This essay critically looks at Sufism as well-stipulated as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam by its adherents. While all Muslims believe that they are on a pathway where utter closeness shall be obtained in Paradise after death and final judgment, Sufism goes further to believe in more closeness and God’s revelation through His Divine Presence. This is achieved by restoration of oneself to a primordial state of ‘fitra’ whereby all actions are not in defiance to God and are done in the love of God.
Islamic scholars recognize two branches of Sufism and are used as the core of separating approaches used by various devotional lineages and masters (Er, 2008). On one hand, there is the way from the signs or arts to the Signifier or the Artisan. The seeker starts by sanctifying his lower self and every corrupting influence that hinders his or her recognition of God’s work through theophany or God’s active manifestation. This is the way commonly advocated by the Imam Al-Ghazali and most of the Sufi orders (Yusuf, 2006).
On the other hand, there is the Classical way from the Signifier or the Artisan to God’s signs and His works. In this category, the seeker finds “jadhba” experienced as divine attraction and enters the path with the endpoint in sight and directly apprehensive of the Divine Presence whereby all spiritual goals are directed. This however does not replace the struggle towards the heart’s purification as in the other branch of Sufism but simply stems from a different entry point into the path. This is primarily followed by masters of the orders such as Naqshbandi and Shadhili. (Abdullah Nur ad-Din Durkee). Classical Sufism is characterized by its adherence to ‘dhikr’ whereby God’s name is repeated severally and asceticism and was mainly due to a revolt against worldliness in 6771-750 CE in the early Umayyad Caliphate. The classical doctrine is universal in nature, and has its roots in the arising of Islam
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