Ibn Khaldun (d. 808) on Tasawwuf
Ibn Khaldun said in his famous Muqaddima:
Tasawwuf is one of the latter-day sciences of the Law in the Islamic Community. The foundation of tasawwuf, however, is (more ancient, as seen in the fact) that these folk and their way have always been present among the Salaf and among the most senior of the Companions and the Successors, and their way is the way of truth and guidance.
The foundation of the way of the Sufis is self-restraint in the world and utter dependence on Allah; shunning of the adornment and beauty of the world; self-deprivation of pleasure, money, and title in the manner agreed upon by the vast majority of the scholars; and isolation from creatures in seclusion and devotion to worship.
All these aspects were widespread among the Companions and the Salaf, but with the pervasiveness of worldliness in the second century and the next, and the general inclination of the people towards the world, those who remained attached to worship became know under the name of Sufis.1
Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America