Sufism: The Islamic Mysticism Studies

Sufism: The Islamic Mysticism Studies

Peace be with the universe. In this article I will discuss the study of Mysticism from an Islamic perspective. Where in Islamic studies the discussion about mysticism is usually called the study of Sufism (Tasawuf) or Irfan.  This article will explain about it. Happy reading.

Opening Sentence

Humans are very unique and complex creatures.  All aspects of human needs are what makes life in this world continue to run from the beginning until later.  From the smallest size that exists in the human body can be a very large business area.

Examples such as dandruff.  As a result of the presence of dandruff on human heads, large business activities such as shampoo factories can run.

How many millions of people with various academic degrees, with various tastes of life, and with various backgrounds unite every second in one major goal.  Namely addressing the existence of dandruff.

How many million people get jobs and then do activities every second.  With a variety of needs for his life, a variety of payments, and a variety of other differences.

How many theories of science, how many technological devices are used in this process.  With various backgrounds of its composition, with various backgrounds of its creation. Science and technology come together every second in this activity.

All of them, namely humans, science and technology move in an integrated system.  They are compliant with the system so that the slightest error does not occur.

All that happened because of the presence of a very small entity that was almost as big as dust.  Which is judged by their knowledge can disrupt the comfort of their lives. That very small entity is known as dandruff.

Is there anything else?

Human intelligence develops and co-unite in dealing with something that can interfere with their physical health.  No matter how small it is.

Then what about something that can interfere with the health of spiritual bodies, whether human intelligence also creates technology to react to it?  The answer is Yes. Humans with intelligence have created a science to address this.

Science is known in various names and terms in accordance with the language and culture in which humans created the knowledge.  This knowledge is known as Sufism, wisdom, irfan, mysticism, spirituality, etc.

To discuss all the things mentioned above is not enough one or two even dozens of articles.  This article will be devoted to discussing knowledge known as Sufism. More specifically in the world of Islamic religious studies on mysticism chapters.

What Is Sufism?

Regarding what is Sufism, from the beginning until now the debate about it has not ended.  I in this article will focus on the discussion of Sufism globally and will not dive too deep.

So I will not quote all kinds of debates that have and are in the world of Sufism now.  Regarding such discussions, there will be detailed discussions per chapter. Hopefully later in the following articles.


Sufism According to the language

Until now Sufism according to the language even the debate is not over.  To avoid articles being too long, I will quote the meaning according to the language that is usually used in Sufism studies only.

 ١.  تصوّف الشّخص: صار صُوفيًّا واتبَّع سُلوكَ الصُّوفيّة وحالاتهم.

 المعجم: عربي عامة

Tashawuf Asy-syahshi;  become a Sufi and follow the paths and practices of religion.

 ٢.  تَصَوَّفَ فلانٌ: صَار من الصوفيَّة.

 المعجم: المعجم الوسيط

Tashawwafa Fulaan;  become a part of religious.  (Mu’jam Al-wasiith)

 ٣.  تَصَوُّفٌ:

 [ص و ف].  (مصدر تَصَوَّفَ).  : – دَخَلَ الشَّيْخُ مَرْحَلَةَ التَّصَوُّفِ: -: التَّعَبُّدِ وَالتَّزَهُّدِ وَالابْتِعَادِ عَنْ مُخَالَطَِ النَّ  : – التَّصَوُّفُ يَكُونُ بِالْمُجَاهَدَةِ وَقَطْعِ الشَّهْوَةِ: – (الغزالي).

 المعجم: الغني

Tashawwufun: mashdar from the word tashwwafa: The Shaykh enters the religious place: for ta’abud, tajahud, and away from the crowd.  And according to Al-ghazali At-tashawwuf, it is mujahadah and controlling lust.  (Al-Ghaniy)

 ٤.  تصوُّف: تصوُّف: –

 – (الفلسفة والتصوف) طريقة في السلوك تعتمد على التقشف ومحاسبة النفس, والانصراف عن كل ما له علاقة بالجسد والتحلي بالفضائل; تزكية للنفس وسعيا إلى مرتبة الفناء في الله تعالى إيمانا بالمعرفة المباشرة أو بالحقيقة الروحية.

Tashawuf: The philosophy of Sufism, a Tariqah in many suluk which is consistent in controlling and organizing the An-nafs.  And turning away the an-nafs from everything that can lead to the dependence of an-nafs on the body.

And apply the virtues of an-nafs.  Be consistent in the process of cleansing an-nafs.  Enthusiastic in the direction of mortal dignity ‘fillahi ta’ala.  Believers with makrifat and mubasyarah or with the essence of Ruhiyah.

 علم التَّصوُّف: (الفلسفة والتصوُّف) مجموعة المبادئ التي يعتقدها المتصوِّفةُ والآداب التي يتأدّبون بها في مجمع

 المعجم: اللغة العربية المعاصر

Sufism: (philosophy/philosophy and Sufism) a set of principles that believe in the Mutashawifs.  And a group of civilized with him the mutashawif in each of his associations and khalwat.

 ٥.  تصوَّف:

 تصوف – تصوفا

 1 – تصوف: صار «صوفيا» ، أي متزهدا متعبدا.

 2 – تصوف: تخلق بأخلاق الصوفية.

 المعجم: الرائد

 Tashawwaf – Tashawufan

Tashawwaf: being (a Sufi), which is consistent in adultery and worship.

Tashawaf: morality with Sufi morals

 ٦.  التَّصوُّفُ:

 التَّصوُّفُ: طريقة سلوكية قوامها التقشف والتحلي بالفضائل ، لتَزْكُوَ النفسُ وتسموَ الروح.


At-tashawwufu: the troubled tariqah that upholds its control and analysis or the preparation of the troubled tariqah with virtues, to be consistent in cleaning up the nafs and elevating the spirit.

 Sufism According to the Terms

Just as the meaning of the word Sufism according to language, until now Sufism according to the terminology the debate is not over.  So to avoid the article being too long, I will quote the meaning according to terms that are usually used in Sufism studies only.

 وأما تسميتهم بالصوفية فقالت طائفة: “إنما سموا صوفية لصفاء أسرارهم ، ونقاء ءاثارهم”.

Regarding their naming as Sufi, some experts have said: “Indeed they are called Sufiyah because of their keshafa-an (purity) their secrets, and the purity of their traces/glory”

 وقال ءاخرون: “إنما سموا صوفية لقرب أوصافهم من أوصاف أهل الصفة الذين كانوا على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم, فمن باطنهم الموصوف بالصفاء, ومن لبسهم وزيهم سموا صوفية, لأنهم لم يلبسوا لحظوظ النفس ما لان مسه وحسن منظره, وإنما لبسوا لستر العورة  ، فاكتفَوا بالخشن من الشعر والغليظ من الصوف “.

And said some others: “Verily they are called Sufiyah because of their close nature with Ahlu Suffah.  Namely, those who existed in the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam.

So whoever they are in the heart is characterized by purity, dressing, and decorated with purity, then they are called Sufiyah.

Because in fact they are not clothed with an-nafs tendencies, nor are they to show off.  They dress to cover their nakedness.

 So they make ends meet by wearing clothes made from rough and thick materials.  (It means even though the clothes are made from cheap materials, which cannot be made from a pamet, as long as they can cover their genitals, that is enough for them) “.

 ثم هذه كلها صفة أهل الصفة الذين كانوا على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فإنهم كانوا غرباء فقراء مهاجرين, أخرجوا من ديارهم وأموالهم ووصفهم أبو هريرة وفضالة بن عبيد فقالا: “يخرون من الجوع حتى تحسبهم الأعراب مجانين”, وكان لباسهم الصوف فلما كانت هذه  صفة أهل الصفة في حالهم وزيهم سموا صوفية وصُفية ، وسماهم قوم فقراء ل لأن أحدهم لا يملك شيئًاوه له له له لعبية.

Then all of that is the nature of Ahlu Suffah that existed in the time of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa salam, in fact, they are people who are not capable of the Muhajirin group.

They have left their lands and possessions.  Abu Hurairah and Fadhalah ibn ‘Ubaid mentioned their properties:

“They were hungry people, so the Arab community at that time thought they were crazy people.”  And their clothes are wool. At that time that was the nature of Sufah experts. Because of their description and their clothes they are then called Suufiyah or Sufiyah.

And they are also known as the fuqara ‘.  Because some of them have nothing. Their condition is like that because they have given up whatever they have ”

Sufism examines the station of Ihsan, as narrated in the hadith:

 وحدثنا أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة, وزهير بن حرب, جميعا عن ابن علية, قال زهير: حدثنا إسماعيل بن إبراهيم, عن أبي حيان, عن أبي زرعة بن عمرو بن جرير, عن أبي هريرة, قال: كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوما  بَارِزًا لِلنَّاسِ ، فَأَتَاهُ رَجُلٌ ، فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولُ اللهِ ، مَا الْإِيمَانُ؟ قال: «أن تؤمن بالله, وملائكته, وكتابه, ولقائه, ورسله, وتؤمن بالبعث الآخر», قال: يا رسول الله, ما الإسلام? قال: «الإسلام أن تعبد الله, ولا تشرك به شيئا, وتقيم الصلاة المكتوبة, وتؤدي الزكاة المفروضة, وتصوم رمضان» قال: يا رسول الله, ما الإحسان?  قَالَ: «أَنْ تَعْبُدَ اللهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ ، فَإِنَّكَ إِنْ لَا تَرَاهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَرَاكَ» ، َََ،ََََََََََََََََََََََََََََ قال: “ما المسئول عنها بأعلم من السائل, ولكن سأحدثك عن أشراطها: إذا ولدت الأمة ربها, فذاك من أشراطها, وإذا كانت العراة الحفاة رءوس الناس, فذاك من أشراطها, وإذا تطاول رعاء البهم في البنيان, فذاك من أشراطها في خمس لا يعلمهن إلا  اللهُ ، ثُمَّ تَلَا صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَِْْغَْغَِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِِْْْْْْْْْْْْْْْْْْْْ اذا تكسب غدا وما تدري نفس بأي أرض تموت إن الله عليم خبير} [لقمان: 34] “قال: ثم أدبر الرجل, فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:« ردوا علي الرجل », فأخذوا ليردوه, فلم يروا شيئا, فقال رسول الله  صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «هَذَا جِبْرِيلُ جَاءَ لِيُعَلِّمَ النَّاسَ دِينَهُمْ»

For telling us Abu Bakr ibn Abi Syaibah and Zuhair bin Harb, all from Ibn ‘Ulayah, Zuhair said: told us Isma’il bin Ibrahim, from Abi Hayan from from Abi Zur’ah bin ‘Amr bin Jarir from Abu Hurairah he said, “Rasulullah Sallallahu’ alaihi wasallam said: ‘You ask me’. But they were afraid and were reluctant to ask him.

So a man came and sat before his knees, the man asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is Islam?  ‘He replied,’ Islam is you do not associate God with anything, establish prayers, pay zakat, and fast Ramadan. ‘  He said, ‘You are right.’

Then he asked again, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is faith?  ‘He replied,’ You have faith in Allah, His angels, His book, have faith in the occurrence of encounters with Him, have faith in His Apostles, and you have faith in the Day of Resurrection and have faith in the destiny of all ‘.  He said, ‘You are right’.

Then he asked again, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is Ihsan?  ‘He replied,’ You are afraid (khasyyah) of Allah as if you saw Him, so if you do not see Him then surely He sees you. ‘  He said, ‘You are right’.

Then he asked again, ‘O Messenger of Allah, when is the Day of Judgment?  ‘He answered,’ It is not those who are asked about it better knowing His answers than those who ask, but I will tell you about the signs;  if you see a female servant giving birth to her master. That is one of the signs.

 (Second) if you see people who are barefoot, deaf, mute as leaders (humans) on earth.  That is one of the signs.

(Third) if you see a goat herder competing with one another in a high building.

That is one of the signs in the five signs of the occult, no one knows except Allah, “then he read: ‘(Verily Allah, only on His side alone is the knowledge of the Day of Resurrection; and He is the One who sends rain,  and knows what is in the womb.

No one can know (with certainty) what He will try tomorrow.  And no one can know where on earth he will die. Truly Allah is All-Knowing, All-Knowing “(Surat Luqman: 34).

Then the man got up (resigned), then Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: “Call him before me!’ So he was sought, but they did not get Him. Then Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:” This man is  Gabriel taught humans about his religion. “( Sahih Muslim, Muslim bin Hajaj, Juz. 1, p. 39, hadith. 9, publisher. Darul Ihya ‘Turats Al-‘arabi, Beirut-Libanon)

On the station of faith studied about aqidah, on the Islamic station studied about fiqh, and on the station of faith examined about the purity of worship and devotion to the Almighty. 

In Sufism is examined so that humans come to the degree of Ihsan, which is a degree where humans always feel the presence of the Greatest.

So when humans are worshiping, then the human feels that the Almighty is in front of him and he witnesses that existence.

If it cannot reach that degree, it will at least come to the realization that God is always watching every move.

If humans have reached the Ihsan degree, every taste, verbal, and movement will always be awake from all intentional disobedience.

Various Sufism Schools

In any study at any time in human life, there are always differences of opinion or differences in methods in realizing the ‘product’ of intelligence.  The ‘product’ of human intelligence in the world of Islamic jurisprudence is called a fatwa.

The process to realize the ‘product’ is known as istinbath.  The concept which is the system of the theories of the creation of a ‘product’ is called ijtihad.  Its scientists are called mujtahids. His followers are known as muqallid. And the center where the mujtahids gather is known as the school.

In the study of Islamic jurisprudence, there are many schools of thought, such as the Ja’fari, Hanafi, Maliki, Hambali, Shafi’i, Zahiri, Tsauri, and others.

As in the study of jurisprudence, in the world of Sufism studies, there are also many schools of thought.  The school of Sufism is known as Tariqah. While the scientists are referred to as Sufis, murshid, murrabi, etc.  The ‘product’ is known as aurad, wafaq, dhikr, wirid, Hizb, and other terms.

The process to realize ‘its products’ is known as riyadhah, suluk, khalwat, etc.  His followers are called salik, students, murshad, etc.

Where each Tariqah has its own theory, method and ‘technology’ in its Sufi studies.

Some of the most famous tariqas in the world according to data from and are: Tariqah Malamatiya, Yasawiya – Ahmet Yasawi, Kubrawiya (and Oveyssi) – Najm al-Din Kubra, Qadiriya – ‘Abd al-Qadir Jilani, Rifa  ‘yes – Ahmet Rifa’i, Mevleviye – Jalal al-Din Rumi, Bektashiye – Hajj Bektash Veli, Naqshbandiya – Baha’ al-Din Naqshband, Ni’matallahiya – Shah Ni’matallah Vali, Bayramiye – Haji Bektash Veli, Naqshbandiya – Baha ‘al-Din Naqshband, Ni’matallahiya – Shah Ni’matallah Vali, Bayramiye – Haji Bayram Veli, Naqshbandiya – Baha’ al-Din Naqshband, Ni’matallahiya – Shah Ni’matallah Vali, Bayramiye – Hajj Bayram Veli, Chishtiya – Mu  ‘in al-Din Chishti, Shadhiliya – Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, Khalwatiya -‘ Umar al-Khalwati, Tijaniya – Ahmad al-Tijani, Muridiyya – Ahmadu Bamba, Qalandariya, and many more. The discussion requires a separate article.  

What is learned in Sufism?

Regarding what is learned in Sufism is also a very broad discussion.  I take for example some studies of Sufism that exist in the book Futuhat Al-makiyah by Ibn ‘Arabi and Ihya ‘Ullumudin by Al-ghazali.  What I think is enough to be a picture of what is studied in Sufism.

In the book Futuhat, studied the letter makrifat, the dignity of letters, the initial form of the human body, the hidden knowledge of the earth, of the soul, form of durratul mulk, the centrifuge of the centrifuge, of the age, qiyamah, asrar thaharah, the makrifat of the spirit, and others such as the form of durratul mulk, the centrifuge of the ascension, the hidden  knowledge of the age, etc.  .

Also examined about the number of places of the saints, the nature of Adam, the repentance of the repentance, the confession of the mujahadah, the seclusion of the seclusion, the decree of the devout, the hidden knowledge of afraid of hell, the fraternity and the Sunnah, and others.

Discussed also the form of arsy and Kursyi, mahsyar land, hell, and its doors, the hidden knowledge of where al-Qur’an descends, where angels descend,  Asmaul Husna, and others. (Futuhat Al-makiya, Ibn ‘Arabi)

In the books of Ihya studied about, the importance of science, how the attitude of the teacher to students, how the attitude of students to teachers, the secret of ablution, the secret of prayer, the secret of zakat, the secret of pilgrimage, the book of deception, the book of repentance, the book of thanksgiving, the book of khauf and raja ‘, the book of the devotee  and zuhud, and many more. ( Ihya ‘Ullumudin, Al-Ghazali, p. 1-1963, Publisher. Darul Ibn Hazm, Beirut-Lebanon, yr. 1426H / 2005M. )

Apart from the two books above there are still many other books of Sufism with a variety of variations, depth, complexity, and different types of studies.

The Books of Sufism

Here are some books by Sufis that can be read as a reference if you want to study Sufism.  Among them:

  • Futuhat Al-makiyah by Ibn ‘Arabi
  • Rasa’il Ibn ‘Arabi, by Ibn’ Arabi 
  • Fushush Al-hikam, by Ibn ‘Arabi
  • Syarah Fushush Al-hikam, by Sayyid Jalaluddin Istisyayani
  • Anwarul Qudsiyah, the work of Imam Al-‘alamah ‘Abdul Wahab Asy-sya’rani
  • Qutul Qulub, Abu Talib Al-makiy
  • Ar-treatise Al-qusyairiyah, the work of Imam Abi Qasim ‘Abdul Karim bin Hawazan Al-qusyairi
  • Ihya ‘Ullumuddin by Al-ghazali
  • Awariful Ma’arif, by Shaykh Al-israraq As-suhrawardi
  • Hayakal An-nur, by Shaykh Al-israraq As-suhrawardi
  • Al-ghunyah, the work of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Al-jailani
  • Fathul Rabbani, the work of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Al-jailani
  • Tahdzibul Asrar, ‘Abdul Malik bin Muhammad ibn Ibrahim An-naisaburi Al-kharkusi
  • Dzikru Niswah, by Abi ‘Abdurrahman As-sulami
  • Hilyatul Auliya, the work of Al-hafiz Abi Na’im Ahmad bin ‘Abdullah Al-Esfahani Asy-syafi’i
  • Mantiqu Ath-thair, by Farirudin Ath-thar An-naisaburi
  • Al-hikam, the work of Ibn Athaillah As-sakandari
  • And much more.


What we have learned together is that human intelligence develops and is united in dealing with something that can disrupt their physical health.  No matter how small it is.

Then what about something that can interfere with the health of spiritual bodies, whether human intelligence also creates technology to react to it?  The answer is Yes. Humans with intelligence have created a science to address this.

Science is known in various names and terms in accordance with the language and culture in which humans created the knowledge.  This knowledge is known as Sufism, wisdom, irfan, kabuyutan, mysticism, spirituality, etc.

Then we have basically found out about Sufism according to language and according to the term.  We have also known about the various schools of mysticism in Sufism, what is learned in Sufism, and what books can be referred to.

With all the shortcomings that exist, hopefully, this article is useful for those in need.  Can increase knowledge for those who do not know yet. As a warning for those who already know.  And be compassion for those who have reached their station.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Any suggestions and opinions that help build quality of my content greatly appreciate.  Peace always. Cheers …


  1. The Vital Edge
  2. Ranker
  3. Al-Maany
  5. SahihMuslim, Imam Muslim, Juz.  1, p. 39, hadith.9, Darul Ihya ‘Turats’ Arabi, Beirut.
  6. Fawzyabuzeid
  9. Futuhat Al-makiyah, Ibn ‘Arabi, books.  1-4
  10. Ihya ‘Ulumuddin, Al-ghazali, p.  1-1963, Darul Ibn Hazm, yr. 1426H / 2005M
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