Difference Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements

The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval India.

Sufism may be best described as a practice of asceticism, which through belief and practice helps believers attain nearness to God.

Difference Between Bhakti Movement and Sufi Movement

The Bhakti and Sufi Movements of Medieval India played a crucial role in creating a composite culture whose legacy can be seen to this day. It is one of the most commonly asked questions in the UPSC History segment. 

In this regard, this article will give details about the difference between Bhakti and Sufi Movements.

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Bhakti and Sufi Movements Differences

In the table below we have given in detail the differences between Bhakti and Sufi movements

Differences Between Bhakti and Sufi Movements

Bhakti Movement

Sufi Movement

The movement largely influenced Hindus  It was followed mainly by Muslims
The Saints of the Bhakti Movement sang Bhajans to worship Gods and Goddesses Sufi Saints sang Qawwalis – a form of music  to inspire religious devotion
The Bhakti movement has its origination in eighth-century South India The Origins of Sufism can be traced to the early days of Islam in seventh-century Arabian Peninsula
The Bhakti Movement is regarded by scholars as an influential social revival and reformation movement in Hinduism It has been misunderstood as another sect of Islam, but it is a religious order for any Islamic denomination
From its point of origins in South India, the Bhakti movement swept over East and North India from the 15th century onwards It spans many continents and cultures.
The Bhakti Movement shared direct emotional and intellection of the divine. Sufism laid emphasized on simplicity and austerity, which found many adherents due to the worldliness of medieval empires and kingdoms
Kabir Das, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nanak, Meerabai, Hasan of Basra, Amir Khusrau, Moinuddin Chishti

These were the main differences between the Bhakti and Sufi Movements. These details from this article will help the candidates to know about this topic in detail and be able to answer any related questions easily in the Civil Services Exams.

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You can know more in detail about these two movements and other topics for UPSC History by referring to the links given below:

Frequently Asked Questions about Bhakti and Sufi Movements


When did the Sufi movement come to India?

The Sufi movement came to India two centuries before the Bhakti movement and spread among the Muslims. The Chishtiya Sufi order was established in India by Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in the 12th century.

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