The Truth about Sufism Introduction Many people will have heard something about Sufism (or Tasawwuf as it is also known) either presented as a spiritual path leading to piety or in a bad way that involves innovations in Islaam. So what is the truth? What is Sufism?. The Origin of the Word and its Definition Sufism comes from the word soof meaning wool, many sufis like to affiliate themselves with wool since they see it as a sign of simpleness, but the wearing of wool has no special merit in Islaam, In fact it was disliked by the Prophet as Aa’ishah (radi-Allaahu ‘anhaa) narrates in a hadeeth collected by Abu Dawood and Ahmad. “I made a black cloth for the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and he put it on, but when he sweated in it he noticed the odour of the wool and threw it away.” The Narrator of this hadeeth said, “I think he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said, ‘He liked good smell.’” So when the very origin of the word Sufism has no foundation in Islaam, how about the rest of it? Some Sufis of the past stated that the Sufism had around 2000 different definitions. These definitions describe Sufism as being linked to concepts and practices that range from poverty, seclusion, deception, depriving the soul, singing, dancing, ecstasy, all the way to the major concept of Sufism - Wahdatul Wujood i.e. that everything that exists is Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) When Did it All Start? Some scholars trace Sufism to the early stages of the 2nd century after Hijrah (migration of the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam from Makkah to Madinah). Early deviation occurred in exaggerations in worship and extremism in avoidance of the worldly life. Beliefs and Practices of the Sufis? All the beliefs and practices of the Sufis are really too numerous to outline in this article but what follows is a brief outlay of some of their fundamental beliefs. 1. Wahdatul Wujood - This is the evil belief that all that exists is Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala), it makes no distinction between the creator and the creation. For this reason one of the first Sufi ‘shaykhs’ (Masters/teachers) by the name of Mansoor al-Hallaj said about Allaah: “I am He Whom I love,” he exclaimed, “He Whom I love is I; we are two souls co-inhabiting one body. If you see me you see Him and if you see Him you see me.” Praise be to Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) who is high above what these Sufis attribute to him. Another Sufi pioneer who is greatly revered by many Sufis today and called Ash-Shaykul Akbar (the greatest Scholar) was a Sufi by the name of Muhiyddin Ibn Arabi (born 560 after Hijrah). He also promoted the belief that all existence was Allaah. This led him to utter words of shirk such as “Subhaanee (glory be to me).” A particularly evil statement that he made was in connection with his master Abu Said al-Kharraz: “In relation to existence, He (Allaah) is the very essence of existing things. Thus in a certain sense, relative beings are elevated in themselves, since in truth they are none other than He who bears the name Abu Said al-Kharraz.” So here he depicted his own master, as a divine reality. Today many Sufis defend Ibn Arabi in their books, web sites and with their tongues. It is very hard to believe they do not know his statements since his works are well known. The only other possible conclusion for them defending him is that they agree with the shirk he uttered! In relation to existence, we know that Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) is free from what these Sufis attribute to him and that he (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) is above the creation as Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says: “And He is al Qaahir, above His worshippers.” [6:18] 2. Kashf - Literally means ‘unveiling.’ It is the ultimate end which the Sufi looks forward to. The Sufi tolerates seclusion and succumbs to the will of his shaykh precisely to become one of the people of kashf, who are privileged with Divine manifestation. The Sufi masters claim that through this state of kashf they perceive and witness all of the realities of existence as well of those of the al-Ghayb (the Unseen). In Sufi terminology kashf means to expose the heart to metaphysical illumination or ‘revelation’ unattainable by reason. There is supposed to be yet a higher stage beyond kashf which is called al-tajalli, or Divine manifestation: the appearance of Allaah to man. It is obvious however that any claim that Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa) appears to man, is a flagrant lie. The Prophet and Messenger of Allaah, Moossa (alayhis-salaam) whom Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) had favoured with the privilege of speaking to him directly, was denied his request to see Him (subhaanahu wa ta’aala). 3. Khalwah - The literal meaning of khalwah is seclusion or retreat, but it has a different connotation in Sufi terminology: It is the act of total self-abondonment in desire for the Divine Presence. In complete seclusion, the Sufi continuously repeats the name of God as a highest form of dhikr (remembrance). The Sufis will seclude themselves for nights on end or even just switch off the lights and make dhikr often moving their heads and bodies. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) did not neglect to mention and make clear to his followers any ways or means that lead to success in the Hereafter, nor did he neglect to warn them against any ways or means that lead to misery in the Hereafter. And since the practice of khalwah is not included in the ways and means of success, it must be included in the ways and means of misery. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said in a hadeeth collected by Saheeh Muslim: “Whoever does a deed that is not from me will have it rejected.” 4. Dreams - The Sufis emphasise dreams, fabricated stories and fabricated hadeeth as well as something known as shataahaat - intense and wild emotion in the state of excitement and agitation arising from what they call sudden divine touches - as sources of guidance. During shataahaat, the Sufi utters unlawful, innovated and mystic words, hallucinates and in many cases utters plain kufr (disbelief). 5. Al Fanaa (annihilation) is a key element in the Sufi thought. Once the Sufi becomes constant in dhikr - remembrance of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala), they claim that he acquires sufficient tranquility of heart to experience a delusion that helps him pass through the various stages described below. First he is bewildered, then intoxicated with love of the Remembered One, and finally he passes through the stage of fanaa', or annihilation, in which he becomes fully absorbed to the point of becoming unaware of himself or the objects around him. Every existing thing seems to vanish, and he feels free of every barrier that could stand in the way of his viewing the Remembered One and nothing else. To give a better idea of the Sufi concept of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala), Qunawi, one of Ibn Arabi's disciples, writes: “It is inconceivable that one thing should love another thing in the respect that thing differs from it. It can only love that thing as a result of the property of some meaning shared between the two of them, in respect of which an affinity is established between them which will lead to the domination of the property of that which brings about unification over the properties which brings about differentiation...But the end of love is unity. In the last analysis, Allaah and the perfect man are one, for Being is one.” This is clear disbelief since Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says: "There is none like unto Him; He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower." [42:11] Like most Sufi tenets, fanaa is mentioned neither in the Qur'aan nor in the Sunnah. It is rather a Sufi gimmick and a satanic deception. 6. The Student and his ‘Shaykh’ - There exists a strange and twisted relationship between the ‘shaykh’ (murshid) and his student (mureed). The student has to obey the ‘shaykh’ at all times and can’t have any objection to the ‘shaykhs’ statements, he must not speak in front of the ‘shaykh’ nor pray in front of him without the ‘shaykhs’ permission. The student is not allowed to attain his 'spiritual development' from any other source, and he must keep in constant contact with the 'shaykh' who will inform him of his 'spiritual progress'. Another thing which the student must do is give a bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to his Shaykh so that he will then become a person of the tareeqah (path). There are several Sufi tareeqahs that the Sufi can give bay’ah to such as Naqshbandi, Chistee, Qaadiri and Shaadili named after the founder (often so-called) of the Tareeqah. Once the Sufi student makes his pledge to his 'shaykh', by placing his hand in the hand of his 'shaykh', he joins the tareeqah of the 'shaykh'. He then becomes part of a Sufi chain which many claim goes all the way back to the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) Bay’ah linguistically means making an agreement. Islaamically it signifies making pledge to the Khalifah, or the Muslim ruler to promise or swear allegiance to him, not to revolt against him, but to obey him in whatever is not disobedience to Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala). In doing so, it was usual for the person making this covenant to place his hand in the hand of the Khalifah, or the ruler of the Muslims, in confirmation of the covenant. But the Sufis took this correct bay’ah a step further and started giving bay’ah to their shaykh’s, who were not caliphs or rulers. All of the examples of Muslims giving rulers’ bay’ah pertain only to that bay’ah, which is an exclusive belonging to the Khalifah or the ruler of the Muslims. Not one of the Ulema of the past made any reference to another form of bay’ah, like that of the Sufis. The Statements of the Scholars on Sufism Imaam Ash-Shaaf’iee said concerning Sufism: “If a person exercised Sufism at the beginning of the day, he does not come to Dhuhr except an idiot.” [Tablees Iblees] “Nobody accompanied the Sufis forty days and had his brain return (ever).” [Tablees Iblees] Shaykh Abu Bakr Al Jazaa'iree stated: “Sufism is a shameful deception which begins with Dhikr and ends with Kufr. Its outward manifestation appears to be piety, but its inward reality forsakes the Commandments of Allaah.” [Illat-Tasawwuf Yaa Ibadallah] A Misconception Cleared Some people might argue that what has been mentioned is only the beliefs and practices of the extreme Sufis and not what is held by the majority of the Sufis. The Sufis of today have certain books and scholars of the past that they love and refer to. The books of the Sufis constantly refer Sufi Masters like Ibn Arabi who they call the ‘greatest Shaykh.’ They also have in their books and on their web-sites, articles which have words of disbelief in them. So if someone says "I am a Sufi", practices Sufism and refers to the books of the Sufis and the scholars of Sufism, then unless they dissociate themselves from the evil beliefs of Sufism then we take it that they too accept and hold those beliefs. Conclusion What we have presented here is not to 'have a go' or to try and cause division as some people put it, but for the sole purpose of warning the Muslims against this evil. Today many Muslims who claim to have the correct aqeedah are found co-operating with the sufis for the sake of 'unity' not speaking against them, despite knowing their evil beliefs. These Muslims who claim to be following the way of the salaf us Saalih (righteous predecessors) are found to be 'best friends' with people who hold beliefs that Allaah is everywhere, perform weird Sufi chants and do much more innovations. Yet when it comes to co-operating with the people of sunnah who try to expose all falsehood they turn way from them and accuse them of splitting the Ummah. The strange thing with such people is that they will hate Muslims who follow the way of the Companions in not revolting against the Muslim ruler yet when it comes to the grave worshippers and the followers of Ibn Arabi you will find them arm in arm with them attacking the people of truth. What a sorry state they are in! We ask Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) to guide us all to the truth and to expose the people of falsehood wherever they are.