Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements | Bhakti vs Sufi

By Shivank Goel|Updated : October 10th, 2022

The key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements is that the Bhakti Movements largely influenced Hindus, and on the other hand Sufi movement was majorly followed by Muslims in the country. Another Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement is that the Bhakti movement means the theistic devotional trends that emerged during medieval India, and the Sufi movement is the practice of asceticism, which through practice, helps the believers to feel nearness to God.

The Bhakti Movement is one such movement that initiated a wave of reforms in the country. The Sufi movement, too, began with similar intentions however there are various differences that can be seen between Bhakti and Sufi movements. Both the Bhakti and Sufi movements of Medieval India played an important role in creating a composite culture. Let's discuss the key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements below, which is a common question asked in the UPSC history segment.

Bhakti and Sufi Movement Differences: Overview

The Bhakti Movement can be defined as the wave of collective social revival in Hinduism that dealt with love and devotion to the gods and goddesses through bhajans. The movement originated in southern India during the medieval era and spread to the north and east later in the 15th century.

Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement PDF

Sufism is a practice in Islam that deals with attaining closeness to Allah through asceticism. Sufism isn't a sect of Islam; it is a religious practice that reinforces the love for Allah through initiating a personal experience by way of practicing it.

Key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements

We have highlighted the key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements below in table format.

Bhakti Movement

Sufi Movement

Bhakti Movement was adopted majorly by the Hindus of the country

The Sufi Movement targeted the Muslims of the country

The roots of the Bhakti Movement can be traced back to medieval India; it became prominent starting late 7th to early 8th century

The Sufi movement had its roots in the Arabian peninsula and began in the 7th century, far earlier than Bhakti Movement

The Bhakti Movement involved hearty singing of Bhajans in devotion to the Hindu deities

The Sufi movement involves singing and dancing to religious Qawwalis dedicated to their god

The Bhakti movement is limited in its reach to India only

The Sufi movement covered many Islamic countries spread across continents

The scholars interpret Bhakti Movement as a wave of renewal and revival in the social Hinduism setup of India

The Sufi Movement is a way of life and not a subsect of Islam which is a common perception.

Some pioneers of the Bhakti movement are Kabeer Das and Meera bai.

Some pioneers of the Sufi movement are Moinuddin Chishti and Amir Khusrau.

Major Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements

Sufi and Bhakti movements are both religious practices, but they are concerned with different religions and achieve different objectives. While the Bhakti movement aims to achieve social reforms through devotion to deities, Sufism is directed inwards into self-reform.

The Bhakti movement focused primarily on creating and sharing an emotional bond with the divine through devotion. The Sufi Movement concerned itself primarily with establishing disciplined and simplistic ways of life.

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FAQs on Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements

  • The key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements is that the Bhakti Movement was adopted majorly by the Hindus of the country, and on the other hand, Sufi Movement was majorly adopted by the Muslims of the country.

  • Both Bhakti and Sufi movements rejected outward religiosity, and they believed in compassion toward all fellow human beings. Additionally, both of these movements believed that God is one and can be reached through meditation and prayer.

  • The Bhakti movement started with the Vaishnavite and Shaivite poets of south India, Nayanars and Alvars.

  • Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti introduced Sufism to India.

  • Ramananda is the father of the Bhakti movement. He was a disciple of Ramanuj and was born in Allahabad and educated in Varanasi.

  • Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, a Persian poet, was the first Sufi.

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