Friday, May 01, 2009 By Maryam
Sufism and Wahhabism might seem like diametrically opposed opposites within the world of Islam. Both of them are terms used (sometimes incorrectly) to refer to a wide range of practices and beliefs.
Originally, Sufism, tasawwuf started as an Islamic branch of knowledge that focused on spirituality and dedication to Allah (swt). Its origins can be traced to the earliest days of Islam. Among the Companions of the Prophet were those who were very poor, yet also very pious. These men, who were called became known as “Ashab As-Suffah,” or the Companions of the Porch. Another interpretation of the word tasawwuf is that it is a combination of the words suf and safa, which mean “wool” and “purity,” respectively. The Sufi scholar Abu ‘Ali al-Rudhabari took this to mean, “The Sufi is the one who wears wool on top of purity.”
A famous narrator of Hadith, Abu Hurrayah, was among those dedicated to Sufism. Thus, we can see that Sufism in itself is not a new development with in Islam. Some other scholars such as Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani and Bishr Al-Hafi would wear rough wool, and while lacking a deep or precise knowledge of jurisprudence, always reminded their followers of Allah and the hereafter, and left a memory of a simple and spiritual life.
Sufism, afterwards, evolved into an educational method (tarbiyah)…