Tasawwuf and Fiqh
Musilms apply Fiqh and Tasawwuf to their devotional lives.
Fiqh governs the carrying out of commands to the minutest detail. Examples of Fiqh (which means doing things the correct way) include the correct ablution, and facing the corredct qiblah.
Tasawwuf (Sufism) is the measure of the spirit of obedience, sincerity and love. Sufism means being aware of Allah's loving presence in an acute way that draws you away from normal life. Forgetfulness of self is known as Fana (extinction), the seeker passes through conscious thought and arrives (baqa) at a state of union with Allah. Examples of Tasawwuf are the feeling of genuine communion with Allah, and an awareness and love of Allah.
Muslims who are drawn to like minded groups following a Shaikh (religious leader) are known as Sufis. These might either be Sunni or Shi'ite.
Aims and Goals
Sufis want to:
1. abandon desire for worldy wealth and luxury
2. search for an inner spiritual life
3. achieve communion with Allah
4. become so close to Allah that human consciousness is totally lost and absorbed in that of Allah
5. to overcome the appetites and desires of the human body with concern for itself
"Go sweep the chamber of your heart (relates to point 1). Make it ready to be the dwelling-place of the beloved. When you depart out, He will enter it (relates to point 4). In you, empty yourself, He will display all the beauty" -Shabistari
Sufis are tolerant of other religions, since Allah can be 'seen' in so many ways. Enlightened people realise that all religious paths are attempts to follow Allah although they might not be of equal value.
"I see only bricks and a house of stone. It is only you, O God, that I desire"-Rabia
The true 'Kah'bah was felt to be the residency of Allah in your heart.
Dervishes and Dhikr
Dervishes are Sufi mystics who practice particular excercises (Dhikrs).Dervishes believe that humanity is in a state of 'sleep'. Dervishes seek to be 'loosened from earth's glue', to come close to Allah. Freed from all worldly cares and anxieties, they are to become channels for Allah's light.
They are not impressed by cleverness of academic learning. Personal experience is what counts. The most simple of souls could be the richest in this respect. They are critical of 'empty' learning, clever knowledge for its own sake that cannot be put to practical use.
"A donkey may be loaded with books, but that does not make him intelligent. How does he know whether he is carrying books, or wood for the fire?"- Rumi
Various practices/ Dhikr can include the whirling dance or sama (which is why they are known as the whirling dervishes), breathing excersises, and concentrating on Allah in an intense way