Sufism is the mystic interpretation of Islamic life within the bonds of religious orthodoxy. It stressed the mystical union of human with god.
The Sufis had risen in Islam at a very early stage. Most of them were person of deep devotion who were disgusted by the vulgar display of wealth and degeneration of morals following the establishment of the Islamic empire. Hence these saints wanted to have nothing to do with the state. Some of the early saints laid great emphasis on love as the bond between God and the individual soul. This approach often led them into conflict with the orthodox elements.
The Sufis were organized in 12 orders called Silsilahs. The Silsilahs were generally led by a prominent saint ,who along with his disciples, lived in a hospice called khanqah. The link between the teacher and his disciples was a vital part of the Sufi system. This style of organization and some of their practices such as penance, fasting and holding the breath can be traced to the Hindu yogic and Buddhist influence.
The Sufi orders are broadly divided into two: Ba-shara that is , those which followed the Islamic Law (shara) and be-shara, that is those which were not bound by it. Both types of orders prevailed in India, the latter being followed more by wandering saints.