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A tariqa (Arabic: طريقة Ṭarīqa; pl. طرق; ṭuruq, Persian: tariɢat, Turkish: tarikat; alternate spelling, tariqah meaning “way, path, method”) is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah – ultimate truth.
A tariqa is a school of Sufism. A tariqa has a murshid (guide) who plays the role of leader or spiritual director of the organization. A tariqa is a group of murīdīn (singular murīd), Arabic for desirous, desiring the knowledge of knowing God and loving God (also called a faqīr Arabic: فقير, another Arabic word that means poor or needy, usually used as al-Faqīr ilá l-Lāh, “the needy to God’s knowledge (الفقير إلى الله)).
Nearly every tariqa is named after its founder and is referred to by a nisba formed from the founder’s name. For example, the “Rifai order”, named after Sheikh Ahmad ar-Rifai, is called the “Rifaiyyah”, the “Qādirī order”, named after Shaykh `Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī, is called the “Qadiriyya”. Often, ṭuruq are offshoots of another tariqa. For example, the Qadri Al-Muntahi order is an offshoot of the Qadiriyya order founded by Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi, the Jelveti order is an offshoot of the Bayrami order founded by Hacı Bayram-ı Veli who are an offshoot of the zahidiyye founded by Pir Zahid al-Gaylani. The Khalwati order are a particularly splintered order with numerous offshoots such as the Jerrahī, Sunbulī, Nasuhī, Karabashiyya and others, the Tijaniyyah order prevalent in West Africa also has its roots in this ṭarīqa.
In most cases the sheikh nominates his khalīf or “successor” during his lifetime, who will take over the order. In rare cases, if the sheikh dies without naming a khalīf, the students of the ṭarīqa elect another spiritual leader by vote. In some orders it is recommended to take a khalīf from the same order as the murshid. In some groups it is customary for the khalīfa to be the son of the sheikh, although in other groups the khalīfa and the sheikh are not normally relatives. In yet other orders a successor may be identified through the spiritual dreams of its members.
Tarīqas have silsilas (Arabic: سلسلة) “chain, lineage of sheikhs”. Almost all orders except the Naqshbandi order claim a silsila that leads back to Muhammad through ‘Alī. (The Naqshbandi Silsila goes back to Abu Bakr the first Caliph of Sunni Islam and then Muhammad.) Many silsilas contain the names of Shī‘ah Imams.
Every murid, on entering the ṭarīqa, gets his ‘awrād, or daily recitations, authorized by his murshid (usually to be recited before or after the pre-dawn prayer, after the afternoon prayer and after the evening prayer). Usually these recitations are extensive and time-consuming (for example the awrād may consist of reciting a certain formula 99, 500 or even 1000 times). One must also be in a state of ritual purity (as one is for the obligatory prayers to perform them while facing Mecca). The recitations change as a student (murid) moves from a mere initiate to other Sufi degrees (usually requiring additional initiations).
Being mostly followers of the spiritual traditions of Islam loosely referred to as Sufism, these groups were sometimes distinct from the ulema or officially mandated scholars, and often acted as informal missionaries of Islam. They provided accepted avenues for emotional expressions of faith, and the Tarīqas spread to all corners of the Muslim world, and often exercised a degree of political influence inordinate to their size (take for example the influence that the sheikhs of the Safavid had over the armies of Tamerlane, or the missionary work of Ali Shair Navai in Turkistan among the Mongol and Tatar people).
Tariqas around the world
The tariqas were particularly influential in the spread of Islam in the sub-Sahara during the 9th to 14th centuries, where they spread south along trade routes between North Africa and the sub-Saharan kingdoms of Ghana and Mali. On the West African coast they set up Zāwiyas on the shores of the river Niger and even established independent kingdoms such as al-Murābiṭūn or Almoravids. The Sanusi order were also highly involved in missionary work in Africa during the 19th century, spreading both Islam and a high level of literacy into Africa as far south as Lake Chad and beyond by setting up a network of zawiyas where Islam was taught. Much of central Asia and southern Russia was won over to Islam through the missionary work of the ṭarīqahs, and the majority of Indonesia’s population, where a Muslim army never set foot, was converted to Islam by the perseverance of both Muslim traders and Sufi missionaries.
Tariqas were brought to China in the 17th century by Ma Laichi and other Chinese Sufis who had studied in Mecca and Yemen, and had also been influenced by spiritual descendants of the Kashgarian Sufi master Afaq Khoja. On the Chinese soil the institutions became known as menhuan, and are typically headquartered near the tombs (gongbei) of their founders.
A case is sometimes made[who?] that groups such as the Muslim Brotherhoods (in many countries) and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt (the first, or first known), are modern inheritors of the tradition of lay tariqa in Islam. This is highly contentious since the turuq were Sufi orders with established lineages while the Muslim Brotherhood is a modern, rationalist tradition. However, the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, Hassan al Banna, did have a traditional Islamic education (his family were Hanbali scholars) and it is likely that he was initiated into a tariqa at an early age.
Certain scholars, e.g., G. H. Jansen, credit the original tariqas with several specific accomplishments:
1. Preventing Islam from becoming a cold and formal doctrine by constantly infusing it with local and emotionally popular input, including stories and plays and rituals not part of Islam proper. (A parallel would be the role of Aesop relative to the Greek mythos.)
2. Spreading the faith in east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where orthodox Islamic leaders and scholars had little or no direct influence on people.
3. Leading Islam’s military and political battles against the encroaching power of the Christian West, as far back as the Qadiri order of the 12th century.
The last of these accomplishments suggests that the analogy with the modern Muslim Brotherhoods is probably accurate, but incomplete.
Tariqas in the Four Spiritual Stations
The Four Stations, sharia, tariqa, haqiqa. The fourth station, marifa, which is considered ‘unseen’, is actually the center of the haqiqa region. It’s the essence of all four stations.
Orders of Sufism
Main article: List of Sufi orders
It is important to note that membership of a particular Sufi order was not exclusive and cannot be likened to the ideological commitment to a political party. Unlike the Christian monastic orders which are demarcated by firm lines of authority and sacrament, Sufis often are members of various Sufi orders. The non-exclusiveness of Sufi orders has important consequences for the social extension of Sufism. They cannot be regarded as indulging in a zero sum competition which a purely political analysis might have suggested. Rather their joint effect is to impart to Sufism a cumulant body of tradition, rather than individual and isolated experiences.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Imamat)
The word Imamate (Arabic: إمامة Imāmah) is an Arabic word (Imam) with an English language suffix (ate) meaning leadership. Its use in theology is confined to Islam.
NOTE: The term Caliphate, an anglicanized Arabic word meaning successorship, is often used interchangeably with the term Imamate. Both terms, not always but most often, refer to the position of Succeeding and Leading the Muslim community after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
• Imamah (Shi’a doctrine) – A divine institution which succeeded the institution of Prophethood. Its appointees (Imams) are divinely appointed; e.g. Prophethood and Prophets.
o Imamah (Shi’a Twelver doctrine) – The doctrine of Imamate according to the Twelvers MEHDI and also GRAND AYATULLAH.
o Imamah (Shi’a Ismaili doctrine) – The doctrine of Imamate according to the Ismailis.
o Zaydi – The doctrine of the Imamate according to Zaydis.
• Caliphate – A non-divine institution which succeeded the institution of Prophethood. Its appointees (Caliphs) are not divinly appointed; e.g. an Islamic scholar.
• Khalifatul Masih – Successor of the Messiah – A divine institution in Ahmadiyya Muslim Community which succeeded the institution of Prophethood. Its considered to be the second manifestation of God’s power. Its appointees (Caliphs) are divinly appointed.
Theological literature on the Imamate doctrine:
• Imamate and Leadership – by Mujtaba Musavi Lari
• Imamate: The Vicegerency of the Prophet – by Sa’id Akhtar Rizvi
Historical usage may refer to:
• Caucasian Imamate – a state during the early and mid-19th century in the Eastern Caucasus.
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