Contents > Chapter 1: Overview and Background > The Definition and Reality of Sufism



The Definition and Reality of Sufism

The Deobandis claim that Sufism is just another name for Tazkeyyatun-Nafs (purification of the soul) and Ihsan (the highest stage of Eemaan). Moulana Muhammad Maseehullah Khan, a Khalifah (successor) of Moulana Ashraf Alee Thanvi states, “It’s (Sufism) function is to purify the heart from the lowly bestial attributes of lust, calamities of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy, love of this world, love for fame, niggardliness, greed, vanity, deception, etc.”[1]

 

And, as such, they claim that Sufism does not contradict the Sharee’ah (Islamic Regulation), rather “It is incumbent for every Muslim to become a Sufi. Without Sufism, a Muslim cannot be described as a perfect Muslim”[2] It is also claimed that a Sufi is someone who strictly adheres to the Sunnah and the Sharee’ah.

 

But in reality, Sufism is far from the above description. Purification of the soul and curing the heart from its sicknesses is part of the religion of Islam and is completely explained by Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam).

 

“Purification of the Soul” as Moulana Muhammad Maseehullah Khan further explains is just the first part of the journey of Sufism, and it is referred as journey towards Allah.[3] The next part of this journey is called – ‘The journey into Allah’, and “In this high stage of spiritual development, matters pertaining to the Thaat (Being of Allah), Sifaat (Attributes of Allah), Af’aal (Acts of Allah), Haqaaiq (realities) as well as relationships between Allah and His servants become manifest.”[4]

 

And thus, everything is manifest to the Sufi and nothing is hidden from him. He accomplishes this by either exaggerating in prescribed forms of worship or indulging in innovative forms of worship. This is the real face of Sufism!


 


[1] Shariat and Tasawwuf p.11.

[2] Shariat and Tasawwuf p.11. Some also go to the extent of saying that the Messenger of Allah and his Sahabah were nothing but Soofis. Especially the group of students who resided in the Prophet’s Mosque – the Ashabus-Suffah.

[3] Shariat and Tasawwuf p.112.

[4] Shariat and Tasawwuf p.113.