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Tarīqa ( Arabic طريقة, DMG ṭarīqa 'way, path, method', plural Turuq طرق/ ṭuruq ) is an Islamic term that in a narrower sense describes the spiritual path that the Sufi treads in order to reach beyond the Sharia to the knowledge of Allah, but in a broader sense a community of Muslims who follow such a path - with in other words: a Sufi brotherhood.

The various brotherhoods are usually named after their founder, known as the " Sheikh ", to whom they refer in a spiritual lineage ( Silsila ). Certain rituals and symbols that characterize the brotherhood are usually attributed to this founder.

Tariqas are by no means purely spiritual organizations, but often have great political and economic power, which they also use. A good example of this is the Senegalese Murīdīya .

A romanticizing idea, shaped by orientalism , of completely spiritualized men in flowing robes - "dervishes" and "fakirs" - who primarily perform extremely ascetic exercises, today usually has very little to do with the lives of members of Islamic brotherhoods.

Members' lives

Even if there are a large number of different Sufi brotherhoods (see this list ), they all have one thing in common: the members entrust themselves to the spiritual and spiritual guidance of their ruler, who is called "Sheikh" in the sense of a spiritual leader.

The Persian term " dervish " for members of a brotherhood often evokes certain associations that apply to some tariqas, typically to the "dancing dervishes" of the Mevlevi tariqa, but which are associated with the lives of most of the members of tariqas in have little to do with the modern world. The same applies to the term " fakir ": exercises that "fakirs" typically practice are not infrequently viewed by devout Muslims as extreme excesses.

The influence of a tariqa on the life of a member is more similar to the influence that Christian orders have on lay members, so-called familiare , than on regular members of Christian orders. Members of a tariqa do not normally live in closed, monastery-like communities, but in their families and practice their respective "Islamic path" quite normally in everyday life, often without being recognized by their fellow human beings as a member of a brotherhood. The latter especially favors the spread of the still active tariqas within western societies. Also , unlike in Christianity and Buddhism , celibacy does not play any role in the life of the brotherhood, although strict adherence to the Islamic rules on marriage and sexuality is observed.

The typical rituals of the various brotherhoods include certain Dhikr exercises in which a name of Allah is usually invoked, often together with rhythmic breathing and rhythmic movements, as well as "alternating chants" in which certain words or sentences are alternately spoken or sung and those as is , HIZB or Ratib be referred to. In a tariqa, however, it is by no means always necessary to focus on spiritual exercises, just as important or even more important is often the exact observance of the rules of the Sharia.

Membership in a brotherhood and the activities associated with it are purely men's business, women have no direct part in it.

Dissemination of the various tarīqas

Some of the Tarīqas such as the Naqschbandīya or the Qādirīya are widespread worldwide today, others are restricted to a certain area, such as the ʿAlawīya , which is mainly found in Zanzibar , and the Sālihīya - Raschīdīya founded by Muhammad Sālih (1845-1916) which is mainly based in Somalia and to which the Somali resistance fighter Mohammed Abdullah Hassan also belonged.

The two most influential brotherhoods in West Africa are the Tijānīya and the Qādirīya . They have different majorities in the individual countries. In Senegal, for example, around 50 percent of Muslims are followers of Tijaniyya, although the somewhat smaller Murīdīya has a much stronger influence on the country through its economic and political activities.

In Benin and Ghana , Tijaniyya and Qadiriyya are roughly equally represented, as is Niger . In Benin the older Qadiriyya is almost only represented in Porto-Novo on the coast, in the rest of the country, following a general trend in West Africa, the Tijaniyya has predominated since the beginning of the 20th century.

The Tijani is most widespread in predominantly Muslim Mali as well as in Cameroon and Togo , where Muslims form a comparatively small minority. Tijani and Shadhiliyya are equally represented in Tunisia . The strongest brotherhood in Northeast Africa is the Qadiriyya; it is followed by Tijaniya (which are particularly represented in southwest Ethiopia ) and Khatmiyya (particularly in Sudan ).

The Yaschrutīya is a brotherhood founded by the Tunisian Sufi Sheikh 'Ali Nur al-Din al-Yaschruti (approx. 1815–1899) in Palestine .


Web links

supporting documents

  1. See Trimingham 1971, 214-216.
  2. See J. Spencer Trimingham: Islam in East Africa . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1964. p. 102.
  3. ^ Thomas Bierschenk : The Social Dynamics of Islam in Benin.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Galilou Abdoulaye: L'Islam béninois à la croisée des chemins. Histoire, politique et développement (= Mainzer Contributions to Africa Research. Vol. 17). Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-89645-817-9 , pp. 15-19.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.ifeas.uni-mainz.de  
  4. Percentages according to: Peter Heine and Riem Spielhaus : The area of ​​distribution of the Islamic religions: Numbers and information on the situation in the present. In: Werner Ende , Udo Steinbach (ed.): Islam in the present. 5th, updated and expanded edition. CH Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-53447-3 , pp. 135-139.