Islamic mysticism has always played an important role in the development and spread of the Islamic faith. In the Western orientalist tradition, however, Islamic mysticism has often been perceived as distinct from Islam. This understanding is expressed in the concept of “Sufism”, which suggests that Islamic mysticism would differ significantly from “orthodox” Islamic practice and belief. From the perspective of the founders of European Islamic Studies (e.g. I. Goldziher, C.H. Becker, S. Hougronje), Sufism served the function of closing the gap between Islamic law, theology and individual piety and was labelled as being secondary to the development of the Islamic mainstream.