Geoffroy: 126-141

1. A Decline of Sufism? a. The vitality of Islamic culture declined during the Ottoman centuries. i. Reason 1: “Muslim scholars were satisfied to comment on or summarize the works of old.” ii. Reason 2: “The control exercised by the Ottoman Empire over the religious hierarchy blocked any vitality of thought.” b. People began to entrust their faith more into eccentric Sufis and pseudo-mystics who perpetuated superstitions rather than “normal” Sufis. c. General degeneration of Sufism d. Positive influences of the Ottoman Empire: i. “The worlds of the ulama (Muslim scholars of Islamic Law) and the Sufis became more and more intertwined and mystical thought was then on part of Islamic culture.” 2. The Search for Original Purity – Sufism and Wahhabism a. Sufism experienced a renewal following a decline in religious purity. b. Reasons for decline of religious purity i. “Weakening of the great Muslim empires: Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal.” ii. “The increasingly more marked domination of Europe.” iii. “The wearing down of Muslim societies.” iv. “The deviations, which would sully those societies.” c. Wahhabite movement i. Founded by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab (IN OUR LIST OF PEOPLE TO KNOW) ii. “Imposed a return to an Islam that was as it had originally been” iii. “The Sufism of the reformists and Wahhabism both demanded that Muslim societies return to the example of the first community of Medina so that they would live in conformity with the principles of Islam.” iv. Both Wahhabites and reformed Sufis condemned taqlid (imitation in religious and juridical matters) and reopened the door of ijtihad (exoteric or esoteric effort of interpreting the law) v. Both Wahhabites and reformed Sufis condemned some extravagant practices within certain brotherhoods. vi. While they had their similarities, Wahhabites and reformed Sufis are “fundamentally opposed to each other.” vii. Wahhabites “rigid in their opposition to any inner dimension of Islam and to any symbolic value within the rites.” viii. Wahhabites “believe that the very special place in which the Sufis hold the Prophet leads to shirk (the fact of associating others with God in worship; polytheism).” 3. The Muhammadian Path a. Also known as tariqa muhammadiyya b. Follower of the Muhammadian Path: i. “Must think constantly of the Prophet.” ii. “Must imitate him in everything.”






iii. “Must constantly recite formulas of blessings on him.” iv. “His heart, while contemplating Muhammad essence, will be able to see the Prophet in his physical appearance.” Renewed Paths and New Paths a. Signs of Sufi Revival: i. A purification of the mystical life ii. Basing it on the Shari’a (the Law) and the example of Muhammad iii. A militant socio-political reformism iv. Increase in the numbers of tariqas (spiritual method; a particular initiatory path) Lesser Jihad and Greater Jihad a. The greater jihad (effort; battle) was “that of the heart” according to the Prophet b. For Sufis, the Prophet led them to believe that the inward, spiritual battle is superior over outward combat. Sufi Reformism in the 20th Century a. Amadou Bamba i. Founder of the Mouride Brotherhood (Muridiyya) of Senegal ii. Put an emphasis on work and industry; “to work is to pray” iii. “Strong in numbers, the brotherhood put thousands of hectares on plantations into production, organized the culture of groundnuts in Senegal, and ran various industries, all of which led to considerable economic power.” b. Shaykh al-‘Alawi i. Algerian Founder of the ‘Alawiyya Brotherhood. ii. “Condemned some practices of the brotherhoods while focusing on on what is essential, namely dhikr (invocation of the Name of God).” iii. “Published a weekly journal which was aimed at reinvigorating Islamic culture in the region.” iv. “Showed great openness to towards other religions and to the West.” Sufism: A Fertile Ground for “Salafi” Reformism a. Around 1890, the movement of islah (reform) appeared in Egypt. b. Sufis reformists and salafi reformists generally agree on several points: i. They condemn the westernization of minds but do not reject technology ii. They refuse to be prisoners of the schools of Islamic Law iii. They appeal to people to spread the message of Islam throughout the world Sufism and Islamicism in the 20th Century: Politicization a. “The nationalists of the 20th century – Arabs, Turks, or others – as much as the salafi reformists – often regarded Sufism in its form of organized brotherhoods as the symbol of the decline.” b. “Brotherhoods disintegrated under the effect of secularization of society, which was sometimes bolstered by the declared hostility of the authorities.” c. “In the fight for influence that they must carry out against Islamicist movements, Sufis have created foundations, schools, holding companies, newspapers, television channels, etc.” d. “During the 20th century, the brotherhoods, formerly relegated to rural areas,

learned to adapt to the world of the cities where they created new networks of solidarity.” e. Author’s thoughts: “Their (the Sufi brotherhoods) increased involvement in social and political life was undoubtedly a necessary passage, but should not mortgage their future.” 9. “Sufi Scholars” in Contemporary Times a. “Sufi scholars have not disappeared, especially in two ancient and central seats of Islam, Egypt and Syria.”