Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dangers Of Sufism Part 1

The Qur'an and the Sunnah do not teach us to have any labels for ourselves other than "Muslims". This is the true Islamic way and should be applied across the board. We should take everything back to these references: the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the way of the righteous first generations. Even names which purport to mean just that should be avoided and are not part of Islam. Recently, great scholars, much more knowledgeable than myself have made statements to the contrary i.e., that to claim to be "salafi" means nothing more or less than the definition I offered above. Nonetheless, this does not excuse this innovation of giving ourselves names in addition to being "Muslims". Furthermore its harm is apparent to all who have eyes.

Even if the meaning of a particular label is correct, that doesn't mean the act of using it is correct. We say that "salafi" means "those who follow the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the way of the first righteous generations", but what does it actually mean in the minds of the people? To some it means "harsh". To others it means long beards and short robes. To others it means those who make excuses for corrupt governments but for no one else in the Ummah. Furthermore, every action of those who claim this tag - real, imagined or fabricated - becomes hujja in the minds of the ignorant over the stated creed of "following the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the way of the righteous first few generations".

So, labels - ALL labels - are useless at best and more likely harmful in the extreme. They can be used and abused in all kinds of ways to confuse ordinary people who are not completely abreast of the issues involved. Although it seems to be a shortcut to say "I don't agree with such-and-such a group because they are sufi...", it should be avoided even in the case where that group has given themselves the label. Correct statements would be to state that "They believe in the intercession of the dead for the living." or "They go to extremes in honoring the knowledgeable among as the Prophet (sas) warned us about." or other such statements. If the conversants are incapable of addressing the specific issues, then they shouldn't be talking about the "groups" at all and should restrict their converstaion to the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the great scholars of the early generations.

And so it is witht the term Sufi. This term has a very long history and has been applied to and/or accepted by a very wide range of Muslims and non-Muslims. There are Hindus, Buddhists and atheists all claiming to be "Sufi". Among those claiming to be Muslim there exists everything from those who focus solely on practicing the Sunnah of the Prophet (sas) to those who direct many forms of worship and belief to other than Allah. They attribute to human beings - living or dead - knowledge of the unseen and other divine attributes. They address these others with supplication and seeking of aid in distress - which can only be addressed to Allah Most High.

Thus, it is not impossible that there could be some who call themselves "sufi" and who are not engaged in any form of falsehood or deviation from Islam. One the one hand, we would opress these ones by making blanket statements describing the deviation of "sufis". On the other hand, these people are in manifest error for applying to themselves a label other than being "Muslim". We are likewise in error if we accept a label other than "Muslim" although our error is somewhat less serious if that label has a sound meaning and by and large righteous individuals who have taken on that label before us. The label of "sufi" is more heinous since it contains within its meaning the entire spectrum from guidance to the most extreme forms of deviation and including even people with no Islamic origin at all like Buddhist and Hindu sufis.

Our religious terminology should come first and foremost from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Beyond that, any terminology which we ourselves come up with (such as "tarawih" or "tauhid al-uloohiya") should serve some useful purpose or should help in the pursuit of truth by contributing to distinguishing truth from falsehood. The term "sufi" serves no such purpose. It seeks to define something besides Islam which distinguishes some human beings from others. It encompasses in its meaning everything from guidance to shirk and kufr. Therefore, the self-proclaimed "sufi" who only seeks to purify his heart and to follow the teachings of Islam and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sas) should be the FIRST one to flee from this terminology. How could someone who is striving to follow the teachings of Islam allow a term to be applied to them which includes under its meaning pious Muslims, Muslims engaged in bid'a, Muslims engaged in shirk akbar and even polytheists and atheists?

Having said that, within this huge historical reality called "sufism", there are many common threads of error and deviation from the teachings of Islam many of which are very widespread and many of which are common to nearly all those who accept this label of "sufi"

About the Name

(From The Other Side of Sufism)

True Muslims should be content with the name "Muslims given to them by Almighty Allah as he says: which means,

"He has chosen you (to conform to His religion) and has imposed no difficulty upon you in religion, the religion of your father Ibrahim. He named you 'Muslims' both before (in the preceding Divine Scriptures) and in this Book." (22.78)

Ibn Kathir elaborated on this verse, saying:

"Allah has chosen the Muslims, honoured them, and distinguished them exclusively of other nations by the most honourable Messenger and the most perfect religion, and He has not overburdened them with more than they can bear."

If Sufis insist that they are Muslims, then what is the sense of identifying themselves with Sufism rather than with Islam. The word "Sufism" was not familiar to those who lived in the first and the best three generations of as-Salaf as-Salih (the pious predecessors) who were commanded by Allah the Exalted and His Messenger (s.a.w)

(From: The Other Side...)
Sufism is a schism developed during the fourth century of Hijrah, exploited by the deviationist sects, the Batini (clandestine) sects and the rest of the enemies of Islam, such as the Jews, the Magians and the Crusaders, to undermine Islamic aqeedah (dogma) and Muslim unity.

"Sufism," states the renowned Shaikh Abu Bakr al-Djaza'iri, "is a shameful deception which begins with dhikr (chanting the name of Allah) and ends with disbelief. Its outward manifestation appears to be piety, but its inward reality forsakes the commands of Allah."

What's Wrong?
- They turn away from seeking knowledge in Islam.
- They turn away from Qur'an and hadith.
- They claim kashf and al-'ilm alladunni - direct knowledge without the need for the Communication
- They invented a "sunnah" of special clothing
- They advocate deriving Shari'a rulings from dreams, visions and mukashafaat
- False reliance on Allah (without seeking means)
- They distorted the meaning of some Islamic terminology e.g., tauhid, tawakkul, etc.
- They advocated isolation and not marrying
- Neglect of jihad in the path of Allah
- Claims of seeing Allah, the Prophet (sas), the deceased, etc.
- Acceptance of "sufism" of other religions
- All of the above are inventions and innovations in the din

Bid'a (Generally)

Imam Malik b. Anas, may Allah grant him His mercy, emphasized;

"That which was not religion at the time of the Messenger and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, is never to be religion today."

He went on to say;

"He who introduces a bid'ah in the religion of Islam and deems it a good thing, claims by so doing that Muhammad (s.a.w) betrayed the Message,"

(i.e. he did not convey it fully and perfectly as commanded by Allah), despite the fact that Allah revealed; which means,

"This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you al-Islam as religion." (5:3)

The Prophet (s.a.w) made a point of opening all the speeches with a warning against bid'ah (innovations) in matters of religion. His warning words signify:

"Verily, the best of speech is the Book of Allah, and the best of guidance that of Muhammad (s.a.w) and the evil of all religious matters is their own innovations. Every innovation is a bid'ah, and every bid'ah is a misguidance, and very misguidance is in the Fire."

Bid'a (Dhikr)
This is confirmed by the statement made by the Prophet (s.a.w) to his companions:

"He who will live (long enough) will see many different (ways). Keep you to my Sunnah, and the Sunnah of the well-guided khulafa'; hold fast thereto. And beware of innovations (in matters of religion). Verily, every innovation is a bid'ah, and every bid'ah is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire."

The Sufi dthikr is of two forms, the dthikr al-khafiy or hidden dthikr wiht the repetition being in the mind or muttered in a low voice; and the dthikr al-jaliy, the open recitation, in which the Sufi murid recites aloud. Sufis distinguis three types of dthikr: the dthikr of the common people (al-awaam), which involves uttering repeatedly the Kalimah, meaning, "There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah;" the dthikr of the upper class, which involves uttering repeatedly the single name of God, "Allah," or the word "haiy" (the living); and the dthikr of the elite, which involves uttering repeatedly the divine pronoun "hu" (He).

The last two types of dthikr have never been uniue to Islam. Sufi dthikr, however, is not limited to the above three types: In many cases it includes litanies and hymns, or as the Sufis prefer to call them, "twassulaat" (supplications or petitions), to the Prophet (s.a.w) and his family.

Supplicating beings other than Allah entails associating partners with Him, a practice which is not only condemned by Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w) but it renders a worshipper's good deeds null and void. Allah says: meaning,

"And it has been revealed to you and to those before you: If you attribute partners to Allah, your deed shall surely be in vain and you shall certainly be among the loosers."(39.65)

The type of dthikr practiced communally by Sufis is not merely recited; it is rather performed in their hadhrah.(55) Sufi dthikr ranges from quietism to ecstatic and hysterical behaviour. In many orders, the ritual has a section called samaa' in which singing, dancing and playing musical instruments, such as the flute and the drum, are highly important.

The dthikr which the Prophet (s.a.w) enjoined should be recited individually, and only according to the manner prescribed by him. Making dthikr in a different manner, or communally, is an innovation leading to misguidance. This is particularly true when such a ritual is accompanied by prohibited practices such as music, against which there is a direct reference in the Qur'an: meaning,

"And of men is he who take idle talk to lead men astray from the path of Allah."(31.6)

The prominant companions of the Prophet (s.a.w) confirmed that the "idle talk" referred to in the above verse means singing and music.(56) The Prophet (s.a.w) verified this fact in the hadeeth which says,

"There will be some people who will consider legal fornication, and the wearing of silk, the consumption of intoxicant drinks and the use of musical instruments." (57)

Rejecting Reward and Punishment
Shah Naqshband said,

"Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya said, 'O Allah I didn't worship seeking the reward of Your Paradise nor fearing your punishment, but I am worshipping You for Your Love alone.' If your worship is for saving yourself or for gaining some reward for yourself, it is a hidden shirk, because you have associated something with Allah, either the reward or the punishment. This is what Hallaj meant."

Shaikh Arslan ad-Dimashqi said,

"O Allah, Your religion is nothing but hidden shirk, and to disbelieve in it is obligatory on every true servant. The people of religion are not worshipping You, but are only worshipping to attain Paradise or to escape from Hell. They are worshipping these two as idols, and that is the worst Idolatry. You have said, man yakfur bi-t- aghati wa yu'min billahi faqad istamsaka bi-l-curwati-l-wuthqa ("Whoever disbelieves in idols and believes in Allah has grasped the Firm Handhold") [2:256]. To disbelieve in those idols and to believe in You is obligatory on the people of Truth."

Shaikh Abul-Hasan ash-Shadhili (q), one of the greatest Sufi Shaikhs, was asked by his shaikh, "O my son, with what are you going to meet your Lord?" He said, "I am coming to Him with my poverty." He said,

"O my son, do not ever repeat this again. This is the biggest idol, because you are still coming to Him with something. Free yourself of everything and then come to Him.

"The people of laws and external knowledge hold fast to their deeds and on that basis they establish the concept of reward and punishment. If they are good, they find good and if they are bad they find bad; what benefits the servant is his deeds and what harms him is his deeds. To the People of the Way, this is the hidden Shirk, because one is associating something with Allah. Although it is an obligation to do (good deeds), yet the heart must not be attached to those deeds. They should only be done for His sake and for His love, without expectation of anything in return."
Hidden Knowledge
Three fundamentals of Sufism which are innovations not sanctioned by the Qur'an or the Sunnah:

The division of knowledge into exoteric, or manifest, asoteric, or hidden;
The division of Islam into shari'ah (religious sciences) and the sciences of truth; and
the addition to Islam of the Sufi order as the path leading to the truth.
Manifest knowledge and the sciences of jurisprudence, they assert, belong to the theologians and scholars of the general run of ordinary Muslims, whereas the hidden knowledge and the knowledge of truth are reserved for the Sufi priests, who preferred to call themselves the elite. They who claim the right to interpret the Qur'anic verses and Prophetic traditions in ways not only different from the apparent meanings, but contradict them.

Al-Ghazali said:

"That which is acquired by inspiration is called 'ilm ladunniyan it is that knowledge which requires no intermediary to acquire it between the individual and his creator."

Wird or Prescribed Dhikr
All forms of worship must be taken from the Prophet (sas). Diligence of the Companions in opposing bid'a.

It is a must for all Muslims to adhere to the two Divine sources of Islam, the Qur'an and the Sunnah, the Prophet's companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, developed great understanding of these two fundamental sources as required and necessitated by the profession of the faith: ("There is no God worthy of being worshipped but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.") They were very critical of the slightest sign of deviation among Muslims. Whenever they noticed one, they vehemently objected to it and tried their best to rectify the situation or eliminate it. Abdullah b. Mas'ood, may Allah be pleased with him, who was governor of al-Koofeh, Iraq, at a time, happened to enter the mosque one day, and saw some people sitting in circles. In the middle of each circle was a heap of pebbles, and in every circle was a man instructing the people: "Say, Sub-han-Allah (Allah is far removed from every imperfection> a hundred times. Say, Al-hamd-du-lillah (praise be to Allah) a hundred times. Say, Allahu-Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) a hundred times." Whereupon Abdullah b. Mas'ood said to them,

"O people, you are either following a religion which is better than that of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), or you are entering through a door of deviation without consideration." They responded,"Abu Abdur-Rahman! (his nickname), by Allah, we intend to do a good thing." He exclaimed, "How often one intends to do good but never attains his purpose."(58)

The above quotation clearly shows that sincerity and good intentions alone are not sufficient to render acts of worship acceptable to Allah. The acts must first conform to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (s.a.w). Originating new methods or concepts of such acts only incurs Allah's anger. The religion of Islam has already been completed by Allah. It needs no one to tamper with it for the purpose of mundane gain. Thus it follows by necessity that any religious opinion or practice must be judged by and referred to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (s.a.w) to decide its validity.

Oneness of All Things or Anihilation in Allah

Relationship to other deviant sects:

(From "Al-Ghazali")

Ibn Khaldoon said:

"There appeared among them those who were mixed up with the Ismailiya and the latter Rejectors (Shi'a) those who believed in hulool and the divinity of the imams and so the Sufis and the Ismailis imbibed each others beliefs and the Sufis came to proclaim beliefs just like theirs and they came to believe in Hulool and fanaa and their books were filled with such stuff such as the books of al-harawiy and Ibn Arabi and others. So their words were intermingled and their beliefs became similar and the Sufis begain to speak about the Qutb - and it is exactly what the Rejectors were saying and is their religion."

Ibn Taimia said:

In the language of the philosophers on the other hand, intellect reason or the mind is an independent and distinct entity or essence, resembling more closely the reasoner than the faculty of reason given by Allah. This is not in harmony with the language of the prophets and the Qur'an. The creation to the philosophers, as mentioned by Al-Ghazali, is divided into bodies, minds and souls, all of which is referred to as the world of the order. Sometimes they refer to these categories as mulk (dominion), jabroot (omnipotence), and malakoot (realm) respectively, such that those ignorant of the language of the prophets and ignorant of the meanings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah may believe that the mentioning of mulk, jabroot, and malakoot in the Qur'an supports this theory, while this is not in fact the case.

These people perpetrate great deceptions on the Muslim, such as their saying that the universe is "brought about" i.e. having an origin and a beginning (which, of course, it is), even though in reality they believe is to be ancient and without beginning. Something which is "brought about" (muhdath) in Arabic is of necessity something whose presence was preceded by its absence. It is not found in the language of the Arabs nor in any language that one can refer to something without beginning as being muhdath i.e. "brought about". Allah has informed us that He is the Creator of everything. Every created thing is by definition muhdath, and every muhdath has come into existence after not existing. The Jahmiya and the Mu'tazilah attempted to bring an Islamic response to the philosophers, but fell short and failed to understand the information brought to us by the Prophet (sas), nor did they understand the dictates of sound reasoning. They neither came to the aid of Islam, nor did they weaken its enemies. They joined them in some of their corrupt ideas and concepts while rejecting some of the sound bits of reasoning contained in their legacy. Their shortcomings in both the knowledge of the revelation and of the sound use of reasoning became an added reason for the thorough deviation of the philosophers, as I have explained at length in other works.

These philosophers said that Jibreel was the imaginary vision which appeared in the mind of Muhammad (sas). Vision and imagination are products of and secondary to intellect. Thus the deviants came, those who shared with the philosophers this corrupt belief, and further believed themselves to be allies of Allah, and that the allies of Allah are superior to the prophets of Allah, since they receive from Allah with no intermediary, as was claimed by Ibn Araby the author of "The Essences of Wisdom" and "The Makkan Inspirations". He said that he takes from the same source from which the angel who gave revelation to Muhammad (sas) used to take. This "source" which he is referring to is to him none other than the intellect ('aql), and the angel to him is the imagination. Imagination is secondary to intellect, and since Ibn Araby and others like him imagine that they take directly from the source and not from one of its secondary components, while the Prophet took from the imagination which is secondary and a product of the mind, this is how he came to believe himself superior to the Prophet (sas). Even if prophethood consisted entirely of the three factors mentioned and they were sufficient to indicate prophethood, this man would not even be in the same group as the Prophet, let alone superior to him! What's more, these three "criteria" are things which can be granted to anyone among the believers.

Prophethood is another matter entirely! If Ibn Araby claims a relationship to "Sufism" it is the sufism of deviants and philosophers, and not the sufism of the people of knowledge, let alone that of a leader of the people of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. These were people such as Al-Fadheel ibn 'Iyaadh, Ibrahim ibn Ad-ham, Abi Sulaiman Ad-Daaraani, Ma'roof Al-Karkhi, Al-Junaid ibn Muhammad, Sahl ibn Abdallah At-Tastry, and others like them, may Allah be pleased with them all. Allah has described angels in His book very different from the concepts of the philosophers and those influenced by them, as in His statement:

[And they said that Allah took for Himself an offspring. Glorified is He! Rather honored slaves. They never precede Him with their speech, and they act with His order. He knows what is in front of them and what is behind them, and they do not intercede or plead for anyone except for the one for whom He has accepted this, and they are apprehensive with fear of Him. Whoever of them says I am a deity besides Him, we will reward him with Hell fire, and this is our reward for the oppressors. Qur'an 21/26-29

[And so many angels in the heavens whose intercession will be of no benefit unless and until Allah gives His permission for this intercession for those whom He wishes and is pleased with.] Qur'an 53/26

[Say: Call those who you imagine other than Allah. They do not own even the weight of an atom in the heavens nor in the earth, nor have they any share therein, and no one of them can aid Allah in any way. Intercession is of no benefit with Allah except that for which He has granted permission.] Qur'an 34/22-23

[His are all in the heavens and the earth, and those in His presence are not too arrogant to worship Him, nor do they become weary of it. They praise Allah in the night and the day and never break.] Qur'an 21/19-20


Anonymous said...

This page is full of doubtful talk. Alhamdulillah for Salafiyyah.