Oct 18, 2012

SUFISM is not BID'A - Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

© Nuh Ha Mim Keller 1995

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I would respond by looking to see how traditional ulama or Islamic scholars have viewed it. For the longest period of Islamic history--from Umayyad times to Abbasid, to Mameluke, to the end of the six-hundred-year Ottoman period--Sufism has been taught and understood as an Islamic discipline, like Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir), hadith, Qur'an recital (tajwid), tenets of faith (ilm al-tawhid) or any other, each of which preserved some particular aspect of the din or religion of Islam. While the details and terminology of these shari'a disciplines were unknown to the first generation of Muslims, when they did come into being, they were not considered bid'a or "reprehensible innovation" by the ulema of shari'a because for them, bid'a did not pertain to means, but rather to ends, or more specifically, those ends that nothing in Islam attested to the validity of.

This is why we find that so many of the Islamic scholars to whom Allah gave tawfiq or success in their work were Sufis. Indeed, to throw away every traditional work of the Islamic sciences authored by those educated by Sufis would be to discard 75 percent or more of the books of Islam. 
These men included such scholars as the Hanafi Imam Muhammad Amin Ibn Abidin, Sheikh al-Islam Zakaria al-Ansari, Imam Ibn Daqiq al-Eid, Imam al-Izz Ibn Abd al-Salam, Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi, Sheikh Ahmad al-Sirhindi, Sheikh Ibrahim al-Bajuri, Imam al-Ghazali, Shah Wali Allah al-Dahlawi, Imam al-Nawawi, the hadith master (hafiz, someone with 100,000 hadiths by memory) Abd al-Adhim al-Mundhiri, the hadith master Murtada al-Zabidi, the hadith master Abd al-Rauf al-Manawi, the hadith master Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, the hadith master Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Imam al-Rafi'i, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Zayn al-Din al-Mallibari, Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, and many many others.

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