Contents > Chapter 1: Overview and Background > Sufism is marred by un-Islamic beliefs and is an Ideology in itself


 

Sufism is marred by un-Islamic beliefs and is an Ideology in itself

Sufism is not just an emphasis on the purification of the soul but a complete ideology in itself and it is marred by un-Islamic concepts and philosophies like:-

 

1. The belief of Wahdat al-Wajood, which implies that the Creator (Allah) and the creation are one, and the creation is just the manifestation of the Creator.

2. The belief that the Prophets and the Sufi saints are alive in their graves, just as they were alive in this world. They are fully aware of the outside world; they can communicate with the living and help those who call upon them.

3. The spirits (Ruh) of the righteous comes back from the Barzakh.

4. Gross exaggeration in praising the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) whilst neglecting his (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) teachings in understanding the religion.

5. Total and complete obedience to a Sufi Shaikh.

6. Penance and living the lives of hermits are ways to get closer to Allah.

7. Some Majzoobs, who have reached the goal of Sufism, run the affairs of the creation.[1]

 

Extremist Sufis have even more deviated beliefs, but we limit our discussion to only those beliefs that are related to the Deobandis in this book.

 

S. R. Sharda comments in his book, ‘Sufi Thoughts’, “Sufi literature of the post-Timur period shows a significant change in thought content. It is pantheistic[2]. After the fall of Muslim orthodoxy from power at the center of India for about a century, due to the invasion of Timur, the Sufi became free from the control of the Muslim orthodoxy and consorted with Hindu saints, who influenced them to an amazing extent. The Sufis adopted Monism[3], Bhakti[4]and Yogic practices from the Vaishnava Vedantic schools. By that time, the Vedantic pantheism among the Sufis had reached its zenith.”

 

This observation by S. R. Sharda is correct, because eastern religions have a well-established and highly revered position for mysticism and abstinence, and Sufi beliefs are amazingly similar to them.

 

Sufi Masters like Ibn Arabee[5], who is greatly revered by the Deobandi scholars[6], believed that every religion has an element of truth in it. He considered the Pagan religions and idol-worshipers as followers of the truth because in his view, everything is Allah and since there is no difference between the Creator and the created, the worship of the creation is worship of the Creator. His belief as mentioned in al-Fatoohaatul-Makkiyah is: “The slave is the Lord and the Lord is the slave, I wish that I knew which was the one required to carry out the required duties, if I were to say that the servant then that is true, or if I were to say the Lord, then how can that be required for Him.”

 

Ibn Arabee says about the Sufis: “Sufi; the person with complete understanding is he, who sees every object of worship to be a manifestation of Truth (Allah) contained therein, for which it is worshiped. Therefore, they all call it a god, along with its particular name, whether it is a rock, or a tree, or an animal, or a person, or a star, or an Angel.”[7]

 

It is this lax attitude of the Sufis towards false religions that makes Sufism receptive to many false philosophies and un-Islamic beliefs. Following is a comparison of five concepts and beliefs of Eastern Pagan Religions as compared to Sufi practices.

 

1 - In Search of God

Hinduism and Buddhism claim to possess great books of wisdom inherited from the ancestors but instead of learning from these books, all of their philosophers and thinkers have to take up an essential journey to the wilderness... in search of God. The Sufis too, instead of referring to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah for guidance wander in forests in search of God. They seclude themselves from the society (Khilwah) for specific periods (Chillah), and examples of this are abundant in their books…

 

1. Moulana Zakariyah says: “He (Imdadullah Muhajir Makki) withdrew himself from the midst of people and wandered in the wilderness of Punjab, which became his home… He would refrain from eating for up to eight days. Not a grain would go down his throat in these periods of self-imposed starvation.”[8] (click to view the scanned image of the quote)

 

2. Moulana Zakariyah says: “A beggar (a Sufi master in disguise) chewed something, and gave Abdul Hadi to eat. As he ate the morsel, his state began to change. Shaikh Abdul Hadi developed a dislike for company and became claustrophobic in settlements. He would wander into the forest and spend most of his time there.”[9]

 

3. Moulana Zakariyah says: “Shaikh Ahmad Abdul Haqq Radoli was a person of ecstasy, and Uloom-e-Batiniyyah (inner knowledge) attracted him in full force. Even before completing his academic career, he adopted solitude and wandering in the forest.”[10]

 

2 - The Relationship between the Creator and the Creation

The Hindus, Buddhist and Jain religions unanimously agree on the concept that everything is the Creator (i.e. nothing exists other than God. The Creator and His creation are, in reality, one) and ultimately everything merges in Him (the Creator). This merging is basically the goal of worship in Hinduism and Buddhism, which is also known as ‘Moksha.’

 

These pantheistic views of the Hindus and Sufis are amazingly similar. If one reads books explaining Pantheism by the Hindus and the books of Sufis, one would hardly see any difference. We shall see this with ample proofs in Chapter 3: ‘Pantheism, Wahdat al-Wajood or Moksha.‘

 

3 - Abstinence is the Key to Piety and Wisdom

According to these religions; piety, wisdom and nearness to God is only possible when one devotes all his time in the wilderness and abandons the civilized world. Sadhus or hermits cause great hardships to themselves by practicing harsh acts of abstinence. They live without food for days to end until their bodies are reduced to just bones. Their devotional exercises include hanging upside down on the branches of trees for hours and sleeping on bed of nails. They meditate for long periods sitting without any movement in one position and hold their breaths for enormously long time.

 

Professor D. S. Sarma, the author of numerous Hindu books says: “The higher phase of self-control is detachment. We have not only to overcome what is evil in life but also to become independent of what is good. For instance, our domestic affections, our family ties, our love for home and friends are good in themselves. But, as long as, we are passionately attached to these earthly things, we are only on the lower rungs of the spiritual ladder.”[11]

 

The Sufis too believe in complete abstinence from worldly pleasures and deprive themselves of the blessings of Allah. It is mentioned in Irshaadul-Mulook, “According to some Sufiya, it has been learnt from experience that thirst is a deceptive desire. Therefore, whoever develops the habit of drinking less water at the time of thirst; Allah will quench his thirst until he gains the ability of abstaining from water for several months at a time. He will not even have the desire to drink water. Despite this, his physical health will not deteriorate in anyway whatsoever. His body will be sustained by the moisture acquired from the food he eats.”[12]

 

We find number of stories concerning wandering and starvation of their Shaikhs mentioned in their books,

 

1. “He (Khwaajah Abu Hubairah) loved solitude dearly. His entire life was spent in one room. He would cry so much that people thought he would die. He abandoned all delicious food.”[13]

 

2. “Khwaajah Shareef Zandani stayed in forest for 40 years, fleeing from people. He subsisted on the leaves of trees and whatever he could find in the forest. He loved poverty and starvation. He would break fast only after three days. When he ate food, it was only salt-less vegetables.”[14]

 

3. Khwaajah Uthmaan Haaruni adopted Mujahadah for 70 years, never eating to satiation (to satisfy fully or excess) in all this time. He would drink mouthful of water only after seven days.[15]

 

4. “Hazrat Faridud Deen’s Shaikh advised him (Faridud Deen) hunger for three days and then eat what comes from Ghayb (Unseen). After three days, nothing came. On account of extreme hunger Faridud Deen put some pebbles in his mouth, the pebbles turned into sugar; he spat them out. A short while later, he again put some pebbles in his mouth which too, became sugar. This happened again for the third time. When Faridud Deen informed his Shaikh of the incident, his Shaikh said: “It would have been good if you had ate it.”[16]

 

5. “Khwaajah ilw Mumshad Dinwari was a perpetual faster. It is said that even during his infancy he would sometimes abstain from drinking his mother’s milk. He is therefore called a born wali.”[17]

 

6. Moulana Zakariyah says: “It is said that Khwaajah Abu Ahmad Abdaal Chisti never slept on bed for 30 years.”[18]

 

4 - Meditation, Excessive Chanting and breath holding

Excessive chanting and breath-holding exercises are essential rituals of mysticism. This is generally done in solitude and for hours together. It is believed that such rituals enlighten the heart with knowledge and gives them miraculous powers.

 

The Sufis too have similar types of Dhikr…

Moulana Zakariyah says: “Hazrat Nizamuddin al-Umri was instructed by his Shaikh to recite ‘Allahu’ 90 times in a single breathe gradually increasing the number in accordance with his ability. Ultimately, he developed his ability to the extent of up to 400 times with a single breath.”[19]

 

The practice of heavy breathing, as in the Sufi Dhikr of inhaling whilst saying “La-ilaha” and then exhaling to create a loud and sharp voice saying ‘ill-lal-lah’ is seen in various oriental and eastern religions. Islam neither specifies breathing techniques as part of Ibaadah, nor sets any guidelines in this regard. This aspect of Sufism will be discussed further under, ‘Chapter 7: Worship in Islam.’
 

5 - The Concept of Eternal Life

Eastern mystics claim to have eternal life. No people would worship a mystic or depend upon him to avert evil, if he had no control over his own existence. The concept of death would imply that they could not avert harm or help the people. Thus, the concept of eternal life - as is also inscribed on the grave of Rajneesh, “Osho – Never Born, Never Died - Only visited this Planet, Earth between Dec 11-1931 to Jan 19-1990.”[20]

 

The Sufis consider their Shaikhs in the graves to be alive and in their senses. They consider them able to benefit their followers. Moulana Zakariyah quotes Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki in his book Mashaikh-e-Chist saying, “…The Faqir does not die. He is simply transformed from one abode to another. The same benefit which was received from the Faqir’s physical life will be acquired from his grave.”[21]

 

These abovementioned examples show the origins of the many deviated and un-Islamic concepts that the Sufis have borrowed from Pagan religions. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and his Companions (radhi allahu anhu) did not live the life of hermits, neither did they abstain from Halaal blessings of Allah. They did not punish themselves, nor did they indulge in the types of innovative and excessive Dhikr that the Sufis prescribe. They knew that guidance is only in following the revelation and not wandering in the wilderness.


[1] Moulana Zakariyah says: “According to some Ulema, he (Shaikh Ibnul Hamaam Hanafee) was among the Abdal (the Deobandi translator says Abdaal are a class of Awliya whose identities remain concealed. They possess miraculous powers and execute a variety of tasks under Divine Command in various places of the world). [Ikhmaalush Shiyaam (Eng. Trans.) p.59.]

[2] Pantheism: The belief that God and the universe are the same - doctrine that God is an expression of the physical forces of nature [The World Book Dictionary]

[3] Monism: The doctrine that the Creator and His creation are one and that nothing exists other than Allah. In Soofi terminology, it is known as Wahdat al-Wajood

[4] Bhakti: Selfless devotion as a means of reaching a higher spiritual being.

[5] Abu Bakr Muhyiddin Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Tai, commonly known as Ibn Arabee / Ibn ‘l-’Arabee (1165-1240), was born in Murcia (Spain) and died in Damascus. He was one of the leading authorities on Sufism, who is respected by Sufis around the world.

[6] The scholars of the school of Deoband consider Ibn Arabee to be one of ‘the great Soofi saints’ and refer to him, Ash-Shaikh al-Akbar (The Greatest Shaikh). A Question was put to Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri, ‘Some Moulvis (religious leaders) allege that Moulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Moulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi, Moulana Khalil Ahmad Ambethvi, Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi and other religious divines are infidels and apostates, faithless and heretic, accursed and denizens of Hell etc. Please comment.

Answer: “The unholy endeavor of vilifying and maligning men... is not something new”. Mufti Lajpuri then gives the examples of Prophets, the Sahabah, the scholars, the pious Imams and the Soofi saints who have suffered likewise. He then states, “(Even) the mystical statements of Ba Yazid of Bastami were adjudged to be inconsistent with the Sharee’ah... About the most great Shaikh Muhiyyud-Din Ibn Arabee it was said, ‘His unbelief (Kufr) is worse than the unbelief of the Jews and the Christians’.” [Fatawa Rahimiyyah (English trans.) vol.1, p.2-4]

[7] Al-Fusoos (1/195), al-Wakeel: Hadhihi Hiyas-Soofiyyah (p.38).

[8] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.220 and Imdadul-Mushtaq ila Ashraful-akhlaq (Urdu) p.9.

[9] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.205.

[10] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.166-167.

[11] ‘The Religion of the Hindus’ by Professor D. S. Sarma, p.12.

[12] Irshaadul-Mulook (Eng. Trans.) p.70.

[13] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.125.

[14] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.140.

[15] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.142.

[16] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.156.

[17] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.126.

[18] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.131.

[19] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.192.

[20] Rajneesh has a great admiration for Sufism, and he wrote numerous books on the subject. Among them are, ‘Soofis – the people of the Path’, ‘Just like that’, ‘The Secret’, ‘The Wisdom of the Sands’, ‘The Perfect Master’ and ‘Until you Die.’

[21] Mashaikh-e-Chist (Eng. Trans.) p.211