Please describe the concept in Soofism. Who originated the concept?
Soofism may be called Islamic mysticism, though I prefer to use “mislamic” mysticism. The other term used to refer to mysticism is esotericism. Esotericism actually means the inner while exotericism the outer. We are going to see that the concept of Soofism has to do with the inner; the inner meaning the inner thoughts or the inner understanding.
Before going into how this evolved within the Islamic concept, it is important for us to understand “What is mysticism?”, “Where does it come from?”.
Mysticism is defined as an experience of union with God – becoming one with God, and the belief that man’s main goal lies in seeking that union – the union with God. The term mysticism comes from the Greek word mystiz, which means one who has been initiated into the mysteries.
Esotericism, is said, came from mysticism. It comes from the Greek word mystiz meaning one initiated into the mysteries. The term is derived from the Greek mystery religion whose initiate bore the name mystiz. The Greek mystery religions had the same ideas - secret initiation rites, secret teachings and understanding, etc. Those who were new members were given the title of mystiz. This is where mysticism comes from.
In terms of the Greek philosophers, you find the concept of mysticism well placed. If you read back in Plato’s Symposium, he speaks of various ladders of ascend, composed of steep and hard steps whereby a union of the soul with God is finally attained. This is in the writings of Plato. There are certain Greek philosophers who did not believe that, because their belief was in the typical mythology of Greek. There were others who rejected the mythology, some of them denied even the existence of God. However, then you have a few amongst them who believed in that One God, and they interpreted it in a different way. Plato spoke of this process of man ascending spiritually until he links up with God.
This concept of union with God can also be found in Hinduism. The human soul called Atman is believed to link up with the Divine Soul Brahman at the end of the cycles of rebirth. When a person is reincarnated (going up and up and up gradually), and if he is good in this life, he goes up until in the last level, and when he dies finally, he is not reborn again but he links up with the world soul, Brahman.< Back to Questions