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Sufism is often described as Muslim mysticism. It is a form of Islamic knowledge and piety that focuses on exceeding the obligations of Islamic worship, into the realm of the supererogatory. In this regard, Sufis have sometimes been referred to as “greedy Muslims” due to their intense desire for divine reward. The distinction between “Sufi” and “non-Sufi” Islam is scarcely black and white, though there are a number of characteristics that typify Sufi expressions of Islam: intensified spiritual practices, emphasis on student-teacher relationships, saint veneration, tomb visitation, focus on love and union, organized communities called tariqas (lit. “paths,” but here meaning spiritual orders), esoteric interpretations of the Qur'an, and interest in mysticism. Sunnīs and Shi'i alike have practiced Sufism, though it is historically more common ...

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