In the tumultuous world of spirituality, a Sufi emerges as a seeker of truth and an embodiment of divine love. Shrouded in mystery and revered for their unique approach to Islam, a Sufi is not merely a devout follower bound by religious rituals; they are explorers of the soul, nomads in the pursuit of inner peace, and romantics deeply engaged in the beautiful dance of life. Sufism is a mystical tradition that delves into the esoteric aspects of Islam, seeking to connect with the divine through profound introspection and ecstatic worship. A true Sufi is recognized by their unwavering faith, boundless compassion, and a heart illuminated by the divine light. Their path is paved with devotion, humility, and a relentless yearning for unity with the Beloved. In a world desperately seeking solace, the Sufi stands as a beacon of wisdom, guiding lost souls towards the eternal truth.

Quick Answer:
A Sufi is someone who practices Sufism, a mystical Islamic belief and practice system. Sufis aim to purify their hearts and souls and attain a deeper intimacy with God through various spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting, and prayers. They focus on self-discipline, self-awareness, and embracing love, compassion, and humility. Sufis are known for their emphasis on inner spirituality and seek to experience a direct connection with the divine. They can be found in various parts of the world and may belong to different branches or orders within Sufism.

Understanding the Essence of Sufism

Sufism, often referred to as the mystical dimension of Islam, is a spiritual path that seeks to attain a direct experience of the divine. It is a deeply personal and experiential journey that focuses on the inner transformation of the individual, leading to a closer connection with God.

Exploring the core principles and teachings of Sufism

At its core, Sufism emphasizes the importance of love, devotion, and surrender to God. Sufis believe that the ultimate goal of human existence is to attain union with the divine through spiritual purification and self-transcendence. This is achieved through various practices such as dhikr (remembrance of God), meditation, and contemplation.

Sufism places great emphasis on the teachings of the Quran and the Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). However, Sufis approach these texts from a mystical perspective, seeking deeper meanings and insights beyond the literal interpretations. They strive to cultivate a deep understanding of the divine essence and to align their thoughts, words, and actions with the divine will.

Unveiling the spiritual path towards inner peace and enlightenment

Sufism offers a path towards inner peace and enlightenment by guiding individuals to overcome their ego and worldly attachments. Sufis believe that the ego, with its desires and illusions, is the main obstacle to experiencing the divine presence. Through practices such as self-discipline, self-reflection, and selflessness, Sufis aim to transcend their ego and attain a state of spiritual purity.

Central to the Sufi path is the concept of “tasawwuf,” which refers to the purification of the heart and the development of noble qualities such as humility, compassion, and gratitude. Sufis believe that by purifying the heart, individuals can become a vessel for divine love and wisdom, enabling them to radiate these qualities to others and contribute positively to society.

Debunking common misconceptions about Sufism

Sufism has often been misunderstood and misrepresented, leading to various misconceptions about its practices and beliefs. One common misconception is that Sufism is a separate sect or school of Islam. In reality, Sufism is a spiritual dimension that can be found within various branches of Islam, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries.

Another misconception is that Sufism involves mystical rituals and practices that are outside the boundaries of mainstream Islam. While Sufis may engage in unique practices such as whirling or chanting, these are merely tools to facilitate spiritual awakening and are not inherently contradictory to the teachings of Islam.

Furthermore, Sufism is often wrongly associated with escapism or withdrawal from the world. In truth, Sufis believe in actively engaging with the world and serving humanity. They view their spiritual practice as a means to cultivate inner transformation, which ultimately enables them to contribute to the betterment of society.

In conclusion, Sufism is a spiritual path that seeks to deepen one’s connection with the divine through love, devotion, and surrender. It offers a transformative journey towards inner peace and enlightenment, emphasizing the purification of the heart and the development of noble qualities. By debunking common misconceptions, a clearer understanding of Sufism can be gained, highlighting its compatibility with the teachings of Islam and its potential for positive engagement with the world.

The Journey of a Sufi

Key takeaway: Sufism is a spiritual path within Islam that seeks to deepen one’s connection with the divine through love, devotion, and surrender. Sufis strive for inner transformation and spiritual purification, with the ultimate goal of attaining union with the divine. A spiritual guide plays a crucial role in guiding seekers on their journey towards self-realization and union with the divine. The Sufi tradition includes practices such as meditation, remembrance of God, and spiritual music. Sufis also embody qualities such as devotion and love for the divine, humility, and compassion for humanity. There is a diversity of Sufi paths and practices across different orders and cultural contexts.

The Seeker’s Quest for Truth

The journey of a Sufi begins with the seeker’s quest for truth. It is a deep longing to unravel the mysteries of existence and find a deeper connection with the Divine. This quest is not confined to any specific religion or belief system, as Sufism transcends the boundaries of organized religion and focuses on the inner dimensions of spirituality.

Embracing the path of self-discovery and spiritual transformation

To embark on the path of a Sufi, one must first embrace the journey of self-discovery. This involves a profound examination of one’s own beliefs, values, and desires. It requires the courage to question societal norms and challenge preconceived notions about the nature of reality. The seeker must be willing to let go of ego-driven desires and embrace a more humble and selfless approach to life.

The longing for a deeper connection with the Divine

At the core of a Sufi’s journey is the longing for a deeper connection with the Divine. This longing is not merely intellectual or theoretical; it is a burning desire that emanates from the depths of the seeker’s heart. It is a yearning to experience the presence of God in every aspect of life and to cultivate a profound love and intimacy with the Divine.

Nurturing the inner journey through meditation and contemplation

In order to nourish the inner journey, Sufis engage in practices such as meditation and contemplation. These practices enable the seeker to still the mind, quiet the external distractions, and delve into the depths of their own consciousness. Through meditation, the Sufi seeks to transcend the limitations of the ego and enter into a state of unity with the Divine. Contemplation, on the other hand, involves reflecting on the teachings of spiritual masters and seeking wisdom from sacred texts. It is a process of deepening one’s understanding and gaining insight into the nature of reality.

In conclusion, a Sufi is someone who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual transformation. They are driven by a longing for a deeper connection with the Divine and nurture this inner journey through practices such as meditation and contemplation. The path of a Sufi is one of seeking truth, transcending ego-driven desires, and cultivating a profound love for the Divine.

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The Role of a Spiritual Guide

In the mystical tradition of Sufism, a spiritual guide, also known as a Murshid, plays a crucial role in the spiritual journey of a Sufi seeker. This relationship between the guide and the seeker is considered essential for the seeker’s progress and transformation on the path of Sufism. The spiritual guide acts as a mentor, teacher, and companion, offering guidance, support, and wisdom to the seeker.

The significance of a spiritual guide or Murshid in Sufism

  1. Transmission of spiritual knowledge: The spiritual guide is considered to be a repository of divine wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Through their own spiritual journey and realization, the guide possesses a deep understanding of the mystical path and can transmit this knowledge to the seeker.

  2. Guidance in spiritual practices: The role of the spiritual guide is to provide guidance in various spiritual practices, such as meditation, contemplation, and recitation of sacred texts. The guide helps the seeker navigate through the complexities of these practices, ensuring that they are performed correctly and with the right intention.

3. **Moral and ethical guidance**: Sufism emphasizes the importance of purifying the heart and cultivating virtues such as love, compassion, and humility. The spiritual guide acts as a moral compass, guiding the seeker towards ethical conduct and helping them overcome their ego and negative tendencies.

  1. Protection and support: The spiritual journey can be challenging and fraught with obstacles. The guide provides protection and support to the seeker, helping them navigate through the trials and tribulations that arise on the path. They offer encouragement, reassurance, and strength during difficult times.

The mentor-student relationship in the Sufi tradition

  1. Trust and surrender: The relationship between the spiritual guide and the seeker is based on trust and surrender. The seeker places their trust in the guide’s wisdom and guidance, surrendering their ego and personal desires to the guidance of the guide. This surrender allows the seeker to open themselves up to the transformative power of the spiritual journey.

  2. One-on-one guidance: The mentor-student relationship in Sufism is deeply personal and individualized. The spiritual guide tailors their guidance to meet the specific needs of the seeker, taking into account their unique temperament, strengths, weaknesses, and spiritual aspirations.

  3. Accountability and discipline: The spiritual guide holds the seeker accountable for their actions and progress on the spiritual path. They provide discipline and guidance to ensure that the seeker remains focused and committed to their spiritual practice, helping them overcome obstacles and distractions along the way.

Seeking guidance and wisdom from an enlightened master

  1. The search for a spiritual guide: Seekers in Sufism actively seek out a spiritual guide who has attained a high level of spiritual realization and enlightenment. They look for someone who embodies the teachings of Sufism and can guide them towards their own spiritual awakening.

  2. Initiation and discipleship: Once a seeker finds a suitable spiritual guide, they enter into a formal relationship of discipleship. The seeker receives initiation from the guide, marking the beginning of their journey under the guide’s guidance and mentorship.

  3. Continued guidance and spiritual growth: The relationship between the guide and the seeker is not limited to a specific duration but continues for as long as the seeker requires guidance and support. The guide helps the seeker progress on their spiritual path, leading them towards spiritual growth, inner transformation, and ultimately, union with the Divine.

In conclusion, a Sufi seeker recognizes the importance of a spiritual guide in their journey towards spiritual realization. The guide provides guidance, support, and wisdom, helping the seeker navigate the complexities of the spiritual path and aiding them in their quest for inner transformation and union with the Divine.

Practices and Rituals of Sufi Tradition

Within the Sufi tradition, there are various practices and rituals that are considered integral to the spiritual journey of a Sufi. These practices aim to facilitate a deeper connection with the divine and bring about a state of spiritual elevation. Some of the key practices and rituals include:

  1. The importance of Dhikr (remembrance of God) and Sama (spiritual music): Dhikr is the practice of repetitive remembrance of God through the recitation of sacred phrases or names. Sufis believe that by constantly invoking the divine, they can purify their hearts and attain a closer relationship with God. Sama, on the other hand, involves the use of spiritual music, such as devotional songs or poetry, to induce a state of spiritual ecstasy. The combination of Dhikr and Sama creates an atmosphere conducive to experiencing the divine presence.

  2. Whirling and ecstatic dances as a means of spiritual elevation: One of the most recognizable practices associated with Sufism is the whirling dance, also known as Sufi whirling. This dance is performed as a form of active meditation, where the Sufi seeks to transcend the physical realm and unite with the divine. By spinning in repetitive circles, the Sufi aims to lose their sense of self and merge with the divine energy. This practice is believed to induce a state of ecstasy and spiritual elevation.

  3. Chanting of sacred mantras and prayers in Sufi gatherings: Sufi gatherings, known as zikr or mehfil, are gatherings where Sufis come together to engage in communal prayer, meditation, and remembrance of God. These gatherings often involve the chanting of sacred mantras and prayers, led by a spiritual guide or a group of Sufis. The repetitive chanting of these sacred words is believed to create a powerful energy field that facilitates spiritual transformation and union with the divine.

Overall, the practices and rituals of the Sufi tradition are aimed at transcending the limitations of the physical world and experiencing a deeper connection with the divine. Through the practices of Dhikr, Sama, whirling dances, and communal gatherings, Sufis seek to attain spiritual elevation, inner peace, and a closer relationship with God. These practices are seen as essential components of the Sufi path, guiding individuals on their journey towards self-realization and union with the divine.

The Qualities of a Sufi

Devotion and Love for the Divine

In Sufism, devotion and love for the Divine are considered essential qualities of a Sufi. Sufis believe that the ultimate goal of human existence is to develop an intense and passionate love for God. This love is known as Ishq in Sufism, which goes beyond mere admiration or intellectual understanding. It is a deep, emotional, and spiritual connection with the Divine.

Sufis emphasize the importance of surrendering oneself to the will of God with complete devotion. They believe that by surrendering to God, one can experience a profound sense of peace and contentment. This surrender is not passive resignation but an active acceptance of the Divine plan. It involves letting go of one’s ego and desires and placing complete trust in God’s guidance and wisdom.

Through their devotion and love for the Divine, Sufis seek to transcend the limitations of the material world and experience the unity of all creation. They believe that love is the force that brings everything together and that through love, one can connect with the Divine and with all beings. Sufis see love as a transformative power that can heal divisions, dissolve boundaries, and foster harmony and compassion.

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Sufis often express their devotion and love for the Divine through various practices, such as prayer, meditation, chanting, and contemplation. These practices help them cultivate a deep and personal relationship with God, allowing them to experience the presence of the Divine in their daily lives. Through their devotion, Sufis strive to purify their hearts and minds, seeking to become vessels of Divine love and compassion in the world.

In conclusion, a Sufi is someone who embodies devotion and love for the Divine. They seek to develop a profound connection with God, surrendering themselves to the Divine will and experiencing the unity of all creation through love. Through their practices and spiritual journey, Sufis aim to cultivate a deep and transformative relationship with the Divine, becoming vessels of love and compassion in the world.

Humility and Detachment

Humility and detachment are two fundamental qualities that define a Sufi, distinguishing them from others on the spiritual path. A Sufi seeks to detach themselves from the allure of worldly desires and material possessions, recognizing that true fulfillment lies in the pursuit of spiritual growth and connection with the Divine. This detachment is not to be misconstrued as an outright rejection of the material world, but rather a mindset that places greater importance on the inner journey than on external possessions.

Detaching from worldly desires and material possessions

Sufis understand that excessive attachment to worldly desires can hinder their spiritual progress. They consciously strive to free themselves from the chains of materialism, recognizing that the pursuit of wealth, power, and pleasure can distract them from their ultimate purpose. By detaching from these desires, Sufis cultivate a sense of contentment and inner peace that transcends the temporary satisfaction that material possessions provide.

Cultivating humility as a gateway to spiritual growth

Humility is a key virtue embraced by Sufis, as it serves as a gateway to spiritual growth and connection with the Divine. Sufis recognize that arrogance and pride can create barriers between themselves and the Divine, hindering their spiritual progress. By cultivating humility, Sufis develop a sense of selflessness and surrender, acknowledging their own limitations and embracing the notion that true wisdom and spiritual enlightenment come from a place of humility.

Recognizing the transient nature of life and the impermanence of worldly attachments

Sufis possess a deep understanding of the transient nature of life and the impermanence of worldly attachments. They acknowledge that everything in this world is temporary and subject to change, emphasizing the importance of focusing on the eternal and everlasting. By recognizing the impermanence of worldly attachments, Sufis are able to maintain a sense of detachment and prioritize their spiritual journey above all else.

In conclusion, humility and detachment are essential qualities that define a Sufi. By detaching from worldly desires and material possessions, cultivating humility as a gateway to spiritual growth, and recognizing the transient nature of life and the impermanence of worldly attachments, Sufis embark on a path of inner transformation and connection with the Divine. Through these qualities, Sufis strive to attain a state of spiritual enlightenment and union with the ultimate truth.

Compassion and Service to Humanity

Compassion and service to humanity are fundamental qualities that define a Sufi. A Sufi is known for their unwavering commitment to extending compassion and kindness to all beings. This deep sense of empathy stems from their belief in the interconnectedness of all creation and the divine nature within each individual.

One of the central teachings of Sufism is the importance of serving others selflessly as an expression of spiritual devotion. Sufis believe that by serving humanity, they are not only fulfilling their duty towards their fellow beings but also deepening their connection with the divine.

The concept of “Khidmat-e-Khalq” or service to creation holds great significance in Sufi teachings. It emphasizes the responsibility of every Sufi to actively engage in acts of service that benefit others. This service is not limited to any specific group or community but encompasses all of humanity, regardless of race, religion, or social status.

Sufis understand that compassion and service are not mere acts of charity but an integral part of their spiritual journey. By selflessly serving others, they learn to transcend their own ego and develop a sense of humility and gratitude. It is through these acts of service that Sufis seek to purify their hearts and attain a deeper understanding of the divine.

In their pursuit of compassion and service, Sufis often engage in various charitable activities, such as feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless, and offering medical assistance to the sick. They also actively participate in community development projects, education initiatives, and environmental conservation efforts.

The ultimate goal of a Sufi’s compassionate service to humanity is to create a harmonious and just society where every individual is treated with dignity and respect. They believe that by embodying the qualities of compassion and selflessness, they can inspire others to follow the path of love and service, thus creating a ripple effect of positive change in the world.

In conclusion, a Sufi is called such because of their deep commitment to compassion and service to humanity. They strive to extend kindness and empathy to all beings, recognizing the interconnectedness of creation. Through acts of selfless service, Sufis seek to purify their hearts and deepen their spiritual connection with the divine. Their ultimate aim is to foster a world where love and compassion prevail, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of others.

The Diversity of Sufi Paths

Different Sufi Orders and Lineages

Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam, encompasses a rich diversity of paths and practices. Within the realm of Sufism, different orders, also known as tariqas, have emerged, each with its unique teachings and spiritual practices. These orders provide a structure for individuals seeking spiritual guidance and a path towards divine union.

One prominent Sufi order is the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes. Founded by the Persian poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi, this order places a strong emphasis on music, poetry, and the ritual of whirling as a means of attaining spiritual enlightenment. The Mevlevi Order has a distinct approach to Sufism, combining ecstatic movement with devotion to the Divine.

Another well-known Sufi order is the Naqshbandi Order. This order traces its spiritual lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad through a chain of masters. The Naqshbandi Order emphasizes the importance of rigorous self-discipline, meditation, and the remembrance of God. Followers of this order strive to purify their hearts and minds, seeking to overcome their ego and attain spiritual awakening.

The Chishti Order, on the other hand, focuses on the power of love and devotion in the path of Sufism. Founded by the Persian saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, this order emphasizes the concept of spiritual transformation through the practice of serving humanity and spreading love. Chishti Sufis often engage in humanitarian work and believe in the importance of inner purification through acts of kindness and generosity.

In addition to these orders, there are many other Sufi lineages and paths, including the Qadiri, Shadhili, and Rifai orders, among others. Each order has its unique practices, rituals, and spiritual teachings, which are passed down through generations of Sufi masters.

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It is important to note that the diversity of Sufi orders and lineages is influenced by cultural and regional variations. Sufism has spread across different parts of the world, adapting to local customs and traditions while remaining rooted in the core principles of Islamic mysticism. As a result, Sufi practices may vary based on the cultural context in which they are practiced, adding further richness and complexity to the overall tapestry of Sufism.

In conclusion, a Sufi is someone who follows the mystical path of Sufism, seeking spiritual enlightenment and union with the Divine. Sufis belong to various orders and lineages, each with its unique teachings and practices. The diversity of Sufi paths reflects the richness of human spiritual experience and the multifaceted nature of the quest for inner awakening.

Sufism in Different Cultures and Religions

Sufism, often associated with Islam, is not limited to a single religious tradition. This mystical tradition has found its way into various cultures and religions, adapting to different beliefs and practices. Sufism’s flexibility and ability to integrate with other faiths have made it a universal path of spiritual enlightenment. Here are some examples of Sufi influences in different cultures and religions:

  • Sufi influences in Islamic traditions and practices: Within Islam, Sufism has had a profound impact on the spiritual practices and beliefs of Muslims. Sufis are known for their devotion to God, seeking a direct experience of the divine through practices such as prayer, meditation, and remembrance of God’s name (dhikr). They emphasize the importance of love, compassion, and inner purification as means to attain closeness to God. Sufi orders, or tariqas, have been established to provide guidance and spiritual instruction to individuals seeking a deeper connection with the divine.

  • Sufism’s integration with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other faiths: Sufism has also integrated with other religious traditions, finding common ground in their spiritual teachings. In India, for example, Sufism has merged with Hinduism, resulting in the development of a unique tradition known as “Sufi Bhakti.” This syncretic approach combines Sufi practices with the devotional aspects of Hinduism, emphasizing love and devotion as a means of attaining union with the divine. Similarly, in Central Asia, Sufi teachings have blended with elements of Buddhism, creating a distinctive Sufi-Buddhist tradition.

  • The universal message of Sufism transcending religious boundaries: One of the remarkable aspects of Sufism is its ability to transcend religious boundaries and appeal to individuals from different faiths. Sufi teachings emphasize the universal principles of love, compassion, and unity, which resonate with people seeking inner peace and spiritual growth. The core message of Sufism, often expressed through poetry, music, and dance, speaks directly to the heart, bypassing the limitations of language and doctrine. This universal appeal has led to the emergence of Sufi-inspired movements and communities outside of traditional religious frameworks, attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds who are drawn to the path of inner transformation.

In summary, Sufism’s influence extends beyond the boundaries of Islam, integrating with various cultures and religions. Its adaptability and universal message of love and unity have allowed it to find resonance and acceptance in different spiritual traditions. Whether practiced within Islam or blended with other faiths, Sufism remains a path of personal transformation and a means to attain spiritual enlightenment.

FAQs: Who is called a Sufi?

### What is a Sufi?

A Sufi is a practitioner of Sufism, which is a mystical and esoteric branch of Islam. Sufism emphasizes the inward journey of the soul towards a deeper connection with Allah (God) through practices such as meditation, prayers, chanting, and asceticism. Sufis seek to attain spiritual enlightenment and union with the divine.

### How do you become a Sufi?

Becoming a Sufi involves dedicating oneself to a spiritual path under the guidance of a Sufi master or sheikh. This process usually begins by taking a formal oath or initiation ceremony called “bay’ah,” which signifies a commitment to follow the teachings and practices of Sufism. The aspirant then undergoes a process of spiritual training, often involving meditation, remembrance of God, and learning from the teachings of the Sufi tradition.

### Are all Muslims Sufis?

No, not all Muslims are Sufis. Sufism is a specific mystical tradition within Islam, and not all Muslims choose to follow this path. Traditional Islamic teachings focus on religious rituals, adherence to the Quran and Hadith, and encompass a broader range of beliefs and practices. While Sufism exists within the Islamic framework, it is a distinct branch that appeals to those seeking a deeper spiritual connection.

### Can someone from a different religion be called a Sufi?

Yes, individuals from different religious backgrounds can also be referred to as Sufis if they choose to adopt Sufi beliefs and practices. Sufism transcends religious boundaries and focuses on the universal principles of love, compassion, and divine unity. Many Sufi masters have welcomed seekers from various faiths into their orders, recognizing the common essence and ultimate goal of spirituality.

### How can one recognize a Sufi?

Recognizing a Sufi can be challenging as they often blend into society without any distinctive appearance. Sufis come from all walks of life, and their outward appearance may vary depending on cultural and regional influences. However, they can be identified through their actions and characteristics such as humility, compassion, tolerance, detachment from material possessions, and a deep sense of spiritual devotion.

### Do Sufis follow Islamic teachings?

Yes, Sufis generally adhere to the core principles and teachings of Islam. While Sufism has its unique practices and perspectives, it remains rooted in the fundamental principles of the religion, such as the belief in the oneness of God, the importance of prayer, fasting, and moral virtues. Sufis often interpret Islamic teachings in a mystical and inward-focused way, seeking to attain a direct personal experience with the divine.

### Are Sufis part of any specific order or group?

Yes, Sufis can be part of various orders or tariqas, which are spiritual lineages tracing back to the early Sufi masters. These orders provide a structured framework for spiritual development and often have a hierarchical structure led by a sheikh or spiritual guide. Some well-known Sufi orders include the Naqshbandi, Qadiri, Chishti, and Mevlevi (known for their whirling dervishes).

### What is the significance of music and poetry in Sufism?

Music and poetry play a crucial role in Sufism. Sufis believe that music and poetry have the power to uplift the soul and evoke spiritual experiences. Through devotional songs and rhythmic chants known as “qawwali” or “zikr,” Sufis can reach states of ecstasy and spiritual union. Poetry, particularly mystical poetry known as “Sufi poetry,” is used as a medium to express divine love and the longing for union with the beloved (God).

### What are some famous Sufi poets and philosophers?

Some notable Sufi poets and philosophers include Rumi, Hafez, Ibn Arabi, Rabia Basri, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi (also known as Rumi) is perhaps the most well-known Sufi poet, renowned for his profound mystical and spiritual poetry. Hafez, a Persian poet, is also highly regarded for his love poetry infused with spiritual themes. Ibn Arabi, a prominent Sufi philosopher, contributed significantly to the theoretical aspects of Sufism. Rabia Basri, an early female Sufi saint, is celebrated for her deep devotion and love for God.

Who are Sufis? – Assim al hakeem

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