Posted by: Dawud Israel | September 17, 2008

Sufism IS Ramadan


I’ve talked in the past about Sufism but not a heckuva lot of detail as to how it is done etc. Most people are probably conjuring up images of spinning people or other weird things.

But in reality, Sufism is, in a nutshell everything that is Ramadan; everything that characterizes Ramadan as a time of worship is exactly what Sufism is about.

As Ramadan starts you find yourself fasting and struggling. And while you are at it, you pray on time (especially Fajr) and you recite Quran and pray taraweeh. You really begin to feel the deen don’t you?
And then as you keep going, it gets easier for you to keep a fast. But that is exactly when the amount of worship you do goes up–Lailutul Qadr nears and you find yourself worshiping more and more in those last 10 days.

Now think about all that…only for every single day of the year and for the rest of your life…constant worship and constantly increasing how much ibadah you make. And once more doing so in areas besides worship (recite Quran, dhikrs, fasting, duas, etc.) such as observing proper adab, taking care of the poor, doing dawah through your actions.

Now, people think of these things as “labors” or “chores” and that is why people don’t pray 5 times always. But among Sufis, they will keep striving and they will feel those spiritual highs you feel. And just like how we increase the worship for Lailutul Qadr, so do Sufis continually increase their ibadah and enhance their spiritual life until karamat (miracles) manifest, and yet even then, they continue to increase their worship.

And in a nutshell that is it–doing more, continually doing more and more ibadah, what we call excelling or excellence, which is called Ihsaan, the highest peak of faith. I used to not understand what was meant by “excellence” in this context but I think I do now.

So I think that really clarifies for people what Sufism truly is. There are no magical shortcuts, just a great deal of worship and a great deal of perseverance. And when a person becomes beloved to Allah, He gives gifts to them in the form of miracles and there is no denying there lofty status. And that is what makes them unique–they are different from other people, even other shaykhs and so they are referred to as Sufis or Awliya and that is why Allah mentions them in the Quran alongside the Prophets (ex: Maryam, the mother of Jesus alayhim salam). And that is what characterizes the first Sufis and what characterizes true Sufis from mere imitators.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.


  1. Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

    Your description sounds like a pious Muslim to me… meaning, I am not sure why there needs to be a special term “Sufi”. But Alhamdulillah, I am not bothered by a label, as long as the action behind it is what truly pleases Allah.

    May Allah make us amongst His Awliya. Ameen!

  2. Wa aleikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!


    It goes more than just a pious Muslim…when this person is constantly fasting or doing things that even the sincere practicing Muslims wouldn’t be able to do than there is a distinction that is made.

  3. Also ask yourself, what other way could there possibility be to Allah other than striving with good works?


  4. Salamun Aleykum,

    According to scholar Yasir Qadhi, in his video:

    He states that a person who is constantly aware of Allah or striving to do good for the sake of Allah alone is knows as a Muhsin.

    A Muhsin is someone who basically has ihsan.

    A Muhsin is one level above a Mo’min.

    A Mo’min is someone who has Imaan.


  5. interesting post..

    so what is the difference between a sufi and a pious person.. or is it the same thing?

    Meaning.. if you are a sufi then you are a pious muslim and if you are a pious muslim then you are a sufi? is that true?

  6. Pious yeah…but just even more and more intense level then that. Everything is part of it, not just this or that small thing- think of the small nuances you think of day-to-day with Muslims and those things that make you wonder or uncomfortable- those little things relating to adab and just how you behave…these are the things that mark a blessed individual- you would never have heard them speak before, but just being in their mere presence overwhelms your heart.

    After all, the first people to be called Sufis were nothing more than ultra-pious individuals who strived day in day out for years and years- constantly doing more and more. No secrets to it. The hard route is the only route. Muslims have this idea that there is a way to get around it or an easy route, but they are deluded who believe this- there is no shortcut and there is no deceiving Allah.

    Think Imam Shafi rahimullah reciting the Quran 60 times in ramadan (reciting it in a short period is permitted in the blessed days) and you get an idea as to what what I am taking about. Or how Imam Ahmad was visited by Jibril alayhi salam. And then think about how these same Imams wouldn’t run around boasting arrogantly that they were blessed with these experiences- they are only given to those types of people who take care in those matters of adab and piety.

  7. Aslam walekum, Thanks for the extraordinary knowledge about Sufism.
    But in many outskirts parts of India, I have found many people used to take Marijuana and other drugs addicts near Dargah Sharif. They feel that by doing so, they remain mentally void to build concentration on Allah.
    I have another question which every other religion taunts of my religion that Allah ordered us to have 4 wives and our own Prophet pbuh married 7 wives, out of which Ayesha pbuh was merely 7-9 years old. Why does he married a child?
    Another question, Quran took many years to compile, what is the authencity of Quran if it was compiled by other person?
    Whether Allah pbuh ordered us to have division of Shiah and Sunni, why do shiah and sunni fight with each other?
    Why there are different scholars of Muslim? Why their teaching is different from other teaching where its clearly stated we all are brothers.
    I firmly believe in Allah. There is no threshold energy which departs me from HIM.

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