The Sufi Centre occupies a significant place within Islam generally and the Sufi community in particular. For the general population, a Sufi Centre may be seen as a place wherein people gather and worship. For the adherents of Sufism, the Sufi Centre is a transformative space wherein teaching is transmitted, subtle energy (baraka) is concentrated, and soteriological development is intensified. This paper is divided into three sections. The first section will provide a historical overview of the diversified institutions that mutually developed into the Sufi Centre. The second section will detail what a Sufi Centre ideally contains and how this informs its functionality. The third section will explore how companionship (suhba) is an important aspect of the Sufi Centre and how this can contribute to an intensified soteriological development for the adherents of Sufism.
Du’a or supplication has a multifunctional role within the individual’s soteriological development. One key function of du’a is the development and refinement of the individual’s etiquette (adab) in their approach to, and relationship with, Allah. This initially manifests in an understanding of the individual’s dependence on Allah and their relationship with the Divine name the Provider (al-Razzaq). As this relationship deepens, the individual begins to manifest and develop their sense of slavehood (ubudiyyah). This, in turn, as the individual develops soteriologically, changes the relationship between the slave (abd) and their Lord (rubb) such that the du’a becomes a means of intimate discourse (munajat).
The following is the abstract for my PhD thesis. This thesis addresses the problem of how to interpret Islamic writers without imposing generic frameworks of later and partly Western derivation. It questions the overuse of the category “Sufism” which has sometimes been deployed to read anachronistic concerns into Islamic writers. It does so by a … Continue reading Understanding Sufism: Contextualising the Content