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THE SŪF?-QAWM MOVEMENT1

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  • 1

    The term qawm (lit. people or group of people) is a name for the Sūfls. See Dozy, Supplement aux dictionnaires arabcs (2 vols. Leiden, 1927), II, p. 424; the mystics of Islam were from early times commonly called the sufiyyah or mutasatwwifah but the use of the epithet qawm to denominate the group appears to belong, as indicated by our sources, to the post-Qushairi (d. A.D. 1074) period. It is indicative, however secondary it may seem, of a far-reaching social evolution then taking place at the base of Muslim society, being, perhaps, the remote outcome of the absorption of the impact of Islam. The emergence of the Sufi orders is one aspect of the systematization of this broad-based drift. Space forbids anything more than a brief reference to the change in the character of the movement from the sūfiyyah to the qazi'm. Tt is, however, intended to explore more of the nature and implications of the Qawm movement in a separate studv.

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