top of page

Free Reading Passage on Sufism for Unit 1 of AP World History

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Jun 12

0

0

0

Sufism is an illustrative example for the Developments in South and Southeast Asia section of Unit 1 of AP World History. You could reference this example on your AP World History test.



Six Sufi masters, c. 1760
Six Sufi masters, c. 1760/public domain


Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam, emphasizes a personal, spiritual connection with the Divine, achieved through devotion, meditation, and ethical living. This form of Islamic mysticism has played a significant role in shaping the religious, cultural, and historical landscapes of South and Southeast Asia. By adapting its practices to local traditions, Sufism has fostered a unique syncretic blend of spirituality that resonates deeply across these regions.


Sufism was introduced to South Asia in the 12th century by revered mystics known as Sufi saints, who traveled from the Middle East and Central Asia. For example, the Chishti Order was founded in India in the middle of the 12th century by Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, who settled in Ajmer and attracted followers with his teachings on love and service to humanity. This period marked the beginning of Sufism’s profound influence on the Indian subcontinent, promoting Islamic values through a lens of universal love and devotion.


In Southeast Asia, Sufism spread primarily through trade routes in the 13th century, with key figures such as Sunan Kalijaga in Java, who is celebrated for incorporating Javanese culture into his teachings and helping to shape a form of Islam that was accessible and appealing to the local population. His role in the spread of Islam through cultural adaptation rather than conquest was a pivotal moment in the religious history of Indonesia.


Central to Sufism is the idea of seeking closeness to God through dhikr (remembrance of God), sama (listening to poetry and songs that evoke divine love), and a deep personal devotion. These practices were often blended with local traditions, creating a rich tapestry of spiritual expression that made Sufism particularly attractive in diverse cultural settings.


The establishment of Sufi orders, or tariqas, facilitated the spread and institutionalization of Sufism in these regions. The Suhrawardi and Naqshbandi orders, in particular, played significant roles in spreading Sufi teachings across South Asia, each adapting to local customs and contributing to the religious and social fabric of their communities. These orders established spiritual retreats and schools that became centers of learning, attracting disciples from various social backgrounds.


Sufism’s integration into the local cultures led to significant contributions in arts, particularly in poetry and music. In India, poets like Amir Khusrau and Kabir used the vernacular to express mystical concepts, bridging the gap between the elite and common folk and influencing the region’s spiritual and cultural expressions for generations. In Southeast Asia, the blend of Sufi mysticism with local traditions can be seen in unique cultural practices that continue to define the region’s religious celebrations and artistic expressions.


Throughout its history in South and Southeast Asia, Sufism has promoted social harmony and played a role in peaceful conversions to Islam, marked by the peaceful spread of Islam in the Malabar coast and the harmonious integration of Islamic and Hindu traditions in Bengal. These events highlight the role of Sufism in fostering an inclusive approach to spirituality and community life.



Printable Reading Passage on Sufism


Sufism FREE Reading Passage



Would you prefer to watch a video about Sufism?




Developments in South and Southeast Asia from 1200 to 1450


Unit 1:The Global Tapestry


AP World History










Sufism


#Africa #APWorldHistory #Islam #MamlukSultanate

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Jun 12

0

0

0

Comments
Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page