The Salaf's stance on Sufism

Q: The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' looked into the letter submitted to his Eminence the Mufty and the enclosed publication titled: (Mawqif Al-Salaf Al-Salih Min Al-Sufiyyah i.e. "The Stance of Righteous Predecessors towards Sufis") The questioner says: I found the publication defends Sufis and makes a blackout to prevent people from knowing the deviant Sufi practices. It praises Sufis disregarding their delusions, over exaggerations and horrible polytheistic acts. Therefore we had to explain the fallacies and delusions included in this publication, given that Sufism is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion) imported to Islam from Christianity.

A: Following is a detailed explanation: First, the sayings of religious scholars, worshippers and earlier hermits who, in effect, were not Sufis, mentioned in the publication, does not imply any praise for current Sufis; because current Sufis deviate from following the Qur'an (Part No. 2; Page No. 109) and the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet). The current Sufis innovated orders whose practices are against the views of such scholars whose sayings are quoted in the publication. Their innovated views include unity of the universe, pantheism and following shaykhs belonging to Sufi orders in whatever they say without discussion. Besides they claim they receive inspiration from Allah (Exalted be He) directly and that they are not in need of the Messenger (peace be upon him); because according to them, the Messenger was sent for ordinary people not for the elite. Also, they glorify graves by slaughtering animals there, making vows and Du`a' (supplication), and seeking help from the dead. All such horrible practices are expressed in their books and their actions and practices prove them as can be seen from their present conditions. Second, he also says: "Accordingly, any violation of the rulings of Islam should not be ascribed to Sufis or Sufism. In fact such violations are done by imposters and ascribed falsely to Sufism or mere intrigues to attack the Sufis and distort their image and views. It is similar to the insertion of Israelite narrations (reported from the Jews) in the exegeses of the Qur'an even though they were known for their meticulousness in the explanation of the truth."The reply to this saying is: The mentioned fallacies are not practices of imposters who falsely ascribed these fallacies to Sufism. In fact these are practices of (Part No. 2; Page No. 110) deviant famous Sufi figures such as Ibn `Araby, Al-Hallaj, Al-Rifa‘y Ibn Al-Farid, Al-Sha`rany in (Tabaqat Al-Sha`rany), Al-Sahrudy in (Awarif Al-Ma`arif), ‘Abdul-Karim Al-Jialy in (Al-Insan Al-Kamel) and other famous Sufi figures, and they are mentioned in their books. The claim that they are falsely ascribed to them is unfounded. How come they say these books are falsely ascribed to them while their followers still publish, distribute and act upon them day and night? We are speaking about their practices now and not their books. Comparing this case to the insertion of Israelite narrations (reported from the Jews) into the exegesis of the Qur'an is totally wrong; because there is a great difference between the two cases. Not all Israelite narrations (reported from the Jews) include lies. In fact, some of them are accepted, namely the views that agree with our Shari`ah revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). However some of them are false views, that is, the sayings that are against the Shari`ah. Third, when he interpreted the words of shaykh Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab (may Allah be merciful to him) when he spoke about knowledge, jurisprudence, worship and working for the Hereafter, he said that shaykh Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab said, 'So Allah sent His Prophet with this all-inclusive religion with these two types..." The writer of this publication interpreted the "two types" as jurisprudence and Sufism. This way he interpreted the words of Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab wrongly as the two types refer to guidance and religion of truth as in the Qur'anic Verse: It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâm) (Part No. 2; Page No. 111) Also, the shaykh mentioned in the beginning of his words: (You have to know, may Allah guide you to the right, that Allah (may He Exalted and Praised) sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) with guidance, that is, useful knowledge, and religion of truth, that is, good deeds), and it is known that the shaykh (may Allah be merciful to him) used to fight Bid`ahs (innovation in religion) and polytheistic practices, the worst of which was the deviated Sufi views.Subsequently, the Committee sees that the circulation of such a publication should be prevented, and it should be destroyed and people should be warned against it as a means of protecting the Muslims' Creed from the spread of Bid`ahs and polytheistic practices through such publications and the likes. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.