Sufi is the name which is given, and has formerly been given, to the perfect saints
and spiritaul adepts. One of the Shaikhs says: Man saffahu 'l-hubb fa-huwa sa'f
wa-man saffahu 'l-habib fa-huwa Suffiyy-un, " he that is purifies by love is pure
and he that is absorbed in the Beloved and has abandoned all else is a Sufi ."
The name has no derivation answering to etymological requirements, inasmuch as
Sufiism is too exalted to have any genus from which it might be derived; for the
derivation of one thing from another demands homogeneity (mujanasat).
All that exists is the opposite of purity (safa') and things are not derived from their
opposites. To Sufis the meaning of Sufiism is clearer than the sun and does not need
any explanation or indication.
The perfect, then, among them are called Sufi, and the inferior aspirants (taliban)
among them are called Mutasawwif; for tasawwuf belongs to the form of tafa'ul,
which implies 'taking trouble' (takalluf), and is the branch of the original root. The
difference both in meaning and in etymology is evident. Purity (safa) is a saintship with a sign and a relation (riwayat), and Sufiism (tasawwuf ) is an uncomplaining
imitation of purity (hikayat-un lil -safa bila shikayat).
Purity then is a resplendent and menifest idea, and sufiism is an imitation of that idea
Its followers in this degree are of three kinds: the Suf i, the Mutasawwif, and the mustaswif..
The Sufi is he who is dead of self and living by the truth; he has escaped from the
grip of human faculties and has really attained (to God). The Mutasawwif is he that seeks to reach this rank by means of self-mortification (mujhahadat) and in his search
rectifies his conduct in accordance the sufis example. The Mustaswif is he that makes himself like sufis for the sake of money and wealth and power and worldly advantages, but has no knowledge of these two things (purity (safa) and suffiism (tasawwuf ) ).
Therefore, Sufi is a man of union ( sahib wusul), the mutsawwif a man of principles
(sahib ussul ), and the Mustaswif a man of superfluities (sahib fudul)
is the reality of his state, i.e. he says nothing which he is not, and when he is silent his conduct explains his state, and his state proclaims that he has cut all wordly ties;" i.e. all that he says is based on a sound principle and all that he does is pure detachment from the world (tajrid ); when he speaks his speech is entirely the Truth, and when he is silent his actions are wholly "poverty" (faqr).