|False Sufis steal the words of the Sufis and present them
as their own, and thus trick people with the beautiful teachings, which
they are merely imitators of. They do not have true knowledge of that which
they are speaking. Many of the great Sufi Shuyukh speak of deceptive false
Sufis - these people take the title of "Sufi" because it gives them a certain
amount of prestige and power, and they take advantage of those who cannot
tell false Sufism from the real thing.
On the topic of false Sufis, Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi says:
A disciple who is trained by a man of God will have a pure and purified spirit. But he who is trained by an imposter and hypocrite and who learns theory from him will be just like him: despicable, weak, incapable, morose, without any exit from uncertainties, and deficient in all his senses. "As for the unbelievers -- their protectors are idols, that bring them forth from the light into the shadows." (Qur'an 2:257).[From the "Fihi ma fihi," translated by W. C. Chittick in "The Sufi Path of Love: the Spiritual Teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi," p. 145]
Furthermore, on the topic of false Sufis and the harm they do, Jalaluddin Rumi says (in poetry):
You are the disciple and guest of someone who in his vileness will steal away all your attainments.[From the Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi, Book I, vv. 2265-68, 72-76, translated by W. C. Chittick in "The Sufi Path of Love: the Spiritual Teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi," p. 145-6.]
(*) Bayazid refers to the great Wali Allah, Bayazid al-Bistami; Yazid refers to the oppressive ruler.
Therefore we see that a great Shaykh such as Jalaluddin Rumi warns us of the false Sufis. False Sufis may even be more prevalent today than they were in the past. We must distinguish between true Sufis, who follow the Shari`ah, and false Sufis, who often do not.