Nuh Keller and Sufism

Nuh Keller and Sufism

7/30/96
Tawfique Hasan Chowdhury

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Salamualikum,

On Tue, 30 Jul 1996, Masud Khan wrote:

> Your article was amateaurish, badly written and has a distinct lack
> of references. I would feel insulted by presenting an Alim like
> Nuh Ha Mim Keller such an article. If you wish any comments to 
> be passed on to him I suggest you are more careful about the
> way you reference your articles, Nuh is very meticulous about
> research and references. you have not given a single valid point 
> that is worth answering.

I am sorry you feel insulted, especially when you and I are not scholars 
and thus have little knowledge. What is there to be insulted about? If by 
showing the article there is some decrease of respect for you in Sh. Nuh’s 
eye’s then forgive me. But if it is because of pride, or because of your taqlid 
of the scholars that support sufism, then I pray that Allah gives you 
Hidayaa. I have already told you, I support that which is based on the 
Quran and Sunnah and reject those that are not based on it. There is no 
guidance except with the guidance of the Prophet.

I don’t understand why you are saying that I haven’t referenced my 
article. I have told you about Majmu Al-Fatawa of Ibn Taymiaah. There is 
all in there for Sh. Nuh to read. If you want the expanded reference is:

   Majmu` Fatawa Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiaah, compiled by Abd ul-Rahman 
   al-Asimi and his son Muhammad, Riyadh, Vol IX, X (all pages).

If you want the references where Ibn Taymiaah has talked about the names 
of Sufis who he called mashaikh-ul-Islam and others that he denounced, then:

   Majmuat l-Rasail wa-l-Masail Cairo, Vol I, compiled by Rashid Ridaa, p179 
   etc..

I have already told you, that there is enough in Majmu-al-Fatawa for Sh. 
Nuh to read. However, if he wants more:

   On Hallaj’s life, and the shirk he brought out: Risalah fi-l-Jawab an 
   Sual an l’Hallaj hal kana Siddiqan aw Zindiqan, pp185-99.

   On Ibn-Arabi’s  wahdat l-wujud : Ibtal wahdat l-wujud (Al-Rasail wal 
   Masail, Vol I, pp61-120 and pp1-101)

I have also told you about Ihyaa ul-Deen of al-Ghazzali. I include below 
a part of the email I wrote about it, and what the other scholars of 
Islam, including Taqi al-Din al-Subki has talked about it. And there are 
loads of references.

—————————————————————————–
>From ha…@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au Tue Jul 30 13:12:36 1996
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 1996 13:12:34 +1000 (AEST)
From: Tawfique Hasan Chowdhury <ha…@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au>
X-Sender: ha…@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU

To: Maim…@aol.com

cc: soc.relig…@ariel.its.unimelb.edu.au

Subject: Re: Sufism
In-Reply-To: <96072400045…@emout07.mail.aol.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.960730122325.20313A@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
Status: RO
X-Status:

> Salam akhi,

>    I was wondering what parts of the Ihya denote shirk?

Wa-alikum wasalam

al-Ghazzali wrote Ihyaa’ulum uddin and talked about the sciences of the 
states of things and the ways of the sufis in it, but he was neither well 
acquianted with them nor well informed about them, so he fell headlong, 
and thus did not fall either among the scholars of the muslims or within 
the conditions of the sufi ascetics. He talks about those things that 
cause a believer’s heart to beat wildly and longs for Allah, but 
then says: “This is from the hidden knowledge – and it is not permissible 
to write it in the book”. This is from the Baatiniyyah and the people who 
have doubts and suspicions regarding Allah’s deen, who profit thmselves 
from that which is present and preoccupy the souls with that which is 
not. This causes a believer’s heart to bleed and destroys the unity and 
basis for the  unity of the Ummah. Sheikh AT-Turtooshee says about this 
book: “Thus if a person believes that which he wrote in his book then his 
being a kafir is not unlikely, and if he does not believe it, then how 
misguided he will still be!”.

al-Ghazzali writes: “And all the provision and longevity, and belief and 
disbelief, which Allah has divided amongst His creation, then all of it 
is totally just, and it is not possible for there to be anything better 
or more compelete, and if theat were possible and He, the Exalted, being 
able, did not create it, then it would be misterliness and oppression.” 
In other words, he is saying that there is nothing within the power of 
Allah better than this creation inits precision and wisdom, and that if 
something better were possible or more just and he did not make it, then 
that would be a deficiency in His generosity. This is impossible, because 
this statement in Ihyaa means a limitation of Allah’s power, and the 
intellect tells us that there is no limit to His power or knowledge.

What al-Ghazzali is doing is that he is twisting the attributes of Allah 
with the theory of the philosophers that every that they see around 
themselves is the best and perfect. This is utterly fasle and a gross 
error that amounts to shirk as the conclusion one draws from this is that 
Allah has a limit to his power (astagfirullah). May Allah not establish this.

al-Ghazzali says in his ihyaa: 

“The philosophers go even furter and 
explian away all that is narrated about the hereafter expliaing it to 
refer to sates of the mind and soul and tastes of the mind…And they are 
the ones who go too far in interpreting, and the correct limit for 
interpreting is between the two and it is fine and obscure. None can 
reach it except those guided to it, who understand matters due to divine 
light, not due to what they hear (narrations). Then the way to the secrets of the affaris are revealed to them and they look at what is reported and its wordings, then that which they see with the light of certainity, they   accept, and that which goes against it, they interpret it. As for the one who  takes all those matters from that which is narrated, then they cannot put a foot forward.” 

I hope you can understand what Imaam!!!! al-Ghazzali is saying here. 


What he is saying is that nothing is to be gained from the narrations f
rom the messenger about affairs of knowledge, that the hadith and all 
are useless and the Quran too is useless taken literally, but rather 
every person reaches that with what he attains of divine insight and 
light and hidden knowledge. 

Ibn Taymiaah says about this: “These are the two principles of of apostasy shice every posserssor of illumination’ if he does not weigh it according to the Book and the Sunnah then he enters into misguidance.”

Taajud-deen as-subkee says in Tabaqaat ush-Shaafi’yyah:

 “I counted around 943 ahaadeeth that for which I can find no isnaad.”!!!!!!! 
And he goes on to say :”..but as for that which has an isnaad but is 
however, weak or fabricated, then it would perhaps reach many times that 
number as well.”!!!!! 

At-Turtooshee said about al-Ghazzali: 

“He filled his book with lies upon the Messenger of Allah, and I do not know of any book upon the surface of the earth wich attributes more lies to the 
Prophet than this one! He mounled it with the opinions of the philosophers and concepts held in the “Rasaa’il iklhaanis-suffaa”. 

They (the ikhwaanus-suffa) are a people who regard Prophethood as a level that 
can be acquired, and the prophet is in their view no more than a noble 
person with excellent character who avoided what is ignoble and took hold 
of his own soul…” 

In other words, Ihyaa is full of shirk. 

Ibn Aqeel strongly censured ihyaa saying: 

“.. many of the subjects were pure 
heresy, vecuase of which the actions of a person would not be accepted (by 
Allah).” ad-Durar as-Sunniyyah (2/345).

Ibn ul-Qattan says:

 “Ibn Hamdain who did more than disapprove to thextent that he declared the disbelief of its author. He encourage the Sultan with that and used his scholars as evidence. So they aggreed that it should be burnt…and it was burnt in Qurtubaa by the west gate in the 
courtyeard of the mosque after covering it with oil.” (Nazm ul-Jumaan feemaa salafa min Akhbaariz-Zamaan)

May Allah destroy the book ihyaa-ulum uddin of Ghazzali and have mercy on 
him. May Allah cause those who blindly follow ihyaa to open their eyes 
and follow the true islam of the Quran wa Sunnah.

Mohammad Tawfique

Other books talking about he mistakes of Ihyaa in which are expounded 
some of the ideas of the sufis:

1 – “Al-Istidraak ‘alaa takhreej “Al-Ihyaa”” by al-Haafiz ibn Hajr
2 – “Shaikh ‘Adbul Haqq al’Uthmaanee wrote “Tadhkiratul-Asfiyaa’i 
     bitasfiyat-il-Ihyaa”
3 – Ibn al Munayyir al-Iskandaree wrote: “Ad-Diyaa al Mutalaalee fee 
    ta’aqqub al-Ihyaa lil Ghazzaalee”
————————————————————————–

The above article was written after a lot of research. I hope that it 
will not insult you in front of Sh. Nuh.

> You quite clear haven’t a clue about Tasawwuf and are quite ignorant 
> of it and rely heavily on Ibn Taymiyya who is not to be relied upon, 
> as is attested to by Taj and Taqi al-Din al-Subki, Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani 
> and many other scholars of Islam.

You say that I don’t know Tasawwuf. Are you making the same claim that 
the Sufis, the people of Tasawwuf claim, that to understand these things, 
you need to have hidden knowledge? Having been following the practises 
of the sufis before, I do understand Tasawwuf. Alhamdulliah that Allah 
has removed me from that madhhab (yes, it is a madhhab). I agree 
where it agrees with the Quran and Sunnah and disagree where is leaves 
its bounds and starts with bidaa. For example, a Naqsbandi sufi shakykh 
that I know (I don’t want to tell you his name) of locks himself in his room 
for a week and fasts day and 
night without end. Are you telling me that what he is doing is not bidaa? 
A muslim male is supposed to leave home to go to the mosque to pray in 
congregation. Further the Prophet had said when there were people who 
said similar things: “I will not marry” or “I will fast day and night” etc.. 

In answer to this the Prophet had said: 

“I pray and I sleep, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. He who doesnot follow my sunnah is not of me”.(Bukhari) 

Is the practise of this sufi shaykh not a bidaa? 


And the Prophet had said: 

“All innovations (bidaa) are misguidance and all misguidance is in the fire.”

You mention that I rely heavily from Ibn Taymiaah. How can you say that? 
It is not permissible to relly blindly on anyone other than the Prophet 
of Allah (peace be upon him)! I mearly wrote the article when I noticed 
that Sh. Nuh misunderstood Ibn Taymiaah and his student’s position on 
Tasawwuuf. I wrote the article clarifying the position of Ibn Taymiaah, 
not my own views on it. Ibn Taymiaah was a man. He was a great scholar. 
But even scholars err. That why, I reitterate, that I take the position 
of Ibn Taymiaah when his stance is from the Quran and Sunnah, and I 
dissassocite with him, if he deviates from the Quran and Sunnah. In no 
case am I blindly following him, for blindly following anyone other than 
the prophet is to take oneself on the brink of destruction (incidently, I 
disagree with Sh. Nuh’s opinion on Madhhabs and Madhabism too).

You have mentioned al-Subki and ibn-Hajr. As regards al-Subki, I have 
quoted him from his book “Tabaqaat ush-Shaafi’yyah” {4/145} talking about 
the weak and fabricated hadith in Ihyaa-ulum-uddin. 

But Sh. Al-Aloosee says in Ghaayatul Amaanee (2/268):

“Then as-Subkee replied to some of the 
criticisms of al-Maazaree and at-Turtooshee with answers which were 
innaccurate as is his habit in blindly supporting the people of his madhhab, and even so, he was not able to deny al-Ghazzalee’s ignorance of hadith.” 

So Al-Subki was a blind follower of sufism and tried to reconsiled sufism and sharia. And sufism with its bidaa, cannot be reconsiled with the sharia.

As regards ibn Hajr, I know nothing but good about him. I would like you 
to do as you told me to do, and provide the references where ibn-Hajr is 
supposed to have denied the sholarship of Ibn Taymiaah.

I am sorry to say this, but it seems to me you have a very naive way of 
classifying scholars. How can you say about a scholar what you hear from 
others about him without reading any of the books of that scholar? And 
also, what is this use of the word: “rely on a scholar”? We rely on none 
but the prophet of Islam. If a scholar makes a point, we always ask him: 
“What is your proof”? (Proof from Quran and Sunnah). This is the criteria 
for listening to a scholar. And scholars don’t say things out of their own whims and fancies.

And next time, brother don’t use the words like ‘ignorant’, and 
‘amatearuish’ and ‘feel insulted’. I wrote as Allah has given me the 
ability. If there is something you don’t like, then tell me nicely. That is the sunnah.(For the proof on this, see the hadith in Bukhari about the 
bedouin found urinating in a corner of the mosque).

Mohammad Tawfique

8/5/96Dien Alfred Rice

In article <4tmocp$6…@shellx.best.com>, Tawfique Hasan Chowdhury 
<ha…@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU> writes (replying to Masud Khan):


> In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the Most Merciful

> Salamualikum,

Wa alaikum salam,

[…much deleted…]

> You say that I don’t know Tasawwuf. Are you making the same claim that 
> the Sufis, the people of Tasawwuf claim, that to understand these things, 
> you need to have hidden knowledge?

Experience is a kind of hidden knowledge, though I wouldn’t use that
term….  If I have eaten emu steak (an emu is a large Australian
bird), then I have some knowledge of how emu tastes.  However, if you
haven’t eaten emu steak, you won’t know what emu tastes like.  Knowing how emu tastes is a kind of knowledge.  The only way to get this knowledge is to eat an emu steak for yourself.

This is what is meant by “hidden knowledge.”  You must taste it.  You
can’t just read about it in books.  You could read an encyclopedia on
how emu steak tastes, but still you wouldn’t have the same knowledge
as when you taste it for yourself.

> Having been following the practises 
> of the sufis before, I do understand Tasawwuf.

I very much doubt it.  What practices?  How long?

Many true Sufis of old (eg. Jalaluddin Rumi) have warned about false
Sufis.  These pretenders have no knowledge, yet they like to pretend
they are Sufi “shaykhs” because then they can get followers, which brings with it a degree of power.  They have little or no knowledge of Allah, yet they are good at pretending.  One who follows such a
pretender will gain nothing from it.  A blind man cannot be your guide.

How do you know you didn’t follow a blind man?

Allah knows best.

> Alhamdulliah that Allah 
> has removed me from that madhhab (yes, it is a madhhab).

The true people of Tasawwuf follow the established maddhabs. Tasawwuf
itself is not a maddhab, otherwise why would they follow Abu Hanifa’s
school or Maliki’s school or…. etc.

> I agree 
> where it agrees with the Quran and Sunnah and disagree where is leaves 
> its bounds and starts with bidaa. For example, a Naqsbandi sufi shakykh 
> that I know (I don’t want to tell you his name) of locks himself in his room 
> for a week and fasts day and 
> night without end. Are you telling me that what he is doing is not bidaa?

If Allah ordered him to do it, it is not bid’a.  I don’t know what he
knows from Allah.  I prefer not to pass judgement on such things.

However, I am also aware of the hadith you say below.

> A muslim male is supposed to leave home to go to the mosque to pray in 
> congregation. Further the Prophet had said when there were people who 
> said similar things: “I will not marry” or “I will fast day and night” 
> etc.. In answer to this the Prophet had said: “I pray and I sleep, I fast 
> and I break my fast, and I marry women. He who doesnot follow my sunnah 
> is not of me”.(Bukhari) Is the practise of this sufi shaykh not a bidaa?

I prefer not to judge people…. I prefer to leave that to Allah, and
to the judges in the courts.

> And the Prophet had said: “All innovations (bidaa) are misguidance and 
> all misguidance is in the fire.”

[…]

> And sufism with its bidaa, cannot be 
> reconsiled with the sharia.

Please clarify what is supposed to be “bidaa” about Tasawwuf.  I am
sure that whatever you claim is “bidaa,” either doesn’t belong toTasawwuf or it is not really bid’a.

I would like to see you back up your claims, rather than just state
things without backing them up with some solid arguments.

[…Rest deleted…]

Wassalam,

Fariduddien Rice

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