Some Soofis like to link the name to Ahlus-Suffah (people of As-Suffah) who were at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
They claim that there are great resemblances between the Soofee adept and Ahlu-Suffa. Those were poor people from the Muhaajireen who migrated from Makkah to al-Madeenah fleeing the persecution of the pagan Arabs. They were driven away from their homes and had neither money nor families, nor a place to stay. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and the companions (radhi Allaahu anhum) assisted them and he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) allowed them to stay in a courtyard by his Mosque.
The fact, however, is that those poor Muslims resorted to the Mosque out of necessity. Their numbers increased at certain times and decreased at other times. Some of them stayed longer than others. So they were not a specific group united on something.
Soofism in its early stages stressed the concepts of detachment from the worldly life, poverty, isolation, etc. The people of As-Suffah did not choose such concepts. They were in need and the Muslims helped them. They did not isolate themselves. In fact, they engaged in Jihaad whenever it was announced. When Allaah, the Most High, bestowed from His bounties upon the Muslims, some of them became free of want and were among the richest of the Sahaabah and others became leaders in some Muslim lands.
The Soofis would like to establish a linkage with the Prophet’s era and claim as well that he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) approved the early seed of Soofism exemplified in Ahlus-Suffah.
In addition, and from a linguistic point of view, to derive Soofism from As-Suffah is wrong, because the correct term would be Suffism and not Soofism
Posted from e-Book : Sufism : Origin and Development – Dr. Saleh As-Saleh