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Sufism_8_Essay - he had already attained the first part...

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Hist 2530 Professor Powers 10/23/08 Sufism Al-Ghazali, revered as a reviver of the Muslim during the twelfth century, was a great Islamic thinker. Many of his writings and theology stem from his views on Sufism and its relation to the religion of Islam and Muslim philosophy. In an effort to fully understand Sufism at its core, Ghazali spent ten years living in the manner of the Sufis. His overall initial definition of Sufis is that they are mystics who “alone enter into the ‘presence’ of god, and possess vision and intuitive understanding.” In short, Sufism is an ascetic lifestyle in which its followers neglect themselves of earthly desires and reside in seclusion, in a constant search for eternal salvation. Ghazali describes that Sufism has two parts: intellectual belief and practical activity. Before he went off for ten years, Ghazali claimed that
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Unformatted text preview: he had already attained the first part which is in essence knowledge of the theories and beliefs practiced by Sufis. The later part, he tells us, is much harder to achieve and is meant for the believer to experience that which he studies about. This latter part comes in three stages, the first of which is purity. Just as a Muslim makes himself pure before prayer, a spiritual purity must take place before a true connection with god is made. Next comes a state of revelations and visions in which the Sufi begins to see images of angels, spirits, and prophets. Finally a sort of oneness with god is achieved which is the final and sole goal of the Sufi belief. Ghazali finishes by stating that the truest way to achieve the essence of the Sufis is to immerse oneself with them and live as they live, in a constant pursuit of a divine connection....
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