Sufism or as it is also known taṣawwuf is generally believed to be the mystical dimension of Islam.
An adherent of this religion is known as a Sufi. Some of the faithfull use this term only for those who have attained the goals of the Sufi tradition. Another name used for the Sufi seeker is dervish.
The religion originated between 661 to 759 BC and was an answer to the worldliness of many Muslims.
As stated classical Sufi scholars have defined it as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the renowned Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one’s inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits."
According to some modern proponents, such as Idries Shah, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the arising of Islam and the other modern-day religions; likewise, some Muslims feel that it is outside the sphere of Islam, although generally scholars of Islam contend that it is simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam.
While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise, after death and after the "Final Judgment", Sufis also believe that it is possible to draw closer to God and to more fully embrace the Divine Presence in this life.
The chief aim of all Sufis is to seek the pleasing of God by working to restore within themselves the primordial state of fitra, described in the Qur'an. In this state nothing one does defies God, and all is undertaken by the single motivation of love of God.
A secondary consequence of this is that the seeker may be led to abandon all notions of dualism or multiplicity, including a conception of an individual self, and to realize the Divine Unity.
Scholars and adherents are unanimous in agreeing that Sufism cannot be learned through books. To reach the highest levels of success in Sufism typically requires that the disciple live with and serve the teacher for many years.
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