In today’s world of New Age culture, in which people of a diversity of backgrounds lay claim to certain religious and moral affinities beyond their own upbrining, it becomes more and more difficult to understand the context and history of the more esoteric religious rituals and belief systems. Sufism, for example, has been adopted by the modern spiritual world, with little regard for its origin. In this video, Sonima’s founder, Sonia Jones, sits with Shankar Nair, Ph.D., an assistant professor of religious studies at University of Virginia, to understand the origin of Sufism and how it relates to New Age culture.

Related: What is Sufism?

From Nair’s perspective, it is the colonial notion that Islam is a dry, legalistic religion, that has led so many moderns to see Sufism, which is so deeply spiritual, as a separate strand of religiosity. Watch the video above to understand more about the intimate relationship between Sufism and Islam.