Comparing Sufism and Pentecostalismby Rit Nosotro
How might the analogy of "Sufism is to Islam as Charismatic Pentecostalism is to Orthodox Christianity" be supported or denied?
This is an analogy that could be looked at many different ways depending on the beliefs of the author. For this analogy to be debated equally one must lay aside beliefs and concentrate on the comparison of each.
Islam is a religion based on one god. People that believe in this religion must follow what are known as the five pillars of Islam. The first is faith. One must have the complete faith that Allah, meaning “The God”, is the one and only God. To belong to this religion one must also say the proclamation of faith several times throughout the course of a day. The second pillar is prayer. A believer must say five prayers a day doing such things as bowing, kneeling, and cleansing throughout the period of prayer. The third is almsgiving, this is when alms (one forth of income, one tenth of harvest, and giving of animals depending on age and number) are given in order to purify oneself. The forth pillar is that of fasting, one believing in this religion must fast everyday from sunup to sundown during the month know as Ramadan. Fasting includes eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. The fifth pillar is pilgrimage. This is when Islamic people come to the city of Mecca to perform a series of different rituals. The people believe that this needs to be done at least once in a lifetime. The five pillars were taken out of the Qur’an, a book written by Muhammad a great prophet.
With that understanding of the Islamic religion one will be able to see the comparison to Sufism religion. Actually, there is nothing to compare just to add. Sufism is based on the Islamic beliefs. They believe in the one god Allah, the five pillars, and the writings of Muhammad. The difference was the Sufis took worship to a new level. Sufis believe in seven levels of spirituality. They are as follows repentance, abstinence, renunciation, poverty, patience, trust in Allah, and acquiescence to the will of Allah. Allah leads one through the stages of faith to get to one believed by most to be the level of knowledge and understanding of everything. They also believe that at each of these levels one would become a closer believer of Allah. Some Sufis would say that they are not a part of Islam, but in all reality Sufism is based of the teachings done by the founder of Islam, Muhammad. Thus making Sufism just a “radical” branch of Islam or “extreme” practice of Islamic beliefs.
Orthodox Christianity is a belief in One God. They believe that God is of three persons God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The Orthodox Church also believes in a Second Coming of Christ, which is explained in Revelation 19-20. When Christ comes again he will raise those who follow him and leave the rest to suffer seven years of trial and tribulations. Bible scholars believe that during these years there will be death, famine, and destruction driven by war. The believers believe that the one named Jesus Christ died for the sins of us all on the cross. In Romans 3:23 is states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then in the next verse come the truth, “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” The believers also believe that a new believer must be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Charismatic Pentecostalism is about the same as Orthodox Christianity. Well
the only difference is that Pentecostals extended some of their beliefs. Pentecostals
believe in things that the Orthodox Christians disagree with. The first is the
second baptism. They believe that at this point the Holy Spirit comes down and
gives the person the power to speak in a different tongue. This happened at
the beginning of Acts. It described as follows,
“Suddenly a sound like the lowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:2-4
All that are given the gift of tongues must not abuse the right to have such a gift. Orthodox believers believe that one may speak tongues, but is has to abide by the rules that God wrote in I Corinthians 14. Some Pentecostals take it to the extreme by barking like a dog and saying languages that no one has ever heard of. Pentecostals believe in the same core beliefs the Orthodox do. They just reach out farther and are the “extreme/radical” branch of Christianity.
The comparison between each of the sets of religions has been done. It is now time to look back to the analogy, “Sufism is to Islam as Charismatic Pentecostalism is to Orthodox Christianity.” Sufism and Pentecostalism both further the beliefs that the two base religions have. Sufism extends the base religion Islam with levels of spirituality and also levels of belief. Pentecostalism extends the Orthodox Christianity with the second baptism and speaking in tongues. Out of those last to sentences one can make out that this analogy is accurate. Sufism and Pentecostal both are extended versions of the base, which would be in this case Islam and Orthodox Christianity.
“Keep the Faith.” UPCI. 2004. United Pentecostal Church International.
12 Feb. 2004.
“An Explanation of Islam and Sufism.” Naqshbandi. 22 Feb. 2004. Naqshbandi. 10 Feb. 2004. http://www.naqshbandi.org/about/aexplain.htm
What we believe. Manchester Christian Church. 10 Feb. 2004.
“Islam.” Encarta. CD-ROM. Seattle: Microsoft, 2002
“The Bible.” Ilumina. CD-ROM. U.S.A.: Visual Book Productions, 2002
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