Sufism is generally
understood by scholars to be the inner or mystical dimension of Islam. A
practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a Sūfī (Arabic: صُوفِيّ), though some senior
members of the tradition reserve this term for those practitioners who have attained the goals of the
Sufi tradition. Another common denomination is the word Dervish (derived from Persian: درویش - darwīš).
Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq, a 15th century Shadhili Sufi master, wrote in his major work "The Principles of Sufism" (Qawa`id al-Tasawwuf) that:
“ [Sufism is] a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else
but God. ”
Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ajiba, a famous Moroccan Sufi in the Darqawi lineage, defined Sufism as:
“ a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one’s inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits. ”
Sufi Orders or Sufi Brotherhoods are traditionally known as Tariqa. They may be associated with Sunni Islam or Shia Islam, though the major ones, such as the Qādirī and Naqšhbandī orders, are associated with traditional Sunni Islam and are accepted by the majority of 'folk Muslims'.