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Tariqa

A tariqa (or tariqah; Arabic: طريقةṭarīqah) is the term for a school or order of Sufism, or especially for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order with the aim of seeking ḥaqīqah "ultimate truth".

A tariqa has a murshid (guide) who plays the role of leader or spiritual director. The members or followers of a tariqa are known as murīdīn (singular murīd), meaning "desirous", viz. "desiring the knowledge of knowing God and loving God" (also called a faqīr فقير)

The metaphor of "way, path" is to be understood in connection of the term sharia which also has the meaning of "path", more specifically "well-trodden path; path to the waterhole". The "path" metaphor of tariqa is that of a further path, taken by the mystic, which continues from the "well-trodden path" or exoteric of sharia towards the esoteric haqiqa. A fourth "station" following the succession of shariah, tariqa and haqiqa is called marifa. This is the "unseen center" of haqiqa, and the ultimate aim of the mystic, corresponding to the unio mystica in Western mysticism. Tasawwuf, Arabic word that refers to mysticism and Islamic esotericism, is known in the West as Sufism.[1]

Orders of Sufism

File:Syariah-thariqah-hakikah2.jpg
"Tariqat" in the Four Spiritual Stations: The Four Stations, sharia, tariqa, haqiqa. The fourth station, marifa, which is considered "unseen", is actually the center of the haqiqa region. It's the essence of all four stations.
Further information: Silsila
Further information: List of Sufi orders

The most popular tariqa in the West is the Mevlevi Order, named after Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī.[citation needed] In the same time the Bektashi Order was also founded, named after the Alevi Muslim saint Haji Bektash Veli. The four main tariqas in South Asia are: the Naqshbandi Order, named after Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari; the Qadiri Order, named after `Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī; the Chishti Order, named after Khawaja Mawdood Chisti while Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti is the most famous sheikh; The Maizbhandari Tariqa or Maizbhandari Sufi Order is a liberated Sufism order established in the Bangladesh in the 19th century by the Gausul Azam Hazrat Shah Sufi Syed Ahmadullah Maizbhandari. (1826 AD − 1906 AD), 27th descendent of holy Prophet Hazrat Ahmad Mustaba Muhammad Mustafa (Peace Be Upon Him). the Suhrawardi Order, named after Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi. Others can be offshoots of a tariqa. For example, the Qalandariyya has roots in Malamatiyya (with Buddhism and Hinduism influence) and Wafa'i (a combination Yasawiyya-Sunni and Batiniyya-Shi'a) of orders are offshoots of the Suhrawardi order.

Membership of a particular Sufi order is not exclusive and cannot be likened to the ideological commitment to a political party. Unlike the Christian monastic orders which are demarcated by firm lines of authority and sacrament, Sufis often are members of various Sufi orders.[citation needed] The non-exclusiveness of Sufi orders has consequences for the social extension of Sufism. They cannot be regarded as indulging in a zero sum competition which a purely political analysis might have suggested. Rather their joint effect is to impart to Sufism a cumulant body of tradition, rather than individual and isolated experiences.[2]

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