Posted by: Dawud Israel | May 29, 2008

The Salafi Sufi

EXTRA NOTE: I seem to get a lot of hits for this article, but this is an old one, when I was still learning about things. Since then, I’ve learned more and built off of this article. See the following posts in addition to this:

Shaykh Suhaib Webb on “Salafi-Sufis”

Sufi Ijtihad of Ibn Taymiyyah

Sufism in the Hadith

NOTE: This is going to be a very sensitive and controversial topic. The only reason I touch upon it is because I know that now it is dying down and people are more receptive to it. This is a result of Muslims becoming more and more serious about learning Islam and understanding that the more they learn, the more and more they realize they know.

Additionally, I want people to get comfortable with the Sufi tradition as I will be discussing more and more about it in the future. This post will be heavily moderated.

People have a tendency to think these two are diametrically opposed. But the truth is quite the opposite.

As you know, Salafis are known for following the Fiqh us-Sunnah (the “correct” position which is a very recent creation) or sometimes one of the 4 schools of Fiqh (how-tos), their Aqidah (theology) is against Kalam (Islamic philosophy) and sticks to what the Prophet SAAWS taught, and lastly they reject Tasawwuf (Sufism). And then the Sufi follows one of the 4 schools of Fiqh (how-tos), their Aqidah (theology) is that of a certain school of Kalam (Islamic philosophy), and they are murids (students or disciples) in a Sufi Tariqa (or an Order and there are many of them). Fair enough?

But what happens when you mix the two…?

If you check out at Riyada Nafs blog . There are a bunch of other discussions as well but I’m going to focus on the Salafi-Sufi controversy in the interest of throwing new light and dispelling misconceptions.

A few facts that may surprise you:

-The shaykh of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab rahimullah (who basically started modern day Salafi) was an Ashari Naqshbandi Sufi from India, Shaykh Muhammad Haya al-Sindhi rahimullah who introduced the works of Ibn Taymiyyah rahimullah. May Allah’s mercy be on all of them.

-Sufism (Tasawwuf) was never opposed by Sh. Wahhab rahimullah, only certain practices that were shirk were opposed. In other words, the same things the Sufis disagreed with, so did Sh. Wahhab. Although, Sh. Wahhab was not a Sufi, the students who studied with him under Sh. al-Sindhi were all Sufis.

Now, let’s take it a bit further back and look at Ibn Taymiyyah rahimullah.


(Ibn Taymiyyah’s unmarked grave is tucked away amidst some administrative buildings of Damascus University near Baramkeh (Syria) surrounded by weeds and garbage. 😦 )

-People have thought of Ibn Taymiyyah to be a Salafi figure but this has been disputed. The reason Salafis love him is because he speaks harshly of Kalam and certain acts of Tasawwuf (Ibn Arabi rahimullah for example). But his main message called for a return to the Quran and Sunnah. Sufis love him because he returned to the roots of Islam and because they believe he was a Sufi and this is another topic of debate. If it is true than we find that his Fiqh was Hanbali, Aqidah was “Salafi” (reject Kalam) but he was quite possibly a Sufi of the Qadiri Tariqah order.

And as far as we can go back.

The masjid of Abdullah Ansari in Herat, Afghanistan

-Ibn Taymiyyah rahimullah was strongly influenced by and followed Shaykul Islam Abdullah Ansari rahimullah. Ansari was of Hanbali Fiqh (like Ibn Tayymiyah), a very passionate “Salafi” in Aqidah delivering khutbahs against Kalam, and a well-known and respected Qadiri Sufi. Ibn Taymiyyah’s student, Ibn Qayyim rahimullah wrote a book which was a commentary on a work of Abdullah Ansari rahimullah. Ibn Qayyim named his book Madarij us-Salikeen. And this book is studied today in AlMaghrib’s class “A Heart Serene”.

OK so why’d I write this all out?

1) People do not know about this and get dragged into the hullabaloo of bashing this group or another.
2) Salafi and Sufis are essentially one in the same and you CAN have people in the middle.
3) There ARE people in the middle–there are Salafis who are Sufis and do not fall into these neat groupie categories.
4) At some point we all WILL become one in the Ummah even with the differences between groups simply because we are all linked as this post demonstrates.
5) How the scholars were accepting of different viewpoints.
6) The Salafi perception of Tasawwuf is more accepting than people believe.

There are countless more points where it becomes clear that Tasawwuf is an inseparable part of Islam–mainly from the fact that the scholars of Islam have overwhelmingly been Sufis and the majority of Islamic work has historically been done by Sufis. If a person is going to dismiss Tasawwuf–then they might as well dismiss the Islam that has been practiced for over 1400 years! Also this is important to know because when tasawwuf is dismissed–one compromises their adaab (manners) and becomes more susceptible to psychological problems such as depression, negativity and over-critiquing others until they are left alone. This is not to say that you MUST be in a Sufi Tariqah, however simply to point out that dismissing Sufism as a whole as haraam or bida–is nothing short of ignorant. There are bidas and mistakes in Sufism–just as there are mistakes in the study of Hadith but that does not mean we dismiss it–we correct it instead. People think showing a few videos of Sufis doing strange things is sufficient proof when in fact this is not even touching the iceberg. Simply put, Sufism is too intertwined with Islam for us to dismiss it.

There is plenty more to discuss but the take home message is the more you learn about the deen the more you realize you know very little. People will call out “bida!” when in fact the truth is they have not come across the relevant Islamic literature and it is, in fact, something the Prophet SAAWS himself encouraged. Insha Allah, He will make us among the knowledgeable.

And a hadith reminder to remind people who comment of adab (manners) :
On the authority of Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet SAAWS said:

“Four traits whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses some of them has an element of hypocrisy until he leaves it: the one who when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, when he disputes he transgresses and when he makes an agreement he violates it.”
(Muslim and Bukhari)

To learn more about this check out the link to Jinnzaman’s blog and check out this book


Responses

  1. it’s not controversial. it’s just you dont understand what salafi is. this is not being salafi in any way shape or form, as this is not the way and manhaj of as-salaf as-saalih.

  2. The following is a fatwa on Sufism from Islamtoday.com–they are Salafi, based in Saudi Arabia and are more balanced in their rulings. Shaykh Salman Al-Oudah who runs Islamtoday has been called, “The Daiee of Saudi Arabia”–something which I agree with! 🙂

    I am going to emphasize certain things. The italics is my commentary.

    You may be interested in our general fatwâ about Sufism:

    By Sheik Dr. `Ali b. al-Zahrânî

    Professor at Umm al-Qurâ University

    Sufism has many different sects. Fundamentally, they are innovators both in there origin and name. They are not complying with Qur’ân, Sunnah and the way the Companions used to practice at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and thereafter. The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against this when he said: “Whoever innovated in our religion something new then it is rejected” and said: “Whoever does something innovated then it is rejected.”

    There is no doubt that the rites of Sufism and its different ways never existed at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor were they known to the Companions, in spite of the Sufis’ efforts to attribute them to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Companions.

    In this concern, we say whatever we find of good, righteousness, true remembrance of Allah, piety and devotion in Sufism is more evident in pure Islam and therefore, Sufism is therefore superfluous. We should be satisfied with what the people of the first, most preferable centuries were satisfied with.

    Their is indeed good in Sufism and this is acknowledged which many will find suprising. “Superfluous” is not equivalent to being forbidden and notice nowhere has the word haraam (forbidden) been explicitly said. In fact, Sufis are still present in Saudi Arabia today.

    Conversely, whatever Sufism contains of innovations, falsehood and extremisms should be immediately abandoned.

    This is something that Sufis and Salafis share common ground on.

    This is the general saying on Sufism. On the individual level, the ruling will be different from one person to another and from one Sufî approach (tarîqah) to another. There are some devoted men in Sufism who are pious and righteous in spite of the fact that they also have some innovations. There are some extremists who could be classified as unbelievers if they believe in some false creeds.

    There is not enough research on individual Tariqahs and so naturally people make the stereotype that ALL Sufism is haraam, when in fact it is acknowledged and known that this is not the case. Additionally, bida (innovations) does not necessarily mean they are sinners–but can also mean they are pious.

  3. Assalamualaykum Wah Rahmatullahi Wah Baraktuh,

    First of all I am quite impressed with your courage in facing this matter upfront and opening a sort of pandora’s box of debate that for a long time (from what I’ve seen) hasn’t been debated properly with real facts rather than opinions.

    ~-~

    A process that has made my life extremely simple is to question any doubt (whether it is in Islam – or life in general). One of two things will always happen:

    a) You will find a very good answer – and your doubt will be gone. Your faith is strengthened and reinforced.

    b) You will not find a good answer – and your doubts will be confirmed. This leads you to a new philosophy, a new religion, a new life. Your faith in your new religion or way of life is strengthened and reinforced.

    Alhamdulillah I have never had to resort to b) in my life as a Muslim. This deen is complete and I always am eager to ask questions I have about the deen because I always get an amazing answer and I always comeback feeling I am so much closer to Allah SWT.

    I have to say that I also feel the same with what I have seen in orthodox Tassawuf. The only thing I have seen is an effort to get closer to Allah SWT and to purify the soul. People say that the practice of Tassawuf was never apparent in the times of the Prophet SAWS. Well what is Tassawuf?

    – to me it is the science of reaching Allah SWT with your soul.

    From my humble and limited knowledge of Islam, that sounds perfectly acceptable and something that should be encouraged. In fact sometimes it is encouraged by people who are so-called haters of Tassawuf. An example : the people who teach and give lectures about Khushoo (strengthening the prayer). This is just another part of Khushoo.

  4. Another thing, if an islamaphobe said a bunch of bad things about Islam, and you knew someone who was actually buying it, what would you say? You’d tell him/her to go to an actual masjid, and talk to actual muslims, to see what they really are. Well if you want to find out about sufism then go ahead and try to find a sufi:

    Shaykh Adul Husain Sattar is one of the leading teachers in the Tassawuf science of Islam in America and has an amazing website called SacredLearning (http://www.sacredlearning.org/).

    He has amazingly deep lectures in his Weekly Dhikr podcast which you can see here:

    http://www.sacredlearning.org/podcasts/index.htm

    (you can also get instant access to the from the radio player of an islamic toolbar at waterloomsa.ourtoolbar.com)

    I humbly ask anyone here to go ahead and listen to one of these 5-10 minute lectures and see for yourself from a Tassawuf point of view and not a biased and prejudiced viewpoint, of what Tassawuf really is – and if in your heart you really think that those who follow Tassawuf are those who disbelieve. I think if you are objective and fair and logical, you will find that this representation of Tassawuf is not only in complete submission to Islamic principles – but also a major Islamic science that has been a large factor in the spread of Islam for the past 1400 years.

    To name a few Fruits Of Islam who practices Tassawuf (some of whom were initially had their doubts about it) are : Al Ghazali (one of the renowned top 5 thinkers of the world), Allama Iqbal (practically founded Pakistan the country which at one time had the most muslims in the world, which after the WestPakistan-EastPakistan separation has the 4th largest Muslim population in the world.)

    Just A Thought

  5. Uh oh.

  6. This is just a general question/thinking out-loud moment:

    Why can’t people just be Muslim? I mean, I know division and labeling is not a Muslim issue, that it’s a human one. But imagine how much simpler things could be, and how much it could help uniting people together even when they prescribe to schools of thought/follow different scholars etc. Today’s biggest fad is nationality + Muslim i.e. “I am an American Muslim” as if being American adds something, deserves to be put in front of Muslim.

    Let’s take Ibn Taymiyyah’s background as an example for Joe Muslim. “Yeah, bro, I’m an Arab Hanbali Salafi-Sufi in the Qadiri Tariqah.”

    Maybe I am just being idealist, but it’s like those labels, in a sense, put up barriers. Like look at the fighting that happened between Hanafis and Shafi’is as if they were actual sects!

    For the Sufi argument (that it’s a natural part of Islam representing ihsan), it seems like the logical thing to not need to say, “I am a Sufi Muslim.” I think once people go, “I’m a Sufi” the impression is that they go beyond what is natural and expected and into the realm of shirk and lala-hood because isn’t every Muslim that is trying to be true to Islam by working on their spirituality? Even die-hard Salafis that I’ve met do things that have been traditionally in the realm of Sufis, just that they’re more private rather than collective (as in dhikr alone than in a group).

    • you are 100% correct, sufis who have hatred for other sects are not sufi’s. sufi”s should love all muslims, that is the definition of sufism

  7. First of all I’d like to say I am so jealous that you have these amazing Al-maghrib classes coming your way! We in Memphis are having such a slow down.

    Anyway, I’d like to agree with Raza and say why do we need to call ourselves these different names? The prophet called himself Muslim and thats what I am too. I understand the hatred coming out of people when they reject Sufism, at least from where I am sitting.

    I’ve research a lot of the India/Pakistan.. “Desi” side of things and yes when people call themselves “Sufi” AND they do things such as grave worship and ritual dancing and incessant chanting…one begins to wonder if they even know what Sufi means.

    Isn’t Sufism the study of spiritually and how to connect the heart with Allah?

    As far as calling myself a Sufi and Salafi makes no sense to me because true understanding of both of these sets of beliefs is a Muslim understanding.

  8. @ Raza that’s the problem isn’t it – Muslims are plagued with the attitude of “My Way Or The Highway”.

    It’s because of arrogance and pride that we don’t sit down and even consider that we actually maybe wrong once in a while.

    Once the priority of proving yourself right is of more value to you then seeking the truth – you are stuck in a dark place where you can’t grow. You are like a tree that cannot grow it’s branches because it has been blocked away from the light, that light is represented by the ability of mankind to learn.

  9. Alhamdulillah good thoughts.

    The “Just Muslim” doesn’t work because sooner or later differences arise. Unity is valueless if we don’t have differences to overcome and learn to respect.
    In fact, we assume that the best way is if we all agree completely and this is one of shaytaans tricks to bog us down–there is no proof on these sorts of things as even at the Prophet SAAWS time, people differed in certain issues. Some recited the Quran a little differently and the Prophet SAAWS accepted that too or even at times Umar (ra) would interject saying he thinks the Prophet SAAWS is wrong and should consider another decision and yes, at times he was correct. This is what being human and Muslim is all about.

    Perhaps as time goes on things will begin to boil down to the same Islam of the Prophet SAAWS. But for now, get accustomed to the notion of classical Sufism (not necessarily that of today).

  10. Thats true the “just Muslim” really doesnt work.
    An example of that is my community here. I never ever noticed it before till i got invovled with a certian institute, all of the sudden people are questioning me if i knew about the 4 madhabs. People thinking am salafi when Allah only knows i didnt know what that meant then.

  11. We are Muslims

    We know the importance of having the correct intentions and a purrified heart. Tassawuf helps you to do that, which in return allows you to develop a Allah fearing concious.

    E.g. The Salah is a good action, but what if i were to say that it was bad? Surely you wuld say he is a mad man, well if someone reads his prayer and he prays so others notice him and he is ‘showing off’ this is a minor shirk and we know how much this is absolutley hated by Allah and his Messenger has warned us about this.

    Again giving charity, what a great action yes agree, what if the person is giving it to show his wealth and show the people look at me i am a great man.

    We know what the Prophet told us about people dying in the cause of Allah and really having the intention of doing so that the people would say he was a martyr etc etc.

    So having the correct intention, a good heart is what Tassawuf teaches. But it is important to remember what Imam Malik R.A said ‘ Tassawuf with understanding of the religion can lead you strayu and understanding of the rewligion without tassawuf the same’

    I hope this has helped

    Saam ali kum

    Peace

    The Madhabs remember are same in belief in aqidah, just the law, fiqh which are derived from the Quran and Sunnah but have slightly different interperations.

    Go to the library and look at the law section it is huge, this religion is the religion of Islam and the Islamic law is huge and the Madhabs just make it easy.

    E.g. you live in the UK you move to Egypt, you get married after five years you file for a divorce. Now Egypt is goverend bu the Shaffi madhab so the divorce procedure which is in allign with the Quran and Sunnah, will carry out the divorce procedure in the shafi interperation of it which again remember are from The Quran and Sunnah.

    You are in the UK hanafi is the majority so the islamic legalislation (sp) will be carried out according to the Hanafi Madhab so you follow that.

    You live in Morocco it is the Maliki Madhab, so you go with that and so on. It is important to remember that all of them are in compliance with the Quran and Sunnah and slightly differ in interperation. Thats it. It’s a school of thought.

  12. are you sure you go this right:

    But it is important to remember what Imam Malik R.A said ‘ Tassawuf with understanding of the religion can lead you strayu and understanding of the rewligion without tassawuf the same’

    Why would Tassawuf with knowledge of religon lead you astray?

  13. I should point out that Ibn Arabi is the most controversial figure in Islam or at least one of the top 5…whether he was a kaafir or wali of Allah is up in the air.

    Imam Nawawi (rahimullah) among others decided to remain silent about Ibn Arabi and whether he was indeed a kaafir or too close to Allah that few could understand him. My opinion is the same.

  14. So here’s something new i found out:

    Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab (RA) Said about At-Tareeqah as-Soofiyyah:

    And we do not reject at-Tareeqah as-Soofiyyah, and the purification of the inner self from the evil qualities of disobedience to Allaah connected to the heart and the limbs, as long as the person abides by the laws of the Sharee’ah and the correct methodology. And we do not try to come up with lengthy justifications for any aberrancies in his statements or actions.
    And we do not depend on, ask for help from, seek victory from, or place our trust in all of our affairs except upon Allaah ta’aalaa, for He is Sufficient for us, and what an Excellent Trustee; an Excellent Master and an Excellent Helper. And may Allaah bless Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

    Source: Ad-Durar as-Saniyyah fee al-Ajwibah an-Najdiyyah
    iisca.org/articles.htm

  15. Dawud: So ok, your telling me about how bad Sufis are.
    Bilal: Yes, they are straying from Islam.
    Dawud: Ok well then I have one question: If Sufis are so bad and they are so evil and all, then why doesn’t Saudi Arabia ban them? Why are there still many Sufis living in Saudi Arabia?
    Bilal: Uhhhh. I gotta go.

    🙂

  16. […] P.S. I like how he used the word Salafi Sufis, which I wrote about before. […]

  17. […] because it echoes my previous discussion on tasawwuf and misconceptions of it. See here and here for those. And it proves beyond any doubt that he was a proponent of tasawwuf -in the way of the […]

  18. Imam Malik (RA) puts it well when he said: “He who learns jurisprudence and neglects Tasawwuf becomes a reprobate; and he who learns Tasawwuf and neglects jurisprudence becomes an
    apostate. But he who combines both will reach the Truth”.

    “Before asking what is Sufism, we should ask what is Religion.”

    “Religion (al-dîn) is an orchard of which the fence is the Law (al-sharî`a),
    the inner grove is the Path (al-tarîqa), and the fruit is the Reality
    (al-haqîqa). Whoever has no Law has no Religion; whoever has no Path has no
    Law; and whoever has no Reality has no Path … ”

  19. What complete and utter rubbish. I can clearly see our deen being unravelled piece by piece through articles like this. Honestly, how low will American Muslims keep stooping with their shameless liberalism.

    And to see people defending the clear cut shirk and kufr of Ibn ‘Arabi also??

    WAllahul Mus’taan.

  20. Read through it. Jinnzaman’s blog was removed by another brother had a more detailed article which I have linked.

    Overwhelming majority of ulema have practiced Tasawwuf and still do, even if only in private. That does NOT mean, everyone has to become a Sufi, but just learn about your brothers.

    Scholars have always differed on Ibn Arabi, and no, I don’t touch on that here because it’s beyond me and is too complicated an issue for myself.

  21. I’ m a young european interested in Islam.

    I can say that as usual salafis are presented as extremists ( I ‘ m not saying that they are extremists but only that they are presented as they were ).

    It is a very stimulating topic as I would like to know the mutual influences between Sufism and mainstream or “official” Islam.

    Thank You…

  22. Giovanni:

    You should take a read of the links at the beginning of this post. Those posts will help detail much more to you.

    May Allah bless you and aid you, Ameen.
    Your welcome

  23. another balanced article on the topic below:

    Is Sufism Islamic? – Ahmad Kutty
    “Not everything that goes under the name of Sufism is considered Islamic, just as not everything that goes under the name of Fiqh (jurisprudence) can be considered as authentic or proper Fiqh. In order to judge something as Islamic, it must be judged and weighed by the well-established criteria and standards of Shari`ah as enshrined in the Book and the Sunnah. Thus if a certain Sufi practice or custom is opposed to the prescribed criteria of the Shari`ah as enshrined in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, it shall be judged as un-Islamic; if, however, it agrees with these criteria it shall be judged as perfectly Islamic. Outstanding Muslim scholars have divided Sufism into two broad categories in order to determine its compatibility or non-compatibility with the Shari`ah. Firstly, genuine and authentic Sufism, which is undoubtedly in perfect agreement with the Book, the Sunnah, and the practices of Salaf As-Salih (early righteous Muslims). Tasawwuf of Sufi masters such as Junyad Al-Baghdadi, Abu Sulayman Al-Darani, etc. belong to this category of authentic and genuine Tasawwuf. Secondly, pseudo-Sufism which includes those who uphold and advocate cultic practices or customs that are contrary to the Sunnah, as well as those who have mixed Sufism with speculative Mysticism/Neo-Platonism, and thus dabble in metaphysical theories about cosmos, emanations, etc. Both these groups are charlatans and impostors. While the former invent new forms of `Ibadah (acts of worship) that are not sanctioned by the Law-giver, the latter mix philosophy with religion and blur the essential distinction between the Creator and creation, which is the basis of Prophetic religion. There is no doubt that indulgence in such forms of Sufism takes humans away from their true purpose and mission in life which is to do God’s will on earth. These pseudo-Sufis turn the goal of human life into contemplation of mysteries of the universe; it is contrary to the Qur’anic definition of the purpose of human existence. It is because of the real dangers inherent in such aberrations, and deviations that the early Sufi masters tirelessly preached the importance of weighing everything by the firm yardstick of the Shari`ah: Abu Al-Qasim Al-Junayd, one of the genuine masters of authentic Tasawwuf, said, “The essence of Tawhid (monotheism) is to distinguish the eternal from the temporal”; he also said, “Whoever does not retain the Qur’an, nor studies the Hadith cannot be trusted in this matter (Tasawwuf) since our knowledge is bound solely by the teachings of the Book and the Sunnah.” Abu Sulayman Ad-Darani said, “Often one of the insights of the Sufi folk occurs to me and yet I do not accept it until I examine it by the testimony of the two of the most reliable witnesses: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.” According to an eminent scholar, “Authentic Tasawwuf is at once a cognitive and practical discipline of souls, curing of diseases of hearts, implanting of virtues, and purging souls off their vices and carnal desires, and training in patience, contentment and obedience to Allah; it is struggle against the carnal soul, and combating its base inclinations and meticulous scrutiny of actions and non-actions, and guarding souls against the invasions and influx of heedlessness and vain thoughts, and severing off all hindrances and obstacles that hinder and hamper one’s journey to Allah; it is asceticism in everything
    that distracts a person from celebrating remembrance of Allah and make one’s hearts focused on it. It is knowledge of Allah and conviction in Him, affirming His Oneness and glorifying Him, and turning wholly unto Him, and turning away from everything else; it is to be solely focused entirely on worshipping and obeying Allah, and compliance with His limits, and acting according to His Shari`ah, and exposing oneself to the graces and gifts that Allah vouchsafes to His chosen servants as a sheer sign of His grace and mercy.” Another scholar said, “Tasawwuf is to adorn oneself with every noble traits of character and to shun every base one.” Or, stated differently, “It is to examine one’s states and cling to noble manners.” When defined in this way Tasawwuf is not only an authentic Islamic discipline but the quintessence of Islam as an experiential reality.” Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.muslims.ca

    • And another:

      What is the view of Islam on sufism? – Salem Al-Hasi
      Tasawuf (sufism) is a subject of the greatest dispute and debate among Muslims. Many Muslim scholars went to the extreme in denouncing it to the extent that they considered it as bid’ah (unauthentic acts of worship, which were not in Qur’an or sunna(example of the Prophet(pbuh)). To these scholars, tasawuf has no root in the Nobel Qur’an or in the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh). On the other hand, a large number of renowned scholars defended tasawuf and considered it as one of the important disciplines of Islamic teachings. One can find countless opinions, which consider sufis as kafirs (non-believers) or mubtade’een (those who apply bid’ah) and not part of the Muslim ummah (nation). On the other end, one can also find countless opinions stating that tasawuf is the right path for self- purification (tazkiya). I personally adhere to the opinion of Ibn Taymiyah on this matter, which states: “A great dispute occurred regarding sufism. A group of Muslims extremely denounced sufis and sufism and said sufis are mubtade’een and are out of the sunna (the traditions) of the Prophet (pbuh). This opinion was adopted by a large number of imams (Islamic scholars) and transmitted later by people of fiqh (law) and people of ‘ilmu al-kalam (theology). Another group went too far in defending sufis and sufism. They claimed that sufis are the best among people and the most complete after prophets and messengers. Both extreme opinions should not be acceptable. The right opinion should be that sufis are Muslims whom are striving hard to obey Allah (swt) like other Muslims who strive to obey Allah (swt) as well. Among the sufis there are those who are foremost in their good deeds, through their striving, and are near Allah and those who follow a middle course of striving. Also, among the two kinds of sufis there are those who do right and those who do wrong, and among them those who commit sin and repent, and those who commit sin and do not repent. And it happened that some people claimed affiliation with sufism who were innovators and deviant Muslims. These people, al-Hallaj for instance, are rejected and denounced by the renowned scholars of sufism such as Al-Junaid Ibn Muhammad, the master of the sufis, and others.” (Refer to Majmu’atu al-Fatawa of Ibn Taymiyah, Vol. 11) This was the opinion of Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah about sufism, which I believe is the most reasonable and logical opinion about this subject matter. Moreover, all scholars, sufis and non-sufis, agreed that any religious practice that contradicts or has no root in the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) is not acceptable, according to Islam. Also, they agreed that the only sufism, which is acceptable is the one that is guided and fits within the right ‘aqidah (creed) of Islam. Sufism in this sense means a hard striving in purifying the soul and a hard striving to win the blessing of Allah (swt). Among many scholars, including sufi scholars, the only acceptable sufism is the one that is continuously guided by the right ‘aqidah (creed), aims to purify one’s soul (tazkiyah), and adheres to the teachings of the shari’a (Islamic law). This type of sufism is not only acceptable, but encouraged by many well known scholars. It was reported that Imam Malik once said: ‘He who practice tasawuf (sufism) without learning shari’a corrupts his deen (faith), while he who learns shari’a without practicing tasawuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.’
      Allah knows best Wa salaam

  24. Wy dont u call ur selfs only muslims…. In quran has Allah told us to call ourselves salafi, sufi or some thing else….?

  25. Im a muslimah.

    I learn from the salaf.
    I have problems in the qalb.I desire to have a spiritual mentor.
    I respect the madhabs.I dont mind following their fiqh.
    I love the sahabas . I read their interpretations.

    My wish is spiritual victory i.e Allah’s love.

    Im a muslimah.No other names for me.

  26. as a student of tassawuf brother i commend i have gained some knowledge i didn;t have at first. could you post this page on my facebook link just type muhammad zulqarnain tijani

  27. who get the credit as the first to coin the term- salafi sufi?
    i would prefer the sufi salafi, chronologically the former comes first in history… just a humble opinion


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