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Religion and Theology
Pages 3 (753 words)
South Asian Sufism The South Asian subcontinent is principally a rich site to learn and understand Islam. Muslims in this area amount to approximately a third of the full Muslim population worldwide. They are dispersed among seven nation states whose demographic and political characteristics differ extensively.
This diversity has to a certain extent been created by the subcontinent?s numerous linguistic and cultural customs and its unique networks beyond the region. In terms of Islamic roots, Sufism has, in a way, played a key role in the spread of Islamic devotional and spiritual life in South Asia. At some stage in the eighth and ninth centuries A.D., a novel prominence began to grow within Islam. This prominence was a constructive response against the established uncongenial and ceremonial nature of Islam. The quest for deeper meaning started with a pietistic simplicity, which in turn led to the advance of the well-acknowledged mystical side of Islam - known as Tasawwuf or Sufism. Sufism is in essence a spiritual form of Islam focusing on the connection between the individual and divinity. The Sufis surfaced in South Asia around 800 years ago, and were initially stanch devotees, whose meager woolen attire signified their humility, hence the word “Sufi” that denotes Arabic word for wool. The Sufis sought the mysticism, divine realism or eventual truth that stands over all the fantasies and deceptions about the materialistic society. In order to attain ecstatic unification with God, Sufis integrated practices of sound and actions -- chanting and harmony, swaying and dance. Sufi followers joined in closed brotherhoods or tariqahs, each following a captivating leader (shaykh). ...
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