Sufism, or Al Tawassuf, as it is known in Arabic, is a dimension of Islam. It is neither a sect nor a denomination like Shia and Sunni are, but rather a mystical and spiritual approach to the religion of Islam. Sufis are known for their devotion to the spiritual life, which is evident in their daily prayers and meditation sessions.
Sufis, like other Muslims, believe in Muhammad and Allah, although, they can be differentiated by their traditions and unusual religious practices. One of their most famous devotional practices has to be Dhikr, which translates to invocation, is the act of remembering God or Allah through repeating the ninety-nine divine names that God has in Arabic. Sufis practice Dhikr by standing in circles and tilting their heads from one side to another, after repeating a divine name.
Another well-known practice of Sufism is Whirling, a form of active meditation which is still practiced in many Muslim countries. It is a religious and spiritual dance, where its dancers seek to reach inner perfection by listening to music, spinning around in circles and focusing on God throughout the process.
Sufism along with its traditions might seem predated and weird, however, Sufis have definitely shaped the Islamic culture, history and thought. From their contemporary meditation methods to the beautiful dances accompanied by enchanting instrumental music, Sufis have proven themselves as the artistic innovators of the Muslim world.
To learn more about Sufism, please visit the following website: http://www.nimatullahi.org/what-is-sufism/
-Chougher Maria Doughramajian