Friday, August 12, 2005 By Maryam
Written by BY MATEIN KHALID
10 August 2005
THE Sufi tradition in Islam goes back to the mystical, ascetic movements that existed in the desert monasteries of Byzantine Syria and Coptic Egypt centuries before the Arab conquest. Derived from the Greek word for knowledge (sophos) and the Arabic word tassawuf a metaphor for worldly renunciation Sufi ideals have had a seminal impact on Islamic ideals of poetry, compassion, politics, social justice and relations with other faiths everywhere from the Maghreb to Central Asia.
The Sufis helped spread Islam in medieval India and the Malay archipelago, mirrored the Florentine Renaissances quest for
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