Sufism in Islamic Tradition has for centuries been a source of inner peace, spiritual awakening and enlightenment for millions of human beings. It has also been matter of debate among scholars regarding the questions related to its origin, nature and external manifestations.
This volume, having 29 well researched papers, seeks to present a wide spectrum of perspectives and in-depth studies on different aspects of Islamic Sufism and Indian Mysticism, and their interface that has manifested itself through the history of Islam’s interaction with India, spread over a time-frame of more than a millennium. The contributions in this volume are made by some of the most renowned scholars and experts in the fields of philosophy, Islamic Studies, comparative religions, psychology, sociology, history and journalism.
Prof. Akhtarul Wasey is one of the most prominent Islamic Scholars and socio-political analyst. He is the Head, Department of Islamic Studies and Director, Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamic, New Delhi. He is also editor of three internationally recognized research journals-Islam and Modern Age(English), and Islam Aur Asre-e-jadeed andRisala jaia (Urdu). He has served as President of the Dargah Committee, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer. A prolific writer, Prof. Wasey has several books in English , Urdu and Hindi to his credit, including two on Sufism.
Farhat Ehsas (Farhatullah Khan) is one of the leading contemporary Urdu poets, journalists and translators. He has written extensively on socio-cultural and political issues. He is presently Assistant Editor, Islam and Modern Age and Islam Aur Asr-e-Jadeed, the research journals, published by the Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Tasawwuf (Sufism) in Islamic tradition has for centuries been a source of inner peace, solace and spiritual awakening and enlightenment for millions of human beings, as also a matter of debate among scholars and intellectuals. Those who take it intuitionally do not at all need to discuss it intellectually, but scholars, who may not be necessarily involved in it and look at it from outside, have always felt a need to discuss and make sense of it in terms of analytical intellect. This is, of course, not to belittle the value and importance of the intellectual and scholarly labour exerted to deal with the questions related to the external manifestations of tasawwuf as it appears through time and history.
The most important question about tasawwuf that scholars have consistently been debating relates to its origin, and also its nature. One sees clear and deep division among scholars on this question. On one side of the line are scholars who marshal arguments to establish that much in the Tasawwuf in Islamic tradition can be traced to the sources external to core Islamic doctrine. In so doing, they refer to many Sufi beliefs and practices that have nothing Islamic about them, but are our shadowed by the beliefs and practices contained in the vedantic thought of Hinduism and Buddhist as also Christian mystic traditions. Scholars, on the other side of the divide, are equally armed with evidences from original Islamic sources to prove that Islamic Tasawwuf is intrinsically and essentially Islamic, having firm roots I the Quran and the Hadith. They stress that, from the very beginning of Islamic history there have been those who emphasized on the esoteric side of the religion along with strictly following the doctrine externally.
Many western scholars of Islam, the orientalises as they are more popularly known have studied the origin and evolution of Islamic tasawwuf and most of them trace the shaping of the sufistic tradition in Islam to external sources. William Jones, A.J. arberry, R. A. Nicholson, G.E. Von Grunebaum, Margaresmith, William graham, sir John Malcolm Ducan Black MacDonald, Louis Massignon Richard Hartman, Fan Krammer Goldzeiher, John P. Brown are the most prominent among the western scholars who have contributed to researches on Islamic Sufism.
But the vast body of classical research on the evolution of Islamic Sufism in Arabic and Persian Language, contributed by classical Muslim, scholars emphasizes the essentially Islamic abdur Rahman Sulami, Abdullah Ansari , Abu Nasr Sarraj, Abu Bakr Kalabazi, Abdur rahma Jami, shamsuddin Zahabi, ibnul Imad, Shekh Ali Hujwairi among others, point out that tsawwuf is intrinsically based on the quran and sunnah of the Prophet, and its origin can be traced to the Prophet himself.
Abu Nasr Sarraj in Kitabul Lama, Abu Bakr Kalabazi in At Taa’ruful Mazhab Ahlat Tasawwuf and Imam Qushairi in Arrisala Strongly stress that there is no tradition of Tasawwuf other than and independent of the core teachings of Islam. Sarraj says that most of the Sufis believe and practice the external Shariah in the same way as has been established by the Quran and Sunnah. However Sufi view and practice of Islam goes beyond mere ritualistic following of the Shariah, and stresses on developing an inner understanding and realization of Islamic teachings. This inner awakening and enlightenment based on grasping the esoteric side of religion forms the core of Tasawwuf.
The evolution of Islamic Sufism can be divided into three distinct phases. The first phase that coincides with the period descendants involved in practising Islamic teachings to lay the firm foundations of the religion for the coming generations to build upon. It was the first century of Islamic Calendar. But get popularity. What was to be later known as Tasawwuf was practised, during this phase, in the form of pity and excessive worship and remembering of God.
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