Islam / Orientations / Sufism /
Arabic: tarīqa (sing.) turuq (pl.)
Other spellings: tariqah
Incorrect spellings involve replacing the 'q' with a normal 'k'
The implemented meaning of tariqa has changed as the Sufi methods have developed and become institutionalized, especially between the 9th and 12th centuries. From indicating the methods, often experimental, of individual mystics, it now designates the order and its ritual system combined.
The actual correct term for a Sufi order is tā'ifa, but this is rarely used. When ta'ifa is used, however, tariqa implies specifically the method of the order.
Almost every tariqa are named after their founder, usually with a "-i", "-iy" or "-iya" added. For instance, Qadiriya is named after Abd al-Qadir Jilani, while the Naqshbandi takes its name from Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari.
A tariqa is led by a shaykh, and his followers are known by names like murid, ikhwan, dervish or faqir. A shaykh's legitimacy rests on his silsila, a lineage of shyakhs going back to Muhammad.
Many tariqas are organized according to simple structures, and may have to share assembly rooms with others.
Larger and richer orders have become even more, establishing Muslim institutions with similarities with hospices, monasteries or even fortresses, known as ribat, khanka, zawiyya or tekke.