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Friday, September 26, 2014

What is Sufism?

What is Sufism? 
Concise answer
The lexical root of 'tasawwuf' is variously traced to sūf "wool", referring to the simple wool-made cloaks the early Muslim ascetics wore and who claimed to purify their inner self from filth and stay away from worldly attractions, thus engaging in so-called spiritual self-reconstruction. This Sufi way of thinking was further developed over the history by different sects that added more and more features and traits to it. Sufi teachings cannot be accepted thoroughly or rejected outright because their doctrines are a combination of correct religious behaviors and incorrect innovations originating in their tastes. Unfortunately, this incorrect combination has led some people who intend to practice the first part in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah (prophetic tradition) to be erroneously accused by some credulous and naive people of being dervish or Sufi. One of those great people who have been accused of being a dervish is Imam Khomeini – may his soul rest in peace. As a matter of fact, if we go through his writings and words and examine them meticulously, we will come to the conclusion that Imam Khomeini (r.a) criticized innovative and ostentatious Sufi practices as much as he stressed on self-reconstruction and spiritual purification. Although Imam Khomeini (r.a.) is counted as a gnostic ('arif), he cannot be considered a Sufi in its most well-known sense.

Courtesy: Al-Haramain Foundation
The word Sufi is most likely to be derived from the Arabic word "soof", meaning wool. This is because of the Sufi habit of wearing woolen coats, a designation of their initiation into the Sufi order. The early Sufi orders considered the wearing of this coat as an imitation of Isa bin Maryam (Jesus). In reply to this, Ibn Taymiyyah said: "There are a people who have chosen and preferred the wearing of woolen clothes, claiming that they want to resemble al-Maseeh ibn Maryam. But the way of our Prophet is more beloved to us, and the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.s) used to wear cotton and other garments."1
Sufism is known as "Islamic Mysticism," in which Muslims seek to find divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God2. Mysticism is defined as the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality, and the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)3 Both the terms Sufi and Sufism and Sufi beliefs have no basis from the traditional Islamic sources of the Qur'an and Sunnah, a fact even admitted by themselves. Rather, Sufism is in essence a conglomerate consisting of extracts from a multitude of other religions with which Sufi's interacted.
During the primary stages of Sufism, Sufis were characterised by their particular attachment to zikr (remembrance of Allah) and asceticism (seclusion), as well as the beginning of innovated practices to 'aid' in the religious practices. Yet even at the early stage of Sufism, before their involvement in innovated rituals and structured orders, the scholars warned the masses of the extremity of Sufi practices. Imam Al-Shafi' had the opinion that "If a person exercised Sufism (Tasawafa) at the beginning of the day, he doesn't come at Zuhur except an idiot". Imam Malik and Ahmad bin Hanbal also shared similar ideas on this new movement which emanated from Basrah, Iraq. Although it began as a move towards excessive Ibaadah, such practices were doomed to lead to corruption, since their basis did not come from authentic religious doctrines, but rather from exaggerated human emotions. Sufism as an organised movement arose among pious Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad period (AD 661-750)4. The Sufis exploited the chaotic state of affairs that existed during the fifth and sixth centuries A.H. and invited people to follow their way, alleging that the remedy to this chaos was conformity to the guidance of their order's Sheikhs. Dar al-Hikmah was established during the reign of Khalifah Ma'moon, where he invited the scholars of the Romans and Greeks to meet with the Muslims and 'discuss' their respective positions. This provided the perfect breeding ground for the synthesis between Islam and Pagan theology, to produce the Sufism of the like of Ibn Arabi.
The Mixing Pot
With the demise of the Companions and their successors, the door became open for the distortion of Islamic Principles. The enemies of Islam had already burrowed deep into the ranks of Muslims and rapidly caused Fitnah through their spreading of forged hadith and subsequently created new sects such as the Khawaarij and Mu'tazilah. Sufism gained its breeding ground during this period, whereby it gained its support from the Dynastic Rulers, who had deviated from Islam to the extent whereby magic was used as entertainment in their courts, even though magic is considered as Kufr in Islam.5 During this period, Sufism developed its Shi'a flavour, indeed the roots of contemporary Sufism have been traced back to Shi'a origins (see later). Sufi ideology and thinking flourished during the times of the likes of Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Jalal Ad Din Rumi, and Imam Ghazali. Their translation of Greek philosophical works into Arabic during the third Islamic century left an indelible mark on many aspects of Sufism, resulting in Greek pantheism becoming an integral part of Sufi doctrine. Pagan practices such as Saint worshipping, the use of magic and holding venerance towards their Sheikh overtook the Orthodox practices of Islam and had little resemblance to the Islam left by our Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam). By examining the mystic doctrines of Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism and other religions, it becomes clear how closer Sufism is to these religions than to Islam. In fact, Sufism is never characterised under "Islam" in any system of catalogue, but rather under 'Mysticism'. Sharda highlights these unsurprising similarities by stating that: "After the fall of Muslim orthodoxy from power at the centre of India for about a century, due to the invasion of Timur, the Sufi became free from the control of the Muslim orthodoxy and consorted with Hindu saints, who influenced them to an amazing extent. The Sufi adopted Monism and wifely devotion from the Vaishnava Vedantic school and Bhakti and Yogic practices from the Vaishnava Vedantic school. By that time, the popularity of the Vedantic pantheism among the Sufis had reached its zenith."6
The following comparison demonstrates the non-coincidental similarity that Sufism shares with other religions:
Concept of validity of all religions
The Sufi doctrine of all religions being acceptable before Allah is derived from the Mystical beliefs of other religions, and not Islam, for Allah says: "Truly, the religion in the Sight of Allah is Islam..." [2: 19]. Take for example the Buddhists: "No Buddhist who understands the Buddha's teaching thinks that other religions are wrong... All religions acknowledge that man's present state is unsatisfactory. All teach an ethics that includes love, kindness, patience, generosity and social responsibility and all accept the existence of some form of Absolute." The Sufis also believe the same: "Allah does not distinguish between the non-believer and the Faasiq (wrong doer) or between a believer and a Muslim. In fact they are all equal to Him... Allah does not distinguish between a Kaffir or a hypocrite or between a saint and a Prophet."7 In al-Fusoos, Ibn Arabi leaves no doubt as to his conviction in the unity of all religions: "Beware of restricting yourself to one particular religion and disbelieving in everything else, so that great good would be missed by you, indeed you would miss attainment of knowledge of the affair in the form he is following. Rather be ready to accept all forms of belief. This is because Allah is higher and greater than to be comprehended by one belief to the exclusion of others. Rather all are correct, and everyone who is correct receives award, and everyone who is rewarded is fortunate, and everyone who is fortunate is one with Whom He is pleased."8
Union with the Creator
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'aala is completely distinct from His Creation. He neither resembles His Creation, nor is He enclosed by it. Sufis however, with their deviant doctrine of Wahdat ul Wujood, believe contrary to this. Ibn Arabi, the Sufi scholar with whom which the concept of Wahdat ul Wujood is rightly attributed, asserted that since Allah's Attributes were manifested in His creation, to worship His creation is similar to worshipping Him: "So the person with complete understanding is he who sees every object of worship to be a manifestation of the truth contained therein, for which it is worshipped. Therefore they call it a god, along with its particular name, whether it is a rock, or a tree, or an animal, or a person, or a star, or an angel."9 This is how far the Sufis deviated because of their reliance on Greek and Eastern philosophy, rather than the Qur'an and Sunnah. To them God is not Allah Alone with whom no one else shares in His Dominion, but rather everything we see around us, and ultimately our own selves! Glory to Allah, who Stated "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer" [42: 11].
Looking at where Sufism derived its understanding from, we find the same ingrained beliefs: "When you live in the wisdom home, you'll no longer find a barrier between "I" and "you," "this" and "that," "inside" and "outside;" you'll have come, finally, to your true home, the state of non-duality."10 "Finally, the experience of realisation matures sufficiently that the [spiritual aspirant] may rightly utter the startling assertion, 'I am Shiva' (a Hindu deity)".11 "When I am in that darkness I do not remember anything about anything human, or the God-man.. I see all and I see nothing. As what I have spoken of withdraws and stays with me, I see the God-man.. and he sometimes says to me: 'You are I and I am you'".12
Corruption of Tawheed in Allaah's Attributes
Sufis totally deny all of Allah's Attributes, such as His Face, His Hands, His Istawaa etc, using metaphorical meanings to explain His Attributes. Although the Companions and Tabi'een believed in them without any resemblance to His creation, the Sufi's deem His Attributes to be a part of His creation. Ibn Arabi went as far as to say that he saw Allah during one of his ecstatic trances, in the shape of a young blond boy sitting on a Throne! (see Bezels of Wisdom, London 1980). Other Sufi Gnostics followed suit in Ibn Arabi's trail: "In the writings of Ibn al-Arabi and Ibn al-Farid, eternal beauty is symbolised through female beauty; in Indo-Muslim popular mystical songs the soul is the loving wife, God the longed-for husband." 13 Incorporation of Music in Rituals Music of all forms is forbidden by the majority of scholars, and remains attached to forbidden practices such as drinking, fornication and parties. However, after the Muslim conquest of the Deccan under Malik Kafur (c. 1310), a large number of Hindu musicians were taken with the royal armies and settled in the North. The acceptance of the Sufi doctrines, in which music was an accepted means to the realisation of God, enabled Muslim rulers and noblemen to extend their patronage to this art.14 At the courts of the Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan, music flourished on a grand scale, and Sufi Dervishes used music as a means to enter ecstatic trances. Allah's Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said in a lengthy hadith concerning the appearance of vile acts, "...when singing-girls and stringed instruments make their appearance, wines are drunk, and the last members of this people curse the first ones, look at that time for a violent wind, an earthquake, being swallowed up by the earth, metamorphosis, pelting rain, and signs following one another like bits of a necklace falling one after the other when its string is cut." [Tirmidhi ].
The deception of Sufism is brought to full light by looking at the lives of their esteemed leaders, the Sheikhs of whom which they place full trust in heir knowledge and obey their every command, and by contrasting the Orthodox Islamic teachings against the Sufi alternative.
Sufi Sheikhs: Role Models or Deviants?
Bayazid Tayfur al-Bistami
Bayazid is considered to be "of the six bright stars in the firmament of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam)"15, and a link in the Golden Chain of the Naqshibandi Tariqah. Yet his life reeks of Shirin all aspects. Bayazid al-Bistami was the first one to spread the reality of Annihilation (Fana'), whereby the Mystic becomes fully absorbed to the point of becoming unaware of himself or the objects around him. Every existing thing seems to vanish, and he feels free of every barrier that could stand in the way of his viewing the Remembered One. In one of these states, Bayazid cried out: "Praise to Me, for My greatest Glory!" Yet this concept is to be found nowhere in the Qur'an, nor Sunnah, nor in the behaviour in the Salaf us Saalih. Bistami's belief in the Unity of all religions became apparent when asked the question: "How does Islam view other religions?" His reply was "All are vehicles and a path to God's Divine Presence." Was this the Message of Tawheed which the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) practised and was followed by the Sahaabah? He attributed the believers to be the same as the disbelievers themselves, who Allah describes as being worse than cattle (Surah 7, verse 179) and dogs; the same disbelievers who the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) stated he had been commanded to fight till they testified that there was no deity but Allah. The whole life of Bayazid is rife with such contradiction to Eeman. From a young age, he left his mother stating to her that he could not serve Allah and his mother at the same time.16 When walking through the streets, he once called out "I am God; why do you not worship me?" He spent his time sitting with his head resting between his knees, one of his companions stating he did so for thirty years. But strangest of all was his obedience to a dog he once came across. The dog had apparently become upset at Bayazid's attempt to avoid him, to which the dog spoke to him and scolded him. So Bayazid pleaded "O dog, you are so enlightened, live with me for some time."17
Ibn Arabi
During the late 12th and early 13th centuries, under the influence of speculative mysticism, Ibn al-Arabi produced a system that created a complete chasm between the law and Sufism. In societies, such as Islamic India, that had a strong pre-Islamic heritage of mysticism, this chasm became much wider.18 Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi holds perhaps the highest position amongst all Sufi Schools, and was pivotal in the permanent split between Islam and Sufism. He claimed to have received direct orders from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) himself, including a book of completely new hadith never seen or heard of before. Prior to his receiving 'revelation', Ibn Arabi was well known to attend nightly parties in Seville. During one of these nights, he heard a voice (his drunk inner self?) calling to him, "O Muhammad, it was not for this that you were created". He fled in fear to a cemetery, where he claims to have met, and received instruction from, Jesus, Moses and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. From his books, innumerable forged sayings attributed to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) have been used, to the extent that countless of Muslims consider these to be real. The following are quotes from Ibn Arabi:
"The man of wisdom will never allow himself to be caught up in any one form or belief, because he is wise unto himself".19
"All that is left to us by tradition (Hadith) is mere words. It is up to us to find out what they mean"20. (This reflects his alliance with Baatini (inner) meanings and interpretations)
"He (Ibn Rushd) thanked God that in his own time he had seen someone (Ibn Arabi) who had entered into the retreat ignorant and had come out like this (knowledge of inner meanings)- without study, discussion, investigation or reading"21
Junaid was the fourth head of the Safavid order who sought to transform the spiritual strength of the order into political power. What may be unknown to his followers however was his policies of military adventurism combined with Shi'a and Sufi piety.22 His son, Haydar, himself established the Safavid dynasty and the Twelver Shi'a Islam in Iran came under his grandson, Isma'il I. He was said to have blown a fatal breath at his slave-girl, to which he argued that she was ruining his forty years of spiritual practices.23 This so-called 'Saint', a supposed friend of Allah, made the following remarks: "I saw a thief who was being gibbeted. I bowed to him... for being true to the profession he followed." "He who fears Allah never smiles". "One moments forgetfulness of the Lord ruins a thousands years worship". Mansur al-Hallaj Mansur is renowned for his claim "Ana-l-Haq" (I am the Truth), for which he was executed for apostasy. Yet he is still revered by Sufis even though he abandoned all the laws governing Tawheed. He was said to have lived in one cloak for a full twenty years, along with a scorpion inside. He stood bare-footed and bare-headed for one year at the same spot in Makkah. During his prayers, he would say "O Lord! You are the guide of those who are passing through the Valley of Bewilderment. If I am a heretic, enlarge my heresy." He also said "I denied your religion (Islam) and denial is obligatory on me, although that is hideous to Muslims."24
Abu Yazid
Abu Yazid once prayed one Juma'a prayer in 24,000 different places. He told the religious authorities in one place: "I was praying in 12,000 different houses of worship today." They asked: "How?" He said, "By the power of the Lord Almighty. If you don't believe me, send people around to ask." They sat and waited until messengers returned saying that he was seen in so many places. Abu Yazid said later: "I was afraid to say 24,000, so I only said 12,000." So Abu Yazid clearly lied, when he could have simply not mentioned anything in the first place.
Are these truly the ones who we are told to receive the knowledge of our religion from? Do these men reflect the teachings of Islam? A man who left obedience to his mother, to the obedience of a dog? Are we supposed to follow men who receive revelation in a cemetery after spending the night at a party? Or a man who kills his slave girl for 'disturbing' his worship? To us, Islam calls smiling a charity, not a deviation from Allah's Pleasure. Islam forbids prostration to anyone but Allah. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to make du'a seeking Allah's guidance, not begging for heresy. And Islam teaches us truthfulness, not lies.
Evidence Against their teachings: their beliefs and practices
Position of the Sheikh and Wali
The Sheikh or Wali is given a similar standing as that of a Catholic Saint, or the Dalai Lama himself. Complete obedience is enforced on his followers, and any questions are deemed as a betrayal of trust: "The seeker must submit to the will of the Sheikh and to obey him in all his orders and advice, because the Sheikh has more experience and more knowledge in Haqiqat, in Tariqat and in Shari'ah," and "he must agree with the opinion of his Sheikh completely, as the patient agrees with the physician".25 Yet Muslims believe that any single act of worship must be substantiated by the Qur'an and Sunnah only. Allah the Exalted says:"Say (to them), 'Produce your proof if you are truthful'." [2: 111], and the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said "The created is not to be obeyed over the Creator." The Sheikh is given the standing of a deity in Sufism. Attributes which belong to Allah, are also assigned to their Sheikhs. They seek help from them, whether they are dead or 10,000km away. They believe that their sheikhs know everything their students are thinking, and that they converse with the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) on a regular basis (in reality).
Distortion of the concepts of Dhikr, hadith, Qur'an
Since the Qur'an and Saheeh Hadith cannot be changed, the Sufi's have reverted to Ta'weel, a method of changing the apparent meaning of the verse or hadith to have a hidden one. This provided them with sufficient lee-way to support any concept they desired, by simply stating that the verse/hadith had an inner meaning which only the Sheikh himself could know. In the Bezels of Wisdom, Ibn Arabi presents certain aspects of what he terms "Divine Wisdom," as he conceives it. But Ibn al-Arabi interprets the relevant verses of Surat Noah in the most outrageous fashion, since he suggests meanings diametrically opposed to those accepted by all Muslim scholars. He interprets the "wrongdoer," "infidels," and "sinners" in Surat Noah as 'saints and Gnostics' drowning and burning not in the torment of Hell, but rather in the flames and water of knowledge of God. Ibn Arabi regarded the idols worshipped by Noah's people as divine deities. Allah condemned their deed saying: "And they (Noah's people) said, 'Do not abandon your gods, neither Wad, Suwa', Yaghooth, Ya'ooq nor Nasr'. "[71: 23] On which Ibn Arabi commented: "If they (Noah's people) had abandoned them, they would have become ignorant of the Reality ... for in every object of worship there is a reflection of Reality, whether it be recognised or not."
The act of making Zikr in circles and jumping/moving frantically is also totally unfounded. Zikr in the true Arabic sense means "Remembrance of Allah." The Prophet's (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) method, which Muslims agree to be the best and only acceptable one, of zikr consisted in reciting Qur'an, discussing religion with his companions, and making Tasbeeh on his hands. Yet the act of sitting in circles and loudly or silently chanting "Allah, Allah" was never practised by the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) nor the Salaf, and all hadith which state that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) did so (such as when he supposedly went into a room, told the companions to lift up their hands and chant "La Ilaha Illa Allah" ) are unanimously agreed upon to be forged. Ibn Taymiyyah stated that this practice opened the door to Shaytaan, whereby the Shaytaan would enter the gathering (since they were involved in innovation) and take the form of a pious person. He also stated that the recital of "Allah, Allah" was forbidden, as it was never declared to be a form of Dhikr, and has no attached word to complete it (such as Allahu Akbar, Subhaan Allah).26 The stories also of Khidr and his meeting with the 'Awliyaa', the 40 Abdaal's who are always on the Earth and can be at any place in the wink of an eye, are derived from Jewish and Christian legends, not Islamic traditions.
Imam Malik remarked: "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 who introduces a Bid'ah (innovation) in the religion of Islam and deems it a good thing, claims by so doing that Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.s) betrayed the Message." The Sufis are to be found indulging in and spending an enormous amount of resources defending innovated practices, declaring them to be "good innovations." These include celebrating the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.s) (a practice adopted from the reign of Fatamids, who began this innovation in order to seek the pleasure of the masses), reading Qur'an over the dead and seeking blessings form them, and the building of extravagant mosques (even though our Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam.s) forbade this. Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah said:"The Hour will not come to pass until the people vie with each other in (building) the mosques." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, anNasa'i, Ibn Majah] ).
Why they still survive Emotional attachment
The Sufi's have become such an integral part of the lives of so many Muslims that Muslims are finding it difficult to accept that the Sufi path is wrong, and accuse anyone who pinpoints the errors of Sufism as an extremist or a follower of some 'deviant' sect. Sufism calls to human emotions rather than intellect and Islamic evidence. For example, poetry and music were the most popular form during the past hundreds of years, whereby "Sufi ideas permeated the hearts of all those who hearkened to poetry."27 Today, Sufism is followed by masses of people who desire to leave behind the complexities of this world, instead of building the ability to challenge it. Sufism provides the perfect escape, where its followers can meditate instead of thinking about the other Muslims who are suffering, let alone help them. Similarity with pagan beliefs Sufism is so similar to other religions, and as we noted earlier very tolerant of them, that a change to Sufism does not involve a complete change of life, as Islam requires. So Buddhists, Sikhs, Taoists and mystic Jews and Christians looking for an easy alternative find solace in Sufism which perhaps only adds another dimension to their previous way of life, rather than uprooting it and starting afresh Simplicity Ibnul-Jawzee says in Talbees Iblees: "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." Sufism offers its followers a life carefree from fighting (Jihad), politics, the initiative to seek knowledge and teach it, the work of Da'wah, and allows a person to indulge in worldly activities such as music, magic, and other prohibited acts.
The leader of the Naqshibandi Tareeqa in America, was quoted in the media as saying the following: "You have to be both material and spiritual. Sufis can give people joy in their spiritual life. Well, Madonna is giving people a kind of joy in their material life... You cannot say she is wrong. Sufis don't object and criticise - they are accepting everything. That's why, when my children are looking at Madonna on MTV, I say, 'Let me come and look also!'" Support from the governments Any group which manages to gain the support of an anti-Islamic Government must be suspicious. During the reign of the tyrant Mustafa Kemal, under whose leadership thousands of scholars were executed and Islamic practices banned, special permission was granted by the Turkish government in 1954 allowing the Mawlawi dervishes of Konya to perform their ritual dances. In fact, they have become a regular attraction nowadays, performing around the world along with their Turkish Mystical Music State Ensemble. 28 The Sheikh of the Naqshibandi's of America has greeted and received praises from the President of America Bill Clinton himself. And why shouldn't he, since the 'Islam' he portrays is one of pacifism and unity with the Kuffar.
Twisting of evidence
Since the Qur'an and Hadith are readily available, and cannot be changed, the Sufis have resorted to another trick used by other Mystics:
Ta'weel, or changing the apparent meaning of a verse or hadith to a secret inner one which only a certified Sheikh could explain! They also rely on providing the mass with forged hadith, such as the one stating the beseeching of Adam (alaihi salaam) in the name of Muhammad when he sinned; the stories of Khidr; the rising of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) from his grave so a person could kiss his hand and so on. Because of the lack of knowledge the general mass possess on the knowledge of Hadith and Aqeedah, they believe what they are told, and pass on the stories to other generations, becoming distorted even more along the way. Another smart tactic is to attribute forged sayings in support of the Sufi's from the righteous scholars. For example, Ibn Taymiyyah is attributed to have been a member of the Qadiri order and had been initiated, and spoken great words on Bistami and his likes. Yet Ibn Taymiyyah spent the majority of his life fighting against the teachings of Sufism, was imprisoned because of them, and bluntly stated "...Ibn Arabi who wrote "Al-Fousous," and other slandering atheists such as Ibn Sab'een and his like. They even witness that they are simultaneously the worshipers and the ones being worshiped."
The Damage to the Ummah
  • Sufis distracted the Muslims from the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah towards the servitude of the Sheikh. Muslims thus became alienated from the teachings of Islam, and possessed no protection from the innovations and trappings of the deviant sects. Teachings such as "He (the follower) must not look to any other than his Sheikh" did nothing to cement the community. Rather, it sent the ball rolling for the wars between the various Mathabs, which culminated in fighting, rejection of each other faiths, and praying at different stations in Makkah itself.
  • The Sufi's have left a lasting impression on the image of Islam, portraying it as one of peace and apolitical, and anyone who contravenes this is an impostor and considered an extremist. By relying on forged hadith such as the 'bigger Jihad is Jihad'ul Nafs (i.e. struggle against the self)' and its like, Muslims have been made to believe that work and family is the greatest Jihad, rather than establishing Allah's religion on Earth though the use of the sword.
  • The Sufi influence undoubtedly contributed greatly to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The pacifist views they spread, the lack of Shari'ah knowledge, and their befriending of the disbelievers, made sure that no one would oppose the vast changes being made to the Ottoman Laws. By 1880, the Tanzimat period was in full force, where Shari'ah was replaced by European Laws (except in limited circumstances such as in Hadd punishments), yet little opposition was heard29. Whilst the masses were busy in the construction of extravagant mosques and spinning around in circles, the Ottoman Empire was overtaken by Masons and eventually torn to parts. Conclusion Sufism was doomed to destruction from when it first emerged, because of its deviation from the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. The small excess, the little innovation, led to the snowball effect, such that it emerged as a movement for well-meant increased Ibaadah and Zuhd, to Kufr and Innovation.
In truth, Islam is sufficient for us, and it is only Shaytaan who wishes to turn us away from our religion, to make us exceed the limits, and fall into his trap. The only sure way to avoid this is to grasp tightly onto what was left to us by our beloved Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam), the Qur'an and Sunnah, as understood and believed and acted upon by the best people to have lived: the Salaf us Saalih, the Companions and those who followed their footsteps.
- Br. Yusuf Hijazi
1 Al Fataawa 11/7
2 Encyclopaedia Britannica
3 Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
4 Encyclopaedia Britannica
5 The Fundamentals of Tawheed, Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips
6 S. R. Sharda, Sufi Thought
7 The Naqshbandi Way, pp 12,16
8 Ibn Arabi, al-Fusoos, p.191
9 Hadhihi Hiyas-Soofiyah, p.38
10 The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, p.77
11 The Triadic Heart of Shiva, pp 183-4
12 Angela of Foligno: Complete Works, pp 181-2
13 Encyclopaedia Britannica
14 ibid.
15 Naqshibandi Way
16 Memoirs of the Saints, translated by Dr. Bankley Behari
17 ibid.
18 Encyclopaedia Britannica
19 An unpublished poem from Ibn Arabi's 'Diwan', translated by Dr Austin
20 Stephen Hirtenstein's paper Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi: The Treasure of Compassion
21 Sufis of Andalusia, transl. by R. W. J. Austin, p.23
22 Encyclopaedia Britannica
23 Memoirs of the Saints, p.108
24 ibid.
25 Naqshibandi Way
26 Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo' al Fatawaah
27 Encyclopaedia Britannica
28 They recently came to perform in Australia, charging $30 per head. Only the elite went to watch this 90 minute theatrical display.
29 The Islamic World, New Jersey 1991