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Difference Between Sunni and Sufi

Sunni vs Sufi

The difference between Sunni and Sufi is that Sunni is a descendant of the conventional version of Islam whereas Sufi is an offshoot of the mystical branch of Islam. Sufi can be both Sunni and Shia. Sunnis focus on the teachings and Sunah of the holy Prophet whereas Sufi follows the basic as well as the spiritual practices.

Sunni is a word derived from the Arabic word Sunah. There are many stories about the origin of the word Sufi like the person who wears wool etc. Sufi means a saint in the English language.

Sunni and Sufi both follow Islam and have same beliefs but a Sunni is more involved with worldly matters whereas Sufi is more concerned with the world hereafter. Sunni follows the code of life sent by God in the form of Sunah and Quran. Sunni Muslims follow these codes and spend their lives accordingly to get to heaven as a reward for their worldly noble deeds.

They are fearful of Allah as their literature and teachings incorporate fear of hell whereas a Sufi advocates eternal and divine love rather than fear. The ambition of a Sufi is to attain spiritual enlightenment through meditation, prayers and by quitting worldly desires. Sunni believes in the indirect approach to enlighten the soul whereas a Sufi attempts to experience and feel God with the help of the direct approach.

Sunni Muslim has five major legal schools and several minor ones whereas Sufi has many orders of Sufism. Almost ninety percent of Muslims around the world are Sunni and they get their religious knowledge based on the Quran and the seven books of Hadith narrated by the companions of the Prophet.

Sufism or tassawuf in Arabic follows sharia or the Islamic code of life along with acquired spiritual enlightenment through purification of the heart. A Sufi or saint purifies his heart with the help of various methods and repeated recitations called ‘Dhikr.’

Many of the Sunni sects do not believe in mysticism and call the deviants as Sufism which is misinterpreted. Sufis do not worship graves and they follow the basic beliefs of Islam strictly. There are many Sufi poets who are famous all over the world for their poems on divine love like Jalal ud din Rumi. Unlike many Sunni sects ,Sufism or Islamic mysticism gives importance to the special form of Sufi music and dancing like swirling dervishes.

Summary:

1. Sunni came into existence after the death of the Prophet and it believes in the well-trodden path of Islam called Sunah.

2. Sufi means dervish or the one who enlightens his heart and soul by following spiritualism and religious practices.

3. Sunni and Sufi are both Muslims yet different in their schools of thought.

4. Sunni is more concerned with attaining the right path in order to get rewards from God. The reward is promised in the next life.

5. Sufi believes in divine love and focuses on meeting God directly by adopting the state of ‘Fana” which means to purify your heart and soul of worldly desires and expectations.


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22 Comments

  1. If I was a Muslim I would rather be a Sufi it is to me more Divine and Universal

  2. I find it bad to divide these two. There is no division between sufi and a sunni. The respected sufis that have lived, never called themselves sufis but in fact muslims and the followers of the Prophet(pbuh). The person that follows his footsteps will indeed have the charachteristics of a sufi. Even a sunni can be a sufi and I believe that dividing these two is a total mis conception.

    • Totally agree. It is what is in the heart that matters. People act like there is something so “mystic” about being in touch with ones spiritual feelings.

  3. Sufism and sunni is the same thing…. Jus two different words but have the same understanding

  4. Excuse me here something wrong went there is no difference between sufi and a sunni,
    The full name of this section of sunni is
    {AHLE SUNNAT WAL JAMA’AT }
    that means As per Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’at, they are real Muslims and true followers of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) (meaning – Ahle Sunnah), and 4 Khulafa-e-Rashideen (رضئ اللھ تعالی عنہم اجمعین) (meaning – Jama’at). This is the reason they are known as Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’a. Their distinctive features are as follows.
    {SUFI’S}
    To understand true meanings of poetry, it is important that the reader should have some knowledge of poetical expressions and terms generally used in poetry. It is very difficult for professionals who are expert in their respective fields to understand poetry. Similarly, it is also very difficult for Sectarian Muslims to understand Sufi poetry because they have developed an excessive phobia about shirk and kufr in simple issues. Sufi Shaikhs/Awliya Allah also use metaphors in their poetry for Allah (سبحانہ و تعا لی), Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ) and their Shuyooks to express their love, respect and affection. Like, they say, O’ my Lord, wherever I see, I see you’. My Lord is visible to me in everything around me. I do not see anything, except my Lord. ‘I talk to my Lord and He replies to me’. ‘I am annihilated in the existence of my Lord’, and so on…
    AND Sufis respect auliya and graves of auliya as sunni there is no difference in it
    the meaning of sufi is POET and they comes in the sect of sunni

  5. If u no that u are dont understand sufi. u dont need too abusy them

  6. Islam means not mere practices, it is beyond that.
    Practises are only the signs of islam. The essence of Islam is thassawuf.
    There two sides for Islam, lhahir and bathin. Now most of the scholars
    deals with the lhahir and unaware of the bathin. So people consider it sunni and sufi as
    twodue to the ignorance. Lhahir and bathin shoul go together. As I told, lhahir deals with
    our body and bathin deals with our khalb and rooh.

  7. surely sunni and sufi is not 2 different things but one thing that can be refer as both the two… Islam is one word for both.

  8. ONe thig is sure that music dance and visiting graves and calling spirts of wali for help is not allowed in islam rest u do izkar no mater what happens with respect and love for prophet Mohammad PBUH and Allah thn for sure u will be guided by allah not by and spirt, jin or wali…
    Sufis and wali’s they give some azkar to open ur heat chakra and makes u more aware of ur srroundings the shitan comes and says see u went to the sufi and now he is guiding u etc so be careful quran and sunnah is enough for our guidence.

    Allah knows best
    MAy allah show us right path the true path which our prophet Mohammad PBUH showed us… As none of the sohaba danced or listen to music or went to graves of dead ones to ask for guidence and worldly matters…

  9. ONce ur heart chakra is open with zikar allah or drood sharif thn u are more aware of ur actions and thoughts as allah said allah sends peace to the heart who remembers allah…..
    so thn shitan comes and tryies to steal ur iman please dont let it happen
    dont be afraid irf u have any spirtual or mental prolem let me know inshallah i will try my best to help u with the help of knowledge and prayers

    • Of course Sufis and Sunnis are never the same. Sunnis follow the Sunnas of the Prophet while Sufis have created their own concoctions such dancing, hearing music, asking dead people for help, and believing that the Prophet can come out of his grave and shake hands with them. This concoction is called “burda: where they sit in a group and make “thekr” and then they get up saying the Prophet has entered. They also believe in the “wali” or “Awlia” meaning those dead people who can still help you from their grave. Plus, they celebrate the birthday of the prophet with music, drums, guitars and rubbish acts that we know that the Sahabas never did.

      • No Saima and Imran, Sunni and Sufi is the same. Sufi’s also follow the sunnah of the Prophet(pbuh), and enhance their love of Allah by singing and music. In zikr, we chant names of Allah only, not Sahaba nor Awliya. Music is haram only when it idles time or deviates from Islam, not when it helps brings your heart closer to Allah. I’m sorry to say it, but we Sufi’s are not robots like you, we have true love of Allah and Habeebi Muhammad(pbuh).

        Ibn ‘Abbas said, ” ‘Aishah gave a girl relative of hers in marriage to a man of theAnsar. The Prophet(pbuh) came and asked, ‘Did you send a singer along with her?’ ‘No,’ said ‘Aishah. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then said, The Ansar are a people who love poetry. You should have sent along someone who would sing, ‘Here we come, to you we come, greet us as we greet you.’ ” (Reported by Ibn Majah.)

        ‘Aishah narrated that during the days of Mina, on the day of ‘Eid al-Adha, twogirls were with her, singing and playing on a hand drum. The Prophet(pbuh) was present, listening to them with his head under a shawl. Abu Bakr then entered and scolded the girls. The Prophet (peace be on him), uncovering his face, told him, “Let them be, Abu Bakr. These are the days of ‘Eid.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

        I look forward to how you defend against these two ahadith guys!

  10. All of you say there is no difference between Sunni and Sufi. In practice, that is not the case.

  11. Sufism= Love and Fear of Allah
    Sunni= Love and Fear of Allah

    Both say to follow the footsteps of Mohammad (Peace be upon him)

    So…
    They are both the same.

    Peace <3

  12. MEANING OF SUFISM

    I wont class sufism as a sect – sufism is more of a path/ a theology/ a
    course/ a way of life

    because my pir sahib always says that sufism is not everyones cup of tea
    sufism is the way of the close companions who spent day and night with
    the prophet
    but not every sahabi practised tassawwuf -

    sufism is bringing ur emaan to an advanced level
    just reading the kalima will make u a muslim
    following the quran and sunnah will make u a mumin (believer)

    and finding god will make ua sufi
    so every sunni is not a sufi but every sufi is a sunni

    I hope that answers your questions

  13. We are Muslims and anyone trying to differentiate between sects is wrong.

  14. As one said b4 not every sunni is suffi but every suffi is sunni as in the level of understanding becos there are some words in both guidance which is al qurian that difficult for sunnis like d ayat dat says (wamon kaano fi haasihi duniya ahmon wahuwa fil haakirot ahmon wa adollu sebiila) let one sunni explain it to me.

  15. If sufi are thesame with sunni, them why sunni are killing us all over the world?

  16. Ok, I am glad I happened upon this site. I have been researching masjids in Dallas and saw a comment regarding how one masjid was more Sufi than Sunni. He made it sound like it was wrong or bad and made me worried. I will continue my research. Thank you!

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