Sûfism as Science and School in Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas

Conceptualization of sufism which is based on superficial readings, personal observations and unscientific definitions is recently widespread. This effected not only in socio-cultural life of post-modern Muslims but their intellectual life and philosophy of science also. Naquib al-Attas, making important analyses about intellectual problems of modern Muslim societies and roots of these problems in Western worldview, defined sufism and compared it with such superficial readings. This comparative analyse composes both Western Thought from the its roots of Hellenistic Philosophy and Islamic Thought from its roots in the texts (nusus); and puts forth scientific respectability of these superficial opinions such as ‘sufism is imitation of Hinduism.’ In this article, ‘sufism as science and school in Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas’ was conceptualized comparing with post-modern readings. We can conclude that in works of al-Attas regarding sufism as both science and school (sufi orders) are portrait of focusing to see general picture of Islamic Thought. In this sense sufism was analysed to solve duality problem of God-universe and God-servant according to creed of tawhid (monoteism) in Islamic Thought. This philosophy, forming etiquettes and principles of sufi-brotherhoods, puts a structure which can be taken as model for educational philosophy of Islamic worldview. When sufism or sufi-brotherhoods (sing. tariqah) are read out of this scientific root and Islamic law, we observe non-Islamic definitions or institutions.


Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Sûfîsm, Sûfî Orders, Eastern Peninsuala, Existance.

Author : Selami ERDOĞAN
Number of pages: 465-483
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.29228/TurkishStudies.32138
Full text:
Turkish Studies-Comparative Religious Studies
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