Revisioning Sufism Part 2: How the norm shifted

The first article of this series explained how ‘Sufism’ isn’t a ‘separate branch’ at all (as is often claimed), but is in fact a very central aspect of the broader Islamic tradition and why it should rather be seen as ‘normative Islam’. Sadly enough however, one cannot deny the fact that the varied mystical expressions of Islam were far more prominently present before than they are today and once can easily notice a strong opposition towards ‘Sufism’ in many Islamic environments.

The typical portrayal of Islam also makes it seem as if this trend has always existed. Yet a thorough analysis of the aversion towards Sufism makes it abundantly clear that we are dealing with a very modern phenomenon since the suppression of ‘Sufism’ is closely linked to the ideological developments of the last century and a half. More specifically, it’s connected with the rise of Salafism and petro-Islam.