Does Sufism Promote Political Quietism?

08 January, 2017
Q Does Sufism and detachment from the world encourage political quietism?


Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:


Aisha Khaja: Dr. Shabir, today’s question is about political quietism—I didn’t even know that was a thing—and Sufism. And the question is: what is political quietism and Sufism.

And what role can these two concepts play in Islam and the Muslim world?

Dr. Shabir Ally: So, we have spoken about Sufism in other discussion. So, just to focus on one aspect as it relates to the present question.

One aspect of Sufism can be such a detachment from worldly life that there is no political involvement at all.

And related to that is some ideas that arose among Muslims that we leave the management of the country to others. And we just simply concentrate on our spiritual devotions.

And so, there’s a kind of a separation between church and state here of a kind.

But most Muslims would say that Muslims are responsible for what goes on around them to the extent they could be involved and they could make changes.

And so, we have to try and improve society around us to the best that we can, either by word of mouth or by political activism.

Doing everything within the legal framework of what Islam provides for and what the law of the land allows for. But we should be active in trying to remove poverty, to improve our society on many different levels.

So, political activism, looking for political change and improvement, all of this is within the ambit of what it means to be a good Muslim.

Aisha Khaja: So, political quietism is a component of Sufism as well?

Dr. Shabir Ally: Often, they go together because Sufism wants to be detached from the world and have nothing to do with it and getting involved in politics obviously comes with its own sort of attachments with the world.

And in fact, many Muslims would avoid getting into politics for similar reasons. We don’t want to be in that atmosphere, and we want to concentrate on our devotions. But some people have to do that, obviously.

We cannot just simply leave the reins of government to be held by people who may corrupt it. And so, whatever we can do to improve that situation we can and the least we can do is to cast a vote.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

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