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Everything posted by ummitaalib

  1. Many people with little knowledge give the perception that Imam Abu Haneefah (rahmatullahi alaih) came out of nowhere, and people following his interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah are in error. This can easily be refuted by Ibn Abidin's (rahmatullahi alaih) statement, he gives the analogy of the evolution of the Hanafi Fiqh as bread, he says: "Abdullah ibn Masood (radiallahu anh), who sowed the seeds of this knowledge, was one of the greatest and best learned ones of the Sahaba (radiallahu anhum). Alqama (rahmatullahi alaih), his disciple, watered these seeds and turned them into crops, and Ibrahim Nakha'i (rahmatullahi alaih), his disciple, reaped the harvest, that is, gathered the pieces of this knowledge together. Hammad Kufi (rahmatullahi alaih) threshed it, and his disciple, Imam A'zam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullahi alaih), ground it, that is, he classified the knowledge into sections; Imam Abu Yusuf (rahmatullahi alaih) made dough from it, and Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani (rahmatullahi alaih) baked it. Muslims have been eating the morsels prepared in this procedure." Another claim which this lecture answers is, why do you only follow one man, surely he can make mistakes? The short answer being, that it is not only one man, he had a circle of 40 top scholars. Some times the opinion of his students are taken and sometimes his. This lecture is an except from "Legacy of Abdullah ibn Masood" by Sheikh Riyadh Ul Haq
  2. © Nuh Ha Mim Keller, 1995 "The slogans we hear today about 'following the Qur'an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs' are wide of the mark...In reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case Islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Qur'an and sunna," argues Nuh Ha Mim Keller. The word madhhab is derived from an Arabic word meaning "to go" or "to take as a way", and refers to a mujtahid's choice in regard to a number of interpretive possibilities in deriving the rule of Allah from the primary texts of the Qur'an and hadith on a particular question. In a larger sense, a madhhab represents the entire school of thought of a particular mujtahid Imam, such as Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi'i, or Ahmad--together with many first-rank scholars that came after each of these in their respective schools, who checked their evidences and refined and upgraded their work. The mujtahid Imams were thus explainers, who operationalized the Qur'an and sunna in the specific shari'a rulings in our lives that are collectively known as fiqh or "jurisprudence". In relation to our din or "religion", this fiqh is only part of it, for the religious knowledge each of us possesses is of three types. The first type is the general knowledge of tenets of Islamic belief in the oneness of Allah, in His angels, Books, messengers, the prophethood of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), and so on. All of us may derive this knowledge directly from the Qur'an and hadith, as is also the case with a second type of knowledge, that of general Islamic ethical principles to do good, avoid evil, cooperate with others in good works, and so forth. Every Muslim can take these general principles, which form the largest and most important part of his religion, from the Qur'an and hadith. The third type of knowledge is that of the specific understanding of particular divine commands and prohibitions that make up the shari'a. Here, because of both the nature and the sheer number of the Qur'an and hadith texts involved, people differ in the scholarly capacity to understand and deduce rulings from them. But all of us have been commanded to live them in our lives, in obedience to Allah, and so Muslims are of two types, those who can do this by themselves, and they are the mujtahid Imams; and those who must do so by means of another, that is, by following a mujtahid Imam, in accordance with Allah's word in Surat al-Nahl, " Ask those who recall, if you know not " (Qur'an 16:43), and in Surat al-Nisa, " If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those of authority among them, then those of them whose task it is to find it out would have known the matter " (Qur'an 4:83), in which the phrase those of them whose task it is to find it out, expresses the words "alladhina yastanbitunahu minhum", referring to those possessing the capacity to draw inferences directly from the evidence, which is called in Arabic istinbat. These and other verses and hadiths oblige the believer who is not at the level of istinbat or directly deriving rulings from the Qur'an and hadith to ask and follow someone in such rulings who is at this level. It is not difficult to see why Allah has obliged us to ask experts, for if each of us were personally responsible for evaluating all the primary texts relating to each question, a lifetime of study would hardly be enough for it, and one would either have to give up earning a living or give up ones din, which is why Allah says in surat al-Tawba, in the context of jihad: " Not all of the believers should go to fight. Of every section of them, why does not one part alone go forth, that the rest may gain knowledge of the religion and admonish their people when they return, that perhaps they may take warning " (Qur'an 9:122). The slogans we hear today about "following the Qur'an and sunna instead of following the madhhabs" are wide of the mark, for everyone agrees that we must follow the Qur'an and the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The point is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is no longer alive to personally teach us, and everything we have from him, whether the hadith or the Qur'an, has been conveyed to us through Islamic scholars. So it is not a question of whether or not to take our din from scholars, but rather, from which scholars. And this is the reason we have madhhabs in Islam: because the excellence and superiority of the scholarship of the mujtahid Imams--together with the traditional scholars who followed in each of their schools and evaluated and upgraded their work after them--have met the test of scholarly investigation and won the confidence of thinking and practicing Muslims for all the centuries of Islamic greatness. The reason why madhhabs exist, the benefit of them, past, present, and future, is that they furnish thousands of sound, knowledge-based answers to Muslims questions on how to obey Allah. Muslims have realized that to follow a madhhab means to follow a super scholar who not only had a comprehensive knowledge of the Qur'an and hadith texts relating to each issue he gave judgements on, but also lived in an age a millennium closer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his Companions, when taqwa or "godfearingness" was the norm--both of which conditions are in striking contrast to the scholarship available today. While the call for a return to the Qur'an and sunna is an attractive slogan, in reality it is a great leap backward, a call to abandon centuries of detailed, case-by-case Islamic scholarship in finding and spelling out the commands of the Qur'an and sunna, a highly sophisticated, interdisciplinary effort by mujtahids, hadith specialists, Qur'anic exegetes, lexicographers, and other masters of the Islamic legal sciences. To abandon the fruits of this research, the Islamic shari'a, for the following of contemporary sheikhs who, despite the claims, are not at the level of their predecessors, is a replacement of something tried and proven for something at best tentative. The rhetoric of following the shari'a without following a particular madhhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make--neither a Volkswagen nor Rolls-Royce nor Chevrolet--but rather "a car, pure and simple". Such a person does not really know what he wants; the cars on the lot do not come like that, but only in kinds. The salesman may be forgiven a slight smile, and can only point out that sophisticated products come from sophisticated means of production, from factories with a division of labor among those who test, produce, and assemble the many parts of the finished product. It is the nature of such collective human efforts to produce something far better than any of us alone could produce from scratch, even if given a forge and tools, and fifty years, or even a thousand. And so it is with the shari'a, which is more complex than any car because it deals with the universe of human actions and a wide interpretative range of sacred texts. This is why discarding the monumental scholarship of the madhhabs in operationalizing the Qur'an and sunna in order to adopt the understanding of a contemporary sheikh is not just a mistaken opinion. It is scrapping a Mercedes for a go-cart.
  3. Click on the picture to enlarge it Available here (with many other useful posters) for download: http://www.islamicposters.co.uk/islamic-educational-posters.html
  4. Q. I wanted to know if we can remove hair from armpits or other areas during the menstrual period? Also can we cut our nails during menses? A. Yes, you can do all the above during the menstrual Period. And Allah knows best. Mufti Waseem Khan http://www.darululoo...ntent&Itemid=56
  5. Question: Assalam Alaikum Brothers,I am curious to learn from the Quran and the Hadeeth of our beloved Prophet, Salla Allah Alaihe wa Sallam, where did this term : Tassawuf originate and who practiced it amongst the early 3 generations that the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allah Alaihe wa Sallam, testified to be upon the right path. Jazakum Allah Khair Wa Assalam Answer: There are different interpretations as to how the word “Tasawwuf” originated. Some have said that the word “Tasawwuf” is derived from the Arabic word “Soof” meaning “wool”, thus, the donning of “woolen garments” is referred to as “Tasawwuf”.# There are various other explanations as to how the word Tasawwuf originated. Nevertheless, Tasawwuf is synonymous with Tazkiyah al- Nafs. Tazkiyah al- Nafs is proven from the Qur’an and Hadeeth. Tazkiyah is synonymous with many other terms like Islaah e Nafs, Tasheeh al- Akhlaq, Ilm al- Adab, e.t.c. (Fatawa Mahmudiyyah, Vol.6, Pg.220, Maktabah Mahmudiyyah) One of the main responsibilities and duties of Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was Tazkiyah and Islaahe Nafs. (Al- Qur’an, 2: 129) The Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) sat in the company (Suhbat) of Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam), that is why they are called Sahabah. The Sahabah (Radhiyallahu Anhum) had many other distinguishing and unique attributes with which they could be identified. However, they were specifically distinguished by their Suhbat with Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). Suhbat is an integral part of Tasawwuf and Tazkiyah. All the silsilah’s (spiritual chains) of Tasawwuf reach Hadhrat Ali (Radhiyallahu Anhu) and from him, it reaches directly to Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). (Fatawa Mahmudiyyah, Vol.6, Pg. 285) Many Taabi’een like Hadhrat Hasan al- Basri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi), Tabe Tabi’een and other great Masha’ikh right until the present day and age have practiced on Tasawwuf and Tazkiyah. And Allah knows best. Mufti Ebrahim Desai Dar al- Mahmood http://tasawwuf.daralmahmood.org/where-does-the-word-tasawwuf-originate-from
  6. The thought that tasawwuf is bi’dah could be due to several reasons. It is possible that some people conduct certain practices against shari’ah in the name of tasawwuf that are obviously wrong. If your father believes that tasawwuf is bidah due to this reason, then he is correct. The reality of tasawwuf is Tazkiyya (purification) of one’s naf’s. We are created from sand, water, fire and air. Each one of these elements reflects a certain character in a person. Anger is the reflection of fire in a person. Humbleness is the reflection of the sand in person. Water reflex’s itself through a person’s intelligence. Arrogance is the outcome of the air in person. In tazkiyya, the focus is to bring a balance in all natural instincts. The purpose is not to eliminate the natural instincts. Anger and pride are natural. Arrogance and humbleness are also natural instincts. In tazkiyya, the focus is on controlling the natural instincts and avoiding every instinct form exceeding moderation. Excessive anger is bad. To be humble is praiseworthy. However at times it is inappropriate. All other evils of the nafs flow from these evils. Tazkiyya of the nafs is one of the missions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Allah says, هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ (سورة الجمعة ٢) “It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error.” When a person does not concentrate in rectifying his soul, he feels uneasy within himself. His family life is in chaos. He has marital problems. His children are disobedient to him. His social life is a burden for him. To a large extent, if one honestly examines himself, he will conclude that he is the problem. He did not contain his nafs. His problems are the consequences of his nafs. Had he controlled his nafs, the position would be different. Everyone knows when he is following his nafs. Allah has given everyone an ultra sense to determine that. If one examines his challenges in life honestly, he will conclude that he brought his problems upon himself. Allah says: ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ (سورة الروم ٤١) Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. If one is able to purify his nafs himself well and good. If one cannot do so, he should seek the assistance from a spiritual doctor. If one is physically sick, he consults a doctor. Similarly; a spiritually ill person should also consult a spiritual doctor to cure his spiritual sickness. If one denies this, his condition will worsen. A spiritual guide who has undergone spiritual training under a sheikh kamil will apply his skills and expertise in curing one form his spiritual diseases. A spiritual guide adheres to shariah and the Sunnah and all aspects of shariah.When one sits in his company or hear his talks or listens to his zikr, he feels spiritual enlightenment in his heart. The above is a brief explanation on the philosophy of tasawwuf. For more details, you could download the talks on tazkiya. http://daruliftaa.net/audio-files/reform-2009.html
  7. It is of essential to know what the desired characteristics are, to know what is determined as a good or bad characteristic by the Shari’ah. Short explanations of some of the praiseworthy charachteristics will be mentioned along with the method of acquiring them from “Good Character” by Shaykh Maseehullah Khan (Rahmatullaah) a well known Shaykh of Tasawwuf. Tawheed - Oneness of Allah Essence: To firmly believe in the Oneness (Unity) of Allah subhaanahu wata'ala: Omnipotent and the Creator of the whole universe; He can accomplish anything without the assistance of His creation an without His will the creation can accomplish nothing. Acquisition: Contemplate and meditate on the helplessness of creation; on the fact that no created matter can create itself and is totally dependant on Allah subhaanahu wata'ala for its existence; on the fact that Allah subhaanahu wata'ala is Infinite and Perfect in all His Attributes and Qualities. Yaqeen - Conviction Essence: To have Tawheed firmly rooted in one's self, leaving no room for doubt. Acqusition: Contemplation and meditation will strengthen Tawheed at the intelectual level and executing the orders and instructions of Allah will complete the process at a practical level. Tasleem - Acceptance Essence: Complete acceptance of Tawheed and total submission to its requirements. Acqusition: same as for Yaqeen 'Ilm - Knowledge Essence:It is basic and essential to know what Allah ta'ala's orders and instructions are. Without this knowledge it is impossible to defferentiate between good and bad, righ and wrong, essential and non-essential, permissible and non-permissible etc. Acqusition: The basic sources of thso knowledge are the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Rasoolullaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. These are to be studies from recommended literature, gatherings and courses of those scholars who have studied these themselves - namely the Ulama. Ikhlaas - Sincerity Essence: The sole intention in one's obedience to Allah ta'ala should be to please Him and attain nearness to Him. The pleasure of others or their happiness for reasons other than the above, the satisfaction of desires, the acheivements of material gain or any ulterior motive should not enter one's mind. Ikhlaas has different degrees: a) Complete Ikhlaas where the intention is to please Allah ta'ala only Ikhlaas of a lower degree is where the intention is to please others without ant motive of personal benefit. c) The lowest degree is the absence of any intention , being "empty minded". This is also Ikhlaas but is very close to Riyaa. Acqusition: 1. Remove Riyaa 2. Concentrate on the quality of deeds and not on their quantity. Where a deed is performed with complete sincerity, the rewards are proportionately greater. Sidq - Veracity/Honesty Essence:]/i] Sidq is to pursue and develop a particular activity sincerely and to its logical conclusion, to a stage of perfection. Sidq is a general term encompassing activity in three spheres : speech, action and condition. A Siddeeq would be a person who has acheived perfection in all three spheres. A Saadiq is one who has acheived perfection in only one sphere. Saadiqul aqwaal: a person who speakes the truth , keeps his promises and acts in conformity wit his intentions under all circumstances. Saadiqul af'aal: a person whose actions are in conformity with the Sharee'ah. Saadiqul ahwaal: a person whose condition or state is in accordance with the Sunnah. Acqusition: 1. Knowing of what constitutes perfection is an essential prerequisite 2. Continued and close watchfulness on eone's deficiencies 3. Active and repeated correction of these dificiencies 4. Firmness and constancy in one's efforts
  8. It is of essential to know what the desired characteristics are, to know what is determined as a good or bad characteristic by the Shari’ah. Short explanations of some of the debasing charachteristics will be mentioned along with the remedy of eradicating them from “Good Character” by Shaykh Maseehullah Khan (Rahmatullaah) a well known Shaykh of Tasawwuf. Hirs – Greed Total attachment to / engrossment in materialism. It has no end as a person with greed desires more and more irrespective of how much he/she has attained. It is the root of all ills i.e. immorality is greed for pleasure, arrogance is greed for fame Treatment: cut down on expenses – check extravagances and avoid luxuries. Act against the Nafs (contrary to one’s desires) abstaining not only from the Haraam but also from certain items which may be Halaah but not essential. This is termed "Mujaahadah" Tama’ – Avarice This is a stage beyond Hirs where greed drives one to deliberately transgress the Shari’ah. Treatment: same as for greed but with greater emphasis on Mujaahadah. Daroogh - To Lie To speak an untruth. Even to relate to others what has been related to one without first personally verifying it falls within this heading. Dangers & Consequences: Lying leads to disgrace and punishment Gheebat - To Backbite To relate in a person's absence anything about him in a manner that would offend him, even if it may be the truth. It should also be noted that Gheebat is not necessarily restricted to derogatory remarks but includes insinuations, gestures and mimicy which are offensive. Dangers & Consequences: Gheebat has been equated with the act of eating the flesh of one's dead brother in the Qur'an and in the Hadith it has been related that it is worse than fornication. Prevention: Look at people's good qualities and speak well of others. Treatment: Consider words carefully before uttering them, speak minimally and only if it is beneficial and avoid idleness Hubbi Jaah - Love for Fame The desire to capture people's hearts - to attain rank and prestige / ti be held in esteem and be ruler over Allah's creation / to have others submissive and obedient Dangers & Consequences: Creates jealousies and if unchecked it leads to 'Ujb and Takabbur Prevention: Remain unknown i.e. avoid publicity and limelight. Analyse all praise and compliments. Is one really deserving of these? Is there not even a trace of insincerity in one's actions? 'Ujb - Conceit To consider one's achievments in matters of Religion and the world to be self-attained (i.e. not from Allah subhaanahu wata'ala) without fear of any loss. Dangers & Consequences: 'Ujb is a step towards Kibr (Pride - which is detestable) and one who has 'Ujb recedes from Allah subhaanahu wata'ala's grace and invites His wrath. Prevention & Treatment: Acknowledge that all achievements are blessings from Allah subhaanhua wata'ala and that He has the power to take them away. Look closely at one's own faults and shortcomings while also looking at the good in the many people who are better and more pious than one's self. Takabbur - Arrogance This is a stage beyond 'Ujb: (which is conciet) and Takabbur is conciet plus an attitude of superiority i.e. others are regarded with disdain and contempt. Danger & Consequences: Takabbur makes one opinionated, quick-tempered, stubborn, disdainful towards others and one becomes haughty in one's behaviour. It was Takabbur which made Shaytaan disobey Allah subhaanahu wata'ala causing his downfall. It is very subtle and one can easily be decieived into thinking that one does not have this illness within one's heart.It is very dangerous as a person with even an iota of Kibr in his heart will not enter Jannah. Prevention & Treatment: Along with the treatment mentioned for 'Ujb one should acknowledge that only Allah subhaanahu wata'ala is perfect in all His qualities and one should look at one's own insignificance i.e. one's beginning was a mere clot of blood and one's end will be a lifeless corpse and between these two stages one is walking around with a container (one's bowels) full of filth. Therefore there is no cause for arrogance. One should humble one's self in front of those one considers inferior and extol their good qualities. Riyaa - Ostentation / Show / Insincerity To have an intention of appearing good or pious in the eyes of others and thereby enhance one's dignity in appearing obedient to Allah's will. The intention is not solely to gain the pleasuer of Allah. Prevention & Treatment: Riyaa is an offshoot of Hubbi Jaah therefore Hubbi Jaah needs to be treated. One's intention should be corrected BEFORE and action, DURING it and After it. Optional worship should be performed in privacy wherever possible and do it in abundance . In this manner Riyaa will disappear as habit takes over and will make way for sincerity to develop. Hasad - Jealousy Hasad is a name given to that condition where one sees somebody in good circumstances and one becomes displeased at it and further, one desires that the good circumstances be destroyed. Dangers & Consequences: The person with this condition loses contentment and peace of mind. This person will feel vexed and frustrated and pines away in the anticipation of his "opponents" disgrce. Such a person's good deeds become annulled and he invites Allah's wrath. Prevention & Treatmenta: Suppress any feelings of jealousy and act against their demands. Remember that such charachteristics arise instinctively and are not within one's control. Be humble and hospitable with the person one is jealous of and speak highly of them Hiqd wa Keenah - Malice & Hatred When one has Ghussah (anger) - for personal reasons and not for the sake of Deen - which one is unable to vent and one knows this anger to create feelings of hatred, to the extent of planning revenge, one is said to have Hiqd and Keenah. Merely being upset by somebody, even to the extent of avoiding conatact with that person is not Keenah as log as there is no intention nor desire to harm him. This feeling may arise instinctively and as such it is not sinful. Dangers & Consequences;Vexation, frustration, discontentment etc. destroy the inner peace of a person just as jealousy does and of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam said that two persons having malice for one another are not forgiven. Prevention & Treatment: Treating anger related bad qualities will prevent the developement of Hiqd and Keenah. Overlook the faults of the person who is the object of one's Hiqd and associate and be friendly with him even though it may be difficult
  9. Everyone desires good character. All cultures and religions strive to teach good manners so that individuals could attain good characters and thereby make a society good. Looking after the physical body ensures body organs functioning well with less likely hood of diseases while the outer grooming ensures a good appearance. This is the “Soorat” of a person. S imilarly there is “Seerat” which is the character or personality of a person. Just as the Soorat is groomed and made appealing so the inner character, the Seerat needs to be beautified. Refinement of character fills one’s personality with excellence and radiance, making it beautiful. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was the epitome of beautiful character. The Qur’an mentions: "Wa 'innaka la-'alaa khuluqin 'azeem" And indeed you (O' Muhammad), are on a character most lofty. Surah Al-Qalam (68), Verse 4. We do not need the any other example then that of the Prophet Muhammad salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam .The Qur’an and Hadeeth are full of advices on adopting the beautiful characteristics and eliminating the evil ones. It is of essential therefore to know what these desired characteristics are, to know what is determined as a good or bad characteristic by the Shari’ah. Short explanations of the various characteristics will be mentioned in the next post along with the remedy of eradicating the bad ones and how to inculcate the good ones from “Good Character” by Shaykh Maseehullah Khan (Rahmatullaah) a well known Shaykh of Tasawwuf.
  10. Tasawwuf is the soul of Islam. Its function is to purity the heart from the lowly bestial attributes of lust, calamities of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy, love of the world, love of fame, niggardliness, greed, ostentation, vanity, deception, etc. At the same time it aims at the adornment of the heart with the lofty attributes of repentance, perseverance, gratefulness, fear of Allah, hope, abstention, tauheed, trust, love, sincerity, truth, contemplation, etc. To diagnose and treat the diseases of the heart normally requires the help of an expert mentor or Shaikh. Here are the qualities of a good Shaikh. 1. He possesses necessary religious knowledge. 2. His beliefs, habits, and practices are in accordance with the Shariah. 3. He does not harbor greed for the worldly wealth. 4. He has himself spent time learning from a good Shaikh. 5. The scholars and good mashaikh of his time hold good opinion about him. 6. His admirers are mostly from among the people who have good understanding of religion. 7. Most of his followers follow the Shariah and are not the seekers after this world. 8. He sincerely tries to educate and morally train his followers. If he sees anything wrong in them, he corrects it. 9. In his company one can feel a decrease in the love of this world and an increase in the love for Allah. 10. He himself regularly performs dhikr and shughal (spiritual exercises). In searching for a Shaikh, do not look for his ability to perform karamat (miracles) or to foretell the future. A very good Shaikh may not be able to show any karamat. On the other hand, a person showing karamat does not have to be a pious person --- or even a Muslim. Prominent Sufi Bayazid Bistami says: "Do not be deceived if you see a performer of supernatural feats flying in the air. Measure him on the standard of the Shariah." When you find the right Shaikh, and you are satisfied with his ability to provide spiritual guidance, you perform baya or pledge. This is a two-way commitment; the Shaikh pledges to guide you in light of Shariah and you pledge to follow him. Then the Shaikh will give his mureed (disciple) initial instructions. They include the following: 1. Perform repentance for all the past sins and take steps to make amends, e.g. if any salat has been missed so far in the life, you start making up for it. 2. If you have any unmet financial obligations toward another person make plans to discharge them. 3. Guard your eyes, ears, and tongue. 4. Perform dhikr regularly. 5. Start a daily session of self-accounting before going to bed. Review all the good and bad deeds performed during the day. Repent for the bad ones and thank Allah for the good ones. 6. Perform muraqaba-maut (meditation over death) every night before going to bed. Just visualize that you have died. Reflect upon the pangs of death, the questioning in the grave, the plain of Resurrection, the Reckoning , the presence in the Court of Allah, etc This helps bring softness to the heart and break the tendency to commit sins. 7. Develop humility. Even if you observe another individual committing the worst of vices you should not despise him/her, nor should you consider yourself nobler. It is very much possible that the perpetrator of the vice may resort to sincere repentance while the one who despised the sinner become ensnared in the traps of nafs and Shaitan. One has no certainty regarding one's end. One, therefore has no basis for regarding another with contempt. Taken from "What is Tasawwuf?" By Khalid Baig Full article here: http://www.albalagh...._tasawwuf.shtml
  11. Perhaps you might say: Tell me about the pledge (bay’ah): (1) Is it obligatory or Sunnah? (2) What is the wisdom behind its legislation in Sacred Law? (3) What are the pre-requisites of the shaykh? (4) What are the conditions of one who takes the pledge? (5) How does one fulfil the pledge, and how does one violate it? (6) Is it permissible to repeat the pledge with one scholar or multiple scholars? (7) What are the transmitted words of the pledge? So I say: (1) As for the first question; is the pledge obligatory or Sunnah? Know that the pledge is Sunnah and not obligatory. This is because the folk took the pledge from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and sought proximity by it with Allah Most High, and there is no evidence indicating that one who foregoes it is a sinner, neither did any of the Imam’s rebuke anyone who abstained from it. (2) As for the second question; what is the wisdom behind its legislation in Sacred Law? Know that the Sunnah of Allah Most High is that affairs which are subtle and hidden in the consciousness are determined by actions and verbal statements. Thus, belief in Allah, His prophet and the Last Day is a hidden affair. Consequently, submitting verbal acknowledgement of this has been designated as a determiner. Likewise the concurrence of the buyer and seller about the merchandise and price is a hidden matter; the offering and acceptance therefore are determiners. Similarly, penitence, having a firm resolve to abstain from sin and clinging to the rope of God-consciousness are all hidden matters. Consequently, the pledge has taken its place. (3) As for the third question; what are the pre-requisites of a shaykh? (a) Knowledge of the Book and Sunnah. I do not mean the highest degree in their knowledge, rather it suffices one to have studied: The exegesis of Madarik, Jalalayn or any other similar Qur’anic exegesis with a scholar and mastered its’ rare lexical items, causes surrounding the revelation, grammatical inflections, stories and other related matters. To have studied books like Masabih or Mashariq. To have mastered its’ meanings, rare lexical items, difficult inflections and the interpretations of the legal jurists. He is not required to have memorised the Qur’an or to have examined the biographies of the [hadith] narrators. Do you not see that the Followers and Successors used to accept disrupted and interrupted chains of hadith? This is because the objective is to attain a plausible degree of certainty through the chains of transmission back to the Emissary of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). Neither is he required to have studied principles of jurisprudence, theology and hypothetical matters related to fiqh and fatwa. We have stipulated the pre-requisite of knowledge because the objective of the pledge is to command the lawful and prohibit the unlawful, to guide him to the attainment of inner peace, to remove bad traits, attain noble traits and that the traveller obey the shaykh in all matters mentioned above. How can this be expected of one without knowledge? The shaykhs have unanimously stated that none should take-up oratory except after having read the Qur’an and written hadith. Perhaps at the very least it would suffice with someone who has had a lengthy association with God-fearing Scholars, acquired decorum from them, who is ever-investigating the lawful and unlawful and ever-halting at the Book of Allah Most High and the Sunnah of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah knows best. (b)To have uprightness and God-fearingness. It is obligatory that the shaykh abstain from enormities and not persist in minor sins. © To be abstinent from this-worldly affairs and enthusiastic about next-worldly affairs, persistent in emphatic works and invocations transmitted through rigorously authenticated hadiths, perpetually attached with his heart to Allah the Exalted and having an experiential attachment of the heart with Allah Most High as a firmly rooted trait. (d) To command the lawful and prohibit the unlawful and not be obstinate, characterless and unmanly but rather possess a great intelligence so that he can be relied upon in what he commands and prohibits. Allah Most High states: “… from amongst witnesses with whom you are well pleased” (Quran 2:282) So what do you suppose regarding a shaykh? (e) That he have been tutored by the shaykhs and have remained in their company for a considerable amount of time and taken esoteric light and tranquillity from them. This is because it is the Sunnah of Allah that no one succeeds save he who beholds the successful; like knowledge is attained through association of the knowledgeable and likewise is the case with all professions. It is not a pre-requisite that he manifest miracles and supernatural feats nor is it necessary that he leave earning a livelihood. The former is the result of abstinence; not a pre-requisite of perfection. The latter is contrary to Sacred Law. Do not be deluded by those who are overcome by their spiritual states; nothing has been transmitted except that one be content with little income and abstain from the doubtful. (4) As for the fourth question; what are the conditions of one who takes the pledge? Know that it is obligatory that one who takes the pledge be pubescent, sane and eager. A hadith states that a child was presented before the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) so that he may take the pledge. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) rubbed his head and prayed for blessings for him and did not take the pledge from him. There are some shaykhs who allow taking the pledge from minors as a means of blessings and good omen. Allah knows best. (5) As for the fifth question; how does one fulfil the pledge, and how does one violate it? Know that the pledge, as it has been practised by the Sufis, has many forms. (a) The pledge of repenting from sins; (b)The pledge of seeking divine blessings, akin to the chains of hadith transmitters, there are great blessings in this; c) The pledge of emphatic strictness in sincerely upholding the command of Allah and avoiding what He has prohibited outwardly and inwardly and to attach the heart with Allah Most High. This is the main form. As for the former two forms of the pledge, its’ fulfilment is by leaving enormities, not persisting in minor sins and to cling to the aforementioned obligatory and emphatic works. One violates it by forgoing these instructions. As for the third form of the pledge, it is fulfilled by remaining steadfast on this abstinence and spiritual struggle until the traveller becomes enlightened with the light of tranquillity so that this becomes a perpetual trait and second nature to him. He is then given the dispensation to pursue what Sacred Law has permitted him like delicacies and pursuits which normally require a lengthy time like teaching and giving formal opinions (fatwa). One violates it by forgoing the aforementioned. (6) As for the sixth question; is it permissible to repeat the pledge with one scholar or multiple scholars? Know that repeating the pledge has been transmitted from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and from the ancient Sufis. As for repeating it with two different shaykhs, if it is due to the manifestation of a fault in the shaykh then it is valid, as is the case if the shaykh has passed away or has disappeared. As for when it is without a valid cause it is likened to one who plays with his religion. It removes blessings and turns the commitment of the shaykhs away from giving him instruction. (7) As for the seventh question; what are the transmitted words of the pledge? Know that the words transmitted from the pious forebears for the pledge are: All praise belongs to Allah; we praise Him, seek His succour, seek His forgiveness, and seek his refuge from the evil of ourselves and misdeeds. Whomsoever he guides none can misguide, and whomsoever He misguides none can guide. We bear testimony that there is no deity save Allah alone without partner. We bear testimony that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, Allah bless him, his folk and Companions and give them peace. Then he repeats: I believe in Allah and all that has come from Allah according to the wont of Allah. I believe in the Messenger of Allah and all that has come from the Messenger of Allah according to the wont of the Messenger of Allah. I am disconnected from all religions except Islam. I am disconnected from all sin. I have submitted and bear testimony that there is no deity save Allah and I bear testimony that Muhammad is his servant and messenger. I take the Pledge from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) through his successors upon: (1) testifying that there is no deity save Allah; (2) testifying that Muhammad is His messenger; (3) establishing prayer; (4) giving zakat; (5) fasting the month of Ramadan and (6) performing the Hajj, if I possess the means to perform it. I take the pledge from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) through his successors that I will not believe in a co-sharer with Allah, I will not steal, I will not fornicate, I will not kill, I will not slander and I will not sin. Then the shaykh recites these two verses: “Oh Believers, fear Allah and seek a means to attain Him, and struggle in His path so that haply you may prosper.” (Qur’an 5:35) Verily those who swear fealty to you are only swearing fealty to Allah: Allah’s hand is above theirs. So he who violates his oath but violates it against himself; and whoever fulfils his covenant to Allah, He shall give him a tremendous wage. (Qur’an 48:10) Thereafter, the shaykh prays for himself, for the disciple, for all present, and say “Allah bless us and benefit us.” There is no harm in repeating “I have taken the Naqshbandi, Qadiri or Chishti paths which are linked to Shaykh Khwajah Naqshband, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani and Shaykh Mu’in al-Din Sanjari, may Allah grant us its opening and raise us amongst His friends, with your Mercy of Merciful of compassionate ones” Amin. I heard my father say, “I saw the Messenger of Allah in a dream and I took the pledge from him and he held my hands between his hands. This is why I hold the hand in this manner.” As for the pledge of women; it is performed by the shaykh taking hold of one end of a cloth and the woman the other end of the cloth. Allah knows best. pp19-38 S. Waliullah n/d. al-Qawl al-Jamil. Islami Academy: Lahore. http://www.deoband.o...-of-the-pledge/
  12. Bay`ah can be described as a kind of captivity, with a unique outcome. That outcome is Freedom. Strange as it seems, it is a reality, and it will be the experience. Reflecting over this point, we will come to understand that there certainly is freedom in captivity. We will also come to realize that there is captivity in freedom. As an example: If a student is in the 5th year, and lives in ‘captivity’ of his studies: strictly attending classes, diligent in completing his homework and sincere in his efforts, that student gets “freedom” - meaning, he is the successful one because he passes ‘with flying colours.’ As for the student who lives in freedom: He does not attend classes, he is indifferent to his studies, and makes no effort to complete his homework, then he becomes ‘captive’ in that same class : meaning, he fails. He does not make the grade, and does not qualify. In a similar vein, the captivity of Bay`ah will free us – will be the means and medium of our success, in both worlds. Moreover, Bay`ah serves to remind us of our captivity to Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), since our bay`ah has already been established with the Kalima, with “La ilaaha illallaah Muhammadur Rasoolullah”. We should not fear losing our freedom with Bay`ah, rather, we should trade our freedom for this ‘captivity’. And experience true freedom. Moving outside this example, we find the well-known Hadeeth, which conveys this reality, on a different level; in the context of dunya : Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: The world is a prison for the Believer and a paradise for the disbeliever. Here again, we find that choosing ‘captivity’ (in dunya) opens the Door to everlasting freedom (in Aakhirah, i.e. Jannah). Choosing ‘freedom’ (in dunya) leads to captivity (in the Aakhirah; i.e. Jahannum). May Allah Ta’ala give us the understanding. http://khanqahashrafiaislamia.co.za/malfoozaat/
  13. Bay’at refers to the promise of allegiance that the Seeker takes with the Shaykh that he will not go against the dictates of the Shari’ah. Bay’at is Sunnah while Islah–e-Nafs (self reformation) is obligatory. One is the concept of Bay’at and the other is the concept of Islaah -e- Nafs (purification of the soul). Islaah -e- Nafs refers to the purification of the soul from the bad qualities (Akhlaaqe – Razeelah) and to imbibe within ourselves the good/praiseworthy qualities (Akhlaaqe – Hameedah). Islaah al- Nafs is Fardh (obligatory) on every mature adult Muslim. Doctor Abdul Hayy Arifi (A well known Shaykh of Tasawwuf) once said, “There is only one way to meet Him (Allah), Seek the road from those who have already found Him.” He also said, “Only they will get Him who have a thirst, Only they will find Him who seek Him.” Shaykh Jalaluddeen Rumi ® says, “Your spiritual state has become weak owing to constant sinning and leading a life of neglect. Your soul has become like a rabbit, when it faces your Nafs (carnal self) which is like a lion and a rabbit will never over power a lion. Your Nafs is the lion and your soul is the rabbit on account of its spiritual weakness. Strengthen yourself spiritually through establishing a link with a saint.” Munaasabat (Congeniality) with the Shaykh Experience has proven that for gaining spiritual benefit mutual Munaasabat (congeniality/compatibility) between the Shaykh and the Mureed (Seeker) exists. Without the existence of this congeniality and amiability, it will be difficult to consult with one’s Shaykh and follow his advices
  14. In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning cervical mucus or vaginal discharge. According to Imam Abu Hanifa, because its origin is the cervix, which is the Farj Dakhil in Arabic, it is not considered impure, as long as it is not discoloured, and therefore, does not break the Wudhu. According to his two students, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, it is impure, regardless of its colour, and will break the Wudhu. Hence, there is a difference of opinion. Some of the later scholars based the rulings on the first view and others based it on the second view. If a women experiences excessive discharge, she should avail the first opinion which does not consider the discharge to be impure. Hence, she will not need to renew her Wudhu each time the discharge occurs. However, if the discharge does not occur frequently, it is preferable to renew the ablution and follow the path of precaution. Similarly, it is preferred that a woman wash those garments that have been affected by the discharge. However, if she is unable to do so, she can avail the more lenient option. This is all concerning the discharge which is not discoloured. As for that discharge which is discoloured due to Candida or any other ailment, or that discharge which is from excitement; these are considered impure by all and nullify the Wudhu. Hence, washing and renewing the Wudhu are necessary. As for ejaculatory fluid, Allama Ibn Abidin (RA) describes it as follows: “If it is watery yellow then it is the ejaculatory fluid of women” (Radd al-Muhtar). It has also been reported to be milky in colour and ranging in its thickness and odour based on a woman’s diet, overall health and the phase she is experiencing within her menstrual cycle. However, to conclude, any liquid released when feeling sexual pleasure, and more conclusively upon orgasm, regardless of its colour or whether it runs down the leg or not, will be impure. And Allah knows best. Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
  15. Many women suffer from continual or substantial vaginal discharge. Knowing that ablution becomes invalid when such fluid comes out of the vagina, it causes much anxiety. This is because the Masaail (Rulings) pertaining to validity of ablution in this condition are not clearly understood. This anxiety can easily be alleviated if a woman determines for herself if she falls under the category of a “Ma’dhoor” or not (Ma’dhoor is one who is excused from the normal Masaail being applied due to excusable circumstances). There are three points which one needs to bear in mind to be able to determine for oneself if one is a Ma’dhoor or not, and if so, until when. 1. For a person to come under the category of a Ma’dhoor he/she must suffer from the problem (bleeding, discharge etc) incessantly for a whole prayer time (this means the whole prayer time of one particular Salaat i.e. the time for Dhuhr Salaat is from after Zawwal time till the beginning time of ‘Asr Salaat). Even if the problem stops in this period for a brief time, but NOT enough to enable one to perform minimum ablution (to wash only the Faraaidh parts) and offer a brief Farhd or Waajib Salaat, the person will be considered a Ma’dhoor. 2. Once a person comes under the category of a Ma’dhoor, it is not a condition that this state continues incessantly in the next prayer time also. In fact to remain a Ma’dhoor all that is required is that the problem by which he/she became counted as Ma’dhoor be found in the next prayer time even if it is not incessant. This may even mean one has enough time to perform ablution and pray the Fardh Salaat. 3. The Ma’dhoor will cease to be counted as such if a single prayer time elapses without that specific problem being found at all. In this case one must pray the current prayer and the one that follows with the normal ablution. (see Bahishti Zewar-urdu-pg 74-75 part 1 and Fatawa Rahimiyyah vol 4 pg 273) Using the above guideline a woman can determine for herself if she falls under the category of a Ma’dhoor or not, and depending on the result, one of the following Mas’alah will apply: a. For a woman suffering from substantial discharge, if it is such that the discharge temporarily stops completely during one prayer time, for long enough to allow her to perform ablution and perform the Fardh Salaat, then it is established that she does NOT fall under the category of a Ma’dhoor. In this case the following Mas’alah can be applied to alleviate distress and overcoming the need to perform ablution frequently – A cotton wool or Tampon may be inserted inside of the inner part of the private part to prevent the fluid from leaving it. As long as the wetness does not come on the surface of the material inserted, the ablution will remain valid. If the cotton wool or Tampon is only inserted in the outer part of the private part and it gets wet, then the ablution will become invalid. * A woman’s fast will NOT become void if she uses something i.e. cotton wool or Tampon to block the discharge b. If a woman suffers from continual discharge or if it stops, but it does NOT allow enough time to perform ablution and pray the Fardh Salaat with cleanliness during the whole prayer time, then she falls under the category of a Ma’dhoor. For a Ma’dhoor it is sufficient to perform ablution once only in any particular prayer time. Therefore she need not worry as she will perform ablution in a particular prayer time, then even if some wetness comes out, the ablution will remain valid and she may pray and read the Qur’an freely for that particular prayer time. However, it should be noted that the ablution will become invalid in that particular prayer time by other factors which nullify ablution i.e. passing wind, nose bleed etc. In this case a new ablution will have to be performed. It is important to understand that if ablution was made due to the excuse then it will not be nullified by the repeated occurrence of that excuse. It will only be nullified by other factors that nullify ablution. If ablution was not made due to the excuse but was made for other reasons besides the excuse, then if the excuse surfaces thereafter, ablution will be nullified. Note: ablution made for Fajr Salaat will remain valid until sunrise. If ablution was made after sunrise then it will be permissible to perform Dhuhr Salaat with this ablution. When ‘Asr time enters then fresh ablution will have to be made for that particular prayer time because ablution of a Ma’dhoor breaks with the expiry of a Salaat time and not with the entry of it.
  16. Learning Fiqh Specific to Women - Basic level FIQH SPECIFIC TO WOMEN - Level 1.pdf Attached is a booklet compiled for teaching the basic rulings applicable to women. Since it is a subject of utmost importance, every effort has been made to make it easy to understand with step by step explanations and examples. It is unfortunate to see women generally ignorant of the basic laws which affects not only the fundamental acts of a Muslimah's worship, salaat and Sawm but also many other aspects of her life. It is hoped that many will benefit inshaAllah. If in any doubt regarding understanding the rulings an experienced Mufti must be contacted. Important Note: The rules explained in this booklet are the basic principles and maxims which determine the laws of Menstruation (Haydh) and Post-Natal Bleeding (Nifaas) and the main prohibitions and injunctions pertaining to Haydh and Nifaas. It has deliberately been kept brief since it is meant for complete beginners so that inshaAllah they would be able to understand/recognise problems on a daily, practical level. After study of these priciples have been undertaken, I highly recommend the study of the following excellent book which has in-depth explanations. It is based on the manual of Imam Birgivi on Menstruation and related issues which is a primary reference for the Hanafi School of Jurispudence. "Birgivi's Manual Interpreted" by Hedaya Hartford and Ashraf Muneeb
  17. Hanafi Fiqh Channel: video of the Salaah of a woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7ZySx-TMeY
  18. Summary: Dr Zakir Naik is a Daa'ee and we give him his due respect for that. He knows himself that he is not an Alim in Deen. Thus Ulema have given their decree that he, not being an Alim in deen, should focus his da'wah to what he is good at (i.e. comparative religion), and leave religious answering to the Fuqaha. Verdict of Mufti Ibraheem Desai on Dr Zakir Naik Verdict of Darul-uloom Deoband on Dr Zakir Naik Verdict of Darul-uloom Karachi (Mufti Taqi Usmani's Institution) on Dr Zakir Naik Verdict of Jamia Binoria (Karachi, Pakistan) on Dr Zakir Naik Verdict of Mufti Shah Mohammed Naval-ur Rahman Miftahi (Shariah Institute, USA) on Dr Zakir Naik An answer to Dr. Zakir Naik's answer regarding Schools of thought Composed by M. Yasin Achhodi All the verdicts are on this website: central-mosque
  19. Browse & learn or search answers for your Islamic questions from this safe, authentic site: http://islamqa.org/ The site links to many authentic iftaa sites: http://islamqa.org/sites
  20. A human has two aspects to his life: physical and spiritual. The physical aspect is related to the body and the spiritual aspect is related to the soul. Both aspects are vulnerable to illnesses. Just as the body can suffer from physical ailments such as cancer, TB, fever, headache, etc., the soul can also suffer from spiritual illnesses, such as riyā (ostentation), takabbur (pride and arrogance), hasad (jealousy), lack of sabr (patience), lack of shukr (gratitude), love for fame and wealth, etc. Both aspects are very important for us because just as physical health is important in order to ensure an enjoyable life, similarly, spiritual health is also vital to secure a peaceful mind and a heart full of contentment. In fact, spiritual health is far more important because the everlasting success in the Hereafter depends solely upon it. However, the concern shown towards the two is very different. When we are afflicted with a physical illness, we will have great concern. However, when it comes to spiritual illnesses, no concern whatsoever is shown. Whereas, in reality, more concern should be shown for our spiritual health for the following reasons: 1. To treat a physical illness is sunnah; whereas, to treat a spiritual illness is necessary. 2. If a person bears a physical illness with patience it is a means of expiation for his sins; whereas, spiritual illnesses lead to good deeds being washed away. 3. The detrimental consequences of a physical illness will come to an end upon death; whereas, the evil result of a spiritual illness will begin upon death for eternity. 4. If a person dies with a physical illness, he will be granted shāhādah; whereas, spiritual illnesses will jeopardise the Hereafter altogether. Despite this, we do not see the necessary and required concern. This is in stark contrast to physical illnesses, when we will not even tolerate a slight headache or cold without resorting to medication! (First part of an article by Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat - at-tazkiyah.com) Full artice: http://www.at-tazkiyah.com/publications/leaflet/spiritual_illnesses.pdf
  21. What is Tasawwuf? Tasawwuf / Tazkiya / Tareeqat / Sulook / Sufism...call it what you may, to many it is mysterious, exotic and bewildering, while to others it is an innovation in Deen. These are in fact just various terms for self-reformation or purification of the heart. Though it is an integral part of the Shari’ah it has generally been misunderstood and shunned due to misrepresentation by errant Sufis (people who have deviated from the true teachings of Tasawwuf) In simple words Tasawwuf is the branch of Deen which deals with one’s spiritual development. For example it is the heart which is the source of sincerity, generosity, gratitude, patience etc. and it is within the heart that evils like jealousy, pride, arrogance, ostentation etc. fester. If within the heart lies generosity the hand will give while if the heart is devoid of it then miserliness will be apparent. Tasawwuf in the Qur'an & Hadith Just as the external acts of worship are mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith so are the internal states and love for Allah subhaanahu wata'ala. Along with verses which command us to establish Salaat and Zakaat so there are verses commanding Shukr (Gratitude), Sabr (Patience) abstaining from Riyaa (Show), Hasad (Jealousy) etc. Similarly in the Hadith just as one will find chapters on Prayer, Fasting, Trade & Commerce, Marraige & Divorce etc. so one will find chapters on Sincerity, Pride & Arrogance, Love for Allah subhaanahu wata'ala etc. The Term "Tasawwuf/Sufism" Tasawwuf is a branch of Islamic knowledge which focuses on the spiritual development of a Muslim. Allah sent His final messenger, Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam as a source of knowledge for the entire Ummah. He was the fountain of Qur'an, Hadith, Tafseer, Rhetoric, Fiqh and so on. After the Prophet, the scholars of this Ummah carried and propagated each of these branches of knowledge. However because no one person can attain the perfection of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam who single handedly assumed all of these roles, various branches of the Islamic sciences developed. For example, Imam Abu Hanifah preserved the science of Fiqh and after him thousands of scholars continued in his footsteps. Hence these scholars preserved the Fiqh of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. Similarly Imam Bukhari and the other famous scholars of Hadith preserved the words of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. The scholars of Tajweed preserved the recitation of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam was the model of spirituality for the world. His God-consciousness, deep spirituality, acts of worship, and love for Allah subhaanahu wata'ala were preserved and propagated by an Islamic science called Tasawwuf. Sufism Studying the life of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, the Scholars who propagated the science of Tasawwuf understood that a requisite for approaching Allah subhaanahu wata’ala was abandonment of the common pursuits of the world. They often wore wool because of its simplicity and low cost. In Arabic the word for wool is suf and thus, those who wore it became known as the Sufis. Another possible derivation of the word comes from the root word safa, which means "to clean." Because the Scholars of Tasawwuf focused on cleansing the heart, they later became known as the Sufis. (From Tasawwuf.org) The Aims & Objective of Tasawwuf Tasawwuf in fact is the Rooh (soul) and state of perfection of the Deen. Its function is to purify the internal state (the heart) of man from the lowly attributes of lust, anger, malice, jealousy, love of the world, love for fame, greed, ostentation, vanity, deception, etc. At the same time it aims at the adornment of the heart with the lofty attributes of repentance, perseverance, gratefulness, fear of Allah, hope, Tauheed (Oneness of Allah subhaanahu wata’ala), trust, love sincerity, etc. In this way, attention towards Allah Ta’ala is inculcated in man. This is in fact the purpose of life. Tasawwuf or Tareeqat is therefore not contrary to the Deen In fact it is incumbent for every Muslim to become a Sufi (one who follows the path of Tasawwuf). Minus Tasawwuf, a Muslim cannot truly be described as a perfect Muslim. Therefore the aim of the scholars of this science is purification of the heart and development of consciousness of Allah through submission to the Shariah and Sunnah and the ultimate goal is the attainment of Divine Pleasure & Proximity.
  22. An indepth article by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller Perhaps the biggest challenge in learning Islam correctly today is the scarcity of traditional ‘ulama. In this meaning, Bukhari relates the sahih, rigorously authenticated hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Truly, Allah does not remove Sacred Knowedge by taking it out of servants, but rather by taking back the souls of Islamic scholars [in death], until, when He has not left a single scholar, the people take the ignorant as leaders, who are asked for and who give Islamic legal opinion without knowledge, misguided and misguiding” (Fath al-Bari, 1.194, hadith 100). The process described by the hadith is not yet completed, but has certainly begun, and in our times, the lack of traditional scholars—whether in Islamic law, in hadith, in tafsir ‘Koranic exegesis’—has given rise to an understanding of the religion that is far from scholarly, and sometimes far from the truth. For example, in the course of my own studies in Islamic law, my first impression from orientalist and Muslim-reformer literature, was that the Imams of the madhhabs or ‘schools of jurisprudence’ had brought a set of rules from completely outside the Islamic tradition and somehow imposed them upon the Muslims. But when I sat with traditional scholars in the Middle East and asked them about the details, I came away with a different point of view, having learned the bases for deriving the law from the Koran and sunna. And similarly with Tasawwuf—which is the word I will use tonight for the English Sufism, since our context is traditional Islam—quite a different picture emerged from talking with scholars of Tasawwuf than what I had been exposed to in the West. My talk tonight, In Sha’ Allah, will present knowledge taken from the Koran and sahih hadith, and from actual teachers of Tasawwuf in Syria and Jordan, in view of the need for all of us to get beyond clichés, the need for factual information from Islamic sources, the need to answer such questions as: Where did Tasawwuf come from? What role does it play in the din or religion of Islam? and most importantly, What is the command of Allah about it? As for the origin of the term Tasawwuf, like many other Islamic discliplines, its name was not known to the first generation of Muslims. The historian Ibn Khaldun notes in his Muqaddima: This knowledge is a branch of the sciences of Sacred Law that originated within the Umma. From the first, the way of such people had also been considered the path of truth and guidance by the early Muslim community and its notables, of the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), those who were taught by them, and those who came after them. It basically consists of dedication to worship, total dedication to Allah Most High, disregard for the finery and ornament of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, wealth, and prestige sought by most men, and retiring from others to worship alone. This was the general rule among the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the early Muslims, but when involvement in this-worldly things became widespread from the second Islamic century onwards and people became absorbed in worldliness, those devoted to worship came to be called Sufiyya or People of Tasawwuf (Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima [N.d. Reprint. Mecca: Dar al-Baz, 1397/1978], 467). In Ibn Khaldun’s words, the content of Tasawwuf, “total dedication to Allah Most High,” was, “the general rule among the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the early Muslims.” So if the word did not exist in earliest times, we should not forget that this is also the case with many other Islamic disciplines, such as tafsir, ‘Koranic exegesis,’ or ‘ilm al-jarh wa ta‘dil, ‘the science of the positive and negative factors that affect hadith narrators acceptability,’ or ‘ilm al-tawhid, the science of belief in Islamic tenets of faith,’ all of which proved to be of the utmost importance to the correct preservation and transmission of the religion. As for the origin of the word Tasawwuf, it may well be from Sufi, the person who does Tasawwuf, which seems to be etymologically prior to it, for the earliest mention of either term was by Hasan al-Basri who died 110 years after the Hijra, and is reported to have said, “I saw a Sufi circumambulating the Kaaba, and offered him a dirham, but he would not accept it.” It therefore seems better to understand Tasawwuf by first asking what a Sufi is; and perhaps the best definition of both the Sufi and his way, certainly one of the most frequently quoted by masters of the discipline, is from the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said: Allah Most High says: “He who is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him” (Fath al-Bari, 11.340–41, hadith 6502); This hadith was related by Imam Bukhari, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bayhaqi, and others with multiple contiguous chains of transmission, and is sahih. It discloses the central reality of Tasawwuf, which is precisely change, while describing the path to this change, in conformity with a traditional definition used by masters in the Middle East, who define a Sufi as Faqihun ‘amila bi ‘ilmihi fa awrathahu Llahu ‘ilma ma lam ya‘lam,‘A man of religious learning who applied what he knew, so Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know.’ To clarify, a Sufi is a man of religious learning,because the hadith says, “My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him,” and only through learning can the Sufi know the command of Allah, or what has been made obligatory for him. He has applied what he knew, because the hadith says he not only approaches Allah with the obligatory, but “keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him.” And in turn, Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know, because the hadith says, “And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks,” which is a metaphor for the consummate awareness of tawhid, or the ‘unity of Allah,’ which in the context of human actions such as hearing, sight, seizing, and walking, consists of realizing the words of the Koran about Allah that, “It is He who created you and what you do” (Koran 37:96). The origin of the way of the Sufi thus lies in the prophetic sunna. The sincerity to Allah that it entails was the rule among the earliest Muslims, to whom this was simply a state of being without a name, while it only became a distinct discipline when the majority of the Community had drifted away and changed from this state. Muslims of subsequent generations required systematic effort to attain it, and it was because of the change in the Islamic environment after the earliest generations, that a discipline by the name of Tasawwuf came to exist. But if this is true of origins, the more significant question is: How central is Tasawwuf to the religion, and: Where does it fit into Islam as a whole? Perhaps the best answer is the hadith of Muslim, that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: As we sat one day with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), a man in pure white clothing and jet black hair came to us, without a trace of travelling upon him, though none of us knew him. He sat down before the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) bracing his knees against his, resting his hands on his legs, and said: “Muhammad, tell me about Islam.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and to perform the prayer, give zakat, fast in Ramadan, and perform the pilgrimage to the House if you can find a way.” He said: “You have spoken the truth,” and we were surprised that he should ask and then confirm the answer. Then he said: “Tell me about true faith (iman),” and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His inspired Books, His messengers, the Last Day, and in destiny, its good and evil.” “You have spoken the truth,” he said, “Now tell me about the perfection of faith (ihsan),” and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: “It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you.” The hadith continues to where ‘Umar said: Then the visitor left. I waited a long while, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to me, “Do you know, ‘Umar, who was the questioner?” and I replied, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “It was Gabriel, who came to you to teach you your religion” (Sahih Muslim, 1.37: hadith 8). This is a sahih hadith, described by Imam Nawawi as one of the hadiths upon which the Islamic religion turns. The use of din in the last words of it, Atakum yu‘allimukum dinakum, “came to you to teach you your religion” entails that the religion of Islam is composed of the three fundamentals mentioned in the hadith: Islam, or external compliance with what Allah asks of us; Iman, or the belief in the unseen that the prophets have informed us of; and Ihsan, or to worship Allah as though one sees Him. The Koran says, in Surat Maryam, “Surely We have revealed the Remembrance, and surely We shall preserve it” (Koran 15:9), and if we reflect how Allah, in His wisdom, has accomplished this, we see that it is by human beings, the traditional scholars He has sent at each level of the religion. The level of Islam has been preserved and conveyed to us by the Imams of Shari‘a or ‘Sacred Law’ and its ancillary disciplines; the level of Iman, by the Imams of ‘Aqida or ‘tenets of faith’; and the level of Ihsan, “to worship Allah as though you see Him,” by the Imams of Tasawwuf. The hadith’s very words “to worship Allah” show us the interrelation of these three fundamentals, for the how of “worship” is only known through the external prescriptions of Islam, while the validity of this worship in turn presupposes Iman or faith in Allah and the Islamic revelation, without which worship would be but empty motions; while the words, “as if you see Him,” show that Ihsan implies a human change, for it entails the experience of what, for most of us, is not experienced. So to understand Tasawwuf, we must look at the nature of this change in relation to both Islam and Iman, and this is the main focus of my talk tonight. At the level of Islam, we said that Tasawwuf requires Islam,through ‘submission to the rules of Sacred Law.’ But Islam, for its part, equally requires Tasawwuf. Why? For the very good reason that the sunna which Muslims have been commanded to follow is not just the words and actions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), but also his states, states of the heart such as taqwa ‘godfearingness,’ ikhlas ‘sincerity,’ tawakkul ‘reliance on Allah,’ rahma ‘mercy,’ tawadu‘ ‘humility,’ and so on. Now, it is characteristic of the Islamic ethic that human actions are not simply divided into two shades of morality, right or wrong; but rather five, arranged in order of their consequences in the next world. The obligatory (wajib) is that whose performance is rewarded by Allah in the next life and whose nonperformance is punished. The recommended (mandub) is that whose performance is rewarded, but whose nonperformance is not punished. The permissible (mubah) is indifferent, unconnected with either reward or punishment. The offensive (makruh) is that whose nonperformance is rewarded but whose performance is not punished. The unlawful (haram) is that whose nonperformance is rewarded and whose performance is punished, if one dies unrepentant. Human states of the heart, the Koran and sunna make plain to us, come under each of these headings. Yet they are not dealt with in books of fiqh or ‘Islamic jurisprudence,’ because unlike the prayer, zakat, or fasting, they are not quantifiable in terms of the specific amount of them that must be done. But though they are not countable, they are of the utmost importance to every Muslim. Let’s look at a few examples. (1) Love of Allah. In Surat al-Baqara of the Koran, Allah blames those who ascribe associates to Allah whom they love as much as they love Allah. Then He says, “And those who believe are greater in love for Allah” (Koran 2:165), making being a believer conditional upon having greater love for Allah than any other. (2) Mercy. Bukhari and Muslim relate that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whomever is not merciful to people, Allah will show no mercy” (Sahih Muslim, 4.1809: hadith 2319), and Tirmidhi relates the well authenticated (hasan) hadith “Mercy is not taken out of anyone except the damned” (al-Jami‘ al-sahih, 4.323: hadith 1923). (3) Love of each other. Muslim relates in his Sahih that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, none of you shall enter paradise until you believe, and none of you shall believe until you love one another . . . .” (Sahih Muslim, 1.74: hadith 54). (4) Presence of mind in the prayer (salat). Abu Dawud relates in his Sunan that ‘Ammar ibn Yasir heard the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) say, “Truly, a man leaves, and none of his prayer has been recorded for him except a tenth of it, a ninth of it, eighth of it, seventh of it, sixth of it, fifth of it, fourth of it, third of it, a half of it” (Sunan Abi Dawud, 1.211: hadith 796)—meaning that none of a person’s prayer counts for him except that in which he is present in his heart with Allah. (5) Love of the Prophet. Bukhari relates in his Sahih that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “None of you believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his son, and all people” (Fath al-Bari, 1.58, hadith 15). It is plain from these texts that none of the states mentioned—whether mercy, love, or presence of heart—are quantifiable, for the Shari‘a cannot specify that one must “do two units of mercy” or “have three units of presence of mind” in the way that the number of rak‘as of prayer can be specified, yet each of them is personally obligatory for the Muslim. Let us complete the picture by looking at a few examples of states that are haram or ‘strictly unlawful’: (1) Fear of anyone besides Allah. Allah Most High says in Surat al-Baqara of the Koran, “And fulfill My covenant: I will fulfill your covenant—And fear Me alone” (Koran 2:40), the last phrase of which, according to Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, “establishes that a human being is obliged to fear no one besides Allah Most High” (Tafsir al-Fakhr al-Razi, 3.42). (2) Despair. Allah Most High says, “None despairs of Allah’s mercy except the people who disbelieve” (Koran 12:87), indicating the unlawfulness of this inward state by coupling it with the worst human condition possible, that of unbelief. (3) Arrogance. Muslim relates in his Sahih that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “No one shall enter paradise who has a particle of arrogance in his heart” (Sahih Muslim, 1.93: hadith 91). (4) Envy,meaning to wish for another to lose the blessings he enjoys. Abu Dawud relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Beware of envy, for envy consumes good works as flames consume firewood” (Sunan Abi Dawud, 4.276: hadith 4903). (5) Showing off in acts of worship. Al-Hakim relates with a sahih chain of transmission that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The slightest bit of showing off in good works is as if worshipping others with Allah . . . .” (al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, 1.4). These and similar haram inward states are not found in books of fiqh or ‘jurisprudence,’ because fiqh can only deal with quantifiable descriptions of rulings. Rather, they are examined in their causes and remedies by the scholars of the ‘inner fiqh’ of Tasawwuf, men such as Imam al-Ghazali in his Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din [The reviving of the religious sciences], Imam al-Rabbani in his Maktubat [Letters], al-Suhrawardi in his ‘Awarif al-Ma‘arif [The knowledges of the illuminates], Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut al-qulub [The sustenance of hearts], and similar classic works, which discuss and solve hundreds of ethical questions about the inner life. These are books of Shari‘a and their questions are questions of Sacred Law, of how it is lawful or unlawful for a Muslim to be; and they preserve the part of the prophetic sunna dealing with states. Who needs such information? All Muslims, for the Koranic verses and authenticated hadiths all point to the fact that a Muslim must not only do certain things and say certain things, but also must be something, must attain certain states of the heart and eliminate others. Do we ever fear someone besides Allah? Do we have a particle of arrogance in our hearts? Is our love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) greater than our love for any other human being? Is there the slightest bit of showing off in our good works? Half a minute’s reflection will show the Muslim where he stands on these aspects of his din, and why in classical times, helping Muslims to attain these states was not left to amateurs, but rather delegated to ‘ulama of the heart, the scholars of Islamic Tasawwuf. For most people, these are not easy transformations to make, because of the force of habit, because of the subtlety with which we can deceive ourselves, but most of all because each of us has an ego, the self, the Me, which is called in Arabic al-nafs, about which Allah testifies in Surat Yusuf: “Verily the self ever commands to do evil” (Koran 12:53). If you do not believe it, consider the hadith related by Muslim in his Sahih, that: The first person judged on Resurrection Day will be a man martyred in battle. He will be brought forth, Allah will reacquaint him with His blessings upon him and the man will acknowledge them, whereupon Allah will say, “What have you done with them?” to which the man will respond, “I fought to the death for You.” Allah will reply, “You lie. You fought in order to be called a hero, and it has already been said.” Then he will be sentenced and dragged away on his face and flung into the fire. Then a man will be brought forward who learned Sacred Knowledge, taught it to others, and who recited the Koran. Allah will remind him of His gifts to him and the man will acknowledge them, and then Allah will say, “What have you done with them?” The man will answer, “I acquired Sacred Knowledge, taught it, and recited the Koran, for Your sake.” Allah will say, “You lie. You learned so as to be called a scholar, and read the Koran so as to be called a reciter, and it has already been said.” Then the man will be sentenced and dragged away on his face to be flung into the fire. Then a man will be brought forward whom Allah generously provided for, giving him various kinds of wealth, and Allah will recall to him the benefits given, and the man will acknowledge them, to which Allah will say, “And what have you done with them?” The man will answer, “I have not left a single kind of expenditure You love to see made, except that I have spent on it for Your sake.” Allah will say, “You lie. You did it so as to be called generous, and it has already been said.” Then he will be sentenced and dragged away on his face to be flung into the fire (Sahih Muslim, 3.1514: hadith 1905). We should not fool ourselves about this, because our fate depends on it: in our childhood, our parents taught us how to behave through praise or blame, and for most of us, this permeated and colored our whole motivation for doing things. But when childhood ends, and we come of age in Islam, the religion makes it clear to us, both by the above hadith and by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) “The slightest bit of showing off in good works is as if worshipping others with Allah” that being motivated by what others think is no longer good enough, and that we must change our motives entirely, and henceforth be motivated by nothing but desire for Allah Himself. The Islamic revelation thus tells the Muslim that it is obligatory to break his habits of thinking and motivation, but it does not tell him how. For that, he must go to the scholars of these states, in accordance with the Koranic imperative, “Ask those who know if you know not” (Koran 16:43), There is no doubt that bringing about this change, purifying the Muslims by bringing them to spiritual sincerity, was one of the central duties of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), for Allah says in the Surat Al ‘Imran of the Koran, “Allah has truly blessed the believers, for He has sent them a messenger of themselves, who recites His signs to them and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom” (Koran 3:164), which explicitly lists four tasks of the prophetic mission, the second of which, yuzakkihim means precisely to ‘purify them’ and has no other lexical sense. Now, it is plain that this teaching function cannot, as part of an eternal revelation, have ended with the passing of the first generation, a fact that Allah explictly confirms in His injunction in Surat Luqman, “And follow the path of him who turns unto Me” (Koran 31:15). These verses indicate the teaching and transformative role of those who convey the Islamic revelation to Muslims, and the choice of the word ittiba‘ in the second verse, which is more general, implies both keeping the company of and following the example of a teacher. This is why in the history of Tasawwuf, we find that though there were many methods and schools of thought, these two things never changed: keeping the company of a teacher, and following his example—in exactly the same way that the Sahaba were uplifted and purified by keeping the company of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and following his example. And this is why the discipline of Tasawwuf has been preserved and transmitted by Tariqas or groups of students under a particular master. First, because this was the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his purifying function described by the Koran. Secondly, Islamic knowledge has never been transmitted by writings alone, but rather from ‘ulama to students. Thirdly, the nature of the knowledge in question is of hal or ‘state of being,’ not just knowing, and hence requires it be taken from a succession of living masters back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), for the sheer range and number of the states of heart required by the revelation effectively make imitation of the personal example of a teacher the only effective means of transmission. So far we have spoken about Tasawwuf in respect to Islam, as a Shari‘a science necessary to fully realize the Sacred Law in one’s life, to attain the states of the heart demanded by the Koran and hadith. This close connection between Shari‘a and Tasawwuf is expressed by the statement of Imam Malik, founder of the Maliki school, that “he who practices Tasawwuf without learning Sacred Law corrupts his faith, while he who learns Sacred Law without practicing Tasawwuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.” This is why Tasawwuf was taught as part of the traditional curriculum in madrasas across the Muslim world from Malaysia to Morocco, why many of the greatest Shari‘a scholars of this Umma have been Sufis, and why until the end of the Islamic caliphate at the beginning of this century and the subsequent Western control and cultural dominance of Muslim lands, there were teachers of Tasawwuf in Islamic institutions of higher learning from Lucknow to Istanbul to Cairo. But there is a second aspect of Tasawwuf that we have not yet talked about; namely, its relation to Iman or ‘True Faith,’ the second pillar of the Islamic religion, which in the context of the Islamic sciences consists of ‘Aqida or ‘orthodox belief.’ All Muslims believe in Allah, and that He is transcendently beyond anything conceivable to the minds of men, for the human intellect is imprisoned within its own sense impressions and the categories of thought derived from them, such as number, directionality, spatial extention, place, time, and so forth. Allah is beyond all of that; in His own words, “There is nothing whatesover like unto Him” (Koran 42:11) If we reflect for a moment on this verse, in the light of the hadith of Muslim about Ihsan that “it is to worship Allah as though you see Him,” we realize that the means of seeing here is not the eye, which can only behold physical things like itself; nor yet the mind, which cannot transcend its own impressions to reach the Divine, but rather certitude, the light of Iman, whose locus is not the eye or the brain, but rather the ruh, a subtle faculty Allah has created within each of us called the soul, whose knowledge is unobstructed by the bounds of the created universe. Allah Most High says, by way of exalting the nature of this faculty by leaving it a mystery, “Say: ‘The soul is of the affair of my Lord’” (Koran 17:85). The food of this ruh is dhikr or the ‘remembrance of Allah.’ Why? Because acts of obedience increase the light of certainty and Iman in the soul, and dhikr is among the greatest of them, as is attested to by the sahih hadith related by al-Hakim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Shall I not tell you of the best of your works, the purest of them in the eyes of your Master, the highest in raising your rank, better than giving gold and silver, and better for you than to meet your enemy and smite their necks, and they smite yours?” They said, “This—what is it, O Messenger of Allah?” and he said: Dhikru Llahi ‘azza wa jall, “The remembrance of Allah Mighty and Majestic.” (al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, 1.496). Increasing the strength of Iman through good actions, and particularly through the medium of dhikr has tremendous implications for the Islamic religion and traditional spirituality. A non-Muslim once asked me, “If God exists, then why all this beating around the bush? Why doesn’t He just come out and say so?” The answer is that taklif or ‘moral responsibility’ in this life is not only concerned with outward actions, but with what we believe, our ‘Aqida—and the strength with which we believe it. If belief in God and other eternal truths were effortless in this world, there would be no point in Allah making us responsible for it, it would be automatic, involuntary, like our belief, say, that London is in England. There would no point in making someone responsible for something impossible not to believe. But the responsibility Allah has place upon us is belief in the Unseen, as a test for us in this world to choose between kufr and Iman, to distinguish believer from unbeliever, and some believers above others. This why strengthening Iman through dhikr is of such methodological importance for Tasawwuf: we have not only been commanded as Muslims to believe in certain things, but have been commanded to have absolute certainty in them. The world we see around us is composed of veils of light and darkness: events come that knock the Iman out of some of us, and Allah tests each of us as to the degree of certainty with which we believe the eternal truths of the religion. It was in this sense that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “If the Iman of Abu Bakr were weighed against the Iman of the entire Umma, it would outweigh it.” Now, in traditional ‘Aqida one of the most important tenets is the wahdaniyya or ‘oneness and uniqueness’ of Allah Most High. This means He is without any sharik or associate in His being, in His attributes, or in His acts. But the ability to hold this insight in mind in the rough and tumble of daily life is a function of the strength of certainty (yaqin) in one’s heart. Allah tells the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in Surat al-A‘raf of the Koran, “Say: ‘I do not possess benefit for myself or harm, except as Allah wills’” (Koran 7:188), yet we tend to rely on ourselves and our plans, in obliviousness to the facts of ‘Aqida that ourselves and our plans have no effect, that Allah alone brings about effects. If you want to test yourself on this, the next time you contact someone with good connections whose help is critical to you, take a look at your heart at the moment you ask him to put in a good word for you with someone, and see whom you are relying upon. If you are like most of us, Allah is not at the forefront of your thoughts, despite the fact that He alone is controlling the outcome. Isn’t this a lapse in your ‘Aqida, or, at the very least, in your certainty? Tasawwuf corrects such shortcomings by step-by-step increasing the Muslim’s certainty in Allah. The two central means of Tasawwuf in attaining the conviction demanded by ‘Aqida are mudhakara, or learning the traditional tenets of Islamic faith, and dhikr, deepening one’s certainty in them by remembrance of Allah. It is part of our faith that, in the words of the Koran in Surat al-Saffat, “Allah has created you and what you do” (Koran 37:96); yet for how many of us is this day to day experience? Because Tasawwuf remedies this and other shortcomings of Iman, by increasing the Muslim’s certainty through a systematic way of teaching and dhikr, it has traditionally been regarded as personally obligatory to this pillar of the religion also, and from the earliest centuries of Islam, has proved its worth. The last question we will deal with tonight is: What about the bad Sufis we read about, who contravene the teachings of Islam? The answer is that there are two meanings of Sufi: the first is “Anyone who considers himself a Sufi,” which is the rule of thumb of orientalist historians of Sufism and popular writers, who would oppose the “Sufis” to the “Ulama.” I think the Koranic verses and hadiths we have mentioned tonight about the scope and method of true Tasawwuf show why we must insist on the primacy of the definition of a Sufi as “a man of religious learning who applied what he knew, so Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know.” The very first thing a Sufi, as a man of religious learning knows is that the Shari‘a and ‘Aqida of Islam are above every human being. Whoever does not know this will never be a Sufi, except in the orientalist sense of the word—like someone standing in front of the stock exchange in an expensive suit with a briefcase to convince people he is a stockbroker. A real stockbroker is something else. Because this distinction is ignored today by otherwise well-meaning Muslims, it is often forgotten that the ‘ulama who have criticized Sufis, such as Ibn al-Jawzi in his Talbis Iblis [The Devil’s deception], or Ibn Taymiya in places in his Fatawa, or Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, were not criticizing Tasawwuf as an ancillary discipline to the Shari‘a. The proof of this is Ibn al-Jawzi’s five-volume Sifat al-safwa, which contains the biographies of the very same Sufis mentioned in al-Qushayri’s famous Tasawwuf manual al-Risala al-Qushayriyya. Ibn Taymiya considered himself a Sufi of the Qadiri order, and volumes ten and eleven of his thirty-seven-volume Majmu‘ al-fatawa are devoted to Tasawwuf. And Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote his three-volume Madarij al-salikin, a detailed commentary on ‘Abdullah al-Ansari al-Harawi’s tract on the spiritual stations of the Sufi path, Manazil al-sa’irin. These works show that their authors’ criticisms were not directed at Tasawwuf as such, but rather at specific groups of their times, and they should be understood for what they are. As in other Islamic sciences, mistakes historically did occur in Tasawwuf, most of them stemming from not recognizing the primacy of Shari‘a and ‘Aqida above all else. But these mistakes were not different in principle from, for example, the Isra’iliyyat (baseless tales of Bani Isra’il) that crept into tafsir literature, or the mawdu‘at (hadith forgeries) that crept into the hadith. These were not taken as proof that tafsir was bad, or hadith was deviance, but rather, in each discipline, the errors were identified and warned against by Imams of the field, because the Umma needed the rest. And such corrections are precisely what we find in books like Qushayri’s Risala,Ghazali’s Ihya’ and other works of Sufism. For all of the reasons we have mentioned, Tasawwuf was accepted as an essential part of the Islamic religion by the ‘ulama of this Umma. The proof of this is all the famous scholars of Shari‘a sciences who had the higher education of Tasawwuf, among them Ibn ‘Abidin, al-Razi, Ahmad Sirhindi, Zakariyya al-Ansari, al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, Ibn Daqiq al-‘Eid, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Shah Wali Allah, Ahmad Dardir, Ibrahim al-Bajuri, ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi, Imam al-Nawawi, Taqi al-Din al-Subki, and al-Suyuti. Among the Sufis who aided Islam with the sword as well as the pen, to quote Reliance of the Traveller, were: such men as the Naqshbandi sheikh Shamil al-Daghestani, who fought a prolonged war against the Russians in the Caucasus in the nineteenth century; Sayyid Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-Somali, a sheikh of the Salihiyya order who led Muslims against the British and Italians in Somalia from 1899 to 1920; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Uthman ibn Fodi, who led jihad in Northern Nigeria from 1804 to 1808 to establish Islamic rule; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, who led the Algerians against the French from 1832 to 1847; the Darqawi faqir al-Hajj Muhammad al-Ahrash, who fought the French in Egypt in 1799; the Tijani sheikh al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal, who led Islamic Jihad in Guinea, Senegal, and Mali from 1852 to 1864; and the Qadiri sheikh Ma’ al-‘Aynayn al-Qalqami, who helped marshal Muslim resistance to the French in northern Mauritania and southern Morocco from 1905 to 1909. Among the Sufis whose missionary work Islamized entire regions are such men as the founder of the Sanusiyya order, Muhammad ‘Ali Sanusi, whose efforts and jihad from 1807 to 1859 consolidated Islam as the religion of peoples from the Libyan Desert to sub-Saharan Africa; [and] the Shadhili sheikh Muhammad Ma‘ruf and Qadiri sheikh Uways al-Barawi, whose efforts spread Islam westward and inland from the East African Coast . . . . (Reliance of the Traveller,863). It is plain from the examples of such men what kind of Muslims have been Sufis; namely, all kinds, right across the board—and that Tasawwuf did not prevent them from serving Islam in any way they could. To summarize everything I have said tonight: In looking first at Tasawwuf and Shari‘a, we found that many Koranic verses and sahih hadiths oblige the Muslim to eliminate haram inner states as arrogance, envy, and fear of anyone besides Allah; and on the other hand, to acquire such obligatory inner states as mercy, love of one’s fellow Muslims, presence of mind in prayer, and love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). We found that these inward states could not be dealt with in books of fiqh, whose purpose is to specify the outward, quantifiable aspects of the Shari‘a. The knowledge of these states is nevertheless of the utmost importance to every Muslim, and this is why it was studied under the ‘ulama of Ihsan, the teachers of Tasawwuf, in all periods of Islamic history until the beginning of the present century. We then turned to the level of Iman, and found that though the ‘Aqida of Muslims is that Allah alone has any effect in this world, keeping this in mind in everhday life is not a given of human consciousness, but rather a function of a Muslim’s yaqin, his certainty. And we found that Tasawwuf, as an ancillary discipline to ‘Aqida, emphasizes the systematic increase of this certainty through both mudhakara, ‘teaching tenets of faith’ and dhikr, ‘the remembrance of Allah,’ in accordance with the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) about Ihsan that “it is worship Allah as though you see Him.” Lastly, we found that accusations against Tasawwuf made by scholars such as Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Taymiya were not directed against Tasawwuf in principle, but to specific groups and individuals in the times of these authors, the proof for which is the other books by the same authors that showed their understanding of Tasawwuf as a Shari‘a science. To return to the starting point of my talk this evening, with the disappearance of traditional Islamic scholars from the Umma, two very different pictures of Tasawwuf emerge today. If we read books written after the dismantling of the traditional fabric of Islam by colonial powers in the last century, we find the big hoax: Islam without spirituality and Shari‘a without Tasawwuf. But if we read the classical works of Islamic scholarship, we learn that Tasawwuf has been a Shari‘a science like tafsir, hadith, or any other, throughout the history of Islam. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Truly, Allah does not look at your outward forms and wealth, but rather at your hearts and your works” (Sahih Muslim, 4.1389: hadith 2564). And this is the brightest hope that Islam can offer a modern world darkened by materialism and nihilism: Islam as it truly is; the hope of eternal salvation through a religion of brotherhood and social and economic justice outwardly, and the direct experience of divine love and illumination inwardly. http://www.ilmgate.o...ditional-islam/
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