Salient features of Sufism

  • Sufis were a group of religious-minded people who turned to asceticism and mysticism in protest against the growing materialism of the Caliphate as a religious and political institution.
  • Sufism derives is inspiration from Islam.
  • These Sufis had a deep study of vedantic philosophy and had come in contact with great sages and seers of India.
  • Sufism emphasized upon leading a simple life. Sufi saints preached in Arabic, Persian and Urdu etc.
  • The Sufis were divided into 12 orders each under a mystic Sufi saint like Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi, Fariuddin Ganj-i-Shakar, Nizam-ud-din Auliya etc.
  • While the orthodox Muslims depend upon external conduct and blind observance of religious rituals, the Sufi saints seek inner purity.
  • They were critical of the dogmatic definitions and scholastic methods of interpreting the Qur’an and Sunna (traditions of the Prophet) adopted by theologians.
  • Instead, they laid emphasis on seeking salvation through intense devotion and love for God by following His commands, and by following the example of the Prophet Muhammad whom they regarded as a perfect human being.
  • The Sufis thus sought an interpretation of the Qur’an on the basis of their personal experience
  • Devotion is more important than fast (Roza) or prayer (Namaz).
  • Sufis bridged the communal divide as is evidenced by the reverence the Subcontinent’s non-Muslim population exhibited for Sufi saints. Sufism around the world and in the Subcontinent had the depth to connect beyond caste, creed and gender