Sufism in Islam

Q. What are your views and position regarding sufism?

A. Sufism is an anglicized form of the word ‘Tasawuf’ as used in the Arabic language. The concept of Tasawuf as explained by our great and reliable scholars is that one tries to reform himself to the extent that he becomes fully obedient to Allah, and his actions become beloved to Allah. In other words, one becomes a true and sincere Muslim, obeying the laws of Allah and following the footsteps of the beloved Messenger of Allah (SA). In this way, he finds in himself the urge to practice all the Sunnah of the Prophet (SA) with respect to acts of Ibadah (worship) and all other matters. He strives to perform the Tahajjud and other optional Salaah. He makes an effort to observe all the optional fasts. He develops a love to recite the Holy Quran daily, and devotes a part of his time to do the Zikr (remembrance) of Allah on a daily basis. Everyday, he makes Istighfar to Allah in abundance, and also sends Darood (Salaah, Salaam) upon the Prophet (SA) in great number. These acts of Ibadah create a special light of guidance and insight in the individual, which then allows him to feel the real sweetness of Imaan and Islam as the Sahabahs felt. It is these acts of Ibadah- as thought by the Prophet (SA), which creates the strength in him (with Allah’s permission and decree) to shun evil, sins, wrongdoings and acts of transgression. He then becomes one who practices good deeds as much as possible, and refrains from all types of sins. This in reality, is true servitude to Allah, which is what a Muslim is required to have, and is the essence of true Tasawuf.

From the books of Islamic history, we see the lives of the great souls of the past, whose attention to Allah and the hereafter, was so much, that they were least concerned about the worldly affairs. They sacrificed their lives to gain ‘closeness’ to Allah, and devoted most of their lives to the cause of Allah. They became blessed with great piety and righteousness, and thus became beams of light to those after them.

So, in reality ‘Tasawuf’, aims at reforming an individual to the state of becoming totally submissive and obedient to Allah. Through this, one learns that he must obey all the laws of the Shariah. One must also adhere to the teaching of the Holy Quran and follow the blessed Sunnah of the Prophet (SA).

With this understanding, Tasawuf (Sufism) is good and encouraged, and it is in accordance to the message of the Holy Quran.

However, it must be noted that some deviated ones in the past, brought about their own teachings, and introduced ideas and practices which were against the teachings of the Shariah. This eventually brought about a different meaning to the true concept of Tasawuf, and, on account of unfounded notions and practices, Tasawuf (Sufism) came to be considered as being reprehensible and detested. However, in reality, and in truth tasawuf is indeed good, since it seeks to make a Muslim totally obedient to Allah and His Rasool (SA). One must however, be careful of getting involved in such teachings and practices which are against the sacred Shariah.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan