The Arabic word suf literally means "wool," so a sufi is a man of wool or an ascetic, wool being a material worn by such people. Sufi and dervish are terms used throughout the Islamic world for men who belong to mystical brotherhoods (tariqa, plural turuq) that emphasize the immanence of God rather than His transcendental aspect. The sufi orders in the Muslim world rose during the 12th and 13th centuries and were somewhat analogous to the monastic orders of medieval Christendom.
   In Kurdistan, there are only two basic sufi orders, the Naqshbandi and the Qadiri. The term sufi is used for the murids, or followers of the Naqshbandi order, while dervishes are followers of the Qadiri. To the Naqshbandi, the term dervish possesses pejorative connotations of backwardness and superstition involving ecstatic utterances, trances, fire-eating, and self-mutilation.
   The sufi orders serve both to strengthen and divide Kurdish society. Those who belong to the same tariqa order possess an obvious bond regardless of their tribal affiliation. On the other hand, different orders or even different tariqa networks of the same order often experience tensions and conflicts of authority. A well-known example was the conflict between the two Naqshbandi families — the Sadate Nehri and the sheikhs of Barzan in the latter half of the 19th century.
   Mustafa Kemal Ataturk banned the sufi orders in Turkey following the uprising of the Naqshbandi sheikh Said of Palu in 1925. The orders continued to exist underground, however, because they gave their adherents an identity and way to deal with the changing world, especially after the abolition of the caliphate. When the Democrat Party of Adnan Menderes came to power in Turkey in 1950, it allowed the revival of many traditional Islamic values. Thus there was ironically a certain amount of sufi resurgence in Turkey, while in Iraq, Iran, and Syria the sufi orders remained in decay.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sufi — sufi …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Sufi — member of a Muslim mystical order, 1650s (earlier Sufian, 1580s), from Arabic sufi, lit. man of wool (i.e., man wearing woolen garments ), from suf wool. So called from the habit of putting on the holy garment (labs as suf) to devote oneself to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • sufí — (plural sufíes o sufís sufíes o sufís) adjetivo 1. Del sufismo: misticismo sufí. adjetivo,sustantivo masculino y femenino 1. Que es …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • sufí — (Del ár. ṣūfī, der. de ṣūf, lana, por ser de ella sus hábitos). adj. Partidario del sufismo. U. t. c. s.) …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Sufi — [so͞o′fē] n. [Ar ṣūfī, ascetic, lit., (a man) of wool < ṣūf, wool] a Muslim following the teachings and traditions of an ancient form of Islamic mysticism Sufism [so͞o′fiz΄əm] n …   English World dictionary

  • Sufi — Su fi, n. [From the name of a dynasty of Persian kings, Saf[=i], Safav[=i]; said to come from name Saf[=i] ud d[=i]n of an ancestor of the family, confused with s?f[=i] pious.] A title or surname of the king of Persia. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sufi — Su fi, n. [Ar. & Per. s?f[=i], wise, pious, devout.] One of a certain order of religious men in Persia. [Written also {sofi}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sûfi — Sûfi, s. Sufismus …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • sufi — s. m. 1. Quantidade bastante. 2. Aptidão suficiente; habilidade …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Sufi — The general trade term in India for a variety of fabrics made with cotton warp and silk weft. They are made in the Punjab, Sindh, and other parts of India for orthodox Mohammedans in plains, stripes, checks or figured effects. The name is derived …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • Sufi — /ˈsufi/ (say soohfee) noun (plural Sufis) a follower of an ascetic and mystical tradition within Islam. {Arabic çūfī man of wool, probably with reference to the woollen garments worn} …   Australian English dictionary

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