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The Decline of Sufism

Sufism has for long lost its role as a powerful influence in the life of the Muslim community. In fact, Sufism’s decline and loss of spiritual vigor set in before the past two hundred years when it entered upon the final stage of its demise. This was a time when there no longer existed any resemblance between what was considered as Sufism and its description in traditional sources. The last two centuries even failed to witness any traces of innovation in the sphere of Sufi literature. Needless to say, no one is expecting the rise of a Ghazzali or Ibn al-`Arabi, but one does expect to see more than a simulacrum of mystical feeling within the official Sufi orders. Sufism has also lost the hitherto influence it exerted over the political life of India, Egypt and North Africa. The rise of new social concerns has marginalized the discussion of theoretical aspects of Sufism by theologians. In addition, Sufism has lost its force as an element of religious revival. What has delivered the final blow to Sufism is the increasing religiosity within the Muslim community which has, in effect, destroyed the last remnants of enthusiasm for mysticism.

 source: Zarrinkoob , Abdol Hossein "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp.484- 485

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