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Sufism and Hinduism

By | Feb. 2007
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Sufism is a mystical sect of Islam. Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. It is considered to be the oldest living religion in the world. Both Hinduism and Sufism have many beliefs and practices dedicated to reach their final goal, however certain details of the beliefs and practices differ. When people follow Hinduism and Sufism there are certain principles and goals that are suppose to be followed and reached. In Hinduism the aims of life, known as Purusharthas or human goals are: Dharma-right conduct, Artha-material gain, Kama-sexual love and Moksha-salvation. All men who follow Hinduism try to achieve these goals. (Viswanathan 34) A belief system in Sufism that is similar to these goals are the five pillars of faith. All the people who follow Sufism are suppose to follow these pillars to be considered a true Sufi. The five pillars of faith are: Devotion to one God-proclaiming He is the one and only true God, the ritual prayer five times daily, almsgiving (giving charity to the poor), fast during the holy month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca, if the Muslim has the resources to do so. The last pillar is the only one out of the five that is conditional. (Lings 74) Religious texts are common in both Sufism and Hinduism. Hinduism's most sacred texts are the Vedas, which means knowledge. There are four Vedas and they claim to teach a man the highest truths that could lead him to God. The Vedas are the Rig Veda (Veda of Hymns), Yajur Veda (Veda of Liturgy), Sama Veda (Veda of Music) and the Atharva Veda (Contains the knowledge given by the Sage Atharvana). The Vedas mainly consist of Samhitas-basic texts for hymns, formulas and chants, Brahmanas-directions for performance of rituals, Aranyakas-mantras and interpretations of rituals, and Upanishads-a number of texts revealing the ultimate spiritual truths and various suggestions of ways to realize this. The Rig Veda is basically a book of hymns to gods that the Hindus believe in like Indra...

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