This, then, was the heritage left behind them in Persia by the seven sages of Greece. There is little doubt that the seeds of the later philosophic doctrines of Sufism were sown in Persia during the Sasanian period. Unfortunately, the sacred books of the ancient Persians were destroyed after the conquest of Persia by the Arabs. It is, therefore, impossible to say in what precise form Zoroastrian philosophical ideas emerged from the mint of Neo-Platonism and what influence they directly exercised on the Sufis. It is probable that not much of that philosophic lore had survived the shocks of time, otherwise the theosophy of the early Sufis would have been impreg­nated with it. As a matter of fact, it is only after the Arab scholars had gained their first knowledge of Greek philosophy from the works of the Neo-Platonists, and philosophers such as Farabi, Ghazali, Ibn Rushd and Ibn Sina had popularised Neo-Platonic metaphysics, that these metaphysical ideas permeated the philosophy of the Sufis. Neverthless, Pincott, in Hughes’ “Dictionary of Islam,” traces the source of Sufism to Zoroastrianism. In his interesting article on the religion of the Sikhs, he observes: “Sufism is not, as Dr. Trumpp supposes, due to Hindu Pantheism, for it arose in the very earliest days of Muhammadanism, and is almost certainly due to the influence of Persian Zoroastrianism on the faith of Arab Islamism.” We cannot, however, be so dogmatic on this point without any corroborative evidence as to the identity of the ideas underlying the two systems. As a matter of fact, we do not see any very striking correspondence. No doubt, we may discern the influence of the Zoroastrian ideas of good and evil in the teachings of those Sufis who believed that the diversity of phenomena arose from the admixture of light and darkness. Maulana Rumi elaborates this idea, but even here we do not find any reference to that struggle between Spento Mainyush and Angre Mainyush, which forms the key-note of the Zoroastrian faith.

All, then, that can be said with certainty is that the sacred stream of Sufism originated in the silver springs of the Sufi’s own motherland. In its wanderings it embraced the Neo-Platonic rivulet, the last branch of Greek philosophy which sought to reconcile the Platonic and the Aristotelian systems with the early Oriental philosophy. Here it imbibed also a tincture of the mystical element of Christian Gnosticism. Its starting point, however, was the confluence of Zoroastrianism and Islam.