Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that emphasizes the inward spiritual dimension of the faith. Its origins can be traced back to the early years of Islam, when Muslim scholars and mystics began to develop a more esoteric and spiritual approach to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. However, Sufism as a distinct movement began to emerge in the 9th and 10th centuries, during the Islamic Golden Age.
During this period, Sufism began to take on a more organized and institutionalized form, with the development of Sufi orders, or tariqas. These orders were led by a sheikh, or spiritual master, and included followers and disciples who were committed to a life of spiritual discipline and devotion. The first Sufi order to be established was the Qadiriyya, founded by the Sufi master Abdul-Qadir Gilani in the 12th century. Other notable Sufi orders that emerged during this period include the Naqshbandiyya, the Chishtiyya, and the Shadhiliyya.
Sufism continued to develop and spread throughout the Muslim world during the medieval period and beyond, with many Sufi orders establishing themselves as important centers of learning, spirituality, and culture. Sufism has had a profound influence on Islamic art, music, and literature, and has also played an important role in spreading Islam to non-Muslim communities. Today, Sufism remains a vibrant and influential aspect of Islamic spirituality, with millions of followers and practitioners around the world.