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The Difference in the Islamic Terms

Introduction

The world of Islam impresses with its historical and mythological background according to the religious approach toward the disciples of Islamic prophet Mohamed and his followers. In this respect the idea about Islam should designated in its unique and rather significant coloring in characters and people who provide the growth of this religion in its particular explanation. Moreover, the ability to show the difference in the Islamic terms is greatly characterized and outlined in the works by two eminent authors, namely: Farid Al-Din ‘Attar and Ismail R. Al-Faruqi. Their books are represented in the paper, as the main sources for the provision of rational discussion according to the role of doctrine, worldview, morality, and lifestyle of Muslims within other religions and in their communities. In this respect the idea of Sufism is the central one for the estimation of both books.

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Main body

The physical world for the Sufi disciple should contemplate the reality of human life in terms of worldly wisdom and postulates of the Islam. Sufi is the branch of the Islamic religion in which the role of mysticism is rather high. Thereupon, the reliability of Sufism is quite controversial among the believers. The thing is that this branch of Islamic beliefs and cultural achievements includes the experience and particular practices from other close to the Islam geographically religions. Some among them are: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Persian Zoroastrianism (Guiley 580). Thus, the main polemic is concentrated on the idea that Sufi grounds go apart from the traditional Islam in its division into Sunni and Shiite branches.

In fact, disciples follow their leader owing to his mastership and devotion to the main idea. Same approach can be represented in terms of Sufism. However, it makes strong emphasis on being self-aware in life and following Allah according to Koran. In this respect disciples should be aware of their personal destination in the world. They need to be led by themselves. Again, there is a controversy with the religious teaching in Sufi and its practical implementation. The thing is that in real life Sufi disciples follow their teacher or sheikh, in particular, because they believe that he was obliged by the Higher Power to stand within them and preach or bring the love and wisdom from the Beloved (Guiley 581). According to different authors the Sufi disciple should clean his heart from filth and sins and be eager to devote all efforts for the search of the God and his power maintained in the Scriptures of Koran. This assertion makes the life of the disciple in Sufi sub-religion concerned with the mystery of the unknown in the spiritual world. Attar contemplates this statement in the way of multiple essays which represent situations. With regards to them the author provides a direct line of how a disciple should be related to the physical world. Prayers and definite deeds which show the reliance of the disciple toward what he does promotes the so-called feedback from God. In this case God will raise the disciple. On the other hand, if there are some drawbacks or mistakes which were done by a follower in Sufi, then he should know the following statement: “If one who would be bold in the court should say something unbecoming, he must humbly ask for forgiveness” (Attar 82).

One more touch should be imposed to the Attar’s explanation of he disciple’s attitude toward physical life. It is seen on the example of one story with Sufi when he met a man weeping because of the death of his friend. Sufism opposes to the life sorrow the joy of changes and opportunities available in life. In this respect Sufism is rather rational in accordance to life prospects of its disciple and the sharpness and distinctiveness of the Sufi ideals makes the direction of the disciples righteous and supported by God.

Sufi’s spiritual development presupposes the urge for higher values which are enclosed in the souls and spirits of men. The desire of a disciple is significant in this approach. Furthermore, Sufi radically treats its followers giving no tolerance to the mismatch of the ideals maintained in the religion. God’s power is above all, and one who tends to follow the pathway of a Sufi’s disciple should not forget about the reasonable background of how it is dangerous for him. In other words, the postulates of Sufi are straightforward as for the reasoning of life:

The spiritual way is not for those wrapped up in exterior life. Set your foot in this Way if you are a man who can act, and do not indulge in feminine shifts. Know surely, that even if this quest were impious, it would still be necessary to undertake it (Attar 50).

Besides, the contemplation of the realm of this world should be positioned by the followers of Sufi in rather separated way. It is so because of the risks to be the same with the rest of people. Thus, one of the deepest assertion and persuasion of Sufism is that one should definitely live “in the world, but not of it” (Guiley 581).

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Ismail R. Al-Faruqi is one of the opponents to the Sufism in contrast with the Islam. In this respect his book provides a discussion of the contradictions in which Islam and Sufism meet different evaluation about common things for every Muslim. Al-Faruqi represents, in fact, the doctrinal explanation of his thoughts being composed and represented in the gradual performance, so that to make his arguments strong. Thus, it is known that Sufi disciples should be out of this world without any attempts to assimilations with it. Such observation by Attar is grounded on the assumption that everything in the ordinary and material world is perishable, but not the spirit which should be devoted to the search of God. Al-Faruqi criticizes the idea of Sufi, first of all, for its ideas common with other religions. In this respect the genuine nature and points of Islam implemented in Koran lose their notions and provide a space for simple assumptions.

One more objection made by Al-Faruqi is reckoned with the Sufi’s outlook on life and its desire and deep intentions to be designated from the world and life full of condemnation and filth. Such assumption grew on the field of religious mystification which presupposes the highest role of Sufism in comparison with traditional Islam. Thus, the delay of the Muslim culture can be predicted. Muslims should provide capitalist relationships and follow the way of changes which are needed in terms of contemporary society: “Men and woman ought to be free to live and produce wealth wherever they wish without checks and hindrances” (Al-Faruqi 58). Hence, the statement of “natural fool” by Attar who just prays and does nothing useful is considered to be false for the Islam by the opponents of Sufism.

The relationships between the Murshid (teacher) and Murid (disciple) encountered the idea of their transcendental nature and the realization of Sufi, as the framework for their uniqueness in the universe (Ishaq para. 32). In this respect one of the major points which cause outrageous spirits within Muslims contemplates the fact that Sufism in its teaching makes itself even more emphasized than the Islam. In other words, the reliability of this assumption and provision of such tactics in terms of Islam may lead to the destruction of religious ideals and postulates fixed in Koran since the seventh century A. D. In fact, such destructive intentions by Sufism do not bear positive estimation for the universe spread of the Islam: “Ethnocentrism can also be purely separatist and isolationist, by negating the relevance of the outsider to anything pertinent” (Al-Faruqi 59). Thus, the religion can be broken due to such “agents” as Sufi in its domain. Al-Faruqi stresses that the rational approach of Muslims in their everyday lives should be prerogative. The spiritual fullness can be reached rationally due to following the traditional standards presupposed in Koran without any attempts of misinterpretation. This motive is underlined by all opponents of Sufism in their urge for saving Islamic religion, traditions and manners which people possess in initial genuine coloring.

According to the everyday requirements based in Sufi, Murid should follow the instructions maintained according to somehow ascetic way of how to obey. In this point a Murid should come to the place where a Murshid sits. There he gets specific knowledge and practical remarks according to the spiritual experience. A follower is constantly trying to fill the needs of spiritual hunger, and because of that he seeks for a piece of advice from the sheik. However, the atmosphere in the relationships between Murid and Murshid seems to be really free from any obligatory actions (Ishaq para. 37). This point concerns the fact that suchlike Muslims spend their time in vain and without adequate consideration of how the trend of the Islam should be exceeded throughout the community, society, country, and world on the whole. However, Al-Faruqi objects toward such spending of time provided by Sufi’s followers. The author states the following definition of a Muslim in his relation toward religion and God: “…every adult male and female who consciously and solemnly witnesses that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is the Prophet of God” (Al-Faruqi 4). Thus, the membership ion the Islamic community should be arranged according to the straightforward dedication of a believer to this simple but too significant requirement.

The wholeness of Sufi is equivocal in its structural peculiarities. On the one hand, a Murid should follow the prescriptions of a Murshid in the spiritual dimension with all details to be done during a day. On the other hand, this branch of religion disregards anyone being a disciple of some sheik. This confusion in the body of theoretical approaches makes Sufi even more outrageous for Muslims due to their devotion to Allah and His representatives, meaning imams. This point is sacred among Muslims and cannot be destructed or changed anyhow by means of ethnocentric trends inside the unified religion. Such passive and seemingly uninteresting and dull reality of Sufi Muslims calls less attention from the side of traditional Muslims who are intended to provide the Islamic world order owing to their huge efforts in political, economical, social, religious, and other domains: “Entrusted to carry out this world plan, the Islamic state cannot rest until it succeeds in establishing this world order” (Al-Faruqi 65).

Conclusion

Nevertheless, Sufi opposes the relationships between men and women in their intimate evaluation thinking that it can interrupt a man’s communication with God and his relation to Him. In this respect Attar makes even more emphasis when examining one of the proverbs in his book: “You will lose what you considered to be valuable, but you will soon hear the sacramental word “Enter” (Attar 106). This approach seems to be similar to the Islam, but if only there were no points on esoteric and exoteric. In fact, theses practices are widely used by Sufi. When looking deeply at the grounding of such theoretical and practical use of such practices, one can simply highlight that Koran for Sufi is not merely the source for Islamic pathway of a believer, but a mystical ground for spiritual ceremonies with features of cult. On the other hand, everything – doctrine, worldview, morality, and lifestyle – should be implied in a Muslim with a particular objectivities having adhered previously by ancestors from time of Prophet Muhammad. This is why Sufi is too radical branch for the Islam and provides the line of actions which contradict global approaches of traditional Muslims.

Works cited

Al-Faruqi, Ismail R. Islam. Ed. 3. Amana Publications, 1994.

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Attar, Farid Al-Din. The conference of the birds. London: Routledge, 1974.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience. New York: HarperCollins, 1991, 580-583.

Ishaq, Zakariyya. The Science of Sufism. Web.

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