Sometimes people ask if Sufism - in Islam - is something new, not practiced by the Prophet ( sallAllahu `aleihi wa sallam ), the Sahabah, or the early generations.
In this text we present some answers by those who have researched this question in detail.
In response to this we say: in the first generation, there was no need for it.
The people of that era were already people of piety and scrupulousness, masters of spiritual rigors and keenness to worship. By virtue of their proximity and connection to the Messenger of Allah ( sallAllahu 'aleihi wa sallam ), they would hasten and race each other to follow his example ( sallAllahu 'aleihi wa sallam ) as in all of that. During that time, there was no need to establish a distinct science to guide them to something they were already upon.
The likeness of the Companions in this matter may be likened to that of the eloquent Bedouin Arab. Such a Bedouin knows the Arabic language by way of inheriting it from his elders, to the point that he is even able to compose eloquent poetry by his natural disposition and nature, even though he knows nothing about the principles of the language, inflection, poetic meter, or composition. Someone like him is in no need of learning grammar or rhetoric.
Yet despite this, when grammatical mistakes, incorrect diction, and weak rhetoric, becomes wide spread—or even when a non-Arab simply wants to learn it and understand it, or when it becomes a societal need like the need for other sciences—learning the science of grammar, the principles of the language, and poetry becomes a necessity.
Even if the Companions and followers did not take the name "Sufis", they were Sufis in reality. What is meant by Sufism more than a person living his life for his Lord and not his lower ego, while at the same time adorning his self with asceticism, persisting upon slavehood, directing his full attention to Allah with his soul and heart at all times, and observing all other perfected traits that the Companions and followers reached by way of spiritual elevation; having attaining the highest levels therein?
The Companions did not suffice themselves with testifying to the doctrines of faith, or establishing the legal obligations alone, rather they coupled their testimony with experiential knowledge and direct experience. They carried out every act beloved to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ beyond the obligations, such as the supererogatory acts.
They abstained from every detestable act—not to mention the forbidden things—until their inner eyes were enlightened and the rays of wisdom penetrated their hearts, and the Divine Lordly secrets flowed over their bodies. This was also the state of the followers after them and the generation after the followers. These three generations were the best and purest generations of Islam entire [history].
It has been reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "The best generations are my generation, then those after them, and then those after them."
As time passed, …
continued . . .
2017-08-31 vs.2.1; from 2015-12-30
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