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The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography

The historiography studies are significant for understanding the nation’s values and beliefs during a certain period. That is why the analysis of Sumism’s origins was provoked by the need to research the religion and culture of European colonists to realize the primary aspects of the land’s governing. Overall, the review focuses on the concepts and notions presented in Sufism and their influence on the followers.

To begin with, the overview of Islamic mysticism is based on previous research to apply the ideas of most prominent historians when concluding the future of Sufism. Thus, the authors analyze the literature of the precolonial period to portray key points of Sufism’s traditions (Khalil and Sheikh, 2016). The review of Tholuck’s and Nicholson’s ideas assists the authors in determining the influence of power and race on the development of Sufism and its further relation to Islam (Khalil and Sheikh, 2016). However, Khalil and Sheikh (2016) conclude that Sufism had its roots in Islam, and its development was dependent purely on the changes in the latter despite the controversial pieces that considered such relation wrong. Overall, the authors mainly focus on analyzing the literature to locate the key ideas that were not influenced by the lack of information at the time and indeed share scientific evidence.

The overview’s introduction includes the statements of myths regarding the emergence and development of Sufism that require further research. Khalil and Sheikh (2016) mention the controversy around the relation of Sufism with pure Islam as the main aim of this piece. Still, the study also focuses on the significance of colonialism’s power and concepts on the emergence of Sufism as a whole separate religion that people followed. Nevertheless, the thesis is not based on assumptions and presents the need of investigating the origins of Sufism to conclude whether the controversy concerning this religion was reasonable or not.

The analysis of Sufism’s roots and notions is not feasible without adequately investigating the power and race of European colonialism. Therefore, the authors respond to the theories on race, focusing on a broad cultural variety that led to Sufism being “largely the product of foreign influences—Neoplatonic, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist” (Khalil and Sheikh, 2016, p. 200). Besides, Khalil and Sheikh (2016) show that the lack of sources and information led to the writers not understanding that the “mystical tradition of Islam grew primarily out of its own rich and fertile soil” (p. 203). That is why the primary overview’s strength is that Khalil and Sheikh (2016) while analyzing the works of the precolonial period, do not make assumptions concerning Sufism and base their statements on the evidence. However, the abundance of researched literature makes it challenging to familiarize yourself with all the different authors’ ideas and concepts.

To conclude, even though the work is purely focused on the translated pieces and studies concerning the development of Sufism, the reader might be left wondering about the exact details of the religion’s emergence. Moreover, the cultural nature of the traditions is not thoroughly portrayed in the piece, which encourages the individual interpretation of Sufism’s ideas concerning Islam. Still, the overview is full of various opinions of the most prominent figures of the precolonial period, which assists readers in understanding the complexity of the religion’s history and its influence on the believers.

Work Cited

Khalil, Atif, and Shiraz Sheikh. “Sufism in Western Historiography: A Brief Overview.” Philosophy East and West, vol. 66, no. 1, 2016, pp. 194–217. Crossref.

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StudyKraken. (2023, January 14). The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography. Retrieved from


StudyKraken. (2023, January 14). The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography.

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"The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography." StudyKraken, 14 Jan. 2023,

1. StudyKraken. "The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography." January 14, 2023.


StudyKraken. "The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography." January 14, 2023.


StudyKraken. 2023. "The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography." January 14, 2023.


StudyKraken. (2023) 'The Concept of Sufism in Western Historiography'. 14 January.

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