Contents: Introduction. 1. The Sufi teaching. 2. The Sufi saints and orders. 3. Fundamental beliefs. 4. Growth and evolution. 5. Philosophy and practice. Bibliography.
"Exploding the fanaticism of religions, the Sufis came with their message of love, accommodation and truth. Originating as a reaction against Islamic bigotry and persecution by the Arab Muslems, particularly the Abbasi Caliphs, they gradually spread all over the world. Unfortunately, some writers have been loath to recognize Sufism's broad mindedness and are inclined to squeeze into the narrow crevices of fanaticism and in the process to negate its effinity to ascetism, neo-platonism, Vedanta and Vaishnavism. It is often forgotten that Sufism is neither a religion, nor a specific belief, nor a school of thought. It is more a way of life, and a teaching which is essentially spiritual and aimed at discovering the real nature of the soul. All persons, whatever religion or belief they belong to, are candidates for the Sufi teaching, provided they have complete faith in the teacher and have been able to conquer their egos. This study of Sufism endeavours to place it in its proper perspective as a universal doctrine open to all who are spiritually ripe to receive it." (jacket)