|A Closer Look at Sufism|
Page 8 of 9
To summarize everything we have said, in looking first at Tasawwuf and shari‘a, we found that many Qur’anic verses and sahih hadiths oblige the Muslim to eliminate haram inner states as arrogance, envy, and fear of anyone besides Allah; and on the other hand, to acquire such obligatory inner states as mercy, love of one’s fellow Muslims, presence of mind in prayer, and love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). We found that these inward states could not be dealt with in books of fiqh, whose purpose is to specify the outward, quantifiable aspects of the shari‘a. The knowledge of these states is nevertheless of the utmost importance to every Muslim, and this is why it was studied under the ‘ulema of ihsan, the teachers of Tasawwuf, in all periods of Islamic history until the beginning of the present century.
We then turned to the level of iman, and found that though the ‘aqida of Muslims isthat Allah alone has any effect in this world, keeping this in mind in everyday life is not a given of human consciousness, but rather a function of a Muslim’s yaqin, his certainty. And we found that Tasawwuf, as an ancillary discipline to ‘aqida, emphasizes the systematic increase of this certainty through both mudhakara, “teaching tenets of faith” and dhikr, “the remembrance of Allah,” in accordance with the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) about Ihsan that “it is worship Allah as though you see Him.”
Lastly, we found that accusations against Tasawwuf made by scholars such as Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Taymiya were not directed against Tasawwuf in principle, but to specific groups and individuals in the times of these authors, the proof for which is the other books by the same authors that showed their understanding of Tasawwuf as a shari‘a science.
To return to the starting point of my talk this evening, with the disappearance of traditional Islamic scholars from the Umma, two very different pictures of Tasawwuf emerge today. If we read books written after the dismantling of the traditional fabric of Islam by colonial powers in the last century, we find the big hoax: Islam without spirituality and shari‘a without Tasawwuf. But if we read the classical works of Islamic scholarship, we learn that Tasawwuf has been a shari‘a science like tafsir, hadith, or any other, throughout the history of Islam.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,