This is not unfamiliar music to the ears of the Christian mystics. In this respect, it is curious to note the similarities between Sufism and other philosophic or religious trends. Originally, Sufism was influenced by Pythagorean thought and by the Zoroastrian religion of Persia. The Sufi initiation rite , which opens up the possibility of a spiritual rebirth, is not entirely unlike Christian baptism and one could even identify some Buddhist echos in the Sufic formula " man is non-existent before God ".
There is the same diversity and the same imagination in the spiritual techniques of Sufism. The search for God through symbolism, in the case of some Sufis, passes through music or dance which, they believe, transcends thought. This was practised by Djalal ed din Roumi, according to Mevlana, the founder of the whirling dervishes. In the case of other Sufis, symbolism is an intellectual exercice in which one meditates on the numerical value of letters as the Cabbalistic Jews do. Sometimes also, it is through an endless repetition of the invocation of the names of God that the Sufi seeks union with Him.