Go to contents

THE DONG-A ILBO Logo

Terrorism in Egypt and Sufism

Posted November. 27, 2017 08:22,   

Updated November. 27, 2017 08:44

한국어

The mosque that witnessed more than 300 deaths on Friday as a result of the deadly terror attack by the radical Islamic armed forces is the Al Rawdah Mosque in North Sinai, Egypt, a Sufism mosque. The word “Sufi” stems from the word “Suf,” which means wool in Arabic. Originally, the word was used to describe the believers who wore clothes made of wool but nowadays, it has developed into a sect different from Sunni and Shi’a. Sufism is a mystical religious body that emphasizes individual’s faith rather than laws or formalities. The image of Sufism devotees wearing white clothes and spinning around in indulgence is famous.

There is no evidence to prove that IS, a Suni armed organization, was directly behind this terrorism but the survivors say that they saw the terrorists holding black flag, which symbolizes the IS. Generally, IS would attack the Coptic church, which is a Christian sect in Egypt, the military or the police rather than causing massive destruction by attacking a mosque. Some people say that the IS is now declaring a religious war that punishes people who do not agree with the extremism of the Suni with violence.

Why did IS attack an Islamic mosque when considering that they are also Islamic? The Islamic Principlism, which is faithful to the law, is incompatible with mysticism, which pursues unity with god. Traditional Islam views Sufism as “grave worshippers,” or pagans. Sufism has a tradition of worshipping saints by visiting the graves of saints and IS interprets this act as idolatry or polytheism. Sufism considers Jesus as one of the saints and worships him. It was difficult for IS to understand the tradition of Sufism from the view of Islamic Principlism.

As it is with all religious fundamentalism, Islam also has those who threaten the identity of Islam. Friday’s terror was caused by the geographical element of the Sinai Peninsula coupled with the isolation and anger of the Bedouins, who were discriminated by the Egyptian government for decades. However, the reason behind this terrorism is religious fundamentalism that keeps on shouting “Only my faith is genuine.” IS may be becoming more aggressive as it is driven out from Syria and Iraq. The basis of all religion is love and generosity. It is heartbreaking to see religion becoming the seed of violence and hatred. Is religion a savior or a destroyer? The terror in Egypt causes yet more concerns.