True Sufism vs. Sufi-Claimers
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Praise be to Allâh, the Lord of the Worlds. We thank Allâh for the blessing of Islam and humbly ask Him to raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad, his kind Al and Companions, and to protect his nation from that which he fears for it. May Allâh grant us the sincere intentions and the proper comprehension.
Sufism is very much a part of the Religion of Islam. Indeed, the leader of all the Sufis was Prophet MuHammad, who was sent by Allâh to teach the people the matters which, if performed and practiced in the proper way, would lead to their success in this life and in the Hereafter. Unfortunately, many things which are in fact contradictory to the teachings of the Prophet are today labeled Sufism. There are some, who under the guise of being Sufis, spread falsehood and misguidance and dare to label it Sufism. On the other hand, there are groups, like the Wahhabis and those who follow them, who categorically deny Sufism and claim it is not even a part of the Religion.
It is our intention to shed light on the methodology of the true Sufis and encourage others to follow their path while exposing those fakes, the "Sufi-claimers," and warning against their misguidance. We have divided our topic into two parts: First, to explain Sufism and give examples of the genuine Sufis in our history. Second, to expose those "Sufi-claimers" by presenting some of their misguidance and to warn against it. Our intention is in following the saying of Allâh in Surat Al ^Imran, 110:
﴿ كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ ﴾
which means: « You are the best nation brought to the people, ordering the lawful, forbidding the unlawful, and believing in Allâh. »
Allâh said in Surat al-AHzab, 70-71:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا ﴿70﴾ يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا ﴿71﴾
These verses mean: « O you who believe, be God-fearing and utter the statements which comply with the Religion so that Allâh may guide you to perform the good deeds and forgive your sins. The one who obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win greatly. »
The Methodology of the True Sufis
The statements which comply with the laws of the Religion are the sound sayings, whereas the sayings which contradict the Religion are abhorrent and evil. With reference to Sufism, the sound saying which complies with the laws of the Religion is that Sufism is the methodology implemented by the true Sufis and is very much a part of the Religion. True Sufis are people who realize the importance of the Obligatory Knowledge of the Religion and endeavor to acquire it through proper channels, i.e., through trustworthy and knowledgeable teachers. They acquire the knowledge, then implement it and encourage others to do the same. Sufis are a people who follow the great Messenger, Muhammad, in a full manner by following his teachings and his example. They weigh things by the scale of the Religion. They do not deem lawful that which Allâh ordained as unlawful, and they do not deem unlawful that which Allâh ordained as lawful. They judge ugly what the laws of the Religion judge ugly, and they judge good what the laws of the Religion judge good. They do not indulge their appetites, and do so willingly. They go against the desires of their selves. They are a people who keep busy worshipping their Lord, fighting laziness and ignorance. They may work in the matters of this life, yet they do not have an interest in worldly acquisitions because the world has departed their hearts.
Who are the True Sufis?
True Sufis are those who follow the teachings of the Messenger of Allâh, his companions, and their followers. They have attained the high ranks of righteousness and piety in Islam. The true Sufis from Ahl us-Sunnah are the best examples to follow. The leader and best example of them all was Prophet MuHammad. He was the most knowledgeable creation of Allâh, the best, and the one with the highest status. He was sent to teach the people the true Religion. He showed the path to guidance and the route to success in this world and the Hereafter. He had the best ethics, the best manners, and the most love for Allâh. He encouraged and urged the people to acquire the Knowledge. After Prophet MuHammad, the greatest leaders of the true Sufis were the four caliphs: Abu Bakr, ^Umar, ^Uthman, and ^Aliyy. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was the best of the humans after the prophets. After him, ^Umar Ibnul Khattab, then ^Uthman Ibn ^Affan, then ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib. They are the greatest Sufis of the nation of Prophet MuHammad. They were the most knowledgeable among the companions of the Prophet. They understood that the Knowledge of the Religion is the foundation for success and, in turn, urged and guided the people to acquire it. After these superior men, the great men of Sufism acquired the knowledge, highlighted its importance, taught it, ordered others with it, and spread it. Great men such as al-Jilaniyy, al-Awza^iyy, Abu Hanifah, Malik, ash-Shafi^iyy, Ahmad, Sufyan ath-Thawriyy, al-Junayd, al-Ash^ariyy, al-Maturidiyy, at-Tahawiyy, ar-Rifa^iyy, al-Ghajdawaniyy, and many others were great Sufis who adhered to the teachings of the Prophet. Another was Uways al-Qarniyy, whom the Prophet praised in his hadith:
إن من خير التابعين أويسًا القرني
In this hadith, the Prophet told us the best of the followers of the Companions was a man by the name of Uways Ibn ^Amir from the tribe of Qarn, a part of the tribe of Murad. He was known for his kindness to his mother. He had been inflicted with leprosy from which he was cured, except for a small spot. The Prophet ordered the companions, should they meet Uways al-Qarniyy, to ask him to make supplication to Allâh to forgive them. This is what our Master ^Umar Ibnul Khattab did during his caliphate when some reinforcements from Yemen came to al-Madinah to support the Muslims in their battle with the blasphemers. The reinforcements had come to our Master ^Umar, in al-Madinah so that he would tell them where to go and what to do according to his battle strategy.
Our Master ^Umar inquired whether or not Uways was with them. When he found him he asked him, "Are you Uways, the son of ^Amir?" Uways said, "Yes." ^Umar asked him if he was good and kind to his mother and again Uways replied, "Yes." ^Umar asked him, "Were you inflicted with leprosy and cured except for a spot as small as one dirham?" He said, "Yes." Then our Master ^Umar, remembering the order of the Prophet, asked Uways to make supplication to Allâh to forgive him. Out of his humbleness, Uways told ^Umar that Umar’s supplication would more likely be answered since ^Umar had recently returned from performing Hajj. However, ^Umar told Uways about the order of the Prophet, and Uways made supplication for him.
Uways was a very humble person. Some of the children used to think he was a crazy person because he was so poor and his clothing so old. Our Master ^Umar told him he would write to the ruler of the country where Uways was headed to list his name as one of those who would receive money from time to time, however, Uways did not accept, despite his very poor situation. Rather, he told ^Umar, "I prefer to be like other people."
In another Hadith, the Prophet said:
رُبَّ أشعث مدفوع بالأبواب لو أقسم على الله لأبره
which means: « There are some people whose hair is tousled and appearance dusty such that if they knock at a door, they would be turned away. Yet, if they raise their hands and make supplication to Allâh, they will be answered. »
Among the true Sufis are the waliyys - the highly righteous Muslims- who attained such a high level because of their adhering to the laws of the Religion and their following the Prophet in sincerity. They perform the obligations, refrain from all the prohibitions, and engage in performing many supererogatory acts of worship. They are the ones about whom Allâh said in Surat Yunus, Ayah 62:
﴿ أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّـهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ﴾
which means: « There is no fear on them and they will not be sad (on the Day of Judgment). » Those waliyys did not reach their high status by ignorance. It is known and unanimously agreed upon that Allâh did not make any ignorant person a waliyy. All the waliyys of Allâh are knowledgeable.
Karamah of The Waliyys
Moreover, Allâh endowed the waliyys with karamahs. Karamahs are extra-ordinary actions which might occur to the waliyy, and are a sign he is truthfully following his prophet. A miracle, on the other hand, is the extra-ordinary event which occurs at the hand of a prophet as proof of his truthfulness. For example, when Prophet Musa threw his staff and it became a serpent, Pharaoh’s magicians knew what he did was not witchcraft and that Musa was a prophet. Another miracle occurred with Prophet Ibrahim when the people threw him in the blazing fire and neither his body nor his clothes burned. Many people witnessed the karamah of our Master, Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy, a great waliyy who lived about 800 years ago. Once when standing in front of the grave of the Prophet, Imam Ahmad asked that the Prophet put out his hand so he could kiss it. The Prophet did so in front of a large and great crowd of people. What happened to our master, Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy was a karamah, not a miracle, because although it was an extra-ordinary event, it occurred to one not claiming the status of prophet-hood.
Abu Muslim al-Khawlaniyy is an example of another great waliyy. He stood up against al-Aswad al-^Ansiyy, an evil man who falsely claimed the status of prophet-hood. When Abu Muslim al-Khawlaniyy refuted al-Aswad al-^Ansiyy, he tried to kill him to silence him. So, al-Aswad al-^Ansiyy set a blazing fire and tried three times to burn Abu Muslim in it. However, that fire did not burn Abu Muslim or his clothes, a karamah for Abu Muslim. Seeing this, al-Aswad decided to banish Abu Muslim from his land. Abu Muslim went to al-Madinah, the city of the Prophet, a place he had never been before. He was met at the borders of al-Madinah by ^Umar Ibnul Khattab. Although ^Umar had never before met Abu Muslim, Allâh gave our Master ^Umar the knowledge of his story. ^Umar said what means "Praise be to Allâh Who granted one of the members of the nation of the Prophet similar what he granted to Ibrahim al-Khalil" meaning that the fire did not burn Abu Muslim as the fire did not burn Prophet Ibrahim before him.
Many people have reported witnessing incidents of karamahs. One such incident occurred to our Master ^Umar Ibnul Khattab while he was giving a speech in al-Madinah. All of a sudden he called out, "O Sariyah, the mountain, the mountain." The people in the mosque did not understand what was going on. When ^Umar came down from the platform, they asked him about what had happened, but ^Umar refused to explain to them. All he said was, "A matter had occurred to me." Later, the soldiers of the Muslim army led by Sariyah told the people how they escaped falling into a trap the blasphemers had schemed for them, because they heard ^Umar’s voice calling, "O Sariyah, the mountain, the mountain." As a result, the Muslim army went to the mountain, escaped the trap, and defeated the blasphemers. This was a karamah for our Master ^Umar.
Our Master Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy used to give lessons that were attended by 100,000 people, all able to hear his lesson without modern-day microphones or any other instruments!!! It was reported a man could be working in his field, planting and plowing, and still be able to hear the lesson. Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy used to teach the people fiqh, tawhid, the Arabic language, the fundamentals of the Religion, and other knowledges.
Imam an-Nawawiyy was a waliyy and a great scholar who authored many works. Allâh illuminated Imam an-Nawawiyy’s finger for him at night when the lantern was out of oil so he could see and continue writing about the Religion. This was a karamah for Imam an-Nawawiyy.
Our Master ^Abdul Qadir al-Jilaniyy used to give twelve lessons every day in the fiqh and tawhid. Once, when he was praying, he saw an illumination, and a voice addressed him saying, "O ^Abdul Qadir, I am your Lord, and I relieve you of all the obligations." He signaled by his hand, "Go away, you are the devil." The devil told him, "I have mislead 70 people before you by that, but your knowledge protected you." Al-Jilaniyy knew what he saw was the devil, because he knew Allâh does not resemble His creations. What he saw came from a direction and as an illuminated body. It spoke with a sound and a letter and a language. He knew Allâh is not an illuminated body, is clear of directions, and is clear of sounds, languages, and letters. Moreover, al-Jilaniyy knew even Prophet Muhammad was not relieved of the obligations, so why should one of less status be relieved of them?
These are the examples of the great waliyys, those who adhere in sincerity to the methodology of the Prophet, who perform the obedience and refrain from the sins, who perform many optional acts of worship, and who implement their knowledge. They are the true Sufis to whom Allâh gives such powers.
Among the true Sufis, you will find those who follow a tariqah, and sit in circles to remember Allâh together. The tariqah is a good innovation in Islam. It falls under the permissibility in the Religion for the top scholars of the nation of MuHammad to innovate matters in the Religion which comply with the Qur’an, Hadith, ijma^, and athar. Those scholars who innovate such innovations are greatly rewarded, as are those who practice their good innovations. Muslim narrated the Prophet said:
« مَنْ سَنَّ فِى الإِسْلامِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً فَلَهُ أَجْرُهَا وَأَجْرُ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا بَعْدَهُ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ ينْقُصَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَىْءٌ، وَمَنْ سَنَّ فِى الإِسْلام سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً كَانَ عَلَيْهِ وِزْرُهَا وَوِزْرُ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا مِنْ بَعْدِهِ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ ينْقصَ مِنْ أَوْزَارِهِمْ شَىْءٌ »
which means: « The one who innovates a good innovation in Islam shall have its reward and the reward of those who implement it, until the Day of Judgment, without lessening any of the rewards of those who implement it. »
There are about 40 tariqahs--all of them are sound in principle and origin. Examples are: the Rifa^iyyah tariqah, the Qadiriyyah tariqah, the Naqshabandiyyah tariqah, the Shadhiliyyah tariqah, the Badawiyyah tariqah, among others. All of them were established and founded by great scholars of Ahl us-Sunnah in compliance with the Religion, i.e., in compliance with the Qur’an, hadith, ijma^, and athar. However, today there are many people who claim to be followers of a particular tariqah, yet have perverted and misapplied the original tariqah--thereby doing things contrary to the Religion. Although such people exist, they do not shake the foundation, the truthfulness, or the credibility of the tariqahs.
Sayings and Doings af Some Great Sufis
Those great Sufis and founders of tariqahs all taught that the proper methodology and the route to success in this life and the Hereafter is to follow the methodology and Sunnah of the Prophet.
Al-Junayd al-Baghdadiyy, who is the master of the path of the Sufis, said, "Our path is guided by and based on the Book of Allâh, and the Sunnah of the Messenger." Shah Naqshaband, another great name among the great Sufis, said, "The correct way to our path is to follow the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam." Among the famous sayings of our Master Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy is: "The tariqah is the same as the laws of the Religion, and the laws of the Religion are the same as the tariqah." This means the tariqah applies the rules of the Religion, and the rules of the Religion order that which is practiced in a sound tariqah. Abul Hasan ash-Shadhiliyy, the founder of the Shadhiliyy tariqah, said, "If extraordinary matters happen with you that contradict the laws of the Religion, the Book of Allâh, and/or the Sunnah of the Messenger, then definitely leave them out and follow the rules of the Religion."
Those great Sufis, founders of tariqahs, all advised their students to acquire the knowledge and implement it. Imam Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy, the founder of the Rifa^iyyah tariqah, advised the Muslims at large to quote the sayings of Malik, Ahmad, ash-Shafi^iyy, and Abu Hanifah. This is to highlight the importance of learning the matters of the Religion through the great scholars of Islam, the scholars of the four most recognized schools of thought.
Al-Ghajdawaniyy, who set the foundation for the Naqshabandiyyah tariqah, wrote a letter to one of his students. In his letter he said: « I urge you to acquire the knowledge and the good manners and to be God-fearing. Follow the traces of the good scholars who lived during the first 300 years after the immigration of the Prophet and the scholars who followed their path after them. Adhere to Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama^ah. Study the fiqh, [that is, the knowledge of the rules of the Religion]. Study the hadith, [the knowledge of the sayings of the Prophet]. Study tafsir, [the interpretation of the Qur’an], and beware and avoid those who are ignorant and claim to be Sufis. »
The Prophet, did not indulge his appetite ; He ate a little with the intention of supporting his body to be able to carry out Allâh’s orders. It is known that an entire month would pass and the Prophet would not light a fire in his house to cook. Rather, he and his family would choose to eat dates and drink water. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, at one time, was a very wealthy man. After he became Muslim he gave all of his money to help the Muslims and to support the propagation of Islam. After that, he was seen carrying merchandise on his shoulder to sell in order to earn a humble living for himself and his family. This is the situation of the Sufis. They are humble, not arrogant. They do not indulge their appetites or their selves. Even though they might be engaged in some worldly matters, it is for a religious reason, and their hearts are not attached to these matters.
Al-Junayd, the son of Muhammad al-Baghdadiyy, is known as the Master of the true Sufis. He lived during the beginning of the 4th Hijri century. He was a faqih. He was knowledgeable in the matters of the Religion. He was a scholar of Hadith. Linguists, scholars of the language, and scholars of the Religion used to come to attend his circle to benefit from his knowledge. Among his sayings is: "We did not acquire this level of Sufism just by talking about it ; but rather, we acquired it through spending the nights awake in prayer, experiencing hunger from fasting the days, and going against our worldly desires." This is, of course, after acquiring the knowledge and implementing it, all in sincerity to Allâh.
Hence, Sufism is very much a part of the Religion of Islam. History is full of many great examples of true Sufis. It is only intelligent on our part to follow their example and beware of those who claim to be Sufis, yet spread falsehood and misguidance. Moreover, we must fulfill the obligation of ordering the lawful and forbidding the unlawful by warning the Muslims at large from those misguided people who cheat them in the matters of their Religion whether they claim to be Sufis or not.
Who are The "Sufi-Claimers"?
Bearing in mind that Sufism is the methodology implemented by the true Sufis following the example of Prophet MuHammad, let us expound on what we have named "claimed-Sufism." Be warned against the "Sufi-claimers", for there are many people today who claim to be Sufis yet do not have a drop of piety in them. They are dangerous people who delude others into following their misguidance by their false appearance of piety. They exaggerate to give the appearance of being humble, and their superficial efforts are to lower their heads and their gaze and to close their eyes whenever they say statements to remember Allâh (dhikr). They worry about appearances and settle for using the dhikr-beads. For all their concern about their appearance, these "Sufi-claimers" are a people who did not learn the Obligatory Knowledge of the Religion. As a result of their ignorance, they do not follow the Messenger of Allâh in what is lawful nor do they avoid what is unlawful. Rather, they follow their own desires and that which the devil embellishes for them. Thy are liars and false-claimers and are drowning in their own ignorance.
Those "Sufi-claimers" claim to love the Prophet, when really they belie him and oppose him. Their hearts are attached to the love for leadership, power, and recognition. They want fame, titles, money, and other than that among the worldly matters. They try to camouflage their true goals by appearing sincere and humble. However, they misinterpret the matters of the Religion to suit their own desires and as a result, they pervert these rules and are drawn into sinning. They breach the laws of the sound circles of remembering Allâh, and falsify the sound rules of followship under the tariqah. When they get in circles to remember Allâh, they pervert His name and say, "Ah, Ah", instead of saying, "Allâh, Allâh." In their circles, they move their bodies in unlawful motions, similar to the dance of the enormous sinners, ignoring it is forbidden in the Religion to dance in that manner.
Some Misguided Interpretations of The "Sufi-Claimers"
Those "Sufi-claimers" are not interested in acquiring the knowledge of the Religion. They are ready to misinterpret the verses of the Qur’an and the hadiths of the Prophet to suit their own desires and to justify their bad inclinations and the enormous sins they commit. As a result, they commit the unlawful. For example, some among those ignorant "Sufi-claimers" misinterpret the Qudsiyy hadith related in Sahih al-Bukhariyy from the route of Abu Hurayrah, that the Prophet said Allâh said:
وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ عَبْدِي بِشَيْءٍ أَحَبَّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ
Shaykh Abu ^Uthman al-Hiriyy interpreted this Hadith as: The best thing the slave of Allâh can do to become closer in obedience to Allâh is to perform that which Allâh made obligatory on him. After that, the person would perform plenty of the supererogatory acts of worship until he gains the love of Allâh. Once he is at that stage, his matters would be answered faster than the things that he hears, faster than the things he sees, faster than the action he does with his hand, and faster than the walking he does with his legs ; and if that person should seek refuge with Allâh, Allâh would protect him.
Abu Sulayman al Khattabiyy explained that hadith to mean: "Such a person would be guided to use his body in what is acceptable to Allâh, and his supplication would be answered quickly." Thus, if he uses his hand, he would be guided to use it in obedience to Allâh ; likewise, when he uses his ears, eyes, legs, and other organs.
This is how some of the scholars of Islam interpreted this hadith, but those ignorant "Sufi-claimers" believe Allâh unites with the creations so they misinterpret this Hadith and say it means, "If Allâh loves the slave then Allâh becomes his hand, leg, ear, and eye." Some of these "Sufi-claimers" believe Allâh dwells in the slaves ; and some others believe the universe is Allâh, and every person, animal, or thing is a part of Him. One of them would even have the audacity to say about himself, "I am Allâh." A man named al-Hallaj, who lived over 1000 years ago, said he is Allâh. If one of those "Sufi-claimers" goes to visit a friend and is asked who is at the door, he might say, "Allâh," because he believes that Allâh dwells in the bodies.
Some of those blasphemers who say Allâh unites with His creation said, "The Christians committed blasphemy because they limited Allâh to the body of ^Isa and the body of Jibril." They said, "Had the Christians generalized and said, "Allâh is in all things", they would have escaped blasphemy." May Allâh protect us from their evil.
Shaykh Zayni Dahlan, who was the Mufti of the Shafi^iyy school in Makkah more than one hundred years ago, pronounced the one who holds such a belief a blasphemer and in this he agreed with Shaykh Ibn Hajar, who lived more than 300 years before him. Al-Qadi ^Iyad also pronounced them as blasphemers and conveyed the consensus (ijma^) on their blasphemy. Shaykh ^Izzud-Din Ibnu ^Abdis-Salam, Fakhurd-Din ar-Raziyy, as-Suyutiyy, al-Junayd, Shaykh Abul Huda as-Sayyadiyy al-Baghdadiyy, and ar-Rifa^iyy all pronounced them as blasphemers. Imam Ahmad ar-Rifa^iyy said: "Had al-Hallaj been on the right path, he would not have said, ‘I am Allâh’."
Some Examples Of The Misguidance Of The "Sufi-Claimers"
Some of those "Sufi-claimers" say, "Iblis will be saved on the Day of Judgment." This is blasphemy. You would find among them those who say, "On the Day of Judgment there will be no difference between the one who is obedient and the one who is sinful." This is blasphemy. You would find among them some who say, "The occupants of Hellfire actually enjoy Hellfire." This is blasphemy. You would find among them those who claim: "Pharaoh of Musa would be saved in the Hereafter." This is blasphemy. Some of them say: "The knowledge of Allâh increases." They say: "A new knowledge happens to Allâh", and by that they make Allâh similar to the creatures. This is blasphemy. Some of them say: "Allâh has a place." This is blasphemy.
Some of them, when wanting to remember Allâh, pervert His name and say, ‘Ah’ instead of saying Allâh. Shaykh al-Mannawiyy refuted those who claim there is a hadith about the Prophet from which they deduced it is permissible to say ‘Ah’ instead of Allâh. He said this claimed Hadith is more likely fabricated because it belies the Qur’an. Allâh said in Surat al-A^raf, Ayah 180:
وَلِلَّـهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴿180﴾
which means: « Allâh has the perfect names, so call Allâh by His Perfect Names and forsake those who falsify His Names, they will be punished for what they were doing. » Shaykh Dhafir al-Madaniyy said it was the deviated followers of the Shadhiliyyah Tariqah, residing in Fas (Morocco), who innovated that term ‘Ah,’ and not Shaykh Abul Hasan ash-Shadhiliyy, the founder of the Shadhiliyyah Tariqah.
Some of those "Sufi-claimers" say, "Prophet MuHammad, (sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam) is an illuminated part of Allâh." They say, "Allâh took a part of his light and ordered it to be Muhammad, so it became Muhammad." This is blasphemy for three reasons. First, because they say Allâh is an illuminated body. Second, because they say Allâh has parts. Third, because they bely the Qur’an in which it is explicitly stated that Prophet Muhammad is a human being. The proper understanding of the ‘light’ of Prophet Muhammad has two dimensions. The first is that Prophet Muhammad guides to the path of Islam. The second refers to the light which emanated from Prophet Muhammad when he smiled or when one looked at his face. He, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, was the most beautiful of the creation ; however, believing that does not deny that Prophet Muhammad is human, because it is clearly stated in the Qur’an in Surat al-Kahf, Ayah 110. Predicating about Muhammad, Allâh said:
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ
which means: « Say, (O Muhammad), "I am only a human being as you are, however, I receive the Revelation." » So, be warned against a book titled Mawlid al-^Arus, which was unrightfully attributed to Ibnu l-Jawziyy. This book includes a statement that "Allâh took a part of ‘His Light’, ordered it to be MuHammad, and it became MuHammad." Anyone who believes Allâh is a light and part of it transformed to become Prophet MuhHammad is a blasphemer.
Some of those "Sufi-claimers" say: "MuHammad is the Self of Allâh." This is obvious blasphemy. Some of them say: "Paradise is the playground of kids, however, as for us, we want Allâh." This is blasphemy for belittling Paradise. Those "Sufi-claimers" attribute that saying to one of the great scholars of Islam, a great Sufi: Abu Yazid al-Bastamiyy, who is clear of such sayings.
Some of those "Sufi-claimers" say: "Prayers do not have much significance ; rather, what is important is clearing one’s inner self." They say: "A person can be guided to Allâh through Islam, Buddhism, fire-worship, or another religion." All of this is blasphemy for belying the saying of Allâh:
﴿ إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ ﴾
(‘inna d-dîna `inda l-Lâhi l-‘islâm)
which means: « Certainly, the only religion accepted by Allâh is Islam. » [sûrat ‘Ali `Imrân / 19]
Some of those false "Sufis-claimers" believe their leaders are a reflection of Allâh: checking the matters of the slaves, supporting the one who is a believer, and misguiding the person who stands against them. Hence, they say that anyone who stands against their shaykh is standing against Allâh. A woman from their group wrote an article expressing that belief. She believes Allâh goes into things, and that the shaykh of her tariqah is a reflection of Allâh. Moreover, she believes anyone who refutes the shaykh of her tariqah is against Allâh. So, if one would go to the shaykh of their tariqah and refute him by the evidences of the Religion, his followers would consider him a bad soul. Thus, to them, standing against their shaykh means Allâh has exposed the defiance of the person and his rejection of Allâh.
In his book, Nihayatul Matlab, al-Juwayniyy said: "We do not infer any other meaning from he who utters an explicit word of apostasy." Hence, the one who says, "I am Allâh", and then claims he meant another meaning is still a blasphemer. The religious rule and judgment is not to infer another meaning from an explicit word. This is why the scholars of Baghdad pronounced al-Husayn, the son of Mansur, al-Hallaj, as a blasphemer. Al-Hallaj was killed, and his head was placed on a pole by the orders of the ^Abbasiyy caliph, al-Muqtadir Billah, in the year 309 A.H. in accordance with the fatwas of the scholars. Abu ^Abdur-Rahman as-Sulamiyy in his book, Tabaqat as-Sufiyyah, said: "Most of the true Sufis negated al-Hallaj." "They did not consider him a Sufi", as was said by al-Khatib al-Baghdadiyy in his book, The History of Baghdad. Ar-Rifa^iyy said, "Had al-Hallaj been on the right path he would not have said, ‘I am Allâh.’" Al-Junayd al-Baghdadiyy who is also recognized by those "Sufi-claimers" as the head of the Sufis, said to al-Hallaj, "You have opened a hole in Islam that can only be filled in with your head." His statement came true after only a short period when the ^Abbasiyy caliph ordered al-Hallaj killed. Al-Junayd al-Baghdadiyy also said, "Had I been the ruler, I would have beheaded the one who says, ‘No one exists except Allâh’."
Warning: Some Perverted Tariqahs of Today
Brother Muslim: Be warned against some of the followers of the Tijaniyyah tariqah who say about Prophet MuHammad he is the Self of Allâh. This is blasphemy. We do not confirm that statement was said by the founder of the tariqah ; rather, we recognize that some of the people who practice the Tijaniyyah tariqah say it.
Also, be warned of another group who link themselves to the Dandarawiyyah tariqah who say: "O Allâh, raise the rank of all the creatures and their creations." They claim the creatures create, meaning the creatures bring things from the state of non-existence into the state of existence. They belong to the school of the Mu^tazilah and the school of Hizb at-Tahrir, both of whom claim that the creatures create their own actions.
Also be warned against a faction known as ad-Daghistaniyyah who claim to follow the Naqshabandiyyah tariqah. They follow a man called ^Abdullah ad- Daghistaniyyah, who claimed he died and 124,000 prophets came and brought him back to life. He said he would not die again until the mahdiyy appears, and that he would live for seven years with the Imam al-Mahdiyy. Allâhu akbar ; he died about four months after he made that claim ! Among his misguided sayings is: "He who recites the Fatihah will receive merits and benefits that no one among the waliyys or the prophets of Allâh will receive, even if the person who recites the Fatihah was openly a blasphemer or a hypocrite who conceals his blasphemy." ^Abdullah ad- Daghistaniyyah’s successor is a man named Nadhim al-Qubrusiyy, also known as Nadhim al-Haqqaniyy. His group is present in this country represented by a misguided man by the name of Hisham Qabbaniyy and in other countries represented by his brother, ^Adnan Qabbaniyy. They have several followers who follow them in ignorance.
Be warned, also, of a man by the name of Amin Shaykhu who died and was succeeded by a man named ^Abdul Hadi Albaniyy. They also claim to follow the Naqshabandiyyah tariqah. They say: "Allâh willed for all to die as believers, however His Will was not fulfilled in most cases." They say: "Before creating the blasphemer, Allâh did not know he will commit blasphemy." To them, Allâh knew about their blasphemy after He created them. By this, they attribute ignorance and change to Allâh, clear blasphemy from them!!!
Additional Warnings For The God-Fearing Muslims
These "Sufi-claimers" are present and active in the United States, Canada, and other places. They do not recognize the true knowledge or valid, sound proofs, but instead, surrender to their delusions and the whisperings of the devil. The devil whispered to them that even though they are ignorant, by simply clearing their inner selves they can attain the highest levels. Hence, according to them, they do not need knowledge, prayers, or other Islamic matters. Simply, they believe by clearing their inner selves, they reach the high level. Moreover, to them, the high level is uniting with Allâh. They call it al-fana’, and by this they mean the human being unites with Allâh. Their belief is blasphemy.
Had those people known the rules of the Religion, they would have realized it does not help the one who fornicates or who kills unrightfully to say, "I had a good intention." His intention is a hidden matter. The actions he committed are an apparent matter, and what is hidden does not help him. Even if his intention was to be obedient, if he deliberately did sinful things, his intention would not help him. Likewise, if a person performs prayers, goes to Hajj, studies the religious knowledge, and lectures on it, yet on the inside his intention in performing these actions is to be praised by the people, then none of what appeared to be good deeds from him would be acceptable to Allâh. What is on the inside and what is on the outside go hand in hand. For the person to gain the reward for his good deeds, he must perform it with the proper intention, i.e., for the sake of Allâh only and in accordance to the rules of the Religion revealed to Prophet MuHammad and conveyed to us by his companions and their followers.
The person who does not acquire the Obligatory Knowledge of Islam is sinful, and Allâh does not make an ignorant person a waliyy. It is known and confirmed in the Religion that he who does not acquire the Knowledge does not excel. He does not attain high status in the Religion. So recognize and be firm in knowing: Knowledge is the gateway to success. It is the foundation of success in this life and in the Hereafter.
Advices to success in religion
Let us make sure we obtain the Obligatory Knowledge, implement it, and be sincere about it in our hearts. Let us spread that knowledge and teach it to others. Let us be among those who protect and preserve the creed of Prophet MuHamamd. He who has the perfect love for the Prophet would follow the Prophet’s teachings regarding the matters of the lawful and the unlawful. He who only claims to have the perfect love for the Prophet and does not follow him in the matters of the lawful and the unlawful, is a swindler and a liar.
Let us speak the truth with sound statements. Let us order what is lawful and forbid what is unlawful and encourage others to do the same. Recognize Sufism and know the true Sufis are those who follow the Prophet and propagate that knowledge through the acceptable methodologies. They are those who brought victories and opened the lands and unified the Muslims throughout the Islamic history. They are the ones who spread Islam and defended the Religion. The true Sufis today are endeavoring in sincerity to establish unity among the Muslims. In doing so they are following the path the Prophet prescribed, as did the Companions, their followers, and all the great scholars of Islam.
Allâh said in the Qur’an in Surat Al ^Imran, Ayah 103:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ
which means: « Apply the rules that are in the Book of Allâh ; adhere to the Religion of Allâh, and do not disunite. » In this verse Allâh told us explicitly the basis of unity and its foundation is adhering to the Book of Allâh and adhering to the matters of the Religion, knowledge of which is acquired by learning it from trustworthy teachers. If one does not have the reliable knowledge of what is in the Book of Allâh and what is in the Religion he cannot adhere to their laws.
Allâh told us this is the basis of the unity, i.e., to be knowledgeable, and hence, to adhere to the principles of the Religion. This is what the true Sufis in the past did and this is what the true Sufis now are doing. We call all to adhere to what is in the Book of Allâh and to what is in the sayings of the Prophet, by acquiring the knowledge of the Religion through trustworthy and knowledgeable teachers who themselves took their knowledge from trustworthy and knowledgeable teachers, who have a similar chain reaching back to the best teacher of all, Prophet Muhammad.
I ask Allâh to make us among those who order the lawful and forbid what is unlawful and to grant us the sincerity in all the matters of our Religion and all that which we do. I ask Allâh to make us among those who strive to teach and spread the creed of Ahl us-Sunnah, and who do that seeking the reward from Allâh, and not fearing anyone in that course. Allâh knows best.