The Aissawa is a religious and mystical brotherhood founded in Meknes, Morocco, by Sheikh al-Kamil Mohamed al-Hadi ben Issa, best known as the Shaykh Al-Kamil, or "Perfect Sufi Master". The terms Aissawiyya and Aissawa, derive from the name of the founder, designate the brotherhood and its disciples, they are known for their spiritual music, which comprises songs of religious psalms, characterized by the use of the oboe ghaita accompanied by percussion using polyrhythm. Complex ceremonies, which use symbolic dances to bring the participants to ecstatic trance, are held by the Aissawa in private during domestic ritual nights, in public during celebrations of national festivals as well as during folk performances or religious festivities, such as Ramadan, or mawlid, the "birth of the Prophet." These are organized by the Algerian States. Some details regarding Ben Issa remain unknown, he has a controversial genealogy and a hagiography that projects the image of a Sufi master and legendary ascetic of considerable spiritual influence.
Ben Issa built his own mausoleum in Zaouia in the city of Meknes. This is now a destination for his modern followers to visit and pray while participating in individual or collective acts of piety. Ben Issa was initiated into Sufism by three masters of the tariqa Shadhiliyya/Jazuliyya: Abu al-Abbas Ahmad Al-Hariti, Abdelaziz al-Tebaa and Muhammad as-Saghir as-Sahli; the spiritual doctrine of the Issawa follows the earlier mystical tradition of the tariqa Shadhiliyya/Jazuliyya. This religious teaching first appeared in 15th century Marrakesh and is the most orthodox mystical method to appear in the western region of North Africa known as the Maghreb. Issawa disciples are taught to follow the instruction of their founder by adhering to Sunni Islam and practising additional psalms including the long prayer known as "Glory to the Eternal"; the original Issawa doctrine makes no mention of ecstatic or ritual exercises such as music and dance. The Zaouia or monastery in Meknes is the main spiritual centre of the Issawa brotherhood.
Founded by Muhammad Ben Issa at the end of the 15th century, construction resumed three centuries under sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. Renovated by the Ministry for Habous and Islamic Affairs and maintained by the municipal services, this is the center of the brotherhood's international network; the site is open to the public all year round and is the location of the tombs of founder Shiekh al-Kamil, his disciple Abu ar-Rawayil, the alleged son of the founder, Issa Al-Mehdi. Issawa's international growth began in the 18th century. From Morocco, it has spawned organizations in Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq. Outside of these countries, Issawi practice without immediate access to Issawa institutions, as in France, Italy, the Netherlands, the USA and Canada. There is a building movement in the United States, focused in Chicago. Theoretically, the brotherhood's network is led from the mother-monastery in Meknes by direct biological descendants of Muhammad Ben Issa; the leader is Sidi Allal al-Issawi, a teacher and member of the League of Oulemas of Morocco and Senegal, as well as a poet and historian.
In Morocco, the brotherhood – the musicians together with their rituals and music – enjoy a particular vogue. The basic cell of the religious order in Morocco is the team, which takes the form of a traditional musical orchestra with twenty to fifty disciples. Since a decision taken in the 17th century by the mother-monastery, groups of musicians are placed under the authority of a delegate. There are orchestras of the brotherhood across Morocco, but they are numerous in the towns of Fes and Meknes, under the authority of the master Haj Azedine Bettahi, a well-known Sufi musician; as leader of the muqaddem-s, Haj Azedine Bettahi has under his authority the following individuals: Haj Mohamed Ben Bouhama Haj Muhammad'Azzam Haj Said El Guissy Haj Said Berrada Abdeljelil Al Aouam'Abdelatif Razini'Adnan Chouni'Omar'Alawi'Abou Lhaz Muhammad'Abdallah Yaqoubi Muhammad Ben Hammou Haj Hussein Lbaghmi Idriss Boumaza Haj'Abdelhak Khaldun Muhammad Ben Chabou Mohcine Arafa Bricha Moustafa Barakat Nabil Ben Slimane Hassan Amrani Youssef'Alami Youssef Semlali'Abdellah al-Mrabet Benaissa Ghouali Djamel Sahli Nadjib Mekdia Lounis Ghazali Djamel Blidi Essaid Haddadou Mustapha Ben Ouahchia Hadj Ali Al Badawi Cheikhuna Hakim Meftah Al Bedri Abdelillah BerrahmaAll Issawa groups lead ceremonies that mix mystical invocation with exorcisms and trance-inducing group dances.
In Morocco, the ceremonies of the Issawa brotherhood take the form of domestic nightly rituals, organized by Imam Shiekh Boulila, at the request of women sympathizers. Women are the principal customers of the orchestras of the brotherhood in Morocco; as the Aissawa are supposed to bring to people blessings, reasons for organizing a ceremony are varied and include celebration of a Muslim festivity, birth, circumcision, or exorcism, the search for a cure for illness or to make contact with the divine through the extase. Rituals have standardized phases among all the Aissawa orchestras; these include mystical recitations of Sufi litanies and the singing of spiritual poems along with exorcisms, collective dances. Ludic aspects of the ceremony are attested to by the participants' laughter and dances, alongside ecstatic emo
Murāqabah refers to meditation in Sufi terminology. Through murāqbah a person watches over their heart and gains insight into the heart’s relation with its creator and its own surroundings. Murqābah is a core concept in found ṭarīqas; the objective of murāqbah is to purge one's base characters and develop lofty character in its place. The word murāqabah is derived from the base of rā-qāf-bāʿ; the base has the meaning of guarding and watching over with the expectation of noticing any change, unique qualities or abnormalities of a given thing. The word is on verb scale three, which gives a connotation of exaggeration and partnership; this implies that the one, doing murāqabah is diligent and hardworking with the expectation that someone else is doing a similar task. In ancient Arabic, the word murāqabah referred to one, they would scan the sky in hopes to see the first signs of early stars to begin their journey. Due to the intense heat and difficult terrain of the Arabian Peninsula, the ability to recognize the constellations and their seasonal divergences was a critical skill.
In the classic poem, “the observer of the night is as vigilant as a fish in search of water”. This etymology can be connected to the modern linguistical and technical meaning of what murāqabah is understood to be today. Murāqabah is seen to be both with a connotation of persistence and exertion. According to al-Qushayrī and al-Jurjānī murāqabah is for one to be aware that their lord is perpetually aware of his subordinates. Not only is the person continuously in a state of mindfulness but they are cognizant that their lord is aware as well, creating a reciprocal relation. One of the most significant sentiments of the great philosopher and theologian Al-Ghāzālī centers around God-consciousness; that is to obey him. The Creator’s eternal knowledge encompasses the ephemeral existence of mortals, from before their conception to the ages after they have passed on, his Knowledge envelops the internal and the metaphysical. He is the creator. Once one understands this, they must follow a level of etiquette and protocol which are but not limited to: Having humility and modesty Staying silent and only speaking when appropriate, as it is mentioned in the narration, “the one who believes in Allah and the last day should only speak good or stay quiet”.
Resolve to do the best that one can in every action. Rush to do good deeds and avoiding sin. To be content with what one must deal with daily. Continuous reflection on one's internal world around them. Standing up for the truth; the physical benefits of murāqabah is akin to the benefits of standard meditation. Metaphysically speaking, the intended result of murāqabah is to refrain from any actions contrary to What is obligatory. and maintain one’s mindfulness in a state that one’s Lord finds them where He is pleased with them and not one where he is displeased with them. To continue to progress in murāqabah one must be consistent for a lengthy period of time to experience the aforementioned benefits. Although it may prove difficult in the beginning, one may always regain their state of mindfulness after recognizing a change from their initial state. Here are the Maqāmāt in which Sufis have broadly categorised their journey of ascension; the categorization is an arbitrary one, each level is further divided into several sublevels.
During the process of enlightenment, some stages overlap each other. Fanāʾ Fī al-Shaykh - Become One or Annihilated in or with the Master, Teacher or Murshid Fanāʾ Fī al-Rasūl - Become One and Annihilated in or with Muhammad Fanāʾ Fī al-Qurʾān- Become One and Annihilated with or in Quran and its commandments. Fanāʾ Fī ʾilāh - Become One and Annihilated in or with God; this is the starting level of meditation. A person who starts meditation enters a somnolent or sleep state. With the passage of time, the person goes into a state between sleep and wakefulness; the person can remember seeing something but not what it is. With continuous practice of meditation, the sleepiness from meditation decreases; when the conscious mind is not suppressed by sleep and is able to focus, the person can receive the spiritual knowledge from his subconscious mind. At this stage, the person is unable to see or hear anything but is able to experience or perceive it; when Idrāk becomes deep, it is exhibited as sight. The stage of Wurūd starts when somnolence is at its minimum.
As soon as the mind is focused, the spiritual eye is activated. The conscious mind is not used to see through the spiritual eye so concentration goes; the mind gets used to this kind of visions, the mental focus is sustained. With practice, the visions/experience becomes so deep that the person starts considering himself a part of the experience rather than considering himself an observer. Kashf or ʾlhām is the stage of starting to get information that most other people are unable to observe. In the beginning, this occurs without personal control. With practice, the mind gets so energized. A person can get any information about any event/person at will; this stage is broadly categorized according to activation of the senses: The person c
Akbariyya is a branch of Sufi metaphysics based on Ibn Arabi's teachings, an Andalusian Sufi, a gnostic and philosopher. The word is derived from Ibn Arabi's nickname, "Shaykh al-Akbar," meaning "the greatest shaykh." Akbariyya has never been used to indicate a Sufi society in history. It is nowadays used to refer to all historical or contemporary Sufi metaphysicians and Sufis influenced by Ibn Arabi's doctrine Wahdat al-Wujud, it is not to be confused with Al Akbariyya, a secret Sufi society founded by Swedish Sufi'Abdu l-Hadi Aguéli. Wahdat al-Wajud meaning the "unity of being" is a Sufi philosophy emphasizing that'there is no true existence except the Ultimate Truth' or in other words, that the only truth within the universe is God, that all things exist within God only. Ibn Arabi is most characterized in Islamic texts as the originator of this doctrine. However, it is not found in his works; the first to employ this term was Ibn Sabin. Ibn Arabi's disciple and stepson Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi used this term in his works and explained it using philosophical terms.
See Sufi metaphysics In the 20th century there has been focus on the Akbariyya School in academic circles and universities. Viewed in a historical context, increased government support for the study of the Muslim world and Islamic languages emerged in the United States after the Second World War where many students were attracted to Islam and religious studies during the 1970s; the greatest growth in American scholarship on Sufism, took place from the work done by scholars trained during the 1970s. Alexander Knysh notes that “in the decades after World War Two the majority of Western experts in Sufism were no longer based in Europe, but in North America.” Henri Corbin and Fritz Meier who were prominent among these experts, made important contributions to the study of Islamic mysticism. Another important names were Miguel Asín Palacios, Louis Massignon made contributions to Ibn Arabi studies. While Palacios discovered some Akbarian elements in Dante's famous work Divine Comedy Louis Massignon studied on famous Sufi Al-Hallaj saying "Anal Hak" and because of that expression he was executed.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr and his students and academic disciples, have come to play an important role in certain subfields of Sufi studies. The Influence of Nasr and other Traditionalist writers like Rene Guenon and Frithjof Schuon on Sufi studies can be seen on the interpretation of the works of Ibn Arabi and the Akbarian school by such scholars as Titus Burckhardt, Martin Lings, James Morris, William Chittick, Sachiko Murata and others; these names are both practitioners of Sufism and scholars studying Sufism. Viewed, Turkey is situated where Ibn Arabi's most prominent disciple and stepson Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi and other important commentators of Arabi's works lived in the past. Dawūd al-Qayṣarī was invited to Iznik by Orhan Ghazi to be director and teacher of the first Ottoman university was the disciple of Kamāl al-Dīn al-Qāshānī, himself a disciple of Sadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī; this means that the official teaching itself was set in motion by a great master of the Akbarian school. Not only Sufis but Ottoman sultans and intellectuals had been impressed by Ibn Arabi and his disciples and interpreters.
Seyyed Muhammad Nur al-Arabi was impressed by Ibn Arabi's doctrine, though that continued to decrease until the Modern Era. In the 20th century the last important commentator of Fusûs was Ahmed Avni Konuk, he was a composer of Turkish music. Studies on Sufism Akbarian works, were not common until the first Ph. D. thesis was written by Prof. Dr. Mahmud Erol Kılıc in Marmara University's Faculty of Theology titled "Ibn'Arabi's Ontology" in 1995. Academic studies on Akbarian metaphysics and philosophy began to rise after studies on this topic were conducted by Turkish scholars such as Mustafa Tahralı and Mahmud Erol Kılıc. In terms of Akbarian studies, the most important event to take place was the translation of Ibn Arabi's magnum opus,"Futuhat-ı Makkiyya", to Turkish. A Turkish scholar, Prof. Dr. Ekrem Demirli started translating the work in the form of 18 volumes in 2006 and finished in 2012; this particular translation was the first complete translation to another language. Demirli's work includes translating Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi's corpus to Turkish and writing a PhD thesis on him in 2004, writing a commentary on Fusus al-Hikam by Ibn Arabi, writing a book titled İslam Metafiziğinde Tanrı ve İnsan.
There are many Akbarian works in Ottoman Turkish. There had and have been many Akbarian Sufis and philosophers in history from all over the world. Ibn Arabi created the philosophy of Wahdat al-Wujud; the Sufis listed below were members of different orders, but following the concept of Wahdat al-Wujud. Masataka Takeshita: Ibn'Arabi's Theory of the Perfect Man and Its Place in the History of Islamic Thought, Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 1987 William C. Chittick: Ibn'Arabi's Imaginal Worlds: Creativity of Imagination and the Problem of Religious Diversity _____________: The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-'Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination ______________: Ibn'Arabi - Heir to the Prophets. ______________: Imaginal Worlds. ______________: The Self-Disclosure of God Stephen Hirtenstein: The Unlimited Mercifier: The Spiritual Life and Thought of Ibn'Arabi _____________: Prayer and Contemplation
The Alian Kızılbaşī community, are a Shi`a order, similar to the Sufi Mevlevi, who live in several regions of Bulgaria. Alians revere the name "Ali" carried by their circle of 12 Ministers, which they consider an emanation of God, they follow the mystical rituals of the wandering dervishes. Their exact origin is not certain, since few relevant historical records have been preserved, but according to the prevailing theory they fled to Bulgaria from Central Anatolia after the 1512 victory by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, a Sunni, over the first Turcoman Safavid shah of the Persians, Ismail I. Alians appear to be descendants of a Sufi-dervish-like group of priests but they themselves believe about 10% are the descendants of the earliest Christians of Asia Minor who fled the Sunni invasion of Anatolia, they believe. Ali for them is not one single historical person but the ineffable name kept by God's Ministers, it has been suggested that they first came to the Balkans during the 15th century, in order to keep up the morale of Ottoman soldiers and to help integrate the newly conquered peoples into the empire.
However, it is not since the Ottomans were Sunnis while the Alians are viewed as ghulat by other Muslims for their heterodox views concerning Muhammad and Ali. However, the reverse accusation is returned that their attackers are Munafiqun for abandoning the articles of Imaan that concerning belief in the 4 books which Alians believe and for adopting ibn Hazm's doctrine of Tahrif instead which Alians reject; the Alians have similar beliefs and practices to the Alevis and along with Alevis are surviving examples of pre-Sunni Islam because the Alians are believed to be descendants of a member of the Banu Eli tribe, called Abbas ibn Ali and Umm ul-Banin so their 12 imams has nothing to do with Twelver Shiism. They believe the Quran was compiled by an Alian ex-convert to Monophysitism from Zoroastrianism called Salman e Fars whom they hold in high esteem, their tafsir of the Quran based on syncretic harmony between the 4 books places them within the Judeo-Christian tradition. They are a closed society and zealously hide their rituals.
Circumcision, reserved for the priests, is done. At the age of 13 years his pubic hair may be trimmed in a special ceremony where only male Elders are present, they should only marry other Alians. Marriages may be arranged years in advance by the families but the couple are only married together as young men and women because, contrary to general Islamic practice, child marriages are abhorred by Alians, it is known that Alians are mysticists and believe in personal communication with God through a near-trance state during Zikr. They do not use the Sunni Islamic rituals, but the Persian calendar, an Old Rite-style breviary and use candles and wine during their Mass which they call Dzhem on Thursday nights to achieve the Haqq–Muhammad–Ali communion, they celebrate Christmas and Easter while revering Christian saints Saint Nicholas as well as Sufi saints using icons and crosses alongside tasbih. Along with other Alevis, they are considered crypto-Jews for sharing many practices and traditions in common with Judaism.
They placed a great role among themselves for converting Christians in Bulgaria. A tradition is performed among Alians and other Alevis after the 3rd week of December until the first week of January where St Nicholas and his bride Fadike and a character known as the Arab will visit the homes in the community to perform a play and collect gifts go on to distribute them to others in the community Zeyi and distribute nuts, sweets and dried fruits to children. Alian shrines are visited by Balkan Christians and do themselves sometimes attend Christian Churches and frequent Balkan Christian Shrines. However, Alians have always refused to visit madrassahs in the Ottoman Empire, because orthodox Sunni Islam was taught there; as a consequence, they educated their children only within the bounds of their society, that has led to a decline among them. The situation, along with the reticence of their esoteric culture, the urbanization, doomed them to gradual assimilation into Orthodox Christianity or secularism.
By the Second World War and the following communism in Bulgaria, many Alians fled in the European part of Turkey. In recent decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has pushed an agenda to assimilate them into Sunni Islam but have failed miserably. In fact, Alians have converted thousands of Sunnis to their form of Islam since World War 2. Demir Baba teke is a sacred place to Alians and other Islamic sects because Demir Baba, a famous dervish who lived during the 16th century, is buried there in the lands of northeastern Bulgaria; the tekke of Otman Baba, located in the Haskovo-region village of Teketo, is another Alian holy site. In Bulgaria, Alians inhabit predominantly the villages of Yablanovo and Malko Selo in Sliven Province.
In Islam, ziyara or ziyarat is a form of pilgrimage to sites associated with Muhammad, his family members and descendants, his companions and other venerated figures in Islam such as the prophets, Sufi auliya, Islamic scholars. Sites of pilgrimage include mosques, battlefields and caves. Ziyārat can refer to a form of supplication made by the Shia, in which they send salutations and greetings to Muhammad and his family. Ziyarat comes from Arabic: زور "to visit". In Islam it refers to pilgrimage to a holy place, tomb or shrine. Iranian and South Asian Muslims use the word ziyarat for both the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca as well as for pilgrimages to other sites such as visiting a holy place. In Indonesia the term is ziarah for visiting holy graves. Different Muslim-majority countries, speaking many different languages, use different words for these sites where ziyarat is performed: Ziyāratgāh – Persian word meaning, "sites of Ziyarat" Imāmzādeh – in Iran, tombs of the descendants of the Twelver Imāms Dargah – in South Asia and Central Asia for tombs of Sufi saints Ziarat or Jiarat – in Southeast Asia Ziyaratkhana – in South Asia Gongbei – in China Mazar – a general term meaning a shrine of a Shi'i Saint or noble.
Maqam – a shrine built on the site associated with a Muslim saint or religious figure. More than any other tomb in the Islamic world, the shrine of the Prophet Muhammad is considered a source of blessings for the visitor. A hadith of the Prophet states that, "He who visits my grave will be entitled to my intercession" and in a different version "I will intercede for those who have visited me or my tomb." Visiting the Prophet's tomb after the pilgrimage is considered by the majority of Sunni legal scholars to be recommended. The early scholars of the salaf, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh, Abdullah ibn Mubarak and Imam Shafi'i all permitted the practice of Ziyarah to the Prophet's tomb. According to the Hanbali scholar Al-Hasan ibn'Ali al-Barbahari, it is obligatory to send salutations upon Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab after having sent salutations upon the Prophet; the hadith scholar Qadi Ayyad stated that visiting the Prophet was "a sunna of the Muslims on which there was consensus, a good and desirable deed."Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani explicitly stated that travelling to visit the tomb of the Prophet was "one of the best of actions and the noblest of pious deeds with which one draws near to God, its legitimacy is a matter of consensus."Similarly, Ibn Qudamah considered Ziyarat of the Prophet to be recommended and seeking intercession directly from the Prophet at his grave.
Ibn Taymiyyah condemned all forms of seeking intercession from the dead and said that all ahadith encouraging visitation to the Prophet's tomb are fabricated. This view of Ibn Taymiyya was rejected by mainstream Sunni scholars both during his life and after his death; the Shafi'i hadith master Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani stated that "This is one of the ugliest positions, reported of Ibn Taymiyya". The Hanafi hadith scholar Ali al-Qari stated that, "Amongst the Hanbalis, Ibn Taymiyya has gone to an extreme by prohibiting travelling to visit the Prophet – may God bless him and grant him peace" Qastallani stated that "The Shaykh Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya has abominable and odd statements on this issue to the effect that travelling to visit the Prophet is prohibited and is not a pious deed."Other historic scholars who recommended Ziyarah include Imam al-Ghazali, Imam Nawawi and Muhammad al-Munawi. The tombs of other Muslim religious figures are respected; the son of Ahmad ibn Hanbal named Abdullah, one of the primary jurists of Sunnism stated that he would prefer to be buried near the shrine of a saintly person than his own father.
There are many reasons for which the Shī‘ah partake in the performance of Ziyarah, none of which include the worship of the people buried within the tombs. Ayatullah Borujerdi and Ayatullah Khomeini have both said The Shī‘ah do however perform Ziyarah, believing that the entombed figures bear great status in the eyes of God, seek to have their prayers answered through these people - Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Musawi writes In this regard, Ibn Shu’ba al-Harrani narrates a hadīth from the tenth Imām of the Twelver Shī‘as The Ziyarah of the Imāms is done by the Shī‘ah, not only as a means of greeting and saluting their masters who lived long before they were born, but as a means of seeking nearness to God and more of His blessings; the Shī‘ah do not consider the hadith collected by al-Bukhari to be authentic, argue that if things such as Ziyarah and Tawassul were innovations and shirk, Muhammad himself would have prohibited people as a precaution, from visiting graves, or seeking blessings through kissing the sacred black stone at the Ka‘bah.
It is popular. In Shi'i sacred texts it is stated that the time between death and resurrection should be spent near the Imams. Dargah Hajj Imamzadeh List of ziyarat locations Tablet of Visitation Jamiah kabirah Ziyarat List of holiest Shi'ite sites Sacred Gorshunova, Olga V. Trees of Khodzhi Baror: Phytolatry and the Cult of Female Deity in Central Asia // Etnograficheskoye obozreniye, 200
Sufism or Taṣawwuf, variously defined as "Islamic mysticism", "the inward dimension of Islam" or "the phenomenon of mysticism within Islam", is mysticism in Islam, "characterized... values, ritual practices and institutions" which began early in Islamic history and represents "the main manifestation and the most important and central crystallization of" mystical practice in Islam. Practitioners of Sufism have been referred to as "Sufis". Sufis have belonged to different ṭuruq or "orders" – congregations formed around a grand master referred to as a wali who traces a direct chain of successive teachers back to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad; these orders meet for spiritual sessions in meeting places known as khanqahs or tekke. They strive for ihsan, as detailed in a hadith: "Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him. Sufis regard Muhammad as al-Insān al-Kāmil, the primary perfect man who exemplifies the morality of God, see him as their leader and prime spiritual guide. All Sufi orders trace most of their original precepts from Muhammad through his cousin and son-in-law Ali, with the notable exception of one.
Although the overwhelming majority of Sufis, both pre-modern and modern and are adherents of Sunni Islam, there developed certain strands of Sufi practice within the ambit of Shia Islam during the late medieval period. Although Sufis were opposed to dry legalism, they observed Islamic law and belonged to various schools of Islamic jurisprudence and theology. Sufis have been characterized by their asceticism by their attachment to dhikr, the practice of remembrance of God performed after prayers, they gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate and have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium expressing their beliefs in Arabic and expanding into Persian and Urdu, among others. Sufis played an important role in the formation of Muslim societies through their missionary and educational activities. According to William Chittick, "In a broad sense, Sufism can be described as the interiorization, intensification of Islamic faith and practice."Despite a relative decline of Sufi orders in the modern era and criticism of some aspects of Sufism by modernist thinkers and conservative Salafists, Sufism has continued to play an important role in the Islamic world, has influenced various forms of spirituality in the West.
The Arabic word tasawwuf translated as Sufism, is defined by Western authors as Islamic mysticism. The Arabic term sufi has been used in Islamic literature with a wide range of meanings, by both proponents and opponents of Sufism. Classical Sufi texts, which stressed certain teachings and practices of the Quran and the sunnah, gave definitions of tasawwuf that described ethical and spiritual goals and functioned as teaching tools for their attainment. Many other terms that described particular spiritual qualities and roles were used instead in more practical contexts; some modern scholars have used other definitions of Sufism such as "intensification of Islamic faith and practice" and "process of realizing ethical and spiritual ideals". The term Sufism was introduced into European languages in the 18th century by Orientalist scholars, who viewed it as an intellectual doctrine and literary tradition at variance with what they saw as sterile monotheism of Islam. In modern scholarly usage the term serves to describe a wide range of social, cultural and religious phenomena associated with Sufis.
The original meaning of sufi seems to have been "one who wears wool", the Encyclopaedia of Islam calls other etymological hypotheses "untenable". Woollen clothes were traditionally associated with mystics. Al-Qushayri and Ibn Khaldun both rejected all possibilities other than ṣūf on linguistic grounds. Another explanation traces the lexical root of the word to ṣafā, which in Arabic means "purity"; these two explanations were combined by the Sufi al-Rudhabari, who said, "The Sufi is the one who wears wool on top of purity". Others have suggested that the word comes from the term ahl aṣ-ṣuffah, who were a group of impoverished companions of Muhammad who held regular gatherings of dhikr; these men and women who sat at al-Masjid an-Nabawi are considered by some to be the first Sufis. According to Carl W. Ernst the earliest figures of Sufism are Muhammad his companions. Sufi orders are based on the "bay‘ah", given to Muhammad by his Ṣahabah. By pledging allegiance to Muhammad, the Sahabah had committed themselves to the service of God.
Verily, those who give Bai'âh to you they are giving Bai'âh to Allâh. The Hand of Allâh is over their hands. Whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm, whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allâh, He will bestow on him a great reward. — Sufis believe that by giving bayʿah to a legitimate Sufi shaykh, one is pledging allegiance to Muhammad. It is through Muhammad that Sufis aim to learn about and connect with God. Ali is regarded as one of the
Dervish or darwish in Islam can refer broadly to members of a Sufi fraternity, or more narrowly to a religious mendicant, who chose or accepted material poverty. The latter usage is found in Persian and Turkish, corresponding to the Arabic term faqir, their focus is on the universal values of love and service, deserting the illusions of ego to reach God. In most Sufi orders, a dervish is known to practice dhikr through physical exertions or religious practices to attain the ecstatic trance to reach God, their most common practice is Sama, associated with the 13th-century mystic Rumi. In folklore, dervishes are credited with the ability to perform miracles and described with supernatural powers; the Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian word that appears in Avestan as drigu-, "needy, mendicant", via Middle Persian driyosh. Dervishes try to approach God rather by virtues and individual experience, than by religious scholarship. Many dervishes are mendicant ascetics.
The main reason they beg is to learn humility, but dervishes are prohibited to beg for their own good. They have to give the collected money to other poor people. Others work in common professions; some classical writers indicate that the poverty of the dervish is not economic. Saadi, for instance, who himself travelled as a dervish, wrote extensively about them, says in his Gulistan: Of what avail is frock, or rosary, Or clouted garment? Keep thyself but free From evil deeds, it will not need for thee To wear the cap of felt: a darwesh be In heart, wear the cap of Tartary. Rumi writes in Book 1 of his Masnavi: Water that's poured inside will sink the boat While water underneath keeps it afloat. Driving wealth from his heart to keep it pure King Solomon preferred the title'Poor': That sealed jar in the stormy sea out there Floats on the waves because it's full of air, When you've the air of dervishood inside You'll float above the world and there abide... The whirling dance or Sufi whirling, proverbially associated with dervishes is best known in the West by the practices of the Mevlevi order in Turkey, is part of a formal ceremony known as the Sama.
It is, however practiced by other orders. The Sama is only one of the many Sufi ceremonies performed to try to reach religious ecstasy; the name Mevlevi comes from the Persian poet Rumi, a dervish himself. This practice, though not intended as entertainment, has become a tourist attraction in Turkey. There are various orders of dervishes all of which trace their origins from various Muslim saints and teachers Imam Ali. Various orders and suborders have disappeared over the centuries. Dervishes spread into North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Pakistan, India and Tajikistan. Other dervish groups include the Bektashis, who are connected to the janissaries, the Senussi, who are rather orthodox in their beliefs. Other fraternities and subgroups chant verses of the Qur'an, play drums or whirl in groups, all according to their specific traditions, they practice meditation, as is the case with most of the Sufi orders in South Asia, many of whom owe allegiance to, or were influenced by, the Chishti order.
Each fraternity uses its own garb and methods of acceptance and initiation, some of which may be rather severe. The Dervish movement was an early 20th-century Somali Sunni Islamic state, established by Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, a religious leader who gathered Somali soldiers from across the Horn of Africa and united them into a loyal army known as the Dervishes; this Dervish army enabled Hassan to carve out a powerful state through conquest of lands claimed by the Somali Sultans, the Ethiopians and the European powers. The Dervish movement acquired renown in the Islamic and Western worlds due to its resistance against Britain and Italy; the Dervish movement repulsed British-led Somali and Ethiopian forces four times and forced them to retreat to the coastal region. The polity maintained relations with other authorities, receiving support from the Ottoman and German empires; the Turks named Hassan Emir of the Somali nation, the Germans promised to recognize any territories the Dervishes were to acquire.
The Dervish movement was defeated by the British in 1920. Various western historical writers have sometimes used the term dervish rather loosely, linking it to, among other things, the Mahdist uprising in Sudan and other rebellions against colonial powers. In such cases, the term "dervishes" may have been used as a generic term for the opposing Islamic entity and all members of its military and religious institutions, including persons who would not be considered "dervishes" in the strict sense. For example, a contemporary British drawing of the fighting in Sudan was entitled "The defeat of the dervishes at Toski". Derviş, a variant of the spelling Fakir Qalandariyya Warsangeli Daraawiish The Tale of the Four Dervishes Qissa Chahar Dervish Death and the Dervish, a novel by Yugoslav writer Meša Selimović The Journey of the Sufi / The Dervish Bektashi Order of Dervishes Rifai Dervish Order Rifai Dervishes A photo essay on the Sufis and Sufi dervishes of Pakistan Videos of Dervish music and dances of Rumi