Sufism and Modernity by Eiden Pospisil

While much of modern dialogue revolving around Islam focuses on violence and inter-religious conflict,  focusing on the universal and mystical nature of Sufism is critical to the healing process.  Much of the Mid-east is involved in conflict regarding interpretation of the Quran, the individual internal approach of Sufi practice is key to ending conflict and rebuilding communities.  By recognizing the ties between Muhammad’s initial teachings of other “religions of the book” and Sufi acceptance of wider faiths it is possible to find common ground between all religious traditions through the Sufi ideals of unity and acceptance.

Historically, as a result of the Islamic Expansion concerns of communities inauthentic connections to material goods began to appear in religious dialogue.  As a response to this concern Sufism developed as a means by which  individuals could purify themselves free from the larger structure.  

Pushing back from the rigid and fundamentalist practices engulfing the Mid-East, Sufism offers a more fluid approach to Islamic practice that engages the individual on a deeply spiritual level allowing one to find unity with God themselves rather than practicing dogma that can lack a critical connection to the individual.  

By blending Modern Islamic political systems and Sufism, some attempts have been made to counter the lack of spiritual connection caused by the consumerist growth. “…not all proponents of the political resurgence of Islam have been anti-Sufi in outlook. Perhaps the most outstanding example to be noted is that of Ayatullah Khumayni himself, for whom Sufi spirituality was central to his vision of an Islamic system to regenerate Iran and the wider umma” (Sirriyeh, 145)Today, as the world economy continues to grow as a consumer driven entity, Sufi practices are critical as they allow individuals to connect with God and purify themselves rather than be stuck in practices with which they find no connection or faith.