Seven Days of Redeeming Islam, Day One - Sufism

As a secular leftist from a family with a long history of socialism, I am not what you’d consider a natural ally of Islam.

Yet recently I feel like the heights of Islamaphobia within mainstream Western discourse has gotten to such that even I cannot sit idly by and make snide remarks at an organised largely conservative religion.

“If Islam is such a beautiful faith, why don’t people condemn the extremists?” goes the common refrain.

The idea that Islam is a homogeneous group, where the mainstream tolerates Salafist, Wahabist and Jihadist schools which have come to represent the worst excesses of the Islamic faith has got to stop.

Why don’t Muslims do anything about their own extremists? The simple answer is that they do. Tens of thousands of Muslims have given up their life in the fight against radical Wahabit, Salafist tendencies.

Therefore I’ve resolved, for the next week, to make a daily post to show the world that Islam, like all faiths, has it’s ugly but also beautiful aspects, from large to small.

Day one: Sufism

Sufism, often known as the “mystics of Islam”, is a denomination of Islam which believes in personal enlightenment in achieving one-ness with God.

They believe that enlightenment transcends religions, and hold that saints from all religions are equal as they have all achieved one-ness with Allah.

Sufism is one of the greatest victims of fundamentalist Islam. All across the world hardline Islamists have smashed Sufist mosques, terrorised and killed Sufists. In Mali the extreme Wahabists’ earliest act upon conquering northern Mali was to smash Sufist tombs and monuments.

Yet despite all the constant terror in their lives, the Sufists keep enduring, the Sufists keep praying, and the Sufists keep dancing.

wa alaikum assalam brothers and sisters

(This is a series of photo and text posts called “Seven Days of Redeeming Islam”, please follow me on http://perfect-payload.tumblr.com/ for more posts)