The First Sufis. From 2nd chapter Risâla al-Qusháiri. Part One.

"You must know that among the first muslims there was nothing that could distinguish them more but the fact of having been with the Prophet (pbuh), and those who took a special mention among them were called Sahâba (companions) as they had personally met Rassulullah and had enjoyed from his company (suhba). And then, the second generation of muslims used as title of privilege for those who were best among them Tâbi‘în, Pursuers, who had recieved directly the teachings from the Sahaaba. As for the third generation, the chosen name was Tâbi‘î t-Tâbi‘în, Pursuers of the Pursuers, or Followers of the Followers, meaning those who had the teaching of the Tâbi‘în regarding Islam. And, the group of these three generations receives the name Sálaf, our ancestors in Islam.

After these three generations, Sálaf, and once Islam had expanded through the lands, sincerity and compromise of the Dîn were still very present in some, and those people were called Çuhhâd, Ascetics.

But Islam continued its expansion and started to suffer its first divisions and some parties became to follow paths that were getting far from the source of Islam, who liked to show off how many Çuhhâd were among their groups. Therefore, the people of the Sunna, started changing that word to another more according to those who followed the original teachings of Sidnâ Muhammad (pbuh) and this name , this word to designate these kind of people became Tasáwwuf, with the derived name Sûfi. Since then, it is this word the one that has continued to designate those who keep the Oneness and deffend their hearts from any kind of carelessness.

To be continued part One

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