Many “sufi’s” say that tasawuf is actually one of the uloom-ud-deen (sciences of the Deen), or rather, forgotten sciences of the Deen. They say that all the great scholars of Islam had studied Tasawuf, just as they had studied Fiqh, or Tajweed etc. They also say that without tasawuf, Islam would be dry and have no substance, because tasawuf provides the spiritual needs of man in Islam, without which man could not lead a healthy, spiritual life as a Muslim.
I have some questions I hope you can answer for me.
What evidence is there (if any) that Tasawuf was a traditionally studied science of Islam, and / or that the great uluma of the past (e.g. the Four Imams amoungst others) had considered it as a science and had studied it, or made praiseworthy mention of it?
If, as the content pertaining to tasawuf on your website seems to suggest, tasawuf is actually an innovation in Islam, then what element / aspect of Islam provides the spiritual path for man to grow in and nurture himself in?
Is there any solid proof/evidence[s] for “sufi” orientated activities such as the infamous Hadrat, or group dhikir (remembrance) sessions?
How would you respond to those stories of Sufi Masters who have been known to do extra-ordinary things such as teleport themselves, fly, read peoples thoughts etc.? (One evidence they quote is the story of sahaabah of the Prophet (p) communicating telepathically with each other. E.g. when Uthmaan (ra) – I think – was giving a khutba, then paused for a moment to warn another sahabah (who was in battle) that danger was threatening them from another direction. And when the Prophet (p) and his companions used to hear stones making dhikir of Allah(swt). These things, the “sufi’s” say, are achievable by man because the Sahabah (ra) and the Prophet (p) were all men – and teachers to be learnt from.
I appreciate your time, may Allah(swt) bless and reward your efforts.
Before answering your specific questions, I would like to clarify that even if it was submitted that some classical scholars studied Tasawwuf as a discipline from among the disciplines of Islam, this would not automatically establish the validity of considering it as one of the Islamic disciplines. On the contrary, in view of the completely parallel view of Tasawwuf regarding ‘Tawheed‘, ‘Risaalah‘ and ‘Aakhirah‘, it is important that an explanation be given for these views, which makes them coherent with the primary sources of Islam – the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.
Keeping the foregoing point in perspective, let us now take a look at your questions:
I would suggest that this question be asked to those who claim that Tasawwuf is one of the recognized Islamic disciplines and was studied as such by the classical scholars of Islam, including the four renowned Jurists.
The Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) provide all the necessary guidance for all the required aspects of elevation and growth in man. According to the Qur’an itself, its teachings consist of Laws (Al-Kitaab) as well as Wisdom (Al-Hikmah). Both these aspects, in combination, provide all the necessary guidance for the intellectual, moral, physical and spiritual growth, development and elevation of man.
This question, as the first one, should, in my opinion, be addressed to the proponents of Tasawwuf rather than me. However, it is important to note that it is not activities such as authenticated or unauthenticated Dhikr, which makes Tasawwuf an allegedly parallel religion of Islam, on the contrary, it is primarily the parallel explanation of the beliefs of Islam, which makes it highly questionable.
Such extra-ordinary stories, as you have referred to, are not restricted to Muslim Sufis only. Many Hindu Yogis and other expert mystics are said to have performed mind boggling acts, for which there apparently seems to be no logical explanation. Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that performance of extra-ordinary acts is not an evidence of correctness. On the contrary, for the Muslims, the Qur’an is the criteria of what is right and what is wrong. As for ‘telepathic powers’, such powers, in my opinion, should not be ascribed to the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) on the basis only of scattered incidents. If the development of such powers is to be given a religious outlook, then it needs to be established that the Qur’an and the Sunnah promote the development of such ‘talents’.
I hope this helps.
September 17, 2001