Muslims Running From Sufism

August 31, 2007 § 32 Comments

I’m curious why more Muslims aren’t affiliated with one tariqat or another. Tasawwuf (sufism) is an Islamic Science that can be traced to the ahl al-suffa (people of the veranda), who were sahab-e-kiram (companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that would spend much of their time outside of the Prophet’s house in devotion and prayer. True Sufism is the heart of Islam according to one source saying,

“True Sufism is submission to God’s Book and imitation of the sunna of His Messenger; it is reliving, by inner state and outer deed, the auspicious age of the Messenger and his Companions; it is the very essence of Islam.” (qtd in Algar, H.)

But despite this claim, today’s Muslims continually avoid tariqat. Why is that? If “true Sufism” is the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as Algar’s 1976 article suggests, why are today’s Muslims avoiding tariqats? It is a question that can perhaps be answered by simply contemplating the nature of Sufism and that is to say bluntly, submission.

In a recent discussion with Yursil of Mind, Body, Soul he suggests that Muslims are avoiding tariqat because of their acceptance of individualized religion, saying of Muslims that,

“Islam has become an individualized religion, which supports their ego.”

Individualized religion means that although there is submission to the Qur’an; the Shariat, submission to the sunnat of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in these days and times it is a self imposition of the Shariat and the self imposition of the Prophet’s sunnat, an imposition that comes and goes as we like. Muslims have accepted the idea of personal religion, where men and women are their own shaykhs. And this is where you find Muslims running, running away from the shariat, running away from the sunnat and therefore running from tariqats. What need is there for tariqats if you can be your own shaykh? What need is there for today’s shaykhs if you can inherit authentic Islamic knowledge and authority from books or Universities?

In tariqat there is submission, one submits to the tradition. What tradition? The tradition of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), which means the manners, protocols and spirituality connected to the succession of prophets beginning with Abraham (peace be upon him) and ending with the Seal of the Prophets, Maulana Muhammad Mustafa (peace and blessings be upon him). Perhaps, this is the reason that Wahhabi Islam is so dry and pedantic, because it is disconnected from tariqat. If tasawwuf is the heart of Islam and Wahhabi Islam is disconnected from the heart it is not receiving life from the heart at that time. How can it, if it is disconnected?

On the other hand some may suggest that tasawwuf is not the heart of Islam or that the heart; tasawwuf has been corrupted. And in that case I would simply say, meet me in Manhattan (NYC) on 39th St. between 8th and 9th Avenue so that you can sit with our tariqat, listen to a sohbet from our shaykh and participate, observe or enjoy dhikrullah with us. And then you can decide for yourself if tariqat is or isn’t the heart of Islam. I will warn you though, there is a great peace that comes from dhikrullah (especially in the company of the our shaykh) which is why we find this hadith coming from at-Tirmidhi saying,

“‘Abdullah ibn Busr reported a man said, “Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam are too much for me. Tell me something I can cling to.” He said, “Your tongue should remain moist with the remembrance of Allah.” (at-Tirmidhi)

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§ 32 Responses to Muslims Running From Sufism

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    Salaam,

    Akhee, I don’t think it because it is individualized, but I would submit that due to a lack of a Kaleefah, the ummah is fragmented, nonetheless, you see sheikhs, groups and Imams home and abroad with serious followings, how individualized could it be, with so many fard kifaya(s). Your argument about tariqahs in the U.S. can be used to say the same about Madhaabs.

    I think that Muslims maybe erring on the side of caution, as we see numerous Muslims being seduced by so-called Sheikh and Scholars to commit horrendous acts and tariqahs may appear like cults in some instances.

    Salafees, have made SUFIS and Tasawwuf dirty words, and with their Saudi based scholars, and their little shiny pamphlets have set the agenda in terms of Dawah in America.

    Lastly, I have heard SUFIS tell me pretty outlandish things trying to rectify their hearts, one I know who sleeps in a coffin, to remind him of his death.

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam,

    AI, thank you for stopping by you said,

    “Akhee, I don’t think it because it is individualized, but I would submit that due to a lack of a Kaleefah”

    I agree, this is part of the problem. However, in the absence of the Khalifa you also find that there is a schism in the average Muslim. On one hand Muslims are accepting and adopting core values that did not originate by Islamic sources. Then they take from Islam what they like, discard what they do not like. And what they have is a hybrid lifestyle portions of Islam; portions of Popular culture; Portions of their Western education and because they are Muslim and have faith whatever they put forth is considered Islam, when infact it is far from Islam.

    This is very much an individual effort. In tariqat, authentic tariqat, you have an expert a shaykh who is your direct connection to the ways and customs of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). But this is the way of submission, where the ego is put to task. Living life with portions of this or that makes for an easier lifestyle in these days and times, easy on the ego. We have to bridle the ego and ride it or it will ride us.

    As for the selafis, I think the gig is up there. Everyone knows that agenda and I think their time is done. But the remnants and psychological effect in the aftermath is very dangerous and this is why tariqats are important as a way to purify those corruptions that occur because of influences like selafi dawah in America as well as the secular education many Muslims are forced into in this country.

    “Lastly, I have heard SUFIS tell me pretty outlandish things trying to rectify their hearts, one I know who sleeps in a coffin, to remind him of his death.”

    As for this case, was it an individual decision or has a grand shaykh or shaykh of an authentic tariqat prescribed this? the Qur’an, Hajj, the blood from a zabiha slaughter, shaykh’s sohbet and one’s turban should be reminder enough of death. Suratul Ya Sin is an excellent reminder of death! Ya Haqq! Ya Haqq! Ya Haqq!

  • Yakoub Islam says:

    I think that individualization of Islam, in the sense that old forms of authority are declining is inevitable, but not of itself bad. I think some teachers – e.g. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen – recognised the need to adapt teaching to this more ‘Western’ way of thinking. Autodidactism does not necessarily engender egotism. What matters is intention and learning how to learn. In the long run, I think this is better, because islam is not one thing for everyone. There are, as the Prophet (aws) said, as many ways to Allah as there are breaths in a life. What the Qur’an warns against most is religion based on personal whim.

  • amad says:

    asalaamalaikum. Akhi Hakim, you have always struck me as an intelligent and sincere brother in Islam, for which I love you feed-deen.

    I am a little disappointed to see the direction of your new associations, attaching yourself with those that are extremists within the arena of tasawwuf; the kabbani remnants in America. And anytime one moves towards one extreme or the other, the result is a hatred and despise of anything that this “end” doesn’t click with. Hence, your throwing around of the common wahabi bogeyman charge, and “salafis are responsible for all evil” is not entirely unexpected… it is a common charge that Yursil throws around, while being content on strange practices and braelwi-like practices that are as far from the Sunnah as the sun is from the earth. Furthermore, such “lay-man” accusations do not do service to your intellect and the higher moral ground that I have come to associate you with.

    Many who have gone down the path of extremism in Sufism or in its opposition have found nothing but the dryness that you talk about on BOTH sides. There is no peace and calmness in the hatred of Muslims, regardless of how much you find their opposition to certain practices abominable. Most of us have distanced themselves from extremism of either kind as the fitrah of human beings is attracted to moderation in all matters (of deen and duniya).

    As a brother in Islam, and I have no other objectives or motivations, I urge you to not attach yourself to personalities and to not acquire the mentality that Tariq so aptly describes here (and he was talking about “salafis” but the message is applicable to any “group”). Instead, please see what the proponents of moderate tasawwuf such as Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir along with the moderate “non-sufis” are doing under the patronage of Shaykh Ibn Bayyah and what we are supporting inshallah (see here).

    P.S. Before you hit the reply button, please do contemplate a couple of minutes and ask yourself honestly whether you love more Muslims and conversely dislike less Muslims OR vice-versa since your tariqah sign-up (esp. those that have different opinions on Islamic matters). This answer in itself may provide you some food for thought.

    One quick msg for Yursil: I do not plan on responding to you as you invariably will comment. We have done enough of the back and forths before to have any hope of meaningful discussion.

  • amad says:

    The final link got messed up. Its here: Unity Based on Renewal & Guidance.

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    Thanks for having me,

    “Then they take from Islam what they like, discard what they do not like. And what they have is a hybrid lifestyle portions of Islam; portions of Popular culture; Portions of their Western education and because they are Muslim and have faith whatever they put forth is considered Islam, when infact it is far from Islam.”

    I agree with this statement, however in lands, where Muslims are minorities, its unavoidable, in fact in Muslims countries, one can also see this, being the case, as well.

    Alhamdulilah, Islam is built on five and this is the requisite.

    There is great wisdom in the heart of Islam being the five pillars, as we has seen Islam pop up and thrive under Monarchy, Dictatorships, Fascism, Communism, and Democracies. Each with own distinct Islamic Identity, discarding traditions that are Haraam, but maintaining things don’t have purely Islamic origin (something the Prophet (PBUH) and Sahaba has done) but also not being Haraam and is consistent with their own traditions, history, and language. Even if you look in the Muslim world, this is the case, the Islamic identity in Morocco is not 100% the Islamic identity of Egypt although, they are both in North Africa. It because of these differences in lands, situations, and understanding that different fiqh is developed to address the specific situation. Even in terms of the Prophets, the prophet Nuh (as) did not have to deal with the on the ground situation that the Prophet Lut (as) dealt with. One could also see this prevailing trend in the Surahs revealed in Makkah and those revealed in Medina, or the changing of the Qiblah.

    Islam has the uncanny ability to meet people where they are at, starting with the five pillars and then using that as a spring-board into the deeper sciences. I mean the Sahaabah originated from a strictly Mushirkuun education and they look what they developed into, ok yea that had the Prophet (saw) but you get my point.

    Salafee dawah is in decline, but tariqahs are not filling the vacuum, but it’s being filled by Influential Scholars, Imams and Groups. Don’t get me wrong in this excessively materialistic and Nafs controlled era, a revival of the authentic science of tasawwuf is needed.

  • brnaeem says:

    AA- Br. Saifuddin,

    Good points. Thank you for your perspective. But I wonder if you are suggesting that affiliating oneself with a Tariqa is the only way to fully embodying the sunnah of our dear Prophet (saw).

    Can one not fight the ego/nafs without giving baya’a to a sheikh?

    Now that you have taken the big step, for which I greatly respect you, does it necessitate that all others do the same?

    I honestly feel that each and every individual must fight their nafs in a way most suited to that person. For some it may be studying deeni ‘ilm, for others being active in politics or dawah, and for others joining a tariqah – and some may have to do all the above at one point in their lives!

    Does our beautiful tradition require that everyone join a tariqah?

    WA-
    Naeem

  • maliha11 says:

    Sufism’s is practiced by extreme Muslims in our country so, maybe thats why we have a bad image about it!!!!

  • Yursil says:

    BismillahirRahamnirRaheem
    Salamu’alaykum Amad,

    Your comment is truly hurtful Amad, in no way have I ever stated that “salafis are responsible for all evil”. I don’t hate Salafi’s. In fact, I love all people, animals, and plants.

    I don’t even look at people as “Sufi” vs “Salafi” the way that people still seem to be wrapped up in. Frankly, I see people who are either following their own ego, or those who are not. The latter are people I try to learn from, and the former are people that need help.

    Yes, the Muslim community can be divided by ideology (as the Salafi’s and Sufi’s are), but if we don’t look at people as individuals then we have a problem.

    Your usual commenting style of assault is saddening, especially since I thought we were making some progress when it comes to dialogue later on the Abul Hussein blog. Khair… I suppose we are back to day one when you were trying to drive a wedge between me and MR by using song lyrics.

    Another point, linking to a post about unity while proclaiming that we have
    “practices that are as far from the Sunnah as the sun is from the earth” is contradictory.

    Even then, your analogy is really quite perfect.. as the sun is just the perfect distance from the earth. Too close and we would boil like Venus, unable to carry its strong energy, and too far our hearts would be frozen like Mars.

    Yes, we are very weak ones when it comes to the great and noble Sunnah, but we love it and hold it high, and are living a lifestyle according to the Sunnah as much as we can, which is by connecting ourselves to centuries of tradition.

    “Instead, please see what the proponents of moderate tasawwuf such as Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir”

    Shaykh Hamza Yusuf addressed our GrandShaykh Maulana Nazim as “The True Sufi” and holds him in high regard. So Alhamdulillah, if you approve of Sh Hamza’s interpretation of Tassawuf, then by inference that means you approve of ‘remnants’ like me.

    Alhamdulillah.

    -Yursil

  • FranIAm says:

    Not being of your faith, I feel ill qualified to comment and don’t really have a specific thing I would like to say other than this…

    I continued to be awed by your blog and am so glad to have options to learn more about Islam. As I have mentioned in the past, I am Catholic but I see us all as interconnected children of God. Along with that I have had exposure to and tremendous respect for Islam and the words of the Prophet Mohammed (May Peace Be Upon Him).

    It always breaks my heart to see so many in the US shut down at the very first syllable of Is- and to not open their hearts and minds to the many ways in which God may wish to bring us closer to Him.

    Peace to you- Salaam.
    Fran

  • muhammad-nur says:

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    “Can one not fight the ego/nafs without giving baya’a to a sheikh?”

    From what I have learned the answer is yes and no. The science of tazkiyah is generally defined in the hadith of Jibril (alayhi sallam) that I’m sure you’re familiar with. So to worship Allah seeing Him you need a sheikh but to worship Allah knowing He sees you, you may not.

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    Brother are you kidding me ?

    “So to worship Allah seeing Him you need a sheikh but to worship Allah knowing He sees you, you may not.”

    WOW, I never saw this commentary before. Are you saying we need an intermediary, in order to worship Allah as we see him. Is the Qur’an and the sunnah of Nabi (PBUH) no longer sufficient ?

    Be careful your speech, borders ON, if not is clear shirk. It’s Allah (ta ala), who blesses us with Islam. It is Allah (ta ala) who gives Iman, and Lastly it is Allah (ta ala) who allow us to become Muhsin. The Prophet (PBUH) himself could not make Abu Taalib become a Muslim, and the state of Ihsan is higher than that, It’s ALLAH (TA ALA), who grants this without any partners, no Sheikh, no Imam, no Madhaab, no Group. I’M NOT SALFEE EITHER.

    We can have tasawwuf without tariqah. I have not met a Sheikh or Imam that agree with 100%.

    Are you alleging that your SHIEKH does not make ERRORS ?

  • JDsg says:

    I’ve written a response over at Street Prophets.

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum, Actionable Intelligence you wrote,

    “I agree with this statement, however in lands, where Muslims are minorities, its unavoidable, in fact in Muslims countries, one can also see this, being the case, as well.”

    But I have to disagree here. When the Prophet Muhammad (alayhi salatu wa salam) began delivering the Message, there were no Muslims. They were not in a Muslim country! They were more like we are today in America than Saudi Arabia by comparison. But they developed a tightly knit community around the Prophet and his Message, they the sahaba adopted his lifestyle and applied it vigilantly.

    So what I am saying here is that in order to do the same we too must establish a tightly knit community around the Prophet and his message, and the best way to do this is through a shaykh with the spiritual authority to represent the station of the imam, until Imam Mahdi (alayhi salam) comes.

    In addition we should adopt the lifestyle of the Prophet (alayhi salatu salam), but that means that our leaders or the previously discussed imam must be living the lifestyle of the Prophet, until Imam Mahdi (alayhi salam) comes.

    And there is no question that the way to do this is through tariqat an authentic tariqat, a tariqat, where the shuyukh are actually involved in the living and lifestyle among their community and not sending fatawa by email. This is what we are establishing at the Osmanli Degrah, inshaAllah arRahman.

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum Ya Amad. You have made a very interesting comment. I have been watching you commenting approach and style over the past year and have bore witness to several attacks here and there; attacks which include a number of takfirs so it was not surprising when I read you response to this blog post. So I will lead off my reply by addressing a few simple things first. You wrote,

    “Akhi Hakim, you have always struck me as an intelligent and sincere brother in Islam, for which I love you feed-deen.”

    Thank you for your kind words and I pray that this love is sincere.

    “I am a little disappointed to see the direction of your new associations, attaching yourself with those that are extremists within the arena of tasawwuf”

    Disappointed? What hidden expectations did you have for me? And by what authority do you have expectations for me? And what position are you finding yourself in anticipation? Is this as a superior or a subordinate? If your expectancies are that of a superior, where did you receive this authority? And if your expectancies are that of subordinate, what right do you have to question my associations? However, if your expectancy is that of an equal, it is of little concern to me and merely your opinion, an attack, liken onto the others which I have bore witness to as discussed earlier in this comment. A heedless position really.

    You also asked,

    “ask yourself honestly whether you love more Muslims and conversely dislike less Muslims OR vice-versa since your tariqah sign-up (esp. those that have different opinions on Islamic matters).

    I love sincere people. If Muslims are sincere that love will be extended to them. If they are insincere they will not see that gesture as easily.

    And lastly, I have extended an open-invitation to our dergah in NYC. If you or anyone else need housing it would likely be provided, inshaAllah. I may even put my apartment up to house a visitor for a day or so. This invitation is also extended to you Amad, with the warmest regard.

    However, you should know that the distance between people posting and commenting in these blogs often times gives one a false sense of courage. Bloggers and commenters often write things and position themselves in ways that they would not if they were face to face with that person.

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    I don’t disagree with much of what you are saying, but we have to deal with the on the ground-situation and not the utopian reality of the first generations of Muslims.

    Who can disagree with following the Quran and the Prophet (SAS) and developing a close knit community, but you can’t compare the time the BEST OF CREATION (SAS) lived and the BEST GENERATION of humanity that the world has ever known, to Muslims residing close to the hour in the most MATERIALISTIC and SECULARISTIC society that the world has ever known and there is no centralized Islamic authority and the Ummah is fragmented along national, tribal, regional, fiqhi and aqeedi lines.

    The Utopian dream came to an end at the time of Uthman (RA).

    We must comprehend the fact that Allah (ta ala) has created man, but man runs the spectrum of colors, languages, heights and weight but despite this diversity no one can take manhood away due to its diverse nature.

    It would be a mistake to categorize the Sahabah as a monolithic force, that did not disagree in anything, the proof of that is the civil war, which pitted sahabah vs sahabah and even members of house of the Prophet (SAS)

    Along the same lines there were sahabah that stayed clear of wealth and there were also wealthy sahabah. Some specialized in Qur’anic recitation, some in oral traditions of the Prophet (SAW), some in understanding, and some in matters of war. It is thru this diversity that we compliment each other and give vitality to the Ummah.

    Along the same lines, in your nature you could be attracted to a deeper level of Islam and gravitate towards inner sciences, other may see extreme actions not specifically sanctioned by Allah (ta ala) and his Messenger (SAW) taken by people seeking inner purity and therefore gravitate to a more literal examination as not to exceed the limits. You may have a person in both camps but see that the sufi and salafi are making errors due to their lack of understanding of the classical understanding of particular word and then seek to master the Arabic language in the classical sense and how the word was used in time of Jahliyyah. These are all legitimate sciences, but becomes a problem when one claim superiority over the other or the lack of legitimacy of the other, rather than rallying around a flag, we rally around our natural inclination.

    In regards to e-mail fatwa, I don’t give fatwa, not qualified in any sense of the word, however, it was observation of something the person typed and I caution him to be “BE CAREFUL”

    Lastly are you asserting that any Sheikh is incapable of making a error ?

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum, Actionable Intelligence you asked,

    “Lastly are you asserting that any Sheikh is incapable of making a error ?”

    No, we are human and subject to human frailties.

  • Yursil says:

    BismillahirRahmanirRaheem

    Salamu’alaykum Actionable Intelligence,

    Lastly are you asserting that any Sheikh is incapable of making a error ?

    Oh, certainly not, Sheikhs make errors all the time. There are strong ones and weak ones, and each of them has a different rank in the Divine Presence.

    The truth of the matter is all of the benefit is coming from Allah. When I ask you to pass the salt, it is not with the idea that I am seeking help from you in any deep spiritual sense, rather I am following the protocol of this world.

    That is, to receive from Allah requires us to follow certain protocols. It is in this vein that the Shaykhs of tariqat work, taking from their teachers, through that tradition establishing a connection to the Holy Prophet (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalam), and giving to us. It is like the person passing the salt, they must be consulted and the proper protocol.

    So our Shaykh is telling us that it doesn’t matter if we follow him or if we follow someone else. What Allah SubhantAllah is looking at is our intention, a sincere servant will either find safety with the Shaykh that he is with or eventually be guided to another one who will be better for him.

    But the one who doesn’t ask, won’t be finding any seasoning 🙂

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    Yursil, Wa Lakum As Salaam, I thank you for your insightful response, and I enjoy talking to you brothers because you do have good adab, others are not as observant of that fact.

    Brothers, SORRY FOR BEING LONG WINDED, BUT READ THIS AND PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG, I’M ASKING SINCERELY AS I’M TRYING TO FIND A MIDDLE GROUND. I WANT FEED BACK, FOR I HAVE NO PROBLEMS SAYING I WAS WRONG, AND I MERELY SEEK TRUTH.

    When Allah (Ta Ala) mentions sects, he also mentions each rejoicing in that which they have and they did not differ until knowledge came down. How do we reconcile this, when it is Allah (Ta Ala) who has named us Muslim and warned us against breaking up ?

    Sheikhs are particularly susceptible to the above mentioned scenario, who through they own personally ijttihad, now claim their OPINION represent the correct understanding. We see this is in the different schools of thought and the schools of Aqeedah. Now rather than what Allah has named us, we take on names of men and ideologies, i.e. Maliki, Ash’aries, Salafee, Ikwanees, Sufis. This is not from our DEEN and no one can deny this point, it’s a case of each rejoicing in that which they have. This may not even be due to the Sheikhs, but the students of knowledge, who act as an entourage with a cheerleader, clique(ish) mentality. This was clearly seen in the situation between Zaytuna Institute, who some people associate with Sufism, even though the institute makes no official claims to that and Al Maghrib Institute, who some people associate with Salafism, even though the institute makes no official claims to that and officially the two organizations has no quarrels, but their students have villainized the other.

    I’m not saying we have to accept every group that claims Islam, but the sticking point should be the fundamentals of faith and not the branches of faith.

    We should be mindful of the God-Given diversity of understandings and natural inclinations in regards to our attraction to Islamic sciences and take a middle way, as we are the middle nations and ironically enough the middle REPRESENTS THE FURTHEST POINT BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES.

    Also, be mindful that it may be natural, to have diversity, as the people of the book before us suffered the same fate, this DESPITE, the fact that they had the TORAH, and numerous PROPHETS to interpret the book through the years or centuries even, so what hope does that leave for us, who have only the one Prophet (SAW) with no other Prophets to come.

    Also be mindful, that the Prophet described Islam as being built on five, which is fundamental and simplistic and all Muslims agree on but the Muslims of our age no longer hold that as a standard, as we assume ourselves to be more educated to the subtleties of Islam, as we resemble the Yahoodi, asking what color cow, asking for subtle details rather than giving Allah (Ta Ala) the best of what we have. Remember the Sahaba that came to the Prophet (SAW) and the Prophet (SAW) told him the five pillars and he basically stated he will do no more and no less and the Prophet (SAW) commented that if he does what he say he will get Jannah. No mention of schools of thoughts, aqeedah, sheikhs, or tariqahs.

    Lastly, out of the school of thoughts, I most fond of Imam Malik, who if you look at the Muwatta, his fiqh is nothing but hadiiths and probably the least amount of personal Ijjtihad. Despite, that I can never accept praying with my hands at my side, when the hadiiths to the opposite are more stronger. If I sincerely feel this way, who should I stay faithful to, Allah (Ta Ala) or Imam Malik. Especially, when Allah (Ta Ala) will not ask me of Imam Malik but of myself, you may find fault with this or call it picking and choosing but for me its about sincerity to Allah (Ta Ala) being primary. This does not diminish Imam Malik in general or in my eyes in the least and I love him. However, there also has to be a middle way between Individualism based on sincerity and blindly following Group Think, as the excuse of the Mushriks was they found their fathers doing it, and I shudder at the thought of giving an answer that resembles that, in anyway

    And Allah (Ta Ala) knows best.

    As Salaamu Alai’kum

  • Umm Zaid Filleted says:

    (1) Regarding sleeping in a coffin: it is known that some of the zahids of our past, including well known ‘ulema, did this. Hey man, whatever it takes to make you think of death. Some people need more of a reminder than others.

    (2) I think it’s because frankly, people don’t like being told what to do, and that’s what happens when you admit yourself to the strenuous treatment of a spiritual physician. Anti-Tariqa arguments are getting so old and boring and repititious. Bring up tariqa, and the very first thing that comes out of someone’s mouth (or keyboard, such as it were) is an attack on some “Sufi” person (aka a fellow Muslim, but don’t let that get in the way). Take it or don’t, who does it make a difference to, but golly gee whillikers, can we move on already?

  • Yursil says:

    Salamu’alaykum Actionable Intelligence,

    Brothers, SORRY FOR BEING LONG WINDED, BUT READ THIS AND PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I’M WRONG, I’M ASKING SINCERELY AS I’M TRYING TO FIND A MIDDLE GROUND. I WANT FEED BACK, FOR I HAVE NO PROBLEMS SAYING I WAS WRONG, AND I MERELY SEEK TRUTH.

    I can give you an opinion, if you like it, you can take it to yourself. If you do not like it you can leave it for me to take to myself. So in that light you may view that I am talking to myself here, and not to you.

    When Allah (Ta Ala) mentions sects, he also mentions each rejoicing in that which they have and they did not differ until knowledge came down. How do we reconcile this, when it is Allah (Ta Ala) who has named us Muslim and warned us against breaking up ?

    Yet, the Prophet (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalam) also stated that difference of opinion in this community is a mercy. He (Salallahu’alaiheewassalam) also stated that his Sahabi are like stars, follow any of them to achieve guidance.

    When we put this together with the warning against sectarianship we find the best example of unity with the Sahabi (R), who even though they experienced political differences, or even fiqhi differences, were united on the underlying theme of Islam. This is really a deep subject which involves numerous examples. But the understanding is Allah has been merciful to us certainly is allowing us to remain Muslims while having a wide variety of opinions on certain issues.

    Sectarianship which is mentioned in the hadith is on the other hand the sectarianship of the Khwarij or others who created an environment of hostility and takfir.

    Sheikhs are particularly susceptible to the above mentioned scenario, who through they own personally ijttihad, now claim their OPINION represent the correct understanding. We see this is in the different schools of thought and the schools of Aqeedah. Now rather than what Allah has named us, we take on names of men and ideologies, i.e. Maliki, Ash’aries, Salafee, Ikwanees, Sufis. This is not from our DEEN and no one can deny this point, it’s a case of each rejoicing in that which they have.

    There are indeed people of each of those groups who do not understand the spirit of Islam of unity. But sincere people find a way, don’t they?

    Rather, the names of certain ideologies is only a means of organizing our thoughts, not to create hatred.

    It is an aspect of sincerity to say, “Yes, I agree with this legal philosophy, and indeed that makes me different than someone else who agrees with another philosophy.” To deny it really is an aspect of denying ourselves.

    But again, we can use that to unite or to disunite, that is up to us.

    This may not even be due to the Sheikhs, but the students of knowledge, who act as an entourage with a cheerleader, clique(ish) mentality. This was clearly seen in the situation between Zaytuna Institute, who some people associate with Sufism, even though the institute makes no official claims to that and Al Maghrib Institute, who some people associate with Salafism, even though the institute makes no official claims to that and officially the two organizations has no quarrels, but their students have villainized the other.

    I think that there are indeed those who I call ‘fanboys’. These are the ones who are like soccer/football fans, they are not good enough to play the game, yet they like to cheer very loudly. When we examine their teachers, on the other hand, they are keeping to themselves, and that is the real example that has been lost: following our teachers.

    I’m not saying we have to accept every group that claims Islam, but the sticking point should be the fundamentals of faith and not the branches of faith.

    Definately!

    We should be mindful of the God-Given diversity of understandings and natural inclinations in regards to our attraction to Islamic sciences and take a middle way, as we are the middle nations and ironically enough the middle REPRESENTS THE FURTHEST POINT BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES.

    Indeed. Yet, first we need to acknowledge our weakness in light of the above. In the Naksibendi way, we are following Abu Bakr as-Siddiq’s (R) example, to reach to the Prophet (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalam). And there is the famous story where the Prophet (Sallaahu’alaiheewassalam) was accepting money for the cause of the ummah, and Umar (R) came to him with half his wealth. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R) gave all his wealth away for the ummah, and the Prophet (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalam) said to Umar (R), that he had half the faith of Abu Bakr (R).

    We all know that Umar (R) was such a high level Sahabi, and if his faith was half of that from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R), then were does that put us…

    Really, where does that put us? Struggling to find a middle way when we are not even close to the middle of our own understanding of the deen.

    Also, be mindful that it may be natural, to have diversity, as the people of the book before us suffered the same fate, this DESPITE, the fact that they had the TORAH, and numerous PROPHETS to interpret the book through the years or centuries even, so what hope does that leave for us, who have only the one Prophet (SAW) with no other Prophets to come.

    The Holy Quran also told us that we do not know to consult with the Ahl ul Dhikr, to keep the company of the Siddiqeen and Saliheen. So where does that put the individualistic Islam we see today?

    Also be mindful, that the Prophet described Islam as being built on five, which is fundamental and simplistic and all Muslims agree on but the Muslims of our age no longer hold that as a standard, as we assume ourselves to be more educated to the subtleties of Islam, as we resemble the Yahoodi, asking what color cow, asking for subtle details rather than giving Allah (Ta Ala) the best of what we have. Remember the Sahaba that came to the Prophet (SAW) and the Prophet (SAW) told him the five pillars and he basically stated he will do no more and no less and the Prophet (SAW) commented that if he does what he say he will get Jannah. No mention of schools of thoughts, aqeedah, sheikhs, or tariqahs.

    Indeed, the reality is Islam is very simple, but it remains simple for those who keep living the simple life of the Prophet (Sallahu’alaiheewassalam) and the Sahabi (R). So now, there is a difference between that mans life and our life, a huge difference, a huge difference between his intentions and ours.

    So first we have to correct ourselves to be more like him, to find that simple life, giving part of our time to explicit worship, to livelihood and to family.

    The thing to realize then is the Tariqat’s and Madhabs are not then something invented new, but something to capture the reality of the Prophets (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalams) life, and to give us a direction back to it. That is all.

    Especially, when Allah (Ta Ala) will not ask me of Imam Malik but of myself, you may find fault with this or call it picking and choosing but for me its about sincerity to Allah (Ta Ala) being primary.And Allah (Ta Ala) knows best.

    Ah but by what understanding are you thinking that Allah Ta ala will not ask Imam Malik of our choices? The reality is the teachers of that level will indeed be questioned on the advice they gave to their students, the example that they taught. So for us the safety is in following with a proper intention and sincerity, not in worrying about details of fiqh and proofs, because if we don’t follow with sincerity, all is lost. All is lost!

    Peace to you, wassalam.

    -Yursil

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    Jazakallah Khairin Ya Yursil

    Just a couple follow up points,

    “Ah but by what understanding are you thinking that Allah Ta ala
    will not ask Imam Malik of our choices?”

    Brother forgive me, but I refrained from copying and pasting Qur’an and Hadiith, on the internet as in my opinion, it cheapens the immense weight of the proofs.

    However, I refer your attention to AL BAQARAH: 133-134, essentially Allah mentions former Prophets (AS) of the past and says (para-phrasing in english) for them is their deeds and ends by saying, rough translation; you will not be questioned concerning what they were doing.

    Therefore, I know teachers would be accountable for what they taught, however the students would not be accountable for what the teachers taught or did, but if indeed, what was taught was incorrect and we followed, and we neither bothered to examine it but merely blindly followed, then what makes our excuse any different from the Mushriks, who say they follow their fathers ?

    Therefore, my point is, no matter what the Sheikh stated, we have to, at the very least try to personally understand the position and not merely regurgitate what the Sheikh said simply because he is the SHEIKH. If in my personal opinion I am wrong, at the very least before Allah (TA ALA) I can plead my sincerity of trying to comprehend the correct understanding but due to my limitation in comprehension I was deficient. After all intentions are everything. I myself, can totally vouch with complete certainty for my intentions and sincerity or lack thereof but I can’t with 100% certainty vouch for anyone’s else in every instance on every point, with that said, it would be more prudent to take my certainty in my own hands, rather than out-sourcing it and Allah (Ta Ala) knows best.

    “Rather, the names of certain ideologies is only a means
    of organizing our thoughts, not to create hatred.”

    “The thing to realize then is the Tariqat’s and Madhabs
    are not then something invented new, but something
    to capture the reality of the Prophets (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalams”

    I agree but what Imam Malik taught was Islam or Imam Shafi or Ibn Arabi for that matter. We respect them as the giants that they are and hold their opinions in great esteem but to codify a personal Ijjtihad as an all-encompassing correct understanding on the ummah at large is a stretch, because we ourselves become prisoners to a Sheikh’s limits in understanding, as all men have limits. Especially in light of the fact that human nature has to be diverse, therefore, if we have 100 Sheikhs qualified to make Ijjtihad we would have a 100 different ways, all of which could be valid perspectives of Islam. We will now have a 100 different names to call ourselves, this is nonsense, we are Muslims as this is what Allah (Ta ala) has named us, and bearing in mind the weak-minded amongst us, which tend to become cheerleaders and promote some and demote others, which has essentially lead to the fragmentation we see today.

    And Allah (Ta Ala) knows best.

  • Amad says:

    Akhi Hakim… asalamalaikum.

    I was a bit taken aback by your perception of what I meant with my comments and non-contextual introduction to my “commenting behavior”. I don’t believe I attacked you personally, so, dear brother, reciprocity would have been appreciated. Please allow me to expound on the “takfir” that you are referring to, because the implications of your statements are blatantly misleading. So, let it be known that what you are referring to as it occurred on THIS BLOG was with regards to Qadiyanis, when you allowed a Qadiyani cohort to spread his evil message on these pages. Assuming that you would be equally against this, I spoke up against him. When you surprised me that you considered this a “takfir” as if the Ummah’s scholars haven’t agreed on it, I complied with your rules and got off the subject. So if I am guilty of “takfir” in this matter, then I am in great company. I would never make “takfir” of anyone, even those that have been mocking the religion openly on the blogosphere, because I do not possess the authority to do so. On another instance last year, on a DIFFERENT blog, lest you bring this up, I asked folks if they knew any Shia or Sunni Shayookh who considered the Bohra religion within the fold of Islam. I am still all ears. This was an important matter to clarify for me as you can understand, and I do not intend to discuss this anymore because everyone is free to go back and look up those comments for themselves.

    I do agree akhi Hakim that over the last year, I have changed my views and approach in many ways, and inshallah I hope for the better. So, undoubtedly, my comments in the past had a sting that I am trying to learn, over time, to avoid. As I am sure you have experienced, what you write with a smile on your face could smack of an attitude that was completely unintentional. And that brings me to the next point.

    When I mentioned my disappointment, I am not sure how it had anything to do with authority, whether superiority or inferiority. It is just a sentiment that I felt, and which I sincerely expressed to you… as a brother in Islam. Nothing more, nothing less. I should mention of course that there is no reason in the world that I would feel superior to you or anyone else in that regard. I have accomplished little in both the duniya and for the akhira to feel any semblance of pride.

    Finally, the “tariqah” is not the issue that I would take up with anyone as an area of contention, especially not anymore. And so I qualified the issues with this SPECIFIC group in NYC (not the Tariqah per say, Umm Zaid) in my first comment. Pictures of some of what goes on at this ‘dergah’ tell the story; everyone is free to check them out and make up their own mind, as I do not intend to delve into this hornet’s nest. Of course, it is everyone’s prerogative, including yours, akhi Hakim, to take what you please and ignore what you don’t. Just afford me the benefit of doubt in the purpose of my original comment. It was a nasiha, as our deen is nasiha.

    P.S. Yursil, my comment was not personal to you either, so it was not intended to be hurtful. Since it apparently did not “read” as intended, I am sorry if it hurt you.

  • yursil says:

    Salamu’alaykum,

    Finally, the “tariqah” is not the issue that I would take up with anyone as an area of contention, especially not anymore. And so I qualified the issues with this SPECIFIC group in NYC (not the Tariqah per say, Umm Zaid) in my first comment. Pictures of some of what goes on at this ‘dergah’ tell the story; everyone is free to check them out and make up their own mind, as I do not intend to delve into this hornet’s nest.

    What ‘goes on’ at our dergah that offends you so, Amad? I’m really confused by your pseudo unity approach. Every tariqa is ok except those that have pictures?

  • yursil says:

    Salamu’alaikum AI,

    However, I refer your attention to AL BAQARAH: 133-134, essentially Allah mentions former Prophets (AS) of the past and says (para-phrasing in english) for them is their deeds and ends by saying, rough translation; you will not be questioned concerning what they were doing.

    Therefore, I know teachers would be accountable for what they taught, however the students would not be accountable for what the teachers taught or did, but if indeed, what was taught was incorrect and we followed, and we neither bothered to examine it but merely blindly followed, then what makes our excuse any different from the Mushriks, who say they follow their fathers ?

    I think the answer is obvious, what makes us different is that they were Mushriks who were misguided and rejected the Prophet (Sallalahu’alaiheewassalam) and Tawhid.

    It is a very dangerous innovation to take verses that applied to Mushriks and apply them to believers. This is the dangerous game that Abdul Wahab played against the Ottomans.

    The reality is if our forefathers were rightly guided by being Muslim, there is absolutely no harm in following them closely. Sheikhs who were well learned in their approach, are infinitely better to follow than even our parents. Yet, even from our parents we are allowed to learn and follow their example.

    The Hadith about this matter are so numerous that I am sure you are aware of it. Further, the example of Umar (R) in allowing difference of opinion and people to follow those differences of opinion is also necessary. The reality is the real yahoodi approach (which you mentioned earlier) is in this excessive focus on every man to find legal reasonings, this is not our way.

    The Quran orders us to follow those who ask us no fee (Surah Yasin), and ask the Ahl ul Zikr when we do not know what to do.

    We are not instructed to ask why, why, why.

    And Allah (Ta Ala) knows best.

    Ameen.

  • […] one of the key organizers of muslimmatters.org recently stated his criticisms at Saifuddin taking initiation with our Shaykh the other day: Pictures of some of what goes on at this […]

  • amad says:

    Pictures of some of what goes on at this ‘dergah’ tell the story; everyone is free to check them out and make up their own mind, as I do not intend to delve into this hornet’s nest.

    Yursil, since you have chosen to quote me on your website, I should clarify the context of this quote, and I choose to do so, because I do sincerely believe that you are not intentionally trying to mislead here. So, what I meant about the “hornet’s nest” is the DISCUSSION on this topic, not the dergah itself. Thus I did not wish to delve into the topic because that has the potential to start a comment-war (i.e. the hornet’s nest), which I am frankly not interested in. That’s why I suggested for the individuals to see what is going on there and decide for themselves if they like it or not.

    Hope that is clear. And I hope you will pass this on to your readers.

    wasalam.

  • […] has a very good, but short, post on the problem of avoiding tariqat* as a problem of individualised […]

  • Actionable Intelligence says:

    One aspect of Sufism, I respect is, generally, Sufis are not self-righteous, in fact they are self-aware, critical of themselves, hard on themselves, as they know how easy the nafs can corrupt not just themselves but all men. However, this mentality is not extended to their Sheikhs, even though their Sheikh, will say the above, about himself as well.

    If Allah (Ta Ala) challenges the people to look at the Qur’an with an examining eye, because if it was written by any other than Allah (Ta Ala), you would find discrepancies. Therefore, if Allah (Ta Ala) has extended this to his words, how can we not view the creation with a critical eye, including our Imams, Sheikhs and Scholars.

    The words and actions of any people has to be referred back to Allah (Ta Ala) and his Messenger, and we have to make an attempt to understand and comprehend the lesson, not merely blindly regurgitate what men of knowledge has said, as in the annual of history, there are COUNTLESS well-meaning and sincere men of Knowledge, who have erred. In fact no man is without errors. You may call this individualism, but this is the reality of creation and on the Day of Judgment we have to give individual accounts. The fact that we are the inheritor of mountain loads of knowledge from pillars of scholarship, DOES NOT absolve us from out responsibility to INDEPENDENTLY think.

    And Allah (Ta Ala) Knows Best.

  • DrM says:

    Actionable Intelligence and Amad stole my thunder. Are there any true sufis left?

  • Dean's World says:

    The Carnival of Islam in the West

    Welcome to the Carnival of Islam in the West, a collection of reflections and explorations of Islam from the point of view of Muslims in the West, hosted for the first time here at Dean’s World. As of this week Ramadan ha…

  • BK_Malik says:

    AS Salaamu Alaikum Wm Wb,

    One of the things that disillusioned me when I was a murid under the Nur Ashki Jurrahi Tariqat was that the US shayhk was a female (shayka). I am aware that there have been many pirs that were female and that women are allowed the same positions as males. This is progressive in my opinion but the mixing of both sexes during our circles and knowing that the order was being led by a female was disconcerting to me coming from a strictly Sunni background prior to that experience. I do believe in separation during prayer and that if there is a female leader she should lead the females not the order in general. I may be mistaken but I think that this shaykha is the female leading an entire order in the US.

    The other thing that I couldn’t reconcile was the excessive praise and/or asking for help of the past pirs/saints and the Ahlul-Bayt. I tried as long as I could to focus on the parts of the dikr that praised Allah SWT and Rasulullah SAW only and asked for help only of Allah SWT but eventually I couldn’t take it any longer and I left. This has not pushed me away from Tasawwuf, it has only made me more determined to find the parts that did work for me in a more acceptable form. I was close to the members of the circle and it pained me to leave them, but I felt I had to for good of my soul.

    I live in Atlanta, GA and it is extremely hard for me to be here with the lack of shayks in this area. If anyone knows of a tariqat that is on the haqq Following Qur’an/Sunnah/Shariah and is not leaning towards Shia (no offense meant Shia brothers, I am just a Sunni and am trying to stay close to my beliefs) in my area or in a surrounding state please let me know.

    Jazak’Allah Khair

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