Sufi Orders (Tariqas)

Tariqa is an Arabic term for the spiritual path, especially in the sense of a method of spiritual practice, often embodied in a social organization and tradition known as a Sufi order. Tariqa has the etymological sense of way or path, and along with its near twin, tariq, it is used as a generic term for the way or path to God in the mystical writings of the Sufis. Despite the existence of numerous different traditions of Sufi practice and organization, it is common for Sufi teachers to point out that there is only one spiritual path that encompasses all of these different variations. At the same time, it is frequently asserted that there are as many paths to God as there are human souls. It is difficult to translate this kind of spiritual ideal into any definitive enumeration of Sufi orders as sociological entities.

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