IN THE TIME OF THE PROPHET,
TASAWWUF WAS A REALITY WITHOUT A NAME,
TODAY TASAWWUF IS A NAME, BUT FEW KNOW ITS REALITY
Importance of a good Shaykh By Sayyidina Ghawth al-A'zam
Shariah and Tariqat By AlaHadrat Shah Imam Ahmad Raza Khan
Sufism Myth or Mysticsm ?
The Way of Islamic Tassawuf By Dr Ahmad Shafaat
Tasawwuf By Shaykh Hisham Kibbani
Also visit our page on the Awliya-Allah
Visit our NEW sister website : World of Tasawwuf 12th Dec 06
You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice [`ulama `ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.
Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak`atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Prophet has said:
Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Prophet has said:
When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da`in mujab].
Supplication [da`wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.
The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du`a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
O' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your Company under all circumstances
[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta`at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
- Ghawth al-A'zam As-Sayyad Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (Radi Allahu anhu), "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
edited by a brother
Revealed Law and Observance/Rule (Shariah and Tariqah
by Imam al Ahl as-Sunnat A'la Hadrat Shah Imam Ahmad Raza Khan
(Radi Allahu anhu)
Shariah and Tariqah (Revealed law and Observance) are not two different or opposite things. Without obeying the Shariah (Revealed Law) one cannot approach Allah. Revealed law is the collection of all the commands concerning body and soul, the spirit and heart, all the divine science and the infinite knowledge. A part of Shariah (Revealed law) is called Tariqah. It possesses cognizance so unanimously that it is conclusive and final. So all the actions and performances of the saints have to be judged in accordance with the divine Shariah (Revealed law). If they are perfectly in accordance with the said law then they are true and acceptable, otherwise they are condemnable and unacceptable.
So necessarily the absolute Shariah (revealed law) is a must. It is the centre and the orbit. It is the only standard and in fact a touch stone to test the truth and the falsehood. Shariah means the path and the Shariat-e-Muhammadia means the path followed by the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa Sallam), and it is absolutely popular and universal and is not limited to few commands relating to physical existence of body. This is the path which is prayed for five times (in every prayer (Namaaz/Salaat) in its every "rakat" (part of Namaaz) saying "(Oh Allah) lead us to the straight path". This path is the path of steadiness and of the uprightness. It is the path of the Most Beloved Prophet Hadrat Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), We pray Allah to establish us firmly on this path.
Similarly Tariqah is also a path, it does not mean an approach. So if Tariqah would have been a different path from Shariah then it may not help us in approaching Allah and on the other hand it may lead us to Satan. He latter may carry us to the Hell instead of Paradise, because except the Shariah (revealed law) all other paths are false and condemnable according to Qur'an al-kareem. There is no crime if we believe that Tariqah is the same path as that of Shariah and that in fact it is a lustrous part of the latter, which can not be separate from it in any case.
One who regards Tariqah (Observance) to be separated from Shariah (Revealed law) then he regards the former to be a separate path or the path of Iblis (Allah forbid it).
Tariqah (Observance) is absolutely the path of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) and not the path of Iblis. Any individual who performs many austerities and religious exercises and also sacred endeavors cannot attain such rank or status that he can be exempted from the commands and prohibitions of the Shariah and he is not free to behave like a horse let loose from reins or a camel without bridle. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) reveals in the Qur'an al-kareem : "No doubt on this straight path meets my Rab (Raiser)" from the beginning of the Ruku (Section) Allah addresses the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), saying "And that this is my straight path (Shariah) so follow it and accept it do not follow any other paths for they will separate you from the way of Allah." Thus the Qur'an al-kareem has clearly stated that Shariah (Revealed law) is the only path of which the final destination is Allah. One who follows it he advances unto Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala). Except this path one that follows any other path will be dragged away from the path of Allah.
Whatever is disclosed in Tariqah (Observance) it is the grace of obeying the Shariah. Otherwise without following the Shariah also great disclosures were made to people like hermits and jog’s (ascetics/yoga devotees) and Sannyasis (Brahmins of fourth order/religious mendicants). But all these disclosures lead them to Hell and they deserve the painful torment.
On the other hand Sufi (Muslim abstemious devotee) who controls his wishes and desires according to the Shariah (Revealed Law) and is never swept away by self-desires nor falls prey to the lust of life and lasciviousness, he never disregards the Shariah.
Remember that Shariah is food and Tariqah is energy. If one stops to consume food then he is bound to suffer the loss of energy. The Shariah is like a mirror and Tariqah is the power of sight. If one damages his power of sight by destroying his eyes then he loses his power of sight. Any contradiction to this belief may not be acceptable by common sense. If the compliance of Shariah would not have been compulsory or if it could have been neglected or set aside optionally then the Sayyad of Worlds Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), and Hadrat Ali (Radi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anhu) (Allah's favours be bestowed on his face) would have regarded to be right to leave or discard Shariah.
Absolutely not. Appearance to the contrary as the degree of nearness to Allah increases the reins of Shariah are held more tightly. The good deeds of the righteous people happen to be greater in number than the common people. The people who enjoy supreme and exalted ranks in the presence of Allah are bound to perform many good deeds. The Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), used to offer voluntary prayers (Nafil Namaaz) for the whole night and used to be sorry and always shed tears in the interest of welfare of Muslims Ummah. The daily five time prayers Namaz) was obligatory for the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), like any other but in addition to those prayer the pre-dawn prayer (Tahajjud) was also made obligatory for his whereas this prayer is only a Sunnat (Tradition of Prophet) for the Ummat.
When Sayyad of the Taifa (party) Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi (Radi Allahu 'Anhu), was asked about some people who were proud of the fact that by following command of Shariah they had become Joined" (Wasil) and they did not need Shariah any more, then he replied "They are telling the truth they have become Wasil (Joined) but unto What ? unto Hell."
"The thieves and adulterers are better than the people of such faith. If I live for a thousand years I shall neither reduce any obligation and Wajibats (expedients) nor shall I without any excuse of Shariah reduce the number of Nawafil (supplementary prayers) and Musta-habat (preferable religious acts) which I have fixed for myself. So, for the people all other ways except the way of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), are closed.
One who does not follow the way of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), then he can never reach his destination.
It should be borne in mind that the disrespect or contempt of Shariah tantamount to infidelity. Those who reproach and use abusive language against the scholars of the religion then they are bound to be disgraced and humiliated in Hereafter. Those who go out of the circle (Jurisdiction) of Shariah they actually commit disobedience of Allah.
On the other hand a Sufi (abstemious Muslim devotee) is in fact righteous and truthful in his action therefore an upright Sunni Muslim who follows the true faith following the commands of Allah and His Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam), always believe that the scholars of the manifest. Shariah are the heirs of the Last of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), and that they are the flag bearers of the troops of religion and are guardians and custodians of the Science of Shariah.
So they regard that paying respect to the scholars is in fact like honoring the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), which is the real orbit of religion. So those who behave humbly and respectfully with the upright righteous and people fond of Allah are in the refuge of Allah and they are Knowers of Allah. Those who regard the scholars of religion to be eminent and superior to themselves and to be free from the worldly vices if by chance they find something in the scholars which is repugnant to Shariah then they should broad mindedly over look such errors and leave them to Allah so that He sets them right. It is the only way open to the true followers of Sunni faith in the aforesaid circumstances.
Oh Allah Guide all of us and make us steadfast and firm in our faith and make us to part from this world being the perfect followers of the truthful articles of faith. Amin O' the Merciful of the Merciful.
Oh Allah all praise is for you and unto you we look for help and there is no power nor any force except you, you are Allah the exalted and the greatest. Let greetings of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) be unto His Most Beloved friend Sayyidina Rasulullah Hadrat Muhammad Mustafa (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam), and unto his pious members of household and unto his purified companions collectively.
Myth Or Mysticism ?
With more and more interest being shown in Sufism by Muslims and non Muslims alike, we investigate whether or not Sufism is part and parcel of Islam or a Myth introduced by outsiders into Islam to corrupt Islamic beliefs. One thing is for certain that the term 'Sufism' did not exist in the time of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) or during the time of the first Khaliphs but it was used during the period of the four great Imams of Madhabs. Therefore, we shall examine what the four Imams had to say about the Sufi people and their spiritual knowledge or Islamic Mysticism.
Imam Abu Hanifa (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) said "If it were not for two years, I would have perished. For two years I accompanied Jafer as-Sadiq (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) and I acquired the spiritual knowledge that made me a knower in the Way (i.e. Sufism)." [Ad-Durr Al-Mukhthar, Vol. 1, P43]
It is also mentioned in the book Ad-Durr Al-Mukhtar that Ibn Abidin said, " Abu Ali Dakkak, one of the Sufi saints, received his path from Abul Qasim an-Nasarabadi, who received it from Shibli, who received it from Sari as-Saqati, who received it from Maruf al-Kharqi, who received it from Dawud at-Tai, who received the knowledge, both the external and internal, from Imam Abu Hanifa, who supported the Sufi spiritual path."
Imam Malik (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) said, "Whoever studies jurisprudence and does not study Sufism will be corrupted. Whoever studies Sufism and does not study Jurisprudence will become a heretic. Whoever combines both will reach the truth." [Kashf Al-Khafa Wa Muzid Al-Abas, Vol. 1, P341]
Imam Shafi (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) said, " I accompanied the Sufi people and I received from them three kinds of knowledge:
1. They taught me how to speak;
2. They taught me how to treat people with leniency and a soft heart.
3. They guided me in the ways of Sufism." [Tanwir Al-Qulub, p405]
Imam Ahmed (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) advising his son said, " O my son you have to sit with the Sufis, because they are like a fountain of knowledge. They recite the remembrance of Allah in their hearts. They are ascetics and they have the most spiritual power." [Ghiza Al-Albab, Vol 1, P120]
He also said about the Sufis, "I do not know any people better than them." [Ibid]
This, then, is the opinion of the four great Imams of Madhab about the Sufis and indeed they themselves were Sufis in their own rights.
But what about the generations after the four Imams, did they accept Sufism or did they discover something objectionable about Sufism.
Imam Ghazali, (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) the 'Proof of Islam', said, " I knew it to be true that the Sufis are the seekers in Allah's Way. Their conduct is the best of conduct. Their way is the best of ways. Their manners are the most sanctified. They have purified their hearts from other than Allah and they have made them as pathways for rivers to run receiving knowledge of the Divine Presence." [Al-Munqidh Min Ad-Dalal, P131]
Imam Nawawi (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu) said, "The specification of the Ways of the Sufis are five:
1. To keep the Presence of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) in your heart in public and in private.
2. To follow the Sunnah of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) by action and speech.
3. To keep away from dependence on people.
4. To be happy with what Allah gives you, even if it is little.
5. To always refer your matters to Allah, Almighty and Exalted." [Al-Maqasid At-Tawhid, P20]
So far, all the above mentioned are Imams that the Sunni Muslims (i.e. Ahl al-Sunnat w'al Jama'at) accept, what about the opinions of the Imams of the Salafi ,Wahhabi and other non Sunni movements. What do they have to say about Sufis?
Ibn Taymiyah, who deviated from the Ahl al-Sunnat w'al Jama'at and whom the Salafis and Wahhabis take as their Imam, has said, "Sufism is the science of realities and states of experience. A Sufi is that person who purifies himself from everything which distracts him from the remembrance of Allah. [The Sufi] is so filled with knowledge of the heart and knowledge of the mind, that the value of gold and stones will be equal to him. Sufism safeguards the precious meaning and leaves behind the call of fame and vanity to reach the state of truthfulness. The best of humans after the prophets are the truthful ones, as Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) mentioned them in the Qur'an al-kareem, 'All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the company of those on whom is grace of Allah: the Prophets, the sincere lovers of truth (siddiqin), the martyrs and the righteous. Ah! what a beautiful fellowship' [4:69]...[Sufis] strive to be obedient to Allah. Among them you will find the foremost in nearness by virtue of their striving and some of them are among the People of the Right Hand.'." [Majmu Afatawa Ibn Taymiyya, Vol 10, P497] Ibn Taymiyya has praised Sufis and Sufi practices in many of his books. He himself claims to be a Sufi Shaykh of the Qadiriya Sufi Order. He says, "I wore the blessed Sufi cloak of Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Gilani (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu), there being between him and me two Sufi Shaykhs." [Al Mas'ala At Tabriziyya]. Ibn Taymiyya's Sufi lineage is given as follows: Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Gilani (Radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu), Abu Umar Ibn Qudama, Muwaffaq Ad-Din Ibn Qudama, Ibn Ali Ibn Qudama and Ibn Taymiyya. [Majmu Afatawa Ibn Taymiyya, Vol 10, P516]
After Ibn Taymiyya his great student Ibn Qayyim had this to say about Sufis. He says, "We can witness the greatness of the people of Sufism in the eyes of the earliest generations of Muslims by what has been mentioned by Sufyan ath-Thawri, one of the greatest Imams in the 2nd century and one of the foremost legal scholars. He said, 'If it had not been for Abu Hisham as-Sufi, I would never have perceived the action of the subtle forms of hypocrisy in the self.'." [Manzil As-Sa'irin]
Moving on to the Wahhabi leader Ibn Abdul Wahhab, whose followers we generally know as Wahhabis, and his views on Sufis. His son Abd'Allah says, "My father and I do not deny or criticise the science of Sufism, but on the contrary we support it because it purifies the external and the internal of the hidden sins which are related to the heart and the outward form. Even though the individual might externally be on the right way, internally he might be on the wrong way. Sufism is necessary to correct it." [Ad Dia'at Al Mukhththafa Didd Ash Shaykh Ibn Abdul Wahab, P85]
Coming on now to the religious "reformers" of this century, we see that they all praised and agreed with Sufism, however, the followers of these reformers are under the dilution that their leaders denounced Sufism as being out of Islam.
Muhammad Abduh said, "Sufism appeared in the 1st century of Islam and it received tremendous honour. It purified the self, straightened the conduct and gave knowledge to people from the wisdom and secrets of the Divine Presence." [Majallat Al Muslim, P24]
Rashid Rida said, "Sufism, was a unique pillar from the pillars of the religion. Its purpose was to purify the self and to take account of one's daily behaviour and to raise the people to a high station of spirituality." [Ibid, P726]
Abul Hasan Ali An-Nadwi said, "The Sufis initiate people in Oneness and sincerity in following the Sunnah of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam), in repentance from their sins and in avoidance of every disobedience to Allah, Almighty and Exalted. Their guides encourage them to move in the way of perfect Love of Allah." [Muslims in India, PP140-146]
Abul Ala Mawdudi says, "Sufism is a reality whose signs are the love of Allah and the love of the Moat Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam), where one absents oneself for their sake and one is annihilated from anything other than them. It instructs us how to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet(SAW)." [Mabadi Al Islam, P17]
Further he says, "The Shariah and Sufism; what is the similitude of the two? They are like the body and the soul. The body is the external knowledge, the Shariah, and the spirit is the internal knowledge." [Ibid]
All references presented in this article have been reproduced from the book ' The Naqshbandi Sufi Way ' written by Shaykh Hisham Al-Kabbani of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order.
This then concludes our article on Sufism. Even the most die-hard Wahhabis/ Salafis/ Deobandis/ Tableeghis /Mawdudis or whatever they wish to call themselves, cannot turn a blind eye to the mountain of support given to Sufism by their own leaders. If they still choose to deny Sufism, then they must reflect on their own arrogance akin to the arrogance of shaitan. Let them not accuse Sufism on the basis of coming across false people who claim to be Sufis. Let them think by studying the lives and practices of real Sufis, who practise Shariah to the letter and guide people to the truth. It is a historical fact that the Sufis are responsible for spreading Islam throughout the world. It is the Sufis that have converted the majority of non Muslims to Islam, not the Tableeghi Jamaat!
We wrote this article after one of our Sunni brother, while giving out our literature at a local Mosque in South London, was confronted by a Wahhabi. This Wahhabi demanded evidence about Sufism being part of Islam. We arranged to meet him at his convenience at his local Mosque, but, as usual, this Wahhabi did not have the guts to turn up. Therefore, we hope that this article will reach him and many like him, who make big noises but runaway when the truth is presented to them. May Allah forgive us and keep us aloof from such fitna making groups. May He safeguard us on the straight path, the path of the only true Islamic sect that of the Ahl al-Sunnah Wal Jama'at. Ameen.
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What is Islamic tasawwuf (Sufi Islam) and why does it look so mysterious? Genuine Islamic tasawwuf is the very heart and soul of Islam itself. Like everything else, Islam has two sides: an outside (zahir) and an inside (batin). The outside of Islam consists of statements of beliefs that Muslims must profess as well as laws and principles that must govern their personal and collective lives. The inside of Islam is faith and love, light and a life of contact with the Unseen. The outside of Islam is the main concern of such Islamic sciences as kalam (theology), fiqh (jurisprudence) and Shari'ah (law). The inside of Islam is the main source of Islamic tasawwuf. The Qur'an al-kareem says that the purpose of the coming of the Prophet of Islam was, among other things, to bring men from darkness to light, give them gifts of faith and divine love in a way that gives them a new spiritual life:
"It is He who sends down from on high clear signs unto His servant (Muhammad) in order to lead you from darkness into light: for, verily, God is most kind to you and full of grace." ( 57 : 9 )
"O you who believe (in earlier revelations). Be mindful of God and believe in His (present) Messenger. (As a result) he will grant you doubly of His grace, and will light for you a light wherein you shall walk, and will forgive you: for God is much-forgiving, full of grace." ( 57 : 28 )
"Say (O Prophet): If you love God, follow me, and God will love you..." ( 3 : 31 )
"Respond to the call of God and the Messenger whenever he calls you unto that which brings to you life (from your previous state of spiritual death); and know that God intervenes between man and (the desires of) his heart and unto Him you shall be gathered." ( 8 : 24 )
A person may profess the beliefs that Shari'ah tells him to profess and he may also do by his willpower many of the things that he is expected to do and yet he may not have faith and love, light and life that the Prophet was sent to bring to men. His heart may still be devoid of faith and love, he may still be lost in darkness and his inside may still be dead spiritually. Referring to this reality the Qur'an al-kareem says:
"The desert Arabs say: We believe. Say (unto them, O Muhammad!) You have not yet attained to faith; you should (rather) say, We (want to) surrender (in Islam) - for true faith has not yet entered your hearts." ( 49 : 14 )
The purpose of Islamic tasawwuf is to make true faith and its various fruits a reality in the lives of Muslims (and interested non-Muslims). Islamic tasawwuf thus breaths life into the body and structure of Islam. Unlike kalam, fiqh and Shari'ah, tasawwuf is not a science. It does not aim to study faith and love, light and a life of contact with the Unseen. It aims to experience them and then transmit the experience. As a Muslim saint has written:
"Tasawwuf is not a way of doing things nor a system of thought but a set of qualities and a way of being." (Abu al-Hasan)
This way of being may be summed up as "freedom from slavery of desires, courage in confronting falsehood, a charitable nature and leaving this world to others with happiness." In conclusion, why does tasawwuf look so mysterious? Because the batin (or the Inner) with which it deals is mysterious. And the batin has to be mysterious because otherwise it would not be batin but be zahir.
* In a city there once took place a murder. Two men were apprehended as suspects; one of the men was innocent while the other was guilty. When the trial took place and the court finished its deliberations, the guilty man was acquitted while the innocent one was declared guilty and sentenced to hang. A friend of God was watching all this and wondered about the fate of the two men. He whispered in his heart to his Lord, "O zahir and batin of the universe, I know that Your ways are mysterious and man can never comprehend them. But still, it is puzzling my mind greatly why an innocent man was allowed to hang while the guilty one was let go." As the friend of God was thus talking to his Lord, he fell asleep and had a dream during which God revealed to him the answer to his question:
"I behave with men according to what they hope from Me. The man who was acquitted of murder even though he was guilty of it used to pray in jail, 'O the Gracious One! Have mercy on me.' So I had mercy on him and let him go free, for I am free to do with My creatures what I will."
"As for the innocent man who was hanged, he used to pray, 'O Just One! Do justice.' Now long before he was apprehended for murder he was sitting on the bank of the river with a twig in his hand. An ant climbed up the twig while he was watching. He dipped the twig in the water flowing beside him, and the ant drowned and died. Since he wanted justice from Me, I let him hang in exchange for the life of one of My creatures that he took without any reason."
So, O man, while you should do jihad for justice in the world, never seek justice for yourself from God. For, before God we are all guilty and it is only in His mercy that we can find safety.
* One day a man went to an 'arif (a knower of truth) and described how a certain other teacher was prescribing ridiculous exercises to his disciples. "The man is obviously a fraud. He asks his disciples to have meditation sessions during which they should think of nothing. Clearly, it is impossible to think of nothing."
The 'arif then asked him: "Why have you come to see me?" The man replied: "I want to know what would you advise a person who wants to develop himself spiritually." The 'arif then said: "Man cannot really develop himself spiritually. It is God who leads him to His way." The man replied: "But surely there must be something that a person can do to raise his spiritual level." The 'arif said: "Maybe...Well, why don't you try this: find out what it is that you most dearly love in this world and give it up."
The man was very profoundly impressed by the advice. "What a sublime way to free oneself." The man went away and gave away some of the valuable items in his home. For a while the man felt very good about himself and sang praises of the 'arif in front of everyone. But soon his condition began to return to its original state.
A student of the 'arif learnt of the man's experience and mentioned it to the 'arif, who made the following comment:
"Perhaps one day he will learn that his answer does not lie in one word of advice, one visit, one simple solution. Only by a continuous contact with a teacher does a seeker absorb, little by little, that which gradually accumulates into an understanding of truth."
Salih of Qazwin taught his disciples: "Whoever knocks at the door continually, it will be opened to him." Rabia Basri, hearing him one day said: "How long will you keep saying that the door will be opened? The door has never been shut."
First published in Al-Ummah, Montreal, Canada in 1985. Copyright © Dr. Ahmad Shafaat. The article may be reproduced for Da'wah purpose with proper references.
The Islamic Nation today is in need of good scholars who observe the correct teachings of Islam ('alimun 'aamil), trying their best to bring back what has been destroyed of the Islamic religion over the years and who are able to differentiate between right and wrong, halal and haram, and who believe in Haqq and oppose Batil, not fearing anyone on the way of Allah.
Muslims of today have no one to advise them nor guide them in the teaching of their religion and the good manners and behavior of Islam. On the contrary, we see only scholars pretending to know something, imposing their corrupted ideas and beliefs about Islam on everyone. They are at every convention, giving lectures and talks about Islam from a narrow and limited perspective, not according to the guidance the Sahaba of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam) nor of the great Imams of Islam nor the consensus of the majority of Muslims.
If scholars would listen to their consciences and return in loyalty and sincerity to Islam without the influence of governments or other powers that control Muslim countries with their money, devoting themselves only to da'wa and irshad and remembrance of Allah and His Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam) then the situation in the Islamic world could change and Muslim life would improve tremendously. Our hope has to be that in this era of Islam, Muslims in the West and throughout the world will come back together in unity, linked to one rope, Allah's Rope, to establish the Sunnah and the Shari'ah of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam).
If people will look back deeply into history they will find that after the brave work of the Sahaba, (the Companions of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam), Islam spread East and West and to the Far East through the dawa' and irshad of the scholars and followers of Tasawwuf (Sufism), who followed the True Way of the Caliphs of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam--radi-Allahu 'anhum). They were the scholars of true Sufism, which upholds the teachings of the Qur'an al-Kareem and Sunnah and has never deviated from them.
Islamic zuhd (asceticism) flourished in the first Hijri century and developed into schools that had their foundation and basis of their teachings in the Sunnah and Shari'ah, propagated by zahid scholars who came to be known as the Sufis. Among them were the first four Imams, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as well as al-Imam Abi 'Abdallah Muhammad AL-BUKHARI, Abul Husain MUSLIM bin al-Hajjaj, Abu 'Isa TIRMIDHI. Others were Hasan al-Basri, al-Junaid, Imam Awzai' And later these included at-Tabarani, Imam Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, ibn Hajar al-Haythami, al-Jardani, ibn Qayyim al-Jawzi, Imam Muhyiddin bin Sharaf bin Mari bin Hassan bin Husain bin Hazam bin NAWAWI, Imam Abu Hamid GHAZALI, Sayyad Ahmad al-Farouqi Sirhindi, to name a few. The Muslim world has come to know Islam through the efforts of these zahid scholars who were known as Sufis because of their loyalty, sincerity and purity of heart.
We are not hiding the fact that at that time, some enemies of Islam came to take an extreme approach, using the name of Sufism, and pretending to be Sufis while spreading strange ideas in order to demolish the true Sufi teachings and poison Muslim ideas about Tasawwuf which the majority of Muslims were following. True Tasawwuf is based on zuhd and Ihsan (purity of the heart). The great Imams of the Muslim world, whose guidance was followed in all Muslim countries, were known to have Sufi masters. Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, (whose teacher was Ja'far as-Sadiq) Imam Shafi' (who followed Shayban ar-Rai') and Imam ibn Hanbal (whose teacher was Bishr al-Hafi) all embraced Tasawwuf.
All courts and universities of Muslim countries teach from the schools of these four Imams up to today. For example, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Djibouti, and some other countries follow the Shafi'i madhhab. Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Libya and Somalia follow the Maliki school. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and some other countries follow the Hanbali school. Turkey, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, and some of the Russian republics follow the Hanafi school. The Far Eastern Muslim countries follow the Shafi'i school. Most courts of Muslim countries depend for their fatwas on these four schools and all these four schools accepted Tasawwuf.
Imam Malik in his famous saying said, "man tasawaffa wa lam yatafaqa faqad tazandaqa, wa man tafaqaha wa lam yatasawaf faqad tafasaq, wa man tasawaffa wa tafaqaha faqad tahaqaq."
which means: " Whoever studied Tasawwuf without Fiqh is a heretic, and whoever studied Fiqh without Tasawwuf is corrupted, and whoever studied Tasawwuf and Fiqh will find the Truth and Reality of Islam."
At a time when travel was most difficult, Islam spread quickly through the selfless efforts of Sufi travelers well-schooled in the ascetic discipline (zuhd ad-dunya) required of those Allah had chosen for so noble a task. Their life was dawa' and their sustenance was bread and water. Through such abstinence they were able to reach the West and the Far East with the blessing of Islam.
In the 6th and 7th Hijri centuries, Tasawwuf flourished increasingly because of the progress and effort of the Sufi teachers. Each group came to be named after its Sufi teacher, to differentiate it from other groups. Similarly today, each person holds a degree named for the university from which he graduated. Yet it is obvious that Islam remains the same, never changing from one Sufi teacher to another, just as Islam is not changing from one university to another.
However, in the past students were influenced by the good manners and good morality of their teachers. Therefore Muslims were sincere and loyal. But today our scholars are dry and Islam is taught to them in non-Muslim universities by non-Muslims professors (if you are clever you can understand).
Sufi teachers asked their students to accept Allah as their Creator and the Beloved Prophet as His Slave and Beloved Messenger (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), to worship Allah alone and to leave the worship of idols, to repent to God, to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet, to purify their hearts, to clean their egoes from mistakes and to correct their beliefs in the Oneness of God. And they were teaching them to be honest and trustworthy in everything they did, to be patient and God-fearing, to love others, to depend on God, and all the other excellent manners demanded by Islam.
In order for them to reach all these stations of sincerity and purity they gave their students different prayers (du`a) that the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), his Sahaba and the Tabi'een were practicing. They were teaching Dhikr-Allah, the remembrance of Allah, through the reading of Qur'an al-kareem and dua' and tasbeeh from Hadith, and through the recitation of Allah's Names and Attributes in tahleel, tahmeed, takbeer, tamjeed and tasbeeh, according to many ayats and hadiths of the Prophet about Dhikr. (These can be found in all books of Hadith, including Bukhari, Muslim, Tabarani, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, etc., under the heading of Dhikr in Islam to which anyone can refer.)
These Sufi teachers (real scholars) refused fame and high positions and money and a materialistic life, not as scholars of our days who run after fame and money. Rather they were zahid and dependent on Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) following His saying: "ma khalaqtul Jinni wal Insi illa li-ya'budoon" -- "We did not create the Jinn nor Mankind except to worship Me."
As a result of their decency and zuhd, they were able to convince wealthy people to build mosques and dormitories (khaniqahs) throughout the Ummah of Islam, offering free food and free lodging. Thus Islam spread quickly from one country to another through khaniqahs and mosques. Such places, in which the poor could eat and sleep and the homeless could find shelter, were a cure for the hearts of the poor and were a connection between the rich and the poor, between black, yellow, red and white, between Arab and non-Arab.
The Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam) said in Hadith, "There is no difference between Arabs and non-Arabs except through righteousness."
These places made people to come together from all races and nations. Sufis kept the Sunnah and the Shari'ah. Their history is full of bravery and struggle in the way of Allah, jihad fi sabeell-illah, leaving their countries, seeking the hearts of people in every place to convert as many as possible through one method, which is love. To love everyone without distinctions of race, age and gender. They saw everyone as deserving of respect especially women, the downtrodden and the poor. Sufis were like bright stars, shining throughout the world, encouraging everyone to 'jihad fi sabeel-illah,' striving in the way of Allah, to spread Islam, to help the poor, the homeless and those in need, both far and the near. They reached with their iman, the middle of Asia, up to India, Pakistan, Tashkent, Bukhara, Daghistan, and other areas such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.
True Sufi people never deviated from the Shari'ah and the Sunnah of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and the Qur'an al-kareem, regardless of the exuberance of the ecstatic utterances of some Sufis and some explanations that revealed the Greatness of God and the mercy and purity of His Beloved Messenger, Beloved Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam).
The main two sources of tasawwuf were the Qur'an al-Kareem and the Sunnah of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) as it was conveyed through the understanding of Islam of Sayyadina Abu Bakr (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhu) and Sayyadina Ali (karam-Allahu wajhah) who are considered the two sourcemasters of the Sufi orders. Sayyadina Abu Bakr (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhu) was representing one stream of Tasawwuf. The Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) has said about him, "whatever God poured in my heart, I poured into the heart of Abu Bakr" "ma sab-Allahu fee sadree shayan illa wa sababtuhu fee sadree Abi Bakrin." (Hadiqa Nadiah published in Cairo, 1313 H. p. 9). Allah said in the Qur'an al-kareem ;-
'...for God did indeed help him when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one Companion: they two were in the cave.' (9, 40).
And the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam) said in another hadith "the sun never rose on anyone better than Abu Bakr except the prophets." (see Suyuti, History of Caliphs, Cairo, 1952, p. 46).
There are many other hadiths explaining the station of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu). The other stream of Tasawwuf came through Sayyadina Ali (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) about whom there are very many hadiths that would take many pages to explain. Finally, the Sunnah of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and the Shari'ah, which represent obligations, and Ihsan, which represents good manners, were all embodied in the character of the Sufi scholars, beginning with Sayyadina Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu), the first caliph of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) up until today.
In the 13th Century Hijri (the 19th A.C.) a new school appeared, influenced by the teachings of two scholars of Islam of the 7th C. Hijri, (14th A.C.). This school was a new school in Islam, which though based in the Hanbali school was different from it in 'aqida. Though this school also accepted Tasawwuf, it kept a much more restrictive and narrow interpretation of what is allowed in Islam than the first Four Schools.
Lately, the followers of this school had deviated from the original teachings of the founders of the school and have exaggerated to great extremes in invoking accusations against Muslims based on the fatwas of modern scholars, who have taken the most literalist and restrictive view of Islam and come against the mainstream of Muslims. And these new beliefs have spread very quickly in this century with the support of a minority of Muslims who have their own beliefs and their own interpretation of the Qur'an al-kareem and Sunnah.
These people are now fighting Sufism and trying to demean the bravery and efforts of the Sufis in spreading Islam througout the world during the preceding 1300 years.
As a Muslim Nation, we respect all schools in Islam without discrimination. But in return we don't accept that anyone impose his ideas on us, as we are following beliefs acceptable to the majority of Muslims, who accept Tasawwuf.
In America, we are surprised to see of 1400 years of Islamic history and culture denied and rejected by a minority of scholars with their own point of view, as if the past 1400 years of scholars' following the Sufi schools and the four madhahib did not exist and had never existed.
For our brothers and sisters information we are presenting the names of some of the countless modern scholars following Sufi schools and the four madhahib, who represent the majority of Muslims througout the Islamic world:
Mufti of Egypt, Hassanain Muhammad al-Mukhloof, member of Muslim World League,
Muhammad at-Tayib an-Najjar, president of Sunnah and Shariah Intl. and President of Azhar University,
Shaykh 'Abdallah Qanun al-Hassani, President of the Morocco Scholars and Deputy of the World Islamic League,
Dr. Hussaini Hashim, Deputy of Azhar of Egypt and General Secretary of the Research Institute of Mecca,
as-Sayyad Hashim al-Rafai, former Minister of Religion in Kuwait,
as-Shaykh Sayyad Ahmad al-Awad, Mufti of Sudan,
Ustaz Abdul Ghafoor al-Attar, President of Saudi Arabian Society of Authors,
Qadi Yusuf bin Ahmad as-Siddiqui, Judge of the High Court of Bahrain,
Muhammad Khazraji, Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad bin Zabara, Mufti of Yemen,
ash-Shaykh Muhammad ash-Shadili an-Nivar, President of Shariah University in Tunisia,
ash-Shaykh Khal al-Banani, President of the Mauritania Islamic League,
Shaykh Muhammad Abdul Wahid Ahmad, Minister of Religious Affairs of Egypt,
Shaykh Muhammad bin Ali Habashi, President of the Islamic League in Indonesia,
Shaykh Ahmad Koftaro, Mufti of Syria,
Shaykh Abu Saleh Mohammed al-Fattih al-Maliki of Ondurman, Sudan,
Shaykh Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, Mufti of Lebanon,
ash-Shaykh as-Sayyad Muhammad al-Maliki al-Hassani, Professor of Shari'ah and teacher in the two Holy Mosques, Makkah and Madinah,
and many many more throughout Arab and other Muslim countries.
Oh our beloved brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, Islam is tolerance (hilm), Islam is love, Islam is Peace. Islam is humbleness, Islam is perfection. Islam is zuhd, Islam is Ihsan. Islam means relationships. Islam means family. Islam is sisterhood and brotherhood. Islam means equality. Islam is one body. Islam is knowledge. Islam is spirituality. Islam has external as well as internal knowledge. ISLAM IS SUFISM. SUFISM IS ISLAM.
Finally, Islam is Light that Allah has sent to us through his final Beloved Messenger Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam), who is the True symbol of love, the symbol of external and internal knowledge, the symbol of mercy to all human beings. He is our means to God. He is the intercessor for everyone, without doubt and this is expressed in all books of fiqh.
May Allah forgive us for any mistakes or deficiencies in this presentation.
As-salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
The poorest in front of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala), servant of the Sunnah of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala Alayhi wa Sallam).
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani :
President - As-Sunna Foundation of America