A thousand years and more ago, it was being written in the East that ‘Sufism was formerly a reality without a name: now it is a name without a reality’. In the present day, there are plenty of cults and plenty of approaches to Sufism. Some of us are interested in the reality, still, and are not greatly disturbed by the names. This is something of an advance, because it enables us to register that such-and-such a cult or group, whatever its name, is playing out a role which its members need. If it calls itself ‘Sufi’, we do not need to find much harm in that, since the advantage to the members is that they are happy, or happy in their misery, feel fulfilled or feel significance in their struggle for fulfillment.

Neglected Aspects of Sufi Studies
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