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Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi

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The Necessity of a Measure of Proper Sufi Education:

A measure of proper Sufi education based on the Quran and Sunna is in order here, as it would help in shaping a religious character whose owner would put Allah before Allah's creation, the Hereafter before earthly life and the motives of religion before the motives of desire. Not all Sufism is evil as some would imagine.  Neither are all Sufists ( □ comment: Mutasawwif or Sufi) [1] misled as claimed by those who lack in knowledge or fairness.

Sufists ( Mutasawwif) [1] are like other groups, as Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya said in his treatise entitled [the Poor]. He said about them, "Among them you find the straightforward the deviant; the one who wrongs his own soul, the one who follows a middle course, and the one who is, by Allah's leave. foremost in good deeds".  Of course, we reject all the fallacies of philosophical Sufism (including such tenets as: hulul "divine incarnation" and ittihad "mystic communion with God"), ecstatic utterances of heretic Sufists and the deviations of money-oriented Sufism. 

What we really seek is the pure, quintessential Sufism of the pioneer Sufis[2], such as Al Hassan Al Basri, Al Fudayl Ibn lyad, Ibrahim Ibn Adham, Abu Sulayman Al Darani, Abul Qasim Al Junayd and others like them.  We seek the Sunnite Sufism that follows a balanced line of Quran and Sunna, the Sufism that cares about the "piety of hearts" before it concerns itself with the "acts of the organs of the body".  It is said in the sound hadith that "Allah shall not look at your bodies or your faces, but rather into your hearts." [Muslim]. 

We seek the Sufism that addresses the ailments of the heart, plugs the holes through which Satan can steal into hearts, and resists the desires of the human soul, so that it may have proper morals and virtues and abandon sins. Someone described Sufism in a nutshell, saying, "Sufism is being true to Allah and good to mankind".  This is what Allah the Almighty means by saying,
{ For Allah is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good }
Surat Al Nahl: 128

The Sufis are with Allah by being pious, and with people by doing good.   Allama Ibn Al Qayyim quoted the early Sufis as saying, "Sufism is good manners, an anyone who surpasses you in manners should be better than you in Sufism".  Ibn Al Qayyim comments on that by saying, "No, religion is good manners, and anyone who surpasses you in good manners should be better than you in religion". 

True ! And we need only to quote the Prophet's hadith, "I have been sent [with the Message] to make manners perfect." [Bukhari].



Related texts
link-in The Formation Of Sufism As A Science
link-in Islamic Concepts & Definitions

  1. The word sufists is not a good choice of translation, here a valid explanation of (a. Mutasawwif) and (b. Sufi):

    (Mutasawwif). He is the one who aspires to reach high spiritual knowledge. The one who aspires is not the one who has attained. The one who aspires is not the purified knower (Sufi). The one who aspires must put himself under the direction of a Spiritual Guide (Murshid, Pir, Shaykh) in order to struggle and strive for the necessary purity which precipitates Divine Knowledge. The one who has attained is under the immediate direction of Allah and His Messenger. The channels to his heart have been cleared of all debris allowing the Light from the Divinity to enter unimpeded.
    The Language of the Future | Sufi Terminology

  2. Sufism is however not restricted to ”the pioneer Sufis”, even if they are the mountains compared to the hills of later times, just as the Sahabah are at a much higher rank than those who came after. But Sufism as the science of the heart and the kernel of Islam will always exist until the last day, as it is based on ihsan (spiritual excellence and beauty in every action) and therefore based on the teachings of the best man of all: Prophet Muhammad, ﷺ .
    Allah knows best and most!


* Living Islam – Islamic Tradition *