It is a custom in some quarters to represent Mohammadan mysticism as merely a late importation into Islam, and an altogether alien element in it. But however much later Islamic mysticism may have derived from Christian, Neo-platonic, and Buddhist sources, there is little doubt that the roots of mysticism are to be found in the Koran itself.
rd us a deep insight into the remarkable character of the period. From them we gather with certainty that the division of Sufism into two classes, one orthodox and outwardly conforming to Islam, and the other free-thinking and pantheistic, was already an accomplished fact before Ghazzali's time. We recognise also that the latter kind of Sufism was very popular among the lowest classes of the people and even among the agricultural population. The fundamental characteristic of mysticism, the striving after the knowledge of God by way of ecstatic intuition, had already come into open conflict with the fundamental principles of Islam. "Mystical love to God" was the catchword which brought people to plunge into ecstatic reverie, and by complete immersion in contemplation to lose their personality, and by this self-annihilation to be absorbed in God. The simple ascetic character of the ancient Arabian Sufism was continually counteracted by the element of passive contemplation which was entirely foreign to the Arab
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