Holiest sites in Sufi Islam

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Most holy sites in Sufism are shrines dedicated to various Sufi Saints - spiritually elevated ascetics from various mystical orders within Islam. Shrines are widely scattered throughout the Islamic world. Pilgrimages to them are known as Ziyarat. Traditional annual commemorations of the saints death held at his shrine are known as Urs In several countries, the local shrine is a focal point of the community, with several localities named specifically for the local saint.

In some parts of the Islamic world, such as in Pakistan, these festivals are multi-day events and even draw members of the Hindu minority who often revere the Muslim saint, such as in the case of the famous Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh, Pakistan - an important example of religious syncretism that blurs the distinction between members of different religions. Some Sufi shines in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are also host to a night of commemoration by songs and dances every Thursday, although music is frowned upon in Shariah (Islamic Law).

Turkey and Central Asia[edit]

Konya, Turkey[edit]

Contains the tomb of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, the Persian Sufi poet commonly known as "Mevlâna" and who is the founder of the Sufi Mevlevi order (known for the Whirling Dervishes), is located in Konya where he spent the last fifty years of his life.

Turkestan (City), Kazakhstan[edit]

Throughout most of the medieval and early-modern period this city was known as Yasi or Shavgar and after the 16th-17th centuries as Turkistan or Hazrat, both of which names derive from the title 'Hazrat-i Turkistan', which literally means "the Saint (or Blessed One) of Turkistan" and refers to Khoja Ahmad Yasavi, the Sufi Shaikh of Turkistan, who lived here during the 11th century CE and is buried in the town.

Because of his influence and in his memory the city became an important centre of spirituality and Islamic learning for the peoples of the Kazakh steppes. In the 1390s Timur (Tamerlane) erected a magnificent domed Mazar or tomb over his grave, which remains the most significant architectural monument in the Republic of Kazakhstan, pictured on the back of the banknotes of the national currency.


Mosque of Uqba, Tunisia[edit]

Under the Aghlabids, the fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate little by little. The university, consisting of scholars who met in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences. Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages. With the decline of the city, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna

Harar, Ethiopia[edit]

The old town of Harar is home to 110 mosques and many more shrines.

El-Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque, Egypt[edit]

This is a famous mosque in Alexandria, Egypt, which is dedicated to the Alexandrine Sufi saint el-Mursi Abul Abbas.

Touba, Senegal[edit]

This is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke. Next to his tomb lies a large mosque, completed in 1963.

South Asia[edit]

Many Sufi Saints lived in South Asia, and most have shrines.

Ajmer, India[edit]

The main places of interest are the Dargāh, or tomb, of South Asia's most revered Muslim sufi saint Mu'īnuddīn Chishtī, known as Gharīb Nawāz, or 'Benefactor of the Poor' in Ajmer.

Delhi, India[edit]

The Indian Capital has many prominent Sufi shrines. The most revered of those are the dargahs of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Nizamuddin Auliya, Amir Khusrau and Nasiruddin Chiragh Dehlavi- all Sufi saints of the Indian Subcontinent's most revered Chishti order.

Pakpattan, Pakistan[edit]

Pakpattan is one of the ancient and smallest cities of Pakistan. It is the city that has the shrine of the well-known Sufi of his times, Baba Fareed.

Lahore known as Daata Ganj Baksh, meaning Daata means the master who bestows treasures and Ganj Baksh means Gifted by Allah Almighty). He is said to have lived on the site in the 11th century.

Sylhet, Bangladesh[edit]

Sylhet is a historic town in northeastern Bangladesh, which hosts the mausoleum of Shah Jalal, a revered Sufi of Bengal and the eastern South Asian subcontinent.

The mosque town of Bagerhat is a historic town in eastern Khulna division, Bangladesh, which hosts the mausoleum of Khan Jahan Ali (d. 1459), a revered saint of Bengal (ancient Khalifatabad). He is known for building the famed 81-domed mosque in 1450 (locally known as the Shaat Gombuj Masjid) and several other mosques. The sites are listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Opposition to shrines[edit]

Numerous Shia and Sufi shrines were once located in Saudi Arabia, but were destroyed in the 1930s by Saudi Arabia's Wahabbis . Other important shrines in Central Asia, were destroyed by the Soviets in the 20th century.

According to hardline or "puritanical" interpretations of Islam of Wahabbis, Salafis and others, it is forbidden in Islam to build building over graves.[citation needed]

Ali Gomaa, a Sufi scholar and Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, has criticized the destruction of shrines and public property as unacceptable.[1]

From March 2005 to 2010, 209 people have been killed and 560 injured in 29 different terrorist attacks targeting shrines devoted to Sufi saints in Pakistan.[2]

Sufi shrines have also been targeted for destruction by puritanical Muslim groups in Mali (Ansar Dine), Somalia (Al-Shabaab), Libya in the recent years. According to Gaber Qassem, deputy of the Sufi Orders, approximately 14 shrines have been violated in Egypt since the January 2011 revolution.[3]

See also[edit]