Among the 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide, the number of Sufis is estimated to be over 300 million spread across the entire globe: in South-East Asia, in Central Asia, in India, in the Middle East, in the Maghreb, in Africa, in the United States and in Europe.
At present, Sheikh Khaled Bentounes is one of the influential spiritual leaders of Sufism in the world.
Sufi Muslims work for the common good and the reconciliation of the human family. They strive to foster an attitude of kindness and benevolence towards their fellow men and women through actions based on justice and “the Doing of Good” as well as respect for nature.
Sufis practice a spiritual Islam—free and responsible. From the 10th century, Sufis assembled in brotherhoods. Among them, about ten are linked to a spiritual guide whose chain of transmission can be traced back to the Prophet of Islam.
Among the most famous Sufis who made a mark on the spiritual tradition of Islam can be counted al-Ghazzali, Ibn Arabī, Rumi, Hallaj, Sohrawardi, Imam al-Shādhili, and the Emir Abd el-Kader. Through their life, their teachings and their writing, these exceptional individuals brought a universal dimension to the spiritual message of Islam.
Although Sufis do not often play a role in politics, certain established political powers feel threatened by them. Sufis have always been the standard-bearers of an ethical system based on social justice and closely linked to the cultural heritage of Islam.
“Sow peace, help those in need, reinforce the fraternal bonds between you, and meditate during the night while others sleep. You will enter Heaven in Peace.” Thus goes the prophetic teaching conveyed by the Sufis.