Western studies of Islam have paid relatively little attention to love. Early scholars
were heirs to a long history of European animosity toward this upstart religion and tended to
assume that love was a Christian monopoly. When Muslim writing on love did come to their
attention, they typically considered it peripheral or borrowed, often by classifying it as “Sufi.”
As Carl Ernst explains, “The term Sufi-ism was invented at the end of the eighteenth century, as
an appropriation of those portions of ‘Oriental’ culture that Europeans found attractive.