The urge toward mysticism – the urge to experience a dimension beyond the material world, to know and return to the Essence or Truth – is inherent within every person, irrespective of his or her religion. Individuals are imbued with this tendency to differing degrees. Some are endowed with it in quantity; others, only in a small amount. Some people have a chance to develop and translate it into their daily lives, while others do not. Nonetheless, this tendency is present in every human being. Sufism (or tasawwuf) is but a natural response to this very ancient human urge.
What exactly is Sufism? If Sufism is defined as mysticism or the way of the mystic, then its message addresses all people, not just the followers of one religion. Every faith has its own Sufism. In every nation and community there have been Sufis, although they have taken different names and adopted varying practices.
The human being comprises not only a body of flesh, but another aspect, commonly referred to as “I” or “the self (described in Sufi terms as nafs). Mystical experience activates the “I.” Like an electrical current, it runs through an individual, bringing forth untapped potentials. With the activation of self comes a certain degree of consciousness and insight. A person starts to sense that his or her “I” reflects another “I” – the “I” of Truth.