Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Sufism Mean?

Sufism is a tradition within Islam that focuses on the inner search for the Divine, much like many Hindu and yoga traditions. It is often referred to as Islamic mysticism.

Asceticism — shunning materialism and worldly pleasures to focus on spiritual growth — is a key element of Sufism, as it is in some Hindu and yoga traditions. Yoga, which means “union,” emphasizes the unity of the self and the Divine, whatever form that takes. Sufism, likewise, recognizes the unity of existence.


Yogapedia Explains Sufism

Sufism also shares some spiritual activities with yoga. For example, meditation and chanting are practices that Sufis use to open their minds and hearts to grow spiritually. Tariqa, or spiritual learning, is the path of a Sufi saint that leads to knowledge of God as the Ultimate Reality. Muslims who practice Sufism have been the target of Islamic extremists because of the emphasis on pluralism and tolerance.

Often called Tasawwuf in the Muslim world, Sufism is not a sect of Islam, but a dimension of the religion with Sufi orders found in varying branches of Islam, including the two main branches, Sunni and Shia.

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Islamic Mysticism

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