Whether they were initiates of the mysterious Brotherhood or not, the Prophet and his immediate companions were not without a tinge of asceticism. These disciples had inherited the Prophet’s contempt for worldly things, and their dress was peculiarly typical of the simplicity of life and avoidance of ostentation and luxury enjoined by Him. One can gather from Masudi’s accounts of the orthodox Caliphs that some of them, notably Omar, used to wear a Jubba of wool (sūf), patched with pieces of leather, and it was on that account that the term Sufi and also its equivalent Pashminā-push (wool-wearer) came to be applied in later times to the regular ascetics of Arabia whose distinctive badge was the same patched sack-cloth.

Nay, more; we have it on good authority that it was during the lifetime of the Prophet and under his own eyes that certain spiritual orders were established by Abu Bakr and Ali. Even the origin of the order of the Faqirs is traced to the time of Muhammad himself. It has been reported that in the first year of the Hijrah, forty-five citizens of Mecca and as many of Madina joined together to form a brotherhood. The object was spiritual as well as socialistic. Fidelity to the words of the Prophet, the daily performance of certain religious practices in a spirit of penitence and mortification, and community of property, were the main doctrines. Such a fraternity required a distinctive name and the names Faquirs and Sufis are supposed to have been adopted by them.