What is Tassawuf, What is a Sufi?

Tassawuf [1] is a term that is used to denote the science of purification which is commonly known by other such terms as Tazkiyah an-Nafs, Zuhd, Tarbiya, and Ihsaan. It is a term that means to polish, pertaining to the purification of the seven organs which results in the polishing of the heart, and the cleansing of the soul.

Although this term was never used by the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] or his Companions [Allah be well pleased with them] the ‘Arabic equivalent was used by scholars from the Salaf, such as Imaam Maalik [Rahimahullah] who said:

“Whoever practices tassawuf and does not practice his fiqh has corrupted his faith; likewise, whoever practices his fiqh and does not practice tassawuf has corrupted himself. Whosoever combines the two together, has proven to be true” [2]

There were many classical scholars that discussed at great lengths regarding the science of Tazkiyah an-Nafs, even utilizing the word tassawuf at times to describe it. Even Imaam Ibn Taymiyah, in his Majmu’a al-Fatawaa, vol 12, entitled his work on this subject Adaab ut-Tassawuf and this is clearly seen, so let there be no argument regarding this. For too long have we had a small number of Muslims level charges of innovation and even kufr to whosoever follows the way of the Sufis.   Imaam Ibn Taymiyah says about the Sufis in vol. 11 of his Majmu’a al-Fatawaa:

“The Sufi is in reality from amongst the people of truth. So he is one who specialises in the field of Zuhd and worship…[3]

…Some people dare to criticize Sufis and the science of tassawuf in claim that they are innovators in opposition to the Prophetic Sunnah, however, the fact of the matter is, they are the ones who are the Mujtahideen striving in the obedience of Allah, just as the people of Sunnah that came before struggled in the way of Allah…

Tassawuf is the state of Ihsaan and it is described in the Qur’an as Tazkiyah an-Nafs

…Some of the people accept blindly the wrong practices that has been innovated withTassawuf, causing others to reject it in totality. The right attitude, however, is to accept what is in agreement with the Qur’an, and the Sunnah, and to reject whatever has no foundation upon [the Qur’an and the Sunnah]…”


Assurance of Daleel [evidence]

With this topic being a point of dispute, and the accusation of Bid’ah being levelled against those who affirm and practice this science, I have therefore endeavoured to prove everything herein, with evidences and references from the Qur’an and the Sunnahand I pray that this treatise benefits those who seek to reconcile the unnecessary argumentation regarding this subject, as our main objective in this life is to worship Allah, and true success is to return to him with a sound heart, as Allah has said in the Qur’an:

“A day when wealth nor children will be of any benefit, expect he who comes to Allah with a sound heart” [4]

[1] Western non-Muslim scholars and even many English speaking Muslims have unwittingly transliterated Tassawuf as “Sufi-ism”, which tends to lend a negative connotation to the western mind, consequently, painting the mental picture that this pure and pristine traditional Islamic science is on par with the religious cults or other false ideologies that share the same suffix. Therefore, we have to be careful that we do not place this discipline in the very same pigeon hole as Hindu-ism, Juda-ism, Universal-ism, or even Athe-ism, etc, as this is how any word ending with an “ism” echoes in the western mind and we must keep this in mind when attempting to pull a word from one language in another.
[2] Iqaaz ul-Himam fi Sharh ul-Hikam
[3] Partial transliteration: “as-Sufi huwa fil-haqiqah naw’un min as-siddiqin. Fahuwa as-siddiq alladhi ikhtassa bil-zuhadi wal-’ibadah…”
[4] Surat ul-Furqaan (26), ayaat 88-89
To gain more undertsanding of the subject at hand then please visit http://www.zawiyah.org/Home_1.htm

You are welcome to comment and ask a valid questions, however there are a few guidelines and conditions to your comments being approved. Messages like "your a heretic, you do not know what you are talking about, you have no knowledge, you are an enemy of Islam, stupid Sufi" are usually rejected. Consider your words carefully..

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