Dec 25, 2012

Tariqa طريقة‎ Tarikat Tariqat - A jouney to Understand

I don't have any knowledge on tarigat and never follow any of them. What I understand about tariqat, there are certain steps and way to be followed in zikr and have to sadaqah Al Fatihah to certain Sheikh before starting.

Tonight I wish to understand exactly what the tariqat is and will try to explore the world that I was not familiar with. 


Islam browser
Malaysia 03:28 am Dec 25, 2012
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The Importance of Following Tariqat
Sheikh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi ad-Daghestani 

Muhammad Yusuf

Defination @ wiki
A tariqa (Arabic: طريقة‎ ṭarīqah, pl. طرق ṭuruq; Persian: طريقت‎ tariqat; Turkish: tarikat; alternate spelling: tariqah, meaning "way, path, method") is an Islamic religious order.[citation needed] In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.

A tariqa is a school of Sufism (Tasawwuf). Just as a madh'hab is a school of the discipline of fiqh, a tariqa is a school of the discipline of Tasawwuf. A tariqa has a murshid (guide) who plays the role of leader or spiritual director of the organization. A tariqa is a group of murīdīn (singular murīd), Arabic for desirous, desiring the knowledge of knowing God and loving God (also called a faqīr Arabic: فقير‎, another Arabic word that means poor or needy, usually used as al-Faqīr ilá l-Lāh, 
"the needy to God's knowledge (الفقير إلى الله)).

wikipedia.org

Sheikh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri



THE TARIQAT OF AHLULBAIYT (1)
By Ustaz Syed Hasan Alatas
English translation by Radzi Sapiee


Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Assalamu'alaikum, Peace be upon you.

1. Muqaddimah

Talking about Tariqat, then it cannot be separated from Tasawwuf as Tariqat is one of the branches in the world of Tasawwuf.Tassawwuf is essentially the shaping of self and character. It is a method to curtail and erase unsavory desires in order to achieve a clean mind and self.


Next, in order to get close to God Almighty, it is not uncommon for a Sufi, a Tasawwuf practioner to leave all the trappings of worldly, in fact family and society to be alone and go out on travels. In such exiles, a Sufi increases his remembrance of God and prayers including the non-obligatory Sunnah prayers. Here is the juncture were Sufis often got trapped in Bida'ah (innovations), practising rituals which were never done by Rasulullah SAW and his companions. That is when they sometimes practice elements that should not be included in the first place.

At times a Sufi reaches a certain Maqom or spiritual level where they feel superior to others. He thinks his ritual practice is most perfect and do not want to join the congregation of other human beings anymore. Some stopped doing the obligatory prayers thinking they have become very close to God. They thought they have been 'integrated ' in the existence of God, a state often associated with a spiritual concept called the Wahdatul Wujud, the oneness of all existence.

Refer back to the history of the Rasulullah SAW and his companions and we should be able to realise that the education, teaching and role model provided by Rasulullah is the best. The messenger of Allah and his companions never saw the world as a place of shame but rather a land or farm to be utilised to make profit for use in this world and the hereafter. Worship should be understood in its broad meaning, not just rituals like prayers and fasting. It also covers social aspects, like working to seek lawful means to support a family, seeking of knowledge to educate young people and one’s offsprings. Worship in its broadest sense is the main purpose for the creation of mankind, also jins, the invisible beings. This is embodied in Allah’s decree in the Quran : “Verily I did not create the jinns and mankind except to worship Me. " (Al-Zariat: 56)

Ritual prayers are usually conducted in about five or ten minutes only per go, day and night five times making a total of 5 x 10 minutes equals 50 minutes or so. On the other hand the obligatory fast of Ramadhan is performed only during daytime in the month of Ramadhan. So how about worship during the rest of the day and night within 24 hours in one year?

Islam is perfect, Islam covers all aspects of human life. If we look at the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), it should be clear to us that God Almighty reminds us not to forget our destiny in this world. The Muslim Ummah is a people of distinction. The Qur'an teaches us to find happiness both in this world and the hereafter.

Like the flow of a river, the world must be experienced and gone through without getting washed away by its swift currents. Pure happiness does not lie in amassing property or money in the millions, having vehicles or luxury home but rather in clean hearts which are always close to God. Once again this does not mean we should run and leave the world to be alone forsaking our responsibility to our families and communities. This is not the right practice whatmore if the ritual and remembrance is not based on the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet.

One day Rasulullah SAW heard three companions giving their opinions and daily resolutions. The first said to another : “I will continue to pray at night without sleep.” The second then said: “I will fast every day during the year. " The third said:"I will stay away from women and not be married ever."

Hearing the discussion Rasulullah SAW approached them and said:

"By Allah, I am the person who most fear and full of piety for God, but yet I do not practice worship the way you have mentioned earlier. I also fasted, but not continuous, sometimes I do not fast. I also pray at night, but not before getting some sleep. I also got married. That is my Sunnah and whoever hates my Sunnah is not included as my people.”" (Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).

From the advice of the Prophet SAW , we should understand that a Muslim should view this world with balance as to live happily here and also find happiness in the hereafter. A Muslim must make living in this world as means to find better life in the hereafter. The Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet SAW have shown that the Ummah of Islam under the leadership of the Prophet are the best of mankind, distinguished in all fields bringing benefits to everyone. Rasulullah SAW has successfully made the Ummah strong in all areas, physical and spiritual. Although the number of Muslims when he started preaching was very low, in a short time (23 years) the Prophet managed to gather enough to match other Ummahs or groups of people. Their piety and faith in Allah Almighty was so strong that they found courage to sacrifice their personal interests in order to uphold the order of Allah. Everyone of them loves the Prophet more than they love their own selves. Therefore, Muslims have the strength to defeat enemies in all fields making them role models for mankind. Indeed Muslims are the best Ummah.

We live in this world only temporarily, just like a traveller in transit. Therefore we must be careful in our actions so as not to do anything that will harm ourselves in the long run. We must realise that we are not going to be here long as we will have to return to our actual home in the hereafter. A traveler must provide enough for his next trip and not get burdened by unnecessary supplies. A man of God should realise the temporary nature of the world. Therefore, we should use this world to get provisions in preparation for the afterlife.

Rasulullah SAW taught his Ummah not to be dazzled by the beauty of the world. Instead we are taught to live simple but full of blessings. Blessings come when a person is always honest, accepting and content of the sustenance he received. Happiness lies not in the abundance of property but in the property being blessed. That is why Allah asked the Prophet to convey this to his family:

"O Prophet, say to your wives: If you want the glitter of this worldy life and its ornaments then come and I will grant your wish, (but) I will divorce you in a nice way. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the hereafter, verily Allah has prepared great rewards for those who do good amongst you. (Al-Ahzab: 29)

The Tariqat of Ahlul Bait:

The Tariqat or spiritual way of the Ahlul-Bait is a way to leave desire and self-interest as to conform to the will of Allah based on the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet SAW. So what is commanded by Allah and His messenger is the guide for this Tariqat. At times we should isolate ourselves to reflect on the greatness of God, read the Quran, do more Sunnat prayers and the Ratib (recite selected verses of the Qur'an) aside from Wirids (Zikir or remembrance, Do 'a or supplication and invocation of the names of God)

In the Ahlul Bait Tariqat we are obligated to seek knowledge that is useful, do good deeds and praiseworthy things, ask God for forgiveness and extend our Sunnat prayers, Ratib et cetera. We only fear the wrath of God, we strive to be Wara' (leave all suspicious or doubtful things and practices). At times we fight in the way of Allah for justice and truth against all forms of tyranny and defend the downtrodden. Sometimes we seek lawful means to provide for the family while preaching and spreading Islam to the world. These we do with sincerity and noble intentions. This is the Tariqat of Ahlul Bait.

Meaning of Ahlul-Bait

Ahlul Bait are Rasulullah SAW’s closest family members. Allah has said:

إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجز أهل البيت ويطهركم تطهيرا

(الأحزاب: 33)

Which means: "Surely God intends to remove sin from you, O Ahlul Bait, and purify you thoroughly. "(Al-Ahzab: 33).

This verse was revealed to Rasulullah SAW while he was at the house of Umm Salamah (one of his wives). Then Rasulullah SAW called Al-Hassan, Al-Hussein (the Prophet's beloved grandsons) and Azzahra Fatimah (the Prophet's beloved daughter) and asked them to sit in front of him. Next he called 'Ali bin Abi Talib (the Prophet’s son in-law and son to his uncle) and asked him to sit behind. Then Rasulullah SAW covered himself and everyone with the Kisa '(a kind of big and thick blanket) and said:

"O Allah, they are my Ahlul Bait, so get rid of filth from them and purify them as could be purified thoroughly.”1

That is when Umm Salamah also tried to enter the blanket, yet the Prophet prohibited her and said:"Surely you also are in goodness” (This he repeated three times).

This recollection of event known as the Hadith Kisa ' came from Muhammad bin Sulaiman Al-Asybahani who received it from Yahya bin Ubaid Al-Makki who in turn received from Atha bin Abi Rabbah. It was the later who said “Umar bin Abi Salamah (Rasulullah’s stepchild) has said that: ‘When verse 33 of Surah al-Ahzab was revealed to the Prophet he was at the house of Umm Salamah and he said what have been mentioned (above).’”

Many Hadith interpreters and historians believed the content of this verse was directed at Fatima binti Muhammad (SAW), her husband and their two children. This view was stated by Imam al-Wahidi in his book Nuzul Asbabun under article number 239, Imam al-Qurtubi in his Hadith interpretation volume 14 article 183, Sahib al-Dur al-Juz in his interpretation Manthur volume 5, articles 454-455 and Imam Muslim in his Sahih (collection of authentic Hadiths) volume 15 article 195.

So who is Fatimah?2 Fatima Azzahra is Rasulullah's favorite daughter, the wife of a leader and mother of martyrs. Her mother Khadijah binti Khuwailid was Mother of the Believers, a good obedient wife, patient and wise. Khadijah was always at the side of Rasulullah to provide support and ease his burden. She gave whatever she owned to him whenever it was needed. And when the angel Jibril (Gabriel) revealed God’s message to the Prophet at the Cave of Hira ', he returned to her telling what had happened...

"Cover me (with blanket)!” He was immediately covered, his body shivering like a man with fevre because of the great revelation received at the Cave of Hira '. The Prophet said to his wife Khadijah: "Why me?”. Then he told her what had transpired at the cave.

Khadijah heard his story with utmost concentration and immediately gave thoughtful opinions to ease his burden. He told Rasulullah SAW:

"God preserve us, O Abu Qassim! Be happy and resolute! By the self of Khadijah who is controlled by Him (God), I hope that you become the Prophet of this Ummah. By Allah! He will not disappoint you forever. Surely you are a person who connects brotherhood, (always) telling the truth, bear burdens, (likes to) honor guests and help those in distress. "3

Fatimah’s husband is Imam Ali bin Abi Talib RA to whom the Prophet has addressed thus: “Are you not satisfied with your position besides me which is like the position of Harun (Aaron) besides Musa Moses), it is just there are no more Prophets after me.”4

Hassan and Hussein are the two young men of Paradise of which the Prophet has described as follows: "The two are my sons and the sons of my daughter. O Allah, my Lord! I love both of them thus do love them and love those who love them.”5

Rasullah SAW also said:

"All children are born to their mother, associated to their father, except for the children of Fatimah, I am their guardian, I am their ancestor and I am their father."(Hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad in his book Assyuyuti "Jami'il Al-Kabir)"

Most famous Tariqats have founders who are descendants of Ahlul Bait. For example: 

Al-BaAlawi Tariqat’s founder is Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Faqih Muqaddam Ba Alawi bin Ali Al-Husseini.
Tariqat Qadiriyah Assayyid founder, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al-Jailani
Tariqat Naqsyabandi founder Al-Sayyid Ash-Sheikh Bahauddin Naqsyabandi.
Ahmadiyah Tariqat Idrisid Assayyid founder Sheikh Ahmad Al-bi Idris al-Hassani.
Tariqat Syadziliyyah founder Al-Sayyid Al-Sheikh Abu Hassan Ash-Syazuli


Their teachings were mostly transmitted through the eminent religious master Imam Ja'far Al-Shiddiq, all having origins from the the practices of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, except Tariqah Naqsyabandiah which came from the companion Abu Bakr Assidiq.


Sheikh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri

Stations of Tariqat 
Tariqat is the pathway to Allah. To travel on this path the successful Mureed is required to adorn and adopt certain qualities/stations. Tariqat also comprises of 10 stations. These are as follows:

First Station: Repentance
The first station is Tauba (repentance) which requires the seeker to keep turning to his Lord (Allah) for forgiveness of the sins and acts of transgression.

Second Station: Virtue
Next to Tauba are the acts of virtue and piety. The soul of which is good conduct and morality embracing all praise-worthy practices and attributes, because goodness of conduct and morality magnifies the virtues and good deeds.

Third Station: Endearment
Following virtue is Mujahida (endeavour), Taqwa (Fear of Allah) and Piety. These are the traits which endear the devout Mureed to the holy Prophet (s.a.w). It is an established fact that the man who endeavoured and improved his standing with Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w) set himself on the path of righteousness. He who failed, in this respect, remained roaming in the wilderness of despair without vision and hope.

Fourth Station: Fear & Hope
Apprehensiveness and optimism generate fear and hope. Fear and hope are interconnected and together they protect the seeker from despair of Allah's Mercy and resolve against falling indifferent to the fear of Allah.

Fifth Station: Renunciation of Sensual Desire
Renounce and abandon all sensual desires stemming from sexual urges, longings and cravings of mundane nature. The pursuit of these blackens and hardens the heart.

Sixth Station: Safeguard
Abstain from using anything that causes you doubts and suspicions. These include food, clothing and wealth in which the line of distinction with regard to Halal and Haram cannot be drawn. Regarding this, a serious, strict and scrupulous stance should be taken to avoid every thing doubtful.

Seventh Station: Dedication
To devote, meditate and supplicate before almighty Allah with tearful eyes. Turning to Him in repentance and asking for His forgiveness of all sins with humility, submissiveness and self-negation. This should entail sincerity of heart and earnest desire for seeking shelter in Allah from the sinister designs and manoeuvrings of Shaitan (Satan).

Eighth Station: Appeasement
Win the pleasure and satisfaction of your Murshid in every matter. This state, of Murshid's satisfaction and pleasure, can be achieved by virtue of obeying him in word and deed without wavering of mind or sceptism.

Ninth Station: Pleasant Focus
Give patient ear for listening to the sermon delivered by one's Murshid. Aiming thereby to act upon the advice administered. When the Mureed goes out for this purpose, it is important to exercise the utmost courtesy, cheerfulness, amiability, politeness and chastity.

Tenth Station: Reliance
Forsake every thing save Allah Almighty. This state calls for the heart to completely disengage from all the reliance of creation because indulging in them harms the proximity and nearness to God and erects an impenetrable curtain before his eyes.

Do not believe a man even if he flies in the sky
Speech of Shaykh Said Afandi during Mawlid celebration in Chirkey, April 2009.

Dear brothers!

A lot of important things have been said here. As for me, I would like to add a little to the earlier said that on the same gathering last year I forewarned all of you not to trust anyone who comes from somewhere outside. Even the one who is flying in the sky! Indeed it is very dangerous. The year has passed, and it made me to see the thing I was of full concern about. One day a Tatar Muslim approached me. From his story I leant that he was married to a Christian. I do not remember what town he came from. The scope of his acquaintanceship had neither ‘alims no theologists, nor he had steady relationship with anyone who possesses religious knowledge among scholars. However, he was showing certain interests in various religious doctrines. While talking to me he mentioned that he is a follower of the Naqshbandi tariqah. When I questioned him about his way of the tariqah practicing and where he got the knowledge from, he said he read it all from books. It was the very thing I was warning you about.

Tariqah is a mystical, very valuable teaching. It is well said that one should spend in his quest for a teacher as much as what is required to perform Hajj. Each of us knows this. That is why everything we do in tariqah is known and seen by all people. It could not be other way round for we are those who teach them. But today there are many books describing the tariqah matters in details. Using such book, any atheist or hypocrite can easily study the tariqah without any efforts. My guest also learnt, and he was pointing here and there explaining - this is soul (ruh), khafa, akhfa, and properly described all lataifs stressing that he even practices rabitah which bears him due results. His knowledge was gained from a book and now he is glad about what he does. How could he not receive results when the satan exerts its powerful force? Once, when Meselasul Muhammad Afandi was still a murid, in his absence somebody has made tawajuh to his wife Rawzat. She said to her husband that she has received a strong impact with the tawajuh. Being angered and having taken her with himself, Meselasul Muhammad went to his teacher Abdulhamid Afandi from village of Inkho. When he told the story to the teacher, the latter answered he could not help unless the (qutb) Muhammadarif Afandi would grant a permission to do so. No sooner the required permission was given by the qutb-ul-ghaws, the shaykh from Inkho accepted her and made the due treatment. No one should believe in the true impact which was not originated by the ustaz supervision, otherwise it is from the satan. The same refers to the person who came to me and told he received a real impact. I told the man many things and taught him the Shazali wird, don’t know what happened afterwards, I never met him again. This is the feeling that worries me. I am stressing it again that even if you see a man flying in the sky, do not believe him (indeed, both birds and the satan can fly). Here are our people (and pointed to sitting nearby Abdulwahid Afandi, Abduljalil Afandi and Ali Haji Afandi). We do need neither kashf nor karamat from these people. The main required thing is istiqamah, nothing can move without it. Among us are those who are sufficient for us. Take their example and adhere to them. May Allah help us! Nowadays times are dangerous and we cant believe in everything said. And you can observe it yourselves. I heard that even the Bible has been translated into Avar language. Why? Who needs it? No one but us must take care of ourselves. Be careful !

Ali Haji told me the following story at great length. I will narrate it in short. There was Kabu, the Companion of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam). Before going to the holy war in Tabuk he somehow was left behind the troops and thought would catch them up later. He had a good horse and was well equipped but situation turned in a way he failed to get into the battle. Upon the troops returning from Tabuk those who failed to go to war had to explain the reason. This sahabah told the truth. And the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) left him ignored. Kabu narrated that while he was entering a mosque he would greet all and watched if the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was returning his greeting but no avail. The companion was emotionally suffering for his cousins were ignoring him too. He was ignored by all and left alone. Later the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) asked him to separate from his wife. The Companion asked, if the separation is to be talaq (complete) or temporary. “The temporary”, was the answer. Kabu returned his wife to her father’s home. Once he learnt that someone was searching for him on the market place. It happened to be a courier with a letter from a Rome governor who learnt that relations of Kabu with Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) became tense. The letter contained a proposal for Kabu to serve Rome with many privileges and promises in order to attract him. Having read letter the Companion cried out that with the existing misfortune he is encountering another one. Just note for yourselves, was there a scoundrel instead of Kabu, he would have gone to Rome to serve the enemy.

During the reign of caliph Umar (radhiallahu `anhu) there was a khan who just embraced Islam. Once while he was performing the Haj someone apparently unintentionally touched him. The arrogant khan hit the Muslim who in turn complained to Caliph. The Caliph called the khan and demanded either he apologizes or the victim would hit the khan same place where the Muslim was hit. Khan was very surprised since he reckoned he was so noble that nobody had a right to touch him! But Caliph said this is the way Islam does, and there are no other ways to solve it. So the khan broke his Haj and run away leaving all behind. He simply could not stand the treat to his status.

Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab had a brother Sulayman. Suleyman did his best to put his brother to the right path. Failed to do so, he wrote a book to denunciate teachings of his brother. This is true understanding of Islam. Should Sulayman possess insufficient knowledge of Islam, hardly he would have done it.

Someone for 30 years was serving Abu Yazid Bastami and apparently was his murid. One day he informed Bastami that he had gained no feeling out of the divine knowledge. Bastami answered that for him even 300 years also would not be enough to gain, because his pride made a veil between him and the Almighty. The man asked Bastami what to do. The scholar ordered him to take off his dressing-gown and turban from himself, shave his beard, put on shoulders sacks filled with nuts and go along the streets with words loudly inviting all, “The one who slaps my face gets the nuts!” The man said, “Subhanallah! A man, such as me, should someone really be doing these things?” And Bastami replied, “Yes”. The man however, insisted on fulfilling any another order except that. Watch out the strength of nafs! Iman can be of various levels. Our main challenge is weakness of our faith.

Have you ever heard about someone who jumped into a river to a drowning brother or friend with the only intention to die together with him, just for the reason that he cannot save his dear man? Hardly, except for a mad man. Nowadays Islam has been diminishing. When a brother or a son becomes a wahhabi, his relatives, friends do not try to dissuade, but support him. Nothing hurts me as much as this. If someone falls into a misfortune, for example, personally or, say, with car, then all relatives gather to help him, even if someone gets problem with police, all go to offer any help. But is it a simple thing, when close person joins the wahhabies? Verily people do not only try to stop but follow him themselves. A cause for this lies in the wrong understanding otherwise they would not go. The companion of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) Abubakr (radhiallahu `anhu) before the Badr battle asked the Prophet (sallalahu aleihi wa sallam) for permission to go for the fight together with his son. [The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) did not allow him]. The Companion did that for he possessed passionate faith. We are lack of it ... This worries my heart very much. May Allah give us iman! It is impossible neither to buy, nor to sell it, for it is the Almighty’s sole discretion to grant iman.

Also to women and men I would like to remind the following. Till now we have been training those who don’t know how to read (wird written on a paper) till muraqabah (i.e. tariqah level). Now it is forbidden (and it’s right). Why assign to do something which they can’t fulfill? Some women know that they are not able to do, but their nafs prevents them to admit it. Why to tell lies to yourself and deceive others? I would like to wholeheartedly repeat that no one certainly can ignore the ustaz’s instructions but, possibly, I would remain in “maiyat” (edit.- a tariqah level). Because there is no sufficient strength to perform required things in proper way at higher levels, while this level already has all what is suficient. Then we train murids till “muraqabat-ul- akhfa”. That is why I have an advice to all men and women, please do all what your ustaz tells you. Do not be hurt with the ustaz and let your soul accept all what is said. Please do not put us into an embarrassing situation too. Adhere to what we say, and you will get the goodness. May Allah help to follow the way of truth!

Dear brothers and sisters! Look how fast days of this year have passed. There would be nothing to worry about but passing days unless our life would be eternal. May Almighty Allah make all of us be dwellers of Paradise, and I hope that in the Judgment Day we all gather around the banner of the Prophet (sallalahu aleihi wa sallam) like today.

At home watchdogs always squabble and bark at each other but when they see enemy attack together. There are many nationalities in Daghestan. I call all nations for peace and friendship, regardless of nationality, likewise whether someone is ‘alim or not, please be united. Be as one in the right path for it is a barakah and solidarity secures the goodness, otherwise it’s absence leads to misfortune only. Wholeheartedly accept guiding words of your ustaz, and this will lead to the great satisfaction! Adhere to the true way!

The religious and educational journal "Islam"
No. 23 (03) 2009

islamdag.info

Emphasis of the Tariqa
The main emphasis of the tariqa may be characterized as attachment of the heart to Allah Most High. Allah describes the way to this in His command to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace),

“Say: ‘If you all love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Verily Allah is for­giving and compassionate’” (Koran 3:31).

To follow the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his lifetime was a simple matter for his Companions, who but said, “We hear and obey.” As for afterwards, the Companions passed on their knowl­edge to those after them, and so on down to our own times, so that Allah’s remembrance might be pre­served, both His word, the Holy Koran, and the other wisdom brought by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah Most High says,

“Surely, We have revealed the Remembrance; and We shall surely preserve it” (Koran 15:9),

which Allah, in His wisdom, has brought about through those who have borne the trust down through the ages, the scholars of this Umma. For the sake of scholarly quality and excellence we rely on the very foremost of them in each discipline, the Imams of the field, whether in Sacred Law, Koranic exegesis, hadith, Koran recital (tajwid), or the other disciplines. In this connection, our sheikh, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri, says,

“What the Imams have recorded is our religion.”

One consequence of this is that all who are in the tariqa follow one of the four Sunni madhhabs (schools) of fiqh: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i, or Hanbali; as well as one of the two schools of tenets of faith, Ash‘ari or Maturidi. Our sheikh is a Shafi‘i, but accepts any other school that the student may wish. He prefers that all follow the Ash‘ari school in ‘aqida (tenets of faith),because he finds it sounder on some questions.

A second consequence is that we do not take our din or religion from those who are not Imams, especially oriental­ists or authors without a traditional Islamic education at the hands of the tradition’s sheikhs. University degrees, aca­demic acclaim, and works in print all indicate the earnest­ness and effort of those who possess them, but cannot take the place, for religious purposes, of having an unbroken line of teachers extending back to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who is the source of all religious knowledge (‘ilm). This is perhaps even truer of Sufism than other religious sciences. Ibn ‘Ajiba says:

In the path of Sufism, keeping the company of others (suhba) is of tremendous consequence in the journey to Allah, in accordance with the wont of Allah Most High and His wisdom. Some have even said, “Whoever has no sheikh [but travels the path alone] has the Devil as his sheikh.” Another has said, “A person is like a [fruit] tree growing up in the wild: if not trimmed and pruned, it becomes a scrub.” And Abul ‘Abbas al-Mursi has said, “Whoever has no sheikh in this matter is not to be rejoiced over” (Iqadh al-himam, 95–96).

In this regard, one may note that English literature on Sufism is plagued with efforts by the unqualified to write about the field, among them a group of authors dedicated to spreading the anti-Islamic concept of the universal validity of all religions. Besides being a lie against the high, pure way of Sufism, this idea is kufr that places those who hold it outside of Islam—in hell eternally, if they die on it—by negating the basic tenet of faith that Islam is the final religion that abrogates all previous religions. Their books are often as eloquent as dangerous, and one must know them for what they are, though we may at least infer how rare and precious the way of tariqa is from the number of highwaymen upon it to rob the un­wary. The matter also points up the need for genuine Islamic knowledge, and the relevance of the traditional maxim “If the wali [friend of Allah] does not know the entrances the Devil uses, the Devil will enter.”

The true literature of the tariqa is copious, though mostly in Arabic, and consists, first and foremost, of the Hikam al-‘Ata'iyya of the second successor to Imam Abul Hasan al-Shadhili, Ibn ‘Ata' Illah (may Allah be well-pleased with them both), together with its many commentaries, among the best of which is the Sharh Ibn ‘Abbad [commentary of Ibn ‘Abbad (al-Rundi)], which Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman recommends for those who have not yet entered the khalwa or ‘solitary dhikr (invocation of Allah) under the sheikh’s supervision’; as well as the Iqadh al-himam fi sharh al-Hikam [The awakening of spiritual ambitions: a commen­tary on the Wisdoms], by Ibn ‘Ajiba, which he recommends after the khalwa, though it contains much valuable mate­rial, as he says, “for the person at the beginning, the middle, or the end of the spiritual way.”

From its inception, the Shadhili tariqa has been one of scholars and scholarship, and many excellent books exist in print by its sheikhs. Few books in Sufism are of benefit in the path besides those of authorized sheikhs, and it is more beneficial when they are from the spiritual line of one's own tariqa, preferably the more recent of them, among the best being the spoken lessons of one’s sheikh that have been taped. But the best way to take knowledge of Sufism is still the traditional way of sitting with the sheikh, listening, asking questions, and then applying the knowl­edge one has taken.

part of article Overview of the Shadhili Path

3.2.2 Contemporary Tariqahs

The Tariqahs have grown at a tremendous rate in different parts of South Africa throughout the 1990s and particularly during the period of democracy, that is after 1994. However, it has been difficult to track the establishment and development of each one of them, and because of this the article only makes reference to those that have been well-known and wide-spread. Mention en passant is however made of the minor ones. We now give attention to these.

3.2.2.1 The Chistiyyah Tariqah

This order which trekked via India to this part of the continent has become one of the most wide spread and diffuse orders. Most of their supporters are located in important towns such as Zeerust that links groups in Botswana and Zimbabwe respectively. One of the key personalities to have planted the seeds of the Chistiyyah order in this region was Badsha Peer. The Chisti-Sabiree Jahangiri silsila was brought to South Africa in 1943 by Janab Ebrahim Bhai Madaree Saheb Chisti Sabiree. He established the Buzme Shah Iqbal Chisti Sabiree in Durban. This Buzme, and its sister Buzmes in other cities and towns, has a monthly gathering in which they have a Khatem Khwajegaan in memory of Hazrat Kwaja Muinuddin Chisti as well as other kwajas and sayyids linked to their order. The other Buzmes are located Cape Town, Johannesburg and Zeerust; members of the latter Buzme reside in Gaborone and nearby Botswana towns.

The Chisti Sabiree Jahangiri Silsila created a special website, namely www.sabiree.com, on the 27th July 2000 with the blessings of their Indian-based shaykh who is known as Pir-O-Murshid Sajjada Nasheen Hazrat Sayed Muhammad Shah Chisti Sabiree Jahangeer Kambalposh. The site was set up so that they may disseminate the teachings and information of their order. It included: (a) various sayings of the awliya, (b) saints of their order, (c) the tree of shaykhs, which appears in Urdu and accompanied by a transliteration (for those who know how to speak the language but cannot read it); an English version will be made available, (d) conversations of the Chisti shaykhs as recorded by their mureeds as well as (e) anecdotes about them, and (f) if one is a mureed then one is expected or rather encouraged to sign in and identify the shaykh to whom one is attached. The site also has a few wall papers or screen savers that one can download; amongst them are the photos of their pir and of the order’s centre.

It has an online Sabiree Paighaam: The Sabiree Message newsletter that shares information about the wise thoughts of the Chisti shaykhs and also spread information about their monthly activities. The editorial committee also inserted their response to the ‘grave worshipping’ controversy that started during the latter part of 2000 and continued unabatedly into 2001 (see below); the article also appears in the Al-Qalam, the MYMSA monthly mouthpiece. Although the first issue of their newsletter appeared in July 2001, it is assumed that the other issues have been delayed due to technical hitches. The order also printed a booklet entitled Sama/Qawali in order to expose the reader/surfer to the role spiritual music in the order. The compiler(s) cautioned that although the qawali is not the sole objective of the order, it has a specific place within it and this is borne out by the list of recorded statements of those shaykhs in the order. And because of the acceptance of this practice, South African Indian Muslims have generally responded positively to this form of music as well as to the Qawali singers such as the Sabiree brothers who annually entertain them in the various South African cities.

Amongst the variety of activities on a monthly basis and annually is what has been commonly referred to as the ‘Urs celebrations’ and the ‘salami.’ The latter has been a practice also shared by South African Muslims of ‘Malay’ origin[38]. The practice is solely concerned with the celebration of the birth of the prophet and the recitation of the ‘salawat (praises).’ It however differs from those who do not identify with the practice in the manner in which it is done; for example, when the ‘praises’ are brought the congregants in that specific gathering stand up to re-enact the way the nascent Medina community welcomed the prophet upon his arrival into the city of Yathrib. Basing themselves on this event, they argue that they are reminded of that by literally standing up. Whilst this has been considered an acceptable argument, the more fanatical followers have stated that when doing so, the prophet appears in their midst when reciting the ‘praises’ and therefore one should be mindful of his presence. This has of course led to numerous theological debates that have not been put to rest.

This practice did not solicit as much opposition as was the case with the ‘Urs Shareef’ activity. This involves a few interrelated practices; the first is the commemoration of the tragic death of Imam Husayn at Kerbala, and the second is the visiting of the graves of those viewed by them as ‘awliya.’ When these graves are visited the disciple(s) usually bring along a chador, flowers and scent to place it on the grave of the ‘awaliya;’ this practice, according to them, is a sign of respect and distinction in that they are different from the ordinary person. This practice was and is vehemently condemned by those who oppose the sufi orders. As already indicated that this is quite an old debate but was resurrected towards the end of 2000 by Shaykh Faiek Gamieldien, a Cape Townian imam and one who was opposed to many of these mystical practices. The debate was initiated when he saw a television programme in which the practices of Muslims were highlighted; in response he wrote a lengthy article in one of the Cape Town newspapers in response to this[39]. And because he strongly stated his point of view regarding a few basic practices including ‘grave worshipping,’ he was attacked by the different sufi orders and those who are sympathetic towards Sufism. Various groups had gatherings to debate the issue and they even invited Shaykh Faiq who seemed to have got cold feet; in one instance, the video recorded debate each time zoomed in on an empty seat where the shaykh was supposed to have sat to present his arguments.

Apart from the CSJ branch, there is also the Chisti Habibi Soofie Islamic order. This order has its headquarters in Durban, and also established its website in order to disseminate the views about their activities[40]. The order was brought to South Africa by Hazrat Shah Goolam Muhammad when he arrived here in 1895. Quite a few have recorded his contributions in building khanqahs and mosques in different parts of South Africa[41]. Its members are involved in economic empowerment projects, youth development activities, and publications. Its branches are located in, amongst others, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg,[42] Ladysmith, Colenso, Tongaat, Riverside[43]; the latter has been declared as part of South Africa’s monumental heritages and it also has an archives and a museum. Another group that has their own site is the Basha Peer[44]; this is located in Kenville in the Greater Durban area.

3.2.2.2 The Murabitun:

The Murabitun, compared to the other sufi groups, the youngest order - besides the Muridiyyah order that were brought by the Senegalese traders and visitors – to enter Southern Africa. Since their entrance in the mid 1980s, they attracted adherents from all walks of life and established themselves in the major cities. No information is found about the South African branch on their (now non-fixed) website www.murabitun.org. The movement is led by the notable and vibrant Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi who was known previously by many other appellations such as Ad-Darqawi etc. Whilst in North Africa he embraced Islam and studied under the renowned scholar, Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib. Since then he was a faithful follower, and the founder of the Murabitun in the beginning of the 1970s. There are a few individuals who are quite active with the Murabitun such as Ismail Nana who has been the amir of the South African branch for a number of years, after Amir Aburahman Zwane was ousted out of the position for having abused his powers and having interpreted aspects of Islam in an extremely literal manner. Since this event, the movement attempted to keep a close control over its activities and monitor its members.

This movement considers itself as a ‘post-modernist platform’ that responds to the concerns of the day by emphasising the basic Islamic beliefs and by totally rejecting the present day economic framework imposed upon the global society by the IMF and World Bank. And because of their firm stand against this framework, they have proposed practical alternatives. The shaykh of this order has been a prolific writer he has written numerous works amongst which the Roots of Islamic Education and The 100 Steps stand out as significant texts. In addition, some of his disciples have also been active in producing translations and texts on various aspects of Maliki theology and jurisprudents. One of the most contemporary translations of the Quran was produced by Aisha Bewly and Abdurahman Bewly, a wife and husband team. The fresh presentation has contributed to new insights into the Quranic verses; the translation has been circulation the South African book market but has not been able to eclipse the popular Yusuf Ali translation. Imam Malik’s famous and influential Al-Muwatta was also translated by Aisha at-Tarjumana as she was known before[45].

The movement in South Africa has launched the Islamic Times to act as an important conduit via which the order’s ideas could reach a wider audience. The issues that appeared reflected that the reports and newspaper articles did not concentrate on hard community news but focused on thematic issues that were of concern to the movement. Unfortunately, the paper that was launched in the beginning of the 1990s could not make it and thus was re-launched in the late 1990s; it appears that even after the latter effort that the paper was unable to survive the newspaper business. Their publications are available via their business site[46].

The murabitun has weekly meetings in which they recite the special murabitun wird. They also emphasise the dhikr (invocation of Allah), and fikr (reflections upon Allah) aspects. However, in tandem with these one has to have himma (consciousness of Allah) to take one to the higher plains of spirituality. They also allow the singing of the ‘qasidah burdah’ and other related genres by groups such as Al-Rijal al-Burda from Morocco. They have annual gatherings such as the ‘World Gathering of the Darqawa’ and ‘Moussems’ like the one that was held in Casablanca in 2000. Since it undertakes dawa amongst the non-Muslims particularly in Europe it also produced documentaries to highlight the position of Islam in areas such as Albania, regarded by them as Darul Islam of Europe. The movement indulges in the formation of Islamic markets where the dinar is promoted and used[47]; and since they have established themselves in the Cape Peninsula, they have also been considering setting up a million dollar educational institution in the Cape[48].

3.2.2.3 Qadriyyah Tariqah

The Qadriyyah order has been wide spread on the African continent. A section of the Qadriyyah operated at the Cape for a number of generations. During the latter half of the 20th century many internationally respected shaykhs came to South Africa. Amongst these were Maulana Abdul-Alim Siddiqi al-Qadri who came in 1935 and 1952 respectively, Hazrat Pir Zainul Abidin who visted in 1961, 1973 and 1983, Maulana Ibrahmi Khustar al-Qadr who lectured in 1968, Maulana Fazlur-Rahman Ansari who delivered lectures during 1970 and 1972 respectively[49], and Shaykh Sharif Umar al-Qadri of the Comoros came during the early 1980s. Each and every one of these individuals in one way or the other contributed to the spirituality in South Africa. In fact, Maulana Ansari delivered a series of inspiring lectures that have been edited and published and broadcast on the local Muslim Radio 786 station. The Qadri tariqah has remained very vigilant although it only seemed to have blossomed during the last three decades. The reason for this was that it was under a steadfast leader; he was a local artisan who was very much attracted to the sufi practices and cultivated these amongst his family and friends. He was Mr. Abdurahman Da Costa. The Cape branch is however not the same as found in Kwa-Zulu Natal and represented by the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy (see below); and since this is the case, concentration will only be on the group as it is at present in the Cape. It must also be pointed out that the order has members who are located in other towns and cities beyond the Western Cape province; here mention must be made of the cities of Kimberly and Mafeking respectively. A very interesting overview has been given in an unpublished manuscript by Da Costa’s son, ‘Adil during the early part of 2003; ‘Adil is at present one of the leading exponents of this traiqah. The Qadriyyah tariqah at the Cape is currently under the leadership of Imam Farid Manie.

The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy was established in 1983 and has since grown rapidly. It considers itself to be the largest ‘Ahle Sunnah organization in South Africa;’ it protects and promotes the cause of the Ahli Sunni wa Jama’ah. This distinguishes itself from the Shi’is and other deviant groups. The foundation of the academy was laid by Shaykh Abdul-Hadi Al-Qaderi Barakaati in 1986 with the purpose of uplifting the Muslim community academically and spiritually; he was taught by the Darul Ulum’s Mufti Maulana Shah Mustapha Raza Khan al-Qaderi an-Noori Radawi. The latter is referred to as Ghous ul-Waqt and Taj ul-Ulama al-‘Arifin. The members of this academy follow the path of the Qadriyyah silsila.

The Academy has listed a number of objectives amongst which are: the propagate and promote the teachings of the Ahl Sunni wa al-Jama’ah; to promote the celebration of the maulud of the prophet and the urs of the awliya; to adopt ways to improve the quality of life of Muslims locally and abroad; to serve as a centre of learning and produce memorizers of the Quran; to formulate and implement a simplified syllabus; to initiate schemes for Muslims; and offer guidance to the Muslims. Since maulud is considered one of the most important practices of this and other silsilas, the academy refuted the arguments presented by the Majlus ul-Ulama of the Eastern Cape. This group set down 17 reasons why Muslims should not celebrate the maulud the way it is celebrated by the Breilly (Brelvi) groups. The academy also responded to the statements of Shaykh Bin Baz on the same issue. The academy consists of a variety of departments such as the Fatwa, Welfare and Educational Departments. The latter sees to the preparation and printing of textbooks, and the housing of the Mustapha Raza lending and an audio-visual library.  The Welfare department extends its services to the community and the Fatwa department responds to community queries regarding dietary laws and other related concerns.

Since the academy has been established along the lines of the Brelvi school, it was also not free of criticisms. In fact, the institution’s mentor Imam Ahmad Raza Khan was vehemently criticised for his views in a lecture by Maulana Ibrahim Adam, a Cape Town based theologian, who was trained in Deoband. The latter gave a lecture titled ‘The Berelwis and the Truth behind its founder.’ Amongst the accusations are that Imam Khan is purported to have said that he was appointed by Allah over the Ahli Sunnis and that the Imam claimed that another prophet will come after prophet Muhammad (s). Sayed Shah Alei Rasool Nazmi from Meerat in India responded to these and other excerpts from his lengthy troublesome lecture. On each of the points the sayed refuted his arguments[50].

3.2.2.4 Alawiyyah Tariqah

The Alawiyyah order has been one of the more established orders in South Africa and in particular at the Cape. Shaykh Muhammad Salih Hendricks (d. 1945), who had studied in Mecca under some of the most learned shaykhs (Shaykh Sulayman Shattah, Shaykh Umar ba Junayd, Mufti Ash-Shafi’iyyah Sa’id ibn Muhammad Bab As-Sayl)  in the Haram of Mecca, had been initiated into the Alawiyyah order and upon his return strengthened these ties with members of the same order in Zanzibar whilst also serving as a religious judge. This bond had led the Ratib ul-Haddad to be introduced and practiced at the Cape. However, in addition to this they also performed ratib ul-Attas, Nasr wa al-Falah, ad-Duriyya, etc[51].

The Zawiyyah, a mosque located in the heart of Greater Cape Town not far from the city centre, has been an important centre of religious activities. It is a centre where the maulud is one of the most significant annual activities. During these activities the earlier mentioned ratibs are regularly performed. At present the order is overseen by two brothers, namely Sieraj and Ahmad. Both were graduates of Umm ul-Qura University and both took the bay’at of the Alawiyyah order. Being the major role players, they have pursued the activities of the Alawiyyah order with great passion and have drawn many to their activities. They have created a website to remain in contact with their murids and at the same time make available information about their activities and writings/translations[52].

Amongst their most important activities are the weekly classes and sermons. For their classes and sermons they rely on the works of scholars such as Imam Nawawi, Imam Al-Ghazali and Shaykh Al-Habib as-Sayyid Abdullah ibn Alawial-Haddad. And they often recite the popular Barzanji qiyama and du‘a. Both the shaykhs are active in translating texts of prominent figures in the order and also write their own articles on issues pertaining to Islam. They are very particular about their order and rely heavily upon the policies set down by earlier shaykhs. And their devotion to the tariqah has culminated in the translation of Shaykh Abdurahman Balfaqih’s fatwa that deals with ‘The Way of the Bani Alawiyyah at-Tariqah al-‘Alawiyyah.’  This shaykh mentioned that the Alawiyyah endorsed: the taking of the oath, the donning of the khirqah, going into seclusion, doing spiritual excercises, adopting self-discipline and closely bond with one’s shaykh. In their case, they are the murids of the respected Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-‘Alawi al-Maliki who visited Cape Town during 1997. Many Cape Townians took the oath when he was around.

3.2.2.5. Naqshbandi Tariqah:

The Naqshbandi order in Southern Africa has had a rich and long history. However, during the contemporary period new leadership came to the fore; amongst them were Dr. Yusuf Da Costa, a former school principal and lecturer in Geography at the University of the Western Cape, and Imam Hasan Walele, a trained and practicing engineer. These two carried the order into the new millennium with the regular weekly gatherings and weekly discussions on the local Muslim radio stations on issues dealing with sufism. In addition to these activities, they also created their own website www.naqshbandi-sa.org, which has gone offline and subsequently been incorporated into the mother website of the Naqshbandi order, that highlighted many of their activities and also listed the controversy with Shaykh Faiek Gamieldien who opposed some of their views. That aside, their weekly talks and discussions have resulted in a growing interest in Sufism which was bolstered by the visit of prominent international personalities, namely Shaykh Hisham Kabbani and Shaykh Muhammad Nazim ‘Adil Haqqani; both are leading personalities of the ‘Naqshbandi order of the USA’ whose works and ideas have been circulation certain circles in South Africa. These two paid visits during April 1998 and November 2000 respectively. They were however represented at the Parliament of World Religions gathering in Cape Town in December 1999.

During April 1998 the five person delegation, representing the Islamic Supreme Council of America, and led by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani – the Caliph of the Naqsbandi-Haqqani order, came on a 12 day fact finding visit to South Africa. In Durban they were hosted by Advocate Hafiz Abu Bakr of the Al-Braka Bank and members of the different Muslim organizations. The idea was to establish diplomatic ties with the South African Muslim community, build working relationships with the ulama fraternities, and forge links with the Muslim educational institutions and mosques. Shayk Hisham Kabbani delivered the Friday sermon at the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere, namely the Jumu‘ah masjid in Grey street (Durban) on the 17th April. The delegation visited the dargah of Soofie Saheb in Durban and the tomb of Shaykh Yusuf in Cape Town.  In Cape Town they were much impressed by the youth’s recitation of the salawat, burda and barzanji; recitals that a pretty normal and widespread in the Cape. For the December 1999 meeting of the Parliament of World’s Religions, Shaykh Muhammad Nizam Adil al-Haqqani, the world leader and 40th Grand Shaykh of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani order, prepared and delivered a paper on ‘The Spiritual Dimension of Man’ and ‘Tasawwuf’[53].

On the 31st of October 2000, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani and his caliph, Shaykh Kabbani, were attracted to South Africa’s mother city, Cape Town, as well as the other major cities, namely Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria, where they formally established their links with the local Naqshbandi order led by Dr. Yusuf Da Costa and his deputy Imam Hasan Walele.  During their visit many locals took the bay ‘at and continued as murshid of Dr. Da Costa, and the delegation was able to go to most of the awliyas’ graves. They then toured Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. They were able to lead the dhikrs, the khatm al-khawajagan and the suhbat in all of these cities, and when they were in Cape Town one of their gatherings was broadcast live on the local Muslim radio station, Voice of the Cape. The main message of the delegation was to hold fast to and practice the traditions of the Ahl Sunnah wa al-Jama‘ah; these should be accompanied by continuous spiritual exercises[54]. Mention should be made of the fact that on his tour he met opposition, as has been the case elsewhere, from the salafi ranks; for example, when Shaykh Kabbani was giving his speech at the Husami masjid in Craven-Bee, located in the northern suburbs of Greater Cape Town, a wahabite wanted to intervene, and the same happened when the delegation visited Pretoria.

Part of islam.uga.edu

Imam Al Ghazali View On Sufi

During my successive periods of meditation there were revealed to me things impossible to recount. All that I shall say for the edification of the reader is this:

I learned from a sure source that the Sufis are the true pioneers on the path of God; that there is nothing more beautiful than their life, nor more praiseworthy than their rule of conduct, nor purer than their morality.

The intelligence of thinkers, the wisdom of philosophers, the knowledge of the most learned doctors of the law would in vain combine their efforts in order to modify or improve their doctrine and morals; it would be impossible.

With the Sufis, repose and movement, exterior or interior, are illumined with the light which proceeds from the Central Radiance of Inspiration. And what other light could shine on the face of the earth?

In a word, what can one criticize in them? To purge the heart of all that does not belong to God is the first step in their cathartic method. The drawing up of the heart by prayer is the key-stone of it, as the cry "Allahu Akbar' (God is great) is the key-stone of prayer, and the last stage is the being lost in God.

I say the last stage, with reference to what may be reached by an effort of will; but, to tell the truth, it is only the first stage in the life of contemplation, the vestibule by which the initiated enter.

* part of Imam Ghazali on Sufism and the Reality of Spiritual Inspiration





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What Is The Ruling For A Muslim Entering 
Into A Sufi Order ?
An Anwser by Sheikh`Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt

Question:

What is the ruling for a Muslim entering into a Sufi Order ? Why are their numerous Orders? If Sufism is asceticism, invocation, and traveling the path to God is it not enough for a Muslim to suffice with the Qur’an and the Sunnah as a manual for spiritual growth?

Answer:

Sufism is the system of spiritual growth and the acquiring good character which leads a Muslim to the level of perfection (ihsan) which the Messenger of God described as “worshiping God as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him, know that He sees you.” Therefore Sufism is a program of growth which concerns itself with purifying the self of all its diseases which prevent one from reaching God, and it seeks to rectify the crookedness of man’s self as it relates to God, others, and to one’ self.

The Sufi Order is the body that takes care of this self purification and rectification, and the Sufi Shaykh is the person who provides the necessary training for those seeking to be with God.

The human self by its nature accumulates diseases such as arrogance, haughtiness, self- praise, selfishness, stinginess, anger, ostentation, leanings towards sinful acts, revenge, hatred, loathing, trickery, and greed. God says, {I do not blame myself. Lo! the (human) soul enjoins unto evil, save he who my Lord has mercy. Lo! my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful}. For this reason our ancestors were cognizant of the importance of a spiritual discipline that could rid the self of its diseases, be in harmony with society, and ultimately be successful in leading one to God.

To maintain orthodoxy Sufi Orders must contain certain characteristics such as strict adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah as Sufism is nothing more than the actualization of the Quran and Sunnah. Anything that is against both the Quran and Sunnah is not something that is a part or can be a part of Sufism. Another trait is that Sufism cannot see itself as separate from Shari‘ah knowledge; rather it is its essence.

Sufism has three principles which are drawn from the Qur’an and Sunnah;

1) Concern for the human self:

{And a soul and Him Who perfected it. And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. He is indeed successful who causes it to grow. And he is indeed a failure who stunts it},

2) an abundance of invocation:

{O you who believe! Remember God with much remembrance}

and the Messenger of God said, “let your tongue be moist with the remembrance of God” ,

3) and finally renunciation of this world and a desire for the hereafter:

{Naught is the life of the world save a pastime and a spot. Better far is the abode of the Hereafter for those who keep their duty (to God). Have ye then no sense?}

As for the role of the Shaykh whom the Sufi takes litanies from and whom guides them through the process of removing diseases from their hearts, he is the one who finds the most suitable program for each of his disciples (murids) as was the practice of the Prophet who used to give advice to people as to what would draw them near to God based on their psychosomatic makeup.

For example a man came to the Messenger of God and said, “tell me of that which will keep me away from the wrath of God” and he said, “do not become angry” and another person came and asked, “give me something to cling to” and he replied, “let your tongue be moist with the remembrance of God”. There were those amongst the companions who increased their night prayer, others who read the Quran often, others participated in jihad often, others invoked often, and still others who gave charity often.

This does not necessitate leaving certain matters of the religion. Rather, there are some acts of worship that a traveler on the path to God increases to help him reach his goal. It is for this reason that there are many doors to paradise, but there is still only one paradise. The Prophet, “For every people of a certain righteous act there is a door from the many doors of paradise that call those people, and for those who fast there is a special door that is called al-Rayyan.” For this reason Sufi Orders have different methods of spiritual discipline depending on the specific Shaykh and disciple.

From the above discussion it is clear what true Sufism is, what the real path to God is as well as who a true Shaykh is; the one who adheres to the Qur‘an and Sunnah. We have also learned the reasoning behind the various Orders whereas the reality of them is one.

We should also mention that this above description does not apply to many of those who call to the way of Sufism today who in reality distort the realities of the path. We find many who have no religiosity, no piety such as those who dance lewdly at different occasions and who also act as those who are entranced but are nothing but mere pretenders. This is not of the matter of Sufism and we should not formulate our opinion of Sufism based on this. Those amongst the scholars who understand and practice Sufism should come together and explain these issues further to help the masses understand truth from falsehood.

There is one matter left to be discussed; taking one’s spiritual methodology directly from the Qur‘an and Sunnah. This is a statement that outwardly seems to be logical, but in reality it can bring destruction. We have not learned prayer and its conditions by reading the Qur‘an and Sunnah. Rather, we learned prayer from a science called fiqh (jurisprudence) that was developed by the jurists who derived rulings which constitute the corpus of Islamic law based on the Qur‘an and Sunnah using many tools codified in the science of juristic methodology (`ilm usul al-fiqh). There has never been any person who was able to read the Qur‘an and Sunnah and directly create law.

There are also matters not covered by the Qur‘an and Sunnah, especially in the science of Sufism, which makes it necessary to learn them from a qualified Shaykh and his teachings. These matters cannot be placed in books like the rules of Quranic recitation. The science of Sufism has been codified since the time of al-Junayd in the 4th Islamic century. As time went on and social conditions worsened so did some of the Sufi Orders that held on to outward appearances that contravened the Qur‘an and sunnah. Despite this, God will continue to protect and preserve Sufism as it is the true path to Him, {Lo! God defends those who are true. Lo! God loves not each treacherous ingrate}

From this above discussion the different parts of the question have been addressed, and we ask God to give us insight into His religion and He is most high and all knowledgeable.

Sheikh`Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt
Official Site of Shaykh`Ali Gomaa

my source : eshaykh.com



Does one need a living shaykh ?
English n Français
Posted on July 13, 2011 by Taher Siddiqui

Question:

As salaamu alaikum, does one need a living shaykh to advanace along the path or can one be able to study the teaching(books,audios,videos) and study with the students of a deceased shaykh and still be able to merge with Allah(swt). Shukran

Answer:

wa `alaykum salam,

As for whether one needs a living shaykh see:

The Need for a Living Guide

If one is separated from his shaikh by death or other circumstances, it becomes necessary to find a living guide, who can complete the work of the first master. The path itself is not the Goal, but the means to reach the Goal. Holding onto the attachment to a master who is no longer present, usually represents an unrealistic expectation and a false hope. It may also be a manifestation of pride. Although they had already pledged themselves to the Prophet (s), the Companions had to take initiation with Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) after the passing of the Prophet (s), and as they renewed their pledge to the successive khalifs, Sayyidina `Umar, Sayyidina `Uthman and Sayyidina `Ali, so too does a sincere seeker need to put his hand into the hand of a living shaykh, and renew his initiation, in order to complete his journey to the Divine Presence.

Then, to address the last portion of the question “…and still be able to merge with Allah,” know that Allah swt is the Lord and the Creator, and as such creation does not merge with Him nor become part of Him or “dissolve” in Him.

Explaining this, Imam Hujwiri inKashf al-Mahjub wrote:

It is related that he [Muhammad al-Wasi`] said: “I never saw anything without seeing God therein.” This is an advanced stage (muraqabah) of Contemplation. When a man is overcome with love for the Agent, he attains to such a degree that in looking at His act he does not see the act but the Agent only and entirely, just as when one looks at a picture and sees only the painter. The true meaning of these words is the same as in the saying of Abraham, the Friend of God (Khalil) and the Apostle, who said to the sun and moon and stars: {This is my Lord} (6: 76-8), for he was then overcome with longing (shawq), so that the qualities of his beloved appeared to him in everything that he saw. The friends of God perceive that the universe is subject to His might and captive to His dominion, and that the existence of all created things is as nothing in comparison with the power of the Agent thereof. When they look thereon with longing, they do not see what is subject and passive and created, but only the Omnipotent, the Agent, the Creator. I shall treat of this in the chapter on Contemplation.

Some persons have fallen into error, and have alleged that the words of Muhammad ibn Wasi`, “I saw God therein,” involve a place of division and descent (makan-i tajziya ul-hulul), which is sheer infidelity, because place is homogeneous with that, which is contained in it, and if anyone supposes that place is created the contained object must also be created; or if the latter be eternal the former also must be eternal: hence this assertion entails two evil consequences, both of which are infidelity, viz., either that created things are eternal (qadim) or that the Creator is non-eternal (muhdath). Accordingly, when Muhammad ibn Wasi` said that he saw God in things, he meant, as I have explained above, that he saw in those things the signs and evidences and proofs of God.

Taher Siddiqui

my source : eshaykh.com


Importance of Taking a Shaikh


Allah said in the Holy Qur'an, "Fear God and accompany Trustworthy people" [9:119]. Allah's Word is for all time, for every era and for every century. It is an ongoing order, from which we understand the importance of keeping company with the Trustworthy. Allah orders all human beings to accompany them, because by keeping their company one will see how they live their lives, how they deal with people, how they address their companions, how they eat, how they sleep, how they worship. By accompanying them, one will learn all their good manners, and their ways of life.

Another way too understand this verse, is that one should accompany a trustworthy person, because to be trustworthy is very rare and not many people achieve it. Everyone, however, can find a trustworthy person and accompany him, in order to be guided. Following a Trustworthy One is essential to our spiritual path. Such a one is needed to lead us and guide us and to be a beacon for us on that way. In the Naqshbandi Order, the living presence of a connected shaikh is essential. Through his physical and spiritual linkage to the Prophet (s) he establishes the murid's connection. The murid's obligation is to maintain his connection to his shaikh, to hold tightly to the hand of the one within his reach. The shaikh maintains the further connection to the previous shaikhs and to the Prophet (s).

From what has been said above, and in the biographies of the Masters, the importance of accompanying a True Master has been clearly demonstrated. It provides the seeker with the opportunity to learn the essentials of ethics and good conduct, to discover the hidden defects of his heart, and to be lifted to the states of perfection. There are two requisites for entering upon such an endeavor: when the seeker feels the need to seek in this way he must purify his intention and ask his Lord to connect him to a Truthful One; and he must look in his own country for someone who will point him in the direction of the Perfect Master.
The Need for a Living Guide

If one is separated from his shaikh by death or other circumstances, it becomes necessary to find a living guide, who can complete the work of the first master. The path itself is not the Goal, but the means to reach the Goal. Holding onto the attachment to a master who is no longer present, usually represents an unrealistic expectation and a false hope. It may also be a manifestation of pride. Although they had already pledged themselves to the Prophet (s), the Companions had to take initiation with Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) after the passing of the Prophet (s), and as they renewed their pledge to the successive khalifs, Sayyidina 'Umar, Sayyidina 'Uthman and Sayyidina 'Ali, so too does a sincere seeker need to put his hand into the hand of a living shaikh, and renew his initiation, in order to complete his journey to the Divine Presence.

naqshbandi.org

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