There are close parallels between the non-dual teachings and those of Sufism, or Tasawwuf, mysticism within Islam. Both are focused on the possibility of a knowledge of Reality that overcomes the division between the knower and the known and thus leads from theory to direct experience. And, according to both, the path to such knowledge consists largely in self-purification and dedication.
Down the centuries there has been a lively debate about whether Sufism lies on the fringes or at the heart of Islam. For some orthodox theologians Sufism has a problematic tendency to exalt subjective experiences over communal authority, and to confound the absolute oneness of God, which is the central tenet of Islam. For others, the Sufi impulse towards an ever-closer living experience of Reality in one’s own life is the beating heart of the Islamic faith.
On the nature and status of Sufism within Islam, one of the most influential of all teachers has been the scholar, philosopher and mystic al-Ghazali, who is the subject of this article.
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