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Sufism: The Call of Shaytaan.

The term Sufism is most probably derived from the wearing of woolen (soof) clothing, which was seen as a sigh of zuhd,- to abstain from the affairs of this world - but, the term itself refers to a particular group of people common among us. Initially, Sufism was concerned with going to extremes in the avoidance of the worldly life and persisting in dhikr (remembrance of Allah). The noble scholar Ibnul Jawzee said " Sufism is a way whose beginning was complete avoidance of the affairs of worldly life, then those who attached themselves to it became lax in allowing singing and dancing. Therefore, the seekers of the Hereafter among the common people were attracted to them due to the avoidance of worldly life, and the seekers of after this world were attracted to them due to the life of ease and frivolity which they were seen to live."

The extreme avoidance of the worldly life was mistakenly seen as piety yet, one should consider the response of the Prophet Mohammed sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam when a similar situation arose among his Companions. Some of the Companions decided to pray all night and abandon sleep, others decided to fast every single day, while others still decided to take a vow of celibacy. When news of this reached the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam he said " What is wrong with a people who say such and such. But rather I fast and I refrain from fasting, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah, then he is not from me." (Bukhari; Muslim).

Every Muslim should be aware of the great difference that exists between zuhd (abstaining from this world) and extreme practices of the Sufi's. Zuhd is indeed a praiseworthy action so long as it is done within the limits prescribed by the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Abu Bakr and Umar radiyalaahu 'anhumaa were among the foremost in refraining from the preoccupation of this world but they did not abandon earning a living and sitting in a hermits refuge awaiting the charity of passers-by. Rather the world used to come to them and they would spend of it in charity, and neither did they abandon good and pure things. Also among the Companions were those who were occupied with business and acquired much wealth, such as 'Uthmaan ibn 'Affaan, az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awaam and Rahman ibn "'Awf. Indeed the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam commented " How excellent is honest wealth for a righteous person." (Ahmed).

The zuhd of the Sufis is of a different kind. It involves abandoning lawful earning and work; it is to beg and ask for charity; it is sit in seclusion and await the offerings of others who work for their wealth; it is to purposely wear old and tattered clothing so that the ignorant people will see them as pious and righteous persons. Such behaviour, and their self-imposed hardships of surviving without food and water for days or eating only dry bread and salt when they are actually able to eat fine foods in contrary to the Sunnah. It was not the practice of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam to punish himself by purposely drinking dirty water instead of pure water or eating harmful foodstuffs with the excuse that they could not give due thanks for it as the Sufis do today.

Allah says " Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you." (surah Baqarah 2:185), and " And do not kill yourselves, Surely Allah is Most Merciful to you." (surah an-Nisaa' 4:29). While such practices were common among early Sufis and even some today, in general they have turned about face are concerned only with food and drink and idleness. Ibnul Jawzee said " ..they have become as desirous of food as their predecessors were of hunger...most of which they attain through impure wealth. They have abandoned lawful earnings, turns away from worship and spread out carpets on which they idly recline, most of them have no desire except for food, drink and frivolous activity."

My brothers & sisters I assure you that in explaining the ways of the Sufis I do not wish to take pleasure from their misguidance nor make it a matter of amusement, rather it is intended as a warning against their evil tongues and foul practices. While we have dealt with some of their actions, let us now consider the main branches of their beliefs, through the words of their 'scholars'.

One can identify three main strands of 'thought' amongst the Sufis. The first is the philosophical brand of Illuminists. Such people claim that the soul is illuminated by a light which diffuses in the heart as a result of spiritual exercises, training of the soul and punishment of the physical body, prevalent among all Sufis. The second category are those who believe in hulool, the belief that Allah dwells in, and is incarnate in human beings - how far is Allah removed from such a disgusting statement - openly professed by Sufis the like of al-Husayn ibn Mansoor al-Hajjaj; killed for his apostasy in 390AH. An example of his filth is " I am the one who loves and the One who is loved is me, We are two spirits who dwell in a single body. So when you see me you see Him, and when you see Him you see us both." and " Glory be to Him who manifested His human nature.....till His creation saw Him openly, in the form of one who eating and drinking." Thus al-Hajjaj professed the idea that Allah had both a divine nature and a human nature, the body of man being the supreme Deity in its human form ! From those who maintained the correctness of his words are a-Baghdaadee, ash-Sheeraazee and an-Nasaraabaadhee. The third form of Sufi thought is wahdatul-wujood, that all existence is in fact one reality, and that everything that we see is only an aspect of the Essence of Allah. Ibn 'Arabee (d.638AH) said in one of his books " The slave is the Lord and the Lord is the slave." Among his filth, Ibn 'Arabee chastised Haroon 'alayhis-salaam for his criticism of his peoples worship of the calf " Those who worshipped the calf worshipped nothing except Allah." He said Christians were disbelievers only because they attributed divinity solely to Isa 'alayhis-salaam, instead of to everyone, which would have meant that they were believers ! Ibn Basheesh another renowned Sufi wrote " O Allah rescue me from the sea of tawheed....and mix me in a state on unity and oneness.."

These are the three brands of Sufi thought in order of extremity, but know that all of them are beyond the bounds of Islam. Let us now consider the role of their Sheiks. Sufis make it obligatory to for students to follow their shaykhs blindly in the manner of a slave. Even if one sees him committing a sin it is not permitted to question him about it. Mohammed 'Uthmaan as-Sufi said " Whoever says 'Why?' to his teacher will never prosper." Mustafa al-Bakree said " Submit the affair to him and do not question. Even if he comes with something sinful if that be possible." This is a manifestation of the deviance of the Sufis, evil is to be followed regardless, yet, the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said " There is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to the Creator." (Ahmed).

Ibn 'Arabee, foremost among Sufi thinkers (declared an unbeliever by the ulema) declares all religion to be one and the same. Idol worship is permitted because everything they worship is only the Lord appearing in the form of a human, or tree or a stone, since in his view and many Sufis Allah is everything ! He admitted to following all religions " I follow the religion of love wherever it takes me, so all religion is my religion and belief." 'Abdul-Kareem al-Jeelee explained that all religion is one " So I surrender myself to whatever my desires surrender me to....Sometimes you may see me bowing in the mosque and other times I will be found worshipping in churches."

Due to the blind-following of their teachers Sufis take everything from their shaykhs to be correct and constantly record the 'miracles' of them. An example: al-Manaawee wrote " al-Kaylaane placed his hand upon the bone of a chicken which he had eaten and said to it 'Stand by the permission of Allah' so it was brought a roasted bird and he said 'Fly with the permission of Allah ta'ala' so it flew....a son of a student of ad-Dahmanee died so grieving for him the shaykh said 'Stand up by the permission of Allah' so he stood up and lived a long time" Even thieving by a Sufi shaykh is considered a good action, ad-Dibaagh said " a walee who is one having control over the affairs may stretch out hid hand to the pocket of whomever he pleases, whilst the owner is not aware." Abu Turaab said to his friend "...if you had seen Abu Yazeed (his teacher) a single time it would have been better for you than seeing Allah seventy times."

Allah says " And invoke not besides Allah, any that can neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the wrongdoers." (surah Yunus 10:106). Yet it is common among Sufis to call upon other than Allah, a grave sin indeed. Al-Boosayree the poet of the Sufis wrote in a poem concerning Allah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam " I have none from whom I derive pleasure other than you when general disaster strikes. Time never struck me with any harm and I sought his protection."

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah spent much time refuting the nonsense and deviance of the Sufis and described them thus " ..they are a people who are as closely attended by devils as they are by their own brothers. When they come together to whistle and clap they are overtaken by a state where they blabber and sway just like those who are possessed by demons, and they speak words which neither they nor those present understand. This is their devils speaking upon their tongues when they lose their senses, just as the jinn speaks with the tongue of the one he possesses. Therefore the more a person is like the jinn and the devils, in their actions, then what occurs will be stronger. Moreover these things do not occur except in the presence of the caller of the devil and his recital. His caller is the flute and musical instruments, and his recital is singing. So these experiences of theirs contain no benefit in the religion nor in the worldly their foolishness they are deprived of all blessings, they only increase that which is feared, they devour the wealth of the people in futile acts, they do not order good, nor do they forbid evil, and they do not fight jihaad in Allah' s cause."

Sufism has had a great effect upon this Ummah since its inception. The influence of Sufis on the beliefs of the Muslims has been dramatic, and has seceded in diverting them from the clear and pure form that has been revealed in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Sufi thinking is rife, merged with extreme veneration of their shaykhs, pious people and most alarmingly the dead, as can be seen in the statement of ash-Sha'raanee about his dead chief Ahmed al-Badawee who he contacted in his grave." My shaykh took the covenant from in the tomb whilst I was facing Ahmed al-Badawee, and made me shake hands with him. So the noble hand came out of the tomb and took hold of my hand."

Their belief that Allah is everywhere and is actually everything, and their false claim to rely upon Allah only when in fact they are dependent upon the charity of others and but a few examples of the deviance of the Sufis. A grave sin among the many that they are guilty of was mentioned in the comment by Ibn Taymiyyah; the removal of the spirit of jihaad, which is to fight in the way of Allah, with what they claim to be the greater jihaad, i.e., striving against ones own soul (jihaadun-nafs). They base this upon the saying " We have returned from the lesser jihaad to the greater jihaad: striving against ones own soul." But this is an entirely baseless hadeeth whose usage has only helped the Western powers efforts to seize control of Muslim lands. The influence of the Sufis is all around us so I implore you to beware of such people because they will only lead you down a path to the Hell-Fire. Ibn Masood radyallaahu 'anhu said " Allah's Messenger drew a line with his hand and said ' This is the straight path of Allah.' Then he drew lines to its right and to its left, then he said ' These are the (other) paths, there is not a single path from them except that there is a devil upon it calling to it.' Then he recited " And verily, this is my straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. (surah al-An'aam 6:153) (Ahmed and an-Nasaa'ee).

O seekers of truth ! I warn you, the Sufis are deviant group of innovators, a disease within this Ummah, a group whose beliefs and practices are far beyond the boundaries of Islam. Seek refuge in Allah from the influence of these misguided people and stick to the truth, about which there is no doubt. Verily, the way of the truth is to cling to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam as shown by the hadeeth " I have left amongst you two things with which you will not go astray: The Book of Allah and my Sunnah, and they will not be separated till they come to me at the Pond." (al-Haakim).

Indeed ! We seek refuge in Allah from the people of misguidance. Truly He is ar-Rasheed - the one Who gives, and makes clear the straight path.

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