What is Sufism – A Complete Explanation

There are several branches of knowledge or sciences in Islam. All of which have been derived from the Quran, Hadith and Sunnah. Some of these branches of science include Science of Fiqh, Science of Hadith, Science of Tafseer, Science of Tajweed etc.

Sufism, also known as Tasawwuf, is also a science in Islam and one who seeks to acquire this knowledge is called a Salik, Mureed, Disciple. We will often use the word “Mureed” on our site.

Sufism is a spiritual path in Islam which one travels in order to recognize and attain closeness to Allah  Subhana Wa Taala . Commonly known as Marifut and Qurb of Allah  Subhana Wa Taala . Treading this path develops the spiritual faculties of man for realization of Divine Realities, the truth. Ultimately, one becomes a Friend of Allah  Subhana Wa Taala .

To fulfill this objective one begins by taking Bai’ah or Ba’it meaning “Oath of Allegiance” from one who has already traveled this path i.e a Friend of Allah  Subhana Wa Taala . They are also known by titles such as Murshid, Pir, Sheikh, Sufi Master, Saint, Sage etc .We will often use“Sheikh” or “Hadhrat / Hazrat” on our site.

After taking the oath of allegiance, in the hands of a Shaikh, there are many variations as to how the Shaikh will guide his Mureed to Allah  Subhana Wa Taala . These varying methods are known as Tariqahs or Sufi Orders.

The following four principles, however, are emphasized and form the basis of all legitimate Tariqahs:

1. Full adherence to Shariah: The Islamic Law
2. Observance of all Sunnah.
3. Remembrance of Allah  Subhana Wa Taala .
4. Code of Love & Discipline

The following diagram illustrates the science of Sufism in a nutshell:

Sufism Steps


Sufism is confined within the boundary of Shariah, Islamic Law. This has ten stations. From the introduction one will have learnt that the first enclosure a Mureed must enter is Shariat. Shariat, or Islamic law, is the centerpiece and backbone of Islam. It’s principles are based on the Qur’an & Sunnah. Shariat comprises of 10 stations. These are as follows:

Stations of Shariat:
First Station: Faith
Believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Prophets & Messengers, the Day of Judgement and that fate, good and bad, is destined and comes from Allah. Furthermore Faith (Iman) is accentuated by affirming belief in resurrection after death. To hold this belief with certainty is one of the imperatives of faith.

Second Station: Salaat
Offer the 5 times daily prayers on time with due care & attention to all its pre-requisites.

Third Station: Zakah
Pay the Zakah (poor due), which is obligatory on those who have adequate financial resources and material requisites.

Fourth Station: Fasting
Fast in the month of Ramadhan.

Fifth Station: Hajj
Perform Hajj i.e. Pilgrimage to Ka’ba (House of Allah) once in life time (subject to affordability)

Sixth Station: Lawful Earnings
Exert physical / mental effort to earn one’s lawful livelihood and sustenance.

Seventh Station: Abstinence from Sins & Unlawful Sustenance
Abstain from committing major sins, indulging in minor sins and from using Haram (Unlawfully earned) sustenance as these blacken the heart and harden it like a stone, rather even harder than that.

Eighth Station: Observance of all Shariah Guidelines
Observe all Shariah injunctions, thus showing obedience and submission to Divine Command and abstinence / continence with regard to forbidden things. One should be careful never to exceed the limits of Haram & Halal as laid down in the Shariah.

Ninth Station: Recitation of the Holy Quran.
Recite the Quran regularly and affirm the truth by translating its teachings into action and spirit.

Tenth Station: Tabligh
Enjoin the good and forbid the practise of evil deeds.

Stations of Tariqat:
The path towards Allah  Subhana Wa Taala  is called Tariqah. This also has Ten Stations.

Tariqat is the pathway to Allah. To travel on this path the successful Mureed is required to adorn and adopt certain qualities/stations. Tariqat also comprises of 10 stations. These are as follows:

First Station: Repentance
The first station is Tauba (repentance) which requires the seeker to keep turning to his Lord (Allah) for forgiveness of the sins and acts of transgression.

Second Station: Virtue
Next to Tauba are the acts of virtue and piety. The soul of which is good conduct and morality embracing all praise-worthy practices and attributes, because goodness of conduct and morality magnifies the virtues and good deeds.

Third Station: Endearment
Following virtue is Mujahida (endeavour), Taqwa (Fear of Allah) and Piety. These are the traits which endear the devout Mureed to the holy Prophet  (sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam). It is an established fact that the man who endeavored and improved his standing with Allah and His Prophet  (sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam) set himself on the path of righteousness. He who failed, in this respect, remained roaming in the wilderness of despair without vision and hope.

Fourth Station: Fear & Hope
Apprehensiveness and optimism generate fear and hope. Fear and hope are interconnected and together they protect the seeker from despair of Allah’s Mercy and resolve against falling indifferent to the fear of Allah.

Fifth Station: Renunciation of Sensual Desire
Renounce and abandon all sensual desires stemming from sexual urges, longings and cravings of mundane nature. The pursuit of these blackens and hardens the heart.

Sixth Station: Safeguard
Abstain from using anything that causes you doubts and suspicions. These include food, clothing and wealth in which the line of distinction with regard to Halal and Haram cannot be drawn. Regarding this, a serious, strict and scrupulous stance should be taken to avoid every thing doubtful.

Seventh Station: Dedication
To devote, meditate and supplicate before almighty Allah with tearful eyes. Turning to Him in repentance and asking for His forgiveness of all sins with humility, submissiveness and self-negation. This should entail sincerity of heart and earnest desire for seeking shelter in Allah from the sinister designs and manoeuvrings of Shaitan (Satan).

Eighth Station: Appeasement
Win the pleasure and satisfaction of your Murshid in every matter. This state, of Murshid’s satisfaction and pleasure, can be achieved by virtue of obeying him in word and deed without wavering of mind or sceptism.

Ninth Station: Pleasant Focus
Give patient ear for listening to the sermon delivered by one’s Murshid. Aiming thereby to act upon the advice administered. When the Mureed goes out for this purpose, it is important to exercise the utmost courtesy, cheerfulness, amiability, politeness and chastity.

Tenth Station: Reliance
Forsake every thing save Allah Almighty. This state calls for the heart to completely disengage from all the reliance of creation because indulging in them harms the proximity and nearness to God and erects an impenetrable curtain before his eyes.

The speed at which one travels the path of tariqat which results in purification of the heart is based on one’s commitment & adherence to

i) Following the Sunnah fervently
ii) Performing Zikr & Meditation regularly
iii) Sitting in the company of one’s Sheikh often.

When one has been purified from all spiritual and character blemishes one will have arrived at Haqiqat. Haqiqat also has ten stations. Once this has been gained true, sincere and complete love of Allah  Subhana Wa Taala  & His Rasul  (sal-lal-lahu alai hi wa sallam) will be realised and one will have been blessed with the Qurb (nearness) and Marifat (recognition) of Allah  Subhana Wa Taala . You will understand you have gained Marifat because it also has ten stations.

At this point you will have fulfilled your purpose of life!

This site has been configured to introduce you to the theoretical and practical aspects of Sufism & to encourage you to take a step in this direction. Please use the menu on the left to learn more about all the various stations & aspects of Sufism.

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