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Sufi Characteristics

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The history of origin of Sufism has been traced back to the time before the beginning of Islam. Sufism was initiated by God fearing people of the Perso-Arab region who yearned to be close to Him, and spent most of their time meditating and praying. However, its germ has been known to have lived from the time of creation. The reason why Sufism originated in the first place was to bring together the people who wanted to be in close relationship with God, as well as to communicate the need for brotherhood/sisterhood to the world.

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The word Sufi is derived from ‘Safa’, which denotes ‘pure’. The first people who came to be called Sufis lived in the seventh and eighth century. Mohammed was one of those who had a fulfilling experience by constantly worshipping God even before receiving the prophetic call. Sufism has been known to be Muslim movement, the followers of which have a direct relationship with God where they find divine love and truth. Sufism is a part of Islam history that appeared as an abstinent movement. At some point in its history, a political turmoil occurred, and as the result the most religious Muslim leaders lost focus. Due to this, some Muslims resigned from government jobs because they did not want to be associated with secularism of the government. Later, they were referred to as Sufis. It should be mentioned, that the movement received its name basing on the wool clothing that the followers wore to signify their rejection of earthly things.

Traditionally, Sufism is seen as a mystical school of Islam with its origin in the first century after the death of Prophet Mohammed. In fact, a large percentage of Sufis are Muslims and find it impossible to be a non-Islamic Sufi. Other views trace Sufism to the early Christian mystics of Egypt and Essenes. It is from this history that Islamic Sufism came into being. Although non-Muslims think tht Sufism is an Islam sect, it is being accurately referred to as an aspect of Islam.

The traditional beliefs of Sufism involve celibacy and poverty. Its religious practices focus on self-control that allows spiritual and emotional insights with the goal of union with God. What is more, the Sufi movement has communal orders, whereby the leaders conduct trainings for the followers regarding Sufism’s philosophical norms and practices. Apart from that, the leaders provide the guidance on writing and reciting poems and hymns. Sufis are also known to be the original authors of some of the best Islamic literature.

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To gain union with God, Sufis participate in many ritual practices such as prayers, reciting God’s names, and contemplation of God by spinning. In Christianity, the union with God is attained through prayers and offerings. In Sufism, God is not seen as being distinct from oneself, but is considered innate, formless, infinite and colorless. Sufis neither believe in the unrealized God nor an idealized deity. They are, therefore, not atheists because they do not deny God or his messengers.

The Sufi does not practice a particular religion because it never imposes principles or beliefs on any individual. This is caused by understanding that individuals are created differently, hence the principles are made specifically for each person, and the beliefs are bound to change depending on circumstances. Since Sufism never relies on cold reasoning, it cannot be seen as a rational philosophy. The main aim of Sufi is God and the belief does not give importance to investigations because it realizes that life is brief. On the contrary, Christianity and Islam believe in the unseen God or Allah. Each of these religions have strict principles that should be followed by their members. Furthermore, they have designated places of worship where the prayers and offerings are mmade.

Sufism is the core of all religions, hence it has a great influence. Due to this powerful nature, it can be observed as a cryptic side of Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam. It cannot be considered a pure mysticism of one religion that is not influenced by the others. This inclusive nature makes it a true spirit of all diverse religions. For every Sufi, the important element of life is purity, love, and worship of God. Sufis such as Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus had constant communication with God. This implies that the daily life portrayed by a Sufi should be a true symbol of the sacrament. A Sufi is expected to be pure and this state is achieved by keeping the revelation of God before them and ensuring the stains caused by worldly differences are not reflected in their hearts. A Person’s purity should not be interfered with by living in a bad society or confessing a particular faith. Similar point of view on being holy is supported by other religions and people who profess that their faith should always endeavour to focus on God’s revelations and reject worldly treasurers.

A universal relationship is manifested by the adaptive nature of Sufis. In a Christian framework, a Sufi becomes one of them and the same happens with other religions. Sufis always allow all members of diverse religions to worship together and never try to inquire about nationality, religion, beliefs and teachings. The motivation behind such lack of fixed principles for the Sufis is that, not everything that is good for one person is good for the other and vice versa. Sufism, therefore, advocates for principles that are applicable to a person and circumstance at hand. Contrary, Jews and Christians believe that the principles will help the followers to remain strong in their faith and to be guided to holiness. They, therefore have commandments and religious doctrines that every believer should practice.

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