Until only a few years ago, as literary people, psychologists and the increasing number of those engaged in studying human consciousness now so often remind us, Sufism was a closed book for the ordinary person. Its language, in the form found in its classical and technical writings, seemed almost impenetrable. Orientalists (now more correctly renamed Specialists in the Human Sciences in Asia and Africa) maintained a near-monopoly of information on the subject and yet could be found extensively disagreeing as to what Sufism was, how and where it started, and what its teachings meant. Some Islamic workers were against it; others claimed it as the true essence of Islam. Some non-Muslim observers were powerfully attracted to it, others found it too culturebound for their liking.