• Tarek Ladjal University of Malaya, Malaysia
  • Benaouda Bensaid International Islamic University, Malaysia
  • Mohd Roslan Mohd Nor University Malaya, Malaysia


This relationship between Sufism and politics presents itself at the heart of an emerging Western interest in Sufi political development. Western institutions have identified Tasawwuf as viable option for shaping all forms of cooperation and understanding with the Muslim world. Such a choice however, stems from factual realities shown in the practice of some Sufi schools and historical developments. This inquiry seeks to explore the historical context of Sufism in relation to political engagement while elucidating its course of interaction as a demonstration of its very values and ideals. This paper also examines some of the similarities and differences between the attitudes of classical and contemporary Sufi practices vis- à-vis political life, and evaluates the evidences of both the current approaches to and interpretation of the position of Sufism in today’s world. This research demonstrates the partial interpretation that favours a particular trend pertaining to Sufism and politics, and suggests that the defiant and politically active interpretation of Tasawwuf is by large the dominant and historically consistent current in Sufi thought and practice.

Keywords: Tasawwuf, Sufi Order, West, Politics, Sufism


Bernard Lewis, the Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Random House Trade Paperbacks, New York, 2004.
Charle Julian Andre, L’histoire de l’Afrique du Nord, Lion Publisher, Paris, 1985.
Glover John, Sufism and Jihad in Modern Senegal: The Murid Order, University of Rochester Press, Rochester USA, 2009.
Heck Paul L, Sufism and Politics: The Power of Spirituality, Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton USA, 2008.
Huntington Samuel, The Clash of Civilizations, Simon Schuster Paperbacks, New York, 2002.
Islamic News Agency, A new strategy toward the Islamic World, http://www.islamicnews.net, (accessed 1.11. 2008)
Kaplan David, Hearts, Minds, and Dollars, U.S News & World Report, 25 April 2005. Washington.
Lane Jan Erik, Religion and Politics: Islam and Muslim Civilization, Ashgate Publishing, United Kingdom, 2009.
Lanm R, the History of Northwest Africa, Springer Publisher, London, 1990.
Miroljub Jevtic, Political Science and Religion, Politics and religion, spring 2007, Vol.1, No. 1, Belgrade.
Natalia Vlas, Is Religion Inherently Violent? Religion as a threat and promise for the globle security. Politics and Religion, autumn 2010, Vol. IV, No. 2. Belgrade.
RAND, Building Moderate Muslim Networks, Centre for Middle East Public Policy, 2007.
Schwartz Stephen, Identification of Sufism, The Weekly Standard, 07 February 2005, Washington.
Schwartz Stephen, The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud from Tradition to Terror, Anchor Books, USA, 2002.
The Middle East Newspaper. 18 November 2005, London.
Islamic News Agency, A new strategy toward the Islamic World, http://www.islamicnews.net, (accessed 13.07. 2008)