Clash within Islam

Majority of Muslims and non-Muslims often mistake Sufism as sect of Islam. Sufism is an aspect or dimension of Islam. People following this spiritual dimension of Islam can be found in all the four major Sunni schools of law namely Hanafi, Maaliki, Shafai and Hanbali as well as Shi’ite. And this virtue of spirituality made it vulnerable to criticism from Muslim clergy, who felt threatened of losing influence over the masses. Over the centuries, territories where Sufi orders seeded Islam encompass the largest concentrations of Muslims.

In today’s world, clash of civilizations is not a conflict between Islam and the West, but an epochal struggle within Islam itself. For the fundamentalists, Sufis are deadly enemies, who draw practices alien to Quran. Sufis face a deadly danger from the strict non-spiritual (fundamentalist) Islam, which is found in every religious school of thought, Sunni or Shi’ite alike. The historical and logical conflict between two dimensions of Islam is reflected in a clash between a ‘Moulvi’ and a ‘Sufi’; the moderate and the extremists; spiritual and ritualistic ideologies within Islam.

Sufism was part of the air I breathed in from the very first day when the essence of my existence (my soul) wore the physical attire of flesh and bones. The blood running through my veins carried the Chishti Sufi traditions and heritage lasting for over 300 years, thus allowing me access to the knowledge of living Sufism, that is much more than the definitions and explanations found in the books. Whatever might have been the origin of the term ‘Sufi’, it has become clear to me that it is used for the ‘awakened one’. Sufism is a gradual journey from a lower conscious level to the higher one and then to the pure conscious. Sufi is a person who by maintaining the proper balance at all levels of the existence enters into the zone of another level of awakening. And these ‘awakened’ beings were the power that made Islam the world’s second largest religion; pushed forward the physical borders and have been essential to the spiritual and cultural fullness of the faith.

Sufism enables the seeker to see the unity behind the apparent multiplicity. For the Sufi, every creation of the Beloved and the Most Merciful Creator is purposeful, respectable and beautiful. Sufi sees the reflection of the Creator in every creation; living and the non-living. For a Sufi the humanity becomes a brotherhood regardless of religious, linguistic and cultural discriminations, as he sees one-in-all. He takes humanity as family, and religion as body. The Sufi looks at everything, every happening and event from the perspective of the Creator and shortcomings on the inner journey. Such a spiritual perspective enables the seeker to remain in balance and to follow the right behavior guided through Islam for one’s stay in this temporal world.

Open-mindedness of spiritual Islam contrasts with both its hardliner ritualistic version and the political West. Spiritual and ritualistic approaches are found in both, Sunni and Shia schools, except Wahabis and Salafis.

Sufis are accused of caring only for inner spiritual development and neglecting the Islamic Laws. The clergy in all the Islamic schools of thought fears from the ability of Sufism to dissolve all the sectarian differences.

While the secular West takes Sufis as ‘Islamic Samurai’ knights or in some cases mystics. The West knows that whenever Islam was under the inner and outer threat; these mystics turned into the trained soldiers and the close-knit Sufi brotherhoods resisted, for instance challenged colonialism from Morocco to Indonesia. The same universal appeal of Sufi spiritual teachings causes anxiety in the West, where they spread Islam through their action.

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User Comments

nice's about

nice's about time that reals sufis stand up and play their role in straigthening out the differences along sectarian lines...but the age old question of whether sufism is Islam or some parallel concept will remain unresolved, as the consensus has not been achieved in this area.

Sufism resists dogma in a

Sufism resists dogma in a freedom seeking way and instead establishes a direct link of individual with the creator. This is something that can bridge the gaps in ritualistic tradiotion. But then, you cant force the change. The beuaty of sufism is in its lowly approach.

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