A Khanqah, Khaniqah (also transliterated as Khanqa, and Khaneqa Persian: خانگاه Khanegah and خانقاه Khaneghah), ribat, zawiya, or tekke is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa, and is a place for spiritual retreat and character reformation. In the past, and to a lesser extent nowadays, they often served as hospices for Sufi travelers (salik) and Islamic students (talib). Khanqahs are very often found adjoined to Dargahs (shrine of a Sufi saint), mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools). They are found throughout the Persian-influenced Islamic world, especially Iran, Central Asia and South Asia.
In the Arab world, especially North Africa, similar buildings are also found, which are known in Arabic as a zawiya or zaouia (Arabic: زاوية zāwiya). In Turkey and other formerly Ottoman areas like Albania and Bosnia, similar buildings are called locally tekke or tekye (تكيه takiyah). In South Asia, the words Khanqah and Dargah are used interchangeably for the Sufi shrines.
It is not at all clear when Sufism emerged as a movement within Islam, or when the first khanqah was built. Sufis themselves trace their movement back to Muhammad; academic historians argue for later dates.
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