As Sufism developed, larger Islamic philosophical and theological questions shaped its thought and practice.
Schisms and Sects
Sufism is not divided into sects, but into "paths" or tariqas. Each tariqa has its own founding or eponymous teacher, or shaykh. Pupils of a tariqa incorporate specific practices unique to each path.
Missions and Expansion
After early developments in what becomes modern-day Iran, Sufism spread and manifested in different ways throughout the Islamic world, especially in South Asia.
Exploration and Conquest
Sufism has been opposed since its inception, in spite of its enduring appeal and broad base of adherents. At times labeled heretical or simply extremist, each age has had its own Sufis and anti-Sufis.
Today, Sufism has more adherents than ever before, and it continues to grow.