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Tasawwuf and Sharia

Tasawwuf and Sharia

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Published by: Shaikh Mohammad Iqbal K on Oct 15, 2012
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Tasawwuf and Sharia
The Shari`ah is of
 fundamental importance
to the Sufi path. Thispoint is very strongly made by the great Naqshbandi Sufi, ShaykhAhmad Sirhindi (also known as Imam ar-Rabbani), in his letters.Here is a small excerpt from one of his letters, where he clarifiesthis topic:The Shari`ah has three parts: knowledge, action, and sincerity ofmotive (
); unless you fulfil the demands of all these parts,you do not obey the Shari`ah. And when you obey the Shari`ahyou obtain the pleasure of God, which is the most supreme goodin this world and the Hereafter. The Qur'an says: "
The pleasureof God is the highest good." Hence, the Shari`ah comprehendsall the good of this world and the next, and nothing is left outfor which one has to go beyond the Shari`ah.
["way"] and the
["reality"] for which theSufis are known, are subservient to the Shari`ah, as they help torealize its third part, namely, sincerity. Hence they are sought inorder to fulfil the Shari`ah, not to achieve something beyondthe Shari`ah. The raptures and ecstasies which the Sufisexperience, and the ideas and truths which come to them in thecourse of their journey, are not the goal of Sufism. They arerather myths and fancies on which the children of Sufism arefed. One has to pass over them all and reach the stage ofsatisfaction (
) which is the final goal of
["travelling",i.e. the Sufi path] and
["overwhelming love"].
Thepurpose of traversing the stages of of
isnothing other than the realisation of
which involves theattainment of
. Only one out of a thousand Sufis is graced
with the three illuminations (
tajalliyat sih ganah
) and gnosticvisions, given
and elevated to the stage of
[Quoted from "Sufism and Shari`ah: A study of Shaykh AhmadSirhindi's Effort to Reform Sufism," by Muhammad Abdul HaqAnsari, pp. 221-2. Originally from Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi'sletters, Vol. I:36.]
Tasawwuf and Sharia
Article by Shafiq ur-Rahman
Taken from
All praises are due to Allah
. We praise Him, seek His help,and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evilin our souls and from our wrong actions. Whoever Allahguides, no one can mislead. And whomever Allah misguides,no one can guide. I testify that there is none worthy ofworship except Allah. He is One, having no partner. And Itestify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. MayAllah bless him and give him peace, with his family andCompanions. Verily the best speech is the Book of Allah. Andthe best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (
sallallahualaihi wa sallam
).With this opening invocation, I turn my attention toTasawwuf - a realm of the Islamic sciences that is easilymisunderstood without qualified instruction. Any discussionand/or comments on Tasawwuf must be backed by theknowledge of scholars in this field. Tasawwuf is one of theseveral Islamic sciences (
). Like most of the other Islamic
, it was not known by name, or in it's later developedform, during the time of the
Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam
).This does not make it less legitimate. There are many Islamicsciences that only took shape many years after the Propheticage; principles of jurisprudence (
usul al-fiqh
), for example, orthe hadith methodology (
ulum al-hadith
). The essence ofTasawwuf is purely Islamic. To make this point, I will, in shaAllah, limit myself to reproducing opinions of scholars andtaking extracts from several authentic sources.I begin with a description of Tasawwuf in a recently publishedcomprehensive work on Islam, The Oxford Encyclopaedia ofthe Modern Islamic World, edited by Professor John L.Esposito, Oxford University Press, Oxford, May 1995, 4 vols.:"in a broad sense, Sufism can be described as theinteriorization and intensification of Islamic faith and practice.The original sense of sufi seems to have been 'one who wearswool.' By the eighth century the word was sometimes appliedto Muslims whose ascetic inclinations led them to wear coarseand uncomfortable woolen garments. Gradually it came todesignate a group who differentiated themselves from othersby emphasis on certain specific teachings and practices of theQuran and the sunnah. By the ninth century the gerund formtasawwuf, literally 'being a sufi' or 'sufism,' was adopted byrepresentatives of this group as their appropriate designation.Understood as Islam's life-giving core, sufism is co-extensivewith Islam. Wherever there have been Muslims, there havebeen sufis. If there was no phenomenon called 'sufism' at thetime of the Prophet, neither was there anythingcalled
in the later senses of these terms. Allthese are names that came to be applied to various dimensions

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