Sufism is often, willfully or otherwise, referred to by Sufis themselves, or by orientalists, as “Islamic mysticism”, in order to give the impression that Islam is either wholly or partly an esoteric religion, with a set of dogmatic rituals to be understood by the elite alone-in this clase, the Sufis! Unfortunately, the lack of any sound critical analysis of the subject in the English language allows these orientalists to flood the English and North American book market with literature that stands unchallenged and dupes naive Muslims into believing that true salvation can only be attained by pursuing a mystical order. Their vain goal strips Islam of its Universality.
True Muslims should be content with the name “Muslims given to them by Almighty Allah as he says:
“He has chosen you (to conform to His religion) and has imposed no difficulty upon you in religion, the religion of your father Ibrahim. He named you ‘Muslims’ both before (in the preceding Divine Scriptures) and in this Book.” (22.78)
Ibn Kathir elaborated on this verse, saying:
“Allah has chosen the Muslims, honoured them, and distinguished them exclusively of other nations by the most honourable Messenger and the most perfect religion, and He has not overburdened them with more than they can bear.”(12)
If Sufis insist that they are Muslims, then what is the sense of identifying themselves with Sufism rather than with Islam. The word “Sufism” was not familiar to those who lived in the first and the best three generations of as-Salaf as-Salih (the pious predecessors) who were commanded by Allah the Exalted and His Messenger (PBH)