|It tries to use
the forces of the world for spiritual purposes rather than to renounce them for the
spiritual life. Islam was originally a revolt against the rule of priests and monks, a
sort of religion of ordinary people, and Sufi mysticism follows this trend. Sufis usually
have families and work in the world. Great Sufis have been perfumers, poets,
calligraphers, merchants, and even generals, but seldom ascetics and not monks.
One common Sufi quote is that Mohammed said that there will be no mockery in Islam. While
Islam and Sufism have glorified the conquests of generals and taken soldiers into their
ranks, they have criticized the practices of monks. Built into Islam and to Sufism based
upon it is a spiritual approach active in the world and seeking to convert the world to
Hence Sufi mysticism has often turned
into militancy or missionary activity. In this regard it may emphasize social activity and
group work over individual spiritual practice. However,
that Sufism is not usually another form of yogic spirituality does not mean that it has no
value. The Sufis possess a great and beautiful literature and much occult and spiritual
knowledge, including much they have retained from the pre-Islamic period.