What are the main aspects of the Sufi movement? Why was al-Hallaj executed? What was the contribution of al-Ghazali?
Good questions! Let's take a closer look.
1. What are the main aspects of the Sufi movement?
One aspect of Sufism is its emphasizes non quantifiable matters (like states of the heart). The authors of various Sufi treatises often used allegorical language which couldn't be read by an unknowledgeable person to describe these states (e.g. likened some states to intoxication, which is forbidden in Islam). This usage of indirect language and the existence of interpretations by people who had no training in Islam or Sufism led to doubts being cast over the validity of Sufism as a part of Islam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/).
Another aspect is its unique perspective of God, Allah. The word Sufi is derived from the Arabic word Safa, or Saf, which means, literally, pure, i.e. pure from distinctions and differences. In Greek the word means wise. Sufism cannot be called deism, for the Sufi does not consider God as an entity separate from himself; neither can it be called pantheism, because the Sufi not only sees the immanence of God in nature, but also realizes His Essence in the infinite, naming Him Allah, the Formless, the Colorless. He is neither a believer in the unrealized God nor an unbeliever in the idealized Deity, and thus he is distinguished from godly and ungodly alike. The Sufi is not an atheist, for he denies neither God nor His Messengers. To the question, "Are you a Christian?", "Are you a Muslim?", "Are you a Jew?", his answer would be yes rather than no, for he opposes no religion, but sympathizes with all. In fact Sufism cannot be called a religion, for it does not impose either belief or principle upon anybody, considering that each individual soul has his own principles best suited for himself, and a belief which changes with each grade of evolution (http://www.sufimovement.net/initiation.htm).
Another aspect is its objective to develop a devotional tendency in humans. For example, Sufism is not an intellectual philosophy, because it does not depend merely upon cold reasoning, but develops a devotional tendency in man. Sufism cannot be called occultism, for the Sufi does not give any importance to the investigation of phenomena; seeing the brevity of life he deems that a worthless pursuit; his aim is God alone ( http://www.sufimovement.net/initiation.htm).
The Sufi Movement was intellectually born in Arabia, devotionally. reared in Persia, and spiritually completed in India. For the last forty years the direct and indirect influence of the East has prepared the ground in the West for the seed of the Sufi message. Every event has its time, and it has been ordained by the supreme Will that East and West shall now unite in the bond of love and wisdom, which neither politics nor commerce can bring about, but only the call of God. the Lord of both East and West. Other aspects include:
a. The Path of Initiation
b. Divine Manner
c. Our Sacred Task: The Message
d. Sufi Initiation (See details on each at http://www.sufimovement.net/initiation.htm). The following excerpt expands on the main aspects of ...
The main aspects of the Sufi movement are discussed, including the reasons for the execution of al-Hallaj and the contribution of al-Ghazali.