(1)The Turkish Factor
The Turkish factor played an important role in making Sufism and its institutions a ubiquitous phenomenon in Islamic society. Soon after they had been introduced in the early 3rd AH/ 9th CE century as Turkish soldiers in the army of the Abbasid caliphs, the Turkish populace set out to etch its undeletable place and significance on the Muslim scene. In slightly more than a century later, Turkish soldiers started emerging as the de facto rulers of several sections of the Muslim world, especially of the Muslim Middle East. Some of the prominent Turkish, or Turkish influence dominated, Muslim dynasties were the Tulunids in Egypt and Syria (254-293 AH/ 868-905 CE). “The Tulunid dynasty was the earliest manifestation of a political crystallization in the unruly and heretofore inarticulate Turkish element in the heart of the (Abbasid) caliphate. Other and more important Turkish dynasties were soon to follow.” There were also the Ikhshidids (4th AH/ 10th century CE), as a quasi-independent state in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Makkah and Madinah; Ghaznawids (4th-6th AH/ 10th-12th centuries CE) in Afghanistan, India and Khorosan; the Saljuqs (5th-7th AH/ 11th-13th centuries CE) in Anatolia, parts of the Arabian peninsula, Iran, Iraq and Transoxania; and finally the Ottomans (7th-14th AH/ 13th-20th centuries CE) who ruled most of the Muslim world.
Read more: Main Reasons for the Rise of Sufism and Sufi Institutions (Part Two)
In this chapter, the main reasons which caused and sustained the continuous existence of Sufism and Sufi institutions will be discussed. The chapter is divided into two parts. Firstly, the rise of Sufism and Sufi institutions between spontaneity and planning will be deliberated. That will be followed by expounding the main factors which were most responsible for the proliferation of Sufism and Sufi institutions. Four factors will be dwelled on, namely, the Turkish factor, the Persian factor, the Shi’ah factor, and the ahl al-sunnah wa al-jama’ah factor.Read more: Main Reasons for the Rise of Sufism and Sufi Institutions (Part One)
When completed, the form of the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah was extremely simple. It consisted of an unpaved enclosure with walls made of mud bricks and an arcade on the qiblah side (towards Makkah) made of palm-trunks used as columns to support a roof of palm-leaves and mud. There were initially three entrances which pierced the eastern, western and southern walls. The northern wall was the qiblah side facing al-Masjid al-Aqsa – which was the first qiblah for about one year and a few months. However, as the qiblah was changed to face south towards Makkah, the southern entrance was subsequently bricked up and a wall on the northern side was pierced. Before the qiblah change, there was, in all likelihood, no roofed area in the mosque (some still believe there was) but after the qiblah change, an arcade on the southern side facing Makkah was created. There was no decoration of any kind within or without the mosque.Read more: The Form of the Prophet’s Mosque
The mosque of the Prophet (pbuh) played the role of the seat of the first Islamic government. In the mosque, the Prophet (pbuh) used to spend long hours on a daily basis discussing, deciding and executing many affairs related to administering the state. Jihad (striving in the way of Allah) and state defense strategies were also initiated and concluded in the realm of the mosque. When returning from a journey, the Prophet (pbuh) used to go to his mosque first. There he would perform a short prayer of two units (rak’ah). Then, he would sit in the mosque and attend to the people and their needs.Read more: The Prophet’s Mosque as the Seat of the Prophet’s Government