Sufism Symposium Scotland - Cultural Heritage News Agency

International Sufism Symposium to be Held in Scotland

International Sufism Symposium entitled "Sufism’s Ancient Wisdom and Present Day Expressions" will be held in Edinburge, Scotland from 14-16 September 2006.

Tehran, 3 September 2006 (CHN Foreign Desk) -- International Sufism Symposium with the title of Sufism’s Ancient Wisdom and Present Day Expressions will be held from 14 to16 of September 2006 in Edinburgh, Scotland with participation of Iranian and foreign scholars. This program is organized and sponsored by the International Association of Sufism (IAS), the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (EIAL), and the Edinburgh International Center for World Spiritualities (EICWS).

This event will be held at St. George’s West Church in Edinburgh. The programs of this symposium include: an international gathering of Sufis with representatives of schools, orders and tariqas (Sufi orders) worldwide demonstrating the diversity within this mystical school of the Islamic traditions. Some art programs, music performance, lectures, spiritual practice, shared chanting (zikr) and discussion amongst world leaders in the Sufi tradition are the other programs of this two-day symposium.

Several lectures about Sufism’s ancient wisdom and it role in present day life will be delivered in this symposium. Dr. Angha, Dr. Kianfar, Dr. Saadi Neil-Douglas Klotz, Dr. H.J. Karimbaksh Witteveen, Jonathan Granoff (Ahamad Muhaiyadeen), Sonia Gilbert, Sheikh Jamal Granick, Dr. Amineh Pryor, Safa Ali Michael Newman, Musa Muhaiyadeen, Dr. Jilani Esterly, Dr. Aliaa Rafea, Azima Lila Forest, El-haddawi Ingo-Taleb Rashid, Aisha Rafea, Sheikh Ally N’Daw, Shahzada Maizbehandari, will give lecture in this two-day symposium.

Sufism is a mythic tradition of Islam. Sufism encompasses a diverse range of beliefs and practices. Sufism has produced a large body of poetry in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Kurdish, Urdu, etc, which it great influence can be traced in works of some Iranian poets including Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, Farid Ud-Din Attar, and others such as Abdul Qader Bedil, Bulleh shah etc.

It is believed that the word originates from Suf, the Arabic word for wool, referring to the simple cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore. However, not all Sufis wear cloaks or cloths of wool. Another etymological theory states that the root word of Sufi is the Arabic word Safa, means purity.

Sufism originates in the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Some orientalist scholars believe that Sufism was essentially the result of Islam evolving in a more mystic direction.

The Sufis dispersed throughout the Middle East, particularly in the area which were previously under Byzantine influence and control. During 1200-1500 CE, Sufism experience an era of increased activity in various parts of the Islamic world. This period is considered as the Classical Period or the Golden Age of Sufism. The propagation of Sufism started from its origin in Baghdad, Iraq, and then spread to Persia, India, North Africa and Muslim Spain.

The effects of modern thoughts, science, and philosophy on Sufism and the advent of Sufism to the West can be seen in today’s world as well. A number of scholars perceive influences on Sufism from pre-Islamic and non-Islamic schools of mysticism and philosophy. Some of these new perspectives originate from the synthesis of Persian civilization with Islam, an emphasis on spiritual aspects of Islam, and the incorporation of ideas and practices from other mysticisms such as Gnosticism and Hinduism into Islam.

A significant of Persian literature comes from the Sufis, who created great books of poetry, for instance Rubaiyat-e Omar Khayyam, the Conference of the Birds, and also the Masnavi Mevlana, all of which contain teachings of the Sufis.

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