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The movement of Sufism is widespread in many parts of the Islamic world. It emerged soon after the rise of Islam and emphasizes the inward, spiritual dimension of the Muslim faith. Sufis pursue a divine connection, sometimes through self-sacrifice or ecstatic forms of meditations, such as speaking or dancing themselves into trance. An example of this is done by the Turkish Mevlevi Dervishes during their whirling dance.
Every Sufi is member of an order which is formed around a grand master who is a descendant of the prophet Muhammad and has great influence over each member. The orders do not just influence their members, they impact whole society they are part of. In Turkey, for example, it is assumed that the faith and practice of almost all Muslims is shaped by Sufi ideas.
Sufism is banned in a few countries for being politically active, but they exist and thrive throughout the Muslim world. In Turkey, the Naqshbandi Sufi order is very prominent and has influenced several key political leaders.
The final goal of a Sufi is to embark on a journey to free themselves from the things of this world to focus on the love of God. Under the guidance of the master, a Sufi begins with the law which includes the five pillars of Islam. The end of the journey is perfect knowledge and a “vision of God”.
How to Pray
- Pray for Sufis to find the divine connection they are looking for in Jesus. 2 Peter 1:3-5
- Among Turkey’s 80 million population, there are a few thousand Muslim-background believers. Pray for them to share their faith effectively to Sufi Muslims.
- Meditate on Psalm 36: 5-9 and be inspired by it to pray for Sufi Muslims and those they influence.