Crash Course in Islam — Sufis
>>STEVE ST. GEORGE: Hello. I'm Steve St. George. And this is your crash course in Islam today. Who are the Sufis? Many religions have a mystical branch. And Islam is no different. In that faith the Sufis are the Mystics named after the coarse wool garment worn by the first Sufis. These mystics attempt to discipline both the mind and body in order to directly experience God. Although unlike mystics of other religions Sufis do not think they must withdraw from the world in order to find God. For them their struggle is one that takes place firmly in the real world. Sufism began in the seventh century as a movement to reform Islam. There were some who felt that with the expansion of the Islamic Empire, the faith was being diluted and was focused too much on material things. Sufis wanted to refocus Islam on the internal struggle to become closer to God, the struggle to be deserving of God's love. This is not to say there is any one way to be a Sufi. There are many different sects who emphasize a different path toward knowing Allah. Some sects have even sprung up in the West outside what's traditionally considered the Muslim world.