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A Brief Guide on Sufism in India

Get a deeper understanding of Sufism? Learn about different Sufi sub-schools, their principles and methods, and how they differ from each other.

A Brief Guide On Sufism In India

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam that emphasises the devotional aspect of prayer and the use of both words and silence. It has a long and varied history in India, and there are currently several Sufi orders active in the country. You will explore the traditional Islamic practice and a brief overview of Sufism and how it can help you connect with your innermost self.

What Is Sufism?

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam practised in India for centuries. Though it is a Muslim tradition, Sufism embraces elements of other religions, making it a tolerant and inclusive form of worship. 

In Sufi, it is believed that the true path to God is through love and devotion, not rules and regulations. They often live simple lives devoted to prayer and meditation. Sufism has a long history in India, where it has been instrumental in promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.

A Brief History of Sufism

Sufism is an Islamic spiritual tradition that dates back to the 8th century. Though it’s often associated with Islam, Sufism is not a sect of Islam but a mystical offshoot of the faith. Sufis (adherents of Sufism) seek to connect with Allah through meditation, prayer, and self-purification. 

The practices and teachings of Sufi meaning vary from one teacher to the next, but all Sufis share a common goal: to experience God’s love and guidance. 

In India, Sufism has a long and rich history. Many of India’s most famous temples and shrines were built by Sufi saints and disciples. Today, millions of Sufis live in India, and the tradition grows in popularity.

What Is A Sufi In Islam?

A Sufi follows the path of asceticism, or self-denial, to gain spiritual enlightenment. It can include practices such as meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Sufi orders include the Naqshbandi, Qadisiya, and Rifa’i orders.

Sufis believe that God is within every person and that by following the path of asceticism, one can reach out and connect with the Divine. It can lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and the world around them and, ultimately, a more fulfilling life.

Teachings Of Sufism

One of the essential teachings of Sufism is that there is one God who created and controlled the universe. Sufis also believe in the divine power of music and poetry, which are often used in worship. They teach that it’s essential to lead a good life and be humble, kind, and generous. Above all, they stress the importance of love—for God, for others, and self.

Notable Sufi Figures In India

India’s most notable Sufi figures include Bulleh Shah, Data Ganj Baksh, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, and Nizamuddin Auliya. Each of these figures contributed something unique to the development of Sufism in India. Bulleh Shah, for instance, was known for his poetic lyrics that expressed his love for God. 

Data Ganj Baksh was a mystic who stressed the importance of inner contemplation. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is famed for establishing the Chishti Order, and Nizamuddin Auliya is considered one of the most illustrious Sufi saints of all time.

The Future Of Sufism

The future of Sufism in India is uncertain. There has been an increase in Islamic extremism, leading to increased violence against Sufi Muslims. Many Sufis have also been forced to flee their homes. However, many people continue to follow Sufism, and the tradition is still popular among young people. Sufism is an integral part of Indian culture, and it will likely continue to be a part of Indian society for many years to come.

Sufis proclaim faith in the one God Allah and Mohammed is his messenger, prayed five times a day, gave to the poor, fasted and made the pilgrimage to Hajj in Mecca.


There is a big difference between Sufism and Islam, but both religions share commonalities. For example, both Sufism and Islam believe in one God who created the universe and all that exists in it. Sufism, however, also believes in a hierarchy of divine beings, similar to that of Shaivism. 

Shaivism is a school of Hinduism that emphasises the worship of various deities at different levels. Sufi mystics believe that each human has the potential to become a divine being.

Sufi meaning also has a strong emphasis on personal spiritual development and self-realisation. It is in contrast to the more dogmatic and legalistic aspects of Islam. Sufi orders are also loosely structured, which allows for greater flexibility in practice. Finally, Sufism is often associated with music and poetry, often used to express spiritual truths.


Frequently Asked Questions

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How Can Sufism be explained in India?

The doctrine of Sufism is based on oneness with God, which can be attained by the love of God, prayers, fasting, and...Read full

What is the basic idea of Sufism?

Sufism is a mystical Islamic assurance and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowl...Read full

Where are Sufis found in India?

The movement started in Persia and became a well-developed movement by the 11th century. Sufism started in India dur...Read full

Who started Sufism in India?

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a disciple of Khwaja Osman Haruni, introduced this order to India while propounding it. He...Read full

Do the Sufis believe in Allah?

They proclaimed faith in the one God Allah and Mohammed is his messenger, prayed five times a day, gave to the poor,...Read full