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Sufi MysticismThe original Sufi were basically mystics - people who followed a pious form of Islam and who believed that a direct, personal experience of God could be achieved through meditation and self-discipline. Sufi mysticism endeavoured to produce a personal experience of the divine through mystic and ascetic discipline.
The term Sufi appears to be derived from the Arabic word "suf" meaning "wool" in the sense of "cloak", referring to the simple cloaks the original Sufis wore. Some initiates are given a specially designed, coloured wool vest which is symbolic of the woolen robes of poverty worn by ancient dervishes, and signifies the loving commitment of the dervish to serve humanity.
Sufism in now to be found in many parts of the Muslim world as, across the centuries, many people have felt drawn toward the more emotional and personal ways of knowing God promoted by Sufi mysticism. Today there are literally hundreds of mystic orders with millions of adherents. They are most prevalent in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Arabia.
Sufism has come to mean those who are interested in finding a way or practice toward inner awakening and enlightenment. This movement developed as a protest against corrupt rulers who did not embody Islam and against the legalism and formalism of worship which paid more attention to the form rather than content of the faith. Many of the sufis became ascetics, began to gather disciples around themselves and developed into religious orders, known as dervishers. Others forsook the orders and became mendicants, traveling around the country side, living off the charity of others. Many sufis were outstanding men of saintly stature.
Not all sufis were accepted by the more conservative elements of Islam due to their unorthodox habits and beliefs. Mainstream Islam has tended to regard Sufism with some suspicion because of a perceived extremism in beliefs which Sufi mysticism is prone to.
Jalaluddin Rumi was the author of The Masnavi, an immensely influential work, which is celebrated for its spiritual profundity by many across the Islamic world.
He is also regarded as being the founder of the Mawlawiya order of " Whirling Dervishes "
Read Rumi's take on this issue:-
Comparative Studies in
these links to review quotations
There may well be other faiths (not least Sikhism) that
should properly be included in any definitive consideration of
Mysticism in world religions !!!
The above links take you to pages that feature impact-FULL quotations drawn from several World Faiths. A fuller treatment of these important issues is available through the sequenced series of links to the right of this page!!!
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