Some western scholars have claimed that the origins of Sufismare to be found in the Qur’an and the Sunna, but they expressthemselves with numerous reservations, and suggest that in any eventsubsequent events took Sufism far from its primitive roots.
In theIslamic world itself, various misconceptions of Sufism have also gainedpopularity in recent years. As for the Arab world, the view of Sufism as“a harmful and repugnant excrescence”
on the body of Islam, as it isregarded by the
continue to exercise itsinfluence. The existence of Sufi orders throughout the Islamic worlduntil the present time however, serves as a witness to the popularity of Sufism. Its historical role, during more than five centuries of the Islamicera, indicates an organic relationship with the social, spiritual andintellectual life of the whole Muslim community, assuring it a largemeasure of unity, continuity, and vitality.
Sufism, since its growth in the central Islamic lands in the eighthcentury until its golden age in the thirteenth, has been characterizedby individual interpretations such as those of Hasan al-Basri, Rabi‘ahal-Adawiyah, which later grew into tariqas which had their ownversions of
etc. However, the
are like lines whichextend from the circumference of a circle to the center. These lines arenumerous; however, they all will end in the center -imagine the wheelof the bicycle. The center itself is the
unite to designate them. Hence,
Hamid Algar mentions the work of A. J. Arberry, Sufism An Account of the Mystics of Islam (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1950) as an example.
Hamid Algar, “The Naqshbandi Order: A Preliminary Survey of its History andSignificance,” Studia Islamica 44 (1976): 124.
Hamid Algar,”Naqshbandi Order,” 125.