Women in SufismRukhsar Hussain, University of Strathclyde
The following paper will explore women participation in the Sufism movement. Sufism is a mystical movement which is often limited to Islam, but such an understanding of this movement makes it narrow. Though the roots of Sufism may be found in Islam, it goes far beyond set boundaries. This tradition “represents one of the most complete and well–preserved metaphysical and esoteric traditions that has survived in the modern world” (Nasr 1972), and women have been a vital part of it from the very beginning. However, they have been silenced and almost made non-existent in the patriarchal narratives that are present regarding this movement. In this paper, I aim to explore the accounts of women saints that have survived over all these years as they strikingly hint towards their role in Sufism which cannot be ignored. These women not only helped Sufism to spread in the inner lives marked by domestic walls, but their spirituality went out in public where women have set out on the path, braving all hardships on the roads, are beyond the differentiation of sexes (Schimmel 1984). This study helps in making connections with the often forgotten and under researched, yet significant areas of research.