human interpretation.
Sufism is also well known for its poetry, which has influenced the literature of Islam as well as some of its primary languages, including Arabic and Persian. Much of Sufi poetry focuses on the loving relationship between man and God. In addition to being used as a means of personal expression, it has also been written, recited, and sung as means to access and praise God.
Historically, the Sufis have had an enormous impact on the expansion and establishment of Islam through their missionary efforts. As formal Sufi orders gained footholds in places like India and North Africa, they became involved in politics, and members of the orders exerted an influence on the members of their communities. To this day, missionary efforts remain an important part of Sufism.