The dark side of Sufism

(Re-visioning Sufism - part 3) - The typical modern dichotomy of ‘religion’ vs. ‘mysticism’ is utterly useless to describe Islamic mysticism for what is generally called ‘Sufism’ is, in fact, a rather ‘normative’ form of the Islamic tradition. This norm only gradually started shifting because of modernist influences and contemporary geopolitics. However, acknowledging these facts doesn’t imply that one should get carried away by yet another modernist assumption when trying to understand the place of mysticism within Islam. That is to say, apart from mistakenly seeing ‘Sufism’ as a ‘marginal’ form of Islam, many a Westerner also mistakenly sees it as something that solely has to do with ‘love, peace and music’. Yet exactly because Islamic mysticism is so widespread and manifests itself in various ways, it would be all too surprising if we couldn’t find a couple of dark sides as well.