Mysticism and Social Action: A Study of Sufism's Impact on Community Development

تصوف اور سماجی عمل: سماجی ترقی پر تصوف کے اثرات کا ایک مطالعہ


  • Dr. Muhammad Qasim Zaman Professor of Islamic Studies and Religious Studies, Princeton University (originally from Pakistan) Author
  • Dr. Li Wei Department of Religious Studies, Peking University, China Author


Sufism, mysticism, social action, community development, spiritual enlightenment, Islam, social cohesion, justice, sustainable development


Mysticism, with its profound exploration of the divine and the inner self, often appears detached from the tangible world of societal structures and communal needs. However, this study delves into the dynamic relationship between mysticism and social action, focusing specifically on Sufism's influence on community development. Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, embodies a rich tradition of spiritual exploration, encompassing practices aimed at achieving union with the divine and nurturing an ethos of compassion, love, and service. Drawing upon a multidisciplinary approach, this research synthesizes insights from religious studies, sociology, anthropology, and development studies to unravel the intricate interplay between Sufi teachings and practical engagement with societal challenges. Through a thorough analysis of historical texts, contemporary case studies, and ethnographic fieldwork, this study illuminates how Sufi principles and practices have inspired and catalyzed community development initiatives across diverse cultural and geographical contexts. Central to this exploration is an examination of the transformative potential of Sufi spirituality in addressing pressing social issues, such as poverty alleviation, healthcare provision, education access, and environmental sustainability. By cultivating a deep sense of interconnectedness, empathy, and social responsibility, Sufism fosters a holistic approach to development that transcends mere material advancement, emphasizing the nurturing of human potential and the enhancement of collective well-being.