Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Islamic Scholars have said about Sufism?

By MakTaBat MinhaaJ AlSunnaH

Imaam Ash-Shaa'fee on Sufism:

"If a person exercised Sufism (Tasawafa) at the beginning of the day, he does not come to Dhuhur except an idiot." [Talbees Iblees].

"Nobody accompanied the Sufis forty days and had his brain return (ever)." [Talbees Iblees].

Concerning the famous Sufi leader, Al-Harith Al-Muhasbi, Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbaal (R) said:

"Warn (people) from Al-Harith (a Sufi leader) the strongest warning!... He is the shelter of the Ahl Kalaam (people of rhetoric)." [Talbees Iblis].
The famous Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Jaza'iri stated:

"Sufism is a shameful deception which begins with Dhikr and ends with Kufr. Its outward manifestation appears to be piety, but its inward reality forsakes the Commandments of Allah." [Illat-Tasawwuf Yaa Ibadallah].

Ash-Sheikh Muhammad ibn Rabee' ibn Haadee Al-Madkhalee, a well known teacher at the Islamic University of Medinah brings in his book "Haqeeqatus Soofiyyah Fee Dau'il Kitaabi Was Sunnah", the following:

Concerning the practice of the Sufiyyah in wearing woolen clothing as a sign of Zuhd (abstemiousness/disassociation from the wordly life) and in their attempt to mirror the Prophet 'Isa (AS):

"Ibn Taymiyah (R) mentions in Al-Fataawaa (11/7) from Muhammad ibn Seereen (a famous Tabi'ee who died in 110H) that it reached him that a certain people had taken to wearing woollen clothes in order to resemble 'Isa ibn Maryam (AS), so he said: 'There are a people (Sufis) who have chosen and preferred the wearing of woollen clothes, claiming that they want to resemble Al-Maseeh ibn Maryam (AS). But the way of our Prophet (SAAW) is more beloved to us, and the Prophet (SAAW) used to wear cotton and other garments."
Sheikh Al-Madkhalee goes on:

"As regards the first appearance of Sufism, then the word "Sufism" was not known in the time of the Sahabah, indeed it was not well-known in the first three and best centuries. Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah (R), mentions that the first appearance of Sufism was in Basrah in 'Iraaq, where some people went to extremes in worship and in avoiding the worldly life, such as was not seen in other lands. [Al-Fataawaa (11/6)]."

Commenting on the reaction of the early Sufis while hearing Qur'an being recited (it was their pratice to fall out and act dumb-struck), Ibn Taymiyah (R) says:

"This was not found to occur amongst the Sahabah, so when it appeared a group of the Companions and the Tabi'een such as Asmaa bint Abi Bakr and 'Abd Allah Az-Zubair and Muhammad ibn Seereen criticsed that since they saw that it was an innovation and contrary to what they knew from the manners of the Sahabah." [Al-Fataawaa (11/6)].
Concerning the spread of Sufism, Ibn Al-Jawzy said: "Sufism is a way whose beginning was complete avoidance of the affairs of worldly life, then those who attached themselves to it became lax in allowing singing and dancing. Therefore, the seekers of the Hereafter from the common people became attracted to them due to the avoidance of the worldly life which they manifested, and the seekers after this world were also attracted to them due to the life of ease and frivolity which they were seen to live." [Talbees Iblis].

Shaikh Abu Zahrah (R) said concerning the reason for the appearance of Sufism and the sources from which it sprung:

1. The first source: Some worshippers amongst the Muslims turned all their attention to avoidance of the worldly life and to cutting themselves off in order to worship. This first began in the lifetime of the Prophet (SAAW) when some of the Sahabah decided to spend the night striving in Prayer and abandoning sleep. Others decided to fast every day without fail. Others decided to cease having marital relations with women. So when that reached the Prophet (SAAW) he said: "What is wrong with a people who say such and such. But rather I fat and I refrain from fasting, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah, then he is not from me (Al-Bukharee and Muslim). Furthermore, the innovation of living like monks (monasticism) is forbiddeen in the Qur'an. He said:

"...the Monasticism which they invented for themselves..." [57:27].

However, when the Prophet (SAAW) passed on to join the company of the highest angels, and many people entered into Islam from the previous religions then the number of those who went to extremes in avoidance of worldly life and its blessings grew and Sufism found a place in the hearts of these people since it had come across a fertile planting ground.

2. The second matter which attracted peoples' souls was something which appeared amongst the Muslims in the form of two ideologies. One of them was philosophical whilst the other was from the previous religions. As for the first, then it was the view of the Illumist school of philosophers who held that knowledge and awareness is brought about in the soul by spiritual exercies and purification of the soul. As for the second ideology, then it was the belief that the Deity dwells in human souls, or that the Deity is incarnate in humanity. This idea began to find a place amongst those sects who falsely attributed themselves to Islam in the earlier times, when the Muslims became mixed with the Christians. This idea appeared amongst the Sabians and some of the Kaysaamiyyah, then the Qaraamitah, then amongst the Baatinees, then in its final shape it appeared amongst some of the Sufis...There is another source from which it took, and which causes the manifestation of Sufi tendencies, which is the idea that the texts of the Book and the Sunnah have an outer, apparent meaning and an inner, hidden seems clear that they took this idea from the Baatinees." [Ibn Taymiyah by Abu Zahra].

Ibn Al-Jawzy said after criticising the Sufis for their impostition of hardship upon themselves and for their going beyond bounds of abstemiousness to the point of self torture:

"So this self seprivation which went beyond bounds, which we have been forbideen from, has been turned around by the Sufis of our time, ie. the sixth century, so that they have become as deserious of food as their predecessors were of hunger, and they enjoy morning meals, evening meals and sweet delicacies, all of which or most of which they attain through impure wealth. They have abandoned lawful earnings, turned away from worship and spread out carpets on which they idly recline, most of them have no desire except for food, drink and frivolous activities. [Talbees Iblis].

Speaking of the false miracles claimed by many Sufi leaders, Ibn Taymiyah said:

"It may also be done with the help of their devils as they are a people who are as closely attended by devils as they are by their own brothers... These people who experience these satanic happenings are under a great delusion, in their foolishness they are deprived of all blessings, they only increase that which is feared, they devour the wealth of the people in futile acts, they do not order the good, nor do they forbid evil, and they do not fight Jihaad in Allah's Cause." [Al-Fataawaa].

Futher, Sheikh Al-Madkhalee says:

"Then I return to the point that when I saw that most of the callers were negligent of the most important aspects of Islam which is the call to Tawheed and the correction and purification of 'Aqeedah from all Shirk, which takes the form of worshipping the dead, attachment to the graves and calling upon the dead and the absent, and they remained silent about the other deviation of the present day Sufi orders which are very widespread in the lands of the Muslims, and anyone who travels outside this land will see the predominace that the Sufi orders ahve over the minds of the Muslims in Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Africa and India. Whether is is the Rifaa'ee order, or the Tijanis, or the Ahmadiyyah, or the Qaadiriyyah, or the Burhamiyyah, or the Shadhiliyyah, or the Khattaaniyyah, or the Darqaawees, or the Naqshabandis or whichever of the large number of Sufi orders...when I saw this I wished to remind of that which I held to be something very important. Likewise, I wished to provide my brothers, who study in the highly regarded Daarul Hadeeth, and they come from various Islamic lands where there are many Sufi orders, with some knowledge and some protection from the deadly sickness of Sufism."

As for those authentic and well known books by the 'Ulemah that have refuted Sufism:

1. Al-Fataawaa - by Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah .
2. Talbess Iblis - by Ibn Al-Jawzy .
3. Tanbeebul-Ghabee ilaa Takfeer Ibn'Arabee - by Burhaanuddeen Al-Baqaa'ee .
4. Tahdheerul-'Ibaad min Ahlil-'Inaad bibid'atil-Ittihaad - by Al-Baqaa'ee .

These are just some of the statements by scholars, past and present, concerning the Sufiyyah. There are many, many more...and the research goes on...