Ilmu Massa, Turath, Sejarah. Analisa Kajian Budaya Pemikir. Peradaban Insani Kalbu Akal Mencerah. Hakikat Amal Zikir Dan Fikir. Ilmu, Amal, Hikmah Menjana Pencerahan. Ulul-Albab Rausyanfikir Irfan Bistari. Tautan Mahabbah Mursyid Bimbingan. Alam Melayu Alam Islami Tamadun Melayu Peradaban Islami. Rihlah Ilmiah Menjana Pencerahan Pemikiran, Kefahaman & Ketamadunan (Ilmu,Amal,Hikmah & Mahabbah) - Inspirasi: Rizhan el-Rodi

Sufism and Modernity: A Comparative Study of Contemporary Social Movements In Turkey, Syria and Egypt

Sufism and Modernity: A Comparative Study of Contemporary Social Movements In Turkey, Syria and Egypt
·         Written by  Arwa Ibrahim 

During the 20th century, a combination of the unprecedented challenges- secularized authoritarian state structures, a Western-inspired rationalist discourse and Islamic fundamentalist critique since the second half of the 19th century- led to a decline in traditional forms of Sufism. Sufi orders needed to adapt their traditions to the new circumstances, otherwise they would become moribund. Some Sufi orders transformed into new forms of collective action such as cultural and educational associations, social movements and political parties. At the same time, they developed strategies to face the challenges of modernity which normally involved collaboration with one of the dominant forces of the age: the nation state and its elitist class, Islamic modernism and fundamentalism, Western culture and globalization. The most prominent social movements today are those which have been able to collaborate with contemporary forces and to adapt to a changing environment. The transformation of Sufism as reflected in the Gülen Movement in Turkey, the Kuftariyya Order in Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt reflects the changes in various aspects of spiritual and activist Sufi tradition in a modern context.

Early 20th century scholarship directed towards the study of Sufism, focused mainly on its mystical and non-political aspects. Most Orientalist scholarship treated Sufism as a medieval concept of mystical beliefs or a philosophy that has little to do with the Islamic faith.[1] Orientalist scholarship also ignored Sufism’s role in politics as well as its social and economic manifestations as expressed in Sufi orders.[2] Furthermore, because Sufism is characteristically linked with traditional Islamic societies, many Orientalists assumed that modernity would eliminate Sufism.[3] More recent studies however, have tried to correct the picture and investigate modern forms and manifestations of Sufism. This research is founded on a project that was initiated by Carl Ernst who explains that “while the study of historical Sufism is essential, it needs to be juxtaposed with the exploration of Sufism’s current manifestations to reveal its contemporary significance”.[4] Today, Sufism is no longer exclusively confined within an organized Sufi order; instead it has become a significant aspect within many modern social movements. Therefore, unlike most of the earlier surveys of Sufism, this research does not primarily treat Sufism as a traditional phenomenon of the past. Instead, we will focus on contemporary manifestations of Sufism. This research will investigate the effect of modernity to illustrate that Sufism in our contemporary world, has not only a spiritual, but a social, economic, and most importantly a political dimension as well.
At the same time, the role of traditional Sufism in several movements and trends within the Islamic world has been commonly underestimated. Traditional Sufism acted as a conservative force to maintain an authentic Islam; it opposed European imperial expansion during the 19th century; and it acted as a moderating force for the foundation of popular support for 20thcentury political Islam.[5] However, the study of Islamic movements within the socio-political context of the 19th and 20thcenturies’ reformist movement, has produced scholarship that categorizes Islamic movements as either Sufi of a non-political nature or as socio-political movements of a fundamentalist, non-mystical nature. Hence, social movements in the Islamic world are either Sufi/mystical or socio-political, but never both. This gap in scholarship has created a dichotomy since the overlap of these two categories has been ignored. Therefore, scholarship continues to produce an inaccurate image of Islamic social movements.
The aim of this research is to address this dichotomy by exploring the relationship between mystical Sufism and political social movements. This overlap is exemplified in three social movements: the Gülen Movement in Turkey, the Kuftariyya Order in Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. These three contemporary Islamic social movements have adopted different aspects of Sufism within their organization, practice and their method of interaction with their surrounding social and political contexts. In this research, we will pin down the elements of Sufism in each of the social movements and compare and contrast them to one another. We will also attempt to understand the characteristics of each type of Sufism and the way these characteristics relate to the traditional expressions of Sufism. Finally, we will illustrate how modern factors influenced and shaped these Sufi elements within the modern context. At the same time, this illustration will reflect the Sufi elements’ level of centrality in advancing the social mobility of each social movement.
To carry out this task, it is essential to study traditional Sufism in order to understand the components of its modern manifestations. Thus, this research will start with an analysis of 19th century Sufi orders in the areas under study. Our main references to traditional Sufism are the Naqshbandiyya and the Shadhiliyya Orders. The Naqshbandiyya is among the most influential and widely-based orders in 19th century Turkey and Syria. The Shadhiliyya held the same significance in 19th century Egypt.
Before starting the analysis of our historical context, there are a few points concerning terminology which need to be clarified for further reference throughout this research. The term social movement within the context of this research refers to “organized contentions structured through mechanisms of mobilization that provide strategic resources for sustained collective action”.[6] For the most part, the study of Islamic social and political movements has focused on analyzing the ideology, structure, history and goals of Islamic actors.[7] Only recently has their study been incorporated within the Social Movement Theory Approach (SMT), which places Islamic movements within a plethora of theoretical and conceptual developments on social movements.[8] According to the SMT approach, our movements are regarded as rational, organized manifestations of collective action and not as irrational outbursts intended to alleviate psychological strains.[9] Religion, as only one of several dimensions of Islamic movements, will be regarded as an organizational resource and as a source of the mobilizing ideology.
It must also be noted that formal social movements are not the only pattern of organization. Recent studies show that informal networks of politicized participants create ‘social movement communities’ which promote the goals of a social movement outside the boundaries of a formal organization.[10] Informal social networking is a subtler form of collective action in less open political systems where formal organization risks regime reprisal.[11] Since Turkey, Syria and Egypt each represent varying degrees of repressive political systems, our analysis will reflect forms of informal networking in each social movement.

Chapter 1: Traditional Sufism
From the time of the Prophet, there were persons who paid attention to their souls; they tried to harmonize their internal experiences with the external observances of their faith by means of renunciation of the world and asceticism.[12] From the 2nd/8th century what became known as a Sufi renounced the world, devoted himself to the service of God and aimed at doing away with the impulses of the self through self-training and exercise.[13] Sufism was merely a philosophy adopted by individuals but it had no organized form yet. The arīqa which branches off from another path, that of the law – shari‘a, refers to the Sufi quest to realize the Divine or truth (aqiqa). The focus of this research is on orders which emphasize that the follower (murid), must adhere to the injunctions of the shari‘a since the inner relationship between the shari’a, arīqa, and aqiqa cannot be ignored. For them, “the arīqa and shari‘a necessitate each other, since the path to God consists of an external aspect and an internal aspect. Its externality is the shari’a and the arīqa and its internality is the aqiqa; the aim of the three is to fulfil the servitude of God”.[14] Sufis distinguish themselves by their interpretation of the Qur’an through ta’wil, an effort to reveal the inner (esoteric) dimensions of spiritual life and their challenge of the rigid, formal interpretations of Islam.[15]
During post-classical Sufism dated from 5th-6th/11th-12th centuries, mystic life was increasingly cultivated in orders. In the 10th and 11th centuries, the small, private groups of spiritual masters turned into more formal associations; each brotherhood elaborated distinct spiritual methods and disciplinary practices in lodges (zāwiya).  The Sufi lodges developed a multiplicity of spheres and activities; they were at once schools, commercial and social focal points, law courts, banks, storehouses, poor houses, burial grounds and the source and channel for connection with the Divine.[16] The term arīqa extended from the inner spiritual path to include an externalized, institutionalized and popularized socio-religious organization.[17] Therefore, the Islamic term denoting a Sufi order united under a master is arīqa.[18] The shaykh is thought to be connected by a chain of grace, blessing, or blood to a founding saint[19] and the order’s affiliation (silsila) is traced back from the present shaykh to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.[20]

By the end of the 18th century, innovations had become fully integrated and the spirit and aims of the different orders had become stereotypical of one another.[21] The main attributes of 18th century Sufi orders remained for the most part, reflective of traditional Sufism in the subsequent centuries. The main features of Sufi orders came to include a developed hierarchical organization of a generally uniform character, an initiatory principle for adherents to join the organization, veneration for the shaykh/murshid of the arīqa and utter subjection to his authority.[22]  The murshid typically led his followers towards emulating the Prophetic way of life, both outwardly and inwardly. The spiritual aspirant (murid) was directed by the shaykh through different stages (maqamat) on the journey to God.[23] The main instrument for advancement on the mystical path is dhikr – the constant recollection of God –along with adhering to certain protocols (adāb) such as avoiding deceit and pride.[24] The disciplinary principles may have also included solitude, vigils, fasting and collective dhikr in coordination with musical rhythm, breath-control and physical exercises. The association of a saint (wālī), dead or alive, with the qualities and properties embraced by the termskarama (miracles/grace acts) and baraka (spiritual power) were also important features.
At the same time however, shaykhs began to vie with one another to demonstrate their loyalty and subservience to the shari‘a.[25] This change was partly due to the rising conflict between exoteric and esoteric doctrines of Islam which set the stage for the 19th century revivalist Sufi movements across the Islamic world. Advocating adherence to ‘ilm (knowledge) and taawwuf(Sufism) and strict observance of the shari‘a and sunna, became a strong trend among Sufi orders. Although not all orders (uruq)adopt this principle, the uruq and the social movements in our study relate in varying degrees to this trend. This research does not assume that there is a single form of ‘authentic’ Sufism. Hence, we will not attempt to discern or evaluate whether or not this trend is orthodox Sufism or true as related to the Islamic faith and the forefathers of Sufism. The reality of Sufi orders’ social, political, economic and spiritual roles as we mentioned earlier, makes it apparent that Sufism entails a variety of religious groupings, meanings and social, economic and political functions that have varied from place to another. Since a Sufi order is not a sociological classification that defines certain characteristics or a distinct social entity, it would therefore be inaccurate to limit the meaning of Sufism within a specific definition. Therefore, our analysis of the Naqshbandiyya and Shadhiliyya as forms of traditional Sufism is not an attempt to create a single characterization of ‘traditional’ Sufism during the 19th century. It is merely to illustrate one form of traditional Sufism to use as reference.
The Naqshbandiyya
The Naqshbandiyya was introduced in western Asia during the process of Ottoman state building and the search for an orthodox alternative to the unruly dervish fraternities.[26] During the 17th and 18th centuries the Mujaddidi tradition (an offshoot of the original Naqshbandiyya) was transmitted and institutionalized in Damascus and Istanbul.[27] The impact of the Mujaddidiyya in Istanbul peaked in the second half of the 18th century when its leaders became involved in the reform politics of the Ottoman Empire.[28] Shaykh Diya’ al-Din Khalid, who had been initiated into the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya in India, founded in the 1820s the Khalidiyya offshoot.[29] In the 19th century, the Naqshbandiyya offshoots developed strategies to cope with new realities of modernity: the impact of the West, the spread of rationalist thought, the consolidation of colonial rule and subsequent authoritarian states, and the rise of Islamic modernism and fundamentalism.[30]
The Khalidiyya brotherhood was committed to two foundations: its socio-political activism and commitment to orthodoxy by ensuring the subservience of the highly mystical path of the arīqa to the shari‘a and the Prophet’s sunna.[31] These aims as fundamental principles of the movement are a clear adaptation to the environment. The brotherhood had to strike a balance between its emphatic orthodox outlook and to its activist legacy. The Naqshbandiyya and its offshoots in Istanbul and Damascus joined a modernist-fundamentalist camp which moved towards imagining Islam in light of modern ideals. The modernist side emphasized Western ideas and values while the fundamentalist aspect sought to ground these borrowings in the Muslim faith.[32]
Expansion: Collaboration with the State and the People
Sufism changed since its introduction as a strictly ascetic doctrine some three hundred years after the death of the Prophet.[33] The Naqshbandi-Mujaddidi-Khalidi order became characterized by familial succession, incorporation of the saints’ descendents into imperial and local elites and cooperation with the original Naqshbandiyya.[34] The Khalidi branch expanded quickly and penetrated the Ottoman state due to its religious orthodoxy and political activism. During the rule of Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1837), Shaykh Khalid recruited ‘ulama’ and high-ranking bureaucrats as means to promote the spiritual rebirth of the Muslim community and to strengthen its resistance to external attack. In 1826, the Khalidiyya encouraged the ‘ulama’ and senior bureaucracy to approve the elimination of the moribund Janissary corps which stood in the way of Ottoman modernization.[35] In turn, the Ottoman Empire gave the Khalidiyya independence and space to spread their spiritual teachings, as opposed to its abolishment of the heterodox Bektashi brotherhood.[36] These changes lead to a general mood of orthodoxy that prevailed among the elite of Istanbul. Until the downfall of Ottoman Empire in 1909, the Khalidiyya became the most influential order.[37]
Not only did the Khalidiyya find its greatest adherents in learned individuals, merchants, bureaucrats, and notables, but it also managed to become a grassroots, activist movement. Khalidiyya leaders during the 19th century, focused on training deputies and ordering them to initiate their own lodges.[38] Furthermore, the Khalidiyya offered leadership and an organizational vehicle for political independence and economic revival at a time where the Muslim population suffered great economic and political weakness.[39] To compete with modern ideas and capitalism, the order offered its own competing network of economic and political success based on Islamic tradition. With Western principles of capitalism and globalization threatening people’s traditional ways of living, the Khalidiyya focused on studying the life of the Prophet to make abstract Islamic concepts more concrete. The Khalidiyya stressed the importance of direct engagement with politics and social life in the example of the Prophet as a successful social engineer and political leader.[40] The Khalidi branch of the 19th century became a vehicle for the preservation of Islam and a mass mobilization force against the penetration of capitalism and modern institutions that unsettled the traditional community.[41]
Mysticism, Reform and the Salafi Influence
Shaykh Khalid paid special attention to the organizational dimension of his order; his innovations were designed to turn the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya-Khalidiyya into an effective socio-religious movement in the service of an orthodox Muslim community.[42] Three organizational innovations of Khalid included the khalwa -where he referred initial instruction of disciples to his deputies who would give them concentrated training for forty days, the rabita - which replaced accompaniment by instructing his disciples to concentrate in their imagination on his figure, and ghalq al-bab – a practise translated into ‘closing the door’ to non-members during dhikr sessions which gave the arīqa the character of an exclusive social movement.[43] However, although innovations within the mystical sphere remained a vibrant aspect of the Naqshbandiyya offshoots, the Naqshbandiyya had an early contribution to the formation of the Islamic reformist trend. Sufi reformist movements were a significant aspect of the greater 18thand 19th centuries’ revivalist movements.
Since the 17th century, Naqshbandi masters started a movement against what was regarded as deviations from the path of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s sunna. The Naqshbandi tradition is characterized by a constant modification and reinterpretation of its principles and practices according to changing circumstances and personal preferences of its leaders.[44] As the Wahhabi movement intensified its fight against Sufism, a revival movement within the orders was also taking place.[45] The Naqshbandiyya was among the most notable orders in this movement; it articulated criticism of unorthodox practices associated with popular Sufism.[46] Deviation from the shari’a was seen as one of the reasons behind the defeat and degeneration of the Ottoman Empire. They responded to the challenge presented by seeking to preserve the inner (bātinī) aspect of Islam along with full acceptance of the outward (āhirī) aspect and condemned the accretions which had debased the orders.
Many Naqshbandi traditions were already aligned with the principles of the Sufi reform movement. In fact, the leaders of this movement were committed to the Naqshbandi tradition as they drew their inspiration from the orthodox thrust of the Naqshbandiyya and its abhorrence of practices transgressing the shari‘a. The Naqshbandiyya reform was also characterized by an emphasis on the study of hadith, a shift from the pantheistic interpretation of Ibn ‘Arabi’s[47] teachings to an interest in the transcendental approach of al-Ghazzali,[48] stricter compliance with the precepts of the shari’a, greater involvement in politics and society and consolidation of the structural organization of the orders.[49] Silent dhikr, which was generally recognized as the mainstay of the Naqshbandi tradition was sometimes accompanied by vocal forms of recollection.[50] Hence, popular Sufi practices like music and dance during dhikr was a target for elimination by the revivalist Sufi movement and the Naqshbandiyya.[51] Other targets of the revivalist movement such as the elimination of all of Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings and the prohibition of tomb visits, were however inconsistent with the Naqshbandiyya which still maintained such practices.
After the death of Khalid in 1827, ‘Isa al-Kurdi took leadership of the Khalidiyya in Damascus, while Gümüşhanevi became his contemporary in Istanbul.[52] With the ascendance of these two adepts to the Khalidiyya, a split occurs in the development of Sufism in Syria and Turkey. Gümüşhanevi’s acceptance of Ibn ‘Arabi’s doctrine of wadat al-wujud and his authorization of vocaldhikr, brought the Khalidiyya in Istanbul closer to popular Sufism. On the other hand, while ‘Isa appreciated the mystical writings of Gümüşhanevi, he clung to the Naqshbandi stress on shari‘a and denounced Sufi practices that contravened it. He was not extremely subservient to the emergent Salafi trend however; he still approved visiting saints’ and tombs.[53]  At that time, the Khalidiyya in Syria began to move away from the Naqshbandi tradition of focusing its efforts on the community’s elite and upper-class. Instead, ‘Isa required his deputies to conceal their path from outsiders, to keep a close connection between them, and to centre their efforts on the urban lower class and countryside.[54] This conservative populism paved the way for the transformation of the Khalidiyya into its contemporary Kuftariyya offshoot which we will discuss later. 
The Shadhiliyya
            The Shadhiliyya which goes back a long a way in Egyptian history, was founded in the 13th century by Abu al-Hassan al-Shadhili (d. 1258). His teachings spread extensively and they acquired the allegiance of several illustrious spiritual masters including Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi (d. 1286) and the Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah (d. 1309) who established the actual order during the 14thcentury.[55]  The Shadhiliyya also gave birth to two significant arīqa founders Ahmad al-Badawi and Ibrahim ad-Dasuqi, whose orders still survive today.[56]
 Although al-Shadhili was known within the order as the greatest saint, his spiritual status acquired through the execution of miracles, was not the reason behind the large following of this order. Instead, it was partly the conservative image and the literary body provided by Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah that this order enjoyed the allegiance of a large number of adherents, especially during Medieval Egypt.[57]  The Shadhiliyya is seen as conservative by nature; its founder excluded both antinomian behaviour and excessive devotion. Early before the 19th century, the Shadhiliyya had branched into many sub-orders that ranged from orthodoxy to pantheism.[58] For example, the Hasafiyya Shadhiliyya, which we will elaborate on in the final chapter of this research, is an example of an orthodox Shadhili branch, as defined by contemporary Muslim scholars. Other branches however, such as the contemporary Hamidiyya Shadhiliyya (formally recognized in 1926),[59] were not as conservative as their ancestor. Therefore, for the purposes of this research, we will focus on the general environment of the Sufi orders in Egypt, to which the Shadhiliyya belonged. At the same time, we will also reflect specific dimensions of the Shadhiliyya branches to give deeper insight into this specific order.
Relations with the State
            Sufi orders in Egypt during the Ottoman Empire and the British occupation were greatly influenced by their relations with the state. In 1812, a firmān (document) generated by Muhammad ‘Ali, granted shaykh al-sajjāda al-Bakriyya authority over Sufi orders. In accordance to this document, the successive heads of the Bakriyya confirmed into office, heads of some Sufi orders which implied their official recognition.[60] Official recognition was withheld from others. To be recognized as a legal arīqa, brotherhoods needed to have a clear internal structure, headed by the shaykh al-sajjāda, literally ‘shaykh of the prayer rug’; the prayer rug being a symbol of his authority and also an actual rug inherited from his predecessors.[61] Through the firmān, Muhammad ‘Ali undermined the position of powerful shaykhs by giving sole authorization to shaykh al-sajjāda al-Bakriyya. In return, shaykh al-sajjāda al-Bakriyya ensured that officially recognized orders remained loyal to the Khedive.
Ali al-Bakri (d. 1880), shaykh al-sajjāda al-Bakriyya, created an umbrella position for himself, under which he protected the officially recognized Sufi orders from interference in their affairs. This set up served the interests of the different orders’ shaykhs as it maintained their autonomy and the credibility of their positions as heads of the orders. Sufi orders felt protected by shaykh mashayikh al-uruq al-ufiyya (a term developed after 1880 to refer to the head of the Sufi orders). The shaykhs of the official orders thus followed in the footsteps of their protector and kept loyal to the Khedive. For a time, the Shadhiliyya was not incorporated into this system as the supreme head of Shadhiliyya in Egypt, Muhammad al-Jawahri already had his base of authority and so he abstained from involvement in the emerging uruq administration.[62] However, with the death of al-Jawahri (sometime between 1856-1870), the central authority of the Shadhiliyya came to an end and by 1906 many branches of the Shadhiliyya eventually came under the same umbrella of the official uruq.[63] The bisection between the officially recognized orders and the orders lacking this recognition had powerful implications over the political role of the Sufi orders in Egypt.
This set up paved the way for the general passivity and political aloofness of Sufi orders in Egypt. During the ‘Urabi insurrection[64] against the British occupation, the officially recognized Sufi orders upheld an attitude of aloofness, staying loyal to the Khedive despite his acceptance of British occupation.[65] It is interesting to note that the Sufi orders which did play political roles in the period preceding and during the insurrection were heads of orders with non-official status; consequently, two of them were sub-branches of the Shadhiliyya.[66] Hence, although most Sufi orders had adopted a trend of political aloofness, there remained a few which maintained an activist attitude within their ideology.
Furthermore, the Regulations for Sufi orders implemented by the British from 1895 to 1905 contained a guarantee of immunity from supervision by or incorporation into other institutions.[67] These changes shielded the orders from the wider society and made them inaccessible to efforts to mobilize them (such as the Muslim Brotherhood) and protection from outside attacks on Sufism (the Wahabiyya had founded a formal organization, al-Jamiyya al-Shariyya in 1913).[68] Hence, most Sufi orders in Egypt became characteristically apolitical and subservient to the state. They were seen as more keen on protecting their own survival rather than getting involved in the wider reformist and revival movement that had become widespread across the Muslim world.
The ‘ulama’ had become deeply involved in uruq affairs at a time when the influence of ‘ilm and taawwuf was great; many heads of uruq were ‘ulama’ and even Azhar-based.[69] Two prominent shaykhs of al-Shadhiliyya during the 18th century, Ahmad al-Jawahri and his son Muhammad Abu al-Hadi were also lecturers at al-Azhar.[70] ‘Ulama’-influenced uruq condemned certain practices and beliefs considered characteristic of popular uruq. One of the most significant implications caused by the creation ofshaykh al-sajjāda al-Bakriyya was the beginning of a deep divide between ‘ilm and taawwuf. By investing al-Bakri with exclusive authority over the uruq and uruq-linked institutions, he limited the influence of the ‘ulama’ which contributed to an increase in antinomian beliefs and practices in popular Egyptian Sufi orders.[71]
Regulations for uruq in Egypt promulgated by khedival decree and amended in 1903 and 1910 (which were supplemented by the internal regulations of 1905), included a number of paragraphs which eliminated the use of musical instruments, dancing and the eating of fire and glass during dhikr session.[72] Although such proclamations should have contributed to the spread of orthodox Sufism in Egypt, these paragraphs were few and were not enforced.[73]  The paragraphs seem to have been a superficial response to the demands of Muhammad Rashid Rida[74] and Muhammad ‘Abduh, two main figures of Salafiyya in Egypt.[75]Because the proclamations of the regulations protected the interests of the official orders, the regulations limited their need for a defensive response to attacks on Sufism.[76] Thus, the Sufi orders were not forced to adapt their beliefs and practices to accommodate the Salafi trend. Hence, these regulations not only caused Sufi orders in Egypt to remain passive to political involvement and activism, but they also shielded them from having to make their practises and beliefs closer to the orthodoxy advocated by a reformist Sufi movement and the Salafiyya.
Salafi-perceived antinomian practices and beliefs such as the mawlid[77] and karama (pl. karamat) remained as two cornerstones of institutionalized mysticism in the Sufi orders of Egypt.[78] For example, the credibility and spiritual status of Shaykh Salama Ibn Hassan Salama, the founder of the Hamidiyya Shadhiliyya came from karamat associated with him.[79] At amawlid, his followers would sing songs while flicking their fingers and swaying rhythmically in a way typical of Egyptians listening to popular music.[80] These practices and the popular conception of baraka[81] are examples of practices and beliefs regarded as non-adherent to the shari’a and sunna. Thus, the general picture of Sufism in Egypt during the 19th and 20th centuries as exemplified by the Hamidiyya Shadhiliyya and other official orders, is a passive, inactive form of mysticism, which according to the Salafi trend is non-observant of shari‘a and sunna.
Chapter 2: The Gülen Movement
In Turkey, the Khalidiyya’s activity was hampered by the establishment of the Turkish secular state. The ban imposed on Sufi activity by Ataturk’s regime in 1925 along with intensified persecution in the aftermath of the Menemen Rebellion of 1930[82], caused the Naqshbandiyya and its offshoots to go underground. When state inspection relaxed in the 1970s, the Naqshbandiyya resurfaced and developed strategies to face the challenges posed by modernity and a repressive state. These strategies have normally involved collaboration with one of the dominant forces of the age: the nation state and its elitist class, Islamic modernism and fundamentalism, Western culture and globalization.[83] At the same time, the Naqshbandiyya offshoots transformed gradually from being strictly religious associations into various new forms of a religious underpinning.[84] New forms of collective action included competing educational and cultural associations, social movements and political parties.[85] Thus, the Naqshbandiyya’s transformation offered a high degree of social mobility both horizontally due to its production of society-centric Islamic movements; and vertically with its state-centric political parties.[86]
Said Nursi (d. 1960), a modernist adept of the Khalidiyya founded the Nurcu movement which gave birth to his successor who links closely to his ideology, Fethullah Gülen (b. 1938). Today, the neo-Nurcu Gülen Movement, founded and lead by Gülen, is the most outstanding of the Nurcu circles. While modern affiliates of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya-Khalidiyya, most notably Gülen himself, continue to successfully voice their vision of Islam in the national and global spheres, they have done so at the price of major modifications to their modes of operation and their commitment to the orthodoxy of the brotherhood.[87]
Gülen’s Activist Piety
For modern Naqshbandis, to some extent or other, their mystical path was superseded by the modernist and fundamentalist readings of Islam. Prominent among those who have adapted their Sufi ideals to such readings, is the Gülen Movement.[88] Like his predecessor Nursi, Gülen’s message is designed to substitute the Sufi arīqa mode of religiosity which he found to be obsolete. He became convinced of the need to enlighten the masses in the various fields of learning and to demonstrate the truths of religion in the face of modernity. Gülen links his understanding of Sufism to the first centuries, during which influential Sufis such as al-Ghazzali and Rumi[89] practised Sufism without following a arīqa or a shaykh. Gülen has written lengthily in the various meanings related to Sufism, on the life of the Prophet Muhammad and on science and modernity. His writings include a collection of books and articles that are widely available in several languages including Turkish, English and Arabic. With an ideology which brings together modern reasoning and 12th century spirituality, Gülen’s ideas reflect a unique combination of authenticity and modernity. This trend of thought has attracted a large number of followers not only in Turkey, but around the whole world.
At the same time, Gülen has not taken up modernity without criticism. To Gülen, the spiritual emphasis of Sufism provides a basis for purifying modern scientific study and its ethical inadequacies; and so it provides both a scientific and humane, religious approach to life.[90] Gülen believes that Islam is the middle way which leads to a critical engagement with modernity. His interpretation of Islam is a balance between materialism and spiritualism, rationalism and mysticism, worldliness and excessive asceticism and between this world and the hereafter.[91] He does so through enriching his followers with Sufi ideals and meanings to guide their morals. At the same time, he encourages them to engage with the modern world.
Gülen shares with the Naqshbandi tradition its commitment to orthodoxy, adherence to the shari‘a and sunna and an emphasis on the after life which makes his followers’ outlooks on life serious and active.[92] To him taawwuf and shari‘a are two aspects of the same truth and so they cannot be separated. He believes that the sole performance of the external dimension related to the shari‘a would result in a dry ritualistic practise whereas concentration on the inner Sufi dimension and rejecting the prescribed rituals would lead the individual to follow his own whims and proclivities.[93] Gülen’s preservation of this fundamental principle is not only a continuation of the Naqshbandi tradition; it is also a form of adherence to the contemporary fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Although the Salafi ideology is not entrenched within the Turkish community, it has become a widespread inclination in the Muslim world. Therefore, Gülen’s ideas not only avoid confrontation with the Salafiyya, but they also have the potential to spread in the Arab world where the Salafiyya is much more influential. Indeed, Gülen’s books are now translated into Arabic and are readily available at a bookstore established by the movement in Cairo.[94] 

Since the Naqshbandi tradition is characterized by ijtihād, Gülen considers his new and adapted practices and ideas, a renewal of the Islamic tradition within its contemporary context.  Indeed, Gülen’s ideas are specifically inspired by Ahmad Sirhindi[95] whose writings were concerned with the renewal of the spiritual teaching of the Naqshbandi tradition by focusing on the way of the Prophet instead of early Naqshbandi teachers.[96] Although his followers refer to him as Hoca or Hocaefendi(literally meaning teacher and traditionally used by Sufis to refer to their master), Gülen denies that he has this place among his followers and insists that it is out of respect that they refer to him using this term.[97] Instead of the traditional arīqa system based on a close relationship between the shaykh and his disciples, Gülen’s movement gathers around the study of his books, writings, and video-taped vaaz (sermons). He has appropriated the reading and debating of his writings to replace the guidance of Sufi masters; reminiscent of a devotional formula, his writings explain to his followers how they can incorporate Sufi ideals into their daily lives.[98] Gülen has dedicated a series of sermons to the discussion of the Prophet Muhammad which are compiled in a series of books under the title of, Sonsuz Nur (The Eternal Light). This series focuses on the Prophet as a role model to aid his followers to internalize spiritual meanings by following the example of the Prophet. At the same time however, his discussion of the life of the Prophet as a leader and a teacher in his sermons, sets the stage for the outward, activist aspect of Gülen’s ideology.
The traditional arīqa’s defined path towards salvation does not exist for Gülen’s followers. Rather than practising prescribed exercises and prayers, Gülen’s followers see salvation as a result of good deeds and service to God which must be combined with an internal purification of oneself.[99] The discussion of internal purification is a Sufi aspect in Gülen’s thought which is best reflected in his book, Kalbin Zümrüt Tepeleri (Emerald Hills of the Heart). This book explains key concepts in the practice of Sufism, by introducing and describing various stages of the Sufi path. Gülen describes Sufism as the moral dimension to one’s existence which one must purify through practicing concepts intrinsic to the Sufi tradition such as tawba (repentance), tafakkur(reflection), khawf (fear) and zuhd (asceticism).[100] While dhikr in its congregational form as practised by Sufi orders has been abandoned in the Gülen Movement altogether, Gülen still emphasizes the importance of dhikr for his followers and they are committed to reading zikirler (a compilation of dhikr) on a daily basis.[101] Thus, a member of the Gülen Movement is meant to lead a serious life of high ethical and moral standards and work as hard as he/she can since other paths towards salvation are uncertain.
Gülen propagates a subtle religiosity described as active pietism by Özdalga. He calls for individual responsibility not only related to one’s inner life as a pious person, but also directed towards the outside.[102] This philosophy creates greater emphasis on action rather than traditional Sufi emphasis on contemplation and spirituality which are ‘inactive’. His pietistic activist philosophy also encourages a critical ‘rejection of the world’ and not a ‘flight from the world’ characteristic of mystic Sufism.[103]With this rejection of the world however, Gülen advocates the organization of the society through rational, structured activities.Although the Naqshbandi tradition may not have directly articulated an activist dimension within its ideology, it has clearly practised this concept through continuous engagement in the developments of its surroundings. Hence, Gülen’s articulation of this dimension seems to be an extension of a deeply rooted concept within Naqshbandi tradition.
An essential element appropriating the success of his movement is the collaboration of Gülen’s ideas with modernity and Western-inspired rationalist culture. He propagates an ideology which engages critically with modernity and tradition, with science and religion and with Westernization and Islamic values.[104] Instead of opposing modernity, Gülen incorporates an emphasis on science and reason as fundamental aspects of his ideology. Just like his predecessor Nursi, Gülen’s message which combines faith with science provides his followers with a doctrine that allows them to be good Muslims as well as followers of the secular sciences.[105] Several of Gülen’s writings reflect an emphasis on the significance of knowledge and learning in all of its fields. In his book, Ölçü veya Yoldaki Işıklar (Pillars or Lights on the Road), a compilation of his reflections on various concepts, life and society; Gülen begins with the discussion of the purpose of knowledge and learning.[106] For Gülen, true knowledge is that which is in coordination with scientific proofs and information.[107]

Society-Centric Projects
 Sufi networks in the contemporary world are no longer confined to a spiritual practice but they also constitute powerful transnational economic, political and social entities.[108] While most Naqshbandi-related groupings transformed themselves from purely religious networks to informal educational and cultural associations they still remained within the Naqshbandi tradition. On the other hand, the Nurcu Movement and its offshoots, most notably the Gülen Movement, transcended it. The movement has been responsible for investing in secular instead of religious education, for building secular schools instead of mosques, for encouraging economic enterprises and requiring them to invest in education and for supporting collective self-criticism and planning for the future.[109]  Thus, Gülen and his followers come across as social activists seeking salvation through good deeds and ethical conduct.[110] Gülen’s approach and activities reflect an understanding of Sufism which is capable of assimilating modern tools and acculturating to differing social, economic and political environments.
Gülen’s philosophy is congregational and encourages collective activism through group projects in the community.[111] At the same time, the Gülen Movement has adopted a gradualist, accommodative approach to establish itself and expand; it has shifted from the state-centric Naqshbandi tradition to a society-oriented one. An expanding private economy in Turkey has given the Gülen Movement the opportunity to practise its philosophy. The Gülen Movement incorporates an intricate network of businesses which helps it build a strong educational enterprise with several universities and colleges and a vast communication empire.[112] The Gülen Movement also operates private high schools, hospitals and an Islamic banking chain (Bank Asya) which together creates a strong, reliable social and economic network for the movement. The movement also provides for its members, opportunities of upward social mobility; Nurcu/Gülen connections are useful in establishing businesses, obtaining credit and scholarships from education and political positions.[113] Thus, the incorporation of powerful businessmen in the movement satisfies different needs of its members.
Gülen projects great keenness on scientific and educational advancement of his followers. By the year 2000, the Gülen Movement had actively established 300 hundred schools and seven universities in over 50 countries.[114] The application of Gülen’s approach is reflected in the schools built by his movement which provide a modern, scientific education. Such schools adopt teach Sufi values and ethics by example of role models, without brainwashing students into following a specific ideology.[115] Such a practise is closely related to the Khalidi tradition which focused on the example Prophet to teach values. At the same time however, these school as well as summer camps which are regularly set up by the movement, play a vital role in spreading Gülen’s message and ideas among the youth.
Gülen’s realization of the importance of print culture and the media is a reflection of his engagement with a globalizing world. Such engagement has had a vital role in making his group into a mass religious social movement.[116] Today, Gülen’s followers have founded a media network; they are the proprietors of the daily newspaper, Zaman, several magazines such as Sızıntı and Yeni Ümit, a radio channel called Radyo Nur and the television channel Samanyolu Televizyonu as well as printing houses and publication companies (eg. Nil Publication).[117] The Gülen Movement also established the Turkish Teachers’ Foundation which publishes a monthly journal and two academic journals and organises symposia, panel discussions and conferences.[118] Such media outlets and academic activities have been used to spread Gülen’s ideas on subjects such asacademia, the relationship between religion and science and the importance of interfaith dialogue.[119]
Among the most central of these ideas are love, compassion and tolerance to peoples of other religions and the importance of interfaith dialogue. The Gülen-established Journalists’ and Writers’ Foundation specifically promotes and acts in accordance to this message.[120] Although Gülen links the importance of interfaith dialogue to Sufism, the Naqshbandi tradition has not reflected such a tendency.  Gülen’s emphasis on interfaith dialogue could be considered his ijtihād and renewal of the spiritual teachings of the faith. Gülen’s engagement with globalization is also apparent in his substitution of personal contact between master and disciple with advanced mass means of communication such as the internet. The number of internet websites that are dedicated to his ideas and writings are extremely abundant and available in several languages.[121] This has lead to a transformation in the character of the Gülen Movement from a traditional Naqshbandi lodge-based, small-sized community, to a textual-based, global community which has expanded all the way from the Turkic states, to Europe, America and even the Arab world.
Relationship with the State
Gülen’s relationship with the state is different to the relationship of the Naqshbandi tradition. Although the Naqshbandi tradition was founded on cooperation with the state as exemplified in the previous chapter, many historical occasions of confrontation with the state, show that the Naqshbandiyya’s cooperation and appropriation of government support was only to a limit. For example, while the Naqshbandiyya fully supported the Turkish War of Independence, it protested against the secular transformation of the system by Mustafa Kemal.[122] Furthermore, the Naqshbandi leaders led popular anti-reform movements against Westernization including: the Shaykh Said Rebellion (1925), the Menemen Rebellion (1930), and the Iskilip Rebellion (1936).[123] Hence, the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya, actively modernized and revived their political ideology, but they were not ready to forgo fundamental principles in order to receive the support of the state.
Gülen is critical of this confrontational approach and does not believe that politics is a vital principle of religion which makes him opposed to most political Islamic parties.[124] Gülen propagates an ethic of co-operation and peaceful activism.[125] He takes a low profile vis-à-vis politics and his approach reflects much greater cooperation with the secular state. Gülen cooperationwith a secular state is in the form of avoiding direct engagement with formal politics. His work, as we saw, is centred on social, cultural and economic spheres outside the bounds of state control. Gülen’s seems to be a pragmatic choice within an environment which has been hostile enough to totally eliminate his predecessors. However, Gülen does have influence over politics through his media outlets, businesses and Islamic banking, and his educational empire. His activity in the educational and financial sector brings him into contact with political figures. His schools in Turkic states make him an unofficial part of the government initiative to expand Turkish influence in Turkic states.[126] Furthermore, Gülen’s visit to the Vatican in 1998, where he was received by Pope John Paul II who conveyed his satisfaction with Gülen’s activism in interfaith dialogue, is an example of Gülen global significance.[127] Therefore, although Gülen is not directly involved in politics through a political party for example, his role in the Turkish society is highly politicized.

Chapter 3: The Kuftariyya Order
In Syria, the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya has played an important role since the rise of the Ba’th to power in 1964. Ahmad Kuftaru (d. 2004), Grand Mufti of Syria for more than forty years, founded in the 1970s the Khalidiyya-Kuftariyya, one of the largest Sufi organizations in Syria. The 19th century Naqshbandiyya advocated a return to religion as a resolution for the fragmented state of the Ottoman Empire. Likewise, the Kuftariyya preaches the creation of a truly Islamic society to resolve the anomalies of the modern world.[128] This order claims to represent a stable tradition by reinterpreting Islam in a changing world. The Kuftariyya is an example of an informal social movement within an authoritarian state. The Sufi-inspired organizational model has no formal structure and bases its action entirely on spiritual bonds, informal circles and daily lessons in the mosque.[129] The Kuftariyya has replaced many traditional Naqshbandi practices with new innovations to collaborate with Western culture, globalization, a dominating secular state and a strong opposing Salafi trend in contemporary Syria. Adaptations have also lead to the transformation of the Kuftariyya into a socio-economic association with religious and political underpinnings.

The Kuftariyya: The arīqa
While the Kuftariyya’s maintenance of the arīqa form of organization may make it seem to be the most adherent of Sufi tradition of our three social movements, we will realize however that the arīqa formation is relegated a secondary role within the Kuftariyya. The Kuftariyya is an example of a centralized Sufi order where the followers are bound to the order and to each other through their association with the shaykh of the arīqa – now Salah al-Din Kuftaru who has replaced his father, Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaru, at his death in 2004.[130] The hierarchal relationship between the master and murid which is pivotal to Naqshbandi tradition is still a fundamental aspect of the Kuftariyya.[131] Fundamental Sufi beliefs are still maintained within the Kuftariyya such as the concepts of baraka and karama which the followers link to the shaykh of the Kuftariyya, especially its founder Ahmad Kuftaru.[132] Dhikr as a core practise of ritual meditation in Sufism is emphasized within the Kuftariyya as vital to purifying the heart.[133]  Although dhikr is still practised within the Kuftariyya circles (alaqāt), it is more commonly practised as a sober religious lesson. Within its spiritual realm, transformations within the Kuftariyya are mainly an effect of the influence of the Salafiyya, Western culture and a rationalist discourse.
While some Naqshbandi traditions remain fundamental to the practices of the Kuftariyya, other Sufi traditions have been eliminated.[134] The Kuftariyya abandoned the Sufi lodge (zāwiya) and practices its activities in mosques. Also, the practise ofsuba and khalwa where the murshid stays in close companionship of his disciples has been replaced by religious lectures or preaching directed by the master at a group of followers. As a spiritual leader, Kuftaru carried out a dars (sermon) every Friday at his mosque in the Abu al-Nur complex which we will elaborate on in the following section. He discussed a variety of subjects including: meanings of Qur’anic verses, the relationship between religions especially Islam and Christianity and the attitude Muslims should take towards natural sciences.[135] Friday is a day when the most important congregational activities take place; the sermons (now given by two other shaykhs) represent a form of interaction between the shaykh and his members.[136]Reference to Qur’anic verses and the discussion of science during the weekly sermons reflected a keenness to associate the Kuftariyya with the wider Islamic and global community.
The Kuftariyya is committed to the Naqshbandi tradition of adhering to shari‘a and sunna; it propagates a learned and discreet form of Sufism based on the Qur’an and Prophet’s sunna.[137] Adherence to shari‘a and sunna has protected the Kuftariyya from Salafi attacks. It is also faithful to the reformist tradition of the Naqshbandiyya; a fundamental principle of the Kuftariyya lies upon the idea of ijtihād which translates into interpreting religion according to current times. According to this principle, the historical persons within the Naqshbandi tradition are relegated to less influential positions. They become sources of inspiration in moral and ethical issues, while their interpretations and teachings are not necessarily followed closely.[138] The practise of renewal of Naqshbandi teachings, allows the Kuftariyya to potentially interpret religion in a way that is conformant to any powerful trends, notably the Salafiyya.
 The Kuftariyya illustrates a willingness to adapt to influential Salafi trend. Some adaptations have been made to its mystic polemic and terminology so as to avoid the possibility of impending conflicts with the Salafi trend. This is reflected in its use of Islamic terminology which has become general to the Muslim community, both Salafi and Sufi. For example, Kuftaru’s sermons revolved around fundamental Sufi meanings; however he used the word tazkiyya (purification) instead of taawwuf.  According to Kuftaru the meaning of tazkiyya[139] is the original term that refers to what we know as Sufism today.[140] Using an alternative to taawwuf is an example of the acculturation of the Sufi tradition to a fundamentalist Salafi. At the same time however, the Kuftariyya’s emphasis on textual references and a mystic reform through ijtihād, is also a reaction to changing religious sensibilities.[141] The increasingly literate Syrian society seeks the truth in modern texts and intellectual authority. Because its mystical dimension is framed by the doctrine of the Koran and shari’a law, the Kuftariyya has spread Sufism in the urban middle and upper classes.[142] The Kuftariyya’s adapted mysticism thus reflects a type of Sufism that has transformed to suit a rationalist culture modern context where science and reason are the most reliable references for truth and credibility.
In terms of structure, some changes have also been made to suit modern times. The Kuftariyya is arranged in a hierarchy of circles (alaqāt) and each circle contains an internal hierarchy. Higher members in the hierarchy are responsible for controlling, advising and inspiring the younger members of the order.[143] In some cases they also act as mediators where conflicts arise between leaders of the various circles. Although Sufi rituals such as dhikr may still be practised within each circle, the division of the order into smaller sub-circles is a modern innovation made to absorb a larger number of followers. The consequence of this adaptation however is less interaction, within the spiritual sphere, between the follower and the head of the order. Likewise spiritual interaction with other members outside of the individual’s circle is only carried out during sermons at the mosque or few congregational events that may bring the different circles together.
The fundamental legitimization of an order in traditional Sufism is maintained through the silsila. Kuftaru showed keenness to appear committed to this Sufi tradition by linking his branch to the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya-Khalidiyya. However, the historiography of the order is deliberately unclear on the fact that the establishment of the order was done independently by Kuftaru. This intentional lack of clarity was an attempt by Kuftaru to give legitimacy to his order by making it appear that there is a continuous silsila which links his branch to the Naqshbandiyya.[144] At the same time however, this lack of clarity does not seem to cause a problem for his followers. Spiritual loyalty to Kuftaru and the legitimacy of his branch was not justified with thesilsila, but with modern concepts of reason and education.[145] It was Kuftaru’s discussions and teachings, reflective of deep knowledge and understanding, which gave him legitimacy in the eyes of his followers.[146]   This not only reflects a transformation in the principles of legitimacy from traditional methods to more scientific terms, but it also reflects less emphasis on the accuracy of once vitally significant issues within Naqshbandi tradition. Even though this lack of clarity in the silsila may have terminated the credibility of a shaykh during more historic times, the ambiguity in Kuftaru’s silsila, does not seem to have caused him or his followers much distress.
The Educational Sphere
The Kuftariyya has adapted many of the Naqshbandiyya’s traditional ways and makes use of technology and modern education tools to adapt to a globalized 20th century context. Accordingly, the Kuftariyya puts special emphasis on social, economic and political activities as opposed to the traditional Sufi emphasis on spirituality. The Kuftariyya has well-established and developing role in the field of education. The Abu al-Nur Islamic Centre (ANIC),[147] aspires to become an established and recognized centre for Islamic learning in Syria.[148] The Abu al-Nur complex extends over an area of 18,000 meters squared and includes a mosque, library, dorms and conference halls.[149] It houses 7,000-12,000 students from all around the globe and has developed connections with different universities in Lebanon, Sudan, Pakistan, Egypt and North America.[150] Students at the foundation are mostly Syrian from various social strata; their families may be affiliated with the order or not. At the same time, many international students come to learn religious education and Arabic at the foundation.[151]
The global aspect of the order plays an important role in spreading its message and giving it credibility on worldwide. Abu al-Nur has signed several bilateral treaties with Islamic centres abroad and opened a branch of ANIC in Baltimore Maryland.[152]There is a growing presence of foreign diplomats, journalists, researchers, and tourist at ANIC. The dawa department in the organization, responsible for spreading Islam, is active through the organization’s international activity. Thus the participation of the Kuftariyya in such activities has played a significant role in making this movement part of the global community. The Kuftariyya’s message has taken the form of a global inter-faith dialogue which makes it depart from propagating a message limited to Muslims only. As part of Kuftaru’s renewal which takes him away form Naqshbandi tradition; his sermons included many references to Biblical stories an he referred to the three monotheistic religions as derivatives of a common origin.[153] Thus the Kuftariyya tried to addresses all the Abrahamic faiths, especially the Christian. They do however reflect a continually modernizing doctrine to fit the surrounding environment. Indeed, through the preaching of this peaceful, ecumenical interpretation of Islam, the Kuftariyya has become an influential organization internationally.
The Kuftariyya also provides its members with a socio-economic network which plays a significant role in the spread of its message. Like the Gülen Movement, the Kuftariyya stresses the importance of piety for the individual as well as the need for modern education. In his lectures, Kuftaru has repeatedly stressed the fact that his followers could create a modern Muslim community through combining secular and religious education.[154] The Kuftariyya chooses to finance modern, professional education such as dentistry, engineering, and medicine which is designed to create a network of highly educated individuals who belong to the branch and who will also play a role in influencing the Syrian society.[155] It may even provide its students the opportunity to follow ambitious studies abroad.[156] Thus, the Kuftariyya can be regarded as a social unit providing its followers with a sense of security.  The Kuftariyya also provides direct economic aid to support poor families in the neighbourhood as a way to strengthen its links with its followers.[157]
Furthermore, the Kuftariyya uses modern tools such as the internet to spread its ideas. Ahmad Kuftaru was a leading shaykh in his use of internet websites[158] to promote his thoughts, and expand his school’s networks.[159] The educational sphere in the Kuftariyya thus acts as a channel to spread its message in Syria by providing its members with a socio-economic community. This sphere as we have seen has also played a significant role in spreading the Kuftariyya’s message globally.  
Political Ideology and Collaboration with the State
Although Syria is constitutionally a parliamentary democracy, politics is practised through informal networks as parties are virtually non-existent in the Syrian context. Therefore, as an influential social movement, the Kuftariyya acts as a channel of political and economic action.[160] Islamic networks’ decision to cooperate, oppose or coexist with the state regime is dependant on the leader of the network. Ahmad Kuftaru, and later his son following in the same steps, concluded that the only solution to safeguarding the Islamic faith is through servile loyalty to the Ba‘th, despite the sectarian-heterodox provenance of its leaders.[161] The case of the Kuftariyya is a prime example of a Sufi network whose leader decided to cooperate with the political authority.
From afar, the Kuftariyya may be seen as apolitical or controlled by the government. However, Kuftaru’s ecumenical interpretation of Islam is that of a very talented political figure which was reflected in Kuftaru’s cooperation with the Alawi regime.[162] In his double role as Grand Mufti and shaykh of a Sufi order, Kuftaru wielded political influence. Therefore, while Kuftaru may seem to have been salient and subservient to the government, his position as the highest religious authority allowed him to play a significant role in influencing people, especially his followers. Without Kuftaru, the government would have had more dilemmas in establishing its authority and passing controversial decisions without causing the aversion of the Syrian population. Indeed, the regime has relied on the co-optation of such figures and their support to maintain legitimacy among the Syrian peoples.[163]
In return, cooperation with the authoritarian regime facilitates the implementation of certain crucial aspects of the Kuftariyya’s activity. Through cooperating with the Asad regime, Kuftaru was awarded a free hand in securing Islamic education in Syria and preaching a global inter-faith dialogue.[164] Because Kuftaru and later his son Salah al-Din have been keen on maintaining a good relationship with the state, the Kuftariyya has remained to date one of the main providers of Islamic teaching in the country.[165] While the Naqshbandi tradition has been marked with consideration of worldly materialism, the extent of the materialistic attitude adopted by Kuftaru and his followers seems to transcend much further beyond the innovations of the Naqshbandi tradition. Kuftaru and his followers adopt an attitude which entails that the material success of their Sufi order is as important as their spiritual advancement on the path to God.[166] Cooperation with the state made the expansion of Abu al-Nur successful; it now contains Islamic schools, four universities and headquarters for a charitable organization called Ansar.[167] The Naqshbandi tradition of influencing the government and the elite class of the society is apparent the Kuftariyya’s practices. A number of the Syrian officials in the Ministry of Islamic Endowments carry masters and doctoral degrees from Kuftariyya-affiliated universities.[168] Muhammad Habash, the son in law of Kuftaru and formerly an influential member in the organization, is a member of parliament and is a prominent personality in Syrian and global media.[169] Although Habash was later expelled from the Kuftariyya due his liberal position on women’s status and inter-faith relations, his example illustrates the close alliance between the Kuftariyya and the Syrian authorities.
Nonetheless, the Kuftariyya’s cooperation with the Syrian regime, has gained it the aversion of the Sunni community. The Kuftariyya’s cooperation with the state has helped limit the influence of Sunni Islam (especially the activist Muslim Brotherhood) in Syria.  The Kuftariyya seems to prioritize its agenda above maintaining Sunni ties. This collaboration resembles the Naqshbandiyya’s cooperation with the Ottoman state in its fight against the Bektashi order. Yet, the Kuftariyya’s collaboration with a Shi’i regime departs from the Naqshbandi traditional role in the expanding orthodox Sunni Islam. Furthermore, Kuftaru’s cooperation with Iranian Shi’a, who participate in some of ANIC’s activities and attend Friday prayer with the Kuftariyya members, shows that the Kuftariyya have reinterpreted classical anti-Shi’i Naqshbandi doctrine.[170] Even if such rapprochement between the Kuftariyya and the Shi’i Islam is superficial, it reflects the Kuftariyya’s willingness to compromise Naqshbandi tradition to satisfy the demands of renewed Sufi agenda.   
Chapter 4: The Muslim Brotherhood
            Although the Muslim Brotherhood has been more traditionally associated with the Salafiyya and an anti-Sufi inclination, the Muslim Brotherhood as delineated by its founder Hassan al-Banna (d. 1949), shows great affinity towards some forms of traditional Sufism. Al-Banna defined the movement as ‘a Salafiyya message, a Sunni way and a Sufi truth, as well as a ‘political organization, an athletic group, a cultural-educational union, an economic company, and a social idea’.[171] The politically active and violent history of the brotherhood as well as the criticism of its later members to Sufism may obscure the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual ideas and non-political activity were to most members the more important part of their membership.[172]At the same time, the political passivity of most Sufi orders in Egypt during the modern era and their non-adherence to shari‘a, sunna and ‘ilm made it less viable for al-Banna to fully associate with the Sufi tradition in Egypt. This social movement is a clear reflection of the intersections between Islam fundamentalism of a Salafi trend, political activism in its fight against imperialism and an authoritarian state and Sufism in its emphasis of the spiritual devotion and development of its members.
The Sufi Truth
Al-Banna the Sufi
            The Muslim Brotherhood is significantly older than the other two social movements under study. While the emphasis on the ideology of Gülen who is still alive and Kuftaru who only passed away recently may seem reflective of the movements’ ideologies, a focus on al-Banna’s (who died more than sixty years ago) ideas may seem less applicable to the contemporary practices of the movement. It is true that the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved greatly since the time of al-Banna; however, the ideas of al-Banna remain a fundamental reference for the Brotherhood. Al-Banna’s ideas and writings form the textual base of the groups which theoretically directs the Muslim Brothers until today.
Since the early part of his life, al-Banna was a member of the Hasafiyya Brothers, a sub-branch of the Shadhiliyya known for its commitment to ‘ilm, shari‘a and sunna. Hassanayn al-Hasafi, founder of Al-Hasafiyya al-Shadhiliyya was an Azhari scholar, his teachings were founded upon the principle of ‘ilm and talim, fiqh, fighting bida‘(innovations) and adherence to shari‘a and sunna.[173] Al-Banna read avidly on the founders of the order and on Sufism, becoming an ardent member the dhikr circles and committed to reciting al-waifa al-razukiyya[174] as a disciple of Shaykh al-Hasafi.[175] Influenced by al-Ghazzali’s teachings, al-Banna interpreted Sufism as based on activism and involvement in the world.[176] To him, the path of true Sufism was sincerity and work in the service of humanity rather than asceticism and withdrawal from the world.[177] In his memoirs, he explained that on several occasions his shaykh guided his followers and others to avoid bida and adhere to shari’a.[178] While his Sufi brothers spoke extensively about the miracles (karamat) of the shaykh, it was the practical side of the shaykh and not those karamat which founded in al-Banna the greatest levels of admiration and appreciation for his shaykh.[179] In his memoirs he also mentioned that: “And if God wills and the power of knowledge of al-Azhar, met with the spiritual power of the uruq and with the functional power of the Islamic movements, it would be a nation with no equal”.[180] Indeed, al-Banna tried to create an all-encompassing movement with social, economic and political dimensions as well as spiritual and educational ones.
Al-Banna saw Sufism’s purification of the self as a method for spiritual pedagogy and the basis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s message.[181] This is particularly the aspect of traditional Sufism which al-Banna incorporated into his social movement. Al-Banna found that the most valuable aspect in Sufism to be ‘ilm al-tarbiyya wa-l-suluk (science of pedagogy and conduct). To him, this knowledge was vital to organize a special way of life that would take the individual through the levels of dhikr, ‘ibada (worship) and marifa (knowledge of God), which are all stages within a Sufi path.[182]  There are many references that reflect a commitment on the part of al-Banna to learn and teach his followers in the Sufi path. For example, Said Hawwa mentions in his book, Mudhakkarat fi Manazil al-Siddikin wa-l-Rabaniyyin: min khilal Nusus wa Hikam Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari (Treaties on the Ranks of the Righteous and the Devoted from the Clauses and Wisdoms of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari)[183] - that one of al-Banna’s companions narrated how al-Banna taught al-ikam to a special group of his students.[184] Today, the books of Said Hawwa, specifically a series of three books including the one mentioned above, in addition to Tarbiyatuna al-Rawhiyya (Our Spiritual Pedagogy) and Al-Mustakhlas fi Tazkiyyat al-Anfus (The Essentials for the Purification of the Self), discuss Sufi spiritual pedagogy. These books are among the important reference books for the members of the Muslim Brotherhood today. At the same time, several of the Muslim Brotherhood’s members have been known Sufi scholars such as Shaykh Tantawi al-Jawhari who was a prominent personality inside and outside of Egypt during the early 20th century, a professor at Dar al-‘Ulum in Cairo University known for his great knowledge and intellect, a committed member of the Brotherhood and a well known Sufi.[185]
            According to al-Banna’s teachings, the spiritual development of members takes on the form of an organized instruction through several methods which form the basis of al-tarbiyya al-rawiyya. Similar to initiation in Sufi orders, the initiation of members into the Brotherhood is carried out by taking the ‘oath of the brotherhood’ which is the primary expression of loyalty.[186] Initiation takes place after the completion of a preliminary spiritual, functional, and educational process to make the individual ready to enter the brotherhood.[187] The term used to refer to the taking of the oath or pledging allegiance to the Brotherhood is the same as the Sufi term bay‘, which also denotes a murid’s initiation into a arīqa. After this step, the member participates in extensive instruction and spiritual education which to a great extent resembles the idea of khalwa and suba where a murid receives personal spiritual instruction from the murshid. Because the number of members in the Brotherhood is much greater than the number of murids in a arīqa, spiritual instruction is not carried out through direct personal instruction of themurshid.
Spiritual instruction is instead carried out within smaller groups in a system of families (usar), which was created as an alternative method of maintaining close relationships among the members despite the growing number of the group. This method is comparable to the innovation of circles in the Kuftariyya order. The family (usra) is regarded by the Brotherhood as the most fundamental of its educational (tarbiyya) tools.[188] The usra which meets weekly, is headed by a naqib (head), who is delegated an amount of authority over and responsibility for his members. The member is prescribed personal, social and financial duties which include among others: sincere and industrious practice of the rituals of faith.[189] Even more similar to the khalwa tradition, is the katiba system which included personal spiritual instruction by al-Banna himself during his lifetime. One night a week or month (frequencies have changed from the time of al-Banna), a group of usar meet for training which involves a rigorous and sustained night vigil, with a minimum of sleep and a maximum of common and private prayer and meditation.[190] The katibareflects the exercise of traditional Sufi practices in its emphasis of meditation, vigils and rigorous training. Al-Banna used to dedicate a period during the katiba for the explanation of a wird[191] which would revolve around a specific meaning that al-Banna wanted his followers to internalize.[192] For example, to convey to his followers the meaning of faith, wird al-imān would be explained, recited and later memorized and recited regularly by the attendees of the katiba.[193] Likewise, the meanings of loyalty or sincere devotion would be explained through wird al-wafa’ and wird al-ikhlas respectively. Furthermore, one of the treaties in Rasai’l al-Imam al-Banna[194] titled, al-Ma’thurat, which refers to a compilation of dhikr[195], awrad (pl wird) andad‘iya (supplications) that are thought to have been handed down through the Islamic spiritual heritage, for different occasions and times of the day.[196] Such awrad and dhikr have been documented and they remain important devotional practices for the members of the Brotherhood. Therefore, just in Sufi orders, dhikr is emphasized and taught as a regular ritual which the members should commit to. Through our analysis, it is apparent that the spiritual dimension of the Brotherhood is closely linked to Sufi tradition. The Brotherhood’s spirituality however, is less affiliated with popular 19th Shadhili tradition, which like most Sufi orders in Egypt illustrated different inclinations as explained previously.
Social Activism
            The Muslim Brotherhood is a mass movement that attracts membership from all socio-economic classes of the Egyptian society. Al-Banna made public health an important part of his social reform program as a means to tackle vast national health problems. The members of the Society were among the first to bring medical care to the countryside.[197] As a grassroots movement, the Brotherhood later established educational and healthcare facilities which act as an alternative to those provided by the state.[198] The Brotherhood’s social welfare activities are a reflection of its spiritual activist philosophy. These institutions have enabled the Brotherhood to disperse its ideology among a large sector of the middle and lower classes of Egyptian society. At the same time, the Brotherhood includes wealthier members who own business enterprises help support and fund the organization. In the 1980s, eight of the eighteen families who dominated Egypt’s private sector, were affiliated with the Brotherhood.[199] The Brotherhood has also developed a media network which helps spread the Brotherhood’s ideas and respond to its criticisms.[200] These roles illustrate that the Muslim Brotherhood has expanded much farther beyond a mere religious movement. In fact, it is this expansion into various facets of the Egyptian society, which has kept the Muslim Brotherhood alive in a modernizing Egyptian context which includes severe state opposition.
The Brotherhood’s utilization of modern means of communication to spread its message across a globalizing world reflects the Society’s collaboration with globalization. The second general conference[201] held in 1933, was dedicated to the discussion of advertising and instructional propaganda. The conference members authorized a small company for the establishment of a press outlet for the Brotherhood.[202] The Muslim Brotherhood makes extensive use of print and oral means of communication to spread its message among its own members and the whole of the Egyptian community. The Brotherhood began publishing a weekly magazine called Majallat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (the Newspaper of the Muslim Brothers) in1933.[203] This paper was followed by a political weekly, al-Nadhir (the Warner) in 1938 and a daily newspaper called Jaridat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (the Muslim Brothers) in 1946 which exemplify the Brotherhood’s keenness on taking advantage of modern communication means. The Brotherhood’s use of modern communication means has also played a vital role in spreading al-Banna’s teachings. A committee was responsible for collecting, systemizing and republishing a major part of al-Banna’s written works, especially al-Rasa’il which are a vital reference for the members of the Brotherhood.[204] Today, the Brotherhood has official English and Arabic websites which address the global community. These websites continuously update the Brotherhood’s members and the general Egyptian public with the organization’s news and opinions on a variety of issues including politics and education.[205]
It would be beyond the limitations of this research to expound on each aspect of the Brotherhood’s socio-economic activism. It is however clear at this point that unlike traditional Sufi orders which depended on cooperation with the state, it is the Muslim Brotherhood’s social activism in all facets of life which has contributed to the expansion of the organization’s influence and membership. Indeed, the Brotherhood’s educational and socio-economic roles along with its use of modern communication means have allowed it to become a global movement.

Organizational Structure and Political Agenda
In terms of organizational structure and functions, the Muslim Brotherhood illustrates clear departure from the Shadhili tradition. Al-Banna saw that Sufism transgressed what he defined as its pure form – dhikr, asceticism, worship, and intuitive and mystical perception of God – and had become mixed with foreign elements such as ‘the sciences of philosophy and logic and the heritage and thought of ancient nations’.[206]  He felt that divisions, corruption and competitiveness among the organized groups had greatly harmed Sufism in the contemporary world. Thus, al-Banna made no effort to present his own organization as aarīqa.[207] Al-Banna created a highly organized movement which is guided by regulations that were drafted since his time and continue to be reviewed by a consultative body and guidance council. The Muslim Brotherhood in no way resembles the organizational model of a arīqa, instead it is much closer to a modern company or political party. The Brotherhood is headed by the General/Supreme Guide (al-murshid al-‘ām), and includes: a consultative assembly, a guidance council, a deputy, secretariat, committees and both technical and field subsections.[208] Unlike a arīqa, where the murshid takes on an authoritarian-type of role, the Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood shares his authority. The Supreme Guide is directed by three main parts: the Guidance Council, the highest administrative unit within the organization; the Consultative Assembly, the general consultative council; and by the Fundamental Law, a collection of regulations in the form of articles which direct the internal and external functions of the Brotherhood.[209] The articles within the Fundamental law are updated through amendments which the Guidance Council votes on. Unlike the murshid of a arīqa who is not elected and remains the head until his death, the Fundamental Law requires the council to hold elections every six years to elect a Supreme Guide. Although this law theoretically distinguishes the Brotherhood from traditional orders, all murshids of the Muslim Brotherhood stayed in their position as Supreme Guide until their death except for Muhammad Mahdi Akef who did not renew his term but instead resigned six-month before its termination in 2009.[210] It is apparent from such illustrations in the function of the Brotherhood that its organization is at least in theory, quite similar to a Western-inspired democratically lead organization rather than a traditional Sufi order.
Likewise, although some Shadhili sub-branches have been politically involved during history, the political involvement of the Brotherhood transcends that of traditional Sufi orders.  Furthermore, when compared to popular Sufi orders in Egypt who maintained an apolitical or passive approach, the Muslim Brotherhood reflects intense political activism. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood had a significant role during Egypt’s fight against imperialism and in the 1947 war on the Palestinian lands.[211]  The Brotherhood’s violent acts and inclination to oppose instead of cooperate with the state, clearly distinguishes it from traditional Sufism in Egypt. Yet, when compared to the Naqshbandiyya, we may see in such actions some parallels between the political ideology of Brotherhood and traditional Sufism in its fight against imperialism and secular states. Furthermore, recent developments within the Brotherhood’s political agenda which include the participation of its members as independent candidates in elections only after its failed attempts to create a political party, clarify that the Muslim Brotherhood does not consider itself a social movement with mere political underpinnings.[212] Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood has increasingly developed into an organization reminiscent of a political movement.
Concluding Remarks
The three contemporary social movements – the Gülen Movement, the Kuftariyya and the Muslim Brotherhood, reflect the way Sufism has transformed during the 20th century. A common feature shared among the three social movements is that they have each transformed in form and structure and transcended the social, economic and political functions of a traditional Sufi order during the 19th century. Each of these movements has either abandoned the arīqa formation or relegated it to a secondary role. The dominance of social, economic, political and educational roles, which have been suited to each movement’s priorities and national contexts, reflects the transformation of their spheres of influence.
 Because the Naqshbandiyya reflected a unique ability to adapt continuously to the changes in its environment, the two social movements linked to it, the Gülen Movement and the Kuftariyya, reflect more commonalities with traditional Sufism than the similarities we see between the Shadhiliyya branches and the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood reflects closer affiliation with the Naqshbandiyya than it does with the Shadhiliyya for two main reasons. For one, traditional Sufism as exemplified by most Shadhiliyya branches were not as seen as committed to ‘ilm, shari‘a and sunna. Secondly, traditional Sufism in 19th century Egypt took on a passive, apolitical role. Because the Naqshbandiyya was generally committed to adhering to shari‘a, sunna and approaching taawwuf through ‘ilm, the mystical aspects of the three social movements are similar to the Naqshbandi tradition in that sense. At the same time, the Naqshbandiyya’s activism is also a feature that is fundamental to the contemporary social movements who have translated this principle into more defined social, economic, educational and political roles.
The influence of modern forces – secular, authoritarian states, globalization, a Western-inspired rationalist discourse and the Salafiyya, is the underlying reason for the transformation of traditional Sufism in the directions we found. As exemplified in our three social movements each of them adapted, in varying degrees, to each of these forces. While some aspects of a traditional Sufi order were eliminated during this process of acculturation, other aspects were strengthened and developed. The political role of the Muslim Brotherhood and its relationship with the state is its most distinguishing feature; it places the Brotherhood apart from the other two movements who do not assume a clear political role and choose to either cooperate (the Gülen Movement) or create an alliance (the Kuftariyya) with the state. This political role also links the Brotherhood more deeply than its contemporaries with the revolutionary character of the Naqshbandiyya.
Another point that became apparent through our research is the convergence between activism and asceticism, politics and spirituality and fundamentalism and mysticism within the traditional context and even more so in the modern context of the Islamic World. Each of our social movements represented an example of the combination of commonly presumed incompatible trends. The Gülen Movement, the Kuftariyya and the Muslim Brotherhood are clear examples of a union between activism and asceticism. They each have a spiritual and political role. At the same time, each movement is to some extent or other, a reflection of the links between Sufism and the fundamentalist Salafiyya.
The three social movements have illustrated a revolution in their means of communication and methods of expansion. The global context has offered each the social movements modern means of communication and the ability to disperse their ideas globally through media networks, the establishment of educational institutions and the expansion their social, economic and political functions beyond their national borders. Modernity has thus been an opportunity and not just a challenge for these movements. At the same time however, modernity threatens to erase the remaining aspects of traditional Sufism within the contemporary movements. As their non-spiritual roles may potentially become even more central to the movements, the significance of the spiritual dimension is likely to diminish. Furthermore, modernity may continue to transform the very nature of the various faculties and characteristics (spiritual and non-spiritual) of the social movements which link them to traditional Sufism.

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[1] Taawwuf’ in P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth et. al (eds), Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol X (Leiden 2000), 313-340.
[2] Carl W. Ernst, The Shambhala Guide to Sufism: An Essential Introduction to the Philosophy and Practice of Mystical Tradition of Islam (Boston 1997), 15-16.
[3] J. Spencer Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford 1971), 257.
[4] Ernst, xix.
[5] John Obert Voll, ‘Conservative and Traditional Brotherhoods’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 524 (1992), 66.
[6] Quintan Wiktorowicz, ‘Islamic Activism and Social Movement Theory: A New Direction for Research’, Mediterranean Politics 7: 3 (2000), 196.
[7] Wiktorowicz, ‘Islamic Activism and Social Movement Theory’, 189.
[8] Quintan Wiktorowicz, ‘Introduction’ in Quintan Wiktorowicz (ed), Islamic Activism: A social Movement Theory Approach (Indiana 2004), 3.
[9] Wiktorowicz, ‘Islamic Activism and Social Movement Theory’, 195-196.
[10] Quintan Wiktorowicz, The Management of Islamic Activism: Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood and State Power in Jordan (New York 2001), 8.
[11] Wiktorowicz, The Management of Islamic Activism, 8.
[12] Taawwuf, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 313.
[13] ‘Taawwuf, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 314.
[14] Itzchak Weismann, The Naqshbandiyya: Orthodoxy and Activism in a Worldwide Sufi Tradition (New York 2007), 3.
[15] Hakan Yavuz, ‘The Matrix of Modern Turkish Islamic Movements: The Naqshbandi Sufi Order’, in Elisabeth Özdalga (ed), Naqshbandis in Western and Central Asia (Istanbul 1999), 130.
[16] Michael Gilsenan, Saint and Sufi in Modern Egypt: An Essay in the Sociology of Religion (Oxford  1973), 4.
[17] Weismann, 9.
[18]Weismann,  3.
[19] Gilsenan, 5.
[20] ‘Taawwuf, Encyclopedia of Islam, 315.
[21] Spencer J. Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam. (Oxford: 1971), 104.
[22] Trimingham, 104.
[23] Weismann, 4.
[24] Weismann, 5.
[25] Trimingham, 105.
[26] Weismann, 44.
[27] Weismann, 73.
[28] Weismann, 77.
[29] Weismann, 76.
[30] Weismann, 132.
[31] Weismann, 87.
[32] Weismann, 140.
[33] John A. Subhan, Sufism: Its Saints and Shrines (New Delhi 1999), 8.
[34] Weismann, 74.
[35] Weismann, 89.
[36] Weismann, 89.
[37] Yavuz, 132.
[38] Yavuz, 133.
[39] Yavuz, 133.
[40] Yavuz, 132.
[41] Yavuz, 134.
[42] Weismann, 85.
[43] Weismann, 89-90.
[44] Weismann, 13.
[45] Trimingham, 105.
[46] Weismann, 8.
[47] Ibn ‘Arabi (1165–1240) is a well-known philosopher and mystic. His ideas have been considered controversial throughout the Muslim world. 
[48] Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (1058-1111) is a famous jurist, theologian and Sufi of the 12th century. He wrote on a wide range of topics including jurisprudence, theology, mysticism and philosophy.
[49] Weismann, 8.
[50] Weismann, 13.
[51] Weismann, 134.
[52] Weismann, 96-97.
[53] Weismann, 97.
[54] Weismann, 97.
[55] Tomas Gerholm, ‘The Islamization of Contemporary Egypt’ in E.E. Rosander and D. Westerlund (eds), African Islam and Islam in Africa: Encounters between Sufis and Islamists (London 1997), 139-140.
[56] Trimingham, 45.
[57] Richard J.A. McGregor, ‘A Study of Sainthood in Medieval Islamic Egypt: Muhammad and ‘Ali Wafa’, McGill University (Montreal 2001), 41.
[58] Frederick De Jong, Turuq and Turuq Linked Institutions in Nineteenth Century Egypt (Leiden 1978), 32.
[59] Gilsenan, 7.
[60] Frederick De Jong, ‘The Sufi Orders in Egypt during the ‘Urabi Insurrection and the British Occupation (1882-1914): Some Societal Factors Generating Aloofness, Support, and Opposition’, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 21 (1984), 132.
[61] Gerholm, 140.
[62] De Jong, Turuq and Turuq Linked Institutions, 39.
[63] De Jong, Turuq and Turuq Linked Institutions, 75, 181. 
[64]  The ‘Urabi Insurrection is also known as the ‘Urabi Revolution, was an uprising in Egypt in 1879-82 against the Khedive and European influence in the country. It was led by and named after Colonel Ahmed Urabi.
[65] De Jong, ‘The Sufi Orders in Egypt’, 133.
[66] De Jong, ‘The Sufi Orders in Egypt’, 133-134.
[67] De Jong, ‘The Sufi Orders in Egypt’, 137.
[68] De Jong, ‘The Sufi Orders in Egypt’, 137-138.
[69] De Jong, ‘Al-Mashayikh al-Bakriyya and the Transformation of their Authority in 19th Century Egypt’ in Sufi Orders in Ottoman and Post Egypt and the Middle East: Collected Studies, 84.
[70] De Jong, Turuq and Turuq Linked Institutions, 21.
[71] De Jong, ‘Al-Mashayikh al-Bakriyya’, 85.
[72] Frederick De Jong, ‘Turuq and Turuq-Opposition in 20th Century Egypt’ in Sufi Orders in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Egypt and the Middle East, 186 and Gerholm, 140.
[73] De Jong, ‘Turuq and Turuq-Opposition in 20th Century Egypt’, 187.
[74] Muhammad Rashid Rida (d.1935) who is associated with the consolidation of the modern Salafiyya, followed a Naqshbandi order during his early years. He became dismayed by certain Sufi practices such as dance and singing during dhikr. His criticisms intensified when he came under the influence of ‘Abduh.  Itzchak Weismann, The Naqshbandiyya: Orthodoxy and activism in a Worldwide Sufi Tradition (New York 2007), 144.
[75] De Jong, Turuq and Turuq Linked Institutions, 172.
[76] De Jong, ‘Turuq and Turuq-Opposition in 20th Century Egypt’, 188.
[77] A mawlid is theoretically defined as the day of birth of a saint. But in practice the mawlid celebrations are general days of commemoration during which several rituals are carried out including dhikr and other elements that may accompany it such as dance and music, depending on the practices of the order.
[78] De Jong, ‘Turuq and Turuq-Opposition in 20th Century Egypt’, 188.
[79] Gilsenan, 22.
[80] Gilsenan, 59.
[81] During a mawlid and other congregations, men and women crowd around saints’ tombs and try to touch them so that they can acquire some of the saint’s baraka.
[82] Menemen Rebellion refers to a chain of incidents which occurred in the town of Menemen in Turkey, on 23 December 1930. In response to the state’s promotion of secularism, a member of the Naqshbandi order led a crowd against the secular government and called for the restoration of Islamic rule and the Caliphate.
[83] Weismann, 147.
[84] Yavuz, 129-146.
[85] Weismann, 132.
[86] Yavuz, 129.
[87] Weismann, 147.
[88] Weismann, 12.
[89] Rumi also known as Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi  (1207 –1273), was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.
[90] Thomas Michel, ‘Sufism and Modernity in the Thought of Fethullah Gülen’, The Muslim World 95:3 (2005), 354.
[91] Michel, 353.
[92] Elisabeth Özdalga, ‘Worldly Asceticism in Islamic Casting: Fethullah Gülen’s Inspired Piety and Activism’, Middle East Critique 9:17 (2000), 92.
[93] Michel, 345-346.
[94] Nil Publications is a publishing house owned by Gülen’s followers. This company has translated and printed famous works for Gülen and Nursi. The publishing house sells Arabic translations of such works at a bookstore called Dar al-Nile located in Cairo. This bookstore is only one among others located internationally including the U.S.
[95] Ahmad Sirhindi (1564–1624) was an Indian Islamic scholar  and a prominent member of the Naqshbandi-MujaddidSufi order.
[96] Sidney Griffith, ‘Fethullah Gülen and the ‘People of the Book’: A Voice from Turkey for Interfaith Dialogue’, The Muslim World 95:3 (2005), 331.
[97]Michel, 344.
[98] Weismann, 148.
[99] Özdalga, 9.
[100] Fethullah Gülen, [Kalbin Zümrüt Tepeleri] Emerald Hills of the Heart Trans. Ali Ünal (New Jersey 2006), xiii.
[101] Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart, 128-132.
[102] Özdalga, 94.
[103] Özdalga, 95.
[104] Weismann, 159.
[105] David Shankland, Islam and Society in Turkey (Cambridge 1999), 81.
[106] Fethullah Gülen, [Ölçü veya Yoldaki Işıklar] Al-Mawazin aw ’Adwa’ ‘ala al-Tariq (Pillars or Lights on the Road)  Trans. Orhan Muhammad Ali (Istanbul 2006), 9-12. 
[107] Gülen, Al-Mawazin, 12.
[108] Annabelle Böttcher, Official Sunni and Shi’i Islam in Syria (Italy 2002), 6.
[109] Özdalga, 95.
[110] Özdalga, 100.
[111] Özdalga, 94. 
[112] Weismann, 159.
[113] Weismann, 160.
[114] Özdalga, 85.
[115] Michel, 356.
[116] Weismann, 158.
[117] Shankland, 84.
[118] Lester R. Kurtz, ‘Gülen’s Paradox: Combining Commitment and Tolerance’, The Muslim World 95:3 (2005), 381.
[119] Özdalga, 91.
[120] Kurtz, 377.
[121] Examples of these websites in English, Arabic and Turkish are:, http://ar.fgulen.com
[122] Yavuz, 134.
[123] Yavuz, 135.
[124] ‘An Interview with Fethullah Gülen’ Trans. Zeki Saritoprak and Ali Ünal, The Muslim World 95:3 (2005), 455.
[125] Shankland, 101.
[126] Shankland, 84.
[128] It is interesting to note that the same message is preached by the fundamentalist Islamists today. This shows the commonalities between Sufism and fundamentalist Islam.
[129] Thomas Pierret, ‘Sunni Clergy Politics in the Cities of Ba’thi Syria’ in Fred H. Lawson (ed) Demystifying Syria (London 2009), 72.
[130] Paulo G. Pinto, [‘Le Soufisme En Syrie’] ‘Sufism in Syria’ in Baudouin Dupret, Zouhair Gazzal, Youssef Courbage, et al. (eds) [La Syrie au présent: reflet d’une société] Present-Day Syria : Reflections of a Society (Paris 2007), 391.
[131] Paulo G. Pinto, ‘The Limits of the Public: Sufism and the Religious Debate in Syria’, in Armando Salvatore and Dale Eickelman (eds) Public Islam and the Common Good (Boston 2004), 192.
[132] Leif Stenberg, [‘Islamisation d’un quartier: l’heritage du cheikh Ahmad Kuftaro‘] ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood: The Legacy of Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaru’ in Baudouin Dupret, Zouhair Gazzal, Youssef Courbage, et al. (eds) [La Syrie au présent: reflet d’une société] Present-Day Syria: Reflections of a Society (Paris 2007), 371.
[133] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 371.
[134] Leif Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus: Strategies to Establish and Strengthen the Order in a Changing Society’ in Elisabeth Özdalga (ed) Naqshbandis in Western and Central Asia: Change and Continuity (Istanbul 1999), 106.  
[135] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 106.
[136] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 368.
[137] Weismann, 161.
[138] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 110
[139] It is important to note that this specific term, tazkiyya is a widely discussed subject in the Muslim world as we later explain in reference to Said Hawwa, a Syrian member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has written extensively in the field of Sufism. He represents an example of the convergence of the Salafi trend and Sufism.
[140] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 114.
[141] Pinto, ‘Sufism in Syria’, 390.
[142] Pinto, ‘Sufism in Syria’, 390.
[143] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 108.
[144] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 106.
[145] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 115.
[146] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 107.
[147] It is now called the Ahmad Kuftaru Foundation since 2002 in honour of its founder.
[148] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 365.
[149] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 366.
[150] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 107.
[151] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 370.
[152] Böttcher, 10.
[153] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 110-111.
[154] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 370.
[155] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 111.
[156] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 369.
[157] Stenberg, ‘Islamization of a Neighbourhood’, 370.
[158]  Websites dedicated to the Kuftariyya include:,
[159] Andreas Christmann, [‘Les cheikhs syriens et internet’] ‘Syrian Shaykhs and the Internet’ in Baudouin Dupret, Zouhair Gazzal, Youssef Courbage, et al. (eds) [La Syrie au présent: reflet d’une société] Present-Day Syria: Reflections of a Society (Paris 2007), 422.
[160] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 104.
[161] Weismann, 160.
[162] Stenberg, ‘Naqshbandiyya in Damascus’, 108.
[163] Salwa Ismail, ‘Changing Social Structure, Shifting Alliances and Authoritarianism in Syria in Fred H. Lawson (ed) Demystifying Syria (London 2009), 25. 
[164] Weismann, 148.
[165] Pierret, 73.
[166] Böttcher, 8.
[167] Böttcher, 9.
[168] Böttcher, 9.
[169] Pierret, 77.
[170] Böttcher, 11.
[171] Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (London 1969), 14.
[172] Mitchell, 209.
[173] Hassan al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya (Cairo 1951), 20.
[174] A waifa is a collection of dhikr compiled by the shaykh and given to the followers so that they can recite it during certain times of the day. For example, al-Banna mentions that he recited this dhikr every morning and evening.
[175] Al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya, 20. Mitchell, 2
[176] Mitchell, 3.
[177] Mitchell, 6.
[178] Al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya, 20-21.
[179] Al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya, 20.
[180] Al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya, 27.
[181] Mahmud ‘Abd al-Halim, Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun: Ahdath Sana‘at al-Tarikh (The Muslim Brotherhood: Incidents that Made History) (Cairo 1978), 136.
This book is the first part of a series written as an insiders view on the Muslim Brotherhood. The author of the book is the son of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud, the famous Azhari-Sufi scholar.
[182] Al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya, 25.
[183] Also known as Al-Hikam al-‘Ata’iyya, it is a well known Sufi reference. Its author, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari  was a scholar and founder of the Shadhiliyya who lived during the 14thcentury as mentioned earlier.
[184] Said Hawwa, Mudkhakkarat fi Manazil al-Sidikin wa-l-Rabaniyyin (Cairo 2008), 31.
[185] ‘Abd al-Halim, 184-187.
[186] Mitchell, 196.
[187] Hassan al-Banna , ‘Risalat al-Ta’lim’ in Majmu‘at Rasa’il al-Imam al-Shahid Hassan al-Banna (Cairo 2002), 372- 385.
[188] Mitchell, 195.
[189] Mitchell, 198.
[190] Mitchell, 196.
[191] A wird is a section of the Qur’an which is recited during a specified time of day or night devoted to private worship (in addition the five daily prayers) in J. Milton Cowan (ed) Hans Wehr: A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Beirut 198), 1061. The repitition of this wird is a form of performing dhikr, which is a main Sufi ritual in Paulo Pinto ‘Sufism and the Religious Debate in Syria’, 195.
[192] ‘Abd al-Halim, 151-159.
[193] ‘Abd al-Halim, 151-159.
[194] Majmu‘at Rasa’il al-Imam al-Shahid Hassan al-Banna (The Collection of the Treaties of the Martyr, the Imam Hassan al-Banna) is a compilation of al-Banna’s 13 treaties (rasa’il) which he wrote as a collection of the fundamentals of the Brotherhood. Also known as al-Rasa’il (The Treaties) includes the discussion of Brotherhood’s philosophy, relations with the state, an economic program, women and education. The Treaties are a fundamental reference for the Brotherhood until today.
[195] It is interesting to note that just like the dhikr of the Hasafiyya Shadhiliyya, the daily morning and evening dhikr assigned by al-Banna to his followers, is also called al-waifa.
[196] Al-Banna, Majmu‘at Rasa’il al-Imam al-Shahid Hassan al-Banna (Cairo 2002) 441-472.
[197] Mitchell, 289.
[198] Jaine A. Clark, Islam, Charity and Activism: Middle-Class Networks ans Social Welfare in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen (Indiana 2004), 5.
[199] Joel Beinin, ‘Political Islam and the New Global Economy: The Political Economy of Islamist Social Movements in Egypt and Turkey’ Conference Papers on French and US Approaches to Understanding Islam (2004), 12.
[200] Mitchell, 272-294.
[201] A series of ‘general conferences’ were called periodically to discuss and plan action or to ratify previous decisions. These conferences played an important role in the growth of the Society during the 1930s.
[202] Mitchell, 13.
[203] Mitchell, 13.
[204] Mitchell, 187-188.
[205] An example of the Brotherhood’s websites is:
[206] Al-Banna, Mudhakkarat al-Da‘wa wa-l-Da‘iya, 26.
[207] Mitchell, 215.
[208] Mitchell, 164.
[209] Mitchell, 163-164.
[210] Dina Basiony (May 2009), Egypt Today: The Magazine of Egypt,
[211] Mitchell, 36-74.
[212] Noha Antar, ‘The Muslim Brotherhood’s Success in the Legislative Elections in Egypt 2005: Reasons and Implications’ (2005). Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission EuroMesco 2006.