Culture & Lifestyle

sufism in the ethiopian context

Sufism, which is a mystic tradition of Islam encompassing a diverse range of beliefs and practices, is most often known to be practiced in the
Middle East. The celebrated exponents of Sufism have usually emerged from Iran, Iraq, India, and other countries of the Middle and
Far East.
Sufism, which basically has a direct link to Islam, has also its manifestations in
Ethiopia through the traditional Islam Sufis. At a symposium organized by the
Institute of
Ethiopian Studies, Society of Friends, a traditional Islam scholar, Sheikh Abdela Idris, has given a lecture entitled, “Sufism in
Born in Worebabo, Wollo, Sheikh Abdela Idris attended traditional Islamic education in the countryside. When he went to
Egypt for modern secular education, he was qualified enough to join high school, despite his traditional Islamic education in rural areas. Abdella, who has made his graduation thesis the Sheikh, said “from the success of Sheikh Abdella, we can see how the rural Islamic education is Intensive and competent with the education in other Islamic countries.”
“Sheikh Abdella is a person who is taught by famous Sheikhs in Wollo. His perspectives are broad. Sometimes you’ll be surprised with what he speaks and fell that as if you are listening to a philosopher”.In his lecture the Sheikh gave a brief explanation about Sufism, the categories of Sufism in
Ethiopia, the life of Ethiopian Sufis and their contribution in social development.
According to Sheikh Abdellah’s lecture, a Sufi is a person who lives not only with his/her spiritual personality but with the harmonized spiritual and profane personality. One may grasp knowledge with observation and logic. In the case of a Sufi, one may transcend observation and logic. As a Sufi gets spiritually mature through the prescribed spiritual practices, he would be enlightened to understand Allah or the supernatural world which is eternal. And a Sufi’s prayers would bring solutions and responses, as told in the holy Quaran. And Sufism is a branch of Islam.Sufism was basically founded to redirect the material-oriented mentality of Muslims towards spirituality and religion. In its historical development, it has gone through a lot of modifications. At the beginning, it was totally an Islamic principle and gradually it happened to be mixed with Greek philosophy, which contradicts Islamic principles. Like its development elsewhere, Sufism has played a major role in the expansion of Islam in
Ethiopia and has its own developmental stages.
Sheikh Abdella said that there are four schools of thought or (Tarikahs). The first is Tijanya which was founded by Ahmed Tijiani in the Wore Babo region and Ahmed Oumer in Assosa. The second is Shaziriya, founded by Sheikh Ibrahim and Sheikh Debat, who fought with
Italy. The third one, Semaniya is founded by Seid Bushra. Kadiriya, being the fourth one, is the school of thought that is widely propagated in
Ethiopia. It has changed the way Sufis were following. It shaped the former principle to be moulded with regards to both law and Sufism. And the Kadiriya Sufi is a teacher, farmer and a spiritual person. It was mainly propounded by Abdulaziz. This school of thought took only the form from Sufism.
“The Ethiopian Sufis have contributed a lot to the formation of an orderly, healthy, educated, and civilized society. And they have written book that are worth translating. The books are about miscellaneous social issues like the way of interaction and ethics that should exist between Adults and Allah, Ullamas and Allah, Ullamas and the people, Authorities and God (Allah) and the poor people, prophets and people and Sufis and the people. For instance, a Sufi shouldn’t reveal himself to the people. And codes of social ethics that a family, marriage, friendship and other countless subjects should follow are also included in the books,” said Sheikh Abdella.Sufis have greater roles in delivering services that are necessary for the then society. They taught Holy Quran, Fiqh & Sharia laws. All the respected Ullamas learnt Fiqh from the Sufis, not going to the foreign Islamic States. They also taught Arabic language as competently as the native Arabs. Moreover, they encouraged people to develop self-esteem and showed medicines to heal diseases.A Sufi believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe. The central doctrine of Sufim, sometimes called Wahdat, is the understanding of Tawahid: all phenomena are manifestations of a single reality, or Wujud (being), or Alhaq (Truth, God). The essence of being (Truth) God is devoid of every form and quality and hence unmanifested, yet it is inseparable from every form and phenomenon either material or spiritual.Sheikh Abdella Idris was also a graduate with Bachelor of Arts in Law from Azhar University of Egypt in 1978, apart from his deep traditional Islamic Education. And the political turmoil that followed after Gamal Abdulnasir died had become a challenge for him not to continue his MA and retuned back homeCopyright © 2006 The Reporter. All rights reserved

7 thoughts on “sufism in the ethiopian context

  1. It can be said many more about sufis contribution in ethiopia in wollo, gondar, gojjam, harrar, arusi and bale areas try to add other features


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