|Part of a series on Islam|
|Part of a series on|
This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2022)
Silsila (Arabic: سِلْسِلَة) is an Arabic word meaning chain, link, connection often used in various senses of lineage. In particular, it may be translated as "spiritual genealogy" where one Sufi Master transfers his khilafat to his khalîfa, or spiritual descendant. In Urdu, silsila means saga.
Every Sufi order, or tariqa, has a silsila. Silsila originated with the initiation of tariqa which dates back to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Most silsila trace their lineage back to his cousin and son-in-law Ali bin Abi Talib such as the Qadiriyyah, the Chishtiyya, the Noorbakhshia and the Suhrawardiyyah orders. However, the Naqshbandiyyah order of South Asia is through Abu Bakr.
Centuries ago, Arabia did not have schools for formal education. Students went to masters who taught them. Upon completion of their study, they received ijazah (permission) which acted as the certification of their education. A graduate then acted as a master having his own students or disciples. This chain of masters was known as silsila or lineage. Somewhat analogous to the modern situation where degrees are only accepted from recognized universities, the certification of a master having a verifiable chain of masters was the only criteria which accorded legitimacy:
"Theoretically one can only receive instruction in these practices (talqîn) from an authorised teacher of the tariqa, and only after pledging a vow of obedience (bay'ah) to this shaikh. The shaykh gives his disciples permission (ijâza) to practice the tariqa: he may also authorise one or more of them to teach it to others, i.e. appoint them as his khalîfa or successor. In this way a hierarchically ordered network of teachers may emerge. Each sheikh can show a chain of authorities for the tariqa he teaches, his silsila or spiritual genealogy. Usually the silsila reaches back from one's own teacher up to the Prophet, with whom all tariqa claim to have originated although there have been modifications along the way. A Sufi's silsila is his badge of identity and source of legitimation; it provides him with a list of illustrious predecessors and shows how he is related to other Sufis."
Silsila can be of a partial knowledge or a book as well. All ḥāfiẓa (memorizers of Quran), muḥaddithūn (narrators of hadith), and qāriʾūna (reciters of Quran with tajwid, or correct accent and pronunciation), for example, are given a chain of credible narrators linking to Muhammad.
Discover more about Historical importance related topics
Shias use it idiomatically to mean a lineage of authentic Masters.
Among Chinese Muslims, the concept of silsilah has developed into that of a menhuan (门宦): a Chinese-style Sufi order whose leaders trace a lineage chain going back to the order's founder in China (e.g., Ma Laichi given name Abu I Fateh or Ma Mingxin given name Ibrahim), and beyond, toward his teachers in Arabia.
Discover more about China related topics
Source: "Silsila", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, February 24th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silsila.
Get our FREE extension now!
- ^ Salimuddin, S.M. Oxford Urdu-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
- ^ Martin van Bruinessen (1995). "Shari'a court, tarekat and pesantren: religious institutions in the sultanate of Banten". Archipel. 50: 165–200. doi:10.3406/arch.1995.3069. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26.
- ^ Michael Dillon (1999). China's Muslim Hui community: migration, settlement and sects. Routledge. p. 113. ISBN 0-7007-1026-4.
- Ehrenkreutz, A.S. "ḎH̲ahab." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2010. Brill Online. Augustana. 8 April 2010
- "Silsila." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2010. Brill Online. Augustana. 8 April 2010
- Shah, Idries. The Way of the Sufi. Penguin Books, New York, 1974.
- Lings, Martin. What is Sufism? University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1977.
- Ernst, Carl W. The Shambhala Guide to Sufism. Shambhala Publications, Boston, 1997.
- Karamustafa, Ahmet T. Sufism: The Formative Period. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 2007.
- Crimingham, J. Spencer. The Sufi Orders in Islam. Oxford University Press, New York, 1998.
- All articles needing additional references
- All articles with unsourced statements
- Articles containing Arabic-language text
- Articles needing additional references from February 2022
- Articles with TDVİA identifiers
- Articles with short description
- Articles with unsourced statements from July 2014
- Hadith studies
- Islamic terminology
- Short description is different from Wikidata
The content of this page is based on the Wikipedia article written by contributors..
The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence & the media files are available under their respective licenses; additional terms may apply.
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization & is not affiliated to WikiZ.com.