Sufism, or tasawwuf as it is known in the Muslim world, is Islamic mysticism which according to IBn – e-khaldun, the fourteenth century Arab historian is dedication to worship, total dedication of Allah the highest, disregard for the finery and ornament of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, wealth, and prestige sought by most men, and retiring from others to worship alone.
Through the centuries sufis contributed hugely to the spread of Islamic thought and literature beyond Muslim lands. The Supreme mission of the sufis was to preach and make the people understand Islam.
Sufism sprang up largely in reaction to the worldliness that infected Islam when its leaders became the powerful and wealthy rulers of multitudes of people and were influenced by foreign cultures. The spread of Sufism has been considered a definitive factor in the spread of Islam, and in the creation of integrally Islamic cultures, especially in Africa and Asia.
Recent academic work on these topics has focused on the role of Sufism in creating and propagating the Islamic culture and in resisting eeuropean imperialism in North Africa and propagating the Islamic culture and in resisting European imperialism in North Africa and South Asia. The mughal rulers were pretty tolerant of other beliefs and hence their reign is deemed fairly secular.
Nevertheless, Islam spread far and wide by leaps and bounds in this Era, not due to the efforts of the state but mainly because of the sufis and mystics who attracted and inspired the masses with their saintly and humane behavior.
The spread of Islam in the subcontinent is the story of untiring efforts of numerous saints and sufis who dedicated their lives to the cause of service to humanity. Along with Muslim warriors conquered these parts of the subcontinent by force, the Muslim saints identified themselves with the people, and interpreted Islam to them as a rational approach to better life in this world and hereafter.