The Neoplatonist Roots of Sufi Philosophy
Neoplatonism strongly influenced the development of Sufism. Neoplatonism, as developed by Plotinus conceives God to be the source and goal of everything. Islam qua institution is closed to all critical and philosophical thought, but Sufism enjoys a more liberal and critical approach. It is probable that the translations of Plotinus have provided the necessary philosophical ground for Sufism. An examination of both Sufism and Neoplatonism reveals close similarities with regard to the nature of God, the soul, the body, concepts such as goodness, evil and beauty, death and life, and creation.