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Jakarta Post

Sufi solutions to world problems

  • Anand Krishna

Jakarta   /   Mon, August 25 2008   /  11:16 am

This was the title of my paper prepared for the Conference on Sufi Movements in Contemporary Islam, held in Singapore on Aug. 14 and 15, 2008, under the auspices of the National University of Singapore and the independent Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Along with the writer, Indonesia was represented by Prof. Azyumardi Azra, one of our prominent scholars. The organizers clearly took great pains to ensure that all the five continents were represented by scholars, professors and renowned thinkers of world. Unfortunately, however, a good majority of them interpreted Sufi thought as Sufi-"ism", thus putting it on par with the other isms. Sufi is not an ism. It is a way of life. Arab historian Al Beruni (973-1048 AD) wrote in his magnum opus on India that the word Sufi is derived from pailasopa, Greek for "love of wisdom". It has nothing to do...