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Flashcards in Islam Depth Study: Sufism Deck (14)
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What are Sufis?

The mystics of Islam - they seek an intimate relationship with Allah in this life, rather than waiting for the afterlife like other Muslims.


When did Sufism begin?

About 100 years after Muhammad's death.


What is the focus of Sufism?

To rid the mind of the self - of nafs, the manifestations of ego. I.e. selfishness, self-obsession, etc.
A Sufi tries to dedicate their entire life to Allah. In response, Allah gives gifts of insight or emotional changes.
Sufism struggles against attempts to make Islam a legalistic, literalist religion.
It turns faith into devotion to Allah - "I created... humankind only that they may worship me." - Surah 51:56


How do Sufis try to dedicate their lives to Allah?

Through recitations of phrases (e.g. the 99 Names of Allah, prayers...)
Through adherence to the 5 Pillars - to rid self of nafs through jihad.


What do Sufis wish for?

"Dedication to worship, total dedication to Allah Most High, disregard for the finery & ornaments of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, wealth & prestige sought by most men, & retiring from others to worship alone."


What is Sufism based on in terms of structure?

Based on master-disciple relationship - the student (dervish) is guided towards the ecstatic state.
Leads to the formation of 'tariqas' - teacher-student lineage back to the Prophet himself.


What is the 'ecstatic state'?

The intense spiritual relationship with Allah while on earth.


Who are some great Sufis?

Rabia al-Adawiyya
Jalalud'din Rumi
Al Ghazali


Outline the life of Rabia al-Adawiyya.

Never married, because she had no time in her life except for Allah.
Considered rational & disciplined teacher
Mastery of important mystical states: self-criticism, love for Allah, truthfulness.
Repentance a gift from Allah


Quote from Rabia

"If I adore you out of fear of hell, burn me in hell!
If I adore you out of desire for paradise, lock me out of paradise!
But if I adore you for yourself alone,
Do not deny to me your eternal beauty."


Outline the life of Jalalud-din Rumi

Highly revered mystical poet - inspiring devotional poetry
Great scholar of Qur'an - even reached to other religions
Left off academia for intense devotion
Felt tawhid - oneness with Allah


Outline the life of Al-Ghazali

Saw Islam as a mix of Sharia & Tariqa, with reason from Greek philosophy.
Finding balance between reason, faith & mysticism.
Connection with God through clearing mind of distractions & surrendering ego.
Revelation not obtainable by reason, only be ecstatic state.
Reviving faith of Islam.


What contribution has Sufism had?

Connected people with Allah on more emotional & spiritual level
Enhanced spread of Islam
Emphasis off legal side
Contributed to ART, MUSIC, LITERATURE ---- led to interfaith dialogue
Different approach to learning - from people not books


What impact has Sufism had?

Continuing legacy - poetry, music, writings
A different & enriched experienced - a spiritual, emotional side to Islam.
Attracted more people - more followers