Alternative words for sufism

I decided to gather some alternative words for sufism (which seems to have a negative connotation for some people out there or might even cause allergetic reactions, while others deny it exists at all within islam). Remember it is only a label! Even those amongst us who deny it or try to hide it or are not aware of it read books on it. Read the books fro example from imam Ibn ul-Qayyim, rahimullah, specifically Madarij as-Salikin, this is pure sufism. Ibn ul-Qayyim was the specialist on the heart and its purification.


This also remembers me of a statement of the late Syrian shaykh and mufti of Damascus Kuftaro, may Allah have mercy on him: “Islam is like an orange. His explanation of this statement was as follows. The shari’ah is the only the peel while the flesh is the real core of islam and this core is sufism.”


As promised here some alternative words:

– tasawwuf

– zuhd

– husn ul-khuluq

– ihsan

– suluk

– tazkiyah-i nafs / jihad un-nafs / riyadat un-nafs

– tasfiya-i qalb

– tarbiya

– cleansing / purification of the soul / heart / self

– alchemy of the heart


– (spiritual) excellence

– (islamic) mysticism


All muslims know these words. Muslims who adhere to different groups and walks of life – I assume – can all agree, I am convinced of this, that purification of the soul or the heart is an important matter, if not the most important matter as far as the inner dimension, the inner experience of islam is concerned. It is this purification which is the real meaning of sufism. It has absolutely nothing to do with following a tariqa, graveworshipping, blindly following and obeying a shaykh etc. Sufism is not just another group or movement, far from that; those who are willing to find what sufism really is and look at it with an objective – as far as possible – and open mind will find out the truth. There are many definitions of sufism in the books written about this science. My Allah help us purify our souls or hearts and rectify our states.


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