Photos & Words: Salina Christmas
The Sufis were followers of tasawwuf. This is a movement much credited for the flourishing of arts and literature in the Islamic world.
Because arts and literature are easily understood by the common mind, tasawwuf had been a successful vehicle in converting many to Islam.
But, its rather imaginative poetic license was also condemned by hardliners for allegedly encouraging Muslims to swap rationale with intuition.
"Tasawwuf was a movement of both great good and great evil in the history of Islamic civilisation," wrote Dr Ismail Faruqi in The Cultural Atlas of Islam.