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Sufism and Islam

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 e ist in the time of the !rophet "S.#.W$ or during the time of the %irst &aliphs but it was used during the period of the four great Imams of Madhabs. 'herefore, we shall e amine what the four Imams had to say about the Sufi people and their spiritual knowledge or Islamic Mysticism. Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A) said (If it were not for two years, I would have perished. %or two years I accompanied )a*rat +afer as,Sadi- "..#$ and I ac-uired the spiritual knowledge that made me a knower in the Way "i.e. Sufism$.( [Ad-Durr Al-Mukhthar, Vol. 1, !"# It is also mentioned in the book #d,/urr #l,Mukhtar that Ha$rat Ibn Abidin (R.A) said,()a*rat #bu #li /akkak "..#$, one of the Sufi saints, received his path from )a*rat #bul 0asim an,1asarabadi "..#$, who received it from )a*rat Shibli "..#$, who received it from )a*rat Sari as,Sa-ati "..#$, who received it from )a*rat Maruf al,2har-i "..#$, who received it from )a*rat /awud at, 'ai "..#$, who received the knowledge, both the e ternal and internal, from Imam #bu )anifa "..#$, who supported the Sufi spiritual path.( Imam Malik (R.A) said, (Whoever studies 3urisprudence and does not study Sufism will be corrupted. Whoever studies Sufism and does not study +urisprudence will become a heretic. Whoever combines both will reach the truth.( [%ashf Al-%hafa &a Mu$id Al-Abas, Vol. 1, "!1# Imam Shafi (R.A) said, ( I accompanied the Sufi people and I received from them three kinds of knowledge4 5. 'hey taught me how to speak 6. 'hey taught me how to treat people with leniency and a soft heart. 7. 'hey guided me in the ways of Sufism.( ['an(ir Al-)ulub, *!+,# Imam Ahm-d (R.A) ad.isin/ his son said, ( O my son you have to sit with the Sufis, because they are like a fountain of knowledge. 'hey recite the remembrance of #llah"S.W.'$ in their hearts. 'hey are ascetics and they have the most spiritual power.( [0hi$a Al-Albab, Vol 1, 11+# )e "..#$ also said about the Sufis, (I do not know any people better than them.( [Ibid# 'his, then, is the opinion of the four great Imams of Madhab about the Sufis and indeed they themselves were Sufis in their own rights.

2ut (hat about th- /-n-rations aft-r th- four Imams, did th-3 a44-*t Sufism or did th-3 dis4o.-r som-thin/ ob5-4tionabl- about Sufism. Imam 0ha$ali (R.A), th- roof of Islam, said, (I knew it to be true that the Sufis are the seekers in #llah's Way. 'heir conduct is the best of conduct. 'heir way is the best of ways. 'heir manners are the most sanctified. 'hey have purified their hearts from other than #llah and they have made them as pathways for rivers to run receiving knowledge of the /ivine !resence.( [Al-Mun6idh Min Ad-Dalal, 1"1# Imam 7a(a(i (R.A) said, ('he specification of the Ways of the Sufis are five4 5. 'o keep the !resence of #llah "S.W.'$ in your heart in public and in private. 6. 'o follow the Sunnah of the !rophet "S.#.W$ by action and speech. 7. 'o keep away from dependence on people. 8. 'o be happy with what #llah "S.W.'$ gives you, even if it is little. 9. 'o always refer your matters to #llah "S.W.'$ #lmighty and : alted.( [AlMa6asid At-'a(hid, 1+# So far, all th- abo.- m-ntion-d ar- Imams that th- Sunni Muslims (i.-. AhlSunnat &al 8amaat) a44-*t, (hat about th- o*inions of th- Imams of thSalafi ,&ahhabi and oth-r non Sunni mo.-m-nts. &hat do th-3 ha.- to sa3 about Sufis9 Ibn 'a3mi3ah, who deviated from the #hle Sunnat +amaat and whom the Salafis and Wahhabis take as their Imam, has said, (Sufism is the science of realities and states of e perience. # Sufi is that person who purifies himself from everything which distracts him from the remembrance of #llah "S.W.'$. 'he Sufi is so filled with knowledge of the heart and knowledge of the mind, that the value of gold and stones will be e-ual to him. Sufism safeguards the precious meaning and leaves behind the call of fame and vanity to reach the state of truthfulness. 'he best of humans after the !rophets are the truthful ones, as #llah "S.W.'$ mentioned them in the )oly 0uran, ' All (ho ob-3 Allah and thM-ss-n/-r ar- in th- 4om*an3 of thos- on (hom is /ra4- of Allah: thro*h-ts, th- sin4-r- lo.-rs of truth (Siddi6in), th- Mart3rs and thri/ht-ous. Ah; (hat a b-autiful f-llo(shi*< [!:=># ...;Sufis< strive to be obedient to #llah. #mong them you will find the foremost in nearness by virtue of their striving and some of them are among the !eople of the .ight )and.'.( [Ma5mu Afata(a Ibn 'a3mi33a, Vol 1+, !>?# Ibn 'a3mi33a has praised Sufis and Sufi practices in many of his books. )e himself claims to be a Sufi Shaykh of the 0adiri Sufi Order. )e says, (I wore the blessed Sufi cloak of Shaykh #bdul 0adir =ilani, there being between him and me two Sufi Shaykhs.( [Al Mas<ala At 'abri$i33a#. Ibn 'aymiyya's Sufi lineage is given as follows4 Shaykh #bdul 0adir =ilani "..#$, #bu >mar Ibn 0udama,

Muwaffa- #d,/in Ibn 0udama, Ibn #li Ibn 0udama and Ibn 'aymiyya. [Ma5mu Afata(a Ibn 'a3mi33a, Vol 1+, ,1=# #fter Ibn 'aymiyya his great stud-nt Ibn )a33im had this to say about Sufis. )e 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, 'hawri, one of the greatest Imams in the 6nd century and one of the foremost legal scholars. )e said, 'If it had not been for #bu )isham as,Sufi, I would never have perceived the action of the subtle forms of hypocrisy in the self.' [Man$il As-Sa<irin# Moving on to the &ahhabi l-ad-r Ibn Abdul &ahhab , whose followers we generally know as Wahhabis, and his views on Sufis. His son Abd Allah sa3s, (My father and I do not deny or criticise the science of Sufism, but on the contrary we support it because it purifies the e ternal and the internal of the hidden sins which are related to the heart and the outward form. :ven though the individual might e ternally be on the right way, internally he might be on the wrong way. Sufism is necessary to correct it.( [Ad Dia<at Al Mukhththafa Didd Ash Sha3kh Ibn Abdul &ahab, @,# &oming on now to the religious (reformers( of this century, we see that they all praised and agreed with Sufism, however, the followers of these reformers are under the dilution that their leaders denounced Sufism as being out of Islam. Muhammad Abduh said, (Sufism appeared in the 5st century of Islam and it received tremendous honour. It purified the self, straightened the conduct and gave knowledge to people from the wisdom and secrets of the /ivine !resence.( [Ma5allat Al Muslim, 1!# Rashid Rida said, (Sufism, was a uni-ue pillar from the pillars of the religion. Its purpose was to purify the self and to take account of one's daily behaviour and to raise the people to a high station of spirituality.( [Ibid, ?1=# Abul Hasan Ali An-7ad(i said, ('he Sufis initiate people in Oneness and sincerity in following the Sunnah of the !rophet "S.#.W$, in repentance from their sins and in avoidance of every disobedience to #llah, #lmighty and : alted. 'heir guides encourage them to move in the way of perfect ?ove of #llah.( [Muslims in India, 1!+-1!=# Abul Ala Ma(dudi sa3s, (Sufism is a reality whose signs are the love of #llah and the love of the !rophet "S.#.W$, where one absents oneself for their sake and one is annihilated from anything other than them. It instructs us how to follow in the footsteps of the !rophet "S.#.W$.( ;Mabadi Al Islam, 1?#

%urther he says, ('he Shariah and Sufism@ what is the similitude of the twoA 'hey are like the body and the soul. 'he body is the e ternal knowledge, the Shariah, and the spirit is the internal knowledge.( [Ibid# All r-f-r-n4-s *r-s-nt-d in this arti4l- ha.- b--n r-*rodu4-d from thbook < 'h- 7a6shbandi Sufi &a3 < (ritt-n b3 Sh-ikh Hisham Al-%abbani of th- 7a6shbandi Sufi Ard-r.

In 4on4lusion it can be established from the above information


that Sufism is Islam. If anyone chooses to deny Sufism, then they must reflect on their own arrogance akin to the arrogance of shaitan. ?et them not accuse Sufism on the basis of coming across false people who claim to be Sufis. ?et 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 ma3ority of non Muslims to Islam.