08 Jul The Difference between Sufi and other Muslims.
The Difference between Sufi and other Muslims.
whats the diff between sufi and other muslims?
I actually like this question, a lot, because it raises one of the most interesting issues in contemporary Islam.
In the last few years, and I don’t really even understand why or how, but people have come to separate what is “Sufi” from being Sunni or Shia, and what’s even more curious is how some people who describe themselves as Salafi have decided that those that call themselves Sufi are their “Muslim opposites” or whatever.
The methodology of the Sufi as understood by someone like, say, Rumi, would be very different to those today. The idea that Rumi was some sort of agnostic, hippie-type is so far from the truth. He was trained as a jurist, issued fatwas, and even within his poetry wrote about how central The Qur’an was to his life and routinely utilized Abu Bakr as a positive metaphor in his poetry.
If you asked Rumi if he was “a Sufi,” he probably would have blinked at you and been pretty confused. He was what we would call a Sunni.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t involved with what we call “Sufism.” But for someone of his time, there was no need to distinguish things like that. The Sufi “way” was simply a lens in which to view the world and his connection to God.
This is true of other great Islamic scholars, like Muhammad Al-Ghazali, who while he utilized the Shafi’i madhab of Sunni jurisprudence, he was someone who is renown for his writings and teachings of the Sufi methodology. Even Salah ad-Din (Saladin) who started the process of Egypt turning from a Shia to Sunni country, was involved in Sufi practices.
So instead of looking at “Sufi” as an independent category, as we do for some odd reason today, we should look at it as a filter through which people not only understand their faith but their connection to God.
Ultimately a Sufi can be anything, Sunni (as I mentioned above) or a Shia (Bektashi order comes to mind) and the fact that we are making the distinctions between them is honestly very confusing to me.
So, yes, there are people who claim that they are “Sufi” and are independent from being Sunni or Shia, but ultimately, their practices will generally fall into one of the two categories, whether they want to admit it or not.
I hope I did not offend anyone, I’m speaking purely from a practical standpoint of history and with the intention of honestly highlighting how much overlap there is between Muslims who divide themselves unnecessarily.
Insha Allah, if anyone has more questions on this topic, I would be more than willing to answer.