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INTRODUCTION TO TASAWWUF/SUFISM

Tasawwuf or Sufism is the essence of Islam and its Practices and Teachings are based upon the Quran and Hadith. From the word Tasawwuf, we derive the word Sufi. “ A Sufi is a person who treads on this path and its teachings. ”

Some Mashaikh  have said that the word Sufi originated from the " ASHABE-SUFFA".

These were approximately 70 Sahabi's ( radi Allahu anhu ) of the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alaihi wasallam) who stayed in the Musjid-Un-Nabawi. A special platform was built for them from where they where taught the Quran, morals and how to worship Allah directly from the Holy Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam). They ate very little and slept very little. Many other Aulia have given their own interpretation. Below listed are a few:

  1. According to Sultan Aulia Ghouse Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir  Jilani ( radi Allahu anhu ) , the Arabic word  Tasawwuf consists of four consonants T,S,W,F

    • The first letter T stands for TAWBA or Repentance - This is the first step to be taken on the path.

    • The second Letter S stands for SAFA - This is to purify ones inner self by Rememberance of Allah.

    • The third letter W stands for WILAYA - This state depends on inner purity. The one in this state is totally conscious : in love with, and connected to Allah as a result he is beautified with the best of characters, morals and manners.

    • The forth letter F stands for FANA - This is the annihilation of oneself. In this state the " false self " melts and evaporates. When divine attributes enter one's being.

  2. Hazrat Data Ganje Baksh (R.A.) in his famous kitaab KASHFUL MAHJOOB states that Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi (R.A.) says a true Sufi possesses:

    • The courageof Hazrat Ebrahim A.S.

    • The obedience of Hazrat Ismail A.S.

    • The patience of Hazrat Ayub A.S.

    • The signs of Hazrat Zakariya A.S.

    • The poverty of Hazrat Yahya A.S.

    • The travelling nature of Hazrat Isa A.S.

    • The simplicity in dressing of Hazrat Musa A.S.

    • The renunciation and contentment of Sayid-ul-Ambiya Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (salallahu alaihi wasallam)

  3. Some say it comes from the word  "SAFAA" which means Cleanliness, mainly of the heart and soul .

According to Hazrat Khwaja-e-Khwajegaan Zohdul Ambia  Baba Fariduddeen Ganj-e-Shakr ( radi Allahu Anhu ) , Tasawwuf is a code of mans morals, religious life and conduct. Although a sufi is "cut off" from the world yet he never curses or looks down upon its affairs that is he neither has love for the world nor hatred towards it. He also said , A Sufi is one who has nothing corrosive around his heart which he must keep clean and clear with no interference .

The aim and objective of Sufism is the purification one's inner and outerself by which one can become aware of his creator at all times and to attain his nearness and divine proximity.

  • Outer Purification - To cleanse oneself from impurities which according to “Shariah” makes one impure.

  • Inner Purification - firstly to repent for one's sins and to purify one's innerself from things which make the heart rotten such as; Pride, Hatred Jealousy etc.

The knowledge of Shariah is important for those who adopt this path. As Hazrat Imam Malik (radi Allahu anhu ) states :

" ONE WHO HAS INDULGED IN GAINING KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT TASAWWUF IS A HERETIC, THE ONE WHO HAS INDULGED IN TASAWWUF WITHOUT GAINING KNOWLEDGE IS A MAJOR SINNER AND, THE ONE WHO HAS INDULGED IN BOTH TOGETHER HAS ACHIEVED ONE'S GOAL ."

 

To adopt this path it is compulsory for one to be under the giudance of a Spiritual Guide or a Murshid who is qualified in this field. It is very dangerous and difficult to adopt this path without any guidance.

 

NB:  Tasawwuf as you can now see, is not a type of  new “ bidat ”or a cult where intoxicants are used to make people feel that they are in some state of ecstacy .. Allah forbid !

Sufi's were highly spiritualised people who ruled and still rule over the hearts of people therefore one see's that all types of people ranging from the very wealthy to the very poor flocking to their Khanqha's and Mazaar's  because in their presence everyone is equal and people find peace and tranquility in their company.

 

Basically SUFISM consists of:      a)  Shariat
  b)  Tariqat
  c)  Haqiqat
  d)  Marifat
   
Success on this road depends on three degrees of faith.
* Ilm-ul-Yaqeen  - knowledge of belief eg. knowing about fire.
* Ain-ul-Yaqeen - To witness what one believes eg. To know about fire by seeing its flames and light
* Haqq-ul-Yaqeen - To experience ones belief eg. To feel the fire and feeling its burning capabilities.
 

Each degree of faith showing itself through the Shariat which is the road, Tariqat which is the journey on this road, Haqeeqat which is the destination, and Marifat which is the secret which is revealed upon arriving at the destination.

All are dependent on one another like a bird which is dependent on its wings for flight.   There is no such thing that Shariat is one form and Tariqat is another.  Both are linked to one another.

This relationship can be described as follows using a circle as an example:  The circumference is the Sharia, the center is the Marifa' and the radius proceeding from the circumference to the center represents the Tariqat.  The Sufi Masters especially those of the SHADHILIYAH SUFI ORDER often use this example to explain this concept.

 

a) Shariat - This is the divine and sacred law of Islam. It makes one distinguish between RIGHT  and WRONG, between HALAAL and HARAAM
b) Tariqa` - This is the beautification of the Sharia' whereby whatever one has understood in Sharia' is made firm in one's heart under strict spiritual discipline.  In this stage one has to have complete trust in Allah and also have lots of patience in whatever condition Allah keeps him in.This is the stage where one's soul is cleansed to receive Allah's divine attributes.
c) Haqiqat - This is the zenith of Spiritual Perfection.  In this stage the attributes of Allah begins to  manifest itself in one's self.
d) Marifat -  This is the goal to recognise our creator (Allah ), or to become God-conscious in every state and action.  In this state, there is no "time-space".Here only purity exists and only the pure can come close to Allah. In this state the Salik does not forget that he is still a servant and no matter how high he may progress spiritually he still remains the created and Allah the Creator. This state cannot be expressed through our very limited human faculties.


Golden Jaali around the Sacred Grave of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (R.A.)

REFERENCES:

  • English translation of the Holy Qur'an from the Urdu Translation of IMAM AHMED RAZA KHAN (Radi Allahu Anhu)

  • SIRRUL ASRAR by Hazrat Ghouse Azam Sheikh ABDUL QADIR JILANI (Radi Allahu Anhu)

  • KASHFUL MAHJOOB by Hazrat DATA GANJ-E-BAKSH (Radi Allahu Anhu)

  • THE BIG FIVE OF INDIA by WD Begg

  • SULTAN BAHU - A SPIRITUAL BIOGRAPHY by Faqir SAEED ALI Sarwari Qadri (Radi Allahu Anhu)

  • IDEALS AND REALITIES OF ISLAM by SAYED HOSSEIN NASR

 

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