The origins of Sufism are hotly debated. The mists of time have all but covered up the tracks leading to the first Sufis. Perhaps this is because Sufism is renewed with each wave of divine revelation that flows through the world.
From the ancient Egyptians and beyond into pre-history right up to the modern day, Sufi practitioners have been present. Their creeds and traditions have varied enormously, but their search for connection with the force at the centre of existence has remained the same.
Typically today however, Sufism is most commonly associated with Islamic mysticism. Today's Sufis trace their heritage back to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, and his companions. From these great men sprang a font of wisdom and knowledge that has been passed down chains of direct, personal transmission called silsila.
Sufism survives today in a variety of orders or tariqa, commonly known by names connecting them to their founders.