Monday, December 31, 2007

The Conditions of the Shahadah

The Conditions of the Shahādah

Shaikh ‘Ubaid Al-Jabiri

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. There is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger.

Scholars have listed seven conditions that must fulfill in the acknowledging the Unity of Allāh. The seven conditions “Lā ilāha ill Allāh (There is none worthy of worship except Allāh)” are:

1. Al-‘Ilm: Knowledge of the meaning of the Shahādah, its negation and affirmation.

2. Al-Yaqīn: Certainty – perfect knowledge of it that counter-acts suspicion and doubt.

3. Al-Qubul: Acceptance that contradicts rejection.

4. Al-Inqiād: Submission to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity to Allāh (alone) seeking His pleasure.

5. Al-Ikhlās: Sincerity which negates syirik

6. Al-Siddiq: Truthfulness that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy

7. Al-Mahabbah: Love of the Shahādah and its meaning, and being happy with it

The first condition is knowledge (Al-‘Ilm), in the sense of negating what is negated in the Shahādah and affirming what is affirmed therein – as opposed to being ignorant of that.

Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala says:

 “So know (O Muhammad) that Lā ilāha ill Allāh (There is none worthy of worship except Allāh).” [Muhammad, 47:19]

 “except for those who bear witness to the truth knowingly” – i.e., that there is no god except Allāh (lā ilāha ill-Allāh) – “and they know” – in their hearts the meaning of the words that they utter with their lips. [Al-Zukhruf, 43:86]

It is narrated in al-Sahih from ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever dies knowing that there is no god except Allāh will enter Paradise.”

The second condition is certainty (Al-Yaqin), in the sense that the one who says these kalimah is absolutely certain of their meaning. Faith is not sufficient unless it is based on certain knowledge with no element of speculation, let alone doubt.

Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala says:  “Only those are the believers who have believed in Allāh and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allāh. Those! They are the truthful” [Al-Hujurat 49:15]

The sincerity of their faith in Allāh and His Messenger is conditional upon there being no element of doubt therein, as for the doubter; he is one of the hypocrites. In al-Sahihayn it is narrated that Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Bear witness that there is no god except Allāh and that I am the Messenger of Allāh, for no person meets Allāh with these two, not doubting in them, but he will enter Paradise.’”

According to another report: “No person meets Allāh with these two, not doubting in them, and is denied Paradise.”

And it was also narrated from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) in a lengthy hadith that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  sent him and said, “Whoever you meet behind this wall that bears witness that there is no god except Allāh, believing in it with certainty in his heart, then gives him the glad tidings of Paradise.”

Thus, we observe that a person’s entering Paradise for saying these words is conditional upon his believing in them with certainty in his heart, with no element of doubt. If this condition is not met the target is not met.

The third condition is acceptance and submission (Al-Qabul) to what these words imply, both in one's heart as well as verbally. Allāh has told us the stories of those who came before, who were saved by their acceptance of these words from the punishment of those who had rejected them.

Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala says:

“(It will be said to the angels): ‘Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils) and what they used to worship,

Instead of Allāh, and lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell);

But stop them, verily, they are to be questioned.

What is the matter with you? Why do you not help one another (as you used to do in the world)?’

Nay, but that Day they shall surrender.

And they will turn to one another and question one another.

They will say: ‘It was you who used to come to us from the right side (i.e., from the right side of one of us and beautify for us every evil, enjoin on us polytheism, and stop us from the truth, i.e. Islamic Monotheism and from every good deed).’

They will reply: ‘Nay, you yourselves were not believers.

And we had no authority over you. Nay! But you were Taaghoon (transgressing) people (polytheists, and disbelievers).

So now the Word of our Lord has been justified against us, that we shall certainly (have to) taste (the torment).

So we led you astray because we were ourselves astray.’

Then verily, that Day, they will (all) share in the torment.

Certainly, that is how We deal with Al Mujrimun (polytheists, sinners, disbelievers, criminals, and the disobedient to Allāh).

Truly, when it was said to them: Lā ilāha ill-Allāh (None has the right “to be worshipped but Allāh),” they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied it).

And (they) said: ‘Are we going to abandon our alihah (gods) for the sake of a mad poet?’”

[Al-Saffāt 37:22-36]

So Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala has made the reason and causes of their punishment their arrogant refusal to say Lā ilāh ill-Allāh, and their disbelief in the one who brought this message, so that they did not negate what this word negates and they did not affirm what it affirms, rather they said, arrogantly denouncing:

“‘Has he made the ālihah (gods) (all) into One Ilāh (God — Allāh). Verily, this is a curious thing!’

And the leaders among them went about (saying): ‘Go on, and remain constant to your aalihah (gods)! Verily, this is a thing designed (against you)!’”[Sad, 38:5]

So Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala showed them to be liars and threw their words back at them through the words of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He said:

“Nay! he (Muhammad) has come with the truth (i.e. Allāh’s religion — Islamic Monotheism and this Qur’an) and he confirms the Messengers (before him who brought Allaah’s religion — Islamic Monotheism)” [Al-Saffaat 37:37]

Then Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala said concerning those who accept it:

“Save the chosen slaves of Allāh (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism).For them there will be a known provision (in Paradise),Fruits; and they shall be honoured,In the Gardens of Delight (Paradise)”

[Al-Saffaat 37:40-43]

In al-Sahih it is narrated from Abu Musa (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “The guidance and knowledge with which Allāh has sent me is like abundant rain which falls on the land. Some of the land absorbs the water and brings forth much grass and vegetation. And some of (the rain) falls on another part of the land which is like a smooth plain and does not hold the water, so no vegetation grows. That is the likeness of the one who understands the religion of Allāh and benefits from that with which Allāh has sent me, so he learns and acts, and the likeness of the one who pays no heed and does not accept the guidance of Allāh with which I have been sent. (Recorded by Al-Bukhari)

The fourth condition is following which is indicated (Al-Inqiad), as opposed to not following it.

Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala says: “And whosoever submits his face (himself) to Allāh, while he is a Muhsin (good doer, i.e. performs good deeds totally for Allāh’s sake), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold” – i.e., Lā ilāha ill-Allāh – “And to Allāh return all matters for decision” [Luqman 31:22]

What is meant by “submitting one’s face” is following, when one is also a doer of good and a believer in Tawhīd. Whoever does not submit his face to Allāh and is not a doer of good has not grasped the most trustworthy handhold. This is what is meant by the following ayah:

“And whoever disbelieves let not his disbelief grieve you (O Muhammad). To Us is their return, and We shall inform them what they have done…” [Luqman 31:23]

According to a sahih hadith, the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “none of you truly believes until his desire is in accordance with that which I have brought.” This is the ultimate meaning of following.

The fifth condition is truthfulness (Al-Siddiq), as opposed to lying. This means that one says it (Lā ilāha ill-Allāh) sincerely from the heart, with harmony between what is in the heart and what is said on the lips.

Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says: “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested.

And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allāh will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allāh knows all that before putting them to test)” [Al-‘Ankabut 29:2-3]

And Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala said concerning the hypocrites who spoke these words falsely:

“And of mankind, there are some (hypocrites) who say: ‘We believe in Allāh and the Last Day,’ while in fact they believe not.

They (think to) deceive Allāh and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!

In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allāh has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies” [Al-Baqarah 2:8-10]

In al-Sahihain it is narrated from Mu’adz ibn Jabal (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no one who bears witness that there is no god except Allāh and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, sincerely from the heart, but Allāh will make him forbidden for the Fire.”

The sixth condition is sincerity (Al-Ikhlās), which means that actions are free from any element of shirik.

Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says:

“Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allāh only” [Al-Zumar 39:3]

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Allāh Alone I worship by doing religious deeds sincerely for His sake only’” [Al-Zumar 39:14]

In al-Sahih it is narrated from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most deserving of my intercession are those who say Lā ilāha ill-Allāh sincerely from the heart or from the soul.”

The seventh condition is love (Al-Mahabbah) for the Kalimah and for what it implies and indicates, and love for the people who act upon it and adhere to its conditions and hate whoever or whatever goes against it.

Allāh says: “And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allāh as rivals (to Allāh). They love them as they love Allāh” [Al-Baqarah 2:165]

Allāh Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala tells us that those who believe love Allāh more, because they do not associate anything with Him in that love, as is done by those among the mushrikeen who claim to love Him but who also take others as rivals to Him whom they love as they love Him.

In al-Sahihayn it is narrated from Anas bin Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No one of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him that his son, his father and all of mankind.”

Shaikh Jamaluddin Zarabozo, add two more condition in his essay entitled: The Conditions of the Declaration of Faith.

The Eighth Condition that Muslim Deny Every Other Object Of Worship.

The person who testifies the Shahādah must deny every other object of worship. Although that is clear in the words of the testimony of faith, it does not seem clear to everyone who makes that testimony. Therefore, I am mentioning it explicitly here.

In Surah al-Baqarah, Allāh clearly reminds us of this important aspect of the shahādah, the shahādah is not merely an affirmation but it is both an affirmation and a negation. Allāh states, "And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allāh has grasped a firm handhold which will never break" (Al-Baqarah, 2: 256). Perhaps the Prophet (peace be upon him) made this point even clearer when he said, "Whoever says there is no one worthy of worship except Allāh and denies whatever is worshipped besides Allāh, then his wealth and blood are protected and his accounting will be with Allāh." (Muslim)

Although this condition should be obvious to everyone who says the words of shahādah, you can still find Muslims who say the Shahādah and then make acts of worship for beings or things other than Allāh. You will find them going to the graveyards and worshipping those in the graves. They will perform acts of worship, not for the sake of Allāh, but for the sake of the dead "saints" in the grave. What kind of shahādah have these people made? Do you really think that their shahādah will mean anything on the Day of Judgment as long as they believe that acts of worship may be done for other than Allāh?

The Ninth Condition That the Muslim Adheres To the Shahādah Until He Dies.

This is a must if the Shahādah is to mean anything for you in the Hereafter. You cannot rest on your laurels of what you may have done in the past. No, indeed, the shahādah must be your banner until your death. The (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, “A man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of Paradise and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire. And a man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of Paradise." (Muslim)

In another hadith, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, "By the One whom there is no other God, one of you does the actions of Paradise until there is just a hand span between him and Paradise and then the book [preordainment] overtakes him and he does the actions of the people of Hell and he enters into it" (Bukhari and Muslim.)

And Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala says in the Qur’an, "O believers, observe your duty to Allāh with right observance, and die not save as Muslims [surrendering yourselves to Allāh]" (Ali-‘Imran, 3:102).

Dear brothers and sisters, these are the conditions of the shahādah. These are the aspects of the shahādah that each and every one of us should look to in ourselves and ask ourselves, "Is my shahādah meeting those requirements? Am I saying it sincerely, honestly and out of love for Allāh? Am I saying it based on what it really means? Am I denying all other false objects of worship?"

These questions we should ask ourselves now before we meet Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta'ala. Allāh willing, we shall ask ourselves these questions now and we shall find that we have all the right answers for them. Or, if we find we have some deficiency, we shall work to remove that deficiency. Such that, by Allāh's mercy, in the Hereafter, our shahādah will be the key to Paradise for us and the gates of Paradise will swing wide open for us and we will be able to live forever in the bounties of Paradise, with Allāh being pleased with us.

Again, it is not simply a matter of knowing these conditions. Indeed, one can meet many Muslims who have these conditions memorized, yet when one looks to their deeds and behavior, one can see that these conditions have no effect on them. This means, in fact, no matter how well he knows and can rattle off these conditions, he, in fact, is not fulfilling them. In the Hereafter, his knowledge of these conditions will be of no avail to him. Indeed, his knowledge will be a proof against him as he clearly knows what the conditions are that he must satisfy yet he has shown that he is not willing to satisfy them in his life.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Excerpted from “The Condition of Certainty of Lā-ilāha-ill-Allāh by Shaikh 'Ubaid Bin 'Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al-Jabiri, Via Islām.Com]

Does Uttering Shahadatayn Sufficient For Paradise?

Does Uttering Shahadatayn Sufficient For Paradise?

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

The question is whether if a person uttered firmly Shadadatayn, "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is his Messenger that this will be sufficient for the person to be admitted to Paradise?

It should be noted Islam is not just the uttering of Shahadatayn; rather it is essential to fulfill the conditions of this twin declaration of faith so that the one who utters them will truly be a Muslim. The pillars of Islam believe, uttering and acting.

It was narrated that Ubadah Ibn Al-Samit (radiyallahu`anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (
Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:

“Whoever says ‘I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone [with no partner or associate] and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and that ‘Isa is the slave of Allah, the son of His maidservant, a Word which He bestowed upon Maryam and a Spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true and that Hell is true, Allah will admit him through whichever of the eight gates of Paradise he wants.” 

[Narrated by Al-Bukhari (3252) and Muslim (28)]
Shaikh ‘Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Hasan Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd Al-Wahhab 
(rahimahullah) said:

The words “Whoever says ‘I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone” means the one who says these words, knowing what they mean and acting upon them inwardly and outwardly, because with regard to the Shahadatayn it is essential that one know and be certain and act upon them as Allah says, “So know (O Muhammad 
Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that La ilaha illallah (None Has the Right to Be Worshipped But Allah)” [Surah Muhammad 47:19]

And Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta`ala also says: “except for those who bear witness to the truth knowingly (i.e. believed in the Oneness of Allah, and obeyed His Orders), and they know (the facts about the Oneness of Allah)” [Al-Zukhruf 43:86].

As for uttering the words without knowing the meaning or believing with certainty or acting upon them by disavowing shirik and being sincere in word and deed, and saying in one's heart and on one's lips and acting in one’s heart and with one's outward faculties, that is of no benefit, according to scholarly consensus.

In the Al-Mufhim ‘Ala Sahih Muslim Al-Qurtubi 
(rahimahullah)said:  "It is not sufficient merely to speak the Shahadatayn, rather it is essential to believe it with certainty in one’s heart. This draws attention to the flawed argument of the extreme Murji’ah who say that merely uttering the Shahadatayn is sufficient to make one a believer. The hadith on this subject indicate that this is wrong; rather it is a view that is well known to be wrong according to syari’ah, because it implies a justification of hypocrisy, and judging hypocrites as true believers, which is completely false.”

The above hadith also indicates that the words “whoever I bears witness” can only be valid if it is based on knowledge, certainty, sincerity and honesty. [Fathul-Bari (p. 36)].

There are seven conditions of bearing witness that there is no god but Allah, and it does not benefit the one who says it unless he fulfils all of them. They are, in brief:

1. Knowledge as opposed to ignorance
2. Certainty as opposed to doubt
3. Acceptance as opposed to rejection
4. Obedience as opposed to disobedience
5. Sincerity as opposed to syirik
6. Honesty as opposed to lying
7. Love as opposed to its opposite, which is hate.

The conditions of bearing witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah are the same as the conditions of bearing witness that there is no god but Allah.

Allah the Exalted knows best.

[Excerpted from Islam Q&A]

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Union of God with Man

The Union of God with Man
Dr Billal Philips

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Nothing escapes the Allah's knowledge; therefore, the wise are those who act accordingly. They feel His presence at all times. They carefully perform all their obligatory [Fardhu] duties, and then they piously try to make up for any of the inevitable deficiencies by doing a host of voluntary acts. These voluntary acts help to protect the obligatory duties. For example, during times of weakness or spiritual lows, one may become lax in fulfilling one's religious duties. However, those who had voluntary practices would likely neglect some of their voluntary practices, while keeping their obligatory duties intact. If they did not have a protective shield of voluntary acts and they fell into a period of spiritual laziness, some of their obligatory duties are likely to be discarded or neglected.

The more someone strengthens his obligatory practices by performing voluntary acts, the more his life conforms to the Syari'ah, the will of Almighty Allah.

Allah conveyed this principle through the Prophet SAW in a Hadith saying:

"The most beloved thing with which My slave may come close to me is that which I have made obligatory [Fardu] on him. My servant will continue to come closer to me by voluntary acts [of worship] until I love him. If I love him, I will be his hearing by which he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand by which he grasps, and his foot by which he walks. If he asks Me anything I would give it and if he seeks refuge in Me I would protect him." [137]

This Wali of Allah would only hear, see, grasp and walk to what is Halal [lawful], while conspicuously avoiding all the Haram [prohibited] as well as that which leads towards it. This is the only true goal worthy of dedicating one's life. Its attainment is the perfection of man's dual role as servant of Allah SWT and governor of the world. But, it cannot be reached except by the route prescribed in the Hadith. First the compulsory duties have to be completely established, and then the prescribed voluntary acts of worship have to be performed consistently and according to the Sunnah. Allah emphasized this fact by telling His Prophet to inform the believers:

"Say, if you love Allah, follows me [Muhammad] and Allah will love you."[Surah Ali-'Imran 3:31].

Therefore Allah's love can only be attained by strictly following the directives [Sunnah] of His Apostle SAW and by carefully avoiding all innovations in religious matters. This formula is contained in the following Hadith in which the Prophet SAW was reported by Abu Najeeh to have said:

"Keep to my Sunnah and that of the rightly guided caliphs. Bite on to it with your molars. And beware of innovations, for verily they are all heresy [Bid'ah] and heresy is misguidance which leads to the hellfire." [138]

One who strictly follows this principle will only listen to what Allah wishes for him to listen to. For Allah SWT Says describing the righteous:

"And when the ignorant [mockingly] address them, they merely say: 'Peace'"[Surah Al-Furqan, 25:63].

Elsewhere in the Qur'an Allah SWT also Says:

"He has already revealed to you in the Book, that when you hear the signs of Allah denied and ridiculed, you should not sit with them unless they change the subject. If you did you would be like them."[Surah An-Nisa’ 4:140].

By him listening only to what Allah wishes for him to hear, Allah has metaphorically become his hearing. In a similar way, Allah becomes his sight, hands and feet.

This is the correct interpretation of the previously mentioned Hadith in which Allah states that He will become man's hearing, sight, hands and feet. Unfortunately, this Hadith has been misinterpreted by mystics as support for the concept of union with Allah; May Allah forbid.

137. Reported by Abu Hurairah and collected by Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic - English. vol.8, pp.336-7. No. 509.
138. Collected by Abu Daud (Sunan Abu Daud, (English Trans.) vol.3, p. 1294, no.4590 and At-Tirmidzi.

[Via  MSA].

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fanā: The Union of Man with God

Fanā: The Union of Man with God

By  Dr Billal Philips

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

A close look at various lists of the most prominent so-called saints, reveals names like that of al-Hallaj who was publicly executed as an apostate for daring to openly claim divinity in his infamous pronouncement "Ana-al-Haqq" 'I am the Reality' when Allāh Subhānahu wa ta`ala already said:

"That is so, because Allāh is the Reality and it is He who gives life to the dead."[Surah Al-Hajj 22:6 and 62, 24:25 and 31:30]

What led this deranged individual to make such a pronouncement was his belief in a principle very similar to the ultimate state of being in Buddhism known as "Nirvana." [126] In this state, according to a branch of Buddhist thought, the ego disappears and the human soul and consciousness are extinguished. [127]

This concept also forms the core of a philosophy known as "mysticism". Mysticism
[128] is defined as an experience of union with God and the belief that man's main goal lies in seeking that union. The origins of mysticism can be found in the writings of ancient Greek philosophers like Plato's Symposium in which mention is made of various ladders of ascent, composed of steep and hard steps, whereby a union of the soul with God is finally attained. [129]

A parallel concept can also be found in Hinduism's identification of Atman (human soul) with Brahman (the impersonal Absolute), the realization of which is the ultimate goal or release from existence and rebirth.

Greek mystic thought blossomed in the Gnostic Christian movements which, like that of Valentinus [c. 140 CE], reached their peak in the second century CE. These trends were combined in the third century with Platonism by the Egypto-Roman philosopher, Plotinus [205-270 CE], to form a religious philosophy known as Neo-Platonism.

Christian anchorites or hermits of the 3rd century CE, who began the monastic tradition in Christendom by withdrawing into the Egyptian desert, adopted the mystic goal of union with God as it was propounded in neo-platonic thought at that time, within a framework of meditative and ascetic practices of self-denial. Although it was "St." Pachomius [290-346 CE] who established the first set of rules for Christian monasticism and founded nine monasteries in the Egyptian desert; "St." Benedict of Nursia (480-547 CE), in developing the Benedictine Rule for the monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy, came to be regarded as the real founder of Western monastic order. [131]

The mystic tradition kept alive in monastic Christianity began to find expression among Muslims from about 8th century CE, a century after the borders of the Islamic state had expanded to include Egypt and Syria and its major centers of monasticism. [132] A group of Muslims who were not satisfied with what the Syari`ah [Islamic Law] had to offer, developed a parallel system which they named the Tariqat [the way].

Just as the ultimate goal of the Hindu was unity with the world soul and of the Christian mystic union with God; the ultimate goal of this movement became Fanā, the dissolution of the ego, and Wusul the meeting and unification of the human soul with Allāh in this life.

A series of preliminary stages and states which had to be attained were defined. They were called Maqamat [stations] and Halat [states]. A system of spiritual exercises was also designed for the initiate in order to bring about this "meeting." These exercises of Dzikir [133] often involved head and body movements and sometimes even dance, as in the case of whirling dervishes. All of these practices were attributed to the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam through chains of narration in order to validate them, but there does not exist any authentic support for them in any of the classical books of Hadith.

A multiplicity of systems evolved, and orders, similar to those among Christian monks, appeared named after their founders, like the Qadiri, Chishti, Nakhshabandi, and Tejaani orders. Along with that, volumes of legends and fairy tales were spun around the founders and the outstanding personalities of these orders. And, just as Christian and Hindu monks chose special isolated structures [i.e. monasteries] in which to house their communities, the Sufi orders developed similar housing schemes called Zawiyahs [lit. corners].

In time, a body of heretic creeds developed out of the mystic "union-with-God" belief. For example, most orders claimed that Allāh could be seen when the state of Wusul [arrival] was achieved. Yet when `Aishah asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) if he saw Allāh during Mi’raj [ascension] he replied that he had not. [134]

Prophet Musa was also shown that neither he nor any man could withstand seeing Allāh in this life by Allāh revealing some of His being to a mountain which crumbled to dust during the revelation. [135] Some Sufi adepts claimed that when the state of Wusul was attained, the mundane obligations of Syari'ah like five times daily Solah were no longer obligatory. Most of them prescribed that prayers to Allāh could be sent through the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) or through the so-called saints; many also began the practice of making Tawaf [136] , animal sacrifices and other acts of worship around the shrines and tombs of the saints. Tawaf can be observed today around the grave of Zainab and Sayyid al-Badawi in Egypt, around the tomb of Muhammad Ahmad [The Mahdi] in Sudan, and around the Darghas of countless saints and holy men in India and Pakistan.

The Syari`ah came to be looked at as the outer path designed for the ignorant masses, while the Tariqat was the inner path of an elite enlightened few. Opinionated Tafsir [Qur`anic commentary] appeared in which the meanings of the Qur'anic verses were bent and twisted to support the heretical ideas of the mystic movement. Greek philosophical thought was also blended with fabricated Hadiths to produce a body of inauthentic literature which challenged the early Islamic classics and eventually displaced them among the masses. Music was introduced in most circles and drugs like marijuana could be found in others as a means of heightening the pseudo-spiritual experience which they all sought.

Such was the legacy of the latter generation of Sufis which had been built on the false premise that union of the human soul with Allāh was attainable. The early generation of pious individuals, like `Abdul Qadir al-Jailani, and others to whom some orders were attributed, clearly understood the importance of distinguishing between the Creator and the created. The two could never become one, as One was Divine and Eternal, while the other was human and finite.

And Allāh Almighty knows best.


126. Sanskrit term meaning "blown out" referring to the extinction of all worldly desires, or salvation. Though the term originated in Vedantic (Bhagavad-Gita and the Vedas) it is most often associated with Buddhism. In Hinayana Buddhism the term is equated with extinction while in Mahayana Buddhism it is a state of bliss (W. L. Resse, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1980), p.393).
127. Ibid, p.72.
128 From the Greek "Mystes" meaning "one initiated into the mysteries." The term is derived from the Greek mystery religions whose initiates bore the name "mystes" (Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, p.374).
129. Colliers Encyclopedia, vol.17, p.114.
130. Dictionary of Religions, p.68.
131. Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, pp.365-6 and 374.
132. "The authors of treatises on Muslim mysticism have often compared the "annihilation" of Sufism with Buddhist Nirvana; but according to others this comparison is entirely inadequate as the Buddhist idea of annihilation is independent of the idea of God and includes the idea of transmigration of souls, to which Nirvana puts an end. In Muslim mysticism on the other hand, there is no question of the passing of soul upon death into another body and the notion of a personal and all-present God is throughout predominant. The origin of the Muslim conception of Fanā has rather to be sought in Christianity from which it seems to be borrowed. This conception simply means the annihilation of the individual human will before the will of God, an idea which forms the center of all Christian mysticism." (Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam, p.98).
133. Dzikir, which normally means the remembrance of God, in mystic circles, is used to refer to the continuous repetition of God's names and attributes.
134. Collected by Muslim (Sahih Muslim (English Trans.), vol.1, pp.111-112 - nos. 337,339 and p.113, no.341. 135. Surah Al-`Araf ,7:143.
136 .Walking around an object of religious devotion.

[Via MSA].