Bhakti and Sufi Movement – Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Bhakti and Sufi Movement: The most significantdifference between Bhakti and Sufi Movement 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 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.

Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement PDF

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 various differences 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 Movement below.

Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement

The Bhakti movement and Sufi movement differ in many ways. The Bhakti movement was prevalent in Hinduism, whereas Sufi Movement was prevailing in Islam. We have highlighted the key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements below in table format.

Bhakti and Sufi Movement

Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement
Bhakti Movement Sufi Movement
Bhakti Movement was adopted majorly by the Hindus of the country The Sufi Movement targeted the Muslims in the country
The roots of the Bhakti Movement can be traced back to medieval India; it became prominent starting in the 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 the 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.

Bhakti and Sufi Movement

The Bhakti movement originated in southern India during the medieval era and spread to the north and east later in the 15th century. Sufism is a practice in Islam that deals with attaining closeness to Allah through asceticism.

Sufi and Bhakti movements are both religious practices, but they are concerned with different religions and achieve different objectives.

What is Bhakti Movement?

The Bhakti movement focused on creating and sharing an emotional bond with the divine through devotion. It 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.

  • Bhakti literally signifies “devotion” in Sanskrit.
  • Rama, Ganesha, Krishna, and Shiva are considered to be incarnations of the divine in human form who entirely offer themselves to the devotees seeking their help or are in need.

What is Sufi Movement?

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. The Sufi Movement concerned itself primarily with establishing disciplined and simplistic ways of life.

  • The word “Sufi” is derived from the Arabic root denoting “woollen cloak”.
  • Sufism is one of the ideologies of Islam and instructs that Allah is a personal God Allah who values every individual, and adores Muslims above all other religions.


Key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement

The key Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movement is that while the Bhakti movement aims to achieve social reforms through devotion to deities, Sufism is directed inwards into self-reform.

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