The IUP Journal of English Studies
A Brief Survey of Folk Sufi Poets of India

Article Details
Pub. Date : March, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES41903
Author Name : Sarah Siddiqui and Shahida
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : English Studies
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 13



Sufism represents the inward or esoteric side of Islam, often contested as an alternate form of Islam. Studies show that the first Sufi to visit India was Mansur al-Hallaj, but this fact is contested as many believe that al-Hujwiri, commonly known as Data Ganj Baksh, was the first Sufi to visit India in the eleventh century. When the Sufi poets from Central Asia arrived in India, the land was already dominated by Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism. Thus, the Islam practiced in this region had already been colored by the local cultural norms. As Ira Lapidus and Ishaq Khan have mentioned, the foreign Sufis formed a body of ulema representing the "normative" Islam or high tradition, while the masses or the common folk followed the Islam of their venerated Sufis, forming another form of Islam, namely, "popular" Islam or low tradition. This created, as Ishaq Khan mentions, a cleavage between the foreign culture and the indigenous culture, which was later on bridged by lesser known Sufi poets across India singing Sufi ideology in the form of folksongs and folktales. This paper studies these lesser known or indigenous Sufi poets who were very popular among the masses but find little mention in the academia. The paper focuses on the literature produced by these Sufis and how they filled the gap between the normative Islam and the popular Islam prevalent among the common people.


Sufism is the accepted name for Islamic mystic tradition. It developed from within Islamic traditions, drawing on the pre-Muslim mystical practices of the ascetic Christian monks (Dehlvi 2010). Sufis are called Auliya Allah, which means Allah's friend. Sufi masters of ninth and eleventh centuries wrote, "Sufism was a reality without a name and now Sufism is a name without reality" (Dehlvi 2010, 22). It can be said that Sufism gained canonization with the coming of several classical Persian Sufis like Rumi, Attar, Saadi, and Hafiz, to name a few. Mystics are people from religious tradition who are on a serious and intimate quest for closeness with the Ultimate Reality. Any meaningful definition of religion contains a spiritual element. The experience of merging with the Divine Force lies at the foundation of religion, an aspect that motivates those traveling along the mystic path (Dehlvi 2010).


Upload Articles
Click here to upload your Articles



Articles of the Month
ISBN: 978-81-314-2793-4
Price: ₹250
Payment by D.D. favouring
"ICFAI A/c IUP", Hyderabad

Reach us at
Tel: +91 8498843633